Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gardener of the Month

My choice for March's Gardener of the Month is Charles Gardner, and his wife Helene, though she is not a gardener. How can that be you say? Let me explain.

Okay, really, Charles is the Gardener of the Month due to his passion and enthusiasm for gardening, Helene has to be in here because of what she does with his flowers.

I have known Helene since last summer when we were introduced to each other through our respective garden clubs. I have visited Helene quite a few times discussing garden club business. Helene is a flower judge and quite a flower designer. She does not grow any of the flowers she arranges which is a little odd for an award winning flower designer (in my view). But! Helene doesn't have to grow her own flowers because she has a personal gardener. Not just any gardener either-her husband Charles is her gardener!

When I last visited Helene with the intent of discussing garden club business, Charles came into the kitchen to talk to me. I had briefly met Charles on my prior visits, but we never really talked. It seems he has read this blog and realized I REALLY like to garden (and to talk about it). Charles is quite the gardener and very passionate about it. He is so passionate he signed up the the mini master gardener classes that began this week. He LOVES to talk about gardening. After about 45 minutes of talking, while Helene patiently waited out our conversation (maybe tapping her foot a bit), I realized he was a really good gardener who not only knows his stuff, but LOVES gardening. I asked him if he found any errors on my blog. He said no, and I shyly told him I have made at least one. He didn't know what it was so I am not telling either! For all you experienced gardeners out there, it has something to do with Dirr and crepes.

Charles has personally planted 42 trees on their property in Savannah Lakes, handbuilt stone walls around some spectacular perennial beds, installed a complete backyard full of great looking fescue lawn (the front was sodded by the builder), mulched all of the beds, installed an irrigation system for their patio plants, has an herb, vegetable, and ornamental beds, and maintains all of his gardens on his own! Did I mention his age? No-I don't guess I will, but he is an older gentleman who still gets the job done in the job done in the garden.

Charles gardens attract ALL sorts of birds and butterflies. You may recall his wife Helene sent me some bird information, along with a lovely picture of a cedar waxwing. Having the wide range of flowers attracts these interesting birds and I can tell you from personally seeing the garden, it is beautiful! Colorful, neat, interesting and well put together.

Charles told me his neighbor asked him who maintains his gardens and does he have a gardener? Charles replied, "Helene has a gardener-me! I maintain all of the gardens!" His enthusiasm just was refreshing and I really enjoyed talking to Charles about gardening. I gave him a few suggestions for some shrubs for screening (silverberry or photina-no arborvitae), and he gave me a few suggestions about dogs and fences (dogs make paths around fences-destroy the garden!). We had a good time talking. And oh yeah, Helene and I did get the garden club business completed. Thanks Helene for being so patient!

I want to thank both of the Gardners for their time and it was my pleasure visiting their home and talking to each of them as they truly complement one another, he is the gardener, and she is the flower designer and flower judge. That is why they are my choice for March's Gardener of the Month.

in the garden....


  1. What a lovely couple and how nice they compliment each other --I think it's great that they both enjoy flowers so much. Great article and congratulations!

  2. hey anonymous! you working outside with the little man today? good day (at least for now!).

    helene and charles are great. she is French, and they actually met in France when he worked there many many years ago. i always love to hear of longtime married couples as that is a feat!

  3. dawn with peachesMarch 6, 2008 at 8:36 AM

    Wow, sounds like they (or he) has put some wonderful spots on their property, and to know where to plant 42 trees? They sound like great people.

  4. What a refreshing couple and post!

  5. A wonderful post on the Gardner’s indeed! With a name such as Gardner, it was meant to be. Kind of like my love of the Birds! LOL...

    Tina, I know you are highlighting the Gardner’s, but I was so hoping to see some garden pictures as I scroll down while reading. You be sure to post some pictures at another time for us to enjoy some of Mr. Gardner’s work and maybe a picture or two of Mrs. Gardner’s work as well…

  6. Tina,

    Sweet post...I always enjoy stopping by.


  7. dawn with peaches-yes 42 trees! that was like the first thing he did. smart guy. we all need trees!

    mom, you are going to have lots of folks to meet the next time you come. huh?!

    skeeter, you would love talking with helene. especially with your european background. she so loves the birds. i'll snap some pics some other time and post them. it is hard now, most gardens are sleeping.

    and yes, i love the name with the vocation!

