1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Monday, July 18, 2011

'Get a Life!'

We now live in a tree house!

"Get a life!" Early on Saturday afternoon, these words rang out from the property across the street. I was on the front porch showing Daughter my new plant acquisitions. I do like that word better than "purchases" for some reason. Maybe it's because it doesn't cause someone else's eyebrows or blood pressure to go up. We won't mention here who that someone else is. Anyway, the "acquisitions" came home with me from a tropical plant workshop at NFREC that morning. Get a life? Who, me? Neighbor lady--that I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet but hear yelling fairly often--do you suppose I have nothing better to do than take pictures of plants and get all excited about adding more of them to the collection on the porch? You have no idea...

It could be that the cat generates an unfavorable impression of us. Peanut does tend to irritate the dogs across the street. She's free to roam, and they're not, at least not very often. Not that she ever does wander off. There's a chance she would miss some of the excitement around here.

I spotted this beauty, Hymenocallis 'Tropical Giant,' while helping move plants from the shade house at NFREC to the main building. There were quite a few pots to shuffle in order to get ready for the plant sale after the workshop. After helping clean up in the kitchen after the event, I was glad to see this plant still available for purchase. Four dollars seemed like a reasonable price to pay for such a stellar member of the Amaryllis family. The proceeds of the sale of this plant and the other ones we shuffled go to Gardening Friends of the Big Bend, an organization which supports NFREC's research efforts and organizes events like the workshop. Do you suppose being active in that kind of group qualifies one for Getting a Life? 

Hymenocallis 'Tropical Giant'

Of course, I didn't bring my camera to take pics of the speakers, the beautiful flower arrangements designed by some of the more creative volunteers, or the many and varied plants for sale. I did, however, take copious notes of the speakers' presentations. Click on the pic below if you're interested in reading some of them.

One of the workshop presenters is a renowned ginger expert, Dave Skinner, who lives right here in Tallahassee. A retired state employee, he has his own website, GingersRus, dedicated solely to the many species of ginger, and he travels around the world scouting out and collecting new specimens.  

Ginger Costus pictus 'Red Stem Form'

Mr. Skinner had his own plants for sale after the workshop, and I decided to add a couple of them to the ever growing collection of potted plants on our front porch. They did "cost us" a bit more than the GFBB's plant selections. I've come to the conclusion that it's not healthy to be a cheapskate all of the time. Gingers are fairly hardy in this zone, but I don't want to take any chances with this investment. The past couple of winters have been especially severe, and who knows what surprises await us for this next one? 

Ginger Costus productus

I hope the 'Red Stem Form' gets a pretty flower bract like this one, but I won't be too disappointed. The spirally arranged leaves of the Costus gingers are enough to keep me fascinated. It doesn't take much to entertain me. Maybe the neighbor lady is right...

Malvaviscus arboreus 'Dwarf Pink' Turk's Cap

I was glad that NFREC's own Dr. Gary Knox talked a little about his work with tropical plants. He offered visitors a tour of the display gardens around the main building to give them an idea of what kinds of plants do well in this region. Hibiscus plants have always been a favorite of mine, but the kind that most nurseries sell are meant for real tropical climates. It's nice to know that there are hardy varieties we can grow right here like this Dwarf Pink Turk's Cap. According to this Floridata article, it's better suited for Zone 9 or higher, but it will grow and bloom in Zone 8. Even if frost nips it back, it's still fine underground and will send up new growth the next spring. Blooms might appear a little later in the summer than usual.

The other speakers besides Mr. Skinner included Hayes Jackson, an Extension Agent from Alabama who described his experience with a number of plants suitable for "tropicalesque" gardening. What does that mean exactly? According to Mr. Jackson:

"It's a landscape with a tropical feel to it."
"It's the utilization of tropical plants with bold textures and colors."
"It's the result of an overwhelming need to recreate a tropical resort in a climate not necessarily ideal for growing tropical plants."

Given the weather that many parts of the country have endured these past few winters, it's not unreasonable to expect that most people wouldn't mind escaping the harshness of winter to spend some time in a tropical resort, real or imaginary.

Secret Aging Man, a true Florida "afishionado"

While various gardening aficionados were spending time on Saturday morning learning about tropical landscaping, other "afishionados" were busy getting hooked (again) by their own particular passion. It's not unreasonable to expect people (especially those married to each other for a really l--o--n--g time) to have some different interests in life. I just wish I knew how to share that idea (politely) with the lady across the street. Do you think the offer of a few fish or--even better--a dinner invitation would help?


  1. SHE was telling YOU to "get a life"? That's too funny.

  2. Is that really your house?? How very cool! I don't think I'd invite said neighbor to my home. Not at all. She does not sound like a nice person. Congrats on the fish! Mr. Fix-it would be most envious of SAM.

  3. You were taking pictures and talking about your plants on your own front porch? This woman shouts at you to get a life? Press the Ignore button.

    Dave Skinner used to have a web site where he recorded how his various plants fared -- many died. Then he discovered gingers.

  4. Interesting and exotic plants. I like the Turks Cap idea. We have native ones here but people illegally dig them up and now they are hard to find in the woods.

  5. Hey there! I'm still alive, and won't make puny excuses for not stayin in touch.

    Feel free to reprimand at will!

  6. Hi W2W .. great to see your house - why in the trees - or up the trees? It looks fun though .. glad you're settled .. and the pot plants look amazing - the lily particularly so, and the ginger ..

    Just enjoy letting us know how you're getting on .. neighbours - well!

    Cheers Hilary

  7. oooh, what a beautiful location. Is it like in Queensland where the houses are on stilts to assist them keeping cool?

