Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mystery writing involving herbs

I love reading mysteries, and found a fun series combining mystery and garden lore. Yes, Susan Wittig Albert’s cozy mysteries about China Bayles, owner of an herb store in Pecan Grove, Texas.
I bought two of the books, and learned that there are now 16 in this series, and that the author is on a book blog tour, where you can visit and leave a comment, and have a chance to win a copy of her newest book Nightshade.
The calendar for the blogs to visit is at and the tour runs till April 11, 2008.
Do you enjoy growing herbs? I have lots of them, basil, chocolate mint, dill, culinary sage, chamomile, orange mint, lemon verbena, fever few, cilantro, peppermint, rosemary, apple mint, and more. Technically some of these are not herbs, but you know what I mean, I hope.
What are your favorite herbs to grow and use?

Monday, March 24, 2008

National Wildlife Federation backyards for wildlife

Turn your backyard into a haven for wildlife

Do any of you readers have a backyard garden certified as a habitat by the National Wildlife Federation? I have been a NWF member for decades, and membership includes their great full color magazine.
The backyard habitat certication intrigues me; they have 70,000 yards signed up already. For only $15 they allow you to apply for certification, and will send you a certificate, a one year subscription to their magazine and your name/garden will be listed in their National Registry.
They also offer a yard sign you can proudly display, to get your neighbors excited too.
All info is at or call 1 800 822-9919

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Lily

Easter Lily
Originally uploaded by Gary Simmons
Easter Sunday. What a joy.
In the front of my church during Easter services is an Easter lily, dedicated to the memory of four people my husband and I love. A big role for one lovely white plant to play.
Last Sunday we sang in church “How can it be, my king died for me?”.
That is humbling and strengthening, all at the same moment.
Charles H. Spurgeon wrote “O people of God, be great believers. Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sensitive plants

sensitive plant
Originally uploaded by wockerjabby
On March 17 on the Coast to Coast radio show, I heard Dr. Gerald Epling, a scientist, talk about his fascinating work with plants. He says that his experiments show that a plant can respond to something happening to another plant.

Also, a plant can respond to a human approaching the plant.
One caller said that a tree branch tapped her on the shoulder ; it is an interesting topic. I stayed up too late listening to this and didn't get all the details.

Dr. Epling calls his field biocommunication.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Benediction of Saint Patrick

For a rollicking good time within the pages of a book, I recommend the novel "Ireland" by Frank Delaney.

The narrator changes but the main character is named The Storyteller; he is the last in the grand Irish tradition of itinerant story tellers who travel in farm land and small towns and earn a meal by telling thrilling stories from Ireland's past.

Yes, the story of Saint Patrick is here, and King Conor of Ulster, Brendan the Navigator, Brian Boru, Finn MacCool, Norman raiders, a devil in a cave, monks and kings.

Interwoven with these tales is the unfolding story of a nine year old boy who meets the Storyteller, and who searches for this mysterious and hard to find man, in modern day Ireland.

The book is so enthralling that now I want to buy the audio cd version read by the author, who I am told is an accomplished performer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Day 191: Dandelions
Originally uploaded by amanky
Here is a fun photo for dandelion lovers everywhere; and especially for Jodi, who commented that she is eagerly awaiting her first dandy lions of the season.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Roses and Dandelions

Roses in the sky
Originally uploaded by Glockenblume
Are you thinking about roses today?
Rev. Samuel Reynolds Hole was a really dedicated preacher and rose enthusiast, who grew 5,000 roses in England, in Victorian times, and preached in 500 churches in his lifetime.

The man had a poetic vision for gardening, and wrote, in 1899 “What is a garden for? For the soul, sir, for the soul of the poet!”.

Our gardens do stir our souls and lift our spirits; even the lowly dandelion can cause me to admire its sun yellow color, and we all have adored picking dandelions when they ceased blooming and have the round white fluffy seed puffs we can blow into the breeze.

Once, while walking to elementary school, I dawdled to pick a fabulous dandelion bouquet for my much loved teacher. I arrived late, and was marked tardy by her. When I explained why I was late, the tardy mark was erased. Never underestimate the power of a flower gift.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008, Interesting Book and Warm Lapdog

Calling all book lovers! For suggestions on books that may be ideal for you, consider a visit to a fun website at

You don’t need to sign up or log in, just click on “search.”
Type in a title, author, key words (like Cotswalds or chick lit), or genre, and it shows books in a similar vein, in a seemingly endless chain of recommendations.

The brilliant basis of this website is that anyone who owns books can sign up and list the books that they own, and then when you search you will be led to other books owned by folks who share the same interests.

I enjoy reading Jan Karon, typed in her name, and was led to Miss Read who wrote Thrush Green, and a long series of novels. It turns out Jan Karon admires Miss Read. So I had to buy Thrush Green, which is a lovely escapist read.

If you have a favorite character, type in his or her name and you will find other possible authors to explore. I read the Martha Grimes novels featuring Richard Jury and my favorite fictional nobleman, Melrose Plant. Search by Grimes or her characters and you will find more mysteries to pique your attention. Using librarything I also found some delightful humorous Christian novels, including the Dearest Dorothy books. Give it a try and tell me via a comment here where your reading adventure leads.

Photo by Mtsofan of Creative Commons

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hungry cat or Rose gourmet?

Originally uploaded by Rickydavid
I found this photo at Creative Commons and it combines two of my favorite things: roses and cats.
The cat looks quite a bit like my cat Big Boy.
I hope you enjoy the photo.

Butterfly Mud Bath

Originally uploaded by Rickydavid
Mud Bath for Butterflies
Did you know that butterflies can’t get all the minerals and salt they need from drinking flower nectar?
They visit muddy areas and find the salt and mineral in the mud and water. I recently learned this, and using an old saucer put garden dirt and water in the saucer, added a sprinkle of table salt and a bit of garden manure to create a spa for butterflies.

You can buy a large shallow plastic or glazed ceramic saucer at any plant store for a dollar or two, add the key ingredients and butterflies will be attracted. I put my mud bath on a table in the sun where pets won’t bother the butterflies.
For flowers to plant for butterflies my March column “Flowers for Butterflies” can be read at