Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Precious Pollinators - All the Rest

Here is the last part of my mini-series on Pollinators, thank you for reading, feel free to comment, I love hearing from you and seeing who's stopping by!

Moths are the night owls of the garden, they are out when we usually aren't and are often overlooked. If you have an affinity for white flowers or flowers with a strong fragrance you will be luring them into your gardens.

This photo was taken by Darlyne A. Murawski and is from the website AllPosters.com It is an amazing photo and I couldn't pass up including it.

Flies, I know, we usually swat at them, chase them out of our houses and away from our picnics. But they’re just trying to do their jobs! Flies pollinate the Paw Paw, Queen Anne’s lace and another one of my fave’s Goldenrod!

And lastly, please try to eliminate pesticide use. That alone will help increase pollinators in your garden and will result in a happier, healthier environment for you as well.

This is a garden I designed for a customer in Arlington, she's got a LOT of good summer sun and some heavy bloomers, Agastache, Veronica, Black Eyed Susan. Diversity of plants means diversity of pollinators!

For more information check out the website for Pollinator Partnership. You can search by your specific region to find out even more valuable information.


Precious Pollinators - The B's

Bees such as this Honeybee below, is one of nearly 4,000 species to be exact! Some form colonies, others are solitary, so keep track of what you see so you know what to provide for.

Butterflies in the Order of Lepidoptera (this goes WAY back to the grade school days - Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, anyone else remember that??) They only feed in full sun, so if you can, carve out an area you can dedicate to attracting these beauties. They love rotting fruit and puddles of damp mud where they can get minerals from, so feel free to compost this way.

This is a gorgeous Tiger Swallowtail on a Milkweed plant from here (a great website that has AWESOME images!!)

Beetles often get a bad wrap, and usually rightly so, they tend to much leaves and put holes in our precous plants. However, they also pollinate some of my fave's ie: Magnolia, Paw Paw and Calycanthus also known as Sweetshrub.

Birds, and HUMMINGBIRDS especially play a huge role in pollination. Their long beaks and tongues draw out the nectar, I thought it was interesting to learn that their beaks and wings can also carry pollen. I get CRAZY excited when I see them in my yard or even on my feeder, I am like a small, squealing child. (Guilty as charged!)

Joe Schneid, of Louisville, Kentucky was lucky enough to catch one of my FAVORITE birds in action, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird. She is sipping on some bee balm.

Bats are not really pollinators in this area (they eat the insects around here, which is fine by me!) Unless you can grow cactus, which happens to be one of their food sources, you're probably never going to notice them. There is no need to be afraid of them either, out of the 1,100+ species, only 3 are vampire bats, none of which live here, and even then, they DO NOT like people, they eat other small animals.

Are you lucky enough to have any of these in your garden? If so, do you track them? If not, will you add some plants that will help attract them?

Happy Wednesday!

Precious Pollinators

I'm going to do a few posts this week on this one topic, so read along and please come back to check in!

I know lots of people run to their local garden center, Home Depot, Lowes or Farm Stands on a weekend to grab whatever bright, bursting flowers are available to tuck into your containers back at home. Often people give little thought to the arrangement. Do NOT take this to mean I think you don't care...what I'm trying to say is VERY different...What I MEAN is you don't realize the choices you make have far-reaching consequences.

If you knew that 90% of flowering plants and food crops depend on pollinators you MIGHT feel differently about your plant selection. (Statistic from "The Forgotten Pollinators" by Buchmann and Nabhan, 1996.) Book from Amazon.

With the increase of development, and the decrease of available farmable land, these critical pollinators are dwindling.

This is NOT meant to scare you, or worry you, or cause you to stop reading! If anything it is meant to inform you and to guide you in making better decisions. The even better news is that by choosing plants that provide food and shelter for these hard-working pollinators, you are supporting our own food supply and creating more diversity in our world!

Food, Water, Shelter and a place to raise their young are the essential habitat requirements, doesn't seem so hard right? It's not!

So who are these magical pollinators??

