Your Garden Will Never Be The Same

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trail of Tears

This USA Today article brought tears to my eyes.

People, I know times are getting tough in our ever sickening US economy. Please ...

Creative Commons Image by GabZilla

DO NOT TURN YOUR HORSES FREE because you can't afford to feed them.

Use your heart and your head.

Wild horses do fine in the wild, because they have never had a caretaker. Tame horses turned loose will starve to death and could suffer severe dehydration. Growing numbers of uncontrolled horses will also become a huge threat to the safety of motorists. NO ONE who collides with a horse while driving lives. Have you ever read "The Horse Whisperer"?

Do not abuse domesticated horses by allowing them to run free. They will starve to death just as fast running loose as they will in your paddock.

If you have horses that you can no longer afford to feed, you do have options available. Before you do something as cruel and drastic and turning it out to run wild. STOP!
  1. Give the horse away to someone who can feed and care for the poor animal.
  2. Contact the equine rescue organization nearest to you. They will have a safe haven your animal can be taken too. Most likely the horse protection group will even come and pick up your horse to put it into safe keeping. There are links to some below.

I do hope my readers will pass this message on. The web should be littered with a notice such as this. Perhaps spreading word about this issue will make people stop and think before getting this desperate and acting without rational thought.

Creative Commons Image by Big Grey Mare

Horses are the most beautiful of tame beasts. Many of them will gladly follow their trusted human around like a dog. While it has been a few years since I last owned a horse, they still hold a huge place in my heart.

Animal cruelty is the same no matter what domesticated four-legged creature the ignorance is aimed at. Any horse that causes a motor vehicle accident because it is running wild can cause the legal owner to be held liable for damages to life and property in most states.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Perfectly Timeless Posies

New Perennial Plant Scoop (2009)

Imagine flower heads that do not age. Impossible? No!

Introducing Echinacea 'Milkshake'

Image courtesy of Plants Nouveau

Push aside the thought that this is "just" another white coneflower. If you don't you will miss out on the most amazing news. In fact, you will think the following statement is a typographical error. Trust me, it is not. Nor it is just hype to push a plant into your unsuspecting hands.

The blooms on Milkshake Echinacea do not fade.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There's Always One

This week's professional writing project has led me to scour the web for information concerning certain wildlife repellents. I found that in order to find some actual user feedback on these products I had to dig ridiculously deep.

[Lots of heavy sighing and days on end scanning through search engine results.]

In the midst of all this monotony I came across a forum post that boggled my mind.

It is quite obvious that this person cannot possibly be an avid gardener. If I am mistaken, then may I suggest they live in a glass bubble somewhere? Perhaps, another planet.

While I was diligently searching out real repellent comments, I came across this little gem:

"Don't use anything with Capsaicin as, if the bunnies are hungry or thirsty enough, they will still eat you plants and you will burn their mucous membranes and could cause blindness. You could also put out some whirligigs and windsocks as noise
and movement makes bunnies nervous and they might move on to a more peaceful
'diner' :)
... "

A whirlygig will scare Thumper off? What possesses a person to fall for such a conception? A whirlygig wouldn't even scare off a chicken. The only thing that scares off a rabbit is a threat of it's well being. Not some wimpy flag swirling in the wind. Even 220 slobbering pounds of dog flesh with 8 legs and 2 hungry incisor lined mouths and a hunting instinct is not enough to scare off rabbits. Nervous my eye!

When the threat disappears, that four legged munching machine will swiftly return to the scene and rapidly ingest your leafy kingdom. Desired plants are rabbit candy! Perhaps she lives in the depths of New York City where rabbits are seen in the zoo and photographs.

Results of peaceful bunnie dinner.

Bunnies should come in chocolate. Available at Easter time and only allowed to cozily nestle on plastic grass as a companion to jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, malt ball and cream filled eggs. Oh yes, lets not forget the dyed chicken eggs so artfully decorated with stickers and wax crayons before becoming a portion of the season's first potato salad.

It doesn't matter what group of people one studies. There's always one. That one silly soul that everyone will shake their heads and wonder what goes on upstairs.

Doesn't she realize that when they see your only defense is a silly piece of polyester spinning in the wind is an invitation? That rabbit ain't nervous. Its like a front page headline ... Come Get Yer Victuals Here. Silly rabbit #1 is off to tell the rest of the clan that there is no stopping this feast. Its like you put a sign up in the center of Rabbitville that says "Follow me to good eating. No regulatory mishaps. Plenty for everyone. Hop on in."

