He’s very social, for someone who doesn’t speak English. He just wanted you to know he’s doing awesome!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Danny the Dieffenbachia

Danny is one happy, happy plant! (Or rather, several plants together, but let’s not quibble about that, haha!) One of my best houseplants! I would recommend Dieffenbachias to anyone – they are great houseplants! Gorgeous and low maintenance.

The Sandia Mountains on a recent cloudy day.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, the Sandia Mountains

Hello laborers, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Yay for the Friday before a long weekend – we welcome your arrival! Now that it’s Friday, we can finally get to our Ask the Experts Panel, and to our plant puzzler. It’ll be good times! Let’s get the festivities started by saying hi to our Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

The Experts are going to be taking a break for the next couple of weeks. Before they leave, I decided to ask them the following question:

Q. What moves you?

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first, fine sir:

A. I am moved by innocent children learning new things.  I am always amazed by kids and how fast they learn, and then seeing them put what they learn to practice is one of the most moving experiences one could ask for.  This happens when I coach and it is invigorating.  Then I am moved again at the end of the season when I need to say “goodbye” to them, knowing that they may take a little of what they have learned with them all of their lives, and remember me as a part of it.  Honestly, I just don’t know how teachers do it.  Each year they bring in a new crop, teach them from day 1 to the last day of school, and then have to let them fly away and onto the next year.

I am also moved by kind words and affirmation directed my way.  I guess I’ve never been one to accept accolades or criticism very well.  I don’t know why that is.  But it moves me.

I am moved by my best friend Darren coming over to my house while I was away on my birthday, taking my gate apart, and welding on a new latch that had been broken for 6 months; as my birthday present.

I am moved by the rewards of hard work; for anyone else as well as myself.

I am moved by “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the Indy 500 every year.

I am moved by the Constitution of the United States of America and the Declaration of Independence. Give them both a read and try to make an honest assessment of where we are now and how those wise men would feel about it.

A. There is a wide range of things, depending on my ever-changing level of emotional stability. One day, a car full of puppies running into a truck full of kittens right in front of me wouldn’t budge me an inch emotionally; the next day, a sappy tissue commercial could have me nearly in tears. 

Jesus, I have issues and should seek help and/or medication.

A. Generous acts. Simple acts. Acts of sacrifice. The sudden arrival of the sun after a long hard rain. Words written by N. Scott Momaday and Alice Walker. Songs with lonely voices. Acting by actors surprised by the honesty of the moment. A mother and her infant. Love found, lost, then remembered. Embraces. Soft kisses. Hymns sung in grand cathedrals. Prayers whispered. A single tear.

A. It is difficult to select to one event or thing that moves me the most. I could site untold numbers of beautiful moments or events: the hush of an early morning with only the birds voices breaking the silence, a misty walk in the softly falling rain on a warm summer night, my children’s births, my mother’s face , my children’s jubilation when they have accomplished a goal in their life, the golden tenor voice of my beloved husband Ted or his delightful “chicken dance”, the surround and support of dear friends, and on and on. However, what I do believe what touches me the most is “kindness,” just old fashioned caring . It so touches my heart to see someone demonstrating “kindness” in their relationship to anyone – man or animal – known to them or not.  If Kindness were to return to be paramount in each persons demeanor, the whole World would heal !


A. Well one time I had this green chile stew and it was so good I ate way too much and that moved me, in fact it moved me several times. And then another time on this road trip driving thru  Montana where this area grew these big beautiful purple cherry and they were ripe and I bought a big boxes for three dollars and they were delicious, so sweet and juicy, oh were they good, heaven sent, ate’em by the handfuls almost the whole box. About two hours late driving down the road, BOY did they move me too almost didn’t get the car stopped in time and lucky there was some bushes close by and we’ll leave it at that. So yeah I’ve been moved.

What else moves me, my love of my family and friends, my passion for my job of keeping people safe from fire, flood or disaster and writing foolish twit.

I love to travel and we, my love and me are driving to visit family in Missoula Montana, for two weeks, Tim has come here to visit several times now we are going there. Maybe I’ll be lucky and the cherry await to move me again.

Enjoy be safe, till we meet again

Ahhhh, this is why I love you Experts so much! You’re adorable, you’re funny, you’re charming! I really enjoyed your answers. Your participation here moves me more than you know! Thank you so much to each of you!

