Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Belong To You (Il Ritmo Della Passione)

The title says it ALL! Such a beautiful, passionate song that you could dedicate to anyone you are seriously in love with, madly passionate about, truly infatuated with, or simply falling in love with that perfect someone you have always dreamed of finding. Well, I am dedicating this delectable number to a certain guy in Romania who I shall keep nameless to protect him (or maybe to keep away the competition).

We have only known each other a short while but when you know it is right......YOU KNOW!!!
I am thinking of you with all my heart I.S. :)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sta Passando Novembre~Eros Ramazzotti

I happened to hear this beautiful song when I was watching some Eros Ramazzotti videos and fell in love with it. It is a sad song because he is singing about losing a loved one and trying to reconnect and deal with their least that is my interpretation. I have now become a HUGE Ramazzotti fan because his music is easy to listen to and beautiful. I have also discovered another old song by him that I am currently using as a song dedicated to a special person :) I will post it later and give you some time to think about the song...if you know me, you might even guess it AND guess why I have posted it :) I dedicate this song to Ed Whitt and Donald Morgan Jr. whom I remember with much love and who's endings came MUCH too soon. Mi amici bellisimi!!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Astilbe Straussenfeder 'Ostrich Plume'

Today's featured garden choice is the Ostrich Plume Astilbe. I chose this astilbe because of it's uniqueness amongst the other varieties. I remember seeing it years ago when I had my landscaping business. I walked into a local grower's nursery and saw this astilbe blooming in one of their perennial borders. It was magnificent and definitely a showier version of it's siblings. I instantly fell in love! I inquired about it and the grower told me that it was hard to find because people don't realize it's ethereal quality. So....... most growers won't take the risk of it not selling to local garden centers. Hmmm...isn't that what life/business is all about?..taking risks? I digress. The reason I like it, as with most plants I choose, is because it is different from what everyone else likes. I like popular plants as much as anyone but I tend to drift towards what no one else seems to have the imagination to try. :)

This astilbe is hardy from zone 4 thru 8. It grows to a higher height than most, 2~3ft high with a 1~2 ft spread. Per photo, this astilbe grows in clumps and the large, loose, weeping panicles of pink bloom June thru July on arching stems. Stunning!! Like all astilbe this one prefers a part to full shade position in your garden with moist, humusy, organically rich soil. Whatever you do, the astilbe must not be allowed to dry out because the leaves will start to curl and turn brown....that's just uncalled for ugly. You will be able to tell when this astilbe needs to be divided because it will produce fewer flowers and leaves. Normally...most perennials like to be divided every 3~4 years so you should have a gardening bible, of which I call a calendar, to know when anything has been planted.

I do hope you will experiment with this beautiful gem and as alway....Happy Gardening!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hydrangea Serrata 'Preziosa'

In case I didn't mention this in my last post, all the plants I will be writing about are either planted in my shade garden or I want to add them in the near future.

Today I am excited to present to you a hydrangea that I feel has gotten very little exposure since it's introduction in 1961. I first saw this beauty in a gardening magazine about 10 years ago that featured an article on Heronswood Nursery and I fell in love!!! I realize that the general public likes the big showy mophead varieties (the mentality of seeing something shiny I but this particular hydrangea gives you a multitude of visual interests throughout the growing season.

First, it is a serrata which is also commonly called a Sawtooth type of hydrangea. It is on the small size growing 3~4 ft. in height with the same width. It's blooms, as you can see in the picture are a mophead style but much smaller. They begin white, pale green, pink or lavender and mature through the season to an intense mauve and mottled with a darker burgundy color. What more can you ask for in interest? I will tell you. The leaves which have a toothed edge emerge tinted with purple. As they mature they change to green and then back to red and purple hues in the fall. Wait! There is more! The stems vary from green with a maroon tint to dark maroon color. I think this hydrangea is at it's peak of beauty in the early fall when these colors seem to be intensified with the other colors of nature surrounding them.

