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Do you love roses?

I do.

For those of you who have been following me for any length of time, you know that my love affair with roses is something that I like to share with others. For that reason, on a lovely day in May, I made a visit to the Old West town, Tombstone, Arizona.  

This historic town has two different attractions that appeal to me and my husband. He loves old westerns, and walking along the main street and seeing where the famous gunfight took place is something he enjoys. While it’s fun to explore the real-life places from long ago, my favorite destination lies just a block off of the main street…
 
At first glance, you would never know that a famous plant resides beyond the front door of this historic inn that is now a museum. However, it is in the backyard of this building, the “Rose Tree Inn”, which lies the “World’s Largest Rosebush“.
 
Due to my love of roses, and having heard of this famous rosebush I am excited to see it in person.
 
As you walk into the little museum, you feel as if you have stepped back into time within its rose-scented interior. As I venture toward the back where the rosebush is, my first impression is of a beautifully shaded patio area.
 
 
Over the patio, the outer branches of the rosebush create dappled shade.  
 
As you make your way toward the main part of the rose bush, the sheer enormity of its size begins to be evident.  
 
 
In the center of the branches, you can see the large, twisted trunk of the rosebush.
 
It is really hard to get the scale of how big it is from pictures – but look at how small the door looks off to the right side.
 
 
Now, see how big it looks with me next to it in the picture, above. Note – I am fairly tall at 5’9″.
 
The trunk is approximately 12-feet around and very shaggy with strips bark falling off. It definitely looks old.
 
This photo is taken with a flash, which lights up the area considerably. In actuality, it is very shady underneath.
 
 
Even when you stand right next to it, you can’t quite believe the enormous size.
 
This rosebush is not only the world’s largest – but it is also very old. For that reason, the history of the rosebush and how it came to be in Tombstone is quite interesting.
 
 

History

The rose came from Scotland in 1887, which makes it over 130 years old. A young Scottish immigrant and her husband moved to Tombstone in 1885.  Her family sent their homesick daughter a box filled with cuttings of her favorite rosebush from home.
 
She gave one of the cuttings to her friend, Amelia Adamson. Together they planted the rosebush in back of Amelia’s boarding house where it has obviously flourished in its new surroundings.
 
Years later, the rosebush began to get attention with its large size. Consequently, it was declared the world’s largest in the 1930’s.
 
Now, the Tombstone rosebush reaches over 8,000 square feet!
 
 
To get an overall view of the rosebush, you walk to the other side where there are steps to climb. Because the only part you see underneath the patio are its branches, the view from above is quite different. As a result, you have a clear view of the lacy foliage and flowers in the spring.
 
 
Can you imagine how beautiful this would look in bloom? It is said that roses absolutely cover the entire upper part of the rosebush with fragrant, white flowers…

 

This is a close-up of the flowers from a different Lady Bank’s rose.

 
As you can imagine, holding up a rosebush this large isn’t easy. Therefore, metal rods form a checkerboard pattern that are large wooden posts hold up.

I spot a bird’s nest within the branches.

After I finish with my photos, I stroll back into the museum where I notice row of small rose bushes.
 
 
Above them is this sign…
 
 
Well, I don’t describe myself as an ‘impulse buyer’,  I just have to buy a cutting from this historic plant.
 
 
I do have a good spot for it where it can grow up on the wall in my side yard. Because it can’t climb without support, I will provide a trellis for it to grow up on.  Lady Bank’s roses also make great ground covers.
 
Although this rosebush was an impulse buy, it requires less maintenance than more traditional roses. I certainly can’t wait to grow a piece of the world’s largest rosebush!
The last blooms of red bird-of-paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) in bloom underneath the filtered shade of a desert willow (Chilopsis linearis).  Mexican bird-of-paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) grows in front of the window.
There is nothing better than enjoying a lovely view of your garden, (while sitting with your feet up), after being out of town for several days.

I’ve spent the past several days in Atlanta, Georgia, touring gardens, learning from educational sessions, networking, and socializing at this year’s annual Garden Communicator’s Symposium.

A few days before I left for the conference, I hosted my dear friend, Andrea, who flew all the way from Australia to me in Arizona for a few days before we both left for Atlanta.