If you ask me a blind rabbit in the garden is a far better option than a plant destruction machine that can see and flee! It can't go tell it's kin about your plants either, so the messenger is stopped before inviting the next 12 generations to your garden.

Live rabbits in the garden are an excellent source of stew and cozy slippers.

Whirlygigs? Bring on the hot peppers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hi Mom

Living so far from what used to be home means you don't talk to your parents that often. I don't know exactly why it causes constantly meddling to dwindle to an acceptable level but it does. Half a state away is less preferable than half a country. Maybe its the measurement of space and time. Instead of being easily accessed after a 3 hour drive the emphatic meaning sinks in when they have to drive for 2 days to see your face. After a few of those trips they seem to find better things to do.

Now its a pleasant surprise to hear from them. So it was the other day when Mom called.

She: "Hi honey, how is everything."

Me: " Fine. I've been meaning to call you but I've just been so busy trying to finish these huge projects."

She: "That's okay. I know you're busy. I just thought I'd call and see how everything was going."

From here the conversation covered her great granddaughters latest progress at learning new words and developing comical behavior. Aaah, but then it came to light the impetus behind her button pushing to connect with me. The world at my fingertips is beyond the perimeter of Mom's. Not that I mind, many is the goose chase she has had my computer and I go on for her. This time, things went far differently than before. In fact here was something that was totally opposite from frustrating if not irritating.

Her staunch refusal to get connected to the world of cyberspace begins with the notion that if she did that people can get into her computer. (Like they can invade her home or something.) She thinks it is a typewriter. The last one of those she had made her cry. Don't even ask me to regale you with the tale of the computer. Let's just say she has one and knows how to type and print an invoice on it.

She: "Say, could you look something up on the Internet for me."

Me: "Sure, what do you want to find."

She: "I want you to see what stores in Michigan actually carry Meier's Sparkling Grape Juice in stock. Is that possible? I can't find it anywhere I used to buy it. Its made in Ohio."

Me: "Is the Mej or Mey?"

She: "M-e-i-e-r. Not Meyer like Meyer's. I don't know where they are in Ohio. Somewhere. I want some for Thanksgiving. Dad has already been everywhere. I don't want to put you out or anything. Just if you find some time it would be nice to know WHERE to send him and well..."

Me: "Cincinatti, Mom. They are in Cincinatti. Did you want Cabernet Red, Spumante ... what flavor of fizzy juice is it that you desire to perfectly compliment the bird?"

She: "I DON'T want to know what flavors there are. I want Cabernet White. I just want to know where I can buy it because I can't find it anywhere around here."

Let me clue you in. Mom goes through at least 8 bottles of this stuff if not 16 over the course of holiday entertaining. I am on the company website where she can buy a whole case as simple as 1-2-3. She is still trying to find out what store in the several thousand square mile state of The Land of Many Waters to direct Dad's Cadillac toward to be the victor instead of the cause of irritation. Whatever you do, do not waste time. He can be as crusty as crust if you do.

Me: "Get your credit card. You can get a whole case and save time. You'll have enough for the whole season and then some."

She: "I think 3 bottles will be plenty there is just going to be 6 of us for dinner."

Me: "How long have you been looking for this stuff?"

She: "I haven't been able to find it anywhere for over a year."

Me: "Do you WANT Meier's Fuzzy Juice for dinner or don't you? You can order a case of it right now and it will be there in plenty of time for Thanksgiving dinner. The shipping has got to be far cheaper than sending Dad tooling all over the state to pick up some fuzzy juice."

She: "But how will I buy it if I don't go to the store?"

See what I mean, she is just not connected. I explain that if she would just get her Visa her beloved juice will be enroute to her the next day. It isn't the cost of the shipping or even the price of the case that is the issue. Its the fact that she doesn't understand shopping online. I got her over all those hurdles with the credit card number and a completed order once she grasped the concept. Now we get to the point of a confirmation number so she can verify how long the delivery will take. Time will stand still if it is not there and chilled for dinner.

Me: "Okay, here's your order confirmation number. Got your pen ready?"

She "Go ahead."

Me: "436652"

She: "Got it. Thanks hon..."

Me: "No there's more to your number. Dash 11 dash 14 Edward Charlie Dog ..."

She: "Edward? Do you mean E? Can't you just read me the number instead of all this fancy code stuff?"

Me: "E like Edward, C like Charlie, D like dog 25 44 period 321 dot ..."

She: "Slow down! I think I got confused. ECD2544 - did you say period? Then you said dot. Are they different?"

