Jenny Crain – Update

Jenny is a world-class marathoner who remains in critical condition after being struck by a car. You can find daily updates on her condition, and leave her family messages of support, at a protected blog set up within the CarePages community.

A fund to help pay medical expenses has also been set up, and all details are listed at CarePages blog. If you need a snailmail address where you can send personal cards of support and encouragement, that information is posted on the CarePages Blog too.

To protect Jenny and her family, CarePages blog pages require that visitors to the site create a unique username and password before they can access Jenny’s page. To do this, go to:

and follow the instructions listed on the right-hand side of the page titled “Getting Started.” After you have registered, the name of the CarePage you wish to visit is:


Even if you don’t know Jenny personally, I’m sure her family will appreciate your messages of support and prayers.

Pass the Ketchup, Please

“Be careful when you meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.” – The Drogon Queen

I had a little phone conversation last Friday with a bully from [company name carefully withheld] who felt certain, having never met me, that he could run roughshod over lil’ ol me and ‘splain to the little woman how the world really works.


Michael, who was in the room, gave a running stream of advice to said bully while listening to my end of the conversation.

Michael: “Uh, buddy, you don’t want to do that. Really. You don’t. Nope – nope – don’t say that, don’t go there, oh, you don’t want to… no, really, you’re making a huge mistake, my wife doesn’t put up with bullying… no, stop, I’m warning you, I can’t believe you’re not listening, STOP, OH – oops. Too late. She just had you for breakfast.”

Me: *burp*

Didn’t even give me heartburn, that one.

Garden Walk – Final Day

On to the rest of the flowers!

Purple Bee Balm

I’ve grown purple Bee Balm for years. When it flowers, the patch becomes the bumble bee equivalent of O’Hare airport, packed with the activity of the incoming and outgoing little fuzzy bees from dawn to dusk. Sadly, we rarely see honeybees, as they have become scarcer and scarcer nationwide.

Dandelion Seed Head

Although dandelions are considered the scourage of suburban lawns, I find their delicate seed heads amazingly beautiful. When we had pet guinea pigs, they happily consumed as many dandelion leaves and flowers as they could get. I’ve noticed that the bunnies seek out and enjoy munching on dandelions, too.

Yellow Loosestrife

The names of garden plants are often confusing, which led me years ago to start memorizing the Latin names of my plants so I could keep them straight. This Yellow Loosestrife, for example, is completely unrelated to the invasive purple loosestrife that has wreaked havoc on many of our native wetlands. There is, however, another plant that is also named yellow loosestrife (botanical name Lysimachia vulgaris) which is also quite invasive. It looks incredibly similar to this plant, which is a “Lysimachia punctata.” Clear as mud? I thought so. Although the Lysimachia punctata version of yellow loosestrife that I grow is quite pretty, it still isn’t a plant I recommend as it requires careful monitoring to not turn into a plant thug that muscles its way over nearby plants.


This is the first year that my clematis has been larger than a twig. I’ve had it in three previous locations in the yard, and it survived but hardly bloomed and had very short vines. Last autumn we finally moved it to a spot that it apparently finds quite satisfactory, and it has put on a very respectible display of blossoms. This particular clematis is also a real survivor, as it has been chomped down to the ground several times over the years by…

Shy bunny

yes, you guessed it: a bunny!

Whew – that’s the tour! Next year I’ll have all sorts of hostas to enjoy too, as I finally found an organic grower in Michigan that ships her plants nationwide – hurrah! One of the hostas is called “Sum and Substance,” and has huge leaves that make the plant look like something out of the tropics. I’m sure the bunnies will approve, as it’ll provide even more hiding spots for them and… maybe.. just maybe… it might be.. tasty!!

A bunny can always hope.

Request for Prayers – Jenny Crain

Some of you who know us are aware that Michael’s sister, Tere, in addition to being our very beloved “little” sister, is a world-class long-distance runner.

One of Tere’s friends and fellow competitors, Jenny Crain, is in critical condition after being struck by a car while she was running this week. Jenny has injuries to her brain, vertebrae, carotid artery and jaw. Her family says that Jenny’s brain is swollen and doctors can’t get a full assessment until the swelling subsides, but she does not appear to have spinal cord damage.

Please, keep Jenny and her family in your prayers.

Garden Walk – Day 5

Before we amble about today and look at more flowers, I want to thank all the people who have helped make my gardens possible. Knowing how to garden is one thing; being able to carry out the physical tasks inherent in gardening is something entirely different.

Over the years, many people have generously taken on the tasks that my physical limitations prevent me from tackling – digging holes, ripping up or putting in fencing, pulling weed patches, planting shrubs and plants and bulbs, mowing, trimming, creating raised beds and all those ordinary tasks that one doesn’t even think about until they are beyond one’s limited physical capabilities.

So, to Michael, Mary, Pat, Andy, Tina, Holly, Chuck, Mom and Dad S. and Dan: Thank You! Without your willing hands, sturdy backs and strong legs none of this would exist!


I have a love/hate relationship with Nannyberry bushes. Ordinarily, a Nannyberry is lovely, with thick glossy leaves and these unusual white berries that the wildlife love. We have three Nannyberry bushes, and two of them happly coexist with our climate without a single complaint. The third, however, turns into a living example of powdery mildew run amok by the end of every summer. I had thought to remove that one this year, but it’s received a stay of execution as it has been perfectly mildew free so far – for the first time in seven years. One can hope…

Pink Zinnia

This Pink Zinnia and

White Candy Cane Zinnia

this white Candy Cane Zinna are more examples of just how gorgeous these ‘common’ flowers are – and have I mentioned recently just how much I love Zinnias?

Sea Lavendars

I’ve grown delicate Sea Lavendars for years, and am always surprised by the plumes of tiny flowers these sturdy plants send out. Each plume is made up of hundreds of little flowers like these, with each individual flower no more than a quarter of an inch in size.

Purple Coneflowers

The Purple Coneflowers are almost done blooming for the year. The goldfinches will start to pick apart the seedheads soon. Many birds will happily pluck seeds from them all winter long, if you leave the plants alone instead of cutting them back to the ground in the fall.


For the last several evenings this cricket has been chirping away in our garage. I saw him tonight hopping along the top of some lumber, and with the help of an empty yogurt container managed to transport him out to the garden, where he can join the cricket and little gray tree frog chorus that has been singing for several weeks. One of my favorite books is The Cricket in Times Square – if you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. The text, accompanied by Garth Williams’ memorable drawings, is truly delightful.

White French Vanilla Marigold

I love marigolds, but can only grow the pollenless White Marigolds, as other varieties can trigger asthma attacks. These remind me of carnations, and in the right conditions are just as large!

There’s still a little more for tomorrow…