Hello loverboysandgirlsandcatsanddogsandhorsesandbabygiraffes, and happy Friday!

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

Ah, Friday, how we love you so! There are so few Fridays in the month of February, so we’re going to try to make the best of them.

We’ll do that with imaginary prizes, a new plant puzzler, and an all-new edition of Ask the Experts.

Let’s get the day started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

Look how cute you are! 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.

Valentine’s Day, everyone’s, no one’s, your girlfriend’s Hallmark’s favorite holiday is next week, on the 14th. So I decided to ask my Experts to share their plans, or to recommend something for you, dear readers. Here’s the question, followed by their answers:

Q. Valentine’s Day is around the corner. What do you and your sweetie have planned, or can you recommend something cool for our readers?

Expert Andy is going to start us off:

A. Actually, this year I’m going to be traveling to CA for work over V-day.  So, I’m likely to be starting V-day in the domestic penalty box.  I’m not a big fan of V-day anyhow.  I think everyone should tell their loved ones that they love them everyday, not just on Feb. 14th.

What I particularly enjoyed on V-day in high school though was our student newspaper accepting and posting V-day msgs. in the paper.  A lot of humor, intrigue, and fun was had from that event each year.  I think it may have been $0.25 or $0.50 to post such a msg. at the time, but I still remember that & therefore it was very effective.  See how simple meaningful or fun things can be?

So, my advice….keep it simple!

A. I don’t have a sweetie right now, so this question just bums me out. I think I’ll just spend the day listening to Blood on the Tracks on a loop. And naturally, my bitterness precludes me from recommending anything for anyone.

But I hope it goes great for everyone!

A. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, any thoughts I may conjure would be best ignored. I’ve had enough disasters on Feb. 14 to know I am better off to avoid the subject.

A. Oh my, I have to harken back to last week.  Oh the Saints preserve me and keep me safe from those devilish leprechauns and even some unforgiving fairies!!!!  I totally forgot that February 1st is the beginning of the Celtic Spring and the celebration of the most powerful woman in Irish history:  St. Brigid.  She was a woman well ahead of her time.  Born in 453, she was the daughter of a slave and a chieftain.  Her feast day is celebrated on February 1st.    After refusing an arranged marriage, she went on to found many convents whose schools provided an education for thousands of young women who otherwise would have had none!! (Ha! That is why Irish women are so much smarter than – well you know) She was the lone female figure whose voice was heard in a male-dominated Church, but the stories of her good deeds and extraordinary acts ensured she was canonized well before many of her contemporaries.  

Apparently, so the story goes and we Irish never let the truth get in the way of a good story, when St Brigid was trying to wrestle enough land on which to build her monastery in Kildare from the high king of Leinster, he said that she could have as much land as her cloak would cover.  Where upon Brigid laid down her cloak and it “magically spread out to cover several hundred acres.!  Oh you know, she had to be in good favor with all the fairies and a few leprechauns to accomplish that feat.

So bless me now, I hope I have made up for my forgetfulness and I won’t suffer the indignation of the dear fairies and those nasty little toad-stool sitting fellows and graspy, pot 0’ gold grabbing guys.

Hopefully, I’ll now be able to enjoy the coming love- holiday. Have love in your heart and you’ll enjoy a beautiful Valentine’s Day.  Slainte!

A. The Gospel at Church Sunday said “Of Faith, Hope and Love that Love is the best, highest, most honor and the greatest gift that we can bestow on anyone”.

In last Friday’s Ask the Experts,  I joked of fooling death and what a clever fellow was I, but I was only a fool to speak so lightly of such a subject.

That night a person in my office was sadly visited by death and tragically her daughter was taken from her in a car crash, my heart wept for her.

Go right now and give those you love a hug and say “I love you” for they or you might not be a tomorrow,

Bestow on them your highest gift of Love  

Awesome! Thanks to each of you for your take on the upcoming holiday and ones recently passed. I enjoy your perspectives.

Readers, what do you think of the Experts take this week? Pretty interesting, aren’t they?

I hope everyone has a love-filled Valentine’s Day, and every day beyond. Thank you Experts for your selfless service here each Friday.

The Experts will return in exactly one week, they hope to see you back here.

Let’s move on to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

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

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Ugh! Fake!”

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Yup. Fake.”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “Eeeek…horribly fake!”

Steph from Indianapolis wrote, “Assault on the eyes.”

Mary wrote, “LOL Steph! I agree! Fake.”

Tom from Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Fake!”

That’s six votes fake, zero votes real. What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view to see:

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

Fake! Really, really fake, dusty and ugly. (The Chlorophytum on the counter is real.) It has many missing leaves, which I don’t know is from the age of the plant or a deliberate attempt of the manufacturer to make it look “real.” Either way, it’s not nearly as attractive as the Spider plant next to it.

Despite being pretty gross, this tree has a backstory that I think some of you will appreciate. The tree is located in Venezia’s Pizzeria, the restaurant on San Mateo (they have two other locations). I like to go there from time to time because their pizza is delicious.

Several months ago, I finally watched all the seasons of Breaking Bad, filmed in Albuquerque. In one episode, in season two or three, Jesse Pinkman goes on a bender and has a big party at his house. They get a pizza, which arrives without being sliced. The pizza was from none other than Venezia’s Pizzeria (I recognized the logo on the box). Badger spends a good deal of time trying to figure out the cost savings of not slicing pizzas – it was very funny.

After seeing that episode, I asked the kid at the counter about it and he stared at me blankly. He assured me they slice their pizzas before sending them out. He had no idea what I was talking about in reference to the Breaking Bad episode. He may well have thought that I was nuts. The entire exchange made me giggle.

Anyway, the most recent time I was in there, I snapped photos with my phone. You’re welcome, Breaking Bad fans, for bringing a slice of the show to you.

Ivynettle, you are on fire! That’s two weeks in a row you’ve been first with a correct answer – good job! For being so speedy, you’ve earned the title of “Two, Two, Two, Two, Two, Two, Two Times in a Row Winner of the Plant Puzzler Which Makes Me Twice as Awesome as Last Week Booyeah.” Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by one Venezia’s pizza carefully sliced into tidy little triangles.

You’re all winners this week – well played! I’d like to show you my gratitude for your playing by awarding each of you the following prizes: One Valentine from me to you, three heart-shaped hearts, 13 extra credit points, two of hearts, a box of chocolates, a spade, a club, salami, four hearty pigeons, 10 bragging rights, one Valentine’s Day to remember, a voucher good for a future Valentine’s Day to remember, one trombone, two soft shoulders, a smile, and my hearty appreciation!

Congrats, and thanks again for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake (sorry for the blurry photo):

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 or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, February 14th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.