This beautiful slice of gardening heaven is hardy to zone 5a to 8a. In the zone 5 area it is a good idea to protect it from winter conditions ie: wind, too much snow or not enough, and heaving caused by thawing and freezing. Simply use burlap to surround the plant and fill in with a loose leaf mulch. Please give it a protected afternoon shady position in your garden with an acidic soil content. This hydrangea blooms in midsummer on old wood so do not prune it except for removing spent flowers and weak or winter damaged stems in early spring. It also has no serious insect or disease problems. Believe me, you will NEVER regret having this beauty in your garden :) Happy gardening!!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hydrangea Arborescens

I am a HUGE fan of hydrangeas and wish I had enough room in my garden for ALL of the varieties but alas I only possess enough space for a few well chosen favorites....kind of like your friends :) Hydrangea Arborescens is one of those favorites, also known as the Smooth Hydrangea, the "Annabelle" variety being the most widely known and popular. I have added it to my shade garden for obvious reasons but there are many other reasons to have it in your garden as well:
~easiest hydrangea to grow
~fast rate of growth
~adaptable ph
~long flowering period (June-September)
~in general, trouble-free

This hydrangea grows 3-5 ft. in height and 3 to 5 ft. and larger in spread. It multiplies by suckers from the roots which means it is very easy to share with your friends :) It is hardy from zone 4 thru 9 but the further south you are the more afternoon shade and moisture it will require. It transplants well and will reward you if you provide it with a rich, well-drained, moist soil. The hydrangeas favorite position...NO, not that kind... is a site with morning sun and afternoon shade. It will definitely let you know when it requires a drink of H2O, the leaves will not only droop but they will develop a dog-earred look over a period of time. There is a list of possible diseases and insects that bother it but I don't like negativity so we won't go there. The truth is, I have never experienced any of the problems the "experts" list and I have been growing this hydrangea somewhere in the United States for 15 years. This shrub flowers on new wood so you can prune it back hard in the spring or you can let it go then prune it after it's initial flowering and you should get another bloom cycle in September.

The disappointing characteristic of this particular hydrangea is the fall palette....basically, there is none. The leaves turn yellow, the flowerheads brown and it just looks like a very unattractive you know anyone like that? I might suggest that you harvest the flowers while they are that beautiful shade of light apple green and dry them for a nice winter bouquet or even a wreath. I still have my dried Annabelles in a vase from last season....still beautiful I might add! If you have a spot in your garden for this flowering shrub I would HIGHLY recommend that you add it now and you will surely be rewarded. Happy Gardening!!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lament of a Garden Center Employee

I remember when I started gardening..many moons ago. I sat down with a few books from the local library and started a little something called RESEARCH. Those of you who don't comprehend what that is a fact finding mission where you gather information, analyze it and come to a conclusion. Plain and simple...right? To me, there is a straightforward approach to finding out information you require for any project, let alone gardening. There is an abundance of information out there concerning the act of manning a shovel or water hose but like anything else, you must decide what is truly best for you and experiment. Gardening is about using your God-given brain and trial and error to find what works.

I honestly enjoy discussing gardening and giving good advice.... BUT... can anyone tell me why millions of people descend upon their local garden centers each spring like a bunch of hungry locusts and drive those of us who work there to the point of madness with idiotic questions and I might add, the same questions over and over. Then also tell me why most of my conversations go something like this: Scuse me! Can you help me? I have an area that is such and such a size and I want a plant that is drought tolerant, blooms all summer, and doesn't get any higher than this(as they show you with their hand how tall off the ground they mean), and I don't really have time to fuss with it. Inside my head I am choking this individual within an inch of their sorry existance...but I smile and gather all the pertinent information and try to come up with an idea as I flip through my cranial rolodex. As with many of the customers, I finally give them a suggestion and the reply is "I don't like that" back to the choking image I go and think of another direction to turn. The problem is that most people want the biggest bang with not a lot of work. Hmmmm...imagine that! Hence the lazy, self indulged gardener. Yes, the same one who instead of taking time to enjoy the beauty around them says to me(because I am the first person they see) scuse me! you work here?(as the company name screams off my tshirt)....where are the vegetable plants? I point ten feet away and turn back without uttering a sound.

