Gardening Isn’t for Sissies

This one was written for WNC Magazine’s on-line content. It’s for all you hard-core exercising weekend warriors, you’ve got nothing on us gardeners. Read, and hang your heads in shame and defeat.

Gardening Isn’t for SissiesUsher in spring with gardening tips from a growerwho’s learned from her mistakes

written by Cinthia Milner

Garden season is here, and though it may be the number one hobby in America, it isn’t for sissies. How would I know? This season marks my 20th anniversary of taking up this sometimes brutal, but highly rewarding, backyard pastime. So, while I’m not a pro, who better to give you tips on surviving your garden than a woman obsessed with her own, and with the bruises, bumps, scrapes, and yes, an empty pocketbook, to prove it?

Tip #1: Wear long sleeves, pants, a hat, and gloves. And, even though that grass feels great between

Gardens are Beautiful, No Matter the Size

Spring has been all wonky and weird. 80 degrees one day, and 45 the next. Last year, I planted 1500 spring bulbs and progagated lots of columbine, and all those wonderful flowers couldn’t tell what the heck to do. Still, a garden is rarely an ugly thing; it somehow turns out amazing, no matter the losses. I personally believe it’s because it doesn’t take much to dazzle or memorize us in a garden. Whether it’s a small front yard with a few hanging ferns and a begonia or the Biltmore House–it’s all the same to our eye, and our psyches. So, while most of those bulbs didn’t survive the freakishly cold winter, the December to March snow, or the nerve-wracking spring, the garden is still showing

Cold Hardy Camellias

April Tryst

Cold-hardy CaelliasApril 4, 2011

Related topics: www.bbbarns.com camellias

If you’ve ever pined for camellias well, pine no more. New cultivars have arrived in Western North Carolina and they are tough, cold resistant and dazzling.

Local nursery BB Barns held a seminar one recent Saturday, and I went to check it out. I associate camellias with warmer climes in the Deep South, where it blooms in late winter. But the flowering tree is an Asian native that’s related to the tea plant (C. sinensis), and there are cold-hardy varieties, I learned at the seminar. With names like April Tryst, Pink Icicle, Snow Flurry and Carolina Moonmist, my desire to plant this winter-blooming was well whetted. All total, 60 varieties of camellias have been identified that tolerate

The Mindfulness of Yoga, and Sprained Ankles

This is absurd. Busted toes and now a blue, black, yellow, green and very swollen sprained ankle. Seriously? Seriously? Really? Ridiculous. Oh, I need Cindy’s Zen stuff now. Anything to center—and perhaps balance—this ever aging brain and body.

Okay, so here’s what I can do today–Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana. One of my girlfriend bffs says these yoga poses have names that sound like STDs. Trikonasana, anyone? Hey, I live in the South. India meets North Carolina. It has the makings of a good movie.

So Bound Angle Pose is actually a pose I like, a lot, because I have hips that will haunt me when I’m old. I am sure of it. I used to work as a house host at the Biltmore House. And yes, before you ask, it was fun. And yes, before you ask, I got to go in all the

E-x-t-e-n-d a Little

Today’s pose, extension.

I need e-x-t-e-n-s-i-o-n. The word sounds good, doesn’t it? Cindy Dollar, my yoga teacher, says it is crucial for creating space between one body part and another. At fifty I am having a harder and harder time separating body parts so yeah, today it is all about extension.

Extension is a forward bend. It can be standing poses or sitting poses. I’m pooped after a night out and a day of work, so I’m opting for the sitting pose of Janu Sirsasana or Head to Knee Pose.

Head to Knee Pose is number fourteen in Cindy’s book (she wrote a book called Yoga Your Way, but as my teacher, she never really lets me do ANYTHING my way–don’t tell her I said that.) Head to Knee Pose is listed right before Headstand Part 1 pose, or Salamba Sirsasana which is also considered an

camels yoga

How do Camels Breath?

I’ve never seen a camel. I’d like too. I’d also like to breath more. You know, breath in, breath out. But mostly, I’m too busy to do that. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Cindy, my yoga teacher, teaches me a pose called Camel pose or Ustrasana.  It’s a funky, little back bend. When I was a kid, I watched TV from the position of a back bend on the living room floor. It was easy. I popped right up, wrists turned backward, feet pushing me higher into the bend, and my chest rising. It felt so good. I could stay there forever.

It was so easy to breath after doing that. I don’t do that anymore. Now, I watch TV lying in bed.

Fortunately, Camel Pose does not require this complete back bend stance. Instead, I am on my knees, with my legs

Sometimes Yoga (and life) Need Props

Cindy tells us that the yoga poses in her book are not built on each other so we, the readers, can do them in any order. This is good because I like skipping around (read, I have favorite poses and poses I hate). She has daily routines organized very neatly, but I swap them around too, adding those I love (dog pose) and skipping the ones I hate (all the warrior poses). So, if Cindy reads this, the next time I go into her studio, you can bet I’ll have to do warrior poses. Let’s keep it between us.

As I’m flipping through her pages, I come across Corpse Pose, or Savasana. Savasana is a restorative pose. Well, my busted toe from the other night still hurts AND I have a cold AND I fear I might be getting the flu (and yet, here I am being

Busted Big Toes

So, today, I’m pooped. Big wedding weekend. And still more to go. But, ever faithful me is going to do her yoga (well, I’m faithful in spirit if not in the flesh). I’m flipping through Cindy’s book and pop! there is Padangusthasana or Big Toe Pose. Highly apporpriate since my big toe is currently, absolutely killing me. I stubbed it on, of all things, a pillow. One of those big study pillows that were popular in college dorms in the late 70’s. Of course, I still have mine (book nerd to the end), and it stays on the floor beside my bed when I’m asleep. Hence the stubbed toe in the middle of the night. Throbbing, I say, and I am going to be in heels for most of the day wearing my new, watermelon-red dress. Very classy sheath and with pockets. Which is too cute. The