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Category: Off the Beaten Path

  • Spring Fever Remedies

    April 01, 2016

    This week a very serious affliction, spring fever, spread through PacNW offices like wildfire. No joke.

    Padilla Bay Nature Trail

    On days like these play hooky outdoors to get beyond the spring fever.

    Our long lost friend, that fiery yellow orb named Sun, reappeared in crystal-blue skies following a winter sulking behind dense clouds, where it had endured a winter of solitary cosmic cabin fever. Cheering Sun‘s return, cherries, pears, currants and maples burst into bloom and leaf. Perennials shot through the soil, rising several inches each day toward Sun‘s warm embrace.

    Ribes in bloom by Slough Foods in Edison

    On warm spring evenings, following a long hike, relaxing outdoors with friends, good food, flora & fauna may be the perfect ending to a gorgeous spring fever hooky day. This Ribes, behind Slough Food in Edison, WA is a bright pop of color & attracts lots of hummingbirds right to your table-with-a-view

    Bees are buzzing. Frogs are ribbeting. Birds are singing their songs of sex and love from pre-dawn hours until well past sunset. And, under Sun‘s rays, the air is warm — almost hot — chilled only when a remnant of winter’s chill blows by or a wispy cloud briefly obscures that golden ball in the sky. All of this spreads spring fever fast.

    Duck sex

    Let’s get it on! Ducks making babies in the wet muck of a Skagit Valley slough.

    Spring fever symptoms may include:

    • Inability to sit at a desk during daylight hours
    • Desire to touch the earth
    • Desperate digging through closets and handbags for last season’s hats, sunglasses & sandals

    If you have any of these symptoms, gardening is, of course, a great way to find relief. And if that doesn’t do it, sometimes giving in during the day and playing hooky works for us. (We do not recommend hooky if it’ll get you in trouble at school, home or fired from a job. We do recommend businesses, families and schools recognize and embrace the concept of getting people out in nature as a means of learning, growing and healing.)

    Earlier this week, after working at our desks from before sunup, we took off for a hike in nearby Skagit Valley for some much needed spring fever relief where we were rejuvenated by connecting with spring’s beautiful, healing renewal.

    Great Blue Heron in Padilla Bay Slough

    Great Blue Herons remind us to take it slow, touch nature & be beautiful!

    Did the hike eradicate our spring fever? Maybe for the moment. Fortunately, nature will always welcome us back for another shot of healing goodness.

    No joke.

  • Hollywood Groot or Forest Groot?

    February 22, 2015

    Erase the image of Groot you have from the movies. You know, he’s the alien plant-man horties like us would love to see win an Academy Award. Instead, take a hike. Look up in a tree, and perhaps you’ll see the real Groot watching over you. I’m fairly certain that’s exactly who I spotted while hiking through Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, BC a few days ago. (He’s self-anthropomorphized, so don’t even start in on that, please.)

    Oscar Groot or Forest Groot?

    “We are Groot!” Could this face in a tree be the face of Groot watching a trail & grove?

    Thanks to the stranger on the trail who saw me photographing the bare Garry Oaks in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. He asked if I’d seen “the face in the tree downhill.” I hadn’t seen it, and I never would have had he not said there was a (paraphrasing) “Shakespearean face peering down from the knot of a tree.” Intrigued, I looked carefully as I retraced my steps down the trail, and sure enough, this face was hard to miss, watching over a grove of endangered Quercus garryana.

    When I saw the face, my immediate and recurring thought: “We are Groot!”

  • Thank You for Growing with Us

    December 20, 2014

    Thank you for growing with us — in your garden, on television, online, via this blog, at a seminar or in any number of other ways.

    To celebrate the many who have supported us, we offer a 2 minute retrospective featuring (likely) you. This look back features so many of the wonderful people with whom we have worked — as garden coach, designer, consultant and as student and cohort. As well, it illustrates the many events from coast-to-coast that have invited us to attend as contributors and speakers. (Psst: Try it full screen!)



    Truly everyone, thank you for growing with us and helping us grow as well!

  • A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

    November 27, 2014

    From everyone at Garden Mentors, we wish you a very thankful Thanksgiving today. We are grateful for each of our clients, for our friends, our family, our network of co-horts, our place on this wonderful planet Earth, and so much more. Today, we celebrate thankfulness. We choose to close our business doors and avoid patronizing businesses that ask their employees to forgo time with family for work.

    A Thankful Thanksgiving Meal

    May each of you enjoy a wonderful homegrown meal like this one,
    over which we celebrate a thankful Thanksgiving with loved ones.

    Instead, we harvest from the garden and dip into carefully preserved foods from earlier in the season. We lovingly prepare good eats our local farmers worked hard so hard to grow and bring to market for us. We set the table with grandma’s platters, decorate the center with twigs, berries, gourds (and if we’re lucky, blooms) from our garden, and we gather around our laden table with loved ones of all ages. We bundle up and go for walks, taking time to be thankful for our natural world. Each of these things is precious and deserves careful celebration.

    Soon enough we will be busy back at work, and there’s plenty of time to shop another day. Today is a day to stop and reflect on all of our lives’ blessings. And, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.

    We wish the same for each of you — a very thankful Thanksgiving.

    (And if you’re wondering, we didn’t write this on Thanksgiving day. It was scheduled earlier in the week, when we weren’t yet on holiday.)

  • Halloween Garden Gore + Mummy’s Dinner

    October 31, 2014

    By the time tiny princesses and superheros are passing through our Halloween garden to demand their holiday handouts, much of the garden is looking gory. And, it isn’t just rotten flora that’ll make your hair stand on end. What really freaks us out at the end of October is some truly frightful fauna — living and dead.

    Spider in moonlight

    Giant spiders weaving by the light of the moon. In our book, this big gal is a-okay.
    She’s eating up annoying gnats & she lives outside in the garden where she belongs!

    Warning! What you’re about to see might make your stomach turn, but be brave until the very end where your treat awaits –our Halloween recipe for Mummy’s Dinner. Mummy loves it because it’s so simple to make and kids will gladly munch down this fun meal without complaint — no matter how anxious they are to start ringing doorbells for sweet treats. (more…)

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