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Garden Photo of the Day

Holiday Inspired Highlights from Arkansas & Beyond

By Kim Charles

A few years ago, but not so long as to become a distant memory, I was helping a friend with his tropical gardens in the Exumas, the Bahamas, and barely made it back stateside in time for the Traditional Holiday frantic pace and festivities. I WAS there at the start of Hanukkah that year and not being of Jewish descent, I was smitten by the quiet celebration as contrasted by my family's much more boisterous declarations! Perhaps it was just that particular small Family's traditions and perhaps other Jewish families are as loud as mine in their marking and making of the calendar? I profess ignorance, I'm afraid. 

Jesse Rohde takes us along on a tour of her holiday highlights. 

"To and for my fellow GPODers:

Thank YOU for sharing views of your worlds and bits of Heaven with me!

Y'all have become my un-official Breakfast Club!! No entry fees required!!

Thanks also, to the "behind the scenes folks" who make this possible at Taunton! Y'all are the BEST!! And please know that those of us who receive these posts from you are very grateful!

Happy Holidays, and Peace on Earth, Please."

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I love the simple, single flowered Camelias which West Coast gardeners can take for granted!! (Lucky folks!!) This is Camelia x 'Yuletide' entering late Autumn, and I thought I'd give it a try at the Cabin's gardens with thick mulch. It did not make it through our normal Winter with those shallow soils….sigh…..so we moved. (But, that's another story.)

Up the highway, across the border, and down into the Arkansas River Valley is the town of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Actually, a small city.One day between shopping sprees, I took a few minutes for a breather to slow down and visited the National Cemetery there.Volunteers place Holiday Wreaths for EVERY patriot here, even Yankees! 😉 This Garden of Stone with a dusting of snow becomes even more breathtaking.Gratitude is such a HUGE part of our Holidays. Or, at least should be.

Wild Rose Hips along the dirt road out to the Highway and the world beyond. The feathered ones have been feasting, obviously! 

For anyone who knows me, I'm all about live plants, but also candles, and there's a myriad of candleholders, sconces, votives, and even a couple of torches scattered about in our house, throughout the gardens and even in our greenhouse. (I will admit to bending to practicality and used live/real garland inside only once. It is now relegated to the outside porches, and any Holiday plant brought inside must still possess it's roots!!) 

While the "Weather outside is Frightful," (sorry, couldn't resist!!) my Winter Sanctuary provides us with an escape from reality.I'm admittedly horrible at sending out the traditional Christmas Cards, but am fairly consistent at sending out Holiday Photos to friends and family via the Digital Delivery Systems.I wished everyone Glad Tidings with this view a couple of years ago. That common, ole Asparagus Fern with the festive berries in the background has been with me for 15 years…or is it 17??I purchased a pair of hanging baskets at the Dallas Farmer's Market back in the day when I was a City Apartment Gardener. We still have them, although they've grown way past basket size, and those bright berries desiccate and drop in the Spring and we now pull baby Asparagus as weeds both inside and out!!

We've recently moved North a bit, but stayed close to the Arkansas Border. (We're Okies.) It's amazing how much difference a hundred miles one way or the other makes.I've loved the old-fashioned Nandinas since I was a brat in College in the last century! For a while, it became hard to find them, and as y'all know, Horticulture is like Fashion; plants come and go.I've planted several here, and will install more in the coming years. The cold temperatures came very late that year. When they DID finally hit…OMG. I feel for you folks in Zone 5 and colder.The berries are ripe and will be enjoyed by the Cardinals later as food becomes ever more scarce for them, but the leaves were still a dark green the Christmas I snapped this frame.We've recently planted some Hollies, and are hoping for the same effects in future Seasons!

I've come to LOVE Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x ) and the breeders are coming out with newer colors all the time!I also know many folks still have plants of this from their relatives of decades ago! (Nice!!) Mine are not so vintage, but give us time!! 

