The Super Bowl of Gardening

squirrel in football stance

California Gray Squirrel perfecting his two-point stance

I’ve tried to like American football. With numerous invitations to Super Bowl parties over the years, my interest stemmed from a desire to fit in. To be “one with the ball” so to speak. By the time I reached my mid-twenties, however, I threw in the towel. When they were handing out the sports-loving genes, I was waiting in line for a green thumb. It’s a national pastime in the States, culminating in this weekend’s Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t begrudge the fans, as long as they’re well-behaved, but other than fast-forwarding through the clever commercials, Super Bowl Sunday is just another day for me. Weather permitting, I would rather spend the time in the garden.

I consulted the For Dummies series to educate myself on the following football terms, then translated them into phrases that a gardener will understand.

Without further ado, here is your guide to the Super Bowl of Gardening

Down: A period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when the ball is ruled dead (meaning that the play is completed).

Down: A period of time known as winter.  Gardening down time.

End zone: A 10-yard-long area at both ends of the field — the promised land for a football player.

End zone: The only zone in which you can’t grow a thing.  I garden in zone 9b.

Extra point: A kick, worth one point, that’s typically attempted after every touchdown.

Extra point: When you plant one thing, and two things come up instead.

Field goal: A kick, worth three points, that can be attempted from anywhere on the field but usually is attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost.

Field goal: My goal is to grow a garden as big as a football field.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the ball while running with it or being tackled.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the bulb you just dug up when the resident gardener runs after you saying “No!  Not the tulip bulbs!!!” This usually pertains to squirrels.

Hash marks: The lines on the center of the field that signify 1 yard on the field.

Hash marks: The indentations left on your knees after pulling weeds all day.

Interception: A pass that’s caught by a defensive player, ending the offense’s possession of the ball.

Interception: The sunflowers saved by a defensive gardener who figures out clever ways to outsmart the squirrels.

Kickoff: A free kick that puts the ball into play.

Kickoff: Also referred to as ‘Spring.’

Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it falls toward his foot.

Punt: A kick made when a gardener drops a packet of seeds and tries desperately to keep them from hitting the ground.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent’s goal line with the intent of scoring or gaining significant yardage.

Return: The act of returning to the garden center again and again because you simply can’t help yourself.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Sack: A great place to store and dry last year’s seeds.

Snap: The action in which the ball is hiked (tossed between the legs) by the center to the quarterback, to the holder on a kick attempt, or to the punter.

Snap: The sound a gardener’s neck makes, when she realizes that what she just brushed off her shoulder has six furry legs. A snap may also warrant a trip to the chiropractor.

Touchdown: A score, worth six points, that occurs when a player in possession of the ball crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line, or when a player catches the ball while in the opponent’s end zone, or when a defensive player recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Touchdown: When you brush your hand across the surface of a lambs ear it’s like touching down.

and finally

Turnover: When, with either a fumble or an interception, one team loses possession of the football to the other.

Turnover: After a full day in the garden, I want to enjoy a hot cup of tea and an apple turnover. Yum!

Wishing you a terrific weekend, on or off the field.

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My Garden has a Great Sense of Humor (Humour)

My Garden has a Great Sense of Humor (Humour)

Note: I started my schooling in Canada, and learned to spell humour ending in “our”. We moved to California in the late sixties and I had to relearn the American spellings of humour, judgement, and colour.

Now that I have a global blog following, I’m acutely aware of the different spellings. American English prefers humor whereas all the other main varieties of English prefer humour. I’m always worrying that I’ll offend people (which comes from my British upbringing). What to do what to do?

Where was I?

Oh yes, my garden. My garden has a great sense of…playfulness.

