The Pocketbook, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

The Pocketbook

My mom, Frankie Ann, was the worst gift-giver.

I’d tell her exactly what to get–say a new book. I’d give her the title, the author, the date of publication, and I’d go by the store–the one that wasn’t “weird with no parking”–and tell the salesclerk to hold it for Mom. Her one task? To pick it up and pay for it.  Then gift day rolled around, and she’d proudly hand me some useless kitchen gadget. I don’t cook. And no, it wasn’t a hint to start cooking. She didn’t cook, either. She just tanked at giving gifts, and seriously there was no following her thinking on this, though she had a thought behind it. It was always a puzzlement to me. But, I did inherit this trait. My gifts are always last minute and so lackluster. (To all my dear friends, I apologize.)

But, Frankie Ann was stylish. One day

What's a Japonica? Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Do You Sell Japonica?

How many times in one day can you answer the same question? As many times as you’re asked it.

I work in a garden retail store, and tis the season to buy plants (hallelujah). There’s a sudden panic that hits when warm weather comes. Customers know that stores get in fresh material weekly, and if they want the best, and not the picked-over stuff, they better get in there and start buying. Fair enough, although, we keep fresh material coming all year–just FYI.

With this sudden panic comes loads of questions. Here are a few of the staff’s favorites.

1. Do you carry Japonica?

Yes, we do! Lots of them. Katsura japonica is my favorite tree. There’s Kerria japonica and it’s great because it blooms nicely in shade. Chaenomeles japonica is blooming now. The red blooms of the ‘Texas Scarlett’ are stunning.  Oh? You want an evergreen? Cryptomeria japonica is great. There’s

white house, say no to the task, yes to the person, transplanted and still blooming, cinthia milner

Say No to the Task. Say Yes to the Person.

Is no your favorite word? It has been mine. Not so much anymore, although I’m a bit late joining the yes wagon.

Why do we gravitate to no?

When my kids were little, before they even finished their sentence, I was already on NO. They tricked me a few times. “Mom, you want us to clean the bathrooms?” No. Oh, wait a minute. What did you say? Of course, I wasn’t listening, but it’s more than that, isn’t it? Something in our DNA makes us want to say no.

Or is it because we’re told no, over and over? So that, after a while, we quit asking or speaking. Got a boss that only has a no vocabulary, and so you’ve given up with the ideas? You just quit bringing new thoughts or new suggestions to the table because you already know they’ll be tabled? Or a spouse

conifer garden, transplanted and still blooming, cinthia milner, jon merrill

Cool Conifer Garden Pictures (You have to see these!)

Here are some great conifer pictures taken and shared by Jon Merrill, General Manager at the store. Feast your eyes on color, texture and year-round enjoyment in the garden.

 

 

For the how-to of planning and growing a conifer garden, click here.

 

 

 

jappalachian gardens, transplanted and still blooming, conifer gardens, cinthia milner, jon merrill

Jappalachian Gardens

(What’s a Conifer Garden with Jon Merrill)

The picture at the top of this page makes your heart hurt, right? Who knew conifers could be so beautiful and varied, and, for pete’s sake, combine to make a such a statement of a garden? My boss, that’s who. He’s the general manager for the store where I am employed, the buyer for our conifers, a past Duke University football captain, a husband, a father, a worship leader, and yes, a serious conifer lover. So, I’ll let him tell you about conifers and why you want a conifer garden, because you do, you really, really do, want a conifer garden. (One and done, anyone?)

Let’s start with the basics. What is a conifer? 

Simple definition is a plant that bears cones.  Like every definition, there are some exceptions to the rule, such as junipers and yews the produce berries or fruit.

So,

geranium in clay pot, stunning, transplanted and still blooming, cinthia milner

Garden Coach Tip: Permission to Skip Stunning

You can skip the stunning factor in your yard. Here’s why: We’re losing the ability to be charmed. And, we’re spending all our time worrying how we look to others.

I live in a brick rancher that sits at a four-way stop. It’s a modest 1300-square-foot house that has been beautifully taken care of by previous owners. Along the west side of the house is a white picket fence that separates the house from the neighborhood sidewalk. That’s where my garden is. I have roses and salvia and veronica on the house side of the fence. Sedums, donkey tail, Shasta daises, Siberian iris, echinacea, and dahlias are on the sidewalk side. Oh, and salvia ‘Hot Lips’ which is a fun, silly plant. I have one slightly stunning factor at the end of the fence line, a hibiscus, ‘Cranberry Crush,’ though, I am officially declaring it dead, disappointingly so. Not even

ocean pier transplanted and still blooming cinthia milner

What’s Important. What’s Not Important.

I met my college roommate, Donna, in September of 1977, freshman year, fall term, first day of school. We were assigned a room together. I got the better roommate. She, not so much. She was a brunette with a sense of purpose. I was a clueless blonde. She was a Christian. I was not. We’ve been friends 38 years and counting. This month she was diagnosed with brain cancer. I’ve spent the better part of the month wondering, why this month? This is her birthday month.

She has several brain tumors that the doctors give a grade 4.

Tumors are graded on a scale of 1-4. 1 is good. 4 is not. Though they admit to a possibility of being wrong, they’re treating it like a 4. (It’s possible the grade is 2-3. Her’s is an unusual case.) Her doctor said when people get a diagnosis like

marigold, transplanted and still blooming, cinthia milner

How to Make Your Dreams Come True

I have a dream. And for 45 years, I’ve been waiting on that dream to show up in my life.

Yesterday, I walked to my little town’s movie theater to watch The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I’ll admit it wasn’t as good as the first, even with Richard Gere in it, but the wedding scene made it worth the cash. The wedding scene is exuberant, joyful, full of dancing, and so much dang fun. It puts a smile on your face. It was the best part of the movie because the main character, Sonny, does it again. He figures out his dilemma, gets out of his own way, and makes a pretty great comeback.

If you’ve done that in your life, please raise your hand (or comment below).

If you’re still waiting to do that, please raise your hand (or comment below).

The movie works

spring daffodil, transplanted and still blooming, cinthia milner

5 Things To Do Now That It is Spring

It is spring.

Well, officially at 6:45 p.m. today, but feel free to go ahead and celebrate. It’s been one doozy of a winter.

My co-worker, plant affascinato-partner-in-crime, dance partner (yes, we silly dance), and all round goof-ball of a friend, Carol, made the comment yesterday that you sure were sick a lot this winter. Oh my. Truth in spades.

The flu and grey skies. Who’s excited for spring? Me too.

But, I insist we hit the pause button before spring-fever begets spring-fervor.

Here’s why:

I’m going to call it spring-panic. Each spring my clients go into full-on spring-panic mode. One sweet woman texted yesterday to tell me that here it is 70 degrees and I have not pruned one rose bush, not even one. She only has two. I refrained from asking her if she had power-washed the deck yet.

Spring brings with it a load of chores, some necessary, most

sleeping child transplanted and still blooming cinthia milner

Being a Christian Because I Needed Some Real Answers

I’m going to talk about being a Christian this morning. (I know, some of you just clicked off.) But stay with me here for a few lines. I’ll keep it short. I’m going to tell you my story, and how I got here.

I wasn’t always a believer. In fact, I was 32 when I became one. I was on top of a mountain, all by myself, having gone for a hike that day, when I began to follow Jesus. He came to me there and asked, “Who do you say I am?” (Not physically for those who are literal like I am.) It was a heart thing and totally unexpected. Up until then, I had said Jesus was likely a good teacher or prophet or some such, but in that second, I said, “You are the Lord.” And, he’s been Lord in my life ever since.