I got in late last night and relished sleeping in my own bed – there is truly no better feeling after a long day of traveling and sleeping in a hotel bed.

I try to keep my schedule light the day after I get home from a trip and today is no different.  So what’s on the schedule today?  Catching up on my favorite television shows while going through business cards from new contacts I met, working my way through the large pile of mail waiting for me, deciding where in the garden to put the new plants I was given at the conference, and deciding what new garden samples to try first in my garden.

What do you do when you come home from a  trip?

Some of you may remember me sharing about my oldest daughter moving to a small town in Michigan back in early September – “Goodbye Arizona, Hello Michigan”



It was so hard to see them go, but at the same time, I was excited for their new future as they left to join my son-in-law who just started a new job as a professor at a college in Petoskey, Michigan.

The very next day, as my husband and I booked a flight for Michigan in November.  I must admit that planning a trip within a few months of their leaving helped me to deal their absence more easily.

As November approached, I began to count down the days until we would see them again.


Our flight left on an early Friday morning and would take us to the city of Grand Rapids.


From there, we rented a car for the 3-hour drive up to Petoskey, which is located at the “tip of the mitt” as the locals like to say.

Along the way, we spotted a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant.  Now this is a place where both my husband and I spent a lot of time (separately) visiting while children growing up in Arizona and California.  Sadly, they have all but disappeared in those states, but they are still quite popular in Michigan.

So, we stopped off for dinner where we both enjoyed our favorite meals from our past.


As we sat eating our dinner, snow began to fall.  It was at this point that the fact that we weren’t local was painfully obvious as we couldn’t stop looking and talking about the snow.

We pulled into Petoskey just before 8:00 pm and Brittney, Lily & Jeff were waiting outside for us, bundled in their jackets.

It was so wonderful to be close enough to hug them all again and I could hardly wait for the next day to begin.


Our first stop was at Meijier’s, which is very large grocery store chain in the Midwest.  Lily was excited to share her coffee drink with me.  She said that it was better than Starbucks because they put sprinkles on their drinks.

We then bought some groceries.  My job was to make her a birthday cake and we also took her birthday shopping.



Next, we drove to Northern Central Michigan College, where my son-in-law now teaches.  Lily loves to visit her dad at work.



It was so nice seeing his office, classroom and how happy he was after working so many years for his PhD.

Whenever we are traveling, I love to eat at restaurants that are different than what are at home.  We ate dinner at a local pizza and sandwich restaurant where I was introduced to ‘grinders’.


Grinders are basically Italian subs that are often served alongside pizza.  All I can say, is that were delicious!

The next morning, we were awakened early by the appearance of our granddaughter Lily, by our bedside who then got into bed with us and snuggled for a half hour before we all woke up.  I must confess, that was one of my favorite moments of our entire trip.


Little Traverse Bay.


The next morning, we decided to set out for the picturesque downtown area of Petoskey, which is consistently rated in the “Top 10 Best Small Towns of America”.  



While the walk was a short one (3 blocks), we found time to pick dandelions and blow the seeds.




The downtown area is quaint and filled with a variety of shops, restaurants and other businesses. We passed the local park with its gazebo, a lovely church with its tall steeple and gas lights and shop windows being decorated with garlands made of fresh evergreens.
You can read more about our visit to the downtown area in my previous post “A Small Town Visit and Holiday Traditions”. 





After doing some Christmas shopping the local bookstore, general store and fudge shop, we made our way back home.



While Lily took her nap, my husband and I took a mini-road trip to visit the other small towns close by before getting ready for our ‘big date’.



We had a date with our very sweet granddaughter, Lily, while her parents went on their own grown-up date.

Our restaurant of choice was ‘Roast & Toast’, which I had eaten at the year before on a prior visit to Petoskey.  Lily thought that the cups and plates stuck to the outside of the window were pretty cool – the purple coffee cup was her favorite 😉



Lily was a delightful dinner partner.





We had a table located in a little alcove.


It turned out that the seat was perfect for lying on while eating your dinner.

