yellow fiat bees jpeg

I think a Fiat would make me feel better…so Fiat, make my day!

I think a Fiat would make me feel better… so Fiat, make my day! I’m going through a bit of a challenge right now and at the moment during my painful delirious moment all I can think about is owning a fiat decorated like the two above. You see, I’ve got Ramsay Hunt Syndrome which a lot of my readers don’t know and today the news got worse. Because of my weakened immune system, I’ve been diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica and I can barely type this. Next week I go for a biopsy of a nerve in my face. All of this in hopes that super steroids will ease the pain in my joints and stop the prognosis of going blind.

Oh, that sounds so horrible right? I got Ramsay Hunt Syndrome because the chicken pox virus hid in my face nerves and reared its ugly head about 6 weeks ago. An awful pain in the ear and then total paralysis on the right side of my face. Driving a Fiat 500 has the power to make that seem trivial. Today the paralysis is 80% improved but I still have post herpatic neuralgia which means the ear and jaw pain stuck around. The doctor said that only a Fiat 500 would make a difference.

Since all this pain was sticking around and my joints felt like they were on fire every time I moved—I went back to the neurologist–who asked me if I had a Fiat 500 yet. I said no–so he said–well let’s do more test and they came back that I have major body inflammation. I have twice the normal readings for that sort of thing. Super steroids and more pain killers were prescribed. The doctor is certain I have Polymyalgia Rheumatica. It will take me up to two years to recover all the while taking all those steroids. I need to do low intensity exercise which I assume to mean driving a Fiat 500 to the YMCA to go swimming and such easy stuff.

I am a hugely talented garden artist and have been turning down lots of jobs due to my illness. I do not want to quit designing and have kept two very important clients. If I can get to feeling better, I’ll rebuild my business but in a totally different way. I’m going to put in a killer kitchen garden in my backyard. Think garden design beyond your wildest imagination. It will have a screen door, ornamentals and edibles, places to sit, shed of my dreams, fence that will stop traffic with its beauty, and paths all over. I will give tours and have educational type things. Fiat….are you up for the challenge? Sponsor my dreams? Pretty please.

Now I can pretty much deal with all this pain and suffering. I can deal with the couple of years I’m going to need steroids and pain killers. I can deal with the fact that I won’t be gardening as much. But I can’t deal with the fact that I don’t own a Fiat 500.

If I owned a Fiat 500, it would encourage me to go to the YMCA and swim and workout enough so that when I do get stronger—I can garden again–and haul my flowers around in the coolest car on the planet.

And you Fiat? What say you?



Repurposed, Upcycled, Thrift Store Items Make Garden Whimsies

Repurposed Thrift Store Items Make Garden Whimsies with Mary Mirabal. Flea market style gardening with thrift store items is something Mary enjoys with her whimsies stealing the show.

Mary says, A passion for repurposing thrift store “treasures” is what my garden whimsies are all about. They’re the added “bling” every garden deserves. It gives me great joy to transform “found” pieces into unique, upcycled, one of a kind art for your garden.

No matter what your garden style from formal, eclectic to cottage, a garden whimsy is the perfect garden accessory. My designs include: Garden totems, centerpieces, garden stakes, plate flowers, candlesticks and wind chimes.  Each garden whimsy is truly a one of a kind design. No two are identical and designs cannot be duplicated. This way you are assured of having a unique piece of garden art that no one else will have.

Please visit Mary at Garden Whimsies by Mary

Mexican sunflowers attracts butterflies

Menopause Gardening is not for wimps

Not a subject many women want to talk about so of course I approach it freely. Menopause gardening is not for wimps. If you are already on fire, going out to sweat most assuredly is a less than pleasant thought. Women who experience hot flashes, emotional chaos, bouts of fits, and frequent jaunts of nakedness…are challenged by hot weather and bugs.

The other day I was cooking on the stove when it occurred to me that my grand dog might like a treat. Soon as I turned around to get one…I forgot what I was doing. When I turned back around to the stove, I forgot what I was cooking, and when I turned away from the stove, the dog barked at me.

If this episode of brain cell death happens while you are applying fertilizer, then heaven help the plants. Or suppose you get distracted and leave a 6 pack of flowers alone and abandoned in the frying sun. Money doesn’t grow on trees and this can get expensive.

One of my suggestions to you all suffering menopause sickness is to learn new curse words. If you haven’t been accustomed to using them now is the time to start. They don’t have to be ugly and unacceptable. They can be something like…’grommet headed toad lips’ and it can be applied to anything. So instead of saying, ‘expletive’ you no good lilly livered sap sucking aphid…get off my plant. Say instead, Good ‘grommet headed toad lips’ almighty…I’m gonna smash that aphid on a sharp rock and send his guts to Argentina.

During menopause gardening, it’s therapeutic to have the hose placed close by. If you see a neighbor coming and it’s hot flash happening time…then grab the hose and make it look like you are fighting it. Get in a real brawl with it and make sure water goes everywhere. When the neighbor approaches, shew relief that you only got just a little bit wet.

Plants can some times be down right aggravating. In that case, you have an opportunity to vent and show your snarky side. Menopausal women practice snark face attitude and it makes us feel better when we can use it for a good purpose. Study the dysfunctional attitude of the plant and apply the rod of discipline. Wack off the offending body part. Normal people call it pruning or trimming. Menopausal women call it amputation. We don’t take garden pruners to the garden…we take kitchen knives.

You’ll need to dress appropriately for the task. Wear nothing at all or your mate’s favorite exercise shorts. Dress loosely and most importantly…make it comfortable. Get a boat load of bobby pins and force your hair up and off your face. Carry a soft washcloth to wipe the constant bead of sweat off your lip. Drink lots of water. It helps to take some Ibuprofen before you start. Take a antihistamine. They do help menopause symptoms. No one knows why but they do work.

Don’t get overheated but take lots of breaks. Preplan and have a nice lawn chair close by so you can sit and sip a nice cool drink and admire you work.

Hot flashes in the garden are more bearable than having one while at the movies. So garden during this challenging time and put that sweat to good use.


Fine Wine weigela, Snow Storm spirea, Oso Easy Paprika, and Gertrude in unison

This is the spring shout out by ‘Fine Wine’ weigela, ‘Snow Storm’ spirea, Oso Easy™ ‘Paprika’, and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. I can’t believe my good fortune to have them all blooming at once. ‘Paprika’ is more manageable of the Oso Easy™ roses. I’ve had them all and they were aggressive growers taking over huge areas of the bed. I ended up giving them to a landscaping company and only kept ‘Paprika’. I love it….looks like orange sherbert with lemon drop centers. Look delicious.

 Oso Easy ‘Paprika’ is practically pest resistant. I use Safer™ 3 in 1 to help control mildew and aphids. This time of year in my zone 7a high humidity gardens the aphids run rampant and will attack the new growth. Safer™ takes care of pest and mildew as will Hot Pepper Wax and both do it organically.

I love the dark green leaves with the orange flowers. Hard to find a pretty orange and this is a grand one. This is spring 2011 with Flowergardengirl.

Just behind the Oso Easy™ ‘Paprika’ is another ornamental shrub by Proven Winners Plants and I had to move this ‘Snow Storm’ spirea 4 times before finding a spot it liked. Each time I moved it—it took a season before it recovered. This is its prettiest season yet. It is in a semi dry spot, with about 4 hours of direct sun a day. It blooms profusely for about 2 months. It didn’t like our hot drought summer of 2009 and was in a location too dry and too many hours of sun–the leaves burned up. Then it was in a spot too wet in the summer of 2008. Now it’s happy. Continue reading