Stay tuned, as I said in the beginning, I will give you an overview of these pollinators in each post this week to give you more info!

Do you like this idea and find it helpful? Or are you too set in your ways to change??

Let me know, feedback as you know is critical, good, bad or ugly! (Not that any of you are ugly, bloggers are the nicest group of people with big hearts and kind words!)


Monday, June 28, 2010

Tasteful Totes

Since it's full-fledged summer here in VA, I thought I'd post on one of my favorite activities...THE POOL! And what accessory do you need when you go? Well, obviously a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, a stash of magazines and towel, but to take it all with you while looking stylish you need...A TOTE! I'm sure I will do a post on the above mentioned items, but for now I've had my eye on these lovelies:

Collapsible Basket from Garnet Hill. They come in a great array of colors and patterns and are not only perfect for pool accessories, but also farmers market trips and flea marketing (other summer faves!) And for you TRUE southerners, they can be MONOGRAMMED-yessss!

As a "green" person along with being a water baby, I have an affinity for these beautiful recycled sail totes from Re-Sails. They have a TON of options, you can even customize the bag with your children's sports number, I would have been ALL over this had they had these when I was younger. Alas, now I have to use them as an adult, you can just FEEl my arm twisting :)

For all you nature lovers, this bamboo print tote from Wrapables would be a nice light bag, it also collapses into practically nothing, so you can store it when it's not filled to the brim!

This gorgeous woven bamboo tote is too good looking to NOT put on here. Also from Wrapables, after it's use as a pool carry-all, I would probably use it as a purse as well, love the detailing, handles and liner!

Do you need to "upgrade" your pool tote this year? Do any of these make the list?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Goodbye Detergent!

I first saw these in Shape magazine and of course took it to the gym when I was done reading it (my little way to recycle and get other people reading!)

Then last night, I was flipping through an older Martha Stewart Magazine I saw this amazing product line by Goodbye Detergent.

Twice in two months, it was meant to be! I thought to myself, "Where have you been all my life" I LOVE to clean! I know I TRY to be good and use green products when cleaning, but I'm sure even though I'm conscious of it, I probably use more soap than necessary, I mean I want things CLEAN after all! Seeing suds usually means TOO much soap, bubbles are good - in Champagne, not in laundry and dishes...

They have three different products:

Their Original Spaghetti Scrubs

These look like the perfect green solution. The coarse scrubber is made from from corn cobs and the gentle is made from peach pits. They don't need soap to clean unless you have a VERY greasy job. Because they're organic and dry quickly they will not mold or mildew and smell like a typical kitchen sponge.

Plus, I think they're VERY cool looking!

Kitchen Cleaning Pads

They have a great variety of options in this category for every surface in your kitchen. I think I'll be adding these to my "wish list", especially the stainless steel one, fingerprints no more!

Outdoor Scouring Pads

Last but certainly not least. Their website says these are great for outdoors, I wish I hadn't cleaned my Teak furniture yet! I'll have to give these babies a whirl next season to see how they work. I know MANY of you are DIY'ers, what a great way to strip some paint without being all laughy and tox'd out.

Have any of you tried these? Would you? What are your thoughts??

Stay cool if you're in the DC/VA area, it's a scorcher today!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swim, Bike, Run, Here we come!

Swim: 16:50
I feel like this was most certainly my strength, although I can REALLY shave off more time in the future. I swam all through my childhood and on my High School team. I was SO competitive when I was younger, I raced with a CAST on my foot, AND placed second. I know, second, not first, but man, was I determined! I think having that kind of mindset is what got me to train for a triathlon in the first place.

They started us treading water, I wasn't crazy about that because it expends energy, and you want your adrenaline to KICK IN, but I felt good anyway. The airhorn sounded and we were off. I got a good place in the middle left of the pack and tried to keep my line straight up towards the bridge.

We turned around at the HUGE marker (photo from Pauline's husband Mark) and headed back to the floating dock, I passed some people in the TWO swim waves before me which made me feel great, but you have NO idea how fast you're going, so you just GO.