*Believe it or not, I had no problem with Lily lying down eating her dinner.  In fact, I thought it was rather cute.  But, I would NEVER allow my own kids to do that, which let me to an epiphany that many grandparents experience – your standards you set for your children vs. your grandchildren are completely different, which makes it much easier to be a grandparent than a parent!


The downtown area came alive in the evening with the gas light lit up with their festive greenery and Christmas lights.



The next day, we spent some time at home.  I found myself enjoying the view from the living room windows, where the you could just see Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan out of the window through the trees.



Wildlife was abundant around the house including brightly colored blue jays, cardinals, black & brown squirrels and deer.



Of course, Flynn, their dog was there to chase those wild animals away 😉



Lily and I spent time playin with her new ‘My Little Pony’ toy, that squirted out play-doh.



Her papa showed his love for Lily by playing dolls with her for over an hour at the kitchen table.

It was so nice to completely unplug from our busy lives and just sit back and enjoy the simple pleasures.  I helped my daughter with her first knitting project and even found myself coloring a page in her new ‘adult’ coloring book, which was surprisingly enjoyable and relaxing.

After cooking dinner for the family, I set to work making Lily’s birthday cake with her help.


She wanted an orange cake with hot pink frosting and sprinkles.



And that is exactly what she got.

After we left the next day for our trip home, I reflected on how fortunate we were to have been able to spend time with our daughter and her precious family.  Thankfully, we only have to wait a few more weeks until Christmas until they come to our house for a long visit!

**Thank you for allowing me to share a glimpse with ou into an important part of my life 🙂

We’ve just finished the first day of our Northwest road trip.



It all began very early this morning.  We left the house at 4:50 a.m. in order to get to the airport on time for our 6:50 flight to Portland, Oregon.

While I have traveled to the Northwest twice, this was to be my first time in Oregon and I could hardly wait to explore Portland.

Many of you may know that I am crazy for roses and that my love for them inspired me to go to school to become a horticulturist.


So, it should come as no surprise that the International Rose Test Garden in Portland was our first stop.


It is not only a beautiful garden open to the public – it also serves an important function to test new roses to see how they do.  The pink roses, above, were undergoing testing and as a result, not been named yet.  As far as I’m concerned, they deserve to pass – they were gorgeous and had healthy foliage.


I confess to having a preference for roses with multiple shades of color.


I loved the unique colors of this ‘Distant Thunder’ rose, don’t you?


The garden was large, but not overwhelming in its size.  We were able to walk around and see the roses within an hour’s time.


There were all sorts of roses growing there from climbing, floribunda, hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature and old-fashioned.


There were a few differences in the rose bushes that is not often seen in drier climates like the desert Southwest.

For one, we don’t see moss growing on rose canes.


Also, blackspot is a fungal disease that is prevalent in humid climates and while it is a problem in the humid climate of the Northwest, it isn’t often seen in the Southwest.


The peak bloom season for roses in Portland is still a couple of weeks away, but there were still plenty in bloom.


Almost as fun as enjoying the roses was seeing all the different types of people who came to visit these gardens, including this little girl who was having fun by the fountain.


Not surprisingly, I took over 200 photographs of roses and have more than I will need for upcoming rose articles.  Who knows?  I may create a rose calendar for my wall next year 🙂


I happen to share William Shakespeare’s sentiments when it comes to roses.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Oregon Historical Society Museum, in downtown Portland, to learn more about Oregon’s history.

We then took a stroll along the South Park Blocks, which is a green space that runs through the center of Portland that is made up of 12 squares (or city blocks).


In the middle of each square is a statue or other artwork.  Here is one of Theodore Roosevelt.


Abraham Lincoln can also be seen enjoying the beauty of Portland.


Okay, when people say that Portland is ‘green’, they aren’t kidding.  While it is so beautiful, it can be a little overwhelming to this Southwestern resident.

Our next stop was to the Far East, better known as the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  


To be honest, this wasn’t a scheduled stop on our itinerary, but we had some time to kill before we could check into our hotel and so we drove through the downtown and drove past this garden.

Well, as a mother of 3 children from China as well as having visited China myself a few times, I looked forward to looking through the garden.


Chinese lions guarded the entrance to the gardens.

