The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Carillon, Learning About Said

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door + gate photos– and a bit of information about carillons.

I took these photos at Dogwood Park in Mariemont, OH. It is a village east of Cincinnati, OH, and is one of the nation’s first planned suburban communities. The park is charming and within it is the Mariemont Bell Tower, a carillon with 49 bells.    

Carillons are musical instruments that contain at least 23 cup-shaped tuned bells. Often, as is in the case of this particular carillon, the bells are hung in a belfry and are connected to a keyboard. When a musician hits the keyboard, using his or her fists, each bell rings, creating a pleasing loud sound.

There are only 166 traditional carillons in the United States, and many of them are on university campuses or in city parks, like this one.

Here’s what I saw in Dogwood Park on a sunny summer afternoon. The whole place looked like it belonged on a Hollywood movie set– that’s how perfectly maintained it was.

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GATED DOORWAY into Mariemont Bell Tower.

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Looking up at Mariemont Bell Tower while standing in front of it.

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DOOR to restroom within Mariemont Bell Tower.

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Side of Mariemont Bell Tower as seen through trees.

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GATE [open] to the park that surrounds Mariemont Bell Tower.

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As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

Plodding Like A Turtle, Staycating Like A Bean

Turtle, name unknown, taking an afternoon constitutional around the terrace.

• • •

I SAW THIS TURTLE FRIEND WALKING along the top of the stone wall that forms one side of our lower terrace.  

I was up on the deck and looked down on him, so I leisurely went inside the house to get my camera.

One fact about turtles, they cannot outrun me.

I went down the deck steps to get to his level, then snapped a few photos of him.  He made no attempt to hide from me, proving that I am the most benign creature on earth.

Can’t even scare a turtle.

Me.

• • •

WE’LL BE ON STAYCATION NEXT WEEK, so instead of dithering away here I’ll be busy doing the Memorial Day things [plus a bit more] in the real world.

But most importantly, my gentle readers, what will you be doing while I’m not here? Hmmm?  This is what concerns me.

Thus might I suggest that you take this survey about blogging? Don’t let the word “older” stop you. It’s for anyone who keeps a blog.

So, you know, that would be you.

Right?

• • •

Let Us Talk Lettuce: Roaming For Romaine

Walking into the grocery store, my list in hand, looking for first item on my list, green leaf lettuce.

Am about to grab some green leaf lettuce when I’m approached by young woman, early 20s, cute in a confused but earnest way, who asks me if she can ask me a question.

And so the conversation began…

~ 🥗 ~ 💚 ~ 🥗 ~

HER: I’m supposed to buy my dad some romaine lettuce.

{pause}

ME: Yes…

{pause}

HER: I don’t understand where the romaine lettuce is…

ME: It’s down the way to our–

HER: This isn’t romaine lettuce, is it?

[She has a plastic bag filled with something green and leafy.  She puts the plastic bag directly in front of my face, about 6″ in front of my eyes… because I’m old, I guess, and she wants to make sure that I can see what is in the bag.]

ME: No, that’s Napa cabbage.  It’s not romaine lettuce.

HER: This is CABBAGE?  In the lettuce department?

ME: Yes, it’s leafy and looks sort of like romaine lettuce, but it’s cabbage… and won’t work if you’re looking for lettuce.

{pause}

HER: What does it taste like?

ME: Cabbage.

{pause}

HER: Is that lettuce?  It’s red.

ME: Yes, that’s red leaf lettuce.  It’s lettuce… as is the green leaf lettuce beside it that I’m going to buy.

HER: Lettuce can be RED?

ME: Yes.

{pause}

HER: I don’t understand lettuce.  How do you know which one is which?

ME: There are little tags on the shelves below each kind of lettuce that tell you what it is.

[She takes the opportunity to turn her head sideways and notice the little tags, reading a few of them.]

HER: Huh. That’s helpful.

ME: Yes it is.  Now if you go down the way to our right–

HER: LOOK AT THAT! The tag says Napa cabbage.  That’s what I picked up.

