Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Fun Outing

My daughter has been sick with a really nasty ear infection and cold virus for over a week. She was going stir-crazy from being cooped up and wanted to get out of the house today. She and I love to go to Barnes and Noble to browse over the magazines and books and get a drink from their, sort of but not really, Starbucks. That was her getting-out place of choice today, and of course, I happily agreed.

We kind of lost track of the time and spent four enjoyable hours there today. I looked at almost all of the gardening magazines and a few gardening books. One of the books I looked at was, Living in the Garden Home by P. Allen Smith. The photography in this book is absolutely stunning. So many of the gardening books, magazines and even the seed catalogs and seed packages have poor quality pictures. As an example:

This is the seed package for Bee Balm that I purchased a few days ago. If I was just going by the picture on the package, I personally wouldn't purchase it. In fact, I never had before, it just doesn't appeal to me. What did appeal to me this year was the fact that it attracts hummingbirds and that is my goal. I've since looked at pictures of Bee Balm on the Internet and there are some really great pictures, much more appealing than what is on this package.

In a lot of garden related publications it's hard for me to really tell what the flowers and plants actually look like, the colors are usually dull and flat and the pictures are not crisp and clear. There have been numerous times when I've seen a stunning picture of a fabulous flower on a garden blog and I think that I've never seen that particular one before, when in reality I more than likely have since I own over fifty gardening books and plant encyclopedias, and I'm always checking out others from the library. I also get several seed and plant catalogs and I look at them many times. Not to mention the garden books and and magazines I peruse on my frequent trips to B and N. It's just usually the pictures in most publications are unremarkable and don't make much of an impression on me so I focus on what is more familiar. I obviously am a very visually oriented person, so good quality pictures are very important to me.

Anyway, back to Living in the Home Garden, I really enjoyed this book. P. Allen Smith does a beautiful job with making the most of his prolific garden through every season. There are fifty projects in the book, many of which are seasonal centerpieces and arrangements. For those of you who love to bring the outdoors in with bouquets from the garden, this book is a must see. As I said, the photography is stunning and there is a glossy, colorful, magnificently clear, feast for the eyes on every page.

Now to change the subject, I talked with my mom today, and they actually had snow in Alabama!
This is a rare occurrence. One thing I'm quite sure of, there was no milk or bread to be had in the stores today. You were out of luck if you didn't rush out yesterday and stock up. Down south, when they mention the S word, the milk and bread fly out of the stores like crazy.

My dad is always teasing me about keeping the snow up here, he hates cold weather and snow. So it was quite funny to me that he had snow today and I didn't, (we won't mention the freezing, below zero cold to him though).


Lisa at Greenbow said...

OOOOoooo a day at B&N sounds great to me too. Not only do I lose track of time there I lose lots of $$ there.

Gee Robin, I bet if you have a gardening friend near you they would give you starts of bee balm. It is so prolific once it is started. You are right the hummers love it. I will be curious to know if your seeds take. I don't have much luck with seeds. It is probably "me". For the most part I am not patient enough for them. :/

Jayne said...

I agree with you Robin, the photos do matter! B&N is Sam's very favorite place. Sort of like his haven surrounded by so many books to peruse. He's so funny. Here at home, if I have been drinking coffee and he comes up to hug me, he'll say, "Mom, your breath smells like Barnes and Noble." :c)

Carol said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. We finally got our own B&N down here and I need to spend more time there as someone gave me a B&N gift card for Christmas. Watch me turn it into a gardening book.

I agree that the pictures in a book can make the difference between a so-so book and one that you just have to have, even though the words might be the same. Somedays, I don't feel like reading, I just feel like looking at the pictures.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Q said...

Dear Robin,
Pictures do make a huge difference. I grow two types of Bee Balm and the hummers and the butterflies love it.
You will too!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Lisa, I don't think I can be that patient either. I don't know of anyone who already has Bee Balm growing. I may just break down and by one plant to put in my hummingbird garden and still attempt to grow them from seed. I like a challenge.

Jayne, that is too funny! It is amazing how we associate smells with certain places and events.

I can't believe you haven't already used your gift card, Carol. A garden book sounds like the perfect way to use it. For me the saying is true, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

g/Sherry, I can't wait to see those hummers again. I'm going to try to plant more things to attract them this year.

Anonymous said...

Hope your daughter is feeling much better! :-) ...and that the little ones don't catch anything! We had just enough snow to make some snow cream so Elaine was happy (although she would have been *happier* with a little more snow). Take care and stay warm!!


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Bee balm is a really spectacular plant. But I have found that is spreads very aggressively. So beware!

You can see my bee balm here:

I think P. Allen Smith is adorable. But his gardens are definitely the kind that require a staff!

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Cyndi, glad you all enjoyed the snow.
My mom makes delicious snow ice cream. I hope Jamie's little charges don't get sick too, actually she got it from them, so hopefully they won't relapse.

Robin/Bumblebee, you really do have a lot of bee balm. I don't have space to let it get too much out of control, so thank you for the warning.

Annie in Austin said...

The 'S' word made people run out for milk in Illinois, too - even though they should be used to white crystals falling from the sky ;-]

I really liked that observation, Robin, about noticing plants in blog photos more than in photos from magazines or books. Maybe part of it is the luminous quality of a photo on a screen? Or maybe it's just that gardenbloggers know exactly what other gardeners want to see!

That P Allen Smith TV show is on PBS here - besides his gardens, I like his voice.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Carolyn gail said...

Snow in 'Bama is indeed a rare event, Robin. I was ten before I saw snow, even though we would pray for it every Christmas. I remember my Sis saying that God sure takes his time answering.