Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm Bringin' Sexy Back

'Cause my tuberous begonia is SEXY.

Seriously. Look at that thing. I'd marry this plant if I could. Would that make me a Polyplantamist? O_O

Maybe I shouldn't. It could be all beauty, and no brains, right? Then I'd just get bored and cheat on it with another plant after a few years.

Nope, marriage is definitely out of the question. It'll just have to be my trophy plant for awhile...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Went Down to the Cemetery, Lookin' For Love...

" there and my baby was buried, I had to dig her up"

The Headstones. Awesome Canadian band that is presently defunct (I think 'defunct' is one of those words that it's a shame I can't use more often). The lyrics sound creepy, but the song is so fun, check it out. If you're not playing air guitar by the end of it, I'll give you your money back.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, my husband's brother Steve came up from Jacksonville, Florida for a visit. He hadn't been here in 4 years, since my husband had his lung removal surgery. And we all had an AWESOME time. With his present visit, not the lung-removal surgery. That sorta sucked.

Steve's visited our area a few times over the years, but he's never really been taken to any of the neighbouring cities and towns to where we live. We decided to take him out for the day to Beaufort, NC.

Beaufort is a beautiful, old, coastal town established in the very early 1700's. It was used as a major seaport for goods during the American Revolution. Lumber, cotton and bricks went out. Cloth, furniture, coffee and rum came in. Yay, rum!

There is a nearby Civil War-era fort nearby, called Fort Macon. Union (northern) forces occupied the fort for most of the war, so it came out of it quite well. It's a major tourist attraction now, and was one of the places we stopped during Steve's visit to Beaufort.

We were fortunate enough to arrive just before a Civil War battle re-enactment. I'd never been to one, it was pretty cool.

The South always wins at Fort Macon. Hey, it's the little battles that matter, and not the historically correct outcome of the entire war, right?

Steve spent most of the visit arguing about the pronunciation of Beaufort. In South Carolina, where he did his Navy training, there's a Beaufort. They pronounce it 'Bee-you-fert'. We say it 'Bow-fert'. Both are wrong, but I kept telling him our pronunciation is closer to original French!

Our next stop was the Old Burying Ground. The cemetery has an oldest marked grave of the date 1700. The cemetery was actually deeded to the town in 1731. There are founders of the town in this place, and casualties from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The main founder of our county, Cpt.Otway Burns is also buried here, in a marble encasement with a replica cannon from his ship on the top. He was born and grew up just a couple of miles from where my house stands.

Among the weirder burials?

~A British Soldier from the Revolutionary War, buried standing up in salute to King George (there are so many King Georges, I can't remember which one) facing England.

~A little girl buried in a rum barrel. She died at sea on the way back to America from England, and the only way her father was able to bring her home for burial was to preserve her in the rum barrel. Kind of sad really. People place toys and trinkets all over her grave.

~A woman and her husband buried side by side. He was lost at sea, and pronounced dead. She remarried. Her original husband returned, NOT dead, and made the second husband a deal. The second husband could stay married to her in life, but she had to be buried next to the first husband for eternity in death. And so it is.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took, hope you think this place is as cool (and beautiful) as I do. I've been here so many [wonderful] times, that I forgot to take pictures of all the crazy graves mentioned above for my new blog readers to see. And we've since gotten a new computer, so you'll just have to imagine them...

The cemetery is actually quite large, larger than what it looks like from outside the walls. There is a church on each corner of the cemetery grounds. The Old Burying Ground is on a whole block.

The wisteria in this place was so amazing. The way the vines have grown in the one particular tree above just looks awesome.

This is also the time of year that azaleas are in full bloom. I LOVE azaleas. Unfortunately that need part shade conditions, so I only have two. If I had more shade? My yard would be full of them.

Dogwoods are blooming, I didn't get such great pictures, but here they are.

The Mr. A's are also in bloom. That's Otway Burns' grave behind him with the marble and the cannon.

And by the way, I'm totally getting tired of writing 'Mr. A' when talking about my husband. I feel like you know me now. And hopefully there won't be any scary-knife killers out there reading my blog, who will track us down through my husband's first name.

What's his name? Here's a subtle hint.

Here are some more shots of The Old Burying Ground:

And if these next pictures look bigger, it's all due to this chick (I'm sorry, I don't know your name) at Antique Art Gardener. If anyone has been frustrated by my small pictures, I'm sorry. I hadn't noticed that there was a 'Large' option when downloading. She enlightened me. I'm too lazy to go back and redo the first ones in this post, takes forever for each of them to upload as it is.

(EDIT: It's actually Antique ART Garden and her name is Gina.)

This squirrel was totally annoyed that I got near his nuts. He's giving me the silent treatment.

This is the best picture ever. You know why?