Me: "No, they are the same. I said dot because its easier than period and theres a lot more number to go."

She: "There's more! I'm running out of paper. ECD2544 dot ... what comes after the dot again?"

I won't tortue you through the next 5 minutes of this back and forth banter. I'll just type out the entire confirmation number. I'm sure you will understand why at the end of the complete recitation of the number I was out of breath and had tears streaming down my face. It was like something from a sitcom. Totally histerical.


If she had email this could have been over in seconds. But if she did, I would have missed out on a really good and beneficial moment of hilarity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Claim to Fame

BREAKING NEWS ... New Plant Scoop

It is the only perennial of its kind -

anywhere in the world.

Early spring leaves are the blackest of burgundy as they rise from the soil.

This photo was taken in mid May in zone 5 where the plant originated.

As the early leaves get larger and more plentiful each develops the arresting accent of a striking acid green stripe down the midrib. Quite a show stopper clump of leaves it is too.

Introducing Phlox paniculata 'Lord Clayton' PPAF

Strong stems are black burgundy from the soil line to the tips where the blooms will form in mid summer. There is no other colored leaf cultivar within the Phlox paniculata plant family even though it is a vast and highly varied assortment of available perennials.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Colorful Trees

The most precious thing about life is sometimes found in the simplest things.

The other day I finished work early enough to take my granddaughters to the park for swings and slides time. They were so excited to go.

Not more than a mile away from their house, the eldest who is three next week says,

"Nonnie! The trees are turning colors."

One would never think a person this young would actually take note that the leaves in the woods are no longer just green. So I said,

"Yes, they are getting ready for winter."

"The trees are vewy pretty now. Ooooo - look at that wed one."

And as we motored on a couple of miles down the road toward the park she saw a medical office with yellows, reds and some brown too.

"There's a 'lellow' one Nonnie. Why is it lellow?"

The color "lellow" only looses favor to purple ... or pink. Now she wants me to explain why all the other ones were red. She is smart but she is still only 3.

"Its a different kind of tree, honey. Some turn yellow, some orange and other trees turn red before they loose their leaves."

"Yes," she says, "I remember. No more sunny summer days, trees have no more leaves."

She's a pickle this one. Like how does she remember the week before she turned 2?

"But spring will come and the flowers will all open in the trees before they get new green leaves again."

"I love fowers Nonnie. 'Specially the 'licious smelling ones. You have 'licious fowers at your home."

"The purple one on the steps?" No need to ask really she smells it constantly.

"Yes, that poople one is my favorite. Are we almost at the park? I want to slide. Not the baby slide Nonnie, I a big girl now. There's a stop sign. 'Member to look both ways, Nonnie."

The stop sign is new. She has learned this in the last week.

"When you see the little yellow school busses, we will be almost to the park."

"Yes. Then we turn on other road. Will there be 'lellow' trees at the park, Nonnie? I like the 'lellow' ones best. 'Lellow' is pretty."

Well the park seems to have no interest in fall color. All the trees were brown. So much for munincipal planning. She was too afraid of the big slide when staring at the top end of that dark tube. Monsters lurk in the dark. I knew she wasn't ready for that slide yet.

"Nonnie, lets take sister to the baby slide. She will like it."

Not fessin' up about that slide yet. She stared down that black hole three more times before the lowering sun sent us home. Each time she came back down from the playscape maze with a new idea about what "sister wants to do now". Sister hasn't said a word that anyone could understand since chortling "bye-bye" all the way to the park.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Did You See September?

Anyone with news of where the month of September ran off too, please respond!

How could an entire month just up and walk away without me seeing it go?

I hope someone saw it because at this desk September seems to have just up and left the building.

Fine how-do-you-do as I am quite sure I saw it arrive.

But to just breeze in the door and flee right out without warning?

Rude manners should not be endured.

I don't care what month you are, have some respect already.

But you know the strangest thing happened while the beauty of September was skulking away.

No, nothing fantastic happened with my flowering beauties.

Neither was anything alive profoundly provocative in other ways.

My regular readers may think I was abducted by aliens, but I am still here.

Still my self. Though an entire month just arrived and left without giving proper 30 days notice.

Should any of you even toy with the notion that I have run out of words to type ...

Well. May I insist that you are without common sense?

To quote my son, "You talk to much!"

Whether silently, via the keys, or spoken to human ears, I have not been suddenly silenced.

Quite the contrary! The truth be known that my freelance writing world has been set on fire.

All I did was lay in a bit of kindling.

