The Traveling Adventures of Gardenerd

Gardenerd joined me at our local post office for his last excursion in San Jose. We’ve had such a good time. As plush carrots go, he really has quite the personality.

He briefly considered auditioning for the part of a California Poppy, but alas it was time to hit the road.

gardenerd and poppy

To be [a poppy], or not to be, that is the question.

Gardenerd arrived in San Jose via Sarah the Gardener. He spent time in the gardens of Upper Hutt and Waiuku, New Zealand before traveling to the States. He’s now on his way to Des Allemande, Louisiana, a small community in the southern United States.

While here in San Jose, Gardenerd posed for the obligatory “I’ve just arrived and I’m happy to be out of my box” pics.  Then I put him to work. He supervised the VegTrug planting bed assembly, then helped us celebrate the arrival of some much-needed rain.

In between storms, Gardenerd came along on a walk through Martial Cottle Park. I plan to write more about this wonderful new place in a future post but in summary: Martial Cottle arrived in the valley in 1864 and farmed the land for over 150 years. The Cottle-Lester family resisted eager developers swooping in for years. At his death, following his mother’s wishes, the family transferred the remaining 287 acres to the state and county for development of a public park and urban farmland. They opened to the public in December of 2014.

I’ve walked there two or three times with my friend Mary Ann, and I’m eager to share this gem of a place with others.

At the end of his first week, Gardenerd traveled with us to beautiful Carmel-by-the-sea. Doesn’t he look rested? I think it’s that wonderful sea air.

gardenerd in carmel

He lounged in the room, considered a game of chess and enjoyed the beautiful gardens.

Alas, it was time for Gardenerd to move on to his next garden adventure. Safe travels, little buddy. I’m looking forward to seeing you on Twitter and Instagram.

Where Did He Go?

You can follow Gardenerd’s travels via Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #wheresgardenerd (just one ‘n’)

Additional photos on my Facebook Page Gardening Nirvana

My heartfelt thanks to Christy at for allowing us to host Gardenerd in San Jose, California.

A Restorative Weekend at Carmel-by-the-Sea

We’ve just returned from a relaxing and restorative weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Getting away like this is rare for us. We’ve focused on raising our boys who are now teens. Once a year we do an overnight stay at a local hotel for our anniversary, but otherwise we’re close to home.  With our oldest son away at college and the younger one away for the weekend with friends, we pounced on the opportunity to get away.

carmel collage

Enjoying the weekend with my sweetie. On the coast, enjoying an iced tea at Basil’s, posing with gardenerd, wrapped up against the wind

The city website describes Carmel as

A city in the forest. A one-mile long pure white sandy beach.
A cultural mecca for the performing and visual arts.  Superb dining and shopping experiences. A storybook setting!

We stayed at La Playa Carmel, a boutique hotel originally built as a mansion by an artist as a gift to his wife. Most of the talented artists I know can only dream of making that kind of money.

When I shared holiday photos on Facebook, I learned that one of my friends honeymooned there 35 years ago. Another couple we know married at La Playa Carmel. I’m tickled to no end by this. Mike made all the arrangements, so I had no idea that we were staying at this charming place.

[Click on individual photos in the gallery to enlarge]

We enjoyed lunch and dinner in the historic city center, visited the cute little shops, and admired the beautiful landscape nestled among the Monterey Pines. Flowers bloomed in front of every home and shop in the area. It’s a gardener’s dream.


Sunday we awoke to a musical downpour. It cleared after breakfast, allowing us to go for a long walk. As we walked the beach trail we imagined ourselves living in one of the beach-side homes to our left as the waves crashed against the rocks to our right. They build these homes for maximum viewing of the sea. The average list price of a home in Carmel is north of $3 million dollars US. Gulp. It’s fun to dream, though, right?

It started raining again while we lunched at a fabulous Green-certified restaurant called Basil.

carmel the last straw

This gave us the chance to walk arm in arm under our new umbrella for one last stroll before heading home.