And, I learned a couple of years ago that if I just edged my Rhipsalis baskets out into just a smidgen more sunlight during the warmer seasons, they'll turn this bright hue…as well as flower up a storm!!(We have to be careful with the Summer's sun here. Triple digits are quite common, and expected.) Oh yeah, the street name of this true cactus is "Red Mistletoe Cactus," and I trust y'all can see why!!This one is sharing basket space with another epiphyte, Billbergia rosea; a bromeliad, and the 'Kimberly Queen' fern contrasts by offering the other traditional color of Christmas, if in a non-traditional texture.(Thanks to Frank and the other Aussies for sharing this specie with the rest of us!!! 😉

 The Jamaican Poinsettia (Euphorbia punicea) is related to the more widely used Holiday Poinsettia, but this woody shrub's bracts and flowers last for six months or longer! They are slow growing and large specimens become very pricey, if they are to be found at all. Although not endemic to that Island Nation, there's a couple planted there, now!! 

Bonfire at Yuletime, the Cabin. (WELL: I TOLD y'all I have a candle fetish!!)Very soon, the days will begin lengthening again….thank Goodness!!

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Comments

  1. frankgreenhalgh 12/16/2016

    G'day Jesse - Well you have certainly tickled my fancy today - so much so that I hardly know where to start. Strewth! - I'm still trying to get my head around the Okie lad, who likes shopping sprees and bonfires; has candles and torches throughout his garden and greenhouse; claims to have been a brat at college last millennium (I just don't believe that - i.e. the brat part!); and has an unofficial GPODer Breakfast Club. Love it all, and the slang too ('Y'all').

    Seriously Jesse, I especially like the pics of the camellia and Poinsettia flowers, and that cemetery scene is very moving indeed. And yes you are right about the need for 'gratitude'. Thanks for your story and thought stimulating post. Cheers from Oz

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

      Thank you, Frank!!
      You know, i've had a bit of fun over the years with my ponytail. It's funny but also illluminating...depending upon the reaction.. when this fox turns around and the viewer sees the mustache!!!
      Just an olde hippy who still has his hair, altho it's a bit salted and peppered, now-a-days!!
      And, I love your gardens' views, too!! Some of the native materials you're able to utilize down there are Amazing!!! When doing some business in Southern California a few years back, I was able to visit some nurseries on the outskirts of LA and San Diego which specialized in Australian plants!! (The climate there being so much like where I believe you also live!) Proteas, Lotus bushes, etc....sigh!!
      Thank you, again and we'll see you on the other side of the weekend!! And, you'll see that other side before we will!!! Don't ya Love Time Travel??!!!
      Take Care!! jesse

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/18/2016

        G'day Jesse - You are an absolute rip-snorter. I knew instantly when I read your original post that GPOD had hit the jackpot. You just have to keep on communicating via GPOD - we could have a lot of fun i.e. the old fox with a hippie background and the politically incorrect Aussie who shakes the tree now and then!

        Yes we grow plants of the Proteaceae family here. The natives including banksias, telopea, grevilleas and macadamias, but also South African proteas, leucadendrons and leucospermums. Australia used to be joined with South Africa (i.e. Gondwana land before continental drift 180 million years ago), and hence we share similar flora. Plants in this family have proteoid roots (look that one up), which makes them more efficient at extracting phosphorous etc. from soils deficient in these elements. Australian soils are generally low in phosphorous.

        Cheers mate from Oz

  2. bsavage 12/16/2016

    Thanks for sharing! Lovely!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

      Thank you, thank you, Ms. Savage!! So very glad you enjoyed them!!
      You set my spirit to glowing by letting me know!!!
      jesse

  3. DeeinDe 12/16/2016

    We thoroughly enjoyed your pictures this morning! I am intrigued by the Red Mistletoe Cactus! Where did you find it? I see seeds online but no live plants. Did you grow it from seed?
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