I can certainly distinguish between who is genuinely trying to understand and has done a little homework and the ones who just get an idea stuck in their heads because they saw something they like and want it in their very own yard. Sorry's the wake up call....nature does not...I repeat, does not alter itself so you can be the envy of all your neighbors. The very act of gardening is supposed to bring a calmness to a few hours of your day. Mother nature rewards you when you pay attention to things like natural light, wind direction, water requirements and most of all, using the gifts she has provided to get the best results, instead of the man-made super problem solvers. Coexisting in harmony with nature is the key to a beautiful sanctuary. You can see who is a true gardener just by looking at the natural beauty they have surrounding them.

We are now starting to wind down from the height of the season and the craziness but please do us ALL a season be a little less demanding, a little more patient and... FOR PETE'S SAKE DO A LITTLE RESEARCH!!!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Showing Emotions Through Music

A few days back on Facebook, I was sent a music video on my profile wall by a beautiful man who in many ways changed my life.  I do wish, for many reasons, that we could make a relationship happen but I am here and he is in Italy.  He is a very passionate man and strong in his convictions. I said, he sent me a video of an Italian songstress from the 1960's.  Her name is Ornella Vanoni.  I had never heard of her until now but have fallen in love with her voice and her style.  I think she is the embodiment of Italian music from that era.  The song which my friend chose to send me is entitled "Una Ragione Di Piu`" loosely translated as "A Reason For More."  The moment I heard it I was able to pick up on not only her emotions but the emotions that amico mio was conveying to me.  Although I cannot understand all the words I picked up on the message and felt sad.  I truly believe that music can bridge language barriers and even emotional barriers that keep us from expressing things with our own words.

Since I can't seem to be able to upload the video here is the link the passion and emotion!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

The Lonely Doll

   Do you recall a certain book from your childhood that was like a security blanket?  A book you felt drawn to and couldn't stop reading over and over again?  This is that book for me, The Lonely Doll.  I read this book every week in the school library for a year when I was in elementary school.  I was six years old.

The simple story was written and photographed by Dare Wright in the early 1960's.  It involves a Lenci (Italian made) doll named Edith who is sad because she is lonely.  One day two teddy bears (Mr. Bear and Little Bear) appeared and became her friends.  The rest of the book tells us of their adventures,  Then, one rainy day, Mr. Bear went in to town .  Edith and Little Bear discover a dressing room and make an awful mess.  Upon his return Mr. Bear becomes angry when he sees the mess so he spanks both of them.  Edith is so upset by this that she can't stop crying because she is afraid that the bears will leave her and she will be alone again.  They clean up the room and apologize.  Edith asks Mr. Bear if he will promise to stay forever and he says yes...forever and ever...the end.

The reason I feel I was so attached to this book is because my parents were going through their divorce at this time and I used this book to guide myself through this ugly and emotional period in my young life.

I have a copy of this cherished book now.  A woman I barely knew gave it to me one Christmas.  Funny, she was worried I wouldn't like it because it wasn't perfect.  When I opened the package and saw the book with it's black binding tape, I was instantly transported back to the second grade.  When I opened up this book and smelled the familiar scent of the exact story I had held all that year......I cried!

I can NEVER thank Cheri enough for giving me the most magical gift!  I shall treasure The Lonely Doll for ALWAYS!!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reality TV?....Really?

   An intelligent aquaintance of mine, Stan, typed this in his update on Facebook.  "Stanton is wondering why the crap that is reality tv is still on the air."