A pitiful pile of twigs it was and then found the matches wet.

Sad one that it was. Wee smoldering mess capable of only a weak flame now and again.

This is until the entire forest caught fire.

Now, I am curious as to whether my fingerprints have worn off from the typing.

Perhaps, I could even think about the topic of plants in the next day or so.

What a brilliant notion! To pick up where I was so rudely interrupted.

The good news is the bills are covered with excess until the next 5 weeks fly by.

Need to know anything about debt management, credit repair, bankruptcy and the like?

I am a walking encyclopedia after the research and projects churned out in past days.

Skin care and acne getting the best of you? Yes, I have become a font of knowledge here too.

Ready to start your own hydroponic veggie garden to save your from Salmonella?

Just ask, I may just know the knowledge that you seek.

Maybe after a full 8 hours of not working and good night's sleep ...

Some crazy story or some plant growing wisdom may filter through the mess.

One never knows what lurks within the mind of Lost In The Flowers.

Stay tuned, it is always possible myself will be allowed to be regular again.

Come to think of it - - YES!

There is something that may be of great interest to anyone who stumbles upon these pages.

Tune in tomorrow. Fingers are punching out for the day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

For the Love of Leaves

The trouble with color is it speaks to me. If they would just make more leaves true red and royal purple, I could have more fun with them.

I was messing around with my camera the other day just to see how it would do on closeups. These are some sections of my container gardens at my front door. Silver and purple seems to be this years theme.

Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

The combination of Purple Diamond Loropetalum above the silver falls of Dichondra is just stunning. The Loropetalum I got at Lowe's and was incorrectly tagged. I was not very happy when I discovered it was not the Purple Pixie Loropetalum I had visions of cascading down the side of the container. Of course by that time it had already increased the root ball beyond the size of the 6" pot and I could not exchange it for the right plant. Still, it is a lovely and colorful shrub even if it will not remain small enough to live much longer in a pot.

Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Ah, Snow Fairy Caropyrtis how I do love your bright white leaves. You look so lovely with the Blackie Sweet Potato and some red Verbena peeking through here and there. Once upon a time there was some Laguna Lobelia in there .... somewhere. They got smothered out long ago I'm afraid.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Garden Frosting

Cone-fections Plant Feature...

Echinacea purpurea 'Meringue'
Image courtesy of Plants Nouveau

Like icing on a cake. Creamy and attractive petaling that may just find it's way to being a favored blossom for wedding cake decor. What a lovely bloom to team up with romantic pink rose buds to add unusual flair to nuptials celebration traditions.

Echinacea 'Meringue' is a petite new introduction in the Cone-fections series that comes to us from The Netherlands. Add a little evening glow to your garden. Nicely compact for smaller spaces and an excellent candidate for front row placement. Arie Blom has again created a densely branched Echinacea that is fully double and extremely floriferous. Reported to be in full flower from July through September, Meringue has great garden merit.

Friday, August 29, 2008

If I Were Soil ...

If I were soil capable of supporting rooted life -

I would refuse to allow grass to grow.

I would only provide nutrients to more garden friendly human delights.

I would house those that prove to be beautiful, surprising or colorful presences to behold.

Silvery Leaves of Pulmonaira
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Whose fabulous fuzzy leaves cast such a ray of beautiful light over the cooling green of shade.

Red Charm Peony
Image © CJ Diamond

One must admire the appearance of true red so rare amidst an ocean of pinks and white.

Cheerful Purple Coneflowers
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Whose excitement never wanes as the family circle gets more daring and bold than ever before.

Delicate Columbine Dancing on a Breeze
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

For I will clothe the sprightly faeries with blossoms as billowing frocks at the spring cotillion.

Blue Parakeet Iris
Image © CJ Diamond

Who fair echo the color of the early summer sky connecting the awakened soil with the heavens.

Strangely Colored Heuchera Leaves
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

The appearance of which is meant only to delight the viewer with their bizarre unexpectedness.

Perhaps it is better that I am not soil, for what would the cattle and sheep eat?

This is not to say that I would cast out the trees or luscious fruits or crispy vegetables. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it is wiser that I am only allowed to play with the soil. On further musing if I did gain total control of it things might become a bit one sided!

Yet I cannot help but wonder if the world would be a happier place if I could build Utopia.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Have you any idea what it is like to be walking along minding your own business when a special presence just butts in and creates it's unique little self loudly known? One ignores the rude tactics as the comely entity comes into view. It is shouting at me and not one word befalls my ear. I was no where near the cursed thing and yet it had the audacity to solicit my attention from afar.