      Dee!!
      No, I actually started my baskets from cuttings. However, yes, they are a bit hard to source.
      When I lived and worked in the DFW Metroplex a few years ago, I had access to some GREAT nurseries who offered more temptations than my meager paycheques could imagine, much less manage. However, since moving out of the Big City, I've found the offerings a bit more lean, to say the least, here beyond the sidewalks.
      To compensate, and to help you locate your desires, I have become dependent upon the www. It sounds like you've been shopping those same aisles, too!
      eBay, Etsy, and Amazon are my three most visited sites for live plant materials, and I've noticed many more smaller nurseries are putting up store fronts at these mega sites. While I'm not sure about the latter two, I recently employed the first site mentioned to be on the lookout for a specie I've been looking for for years.
      It took months, but the automatic search engine alerted me a couple of weeks ago that someone in Florida had just posted the very plant I was wishing for. (Cochliostema, one of the False Bromeliads.) I clicked right over to that listing and purchased it that morning.
      The Mistletoe cactus I posted (if you wish that particular one) is called:
      Pseudorhipsalis ramulosus RED CORAL, WHY they've moved it from a real Rhipsalis to a Pseudorhipsalis is a mystery to me, but I do know two things:
      1.) Search for it using both names (R. ramulosus AND Psuedorhip...ramulosus and perhaps you'll have more luck.
      2.) We have GOT to get those durn Taxonomists a life!!!
      Another site you may not have dealt with is: Tropiflora, near Sarasota, Florida.
      I have met both Dennis and his lovely Wife/partner Linda more than once and actually got to visit their physical nursery once. Wonderful, down to Earth folk!
      Very fair in business, as well. Dennis is one of those rare folk called Plant Hunters, and used to, and mabey still does, travel across the globe collecting plants to catalouge and introduce! He is known internationally for his work with Bromeliads, but their nursery offers soooo much more!!! Worth a visit to their website, and I'll guarantee you'll learn something while there!!
      I found another Rainforest cactus nursery for you, but it's on my laptop in the other room. I'll post it here tomorrow (Sunday) to give you more leads!
      Very glad y'all enjoyed my pix and hope all this info helps you, too!!
      Thanx!! jesse

      1. DeeinDe 12/18/2016

        Thanks, jesse! I did some checking and actually found a source (didn't say Red Coral, though) of a Pseudorhipsalis ramulosus just an hour from me! Who knew? I see a road trip in the near future!
        Have a wonderful holiday!
        Dee

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

          I wanna go! I wanna go!! And, I promise to behave myself this time!!! ;-0
          Have fun, and here's hoping you find another temptation you didn't even know you wanted in your shopping cart, as well!!! Mabey even two!!! jrr

  4. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 12/16/2016

    Without a doubt, Jesse, your lively personality shines through as brightly as that bonfire in the final picture. In fact, your commentary gave your pictures stiff competition for what I enjoyed most...I won't say which won out and, in the spirit of peace and harmony, I will declare it a blessed tie! I am thoroughly beguiled by your photo of the white cactus...you captured a view of it where it looks like an exotic bird in flight. I enjoyed everything about your sharings. Thanks so much!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

      Michaele!!
      Lively says you!!!! I LIKE that!!! And Bright, too!!!
      OK, now I'm laughing!! Altho I DO have my moments!!!
      Thank you so much for your kindness, and I'm tickled you enjoyed this post!
      I really had to reel it in for submission, and Ms. Charles, (bless her Heart) bent a couple or more rules or mabey got bigger machines to get it all in!
      My family says I should've been a writer, but I appreciate regular meals and have found that electric lights after sundown are a good thing!! So, perhaps mabey in a past life, or, who knows, mabey in the next?!! I DO know if'n you get me started talkin' on plants, we might as well park it and get out the large coffee mugs as we're bound to be there for a while!!!
      Dear Heart, have a very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you more richness and warmth than you could've imagined....and I happen to know you can imagine a LOT!!!
      And, again, Thank You!! jesse

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 12/18/2016

        Jesse, every single one of your responses to the various commenters has probably given the receiver the same lit up face of delight and surprise as the holder of a winning lottery ticket. Now,now, I'm not saying the ticket is one of the mega millions Powerball ones but it's at least over $1000 and who doesn't like a free $!000...right! Of course, all of us on this board would immediately go to a plant seller webstore or local nursery and start loading up our cart with goodies for the garden. Your enthusiasm is contagious and your breadth of knowledge (esp. in the school of gardening trial and error) is enviable. You are a natural born sharer and that generosity of spirit is much appreciated.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/16/2016

    Everything is beautiful but I have to say that the cemetery with wreaths brought tears to my eyes. I truly wish every vets grave could be decorated that way as well.

    1. deannalchurch 12/16/2016

      Almost exactly what I was thinking. And the fact that the graves we see are for Unknown soldiers made it much more poignant,

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

        Indeed, Ms Church. It is quite the quiet majesty to wander amongst these heros, and to take a moment to wander in thought through Our history. Those same moments I also find quite humbling.
        Thank you for commenting and especially thank you for caring!
        jesse

    2. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Words from a patriot. Thank YOU!!
      My hope is that they were tears of Pride and warm thoughts of the families who gave more than most. We ALL are enjoying this season in this land because of them, and I truley believe that's what they wanted and, indeed, believed in!
      Thank you, jesse.