Readers, I welcome you to weigh in with what moves you, too. Do you agree with the Experts? They’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

That’ll do it for this week’s Panel of Experts. Thanks again for being here, everyone.

Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this Synadenium plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

mr_subjunctive of the Plants Are the Strangest People site wrote, “Real. And there’s something kind of familiar about it. . . .”

Ivynettle from the Letters and Leaves site wrote, “Fake, fake, fake!
Wow, it’s been long since I’ve played.”

Then she added, “Or, wait… looking closer, it actually looks real. Am I this out of practise? Maybe you should just disregard my post… *blushes and hides*”

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “Real…ly Fake! Unless you mean the dracaena in the background.(B>{D)”

Hmmmm…that’s one vote real, one vote fake, and one vote for both!

What’s the correct answer?

Maybe a wider view will help:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Real! And really pretty! You can tell they’re real plants because real plants have flaws, just like people. Fake plants are designed to look perfect, which I find makes them look ugly. I’ll take flaws any day!

The reason the plant looked familiar to mr_s is because he sent me cuttings a few years ago. I’ve propagated them like crazy, and now they’re all over town at various client offices of mine. I love them! I think they’re gorgeous, and they obviously grow well. Thanks, mr_subjunctive!

Everyone’s a winner today! Congratulations! To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like you each to have the following prizes: One holiday weekend, three grilled cheese sandwiches, five compliments, two new dance moves, 14 1/2 bonus points, valle de oro, a blue cardigan sweater, perspective, one bronze trophy, your own personal rainbow, one coupon good for a trip down memory lane, a bayou, four paintbrushes, six accolades, Greg, 11 more points, a spare kneecap, two Sheboygans, extra kindness, three baby iguanas, new kitchen cabinets, purple, a seal of approval, excessive praise, six fritters, four hugs, one promotion, a ski lift, five constellations, and a package of bratwurst.

Congrats again, and thanks for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler. Warning – it may be tricky!

???Real or Fake???

Are these plants real or fake?

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, September 4th, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) next Friday. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Morning Glories After the Rain


So pretty!

You still have time to guess the current puzzler, in which I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

I’m referring to the Synadenium plant in the forefront, not the Sanseveria behind it.

You guys are divided on your answers so far, which is weird – you’re usually on the same page. If you’d like to take another look and change your answer, you can. I don’t keep track of your answers, so no harm, no foul. The point of the puzzler is to have fun with it. It’s my belief that real plants are always better than fake ones (it follows that I also believe fake plants are a waste of money).

The deadline to enter is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST). Leave your best guess in the comments section. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) tomorrow after an all-new Ask the Experts Panel. I hope to see you back here!

After much rain last night and this morning:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Liza's August Garden

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, good morning sleepyhead

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Liza's plants

Of course they’re happy – they have a nice south-facing windowsill to live on. Even with the cane plants outside blocking lots of the sunshine, they still have abundant light.

It’s a typical end-of-August around here…busy, hot, overgrown. I have barely touched my camera lately but I’ll do better in the coming weeks of getting back into it.

Hello summerteers, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Yay for Friday! We’ve been waiting patiently all week for your arrival. Thank you for finally getting here. Friday is the day we roll out our Panel of Experts, and our puzzler fun. Let’s get the festivities started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

This week’s question is pretty straightforward, and because I was curious. Here it is:

Q. What scares you?

Expert Andy, you’re up first as usual:

A. Hello again, from China.  On my way home today.  Yeah!!!  Onward….

What scares me is being in the woods alone, on the way to the outhouse in the middle of the night in the Canadian wilderness on our own fishing island.
And coming across a rattlesnake on my many adventures in the Arizona desert or high country.
And getting on a plane in China or Taiwan, for a 13 hr. journey at 33,000 feet, across a large body of water, part of which is within missile distance of a nut job North Korean dictator.
And the ire of an angry woman.

A. Everything. Absolutely everything. Here is a short list: failure, success, heights, rabid dogs, enclosed spaces, drowning, loss of my mental faculties, earthquakes, dying young, living too long, and about 42 assorted fears specifically for my daughter.

I could go on…which also scares me.

A. I fear a phone call in the middle of the night, losing an appreciation of words, not enough sleep, too much sleep, forgetting certain faces, not being able to laugh.

———Expert Dottie is off celebrating her birthday so she’s not available this week. Let’s admire her adorableness:

And move on to Expert Lewis. Lewis, what say you, fine sir?


What scares you?