    I'd wave back and say a cheery hello.Sue

  8. Hi

    All the plants in this post were new to me. Probably no garden shops here sell them. Love 'Tropical Giant'and your Tree House! They look coool! I too sometimes get perplexed by some strange people like said neighbor.

    I'll soon have a break from blogging. Have a lovely summer, W2W! Looking forward to your second short story!!

  9. That's such a beautiful house! Too bad you have to deal with a nosy neighbor who has nothing better to do than watch what you're doing. Maybe you can suggest some reality TV for her. I wouldn't go any further than leaving a dead fish on her doorstep as a dinner invitation.

  10. Your post deserved a second visit!! I am just loving your house! Will you eventually put all those beautiful plants in the ground, or are they specifically to adorn your deck?

  11. I think your neighbor needs to get a life:) She wouldn't be getting a dinner invitation from me! I also tend to hide my plant "acquisitions" from a certain someone, not because I'm spending the grocery money on them, but he just doesn't understand my need to keep expanding the garden. Sounds like you had some interesting workshops; these always re-energize me...and add to my enjoyment of LIFE.

  12. Karen, thanks for the double comment! Most of the plants will stay in pots, larger ones of course. I'm trying to be careful about what I put in the ground here at the lake. It's supposed to be a nature preserve, and I don't want to upset the balance anymore than it already has been. Besides, there are so many tree roots in the yard, planting space is very limited!

    Tina, it's not our house for keeps. Just renting it for now. Once we sell our house, it might become more permanent. I thought of you guys while I was putting this post together and decided you might like to see some of what you missed on Saturday:)

    NellJean, I was intrigued not angered by what the neighbor said. It made me wonder what other people really think life should be made of. Thanks for the info on Mr. Skinner. He's a very interesting guy. I'd love to read an account of his travels.

    TB, I didn't realize the Turk's Cap would be native to your area. Very hardy indeed.

    It's great to see you again, TC. No excuses are necessary. I'd be a hypocrite if I expected any.

    Ms. Hilary, the house is on stilts, not really a tree house per se, but close enough. It feels like we're living in one. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit.

    Sue, the house is on stilts to prevent flooding. We're quite close to the edge of a lake, and there's not much of a slope up to the house from it. You're right. I thought later that I should have waved and said come on over, but I was a little surprised and had to think about it all for a while. Next time, there won't be any hesitation.

    Sapphire, thanks! I'm glad you like the plants and the house. I feel like we're birds in a nest living here. I hope you have a wonderful vacation and look forward to reading your posts when you get back. I'll be working on the next story soon...

    Clementine, I'll give the neighbor the benefit of the doubt and a couple of more strikes before she's out. Most everybody bats lousy once in a while.

  13. Hi w2w,
    You seem to be enjoying your own life. Those tropical plants are all so hardy? "Tropical giant" looks so rare and and beautiful.

    The dog across the street is envious of Peanut's carefree roaming.
    "Secret aging man"'s catch looks great. Are those the ones in the nearby lake?
    Stay cool and have a happy summer, W2W.

  14. Hello Walk2write,

    I first checked the internet to know the meaning of the American idiom, which is ur title..I think it is for the second time u r talking abt ur annoying she so much irritating?
    I like the pictures, and abt my post. Logos Hope is a German ship, which used to travel around the world selling books..You will get more details abt it from the net.

  15. Cosmos, at least the gingers will be kept in pots so that I can move them around and keep them from freezing next winter. The other plants will be nice and cozy with a blanket of leaves. Yes, the fish are from the lake which is our new backyard. SAM likes it so much better than the swimming pool he had to keep clean at what used to be our home.

    Tomz, I probably should have put a link to some explanation of the idiom. Sorry! Is there some equivalent expression in your culture? As for the neighbor, no, this is the first time I've talked about her. You might be thinking of my rant a few weeks ago regarding the people who are renting our house. This post isn't really a rant. At least I didn't intend it to be. And, no, our neighbor isn't so much irritating when we're inside the house with the windows closed and the air conditioning running. I guess that's one good thing about the hot weather we're experiencing right now. I will look for more information about the ship per your suggestion. Thanks!

  16. Fascinating entry, W2W--I have also been charmed by the amazing variety of gingers. Even though the hubby is the Master Gardener and plant acquisition specialist :>) in this house, I do appreciate the beauty he brings into our lives.

    Oh, and I may live to regret coming to the end of this entry within sight of that delectable-sounding dark chocolate and blueberry recipe. Two of the best foods in the universe in one cluster--heaven help us all!

  17. A dinner invitation might be nice. I don't know about the fish. Then again maybe she's just a weird person who needs to get a life of her own.

    Tossing It Out

  18. love your tropical paradise. Quite tropical here in PA. I too have a neighbor who screams, but I should say, screamed because for a number of years she has stopped screaming, which has led to theories of what has calmed her soul

  19. Rose, I've heard from a reliable source (don't mothers know best?) that what they don't know--as long as it doesn't break any vows or the budget--can't hurt them. Besides, do I raise my eyebrows every time a new fishing lure or some other tackle turns up? You're right about the workshops. The CEUs we have to keep up with by going to them are not bothersome at all.

    Mary, so you know what it's like to live with an MG? Heaven help you plant widows and widowers! I hope you try the blueberry recipe. It's the easiest one I know besides eating them out of hand.

    Arlee, I know she's pretty busy with work and kids. Her life must be busting at the seams. It could be the yelling is a pressure release valve. I won't get too worried unless she starts throwing things.

    Wayne, I'm glad your screamer calmed down. Sure hope it wasn't Prozac that did the trick.