  6. tennisluv 12/16/2016

    Jesse, your photos are beautiful and your accompanying stores delightful. I find myself amazed that so many gardeners are as talented with a camera as they are with a spade. The City Cemetery in Stone Mountain, GA (just a few miles from me) is the resting place of many Civil War soldiers as well as military veterans since 1850. Every year the solder's small white headstones are decorated with wreaths and it is a truly moving site. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for the gift of your pictures.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Ms. Peel!!
      Thank You!! Glad you enjoyed my ramblings!!
      And, sometimes I'm lucky to get my camera in the right place at the right time!
      I would LOVE to visit Stone Mountain...such rich history and tradition!!
      Arkansas, and our other neighbouring states, Texas, MIssouri, Kansas, didn't see as much action as Georgia in that defining conflict, but there ARE sons and daughters buried here which date to that horrible, bloody division. As well, like there, there are plenty of other battles represented among the rows of stone.
      Oklahoma, where I'm typing from, was "Indian Territory" at that time and until statehood. (1907)
      One of my favourite Gardens I've visited was both a cemetery AND a botanical garden. Spring Grove in Cincinnati, Ohio is a wonderful and yet hallowed experience. When you walk into the main entry building, you're greeted and asked: "Are you here for a loved one or are you here for the botanical collections?" Depending upon your answer, you'll be directed towards the offices, or handed a brochure/map. One of my deeply engraved memories from that visit was the headstone of a Revolutionary War soldier which was becoming compleatly encased in the buttressed base of a massive hemlock, I think. (I've a slide somewhere in my archived library.)
      I know I'm a little outside of the "Norm" but I DO believe that Beautifully crafted and maintained Gardens and "Final resting places" are a natural marriage of concepts. Not exactly how our society handles things, but perhaps something to work towards for the future?
      And, mabey I'm just rambling, again!!
      Thank you So very much, and Merry Christmas!
      jesse

      1. tennisluv 12/17/2016

        Growing up in a small south Georgia town, Pelham [named to honor a
        confederate officer], my family and I frequently visited the town
        cemetery. Not so much to visit the graves of loved ones but to enjoy
        the plants (camellia, azaleas, dogwoods, old roses, et al) that town
        folk had planted on their family plots. There was always something in
        bloom. The inscriptions on the headstones always fascinated me (they
        still do). If you are ever in Atlanta, Oakland Cemetery is worth a visit
        for the gardens and the famous people buried there.) Merry Christmas!

  7. user-4691082 12/16/2016

    What a delightful post! I'm in a hurry today- going to Longwood gardens for a holiday centerpiece making! They order tractor trailer loads of flowers and greens for us, and also give us a container that's usually handmade in an unusual shape to keep. Glad tidings to all!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      What a great day for you!! I'm jealous, of course!!!
      Got to visit Longwood a few years back, and the experience was life-altering, seriously. The level of perfection pert--near everywhere was inspirational! While my own gardens will never reach those heights of care and wonder, nor my own production equal their discipline, I DID come away from there knowing those levels COULD be achieved, and I endeavour to mimic and strive towards those ideals everyday... well, ok: Most days!!! ;-)
      To be able to visit that wonderful place with a short drive is a blessing, and the countryside all around that property is some of the prettiest in our Nation. I thought I was riding through a Norman Rockwell scene!! But, somehow, I think you already know all that!!!
      Very glad you enjoyed my post, Rhonda!! Thank You!!
      jesse

      1. user-4691082 12/17/2016

        I went back this morning, and enjoyed your photos all over again! I would love to show you the Christmas arrangement I made at Longwood yesterday, but I don't know how😩. I am so impressed with your photos! And you have palm trees! We Yankees head for the warmer climates in the winter(as you've noticed!) Not all of us up here are Yankees, though. My mama was born and raised in Gastonia, NC so that makes me a half breed! (Or, Heinz 57, as my husband calls me). Of course, he is a Swede...thanks again, for the post and including a tribute to our veterans.