Look at it waggling it leaves and preening about two aisles over. Like I am this easy? Really, I can turn off your button just as fast as you decide to light up. Talk about stealing the limelight! I am keeping my attention here where it was before you so rudely interrupted my train of thought. Like, talk to the hand already.

Sure. Like I can concentrate on this ordinary old Zonal Geranium while you are over there just exuding all manner of siren type behavior. Perhaps if I pay you a moments' notice you will cease and desist with your loud voice disturbing my simple errand.

My conscious mind warns me not to get any closer to you. Did I pay that little reminder a shred of heed? You shameless little plant! You have led me into the path of temptation too great to be just where you will be most happily ignored. All right! You win ... I have a pot that is you all day long, well I will right after we pop over to the pottery department on our way to the checkout counter.

Perhaps it would be wiser to buy potting soil at a store that does not stock live plants.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Got Your Note

Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

The thing I liked about lunch hour when I was placed at the helm of the landscape contracting office was that everyone else left. There was just me, a Diet Pepsi and the opportunity to concentrate. An entire 45 minutes or so of peace, broken only by a ringing phone. As long as I willed the phone not to ring, life was good.

Don't think that the presence of the staff would have allowed me to accomplish a task. No one asked for them. They were here to do what I could not because I was either out or on the phone. Then there were the things that no one knew how to do but moi. This was a moi job.

My powers of mental control kept that ringer silent for all of 30 minutes. Okay, I answered it right before the machine did.

"Hello!" said the female voice. "Its Judy, Judy Stein. How are you?"

The good news? She is a gem of a client. The bad news? Perhaps it isn't all that bad. I'll let you decide for your self after following this conversation.

"I fine, Judy. I'll bet the guys cut your new lawn area today." I answered.

"OH, we just got in from France late last night," she gushed. "What a lovely trip it was, ten whole days of rest! Still I am glad to be home again. That's why I called, to talk to you about this note."

"Note?" I was puzzled. I can't recall sending her a note or why I would have. "When did I send you a note, Judy?"

"I'm not sure, it must have arrived while we were away. I was just opening this pile of mail and there it was. It was nice of you to let me know about the sod. I wondered if anyone called the police?"

Moi again, there is no one else to transfer this humdinger too. Visions of all manner of things those infuriating guys might have done blasted my mind. A blend of angst and bafflement now formed a knot at the top of my stomach.

"Whatever they have done, surely it is nothing to call the police over," I stammered. "You and I have always had such a great relationship, Judy can't we settle this without bringing the law into it?"

"But it was stolen," she cried. "Who on earth would do such a thing? I know it is just grass, but if there is a police report then I can turn it into my insurance company."

"Some lowlife actually came to your house while you were gone, rolled up all that new sod and took it? Are you kidding me? This is the first I have heard about it. "Let me call the truck and ask them what they know." Now, I have had some really crazy events go on that I had to deal with from this office, but this here took the cake. There is no way of my guys would be stupid enough to do this. It was definitely an outside job.

Just as I had my hand half way to the two-way button, Judy went on to say, "What do you mean you didn't know about it? You wrote me this note. I know this is your signature on here. Is everything all right, dear?"

What on earth is this woman talking about? By now I am literally beside myself. I decided to start at the beginning,

"Judy, you have been gone for 10 days. Look at the date on your statement. I typed that note the day after they finished the work in your yard. By the time it reached your mailbox you had already left town. So how could I have known that your sod was stolen?"

"But, Tammy, the note clearly states that you knew." She replied, and my mouth fell open. "It clearly states here in the note that the sod was taken."

At which point I burst out laughing. I really couldn't help myself, being swept up in a wave of relief that made it all the more hilarious. It was definitely one of those moments you are lucky to be conversing with a friendly client who has known you since childhood.

"Now really, I have been robbed of my perfect new lawn and you are laughing?" Judy sputtered. "What is wrong with you?"

"Judy, did you look out the window before you called me?" I asked wiping my tears.

"You know, I think you might just need a vacation yourself. Why would I look out the window after I your note?" Now her voice is all concerned for me. "Shall I just call the police myself?"

Lord, please don't let me laugh again! " Judy, have you seen the crime scene at all? Please do me a favor; go over and look out the window. If there is just bare dirt out there, I promise I will call the police."

A minute later Judy is laughing. "Now why did it not occur to me to look outside before I called? No wonder you were so confused. But please, could you explain this note? Why would you tell me it was taken if it was not?"