Those gravestones in the picture are enclosed in a wrought-iron gated family plot. The gate has never been open, and I've been there quite a few times.

The gate was open this time. I said, 'Holy crap the gate is open!' and went right into the gate to read what the gravestones said. Because I just love to invade dead people's privacy.

I took this picture, and then had the MERDE scared out of me.

If you're not French, Canadian, or up on foreign swear words, google 'merde'. Or watch this clip of Napoleon from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Because it's WAY more fun.

The air conditioning unit of the adjoining church kicked in unexpectedly, and I screamed and ran out of the gate like my arse was on fire. On fire and being chased by ghosts.

Steve laughed so hard, and didn't let me forget that for the rest of the visit. Or for the rest of my life, I'm sure.

I do get to make fun of him though. He was trying to take pictures of the cemetery with his phone, and every time he tried, his phone would shut off. He thought it was ghosts. He said he didn't think that, but I knew that he did. Wuss.

Only picture I have of Steve, it's from 2005. He's second to the left. Chuck is on the right. I'm the hot chick taking the picture.

I want to close with some more gratuitous wisteria shots. Disclaimer: These wisteria shots may get you hot and bothered. You may faint, or even start speaking in tongues.

I'm not responsible, don't sue me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Was Ally Sheedy in 'The Breakfast Club'

Nancy @ Soliloquy recently wrote a post called What Makes a Post "Legitimately Good"?. Please read it, it's a 'legitimately good' post :)

It totally took me back to high school art class. I like to consider myself an artist. Drawing is my forte, but I'm also a decent painter, sculptor, etc. (Do you hear that? That's the sound of me tooting my own horn.)

I loved art class. I couldn't believe they were actually giving me grades for something that I loved to do! It was like getting paid to sleep or paid to eat.

I'd work really hard on something, and really enjoy what I was working on. But when I turned it in to be graded, my mark would always be 95%.

95%?? What the hell else could I have done for the other 5%? It sure wasn't showing some skin, because I had a suspicion that my teacher was gay.

I'd look over at my friend Clara's art, and of course she received 100% on everything. She deserved it. Her art always looked like a professional's. Mine didn't even compare, even though it was good. So why would my art be only 5% less than hers? Why even have grades on it at all?? Not to mention that my art teacher always smelled of alcohol when he walked past. Maybe he just wasn't seeing my assignment as clearly as he should??

That's all hogwash, isn't it?

I said this in Nancy's comment section, but I'd like to say it again here.

Posts are like art. Posts ARE art. Anything you can put creativity into is art. And art isn't good or bad, it just IS. It's the culmination of what someone puts into it, and everyone's different. And it's funny, because when I read certain people's posts, I feel like I get a glance into who they are as people. Which is so cool! My judgements might be wrong, but they're fun to make anyway (and they're always positive, don't worry ;) )

Some people like to post very informative, very factual posts about plants. I like to imagine their closets are organized by colour and texture, and that their can labels in the pantry all face outwards like in a grocery store.

Some people post a plant picture with a one-line quote. I like to imagine that they were the ones who loved writing those interpretive papers in high school English class.

Some people ask a question at the end of every post. I imagine what they were like as children, always asking Mum 'Why?'

Some people tie all their garden posts to sex and football. I imagine that they're crazy hooligans that have nothing better to do than plant a few seeds in between pints.(I could be talking about myself or Idiot Gardener here, take your pick!)

Some people limit the use of photos in their posts. I imagine them as very confident people. It's hard to write a post about gardening without using pictures, and still hold the reader's interest.

Like right now. I feel kind of insecure and worried that no one will have read my post to this point. I tend to lean on pictures and humour to keep reader's interest. And I don't really consciously TRY to do this, that's just my style. I like to have a picture to illustrate the weird ideas that come out of my head...

What do I do in real life when I'm telling a story? There are no pictures or Youtube videos to emphasize my plot!

I'm the type of person who has to do all the voices and accents when I tell a story. If I have to get up and act my story out, I do it. I like to do impressions. I will look as silly as possible and not care, if it's true to the story. My personal 'meaning of life' is to make others laugh. I may not always succeed, but when I do, it's better than any drug on the planet. That's why I've never done drugs. Laughing so hard that I cry is way better than heroin. The only way laughter will put you on the street is when you're rolling around trying to breathe between guffaws.

Telling a story is art. Whether the post is filled pictures, quotes, facts, silliness or sadness. Whether you took 3 days to write it, or wrote it in 5 minutes before having to rush off to work or to your kid's soccer game.

But tell my competetive side that! Tell my inner, high school art student that! When she gets only one Pick on a post that meant a lot to her, she feels like she got a 95% on it.