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

          Rhonda!
          I believe most all of us are mixed up!! (Pun intended!!) But, that's a good thing!!
          And, Rebels can be born or made anywhere!!
          That cold front came through today down here.. Yowza!! This one means business. I got most everybody watered in before the hoses froze up. Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you, too, so get ready!! jesse

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/16/2016

    Thanks, Jesse. Now I'm all verklempt and don't want to go back to work. Instead I want to bask in the warmth and beauty of your photos and the great stories you are sharing. Zowee. Love everything and will come back to digest these photos.
    Not only do I love that festive Rhipsalis, but the Bilbergia is wonderful. As soon as the weather turns warm, adding a Bilbergia to my collection is a top priority. I've found several contenders to buy in the past couple of months, but it's too cold for shipping!
    Peace on Earth!

    1. Chris N 12/16/2016

      Had to look up "verklempt." Growing up on the north side of Chicago you learn a fair amount of Yiddish but that is one I missed.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/16/2016

        It's a very useful term!! :) or should I say :( !

    2. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Tim!
      If you want, I'll fake a Doc's note to excuse from your duties....as long as your boss doesn't check for authenticity!!!
      Thank you, Sir! Yes, Bilbergias are ultra-cool!! We've several in our collection, but I must admit I swoon over the very tall ones, such as B. rosea, etc. Altho their architecture can and does impress on it's own merit, the blooms come as a glorious shocker!
      I grow ours in hanging baskets. One tweak I'm doing now is that my baskets seem a bit "top-heavy," especially as the bromes grow into tight clusters. So, I'm beginning to include dangling Rhipsalids, Epiphyllums, Disocactus, etc, along the outside edges of said baskets. This tactic offers a more balanced presentation, and since everyone's an epiphyte, there's little squabbling for root space.
      So glad you enjoyed the views from our neck of the woods and some of the travels I've done! Take care!
      jesse

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/19/2016

        Thanks Jesse. I'll be contacting you for that doctor's note!
        That's quite bloom on that Bilbergia. I really need to stop buying plants that can't live outdoors all year round or build a greenhouse. My wife says stop buying plants....... :)

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 12/19/2016

          I have one of those, too who offers the same advice....silly wives!!!
          Can't speak for everyone, but at least I'm not patronizing the local pool halls nor chasing bar maids!
          (Speaking as if I could catch one!!!!)

  9. Sheila_Schultz 12/16/2016

    What a truly delightful GPOD post to end the week. Thank you Jesse for your thoughtful words and splendid photos! I was amused by your comment about some Christmas cactus being decades old... we have one that was given to us as a very large plant shortly after we were married over 43 years ago. It had outgrown our neighbor's shelf space as it has ours several times. That sweet plant has been severely pruned over and over and over again and still blooms profusely twice a year! Have a great weekend everyone!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Ms. Shultz!
      Wow... and can I just say again: WOW!!!
      First off: SO delighted that you enjoyed them! I've received SO much from this daily post in the form of inspiration, wisdom, humour, know-how, and just plain ole sharing, that it feels good to this olde fool to be able to offer something back!
      Now,
      2nd off: How in the WORLD do you get your's to bloom twice a year??? Pray tell??
      It's magnificent that y'all have one SO cherished and cared for. And, I believe after that much time, they earn the title of "Family Member!"
      Ours are quite a few years away from that stature....but we're workin' on it!!!
      Thank You for your kindness!!
      jesse
      P.S. 43 Years is the second milepost in your short note!!
      Congratulations to both of you on that accomplishment, also!
      My wife and I are also a few years away from that anniversary, but, like the cactus, we're workin' on it!!!

      1. Sheila_Schultz 12/17/2016

        Oh Jesse, I've had such a good time re-reading yesterday's comments followed by your delightful responses. I feel like I've been transported back in time to when we visited my dad's family in AR and rocked away on the front porch chatting about anything and everything! I loved every moment of those comfortable conversations even though more than once it was suggested that I stop rocking for a while!!! (BTW, my Aunt Jesse was generally on the porch with us, too!)
        I wish I could give you a sound reason my Christmas cactus blooms both in Dec. and in April, but I can't... The first 14 years or so I followed instructions I had read and I took it outside to a shady spot in the summer then brought it back inside for the winter. I watered it weekly and fertilized it every couple of weeks until Sep., then I let it dry out until it produced buds. It is too heavy and large to move around now without breaking branches since it has about a 3' spread, so in our current home it sits on a ledge surrounding our unused whirlpool tub along with a bunch of other tropicals. The light comes from a skylight that often has a lightweight shade covering it because our sun is so strong in Denver. It is watered weekly year round and fertilized 1-2x's a year if it is lucky! It also hasn't been repotted for at least 15 years!!! You know the old saying, 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'?
        I'd tell you to enjoy your weekend, but I'm guessing that's already on your list! Thanks for brightening my day!!!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

