Thursday, July 28, 2016

Abusive Parent - Eulogy

Every day there are millions of people who lose loved ones. Some portion of those people, like me, may have lost an abusive parent and be wondering "Should I go to the funeral of my abusive parent?" or "How do I give a Eulogy for my abusive parent?"  I struggled for many weeks with this dilemma.  I'm one of 5 kids and all of them kept saying "someone needs to say something." Yet nobody was raising a hand. As one of the children planning the funeral, it seemed like it would fall to me. It seemed like they all assumed I would handle it. I'm one of the strong ones, albeit a tad of an outsider within the family... 

How could I attend the funeral for a woman that physically and mentally abused me, grandmother who was critical and difficult with my children, woman who was an alcoholic and prescription drug abuser which often put her into fits of rage with her children, a woman who I believe sexually abused my older brother. a mother that put family members in the hospital with injuries she inflicted? This woman, my mom has just passed away - I was numb. I didn't want to be around my siblings. I didn't want to go anywhere let alone the funeral. I couldn't decide how to be respectful yet honest. There was no way I was going to stand up saying she was the best mother ever.

After much deliberation about what my mother had done to me and for me - I choose a road with subtle sign posts to the informed listener of the story of my mother's treatment of her children. It's here in between the lines, in the words said or not said. 

I'm posting a portion of my eulogy here - so perhaps others might have a bit of a guide to how one person approached their own difficult situation.  This is a long long blog...

Friday, March 18, 2016

For the love of Irises

Springtime means irises and I'm lucky to have many varieties in my garden. Did you know that name iris comes from the Greek work for rainbow.  I have a pluthera of blue/purple, white, and yellow colored iris perennials. Most I've secured free off Craigslist or Freecycle. I have a few unique and native ones I purchased which I'm nurturing. 

It's not a native flower for U.S. gardeners - its originally from Syria. While used in perfumes, medicinals, and even to produce beer and wine, for me it's purely decorative.  I do have some challenges being in a cold climate garden. Not all iris varieties will do well with such a short growing period. 

Want to get inspired by iris? Check to see if there is a local flower show with this theme or try to visit one of the Historic Iris Display Gardens. My closed one in a state away and they have a wonderful end of season "garage sale" which I'm already planning on attending in July. Now that's planning! 

Iris - endless variety

Here are some tips for growing iris in a cold climate garden: 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ireland National Botanic Garden - Dublin (Review)

Entrance - Dublin National Botanic Garden
When on holiday I am compelled to visit local Botanic Gardens. You can see my prior reviews of the Huntington Garden in California, then Denver Botanic Garden, the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, the Bird Haven Conservatory outside Chicago... well you get the points. I love these places.  So I was delighted when I was able to drag my traveling companion to Ireland's National Botanic Garden located just outside Dublin. Easy to reach by bus!

I was attracted to the location based on the history. The first glass houses were built in the 1700's - then expanded as unusual plants from around the world started to make their way to Ireland. Between 1840 - 1860 the major glass display houses were created. This is the same time as conservatories were springing up in Chicago. It was so nice to see the similarities and differences. Oh the Victorian / Edwardian times when strolling in Greenhouses was the best day out, and when great strides were made in understanding the plant kingdom. 

Dublin National Botanic Garden

A very interesting role of this garden was the assessment of exotic trees to the Ireland environment. Strolling the grounds these old trees look simultaneously majestic and out of place. Many of these are planted in groves - so you can see several different species of Oak tree, Larch, Holly and others side by side.

Here's a quick review of garden overall - in addition I have some specific posts for the Rose Garden and an outdoor Dahlia display at the Dublin National Botanic Garden. 

All photos taken in the spring of 2015.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Veg Garden Envy and Creative Ideas

Raised Bed - Vegetable Garden
This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit a very avid home gardener in Austin, Texas. I have a serious case of garden envy going.  Even though I visited in the off season - it was easy to tell that there was a good deal of planning and learning that went into this garden design.

From the overview photo you can catch a glimpse of the numerous raised beds, use of arbors too. Off to the side are more raised beds in the shade, a field for native flowers, a spot where a cistern is going up this year, and fruit trees including an olive. The front yard also has a man-made creek running through it for wild-life. One of the features that helps make this a certified wildlife habitat.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Antiquing in Germany

Friedrichsplatz Square
Photo From:
I have a number of posts on antiquing and also on some of my travels. Generally I end up seeing lots of botanic gardens while on holiday. This week, as I am traveling in Germany, I happened to come across a street which was filled with antique shops while out for a long walk and a little exercise!

 These shops were in the area of Friedrichsplatz Square - this is from 1800's. Gorgeous arched walkways around the square. Centerpiece garden and fountain. I bet this is stunning in the summertime. Concerts on the square would be fun!

I was ever so pleased!