As we stepped toward the entrance, a kind visitor offered to take me with her, using her 2-person guest pass, saving me the admission fee.  (Did I mention that all the people we have met in Portland are exceptionally nice?)


Upon entering the gardens, I was instantly transported back to China and the gardens that I had visited years ago.


Rhododendrons are in full bloom everywhere you look and I really liked how the pond reflected their pink blooms.


The blossoms are huge!


Being in Portland, some rain is to be expected and we got sprinkled on at the Chinese garden.


Visitors and workers enjoyed each others company.  I got a kick out of seeing this garden worker working in the pink taking care of the water lilies.


Decorative pathways made from pebbles stretched throughout the garden.


Bonsai plants were scattered about.  


While I like the look of bonsai, I lack that patience to use the technique.


Before we left the garden, I stopped by the gift shop to buy a Chinese gift for my daughter, Gracie, who is very proud of her Chinese heritage.

Portland is a great place to visit.  The gardens are beautiful…


And water is not in short supply as is evident from the drinking fountains that run non-stop…

Tomorrow, we will visit Portland’s Saturday Market, which is a large arts and crafts market with ver 250 vendors.  Then we are off to Tillamook (cheese) and Astoria, Oregon.  


I’ll be sure to post more tomorrow!

Do you like to travel?


I bet you do.  But, if you are like me, you don’t like the having to tasks such as packing, finishing up last minute things at work and such.


Since I will be traveling without my husband and kids, I’ll also need to stop by the grocery store so that they don’t starve while I’m gone.


Below, is my kid’s puzzle of the United States and on it, I have placed the states that I have visited – many of them on annual road trips with my mother.




As you can see, there are some empty spaces and our road trips are an ongoing effort to visit all the different regions in the United States.

So before I reveal where we will be going this year, let’s look at the options for the road trip we considered:


Southern and Plains states.


A few Rocky Mountain states.


New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.


The Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada.

and


Texas and surrounding states.

Before I reveal our destination, I have to confess that it wasn’t our first choice.  We had initially decided to travel to New England and had worked hard on an itinerary filled with fun things to do and see.

But, that was before the harsh winter that they experienced.  We were advised by many New England natives that a trip this year would be difficult due to spring being delayed and numerous road crews repairing damaged streets due to pot holes left from the cold winter.

So, we decided to postpone our New England trip to next year (hopefully).

The destination that we finally decided on for this year is a region that we have both visited, but wanted to explore further…


We will be visiting the Northwest and British Columbia, Canada and I can hardly wait!

I have been to Seattle twice, but not by car and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic city.

I’m ashamed to admit that I have never visited Oregon.  It has always been a state that is flown over on my way to Washington and I have always wanted to explore it further.

Here is a detailed map of where we will be going:


Our journey begins in Portland, where we will visit the world famous rose garden.  Of course, we will also explore other areas of this fun city.

After leaving Portland, we will drive to Astoria and spend some time before heading up to Seattle.

Later, we will stay in Port Angeles and visit the Olympic National Park.

The next leg of our journey involves a ferry to get us to Victoria, Canada.  I was fortunate to have spent a day in this very English city including Butchart Gardens, which I plan on seeing again.

Another ferry ride will take us from Victoria to Vancouver, which I have always wanted to visit since the Olympics was held there.

The last portion of our trip will bring us back toward Seattle with a stop in Mount Vernon and more gardens to visit.

**If you have any helpful advice on what to do and see in this area, I’d love some advice.

I hope you will join me as our journey begins!  I will be blogging from the road, sharing the sights and experiences along the way.

It all begins on Friday


Do you ever go on road trips?


As a child, we traveled almost everywhere by car. My parents would load up our station wagon complete with its ‘faux’ wooden panels and my sister, brother and I would argue about who would have to sit in the middle first.


Tanaya Lake in Yosemite.  I’m on the left 🙂

Most of our road trips involved camping throughout the state of California.  I have great memories of sitting by the campfire, my mom making chicken and dumplings on the camp stove, dirty feet that had to be washed before walking into the tent and most of all, just having fun.

Now that I am grown, road trips are still a part of my life.  While I take many with my own family, I also go on a special road trip each year with my mother.


