Busy as a Bee!

Busy as a Bee!

Rosemary is one plant in the garden we can always count on. It is there every single season. Rosemary symbolizes “remembrance” and the aroma is known to help with concentration. These days I need all the help I can get with my memory and focus. Thus, the weekly, daily and sometimes, yes, hourly list.

Sunday is usually my day to look back at what I did not accomplish and tack on to the upcoming week. I keep large index cards to create my list for the week and the grocery list.

The grocery list is critical. It is awful to look in the fridge and have “nothing to eat” or even be able to creatively visualize putting something simple together out of just a few ingredients!

List Day

List Day

The second page has become the daily sub-list. Yes, I use my smart phone for my main calendar, but it helps to have a hand written in-my-face list to see and physically cross off.

A few ideas for this busy week of family, friends and food. 

**sub makings—shredded ham, turkey and roast beef, hoagie rolls, and hot/sweet peppers

** soups–making split pea soup again this week. package at Publix with the best little seasoning in it!

**exercise–get a walk/run in with a friend. much cheaper than a shrink. if you can’t get out of the house, Google “yoga video 30 minutes”. You will love it. I have my yoga mat next to my bed. Clears my head.

**flowers– they really do make you feel better. snip a few sprigs of rosemary for the aroma.

And remember this today as we head into the week…
















Mary Louise

State of the Nest minus 1

Well, the first week with our first born away from home has been rough. For me, at least.

I can’t go upstairs to her room without getting weepy. Are ya’ll going through this too?

Should I see a doctor for it?  Just kidding. I ramped up my exercise in an effort to release the “feel good” hormones.

empty nest

Trying to find focus during this almost empty nest period is difficult. I’ve been floating through the days without my usual gusto and getting very little accomplished. I feel a turn around though  after chatting with friends last night who are going through the same experience. We agreed that anticipating the four years of heading up to UGA for football games, tailgating, having Marianna home for special occasions and holidays will tranquilize my aching heart.

I turned to The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren this morning and opened the book where I needed help most–


This is good stuff. I’ve turned to this book many times over the years. Always helps to re-set my direction—God should be at the center of wherever we are headed.

“God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.” Rick Warren.

So for those of you in the same shoes, we are going to be just fine. Get busy with your ministry, whatever God put you here to do.

If I can help you as part of my ministry, just touch base. This “nearly empty nest” is not easy, but surely goodness will come out of it!!

see you.



It Takes a Village.

I thought the transition to being the mother of a college freshman would be much, much easier. Granted it’s just the first week, and I do feel better because she seems to be doing quite well.


I realized that it takes a “village” to be a parent. Especially the parent of a young adult. The actual parenting part for us has not been difficult, it’s the letting go that yanks the heartstrings. I am grateful for the texts from Marianna, the calls from my friends experiencing the same feelings, and the comfort from my buddies who have been through it! My buddy Gina has helped me in that way. Paving the road on what directions this journey may take.


Winter, 2013/Gina & ML

Gina and I had lunch on her outside patio today. Gina has been going through torturous treatment for lung cancer. Chemo and radiation. Today, she had a large patch on her chest near her collarbone to cover up an area literally burned from the radiation treatment. She’s lost about 20 pounds from not being able to eat. Her esophagus has been so burned up she was unable to swallow.

And here I wallow in sadness. She completely gets it. We all have our moments of misery going on and we need to acknowledge the feelings. There is no need to compare she says. We caught up after not seeing each other for a couple of weeks.

She confirmed that it’s going to be ok. Marianna is a bright young woman with lots of time ahead. So, if you are a parent who just moved your child into that small college dorm, I get it. Those of you who have been there, share your experience with those of us who are newbies.

It takes a village to be a parent.


Go Dawgs.




Strawberries for the New Dawg.

I was so excited to smell the fresh strawberries at the fruit stand this morning.


She loves strawberries. Plain. On her Saturday morning waffle.  Strawberries.

She is not here. I bought them anyway.