  8. gail, we too enjoy you coming on over here too! i think everyone is getting to know you well!

  9. Sure will Tina. Poor you. I may have to stay a couple of months!

  10. Whoops....Forgot something. Dawn I have been meaning to ask you. Have you seen Olympia? I think you saw Angus when they broke that record did'nt you? They are trying (as I am sure you know) to go past that record. Good year for it up your way. Not here. We only have an inch of snow on the ground, maybe 2 at the most.

  11. I planted carrot, onion, radish, lettuce, parsley and cat nip seeds today. Hope they all come up. The garden continues to stand in water. I snapped a picture to show you how bad it is Tina. I planted the above in the raised flower planters I have so as to not interfere with the flowers once they start coming up.

    While cleaning out the planters in the garden I found a surprise. The purple Verbena is blooming! I have never had luck with it as it always seems to die on me before the summer is over. Not only did it survive last summer, it survived the winter also! I am excited about that….

    I had to take the Coral Bells out of the ground that you gave me Tina. It was too wet in the planter. When I took the thing out, the hole filled up with water! I am sure the Lily of the Valley I planted will rot…. Arggg….

    I had hands full of dirt and mud and turned on the hose to no water. A water main had broke up the street and they were working on it. I had to use my thinker and rinsed my hands and yard tools off in some of the clear standing puddles in the yard! I almost used the bird baths but opt out for the birds.Once in the house, we put ice cubes in a pot and heated it on the stove so I could wash the hands with soap! Was too funny. Ate dinner on paper plates and drank from plastic cups! Arggg, I hate eating from paper plates unless it is a picnic! The water is back on and the Saint is running around turning on all the faucets to get the air and muck out….

  12. dawn with peachesMarch 6, 2008 at 7:25 PM

    No, I haven't seen Olympia yet, Christy and her friend-Jay, saw her as she was dedicated that friday. Jack and I have been sick, actually, I was happy to take my dance girls today, Jack of all trades is making me nuts! Only so many times you can ask "are you going to make it". Anyhow, yes we went to see angus when nikki was just months old, 9 yrs ago. Olympia is 114 ft and 1 inch tall. We will go to take some pics. She will be there til June like angus, had to cord him off cause as he melted he tipped back. Both of them are world record breaking snowpeople, Nikki has postcards of angus she treasures. Olympia has skis for eyelashes, tractor tires for buttons, large evergreen trees for arms. She's cute-you musta seen her on the news? Tina, I'll send you a pic if you want. She maybe on gma soon!

  13. Handsome looking couple. I bet they have many happy days.

    Snow is falling all over. I was sent pics of snowing in Dallas, Tx. Pretty pics. even tho at night. They are to get about 5". We are to have temps around 33º here. Hope all that work doesn't go down the drain.

    Skeeter, you are too funny with dirt & mud all over & no water. Great thinking about pools of water in yard. See all that rain had a purpose. You could have thrown a blanket on floor & pretended you were having a pic nic. Without the ants of course.

    Tired, checked on older couple that lost their home to fire a week after I broke my leg little over a yr ago. They are in their 70's. They are fine.

    I wish all a comforting night of rest & a beautiful day tomorrow.

  14. Dawn you had not said you were sick also. Sorry and sorry about Jack. Men are such babies when they are sick. With David he is terrible but when it is something serious he is great! Go figure.

    Dawn, Yes I saw it on the news but also been reading about her in the paper during the building of her.

  15. mom, you are welcomed to stay as long as you want! plenty of room here. what is olympia?

    dawn with peaches, i hope you are feeling better soon.

    lola, hope you got some rest. glad your neighbors are fine and it is kind of you to check on them. thanks for the tip on salt for onion smell. i will try it the next time i cut onions.

    nina, we miss you. you know we all notice even one day missed. everything ok?

  16. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 7:46 AM

    Tina, Olympia is a snowwoman, the neighboring town built her to break the world record. Local contractors used a crane and snow from the airport. She is about as wide as a hannaford store (easy, easy to look skinny pictured next to that ton) and 114'' tall.

  17. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 7:57 AM

    Oh, I forgot, Olympia is named after our state senator, Olympia Snow. (no pun intended) Ha!
    Angus was our independent governor at the time he was built. Augus King.

  18. Dawn the paper says Olympia is 122 feet tall which is about 30 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty (without the base). Tina I will email you the stats. Pretty impressive stats.

