Autumn Folklore

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Here are a few wise sayings referring to our upcoming season…

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Making It In The Shade

Monday, August 4th, 2014


I have a woods behind my home which I love to take walks through. The forest is a stark contrast from my own yard which is full of sun. I love my sunny yard with its colors and sounds, but something happens when you walk in the shade under a canopy of leaves held by the sturdy trunks and branches of Maple and Beech trees. The temperature drops and a sheltered stillness enters your heart as you feel the protection of nature. When the sun peeks through the foliage nature’s shade garden becomes vibrant with moss on fallen trees, ferns, and in spring Trillium, Blood Root, Jack in the Pulpits, and May Apples cover the forest floor.

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Memories Are The Last Thing To Go

Thursday, May 1st, 2014


I remember back when we were kids (ed. Really?) There were about 5 channels on the television and the only thing you wanted in life was for Lawrence Welk to NOT be on. My dad loved that show and since homes didn’t have a TV in every room we all had to watch what dad wanted to watch. That wish rarely worked out for us kids. Ole Mr. Welk seemed to be on at every waking moment. It was like the 60s version of The Kardashians, It was inescapable. Kids today don’t have a clue. To get away from the TV we went outside. We were outside hours upon hours every day, chasing lightning bugs, making snowmen, climbing trees, playing tag with work trucks, you know, the normal stuff of the time. We were rarely bored.

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What the ?!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Yeah, it has been wicked cold this winter. It seems everyone has that one memory of the coldest, nastiest storm they remember. Nancy and Becky always use “The big storm of ’78” as their benchmark. I don’t know how many times I have heard the story of how they spent two weeks digging the county out using the big front end loaders. The snow was up to the cab and the loaders ran for weeks on end. Nancy, my mom, was pregnant with me at the time and was out working away. There is no rest for the weary in this family.

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The Sound of Silence

Thursday, July 11th, 2013


I love to sit in on my patio surrounded by the garden I have crafted over the years. After a long day of work with the computer beeping, the phone ringing, and helping my clients and my team make it through the day, all I want to do is hear nothing. The best ‘nothing’ in my life comes from the sounds my garden makes. Sound isn’t often considered when we think about a garden. It takes a back seat to the more obvious sensations of sight and scent.

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Fall, Glorious Fall

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

fall-glorious-fall-02The changing of the guard is upon us. Summer is falling aside and we are heading into my favorite time of year- the one I look forward to all year long, Fall. I love how the bright autumn colors seem to glow in the sunlight while the crisp smell in the air and leaves crunching underfoot remind me of times past and awaken my senses. What comes to mind for you? Is it the smell of burning leaves or is it mums, pumpkins, crispy apples or warm apple cider on a chilly afternoon? The autumn sun just feels different, doesn’t it? Let’s not waste this precious time of year staying inside the house. We will be stuck there soon enough!

Right now, go outside, feel the sunshine, inhale deeply and smell the unique aroma of fall, then sit down and eat a fresh, crisp apple.

Passionate Living

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

passionate-living-01I am often asked “Where do you come up with your ideas?” My answer; I love to read. My husband, Roger, says I always have my nose in a book. At all times I have a pile of books and magazines within reach of where I am sitting. Volumes of hardcover landscaping and plant books are on the shelves in my office, on the coffee table, stacked on the floor, and stacked on the fireplace hearth. This doesn’t even begin to account for the many more magazines and books that I have accumulated in the closet ready to be examined again.

Thankfully, I am not the only one with this enthusiasm for plants and landscaping. Many of our growers know we are always searching for new and unusual plants. They even contact us when something interesting becomes available. We have great relationships with our growers. We take the time to visit their nurseries, sometimes spending days at one location. These passionate people open up their private botanical gardens for us to explore. We are like little kids looking at the collections of rare and exotic plants from around the world. Each one has a story. The owners know their histories and many of these plants have actually been created and given names on-site. These are known as “mother” plants from which all clones are produced. We have been fortunate enough to purchase some of the mother plants right out of the garden!

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Treasure Hunting

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Who wouldn’t want to go on a treasure hunting adventure looking for an elusive prize? Every spring we can always go looking for hidden treasures, In this case they are known as Morel mushrooms. I remember going out into the Woods at my Aunt Sophie’s house. My cousins and I, paper bags in hand, went on the hunt. Sometimes the neighbor Pete and my uncle would even tag along. As we walked I can still remember the smells of the woods. Fallen trees and old leaves were the carpet under our feet for these journeys. Then, a squeal of joy from the first one of us to find the prize. Somehow once someone saw the first one the rest would magically appear on the forest floor where just moments ago they were invisible. What fun we had walking through the forest, talking and cutting mushrooms on warm spring days. Occasionally we would even see a deer with her new fawn. After the hunt it was back home to clean and cook the mushrooms. They are absolutely awesome sautéed in butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper. There is a short window each spring to go on these hunts and to savor the flavor of these delicious fungi.

If you do not have a woods to go looking for these treasures, fear not. If you are fortunate enough to live near New Buffalo, Michigan there is always a guy with a truck parked at Red Arrow Highway and Highway 12. In season he will be there with gigantic morel mushrooms on the hood of his truck. Of course the flavor is the same, but being in the woods on a warm spring day can be the greater prize. The beauty of nature coming to life, birds singing, and the sun shining through the trees is what makes life satisfying.

My Time With Oprah

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

With the recent retirement of Oprah Winfrey after 25 incredible years, I got to reminiscing about my time with her as one of Smalls Landscaping’s Clients. As a lot of folks know that Oprah was a client of ours, I have been often asked:

What Was it Like to Work for Oprah?
She was great to work for! Very straight forward – pretty much what you saw on television. She was a great client for 16 years before she moved.

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