T1 3:35
Running out of the water I felt GREAT. I saw Matias, who snapped this pic of me with my "game face on" running up to my transition area.

I dried off my feet, rolled on my socks (a GREAT tip b/c they're hard to put on when you're wet) jumped into my shoes, pre-set with lace locks (for those of you who run, these are the BEST 6 bucks we ever spent!) snapped on my hemlet, grabbed my gloves and my bike and was off.

Bike 44:46
The course was fantastic! I never thought I'd say I LOVED the bike! We rode through up the Mall, passed the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, White House and rode up and back Rock Creek Parkway, up and back Whitehurst Freeway and over Memorial Bridge. Biking was something VERY new to me when I started training (in March). Greg is a great cyclist and was a wonderful coach and motivator. My first ride I thought I'd die. My second ride I went 20 miles and was drinking out of my water bottle while riding and singing "Let it Burn" while climbing hills. This was a 12 mile course, a lot of flats, but one steady incline of a hill. I found a girl from Delaware (shout out to Carol) to keep pace with and we pushed each other along the way. I did take a few pulls on my gel and drank almost my entire bottle of 1/2 gatorade 1/2 water, we were movin!

**Side note, I did see Greg on the course on Whitehurst Freeway, he got a FLAT TIRE-ugh, what a bummer. We met eyes and by the time I got to where he was he was LONG gone, but that messed his time up and I think threw him off. At least he'll be able to beat his time on the next race!**

(photo from Pauline's husband Mark)

T2 1:59
I felt GREAT getting off the bike and was happy my transition was quick. Could have been faster if I hadn't chugged some gatorade before I started, but it was H O T and I knew I'd need all the hydration I could get. Got my race belt and was OFF.

Run: 50:48
Annndd here's where it all went down...I am NOT a runner. Being 5'9" and a decent amount of long legs and muscle does NOT help. Having thrown out my pelvis and saccrum 2 summers ago and re-injuring it last summer does not help either. So this was my weakness and something I need to spend more time on. By the time we got to the run it was even hotter. There were a few people I saw get pulled off the course and hooked up to IV's (scary). I drank water at EVERY aid station, although I felt there could have been even more than there were. Next race, I'll take my own bottle so I can drink when I want, not just when there's an aid station.
They did have misters at one station, and I LOVED that, thought about running through twice-hah, no time for that though. I met up with another girl from DC who kept pace with me on the run, legs felt like jello/spaghetti/lead for the first 1/2 mile and then things got working better miles 1-3. Once I hit Capitol Hill (they don't call it that for nothing) I had to walk up the hill. I was bummed about that, but it was so hot, my hip was hurting and I was ready to be done. I managed to run the downhill and push through to the finish line.
They had ICE cold towels (my new favorite thing) and water, AND our finisher medal!! They took off our timing chip and I looked up and saw Greg beyond the rails. Ran over to hug him and burst into tears. I think the adrenaline, heat and dehydration got the best of me.

We got some water, powerade and a banana and then met up with Marian to wait for Pauline and Max (in photo below taken by her awesome husband Mark) to finish the Olympic Distance race.

My overall time was 1:57:57, under 2 hours, with NO injuries, not bad for my first triathlon.

All in all it was an AMAZING experience, and a HUGE sense of accomplishment. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. And I never thought I'd be able to say "I am a Triathlete!" Now for a few days of rest and time to start thinking...when's the next race??

Have any of you completed a triathlon? Have you done something you didn't think you could do??


The Day Before...

Saturday, the day before race day, we went down to DC to check in, get our packets, wrist band, and photo taken. We also had to check in our bike and were allowed to test the waters in the Potomac for a practice swim.

We did a little trip around the EXPO, nothing we had to have, and we were anxious to drive the course to see what to expect.

Greg dropped me off with the bikes and went to park, DC is not known for ease of parking, so I walked the bikes up to the transition area, put our stickers on and waited.