My heart aches. I keep telling myself this is a good thing, her going off to college, but I can’t deny the empty part that brings me to tears when I see strawberries.

This will pass. Texting and Facebook messaging will replace walking upstairs to wake her at 2 in the afternoon.

It will be ridiculous when she comes home, like the day she was born.

I miss my Marianna.



Week in Review and the BEST Yardbird EVER.

Hold on!  A speedy look back at the last few days.

Click on the blue links for the recipes.

I have 2 really good recipes to share with you.  This was from Go there, you will love it.


Sunday supper was inspired by The Local Palate which I picked up at The Fresh Market— which, by the way, takes EBT cards in Augusta. I am thinking that maybe someone with an EBT card will pick up this mag, read it and go home with some healthy cooking ideas.


The Appalachian Buttermilk Baked Chicken almost melted in our mouths! Neisha is thinking Cornish hens for Christmas Supper Club using this EASY recipe.




Using the HERBS from the garden like crazy. Don’t forget them. They made the difference in the Buttermilk Chicken recipe.

Here is an article from the Augusta Chronicle-2000–on me, but mostly about herbs!
















The herbs here are bronze fennel, chives, oregano and thyme. The house smelled delightful!

Meanwhile, I have not said anything about Mimi (my mother) in a while. She fell while we were in Asheville last week. Polly the caregiver reported that mama was fine, but just a bit spooked.  Mama’s appetite never fails, so as long as that keeps up we are on a good path!


Mimi and I a few years back….

We have a spot on Facebook called Garden CSRA! for gathering and talking about gardening in the Central Savannah River Area. So whether you live here, want to live here or just love the  Augusta area, ask to join the group. It’s not a garden club scrutiny, promise.


FlowerCamp14 is filling up! Happy people are registering early! I am so excited about this year’s workshop! We are going to get really artsy! Click on the blue link for more info on how to register!

Blessings for a joyful week.

Make it to the garden for a peaceful fill up.





PS. Please share this with your Facebook friends by hitting the Facebook share button below. Give me a chirp too if you are a Tweeter on Twitter. xo ML







I bought a big bucket of blueberries from a local grower this year and they are so sweet and delicious. The blueberries really perk up my unsweetened cereal in the morning! These little superstars are packed with anthocyanins which research is showing help fight against cancer and heart disease. Here is a short read from US News on blueberries.

Blueberries are on the super foods list because of their health benefits. I pulled a blog post on SUPERFOODS. This will give you a heads up for your fall/winter garden. Blueberries are perfect for planting in the fall–October/November–when the weather here in Georgia is cooling down.

Before the bucket turns to blueberry wine, I’d better get them in the freezer to pull out whenever I want fresh blueberries! Here is a link from with pictures and EASY directions on how to properly freeze for best results.

Having a glass of Rose wine with the girls tonight, so I thought I would experiment with this recipe--Grilled Brie with Blackberry Smash–except I am subbing blueberries for the blackberries!!.  Love this blog, too, check out Half Baked Harvest!

Photo from

Eat local. Enjoy your blueberry summer!


Video List

I am wondering what you want to know about gardening, flowers or food that I may be able to share on video.

Can you help me make a list? Whatever pops into your head, post in the reply section below!


OH! I have no answers for DEER but can make suggestions!!

ML’s Summer Sandwiches

My mother, Mimi, used to make the best little sandwiches when I was growing up. Daddy would come home in the evening, they would have a cocktail, and mama would often make these little snacky sandwiches.

She cut a piece of white bread into forths, spread a little Duke’s mayonnaise, then a slice of tomato, a slice of onion, topped with one half piece of bacon. They were like mini pizzas. The smell of the onion and bacon I will never forget!

Another memory of “summer sandwiches” was on a visit to exclusive Carmel-by-the-sea. I duplicate the avocado and Swiss cheese sandwich often, with several variations including my own summer sandwich.

So many food memories as each season passes. I am delighted my Facebook friends are experimenting and creating their own summer sandwich memories! I make them meatless most of the time, and even Big Daddy doesn’t notice.