    Olympia (the human one) joked that "It is just my luck I'd have a world record-breaking monument named after me and it will be gone by summer" But I say her day will come as she is a big time senator and has been for years. Maine has had a good run on senators. First there was Margaret Chase Smith, then George Mittchell and now Olympia Snow. Smith is now deceased but Mitchell and Snow are always on the news, national as well as local.

  19. Olympia and Angus sound like a fun way to deal with so much snow!

    Now Lola, you know those ants would find their way to a picnic! LOL...

    Wow, snow in Dallas Texas!

    Sorry so many have been sick lately. Guess that goes with the season. Spring gets many also so look out as spring is on the way...

  20. Skeeter you are right about spring and sickness. Years ago in a medical course I took we were told more ederly die in the spring and fall verses summer summer and winter.

    By the way Dawn I been meaning to ask you. Did you see where no more babies at Parkview? Last one was born over a week ago. Have to go to Mid Coast now. Good thing you are all done having babies. Tina did you realize your sister had both kiddos at Parkview? She refused to change her doctor so drove 2 hours to the hospital to give birth. I worried myself sick that she'd have Zac in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Worried for nothing. Fat chance of that having happened.

  21. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 2:13 PM

    No, I knew about the doctors contract dispute, thats too bad.

  22. i can't even imagine a 122 foot tall snowwoman. my previous air traffic control tower was 98 feet tall, and that was PRETTY tall, let me tell you-seven stories up! a snowwoman?!!

    yes mom, i think i knew where dawn with peaches had her kids.

  23. Well you were not here when they were born so did'nt know if we ever mentioned she came here to have them. Most people have use doctors and hspitals near their home. But it sure made it easy for me.

  24. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 8:30 PM

    I LOVED my baby doctor and so did Jack of all trades. When you find a good one its hard to replace 'em. He so wished we would have a girl he send me a rose, the nurses told me I was lucky. He has 2 boys and his wife was a traveling rn. Bawled when he retired to Florida. Oh well.

  25. mom and dawn with peaches, baby doctors can be important. in the Army we never know who we will end up with. did you know the guy who delivered the jimster had the same last name as my maiden name? please don't say it on here but isn't that neat? he passed away a few years later. it was tragic in a small community. he was young. i think it was cancer.

    dawn with peaches, your doctor is living a good and well deserved life in florida. probably close to lola somewhere gardening up a storm!

  26. How well I know what you are saying Tina about the military doctors. I was lucky to have you in my hometown as your father did not go back in the army till 14 hours before you were born so was still at home and he had to leave while I was still in the hospital and we joined him in Ga 6 weeks later. He was in Nam when Joanne was was born so I was again in my hometown with no military hospital. When Terri-Lynn was born he was on recuriting with no mlitary hospital. But OMG Dawn with Peaches was born in Martian Army Hospital at Ft. Benning. Worst experience I ever had. But on the other side of the coin I can't say enough good about the military doctors. However I was lucky or unlucky (however you look at it) in that with Terri-Lynn's heart problem I had the same doctor all the time and it carried on with the whole family. And they were as great as it gets. Since things ended well I consider it lucky now.

  27. I blame a hysterectomy on a bad Military doctor! If he had diagnosed me with a growing tumor, then it could have been removed without the surgery. But it took me going to a Dr in TN on a vacation visit from Germany to be properly diagnosed. The tumor was the size of a grapefruit by then and nothing but a hysterectomy to remove the huge thing.... No kids for me and nothing I could do as you cannot get any compensation from the Government…. Of course the only compensation I would want would have been for this doctor to never treat another patient ever again! Arggggg….

  28. Terrible Skeeter and am so sorry to hear it.

    When I had Dawn with peaches I don't even remember seeing a doctor when i gave birth but there were 2 RN's that should have never been there. One of em tried to give me a spinal and could not get it right. She stuck that long needle in me about 8 times and I have thanked God many many times that I was not paralized from it all. Then I asked for a bed pan and not just to pee and the nurse told me it was just the labor. Well I had already had Tina so knew the I filled the bed up and the damn nurse had to clean it. Wish I felt like wipping her face in it.
    Then when Dawn was 4 hours old the nures took me to the bathroom and told me to use it and wash up and left me!! Now this was back when you were put out to have a baby. When she came back and got me she took me to bed and put my head on a couple of pillows. Well, little did I know with a spinal you are susposed to lay flat for 24 hours.
    I got a terrible headache and suffered with migraines for years after that...Never had had even a headache in my life. I blame them. It was no where near what you had to endure but I swore if I was sent to an army doctor to have a baby again I would NEVER go.