Nothing and everything, As a young child death visited my family several times, I did not understand but they never came back

So dying was not something I feared, several time God has watched over this fool’s follies and little children


I do not walk with my head covered because the sky is falling, the sky is falling,

But I do look to the sky for strange large objects that should not be there

There are places in our country  where people do fear the sky

For monster come from it and have no mercy as they churn the earth

These monster do hold a great pucker factor in my life,

I lived under that sky and have walked, aided and awed at the power that caused the churned earth

I did not like it

Now I live under Red Sky’s that are not as angry,

Here we have rushing water that should be respected and given a wide berth but not feared


You know fear and anger are brothers they are almost always together when someone needs them least

I had a great fit of madness between my oldest son and me

Something stupid said caused my careful image of self-discipline, self-control, my shiny armor came apart

Leaving a screaming lunatic ranting and raging at the world,

My son was just the trigger

I was angry at his stupid words for they were a challenge to my order

I was angry at myself for my loss of self-control, I’m usually so cool, calm and collected

I was angry at not having more hair, less girth, deeper pockets

I was angry at the Republicans for being so stupid

I was angry at the Democrats’ for being just as stupid

I was angry at the unfairness in the world, the greedy, low or no morals, the politicians,

who work for they own cause and to hell with the rest of us

I was angry at the lawyers who have sold their soul to  the demons

I was angry at the demons who cast they nets wide and all of the fools within

I was angry at the homeless, why do they wonder the streets have not I given them enough

I was angry at the druggie, alcoholics, dopers and smokers and their damn cigarette butts

I was angry at the young woman crossing the street with her white cane,

I may not have her courage and fortitude as she made her way

I was angry that children, elderly and animals suffer at the hands of those who should be loving them

I was angry that I cannot fix some problems

I went home and stewed in my self-pity for an hour or two more

Woo is me,


I am blessed God gave me another morning another day, I left the anger in yesterday

The problems still are there, I went to my son and said I’m sorry for my being an ass

He said ditto, we gave each other a hug, said I love you

For family helps hold the fear at bay

Next time I will know my armor has some rust a crack or two, I’ll step back from the edge

Smile at the Red Sky


Those are remarkable answers, everyone. Thank you for sharing. It’s a question that shows your vulnerabilities, so I appreciate the honest feedback. The world can be a big scary place! Things like phone calls in the night, the loss of our minds and anger are hard – our fears are valid. But I agree with Lewis – love helps. It’s important not to walk around in fear, but to focus on the more loving aspects of life.

Thanks fellas, again for sharing. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

Readers, I’ll pose the question to you, too – what scares you? Use the comments section to share your fears. I’d be interested to hear them.

That’ll do it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return next Friday for one more panel before breaking for the Labor Day weekend. They look forward to seeing you back here.

Ok, now let’s move on to the current puzzler.

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this Ocotillo plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “A real live ocotillo! Way cool.”

Joseph Brenner from Texas wrote, “Real ocotillo. Real agave. Really gorgeous!!(B>{D}”

That’s two votes real, zero votes fake.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider look:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

It is real! And it’s beautiful! I love Ocotillos – they’re so interesting. And they have these funky orange blooms in the early summer (obviously this one isn’t blooming now, I just took this photo a couple of weeks ago, well past its bloom time). Real plants are always prettier than fake ones.

Well done, guys! You nailed it. Not surprising at all!

To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award you each the following prizes: Several more August nights, one scenic byway, a queen-sized bed, 27 purrs, Placitas, the edge off, 14 northern lights, 15 southern nights, one baby moose, seven shooting stars, nine bonus points, Donna, your own personal choir, six touchdowns, 11 stripes, three fiestas, one spare earlobe, less fear, salted caramel ice cream, a vacation to yesterday, one coffee table, a bouquet of white roses, four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, one manicure, a plate of french fries, one bronze statue in your likeness, red curtains, 13 more points, a denim jacket, one round of applause, and my hearty thanks.

Congratulations! Thanks so much for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, August 28th, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

Thanks so much for reading this post!

She should be declared a National Treasure! Today is her 88th birthday.


Dottie on the left, daughter Karen on the right. I borrowed this photo from Karen’s facebook page, as it’s more recent than any photos I have.

I hope you have a great celebration, sweet lady!

Readers, if anyone would like to send birthday wishes to Dottie, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll make sure she sees them.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in the beautiful Land of Enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have a plant care business here in town called Good To Grow. I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.




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