Christmas Joys and . . .

  • Post published:12/27/2011
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What is any big family celebration without a few tears. Alas, although Bella loves looking at photos of herself, she does not like knowing the camera is pointed at her. It is not often we get four generations together. What a gift. Tears and all. Reading Aloud is one of my great pleasures - on any day of the year. I was happy to introduce Bella, oblivious to the camera now, to one of the great children's book…

My Succulent Container

  • Post published:12/19/2011
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Last week I spent the better part of a day Christmas shopping. Needless to say I ended up buying a gift for myself. I have been so inspired by Debra Lee Baldwin's book, Succulent Container Gardens, that when I found myself near the Hadley Garden Center I had to stop in and buy some succulents.  I had already bought this handsome classic container and potting soil at my 'neighborhood' Shelburne Farm and Garden Center. I did review Debra's…

My Ornamented Life – Part 4

  • Post published:12/17/2011
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During our two different years in Beijing, China, Henry and I were untethered from all our usual responsibilities and routines. This was sometimes exciting, and sometimes unnerving as we learned about the 5000 years of Chinese history and culture, made wonderful friends from around the world, ate great food, and saw amazing sights. We learned about the great Chinese classic, Journey to the West, and read the children's version. We also met a five year old American boy…

My Ornamented Life – Part 3

  • Post published:12/16/2011
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One year my boss at Greenfield Community College gave me this ornament. I thought he was giving me a compliment, but no. He was merely acknowledging my flock of chickens and the eggs I brought to give out at work. Have you even been given ornaments at work? Were they compliments? We have lots of other chicken ornaments on our tree. I think chickens are cheerful, domestic and productive. I emulate the chicken.

My Ornamented Life – Part 1

  • Post published:12/13/2011
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My Christmas tree holds the history of my family, and I am sure that is true of many family Christmas trees. I gained  boxes of my early history after my mother died. My two brothers and I went to her house or organize and clear out and found a surprise. Although she did not tell any of us, my mother actually knew that her health was failing and had done a lot of clearing out and organizing herself…

Our Christmas Tree History

  • Post published:12/12/2011
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We have had many different kinds of Christmas trees over the years. Below is a column I wrote in 2005 that chronicles our history in Christmas trees. Many family Christmas memories revolve around the Christmas tree. These stories rarely have to do with the magnificence of the tree. In fact, Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree may be our culture’s most famous Christmas tree, standing for the true meaning of the season. We have many family stories about our Christmas trees…

Massachusetts Horticultural Society

  • Post published:11/20/2011
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After I gave my talk about my roses, and other disease resistant roses, at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society last week, I  took a brief tour around the gardens. I can just imagine what this Wedding Garden must look like in June! Weezie's Garden is the children's garden at MHS. It is a charming space with a sand pit for the very youngest, a tower for the most adventurous, shade and sun and place for conversations. Lots of benches…

Legend of the Christmas Rose

  • Post published:01/01/2011
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My maternal grandparents immigrated from Sweden when both were in their teens. They rarely talked about their life there but did mention that all they had to eat was potatoes. When he was 70 my grandfather planned his first trip back to visit to his sister, but returned early. He said his sister did not like to cook, so she fried up a batch of potato pancakes every Saturday and parceled them out over the course of the…

Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

  • Post published:12/24/2010
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The need to find symbols for eternal mysteries lies deep in the human family. At this time of the year the landscape is bare and frozen. All the life of nature seems to be frozen and dead. Gone is the verdant green, brilliantly colored flowers, rushing waters. The days grow ever shorter; even the sun seems to be failing. Ever since the beginning of time humans have faced the terror of this seeming death and looked for hope.…

A Treeful of Memories

  • Post published:12/23/2010
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The tree is up and decorated.  Each year I get so much pleasure and I add each ornament. The tree contains memories that go back more than 60 years.  After my mother's death my brothers and I had to empty her condo and split up her belongings. There were no surprises until we got to a big storage closet in the garage that, among other things, held boxes and boxes of Christmas tree ornaments dating back to the…