          Then perhaps y'all have it in with the Devas!! (With a nod to the folks at Findhorn!!) I try working with them here... sometimes they go along with my schemes, and sometimes they're a trifle "playful" shall we say?
          Perhaps being rootbound might have an effect, too. I've heard some plants are like that!
          Well, whatever it is you're doin': Don't fix it, it ain't broken!!!
          Thanx for the extra info....i've still Sooooo much to learn, and I'm going to give our "youngsters" (compared to your's) a pep talk, or two, or three!!!!
          Thank you, jesse

  10. Dvngardener 12/16/2016

    Lovely photos.... merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah to all!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Ms. Jacobi!!
      Thank YOU!!
      And, I hope and trust there'll be warm smiles, great hugs, brighter eyes, and contagious laughter in everyone's realm this Season.
      OH: And Stories, too, please! Lots of stories!!
      thank you, jesse

  11. jagardener 12/16/2016

    What a wonderful tribute and expression of gratitude.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      As I get older, (but AIN'T growin' up...) I'm becoming more aware that my glass is half full and perhaps not so much the other description.
      And, sometimes...like today with all y'all's notes..it's actually Overflowing!!!!
      Thank you SO very much, and I'm glad you enjoyed my 'unorthodox" views!!!

  12. user-3565112 12/16/2016

    Thank you for the photos of your beautiful photos & including the cemetery. Also a special thanks to the residents of Ft. Smith for remembering & honoring our veterans. There are 25 U.S. Veterans Cemetery's overseas & those wreaths honor those veterans as well.
    Merry Christmas to you & good luck, Joe

    1. User avater
      Linda on Whidbey 12/16/2016

      Hi Joe, we saw the one in Luxembourg this fall and it was very moving to see another country giving so much respect to our fallen soldiers.

      1. user-3565112 12/16/2016

        Hi Linda, Every year the Dutch National Orchestra gives a concert on liberation day at the Netherlands American Cemetery. Similar things take place in small towns in France & even Germany every year. All we asked was enough ground to bury our fallen & they appreciate what we did to this day. Merry Christmas to you & your family, Joe

      2. Sheila_Schultz 12/17/2016

        Linda, by any chance were you on a Viking river cruise from Paris to Prague 10/19-10/31? We were and we ,too, went to the cemetery in Luxembourg. It certainly took our breath away.

        1. User avater
          Linda on Whidbey 12/19/2016

          Hi Sheila, we were also on a Viking cruise but ours was Prague to Paris from Oct. 13th to the 23rd and then we spent another week in Paris. I hope that you had as much fun as we did and, yes, that cemetery in Luxembourg was impressive and somber. Too bad that we weren't on the same ship.

  13. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 12/16/2016

    Good morning, Jesse, you have left me this morning with that feeling of just finishing a good book and wishing that there was more. Great photos and commentary. I'll definitely now be in search of that Rhipsalis. Having grown up in the era where every household had a Christmas cactus, I've never really craved having one until now. Thanks, I guess? I'm so sorry that your Yuletide camellia died as it is one of our favorites in our PNW garden and even though it is only 4 years old, it has flowered profusely every year. I share your "Peace on Earth" sentiment and Happy Holidays to all.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Oh, Linda,
      I got to see what Camellias could be and do upon a visit to Descanso Gardens on the outskirts of the Los Angeles metro out West. Fell in love....sigh....
      I love the single ones just a bit more....same preference with roses I'm afraid.
      I can only imagine with envy that show in your garden....please excuse the drool?
      I am trying several experiments here in our new garden with "pushing" our zone envelope this winter and depending upon the results we observe next Spring, may be discouraged but might be encouraged to try one or two of the hardier ones here! Don't you know one of them will be 'Yuletide'!!
      The family of Rhipsalids are great and can turn into quite a show over a surprisingly short time. And, so Un-demanding and forgiving!! We've collected several species and genera and are on the lookout for more.