For those of you who have followed my blog for awhile, you have undoubtedly participated in our road trip adventures.  In fact, I am often asked where our next destination will be.

Every year, we both sit down and decide where our next adventure lies.  The goal is to explore different regions of the United States by car.

We typically fly into one city and days later, end up several states away.  Our road trips have taken us to a variety of fun places and experiences including:


Touring a horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky.


Walking through the grounds of an old plantation in Savannah, Georgia.


Observing an old Amish farmer, throwing manure onto his corn field.


Strolling through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina and admiring the lovely window boxes.


Touring Mackinac Island in Michigan and coming back with several pounds of fudge.


Visiting some beautiful botanical gardens like Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.


Exploring lighthouses, including the one at Point Betsie, Michigan.


Of course, wherever we go, I am always on the lookout for new gardens to visit, which I love to share with you.

As we hit the road, I blog about each day’s adventures – usually daily.

My bag is almost packed and I am finishing up a few things before I go, which leads me to the question that many of you have been asking:

“Where are we going?”

Earlier this year, I asked you for some suggestions and mentioned five different options we were considering, which you can read here.  

I’ll be back on Wednesday, to let you know what region we decided to visit!

Do you love roses?  I do.


I used to have 40 roses in my Phoenix garden – I must admit that I went a little overboard.  

Showing my sister a few of my roses back in the 90’s
Now my rose garden consists of three well-loved roses…

Abraham Darby

Although my passion has steered toward using drought tolerant trees and plants to add beauty to the landscape, I still have a special place in my heart for roses.

So, whenever I am on the road and a rose garden is nearby, I always take some time to “walk through the roses”.


Back in 2001, we took a trip to Ireland.  This was when we had two kids and not five (we adopted three children from China a few years later).

Of course when traveling in Europe, castles are always on the ‘must-see’ list.  While visiting the city of Kilkenny, we decided to make a stop at Kilkenny Castle.

The problem was, was that all of Ireland and Great Britain was under quarantine conditions at many of the tourist attractions due to ‘foot and mouth’ disease, which was highly contagious and speading to livestock.

So, much of our trip was spent looking from the outside in.


Fast forward 2 years later and we found ourselves in Kilkenny again and we were thrilled that there were no restrictions.  

My husband was anxious to go on the tour of the inside of the castle, but the problem was, was that I couldn’t tear myself away from the rose gardens surrounding the castle.


It was June and the roses smelled heavenly and were so beautiful.

Whenever I find myself on a large estate or castle (which isn’t all that often), I like to dream of what I would do with the gardens.

In this case, I would probably tear up more grass and add more roses!

I look cranky in this photo, but I blame it on the jet lag from arriving in Ireland the day before.
After spending an hour touring the grounds, we did make it indoors for the tour, which was very interesting – I like history too!


The next day was spent touring the surrounding countryside, but in the afternoon, we found ourselves drawn to the rose garden again and sat on the benches reading.

I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon, do you?

**************************

For more information on roses and how to grow them in the desert, I have listed several blog posts that will help that you can access, here.

Do you have friends with whom you share a common interest?


I do.


My friend and fellow blogger, Amy Andrychowicz of Get Busy Gardening loves gardening as much as I do.  Amy and I have spent time together in Arizona and later in Florida.



Last week, while on a road trip through the Midwest, I made sure to make a stop in Minneapolis to visit with Amy and see her garden in person.




You may be wondering what a gardener from a hot, dry climate would have in common with one from a cold, temperate climate?  


My winter temps can get down to 20 – 25 degrees in my desert garden while Amy’s goes all the way down to -30 to -25 degrees.  That is up to a 50 degree difference!

But, believe it or not, there are a large number of plants that can grow in both climates.


Entering Amy’s back garden, my attention was immediately drawn to her large beds filled with colorful perennials.


I love iris!

I am always taking pictures of iris throughout my travels.  While they can grow very well in Arizona, I have never grown them myself.  


The major difference between growing irises in the Southwest and the Midwest is the time that they bloom.  Iris will bloom earlier in the spring while their bloom won’t start until late spring in cooler regions.


