Finally Getting the Hang of Gardening (After All These Years!)


This is the first year I can actually say that my garden was under control. Weeding, check. Watering, check. Harvesting, check. Uprooting, check.

Normally, I have to admit, the garden controls us. More weeds than wanted. Zucchini too large for a giant to eat. Plants past their prime still in residence. But this year things have changed. The garden looks great! So what was the big secret to a well kept, beautiful garden? I got my lazy self into a daily gardening rountine, that’s what.

Instead of checking on the garden when the thought came to mind, I made it a daily task. In this way, I could tackle a few weeds daily, in mere seconds, instead of a load of weeds that would take forever. I knew how my produce was coming along and when to expect being able to pick them. Instead of letting my plants, that were past prime, hang around rent free, I evicted them. All of this daily upkeep was far less work than checking on things less frequently. It also led to far less waste in the garden.

So, gardening really takes commitment and dedication. Sure, anyone can plant a garden, but the upkeep is the secret to the garden and the gardeners success.

As always, Happy Gardening!


Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden – Balboa Park


While visiting Balboa Park in San Diego, CA, do not forget to cross the foot bridge to The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. The foot bridge allows one to cross over Park Blvd and is located between the Natural History Museum and the nearby fountain. The rose garden is in bloom from March through December. April and May will find the garden in peak season. There are more than 130 varieties to entice rose lovers. This is a great garden to stroll and enjoy the many varieties of roses. Benches and a covered structure for shade also make this garden enjoyable for a leisurely outing. Be sure to bring a camera as the flowers make for beautiful pictures and a splendid backdrop to family portraits as well. The garden has won many awards over the years and is a lovely place to visit while at Balboa Park.

Covered structure

Grocery Shopping in the Garden


It is summer and the vegetables are thriving in the garden. Vines thick with green beans, heads of crisp lettuce, carrots popping through the soil, and tomatoes of all sizes can be found in our modest backyard garden. Now the fun begins.

I’m finding it quite enjoyable not having to add vegetables to my cart at the grocery store this summer. Oh, a few make it in, but for the most part, I am trying to shop in my own garden for the vegetables I need this summer. Not only are they fresher, but they are cutting down the shopping bill a bit as well. Not to mention the fact at how enjoyable it is to pick the vegetables right before they are prepared in the kitchen.

My routine, as of late, has been to snatch a bowl from the kitchen, kick off my slippers, slip into my garden clogs, and grab my floppy hat as I head out back to my own little store. Along the way taking in the fresh air and greeting the birds at the feeders. Once there, I fill my bowl from the lovely produce isles envisioning what I will turn them into tonight.

The key to cooking from garden produce is variety. I think one can easily get sick of having green beans the same way throughout the summer. Preparing them slightly differently can reduce the boredom. No home cook wants to hear, “Are we having tomatoes again!”. It is really about presentation and creativity. Last night, for instance, I turned the ever abundance of tomatoes into a fresh tomatoe tart in a rustic crust. Along with that a side salad with a homemade dressing. Fresh yet inviting. Did you know that zucchini can actually taste like apples when baked as a cobbler? Delicious and with less carbs to boot. Zucchini also makes a wonderfully moist chocolate cake. A sneaky way to add vegetables to your diet. Clever!

Tonight I will head out and pull up enough carrots to fill my French-style chicken pot pie. No worries about finding a parking spot or finding the shortest checkout line. I do not even need to bring my wallet, just a bowl.

The Beautiful Rotary Botanical Gardens


The Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful gardens I have visited. Full of interesting plants, colorful flowers, and fun sculptures, it is well worth the trip. Let me give you a tour…

kaleidoscope to view flowers – so cool!

The Rotary Botanical Gardens is developed into 26 garden spaces on over 20 acres of land. Some of my favorite garden spaces are the French Formal Rose Garden, the Sunken Garden, the Shade Garden, and the Japanese Garden. I also was delighted by the interactive kaleidoscope sculpture that allows you to look at flower petals through a kaleidoscope.

A view of the Japanese Garden

I went in the summer, however, the Gardens would be wonderful to see in other seasons as well. The plants are changed out for different seasons so there is always something new to see. Along with different seasons come different hours of operation. Be sure to check the hours and days they are open before making your trip.

The Gardens are a photographer’s dream. Tons of beautiful flowers, interesting backdrops, sculptures, and insects make it well worth the trip. Charge your batteries before going and be sure to allow time to take in the gardens. There are plenty of benches throughout the garden to sit and enjoy nature or to take a break.

The admission to The Rotary Botanical Gardens is reasonable and they have events and classes throughout the year , so be sure to check-out their calendar. One can also have meetings or weddings held at the Gardens. How nice that would be! On the way out, do not forget to stop in the gift shop. A nice selection of garden merchandise is available for purchase.

So, if you like gardens and find yourself in Wisconsin, be sure to stop by Janesville and enjoy an afternoon at the Rotary Botanical Gardens. You can bring a lunch and have an enjoyable meal on their terrace. Remember to stop and smell the roses.