    On the other side of the coin I had a non military doctor who told me Terri-Lynn was an A1 healthy baby. The day she was 6 months old I took her to a navy doctor. And got a doctor that I had never had before and was scared to death as everyone said he was a mean person. So I told him I was sorry and probably did'nt need to come but the baby has had a dry hacky cough since she was born. He quickly listened to her heart and all hell broke loose while everyone was tending to her. They close a 4:30 back then and about 3 doctors stayed with me and kept checking her till 7:30 and then they sent me to Boston. Ended up she did have a small problem with her heart that could have turned into something bad. I had to take her to Boston every 6 months after that till she was about 10 and then once a year. She did not get a clean bill of health till she was like 15 and I could not have her on my family life insurance till then. When she was 4 and in Head Start they wanted to take the kids all to a doctor and I just about fainted when I heard the doctors name. Yup the one that she she was A1 healthy! They saw me turning white and asked if I had a problem. I told my story and it was finally agreed on that she could go but I had to be with her. He said the same thing. So I lost it on him. Then he said well I did sorta hear this and that. I just left!! I am not the kinda person that hates anyone but I still hate him.

    Long and windy as usual when I get into these stories of mine. And I actually left some minor parts out!!!!

  29. That is such a horrilbe experience for a mother to have to endure...

    Here is another one for you Jean…
    The Saint does not trust military doctors at all. He went in with a foot injury and the doctors took X-rays and said he was fine and to go home. Later they called to tell him they had made a mistake and got his X-Rays confused with a 10 year old kid and that the Saints toe was broke and for him to come back. Saint said no way I am going back there. They could not tell the difference between a 25 year old and a 10 year olds foot, they were not messing with his foot any further! The toe and foot healed on its own. Just hope that lack of going back will not come back to haunt the Saint some day with it flaring up as it did on our friend with a similar unattended injury... argggg…

    You know what the doctor said to me with my symptoms of stomach bloating, hard feeling of something inside me that did not belong, weight gain, cramps, etc??? I am getting old and these things will happen to me! I am not lying, that is what he said to me! I about died right there in the office. I was 33 years old at the time! I was smart enough to know something was wrong so the next time I flew home for vacation I set up an appointment with another doctor…I just don’t know how these type people can live with themselves…

  30. dawn with peachesMarch 8, 2008 at 10:04 PM

    I was going to say....military doctors are getting rank for the time and not the effort, Skeeter case.....there was a complete difference, the doctor should of caught that during a pelvic exam. Hard to miss.

  31. Dawn the rank-effort-time may have something to do with a few military doctors but I believe most of them are great doctors. As was shown in the case of Terri-Lynn it was the civilian doctor that was wrong. It was also the military doctors that dealt with your kidneys and I have no complaints there. But like with everything there are always rotten apples. Also when the Jimster was sick when in Germany they flew him and Mr. Fix It to Walter Reed in DC. I drove down and they put us up in a place they have for the family. I just think the maternity ward is the worst and I think that has to do with so many kids having kids and all that goes on with sex drugs, ect near a base. And I also think that has all changed for the better.

  32. I personally only dealt with OBGYN's in the military world. I had no complaints with any of them except the one that misdiagnosed me. I hated getting an appointment from year to year to find a new doctor has replaced last years one that I liked. That was my main complaint... They did not seem to stay around long enough for you to establish a history… going to a new OBGYN was always so darn scary to this once shy gal…

  33. I think it depends on the individual person & what they think of themselves. My complaint was they brought me the wrong baby when Young'un was born. A mistake that is NOT supposed to happen. I didn't like the idea of not having the same dr every time. Scary was not the word. Makes it worse when you are young & inexperienced.

    So sorry Skeeter about what happened to you. All uncalled for. Just like the dr that diagnosed me as expired. That's a story among others--mostly civilian.

    Sounds as though you had a horrible time of it Jean. Thank goodness all turned out well. Maybe that's why I had bad headaches for yrs.

  34. Wrong baby! Oh my gosh, I would have thrown a super Hissy fit!

  35. I did, Skeeter & then some.