After seeing Amy’s in full bloom, I may need to rethink planting these beautiful plants in my own garden.


Succulents aren’t just for the warmer regions.  I have encountered prickly pear cacti in some unexpected places including upstate New York.

Here, Amy has a prickly pear enjoying the sun flanked by two variegated sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that produces reddish flowers in late summer to early autumn.

This plant also can grow in desert gardens, but does best in the upper desert regions or in the low desert in fertile soil and filtered shade.


You might not expect to see water harvesting practiced outside of arid regions. But you can see examples of water harvesting throughout the United States.

This is Amy’s rain garden.  The middle of the garden is sloped into a swale that channels and retains rainwater allowing it to soak into the soil.  Plants are planted along the sides of the swale who benefit from the extra water.


A water feature was surrounded by low-growing plants including one that caught my eye.


This ground cover had attractive, gray foliage covered with lovely, white flowers.  I wasn’t familiar with this plant and asked Amy what it was.


I love the name of this plant, ‘Snow in Summer’ (Cerastium tomentosum).  While it thrives in hot, dry conditions, it does not grow in warmer zones 8 – 11.



Enjoying the shade from the ground cover was a frog.


I always enjoy seeing plants that aren’t commonly grown where I live.  I have always liked the tiny flowers of coral bells (Heuchera species).  It blooms throughout the summer in cooler climates. 


Do you like blue flowers?  I do.  I first saw Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ growing on a visit to the Lurie Gardens in Chicago.

This lovely perennial won’t grow in my desert garden, so I’m always excited to see it during my travels.



Amy had two beautiful clematis vines just beginning to bloom.  

I must admit to being slightly envious of her being able to grow these lovely, flowering vines.  Years ago after moving to Arizona, I tried growing clematis.  While it did grow, it never flowered.  Clematis aren’t meant to be grown in hot, dry climates.

Aren’t these single, deep pink peonies gorgeous?

While I am usually content with the large amount of plants that I can grow in my desert garden, peonies are top on my list of plants that I wish would grow in warmer climates such as mine.

Amy’s garden was filled with beautiful, flowering peonies of varying colors.


I took A LOT of pictures of her peonies. 




There was even a lovely bouquet of peonies decorating the dining room table.


Amy’s back garden is divided up into individual beds and one entire side of the garden is filled with her impressive vegetable garden.



You may be surprised to find that growing vegetables is largely the same no matter where you live.  The main difference is the gardening calendar.  For example, I plant Swiss chard in October and enjoy eating it through March.  In Amy’s garden, Swiss chard isn’t planted until late spring.  


Swiss chard


The raised vegetable beds were painted in bright colors, which contrasted beautifully with the vegetables growing inside.  Even when the beds stand empty, they still add color to the landscape.

Green Beans

Kale



Young pepper plants took advantage of a hot, sunny location in which they will thrive.


One thing that is different in vegetable gardening is the practice of ‘winter sowing’.  When Amy first told me about this method of sowing and germinating seeds, I was fascinated.

Basically, seeds are planted in containers with holes poked on the bottom for drainage.  The containers are then covered with plastic tops also covered with holes.  

In mid-winter, the containers are set outside.  Snow and later, rain water the plants inside the containers and the seeds germinate once temperatures start to warm up.

Amy has a great blog post about winter sowing that I highly recommend.

As we got ready to leave, we walked through the side garden, which had a wooden bridge.



Different varieties of thyme were planted amount the pavers for a lovely effect.  


Thyme can make a great ground cover in areas that receive little foot traffic.


In the front garden, I noticed the characteristic flowers of columbine growing underneath the shade tree.

I don’t often see red columbine.  Amy’s reseeds readily, so she always has columbine coming up.



This is a sweet, pink columbine that has smaller, but more plentiful flowers.

I had visited Amy’s garden through her blog, Get Busy Gardening for a long time and it was so wonderful to be able to see it in person.  It is beautiful!


I encourage you to visit Amy’s blog, which is filled with a lot of helpful advice – even for those of us who live in the Southwest.

It’s hard to believe that our road trip has come to a close.


Our last day was filled with some memorable adventures.


We woke up to an overcast morning at our bed & breakfast.  