Human beings are weird, aren't they? :P

I don't know what the answer really should be in regards to Blotanical's 'Pick' system. I've always been a fence sitter. Able to argue both sides of a thing. I don't like the idea of "Rating" a post with stars, that's for sure. Then I'd REALLY feel like I was in art class or being picked for a team in gym class ( I was always picked first by the way, thank goodness for some small miracles). But I like Picks in that they get my posts noticed, when they might otherwise get lost in the flurry of flower ferocity.

Thanks to Nancy, for taking me back to high school for an hour of my day :) I'm 11 years removed now, so that's quite a feat! :D

Ok, I can't resist.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Circle of Life

The cricket didn't even have a chance.

Life and death in Kyna's garden! Sad and cool at the same time.

Interesting note. I googled 'Elton John Circle of Life', and this picture came up.

Elton John kissing babies? When did he start running for office?

I'd be freaking out if I was a baby and I saw this coming at me

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

...that's what REAL little girls are made of :D

Don't let the pretty dress fool you. The very next year I was an ornery 5-year old with short hair and scraped knees.

I'm probably smiling because I just punched some little boy in the eye.

Love that pic though. Thought I'd share :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wilmington, North Carolina ~ Part Deux ~ Airlie Gardens

When I re-read my last post, I had to laugh. I sure mentioned the pub a lot, didn't I? Even Mr. A's shirt says 'PUB' on the front. Maybe I should change the name of my blog to 'The Inebriated Gardener'? Or 'The Lush Landscaper'? Or 'The Tipsy Tiller'?

It's all right, I only have pints on days ending in 'Y'. Or when my brother in law is visiting...woo! It's been a busy/fun last few days during his visit. Didn't make it to the Azalea Festival, but we made it out to some other cool places that will be the subject of my next post. So you better come back and read it!

On to the Airlie Gardens in Wilmington!!

This place was beautiful. It's open all year round, people rent it our for weddings and events. I'm sure it's the cornerstone of the Azalea Festival.

If you want to read more about the Airlie Gardens, click here. There's so much history involved, I don't think I have the patience to type it all out. The gist is that this was owned by a family for many, many years, there was a mansion on the property at one point. And the gardens were opened for public enjoyment in 1999 (I think).

The admission was very inexpensive, $5 a person. I love gardens and flowers, but if you're charging $40 a head, you better bring on da serious funk or I'll be pretty upset.

There were drifts of beautiful, pink-tinged, ruffly daffodils right outside the entrance. Mr. A made fun of me for taking pictures when we weren't even inside the gate yet.

I'd kill for this arbor.

Well, that sounds kind of harsh, doesn't it? Ok, I'd slightly maim for this arbor.

The place was full of tulips. Just awesome to see such vivid drifts of colour...

My favourite part of the tour was seeing all the very old live oaks on this property. The oldest live oak in North Carolina is on the grounds. It's estimated to be about 400 years old. And it's breathtaking. Pictures don't do justice to the awesomeness of the thing. Almost, though.

More live oaks. I LOVE the Spanish Moss. I know it's the scourge of some of you Floridian gardeners, but I can't help it. It just looks so haunting.

Mr. A showing the scale of the size of these things

There was a camellia garden, which was still quite beautiful at this point.

This is the area called The Pergola Garden. The path of the pergola ended at a large pond, and there were stone benches where you could sit down with a fountain.

I think this Dionysian fellow kind of looks like Sean Connery.

'Yesh, you shexshay beasht...'

There is a small family church on the grounds, and a quaint little graveyard. The church is still used. They have pictures and bios hanging up in the main building of all the family that owned the grounds and were buried there.

Crazy name on this one...

Here are some more random pictures that I took of all the beautiful trees and flowers:

Mr. A likes to tiptoe through the tulips...

...and play with microphones...

This next section is my FAVOURITE find of the whole trip. I really should have made it into another blog post, but I wanted everyone to see it NOW. :)

Like, my boat has been floated. My fancy has been tickled. My cookies have been frosted.

There is a little sculpture garden on the grounds. When I saw it from across a meadow, it's like light was shining down from the heavens in one of those God paintings. I fancy myself an artist, and it would be my dream to create something like this. In my backyard.

The main gazebo-esque sculpture was made mostly out of glass bottles and mosiacs. AMAZING looking. From the outside of it, you could see all the bottle bottoms.

You could see something different from every angle that you looked at it. I could have spent a couple of hours finding new things to see in the patterns.

And from the inside, you could see all the bottlenecks. This picture is simple, but probably one of my faves of the day.

Aunt Jemima bottle family...almost looks like it has a religious connotation. Or maybe it doesn't, and I need to work out some issues with a psychiatrist.

WOW. :)

We ended the visit with a stroll on a long pier they had out over the water. People were floating by in their was so beautiful.

Hope you enjoyed my little tour. Sorry I had to cram so much into one post...I felt like if I didn't do it today, I'd never get to it. :D