"When sod roots into the soil under it, the trade term is that it "has taken", as in taken root. The note says 'As soon as the sod has taken we will mow the area'. I guess I should not type it that way on people's statements. You are the first person to think it meant stolen."

"Isn't this silly?" she asked as she chuckled. "In fact, this is the craziest thing I have done in quite some time. You must have thought I lost my mind! Wait until Jerry comes home, he will be rolling when I tell him about my day."

"Well, at least I do not have to put the crew on trial and try to squeeze out a confession. I was horrified when you wanted to know if there was police report." I was still giggling, but talking almost normally.

"What a stitch!" she laughed. Well, at least the day is off to a good start. I'll let you get back to work now, I need to go and unpack. Keep laughing now. Goodbye!"

Judy was still laughing when the phone hit the receiver.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Peek at Foam #1

PLANT SCOOP for 2009 - River Series Tiarellas

Tiarella cordifolia 'Delaware'
Image courtesy of Plants Nouveau

Plants that run form a flowing carpet that would remind one of a river. The developer of this new group of Tiarella selections has named them after a river from the east coast area of the United States. The River Series consists of five lovely cultivars of Tiarella cordifolia. Each bears unique leaf shapes and telltale dark markings.

'Delaware' Tiarella is the product of 15 years of cross breeding and selection of plantsman Sinclair A. Adam. Just one of 150 hybrid seedlings selected from a test group of 15,000 plants.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Want a Tropical Paradise...

You know it is really refreshing to work with a landscape design client who actually gardens. So, I was very excited about this new project. The client wants wild abandon and color everywhere. Brilliant color too because her significant other is color blind. Totally my cup of tea you know.

So after many hours of layout and several on site meetings at the new home under construction on the waterfront and golf course. I have developed exactly what she has instructed me she wants out of her yard. She wants something different than what everyone else in the entire area has.

No areas are completely without evergreens. There is tropical foliage, grasses, flowering trees, shrubs and perennials threaded through the entire scope of bed layouts. A huge rose garden and don't forget the annuals. The client is ecstatic when looking over all the photos of the plants and reviewing which ones are in what bed.

The majority of the planting was completed a month before cold weather set in. A handful of perennials were completely unavailable until spring. She was absolutely in love with her yard the day the last of the season's work was done. A gardener always thinks they have found heaven when everything comes out so lovely from the plan.

Don't ask me what happened over the winter to this person who has gardened for years farther north. I was totally caught by surprise when she called in February to say,

"There are so many blanks spots in my planting beds. Why aren't there more evergreens?"

My mind froze. Like did she really just say this? Did she expect Elephant Ears and Canna Lilies to stay for her to admire all year long in zone 7? She knew what would disappear last summer before it was planted. Before I could utter more than,

"Um..." I was blasted with yet another zinger.

"I am having a huge party on March 29th and I want all the rest of the perennials planted, these dead ones must be replaced by 2 days before the event. We can't have you people in here with all the other setting up that must be done. Oh yes, and we need to plant the Impatiens and the rest of the new annuals when you come to do the other work before the party."

What does one say to someone like this? This is not zone 10? Have you lost your meds? I mean it could snow tomorrow if Mother Nature felt like throwing us a curve. The last threat of frost is like on April 15. Better yet, none of these plants will be available until maybe early May. The gardener client is telling me her perennials are dead when they are dormant! Deep breath here ...

"The Elephant Ears are not dead, they will be back when the weather warms up enough in June. In fact none of those plants are dead, they are sleeping until warm weather. The amount and placement of evergreens was approved by you last summer. We can plant winter annuals for the party but they are an additional cost over the installation contract price as they are not part of that planting list or item pricing."

Well, this did not go over real well.

"I do not want all these holes in my landscaping! No one else has them, why must I?"

One gets the feeling she would have liked to been a gardener prior to building this house but she has perhaps not ventured past drooling over magazine photos. No, I know she actually does play in the dirt and can identify and converse about certain plants - both woody and herbaceous. Perhaps she is sleep talking?

After a few more minutes, I finally managed to make her understand that party or not, the weather was not ready (inside or outside a greenhouse) for the plants she wanted to be planted before the first of April. Was she happy about the situation? Of course not! But I am not God and there is no heating system installed in her soil to wake them up faster than nature.

Just because the house looks like it was built in Florida, it actually sits several states north of there and hours from the Keys. The real pip in the winter woman is that she did not want evergreens everywhere when she was the summer woman who approved then entire project.It isn't like she bought the wrong shoes to match her suit and can return them for a better suiting pair!