You know what the best part of staying at a B&B is?  The breakfasts!

We started out with strawberries and bananas on a bed of sweetened cream followed by french toast, sausage and eggs.  

Do you remember my telling you how popular rhubarb is in this area, in my last post?

Well, during breakfast, we also had a slice of rhubarb pie.  Can I tell you a secret?  I don’t like rhubarb.


Speaking of rhubarb – it was growing out in the garden.


Speaking of gardens, theirs was beautiful.  This lovely fountain surrounded by petunias was the focal view from the dining room.


A circular bed, edged in stones held flowering violas and chives.


White daisies filled the other perennial beds.

I think that daisies can brighten up almost anyone’s day, don’t you?


Along the side of the 100 year old Victorian home, was a side garden with a curved stone pathway that led to a covered arbor.


Purple ‘Wave’ petunias surrounded by bacopa took center stage from this window.  

I always get a kick out of the fact that we grow many of the same annuals in the desert – just at a different time of year.


The bed & breakfast was located in Amish country.  As we ate breakfast, I noticed an Amish girl working in the garden.

She was busy using hand pruners to prune away old, woody growth from some shrubs.

*Amish people do not like pictures of their faces to be taken, which is why I am only showing her from behind.


After breakfast, we got into our car and headed toward Minneapolis, which was to be our last destination.

Our flight wasn’t scheduled to take off until 7:40 pm, so we had the entire day to fill.


We decided to spend some time at the Mill City Museum.

Did you know that Minneapolis used to be the flour capitol of the world?  It’s true.


As someone who loves carbs with a passion and would rather eat bread then sweets, I knew that I had to check out this museum.


The museum is housed in the old Gold Medal Flour factory, which used to be the world’s largest flour mill.


It is 8-stories high and much of it was destroyed by a fire in the 90’s.

You can see the girders and where the floors used to be in the ruins.


The interior had some great exhibits about the history of the early flour industry and how the city of Minneapolis used the power of the Mississippi River to power the mill.

One very cool part of the museum was the Flour Tower tour.


I apologize for the bad photo, but wanted you to see the large freight elevator that visitors went on.

As you sit, a guide takes you along a journey up and down 8 floors of the mill.  Each floor opens up to a display that recreates the history of the mill.


At the top of the mill, we were allowed to get up and walk to the top of the building.


You could see the old sign, which stood tall above us.


From the rooftop, you could see the Mississippi River flowing by.


I wonder if I will ever tire of seeing the Mississippi River.  I hope not.


Across the river, you could see the old Pillsbury Flour Mill.


After leaving the mill, we head a little time left before we had to turn in our rental car and head to the airport.  So, we decided to go and see Minnehaha Falls.

The falls are located in the middle of the city and flows from the Minnehaha River before joining the Mississippi.

As you stand along the viewing area, you are sprayed by the water, which is really quite refreshing.

The falls are 53 feet tall.


During this entire road trip, my mother has been enjoying taking pictures with her new iPhone.  

Many of her photos are of me taking pictures of my camera, like this one at the falls.

It was time to wrap up our visit to Minneapolis and start toward the airport.


Our time at the airport was much longer then we had planned for.  Our 7:40 pm flight was delayed for 4 hours until 11:30 pm.

Thankfully, I had my laptop and some knitting to keep me busy while we waited.


Sunset in Minneapolis.

I was really wishing that I had been on a plane by now.  I missed my husband and kids.

The airline brought out a cart filled with snacks and drinks for all of us who had to wait.

I ate my fill of shortbread cookies and Ritz cheese crackers.

Our flight finally arrived and we soon left for home.

We had a wonderful time on our road trip and I appreciate your comments so much.

BUT, my road trip posts aren’t over yet.

I’ve saved the visit to my friend and fellow garden blogger, Amy’s garden for my last post.

I can’t wait to show you what’s growing in her garden – so come back soon!

Today was spent driving from Wisconsin, over the Mississippi River into southeastern Minnesota.


Bridge over the Mississippi River toward Minnesota. *Cell phone + dirty windshield = grainy photo.


You know how people who haven’t lived near the ocean, find it fascinating when they get the chance to visit?