Here are the basics starting with the bottom layer of bread!


Slice of Italian





mustard- spicy, Gray  Poupon

avocado mashed


The next few layers are according to taste.

Pick one or more!

Sliced tomato



Thin sliced onion, Vidalia or purple

Herbs- basil leaves, mint leaves, chopped oregano, thyme, chives, or a combination of your favorites

Cheese- sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Havarti, provolone

After building your Summer Sandwich, you could eat it cold or place under broiler until the cheese is bubbly.

I finish the sandwich off with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar!

photo (8)


Thank you Mimi for your inspiration!







Can You Take the Heat? Summer School Containers.

I did fail chemistry in high school and had to attend summer school for a few weeks. I didn’t look the type at the time–to fail a class, so the teacher said if I did really well on the first test, he’d let me pass!

Aced it and I was outta there.

Summer is hot in Augusta and our school grounds even hotter with all the concrete and limited shade. There are 3 concrete planters I try my best to tend at the school, but sometimes I can’t catch up with the heat!

Our new principal asked me to do something to liven up the concrete planter outside her office window. She reminded me kindly that she really likes pink. School starts back in the midst of summer here, so the fall look will come later!

I looked to Pinterest for inspiration and Deborah Silver popped up multiple times with the type planting I was seeking.

teepee trellis...deborah silver  .. love the height it gives!

(photo credit: Deborah Silver)

The photo above came really close to what I was looking for. It is hotter than blazes in Augusta right now, my thoughts were to include plants that can take the heat without too much babysitting!

I put my list together before hitting the garden stores otherwise I’d be shopping for myself. I came close, but held back!

1. White Mandevilla vine

2. Deep hot pink petunias

3. Margarita sweet potato vine

4. Something golden yellow to kill all that pink

I had a flat of bright pink vinca from another project, so I planned to pack that planter for instant gratification. Armed with all these plants, my bag of supplies(jute, gloves, fertilizer, trash bags) , 3 bamboo poles, water bottle and a hand towel to wipe the sweat out of my eyes, I conquered the concrete planter!

photo (6)















I ended up with a really nice deep pink “Wave” petunia, the hot pink vinca, margarita sweet potato, a cheery golden mini Rudbekia and a very nice crisp white Mandevilla vine. I was like, hell, that looks pretty darn good.

This picture was taken on Day 3. I have been babysitting the plants though because I want them to have a good start. Watered them down today for the weekend.

Summer school is not so bad in the garden!

See you.


Bright Spots. School Containers.

The challenge for me the past few years has been to produce a bright spot in the 3 containers outside of Davidson Fine Arts School.  It is difficult to keep these containers lively for many reasons: no water, no time,  extreme heat in summer months, etc.

After our new principal looked at me last month with that, well,LOOK, then said “I sure hate looking at that weedy planter outside my window.” I replied, “I’m on it”. She continued, “I love pink.”

Oh my goodness. I am a gardener, but I don’t do this for a living, purely volunteer! So when I began the search for inspiration I landed upon Pinterest boards from one of my favorite container designers, Deborah Silver.

The woman is amazing. Just when I am flying high on a wedding job well done, I see Deborah’s work. It doesn’t pull me down, it pumps me up! I am reaching, trying just a bit harder. So enough of all this feel good talk, let’s get busy!

Here is my inspiration per Deborah Silver. teepee trellis...deborah silver  .. love the height it gives! And this one. Gorgeous planters - Deborah Silver and Co. So I’ve soaked in these photos, written a list and finished my shopping. SCORE. Found the white Mandevilla vine after buying a deep pink one. I think the white will cool all the pink of the vinca and petunias. I am tossing a bit of lemon yellow lantana and sweet golden Rudbeckia in there too. That pink is really HOT> I couldn’t pass up the margarita green of the sweet potato vine either.

With three bamboo posts in hand and a tiny rice rocket full, I am on the way.

I will take pics and give you the recipe and report back.

Blessings from the Garden.