If you’re a regular around here, you know that we replaced our lawn with California native plants last fall.

california native plants

Newly planted California Natives, November, 2015

Then it rained! Wet, wonderful, welcome rain. All those seeds lying dormant around the garden sprang to life. Sweet peas, love-in-a-mist, bachelor buttons and others slowly overtook the new landscaping.

march 5th sweet peas

A plethora of sweet peas (March 5th, 2016)

By the end of March, I pulled out one of my garden trellises and staked it in the ground. These flowers plan to stay awhile. It makes me smile (and cringe a little too). I hope the California native buried under all those sweet peas will survive this temporary but beautiful upstart.

 sweet peas March 27th

Sweet peas and love-in-a-mist take over, March 27th, 2016

Our lemon tree enjoyed the showers as well, but I think this is carrying “fresh” a bit too far. Avert your eyes if necessary and move on to the next photo.

pointing finger lemon

Rain kissed lemon tree using a gesture considered rude in many places

I popped the following photo on my Facebook page last week and asked friends to guess its true identity. If you didn’t know, it might be mistaken for an invading alien. In reality, it’s a recently undressed California poppy. They’re beautiful to the last, don’t you think?

funny poppy stem

Alien landing or a California poppy recently undressed?

funny snail in garden

Hmm, more ironic than funny

Okay, so the snail working its way across the sweet peas after a recent rain isn’t that funny. I’m trying to keep my sense of humour/humor though. Where there’s rain, there are snails. You take the good with the “oh no, snails!”

acer in March

Acer shows off fall colors in early spring

The bright blue sky and the orange leaves remind me of fall, not spring, but here is the Acer setting wonderfully orange leaves. It makes me smile.

funny mouse in the grass after a rain

Snicker

Still not smiling? How about this pic of Mouse moving in for a nibble of grass? I smile whenever I see his little pink tongue.

cat smelling flowers

Is the cat wearing flowers or are the flowers wearing the cat?

While we’re on the subject of Mouse, I didn’t even notice his head in the flowers until I downloaded the pics. Silly kitty,

funny rock and roll horns poppy

Rock n Roll hands?

Last but far from least, doesn’t this remind you of Rock n Roll hands, or horns?

I hope I’ve left you with a smile.

Quotable

I have many problems in my life, but my lips don’t know that. They always smile. ~ Charlie Chaplin

Be someone else’s sunshine. Be the reason someone smiles today. ~ unkown

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. ~ William Arthur Ward

Turning Lemons into…Dinosaurs

Our lemon tree is covered with flowers again, promising another banner crop later this year. What I didn’t expect was this:

baby dinosaur lemon tree
It seems our enterprising tree has given birth to a baby dinosaur.

Thank you in advance for keeping your congratulatory comments to a dull roar. We don’t want to wake the baby.

Is there any ‘funny business’ happening in your world today?

My Garden has a Sense of Humour

A summer combating nasty little squash bugs did not prepare me for this:

late season pumpkin plant

Garden humour: Bug free, late season plant

apple sized pumpkin

A peak under ‘the hood’ reveals an apple-sized pumpkin

companion fruit

…and a companion fruit

Yes, folks, my garden has a sense of humour.

It’s September 10th, just a few weeks shy of the first day of autumn, and here we have a happy-go-lucky, bug free, healthy pumpkin plant. This particular variety is out-shining all efforts to date. Further, it’s growing in the planting bed I’ve been preparing for the winter. I removed the drip irrigation lines, so the beds are dry. I covered most of the exposed dirt with cardboard to keep the cats out. I ran out of boxes before I had enough to cover the whole bed. That was all the invitation this plant needed to get started.

one week ago

Just one week ago

Day time temps remain high, but once regular night-time lows hit the fifties, this plant will close up shop. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy it while I can, marvel at my garden’s sense of humour, and be humbled yet again.  I’ve been promoted from gardener to garden supervisor, just like that.

pumpkin bloom and tendril

Safety net: a small tendril wrapped around the flower, catching it when it dropped from the plant

Is there something unexpected in your life this week putting a smile on your face?

The Plot Thickens: A Bit of Garden Humour

Here’s a little garden humour as you ease in to your weekend: My sister sent me this  story a few years ago. It always makes me smile. I don’t know the origins, so I’ll extend thanks to the universe and the anonymous writer of this tongue in cheek tale. Enjoy!