I think it is somewhat the same for me in regards to seeing the Mississippi River.  The immense size of the river is amazing.  

This is the third time that I have seen the Mississippi River and it is still something that I always look forward to.

We arrived into the town of Winona, Minnesota – we drove up to Garvin Heights, where a path leads from the parking lot to a viewing point located over 500 ft. above the river and the city.



Isn’t it beautiful?


Off in the distance, you can see the bridge that we drove over, which connects Wisconsin to Minnesota.


My mother has been enjoying her first smartphone.  During our trip, she had taken multiple pictures of me taking photos of plants and/or scenery.  


It makes me feel happy and special at the same time 🙂


During the first part of our day, we spent some time shopping for antiques.

My mother loves antiques and I like to find old pieces that I can use as planters in my garden.  In the Midwest and Eastern regions of the US, antiques are a lot less expensive then in the west – so we like to take advantage of nice antique stores when we can.

I found a large, old coffee pot (the kind they would use in a chuck wagon for a lot of people) that I plan on using for a flower planter in my smaller vegetable garden.

You may be wondering how I am going to get my coffee pot home.  Well, that leads to a tradition that my mother and I started during our first road trip 3 years ago.  We wait until the last day of our trip and then go to a local UPS store and send our souvenirs home.  It makes our life much simpler and we have less to carry in our suitcases.

Another grainy cell phone photo taken through the windshield.

As we headed toward the southeastern corner of Minnesota, we found ourselves alone on country highways for long lengths of time.


Not that I’m complaining about the absence of vehicles.  I’m sure that after spending a day or two at home that I’ll be wishing for fewer cars on the road.


The weather during our trip has been very nice.  There was some rain, which fell during the night, so it did not affect our activities.


Our day’s journey ended in Lanesboro, Minnesota, which has been the recipient of the Great American Main Street Award.  Lanesboro, is located close to Amish communities and we have seen some Amish folk during our travels today.

The main street is lined with historic buildings that have been transformed into trendy shops and eateries.

Unlike many Amish communities that I’ve visited in the past, Lanesboro has upscale, trendy shops, which I really enjoyed visiting, instead of shops stocked full of Amish souvenirs.


A few of the shops had a combination of both new and old things, like this old antique that was transformed into a planter.


This shop had an interesting planter with a galvanized pipe with flowers sitting in a dish planted with real grass.


A variety of succulents were displayed with old, wooden boxes.


This alleyway was filled with plants and antiques, which I love.


One interesting observation about our travels this day is the popularity of rhubarb.  

It was planted along the main street.


Rhubarb ice cream was also available in many of the shops.

I bet you didn’t know that rhubarb was so popular did you?



I admit that I didn’t try the rhubarb ice cream flavor.  I went for salted caramel crunch – yum!


Remember the cheese curds that I tried on day 5 of our road trip?  They are everywhere.  I usually see them offered fried.

As our trip draws towards its end, here are a few observations in contrast to living in California and Arizona (places that I’ve lived).

– In almost every restaurant, Coke products aren’t offered – Pepsi is the drink of choice.

– In all of our driving, we have only seen one highway patrol car (in CA and AZ you often see one every few minutes).

– Starbucks is a huge favorite of my mother and during our road trips, we usually make at least one stop there each day.  On this trip, we have hardly seen any Starbucks stores.  But, there have been quite a few other coffee shops, including independent ones.

Tomorrow, we will fly home in the evening from Minneapolis.  My husband has been wonderful taking care of the kids and house while I’ve been gone.  

But, I’m not sure about what he has been feeding the kids…


My 12-year-old son posted this picture of his dinner the other night, which consists of french fries, cheddar cheese and bacon.

I protested the lack of vegetables, which my husband responded to by saying, “We each had 4 mini-carrots to round our dinner.”  He then went on further to say, “And we had vegetables on our pizza for lunch.”

I told my kids that I have quite a few dinners planned when I get home that will have lots of ‘greens’ in them.

*Tomorrow, we will spend the day in Minneapolis and I’m looking forward to visiting my friend and fellow garden blogger, Amy of Get Busy Gardening.  I can’t wait to see her and her garden.  I’ll be sure to share my visit with you!