  It certainly made me wonder why most everyone I talk to is caught up in these shows.  Sure, I have watched a couple of them when I am relaxing for a few minutes, but most people I seem to come in contact with in my daily life have at least one reality show they follow religiously.  My thought is...WHY?  Why would you devote yourself to some of the stupidity that is on these types of show?  Is it because we are natural born voyeurs?  Do our lives pale in comparison to this type of programming?  Do we enjoy watching other people's struggles, disappointments, heartaches and overblown opinions?

  Frankly, I don't believe any of them ARE true reality.  Everyday life is the true reality.  Showing someone you care is true reality.  Patience for your fellow human is true reality.  Helping someone in need is a true reality.  Having the courage to change the things you can....having the strength to accept the things you can't change...and having the wisdom to know the difference IS true reality amico mio!!

What's your opinion?


Friday, April 3, 2009

Gardening: A Life Preserver

Before explaining this picture, I would like to apologize to any of my readers for me taking such a long sabbatical from posting.  I realize I didn't really post so much material that anyone who liked my musings would starve to death; but alas I apologize wholeheartedly.

This picture is of the life preserver I have been thrown by my landlord.  I approached him a few weeks back and asked if I could turn this unsightly area below the stairs to my apartment into a shade garden for myself.  He was thrilled that someone would want to do such a thing.  Yes, I can imagine all the negative Nancy's thoughts bouncing through their brains.  "Of course he is thrilled! You will be putting a lot of time and money into his property."  "You will be improving his property for resale value."  "Why bother when you are just renting and will eventually leave?"

Let me explain.  Gardening to me is like breathing.  I feel alive, excited, calm, relaxed, invigorated, challenged, imaginative, artistic, joyful, essence, euphoric!  When I am pulling weeds, digging in the dirt, pruning, or just relaxing amidst my bountiful reward I feel a happiness and peacefulness that can only be compared to being in love.  If this little corner of someone else's property can get me to experience those feelings I would be stupid NOT to partake in it's effects.  So now you understand the thinking behind the title of this post.

So now I hope you understand, at least a little, where my reasoning emerges.  I am going to write future posts on the progress of my garden in case anyone is interested.  If I can convince one person to dig into themselves and find that euphoric feeling through gardening then my writing has done it's job.  Until the next post...HAPPY GARDENING

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Witches of Eastwick?

The reason for writing today's blog is because I was informed by my friend Raistlin (upon hearing that he actually reads my blog...color me surprised!!) that I have never mentioned my friends here at home.  I must admit he is right.  So here is my first post about the circle I run around with on a regular basis.
  When I decided on the title of this blog I was thinking of the actual movie but only because that is what Raistlin Newton, Michael Leonard, and I call ourselves........The Witches of Eastwick.  Raistlin is the character of Jane who is soft and a pushover in the beginning of the movie but turns into a pushy broad with an ever increasing "I don't care what people think" attitude although sometimes I feel he should be Darryl VanHorn aka the Devil :).  Michael Leonard is the tell it like it is Alexandra and I of course am the questioning, thoughtful, somewhat naive Sukie. 

For the most part we hang out together quite frequently but our normal rendezvous is Sunday Brunch and that normally takes place at Union which is the popular "go to be seen" restaurant.  We have been known to stay out WAY past the allotted brunch time or eat our brunch, have a bloody mary or two or maybe a cosmo and then retreat on our Mary way.  I can easily see us still meeting for brunch 30 years from now :) but of course it is not guaranteed because life throws so many curves.  

We each have our faults but they are minor compared to our friendship and we let each other know when one of us is out of line...I believe that is a good know, the good with the bad.  I am going to be introducing a new member to the fold and hope he will be received with open arms.  We shall see....says the kitty.....fffft...ffffft!  It may be somewhat dangerous but I am toying with the idea of singling out each friend in the near future and writing a separate post about them.  Dare I? 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

10 More Tips!!

My dear friend Wilmaryad Ben O'scallas writes a blog, I like to read as my morning newspaper. He is quintessentially the gifted author of many, many well though-out posts and prose. His latest entry concerns the global recession. It was such a good piece I had to give readers 10 more tips on how to survive this recession.