Once the bikes were racked safely, we headed across the street to hit the water! Greg and I are both strong swimmers, so this was the least of our worries, but it's still good to practice. That way there are NO surprises race morning. The swim was good, the water temp. was 77, actually nice. No three eyed-fish or dead bodies to report, a little current, but nothing to worry about. Here is the dock and "corral" we were waiting in to start the next morning.

With that accomplished, we headed home to get out of the sun, re-hydrate, eat a good pasta dinner and call it an early night!

I'm adding a RACE DAY post too, so stay tuned!

Pre Race

Sunday 3 A.M. - Yikes that's early! Our alarm went off, I was up at 2:57 ready to go even before the alarm, which is UNHEARD of, I am usually dead to the world. I guess my internal clock was ready!

We were smart and packed our gear the night before and double checked each other's bags so we were sure we weren't forgetting anything important. We had even laid out our breakfast so we didn't have to think that early.

Here we are before we left the house. I went and had my hair french braided the night before so it would stay tight and I wouldn't have to mess with it at all. They used more hairspray than would be at a southern ball, and man did it work!

Sunday 4 A.M. - We had to check our bikes in on Saturday so we put our gear in the car and drove down to the parking lot in downtown DC. We met our friend Marian (she's in the white shirt in the photo below.) She's also who got us signed up for these shenanagins (one of her favorite words) and hopped on the bus to take us to the transition area.

We were ALL nervous energy at this point, just trying to remember our checklists, setup process, etc. We had to be out of the transition area by 5:15.

Thankfully when we got off the bus one of our AWESOME coach's Matias was there, all smiles, he has more energy that anyone I've ever met! He of course had extra gels, tape, body glide (more on this later), a bike pump, and I'm sure he had rocket fuel stored somewhere as well ;) he is WICKED fast.

We got into our transition area and set up all of our gear since we wouldn't be allowed back in until after our swim. Then we went to get body marked. They put your race number on your left arm, and your age on your left calf. This allows them to track you throughout the course, plus it makes you feel a little badass, okay, maybe that was just me...

Sunday 6 A.M. - Greg was supposed to start at 5:45, but we found out we were delayed because they had to close one more road on the course, AND we were waiting for the Mayor, Adrian Fenty to arrive, he was doing the welcome announcement AND racing. We were lucky enough to get a great group shot with him.

They played the National Anthem and we were off!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Finds & wish us luck!

With Father's Day coming up Sunday I thought I'd post a few thingsb I've found for the dad's in our lives.

This shave cream from Billy Jealousy won best shave cream in Esquire magazine. I know I love it on days when Greg shaves! Although he's not a dad yet, I will be adding this to my list for his birthday in August!

A good "rugged" gift, but still keeping wood surfaces and counters in tip top shape are these rustic wood coasters and trivets from Boards By Joel .

You can never go wrong with some good grilling items, I think it's genetically predisposed that men love to grill, so here are a few things to make dinner a little more fun.

This LED grill light from ChefTools was on my list, most of the grilling gets done at dusk (or later) so this little light that cips onto any surface makes sure the meat is done to your liking.

These amazing grilling planks from aFire Grilling Products come in a variety of sizes and "flavors" so you can put your meat on them and the flavors will smoke through on the grill. These are going on our list for our dad's for sure!

And the last grill item that I might have to buy for ME, I can't resist, are these Fire Wire Flexible Grilling Skewers from Williams Sonoma. I think this is a great idea and would be much easier to marinate things. Plus, they don't have sharp pointy ends that kids (okay, my sister and I) can use to swordfight in the kitchen. You laugh, but it's happened... :) Love you Kath!

So hopefully you have found something you haven't seen before for the men in your lives.

We will be grilling out at my parents tomorrow night, with one of these gifts in tow.

But first, we have to get through our FIRST Triathlon! If you look back to one of my very early posts I mentioned it, not sure how to link to it-still learning. Greg's swim starts at 5:45 a.m. and mine at 6:10, so think of us tomorrow and send good vibes our way, I'll report back on Monday!