ME: Uh huh.  Down the way, to our right, there are bags of–

HER: What am I going to do with this Napa cabbage that I don’t want?

ME: Put it back. On the shelf. With all the other Napa cabbages.

{pause}

HER: I can do that?

ME: Yes, and down the way, to our right, there are bags of romaine lettuce that have three–

HER: THREE!!! Yes, that’s what my dad said.  Bags of three. Where are they?

ME: Down the way. To our right, where the big sign talks about–

HER: Yes, yes.  I see it.  How did I miss it?  Thanks.

[She scampers off to buy a bag of romaine lettuce, leaving me to finish my sentence, unheard and definitely unheeded.]

ME: — where the big sign talks about the current dangers surrounding consumption of romaine lettuce.

~ The End ~

#MAYkingItWork: If You’re Not Having Fun, Then Why Are You Doing It?

Pansy, from the French word Pensie, means Thought or Remembrance.

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Having fun? 

Thinking about my personal blog…

Wondering how it fits into my life. At this point.

Not daily, but at least weekly.

Ideas expressed. Information shared. Observations noted.

Adding value is fun.

Never mocking or mean.

Photos and images to add a cheerful vibe. Pretty.

Quirkiness a given.

Lest there be no fun. 

No ruts, please. Keep it varied. Can you say eclectic?

Do it or delete it. Do it or delete it. Do it or delete it.

[The academic ‘publish or perish’ concept adapted to the personal blogosphere.]

Kindred spirits are fun.

Looking for people who are curious and thought-filled. Creative. Sincere.

Well-developed sense of humor a plus.

No one self-absorbed &/or uptight need apply.

No fun there.

Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.

Welcome. Nice to meet you.

Comment when you got ’em. I’ll do the same thing for you.

And please, for the love of all that is good, remember to have fun.  

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H/T to #MAYkingItWork hosted by Isa-Lee Wolf  and David.  Read about it here.

#MAYkingItWork is a commitment to making something come to fruition in May by finishing a writing/blogging project/post that you’ve let slide/been thinking about.

And lately, my gentle readers, I’ve been thinking about the effort I put into keeping this blog and what makes it worthwhile for me.  In a nutshell, I blog because it’s fun.

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How about you? Why do you Keep a blog? Why do you read someone else’s blog?

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Don’t Harsh My Mellow, I’m Only Doing What Mom Taught Me To Do

Mom was a proponent of a good lollygag and fritter.

To be clear she accomplished things in her life, but she also took the time to not be focused on her To Do List, allowing herself to let go of the need to accomplish things all hours of the day.

To wit, yesterday afternoon her daughter, moi, was out running important errands when it dawned on moi that spring had finally arrived.

The sky was medium blue with gorgeous white clouds floating across the it.  The trees were sporting bright green leaves again.  The temps were in the 70s so that I was wearing capris + sandals.

Thus, channeling my mother + remembering her admonishment to lollygag and fritter, I decided to toss my To Do List aside and stop at Home Depot to wander aimlessly through their garden nursery department.

I half-filled a shopping cart with herbs and annuals.  Nothing exotic, just tasty and pretty plants.  Then I went to pay for them at the checkout counter where the sales clerk, dispensing with your traditional “hello,” asked me:

Are you having a productive day?

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Her question about productivity, asked in that moment, peeved me in a way that surprised me.

She was, I believe, harshing my mellow.

Was I not, I ask you, paying tribute to my mother’s memory by lollygaging and frittering in the garden nursery department, not bothering a soul with my mellowness?

Why yes, Ally Bean, you were paying tribute to your mother’s memory by doing that which she taught you to do.

However, putting my snitification aside, I also believe that, knowing Mom’s sense of humor, she was laughing from heaven above about my irritation over a small thing in life on earth.

Yep, she was probably lollygaging and frittering on a beautiful white fluffy cloud– like the ones I could see floating overhead while I mumbled something to the sales clerk about being productive enough… for today.