Like Wilmaryad pointed out, it is not like we haven't experienced many recessions and hard times before this. Although this is felt around the world, I believe that many of the problems are created by the grossly demanding, whining Americans. I could NEVER have enough time in my life to write about the entitlement attitude in this country. Anyway....I digress.

Here are the tips I promised:

1. Cook at home. Not only does it save you some major cash but also gets you out of the "I need to eat first" rat race. For those of you who are single: cook like you would for a family of four and freeze the rest. One other benefit of you cooking is that you control what you eat. It's better than trying to add/delete things on the menu to fit your diet at an expensive restaurant.

2. Simplicity! I can not stress this enough. Simplicity in your thinking and way of living is the key you need to unlock the success in your life. If you have an overabundance of "things", that is just more to worry about. Which in turn gives you a higher stress level. Always strive to simplify, simplify, simplify.

3. Learn a new language. This will not only prepare you for a trip abroad but will keep you occupied; avoiding the urge to go shopping, going out to eat, or going to the bar for a drink. These things all cost money.

4. Surround yourself with people who think they need to do their share. I realize this can be a little selective. Do you really want to be friends with someone who might think only of himself?

5. Walk less.....carpool. Not only does this benefit the enviroment and your wallet, it will give you the daily exercise your body needs to keep fit. It's a win, win!

6. Think to yourself, is this a need or a want? You will be surprised to realize how much actually falls into the "want" category.

7. Instead of buying everything new, try purchasing items from a different venue, such as estate sales, auctions for furniture and thrift stores for clothing and household items. It takes patience, time and creativity for these forms of shopping but it pays off in the long run and it is recycling materials instead of relying on manufacturers to make more products. If more people shopped this way there would be quite an impact on those HUGE box stores.

8. Instead of renting a movie, check one out from your local library. You would be surprised at the selection. The point's free. Those movie rental fees add up.

9. While at the library check out some books and enjoy the pastime of reading. Fewer people actually read a good book these days. Before you know it books will become extinct because everyone is too busy using energy for the computer......isn't that what I am doing now?

10. Get back to nature. If possible turn part of your yard into a vegetable garden. Not only will you get a sense of satisfaction but you will eat better and save a lot of money. Trust me!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Per Noi by Andrea Bocelli

Romantic Song anyone? I have fallen "in love" with this song 'Per Noi' by the gifted singer Andrea Bocelli.

Here is the translation:
For Us

For us
I thought of so many things you don't know about
A different love like that
So I never want to lose you

Hot pearls on your face
Tears that I will gather
You will smile amidst my fresh promises
You will hear these words of mine
Already honest

The two of us, like this,turning our backs on the world
Here facing a sunset
You will listen to the sound of life stretching away peacefully
And you will understand

Dark summer storms remain a nonexistent memory
And I will hear sounds in the sunset now
It's time to stay with you
Here and now, holding each other tight, not to part again
If that is what you want

For us you know,
from afar I caressed a different love like that, still thinking of you
Softly you opened your coral lips on me with your kisses
Back turned on the world, like that
As it goes slowly by I know I'll hear
Sounds in the sunset, now
It's time to stay beside you
And you'll understand
holding each other tight
not to part again
If that is what you want

For us
I would grow
A different love like that,
inside me-here
I take everything that you are

The Lake House

A small piece of information for those of you who don't know me, I am so far behind in the viewing of movies that you will find I am blogging about the ones that have already gone passe; but alas are new to me.

'The Lake House' is one such movie. I came across the title while searching for a different movie. I decided to rent it and to my delight I was not disappointed. As anyone can tell, by reading my posts, I am a hopeless romantic. I honestly believe it is the thing that keeps me going through life and staves off the bitterness so many individuals acquire with age.