      I'm tickled you enjoyed my initial venture into posting into this honourable and distinguished group. However, kudos go to Ms. Charles and the IT team at Taunton. Apparently, I proved a bit "wordy" and she/they had to loosen the belt, as it were, to get it all in!! I'm grateful to the team for the magic they did off the set, as well as for all the comments coming in from the Home Team!

      And, Yes Ma'am. A little less sabre-rattling and a little more passing the peace pipe instead, Please. Thank You, Linda!!

  14. Chris N 12/16/2016

    Your wonderful photos and great stories certainly cheered me up. I am one of those zone 5 people, where we are supposed to get another foot of snow tonight and then the high temperature, not the low but the HIGH, for Sunday is forecast to be -4 (F. That's -20 C for our international friends). I really can't complain since I know we have Zone 4 and 3 readers as well. Anybody Zone 2? At least the snow will insulate the garden.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/16/2016

      Snow insulation on the ground is a great thing: those are really low highs! We've got snow cover in Columbus for now, but we're expected to get up to 50F on Saturday before the next round of single digits.......

    2. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Thank you Chris AND Tim.
      That same system is ramping up here today at the edge of the Ozarks. It's actually become warmer this evening after the sun set... But, you know what they say: "What goes up must come down." We'll be close to overnight lows of almost 0°f over the weekend....and with NO insulating snow cover. One of the nice things about our area is that we DO get cold, but we don't live there for very long!! Still, that kind of temperature drop tends to get your attention!!!
      Thanx, jesse

  15. Schatzi 12/16/2016

    Great pictures and commentary. I love the photo of the white Christmas cactus - it does indeed look like an exotic bird in flight.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Ms. Graves!!
      My only regret is that they bloom here in these latitudes when there's no Hummers to visit them!! Wouldn't you love to be in Latin America, high on a tree branch when the species blooms, watching those winged jewels sipping their sweet nectar!!?
      After a brief review of all the wonderful comments coming in, I noticed someone is able to get their's to bloom 2ce a year!!!!! I aim to do some Brain-pickin' this weekend and hopefully learn yet another secret of our universe!!!
      Altho the White is my favourite, we're slowly collecting other colours, too!!
      Thank You for the compliment!! jesse

  16. user-3565112 12/16/2016

    Thank you for the beautiful photos of your arrangements. I also want to thank you for including the Veteran's Cemetery. A special thanks to the wonderful residents of Ft. Smith
    for remembering & honoring our veteran's. There are 25 U.S. Veteran's Cemeteries overseas & I believe those wreaths honor those Veterans as well.
    Merry Christmas to you & good luck, Joe

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Joe, you KNOW they do......and vice-sa-versa as well! Me thinks you speak as a Brother In Arms, altho I don't know you, per-se.
      I DO believe in an afterlife after our transitions from this beautiful and colourful plane, and am certain that many fallen return home...at least for a while, after having done all they could do. Not to be a pest, as many ridiculous films portray, but to continue comforting and aiding loved ones still here....albeit from a little higher perspective!!
      Thank you, and Merry Christmas back atcha!!!!
      jesse

  17. PerenniallyCrazy 12/17/2016

    Absolutely lovely Jesse! Absolutely lovely!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Thank you! Thank you so much and I'm glad you enjoyed these as much as we've enjoyed your views and captures!! Oh, and not forgetting to mention your playful and good natured comments!! jesse

  18. User avater
    gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

    A note to everyone still following this thread:
    I'm overwhelmed by the comments coming in, and so tickled y'all enjoyed my contribution! I WILL respond to each and everyone who posts a note here, but, it's gonna take a while!! So, if'n I don't get to your kind words tonight, I will tomorrow!! I promise!!
    Thank y'all SO much for making MY day ultra and hyper Special!!! jesse

    1. frankgreenhalgh 12/17/2016

      Good on you Jesse, you are a good sport - Love your style and turn of phrase. It would be great if you could continue to contribute to GPOD posts (now that you have broken the ice) in the future - you bring a new and welcomed dimension to the blog. Definitely a touch of the Aussie humour in there. I still cannot believe that you used to be a college 'brat' - a spirited student with a bit of attitude perhaps! Cheers, Frank

