I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Fancy Tulips

These tulips have been worth every extra penny spent. More are blooming in the back bed that I have yet to take a photo of - they are hot pink with lime green stripes!


I've planted a lot, lot, lot in the last year. A LOT.

However there are a few plants that I am really excited to see mature and come into their own. I am fine patiently waiting a few years for them to become remarkable (let's hope we don't move any time soon!) but I will be eyeing them year after year waiting to see them in their full glory.

Westerland Rose

South Seas Daylily

Pinky Winky Hydrangea

Vitex/Chasteberry Tree

Korean Feather Grass

What are you most excited about to see mature and bloom?

Spring Blooms

What We've Planted In One Year

The sad truth about gardening is that it takes loads of time and thousands of dollars to make your garden look like much of anything. The structural components alone are usually very expensive and difficult to get in place. We've had both the benefit and nightmare of only ever buying brand new houses which means every single time the landscaping (well, everything) is basic and needs fluffing up. In our first year in our newest home we have planted (listing perennial/trees/shrubs ONLY):

2 10 ft. cryptomeria
1 8 ft. Japanese maple
1 8 ft. crape myrtle (Natchez)
1 6 ft. skip laurel
1 10 ft. Nellie Stevens Holly
1 Nishiki willow
1 eleagnus
1 Endless Summer Hydrangea Original
5 Lo and Behold Blue Chip Buddleia
3 evergreen azaleas
12 double apricot hollyhocks
2 mini yellow roses
4 Oso Easy Honey Bun Roses
5 David Phlox
2 Rudbekia
2 Autumn Joy Sedums
1 Hyssop
1 dwarf fountain grass
10 catmint
2 lamb's ears
3 creeping phlox
4 nandina
1 Tamora rose
1 goldflame honeysuckle
5 heuchera
5 columbine
2 Christopher Marlowe roses
2 Westerland roses
3 spiderworts
3 lavenders
1 Janet rose
6 South Seas daylily
gladiolus bulbs
3 blueberry bushes
5 dwarf apple trees
1 Fairy rose
2 Cityline Rio hydrangeas
3 My Monet weigela
2 Anthony Waterer spirea
2 Pinky Winky hydrangeas
6 various varieties Echinacea Coneflowers
2 Vitex/Chaste trees
1 bloomerang lilac
1 Korean Spice Viburnum
2 Endless Summer Blushing Bride hydrangeas
1 Annabelle hydrangea
1 Chinese Fairy Bells
1 Hellebore
5 Astible
4 hostas
2 clematis
1 Carolina Jessamine
2 winter jasmine
blue oat grass
korean feather grass
3 Fireworks fountain grass
600 spring blooming bulbs

We've also spread 15 cubic yards of compost, a lot of mulch, built 4 raised beds for veggies, ripped out a lot of sod to make new beds. No wonder my husband groaned when I told him even more plants were arriving and I need him to help me rip out just a bit more sod tomorrow. But I think we are just about done getting the "bones" in place! The last major project will happen this fall or next spring and will be putting in two large tree islands in our front yard. One island on our corner will have 1 large maple sided by 2 service berries and fronted with red twig dogwood. The other bed will have 2 Siren Crape Myrtles and one Serviceberry.

*Trying to figure out the time, money and energy I've spent on annuals in the last year, just to make things a little prettier while all the immature "bones" settle in would probably make me cry so I'm not going to go there. Let's just say there has been an awful lot of geraniums, petunia, begonias, coleus, zinnias, sunflowers, morning glories, verbena and who knows what else purchased and planted during last spring and summer and I'm sure come May I'll be heading out and loading up my car with more of the same. Oh, I should also mention the attention all those seeds I start every year require - I've a lot of pots under lights in the basement this year, the one flower I am most excited to try is Cerinthe, so lets hope it makes it through hardening off and puts on a good show!


Health Alternative to Buffalo Wings

I love buffalo wings but they aren't the most healthful food. Here is an alternative:

1 avocado diced
1 Tbs. low fat sour cream
1 Tbs. Frank's Hot Sauce
1 tsp. blue cheese crumbles

Whisk the sour cream and hot sauce together and drizzle over the avocado. Sprinkle blue cheese on top. Yum!

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