This movie, starring Sandra Bullock(one of my favorite actresses) and Keanu Reeves, is another idea about love transcending time and space. You have to possess an open mind and heart to believe it is happening. The romance revolves around a beautiful glass house on the lake, a dog named Jack, a mailbox, a chance meeting at a birthday party and a book written by Jane Austen, Persuasion.....which is about a couple that meet and fall in love but it is not the right time so they part and ....wait. The reason I liked this all movies I enjoy is because it gives the viewer a different perspective.....HOPE. Hope being one of the main building blocks of our lives. ALL things are attainable if one just opens their heart and mind to the endless possiblities. Hope gives you a will to challenge average beliefs. Are you up for a challenge? ANGELO

Wednesday, January 14, 2009, due, tre...

Today I am putting my broken Italian to the test. It is Andrea's birthday on Friday and I am calling a local florist(fiorista) in Udine, Italy to order a delivery of flowers to his residence. I am quite nervous but have prepared a sheet of scenarios and translations in case no one speaks Inglese. I know I will feel better once it is over and I hear from Andrea that everything turned out the way I wanted.

You see, instead of going through an international floral company that had nothing I liked but also charged an arm and a leg, I wanted to ask for certain flowers to make my own arrangement. Andrea's favorite flower is the sunflower(girasole) and I wanted to add some deep blue delphinium(fiori azzuro) with some native greens all tied into a bouquet(mazzolino). I figured if I did it locally it won't cost as much and I get what I REALLY want him to have. What I didn't realize was all the different scenarios that could take place...I laugh to myself.

Hopefully I will get someone who can match their broken Inglese with my broken Italiano :) Wish me luck(fortuna). ANGELO

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Always Italy

Buon Giorno Amici Mio!!
I wanted to update you on my dream of living in Italy.
It is a slower process than I originally imagined but a very natural one.
By saying "natural", I include not only researching the country but slowly melding into it.
I have always been one to hate being rushed and when I am rushed, I make mistakes.
Therefore, I feel better that I am taking things slower and learning what comes to me naturally.
Not only does this include history, geography, language, social concepts and lifestyles but alas the elusive topic of AMORE :)
I am going with my gut instincts and letting what I feel to be the BIGGEST change of my life take place, again, naturally.
You see, I believe I fell head-over-heels in love when I visited my friend Andrea this past September.
It is a good thing we have so many miles separating us because I tend to fall hard and fast. The distance between us has allowed me to think clearer and learn more about this man. Only this week did I discover a major plus in his character. Humbleness! A wonderful quality in my book. You see, I knew he was a curator for a small modern art museum...which is a fabulous thing in itself but he never elaborated any further. This week after looking for his museum's mailing address online I thought I would Google his name for fun......WOW!!!...I was amazed. This man is a stunningly accomplished individual in his field. He not only is the director of his museum but curates other museum's exhibitions, he is an author, AND is a recognized art critic in Europe. He has won awards for his work and yet is so unassuming about it.
To me, this is just the frosting on the delectable cake!
We are going to meet this March in New York City for 5 days. I can't wait to share all I have learned with him :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

I have been M.I.A for quite some time now. I must apologize but life seemed to happen and there was no room for blogging. My briend Wilmaryad commented in a note to me that he wished to see more postings from me. I made a promise to do so. I view my blog as a personal life journal and it is time I kept track of events, friends, loves, ideas, and family. I have missed doing so because I do LOVE to write. I hope everyone out there who passes thru and even is interested enough to stay a while can benefit in some way from reading my posts. Happy day everyone! A special congratulations to Wilmaryad Ben O'Scallas for being an uncle once again and being honored by his cousin in remembering him affectionately. It's the little things folks....always remember that...the smallest thing can change so many lives!! Angelo