Happy Weekend and a big THANKS to all the GREAT Dad's in our lives. All of your sports coaching, good stories, fishing tips and studying advice, love and encouragement have served me well over the years. I couldn't have picked a better Dad.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Housewife Bliss

So the world of blogging seems to be never ending. Just when you think you've gotten a handle on things something new pops up. This morning I was THRILLED to have stumbled upon the great blog of Housewife Bliss, and even more STUNNED to see myself mentioned! Yikes! My first mention on another blog, what a cool feeling.

The ever talented Catherine of The Shiny Pebble e-mailed me asking about Arizona and desert gardening awhile back. She is one BUSY lady, she just threw an amazing blog party, go link in! How she manages to find the time is unbelieveable, I think she has MORE than 24 hours in her day ;) Perhaps it's because she's in a different time zone? Just kidding, I'm not THAT blonde!

With winding up our busiest season and just getting back from vacation I didn't think to ask anything further of it. But today I was doing my usual blog browsing and was so excited to see my name, quote and LINK on her site, I called my husband and promptly sent him the link. Haha, you can laugh at me or with me if you want, but I think it's a big deal.

This is a preview of a beautiful "Dry Wit" garden designed by Margaret Joplin, photo by Tim Fuller, but and there are more photos on her site, so head on over and check out either of these two amazing women's sites and give a big welcome back to the USA to Coryanne otherwise known as Mrs. Bliss.

Do you all remember your first mention?

Floating on Cloud 9 today,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Knock, Knock

Who's there you might ask?

This group of good looking door-knockers! They caught my eye this morning while I was installing a job in Old Town, Alexandria. As the crew was planting I took a stroll around the block and snapped a few photos of some door eye candy I couldn't wait to share.

I saw a few traditional-shout out to my home state of VA with the Dogwood, and holla to my southern college town of Charleston with that gorgeous Pineapple!

A few old world perhaps:

Of course being this close to DC there were A few patriotic:

One rustic:

And one that was just plain FUN!

We don't have a knocker, and I'm not sure if our HOA will allow it, but if they DID, these would be in the running.

I could use this as tribute to my koi:

Or perhaps this because of our love of the beach:

Do you have a knocker? If so what does it look like? And if not, what would YOU put on your front door?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shiny Pebble Celebration

Some days you wonder how you got so lucky...I felt that way when Catherine of The Shiny Pebble found my blog.

She was the second person to comment (for those of you who can remember WAY back to starting out, comments are a BIG deal. They give you encouragement to continue blogging even when few are commenting) and she continues to be a source of inspiration for me. She's smart, funny, kind and always manages to make me smile. So I couldn't be more thrilled to join her at the wrap party for her Designer Challenge Finale.

It is a LINK party, so feel free to join in!

Since Catherine is very chic, and this IS a swanky party after all, I would have my driver drop me off right at the white carpet. Even a red carpet is too common for this caliber of an event!

Of course the papparazzi want in to this party, but NO such luck, this is by invite only, and brush on past.

When arriving at the tent, check that awesome coat and show off this little number.

I'd be wearing these stunners from Cartier's Caresse d'orchidées collection on my ears, I am a Landscape Designer after all, I have to represent my field of work!

No necklace since the dress has ruffles and I'm not into "busy", but I'd stack a few of these Devi bangles from Stella Dot on my wrist, my contact being the talented Janell Beals over at Isabella & Max Rooms.

As for the dancincg shoes, a little Gucci goes a long way...

Of course I do travel in style, and come prepared with a bottle of my favorite Champagne, Veuve Clicquot and two glasses, I'd find our great hostess and toast to all of her successes!

We'd mosey on over to the bar (this photos was a wedding designed by Preston Bailey in Jakarta Indonesia)

And then check out the amazing selection at the raw bar:

After many more snacks we'd finish off with dessert from the VERY talented Amy Atlas and dance off into the night!

Well I am PLUM tuckered out from all that fun with such amazing women, I am off to nap it off, right here!

Happy Wednesday and THANK YOU Catherine for being you and throwing such a FAB party!