Plotting Tomatoes:

An older gentleman living alone in New Jersey looked forward to planting his annual tomato garden, but it was strenuous work. The ground was simply too hard. His only son Vincent would usually help him but Vincent was in prison. The man wrote a letter to his son describing his predicament.

Dear Vincent,

It looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig it for me, like in the old days. I’m feeling a little sad. I hope you are well.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the man and left. That same day the man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you, Vinnie

I hope you’re smiling, too.

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Punny Garden: The Sequel

Gardenlocks

Gardenlocks

This time last year, I published a post called Punny Garden: Garden Jokes and Puns.  It proved to be one of my most popular. It continues to get hits most days.  People like to smile, laugh or guffaw.  Even the groaners are fun.

Without further ado, I give you Punny Garden: The Sequel.  Thank you, Google, and all the individual contributors, for making this possible.

One-liners:

  • When kissing flowers, tulips are better than one.
  • Organic farmers till it like it is.
  • Why do melons have fancy weddings? Because they cantaloupe.
  • I once heard that the most popular thing to download on the internet is corn.

Books and Theater:

  • My Fair Lilac
  • Hello, Dahlia
  • Crocus Pocus
  • Bird of Paradise Lost
  • A Midsummer Nightshade’s Dream
  • The Garden of Weedin’

Puns:

King Tut’s favorite flower? Chrysanthemums

Thanks to reader Marcella Rouseau of For Your Good Health. Marcella won a pun contest at Organic Gardening and Farming with these:

  • Nevergreen by Barbra Drysand
  • Little Fruit Coup by the Peachboys

For more laughs, be sure to check out David Hobson’s Garden Humour

Super Bowl Gardening?

Squirrel eating sunflower

Squirrel eating sunflower

I’ve been wracking my brain for a gardening-Super Bowl tie in today.  Since half the world is probably watching the Super Bowl now, I could simply make something up.  I doubt anyone is reading a gardening blog.

Instead I consulted the ‘For Dummies’ series to educate myself on the following football terms.  I’ve come up with my own (gardening) interpretation of the same:

Down: A period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when the ball is ruled dead (meaning that the play is completed).

Down: A period of time known as winter.  Gardening down time.

End zone: A 10-yard-long area at both ends of the field — the promised land for a football player.

End zone: The only zone in which you can’t grow a thing.  I garden in zone 14-15.

Extra point: A kick, worth one point, that’s typically attempted after every touchdown.

Extra point: When you plant one thing, and two things come up instead.

Field goal: A kick, worth three points, that can be attempted from anywhere on the field but usually is attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost.

Field goal: My goal is to grow a garden as big as a football field.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the ball while running with it or being tackled.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the bulb you just dug up when the resident gardener runs after you saying “No!  Not the tulip bulbs!!!” This usually pertains to squirrels.

Hash marks: The lines on the center of the field that signify 1 yard on the field.

Hash marks: The indentations left on your knees after pulling weeds all day.

Interception: A pass that’s caught by a defensive player, ending the offense’s possession of the ball.

Interception: The sunflowers saved by a defensive gardener who figures out clever ways to outsmart the squirrels.

Kickoff: A free kick that puts the ball into play.

Kickoff: Also referred to as ‘Spring.’

Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it falls toward his foot.

Punt: A kick made when a gardener drops a packet of seeds and tries desperately to keep them from hitting the ground.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent’s goal line with the intent of scoring or gaining significant yardage.

Return: The act of returning to the garden center again and again because you simply can’t help yourself.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Sack: A great place to store and dry last year’s seeds.

Snap: The action in which the ball is hiked (tossed between the legs) by the center to the quarterback, to the holder on a kick attempt, or to the punter.

Snap: The sound a gardener’s neck makes, when she realizes that what she just brushed off her shoulder has six furry legs. A snap may also warrant a trip to the chiropractor.

Touchdown: A score, worth six points, that occurs when a player in possession of the ball crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line, or when a player catches the ball while in the opponent’s end zone, or when a defensive player recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Touchdown: When you brush your hand across the surface of a ‘lambs ear‘ it’s like touching down.