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

        Indeed!! Spirited.... I like that!! A LOT!! Some days more than others, tho!!
        And, Attitude??? Of Course...just ask my Mom and Dad!! Or, my wife!!
        I DO respond every once in a great while, but it has been a long time. Perhaps TOO long. In my defense, this year past proved extremely busy as we kicked into high gear to get the bones set on our new gardens. And altho we've come soooo far this year, we've still a ways to go! I don't suppose we'll ever be finished, but ahhhhhh......WHAT a journey!!
        And, if the Boss (Ms. Charles) would like, and, if'n Y'all would like, I actually have a couple of gardens views to send in a bit closer to my immediately past and present porches and from a bit warmer times of the calendar. It would have to be later in our Winter/your Summer, tho.
        And, I must admit: You've brought a grin to this olde face more than once this year past with your banter and humour...and that's not an easy thing to do that early in the morning!! Thank YOU, Frank!! jesse

        1. frankgreenhalgh 12/18/2016

          Glad that you can see and appreciate the funny side of things, Jesse. You usually never know how things are going to be received by the wider audience with a different culture - so I appreciate the feed-back. I say, life is too short to be serious all the time. Cheers from a foreign correspondent

  19. Cenepk10 12/17/2016

    WOW.. Jesse - I sure enjoyed my adventure with you today. 17 year old asparagus fern. That's one for the record books. Decided to overwinter mine this year instead of composting- Grateful for your post. So much here in your post I truly appreciate... What a gift this was. Thank you.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 12/17/2016

      Thank You!! It is MY pleasure to share with like-minded spirits and I'm delighted for your input!!
      Those silly ole Asparagus are kinda common and kinda boring...but BOY what troopers!! I now know WHY they are so common, and appreciate their forgiving nature. My job with them now is to grow and show them to the best of my ability. I used to be quite the snob when it came to ultra common plants, but I've changed my tune about 180°. Upon reflection, it wasn't the fact that the plants were everywhere, it was that I rarely saw them grown well. A full, vibrant, groomed, beaming with health and flowing Pothos basket is just as eye catching to me as some of the orchids I grow, too!
      FYI: Asparagus are EASY to overwinter. Not everyone has a greenhouse or sunporch. They will actually take a pretty severe and hard freeze. One can overwinter these in a barely heated space. If'n you sacrifice the previous year's stems and foliage and concentrate on keeping the roots alive, it will resprout the next warm season and with a little feed, be even prettier than before.
      One of the two original plants I acquired so long ago was/is looking very rough. So, I left it out in our first couple of freezes this autumn and "burned" the top off.
      I took the hedge clippers and removed the now dead stems and moved the heavy pot with roots and soil only back into the warmth. I'll just water enough this winter to keep the soil ball from dehydrating. When the New Year and Spring arrives later, I'll increase the moisture and re-commence feeding. The roots will rejoice and resprout new stems and foliage pretty quickly and thickly...as now we're dealing with established root systems!! I've done this several times with these plants and more than once using a garage (dark) as my overwintering space. Be careful of too much warmth and too much water. You don't want to encourage growth...just yet. Treat them like a cave dwelling Cactus!!
      Again, thank you for your gracious reply, and I appreciate You!!
      jesse

      1. Cenepk10 12/17/2016

        Good advice!!! Will do. Thank you so much for the kind reply !

  20. User avater
    gringopeligroso 12/18/2016

    Thank YOU, Ms. Jaeger!! Such praise coming from one of the regulars to this post is a blessing!!
    I have been drawn to Tropical Christmas decor for a while, and not to take anything away from the higher latitude traditions I DO know that many around the warmer zones also celebrate this season. I remember being in Kona (Hawaii) one December and seeing a distinctly colonial architectural house, which would've been at home in New England, decked out with swags and wreaths and ribbons, but the Poinsettias were growing as foundation hedges, and they used Sanchezias, the variegated ones, for the reds and golds as they were in fruit at that time!! Very stately and distinguished...even with or perhaps because of the coconut palm landscape trees in the lawn!!!
    I had one boss who urged me into the "less is more" school, and I learned so much from him. I had another boss who urged me to use traditional elements at untraditional times or weave untraditional elements into expected outcomes. I learned so much from him, too!! Somewhere along the line, I hybridized the two schools here in my views and enterprises. I think polite folk call that style "eccentric!" My wife on the other hand calls it "Hit or Miss!"
    Again, Thank you and so pleased you enjoyed them!! jesse

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