Hello sparklerias, and happy Friday!

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

It’s the weekend, and that’s the perfect time to goof around. So we’ve got an all-new Panel of Experts for you, as well as a new plant puzzler. Good times, people!

(By now it’s nearly the end of the weekend – sorry for the delay, I’ve been working lots of hours.)

Let’s get things 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.

In our continuing quest to get to know our Experts, here’s this week’s question.

Q. Do you have any plans for the summer? Travel? Fun? Family?

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first!


Normally I don’t have many summer plans.  But this year, I have a few things on the agenda.  I’m off to New York City for my first ever visit there next week for work.  I plan to go to Ground Zero and pay homage to the innocent and brave souls who lost their lives or were injured there.  Then in May, I will make my 33rd consecutive Indy 500, an annual pilgrimage to my roots of adrenaline filled entertainment.  In early June I will then make my annual Circus Mexicus trip to Rocky Point, Mexico to see the best rock and roll band on the planet; Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.  In late June I’m off to Kauai with my honey before and including the 4th of July.  After that China, for work.  Yuck!  Then beyond that, in early Sept. I’m off to Canada to go fishing at Nestor Falls Fly In Outpost with my father and few friends.  No TV, cell phone, nothing.

I’m a busy boy.

A. Do I ever! We start this weekend with 4 days in Madison to visit family. Then it’s off to Phoenix in mid-May to see U2 (twice), the second time with my 12-year old daughter. I assume she’ll enjoy it about as much as if my father dragged me to a Peter, Paul & Mary concert in 1983, but I don’t care! Some things are about dad, and only dad.

A wedding for D-Day in Denver, followed by a 3-day conference in Vegas. Let me tell you something about insurance technology professionals: we know how to party! At least the sales guys do, find the sales guys and you won’t buy a drink the whole time.

The main course of this travel smorgasbord is my 2-week excursion to London and Scotland in July. To summarize that one: I will be drinking ale (and Scotch) and visiting old places. I may take pictures of myself in a bowler hat and/or a kilt at many of them.

Finally, we end with a quick hitter to NYC to see U2 at Madison Square Garden at the end of July. All of this is followed by years of staggering debt, but no regrets!

A. Blessings to you dear Dottie. You are the best of us. Be well.

Summer seems so far away. There is still much spring left. When the days grow hot and the hours longer, perhaps there will be long walks and longer drives. Maybe there will be music under stars and visits to the ball yard. Fireworks and ice cream. Books on lazy days.
Liza here. Thank you, EZ, for your poetry. And Tim and Andy for your optimism.

Normally our wonderful, amazing and lovely Expert Dottie would be up next. She’s unavailable this week. She’s hanging in there, her sense of humor is perfectly intact, her mind is sharp as a tack, but she’s still not feeling so hot. This is what happens when you’ve graced the planet for 88 beautiful years. Please send lots of prayers and good vibes her way. I will keep you updated on her journey. I think everyone knows how much I adore this woman – she’s devoted her entire adult life to helping others, and she has succeeded with enthusiasm and laughter. And she did all that while raising her own amazing kids. I’ve said this many times before because it’s true – she should be declared a National Treasure.

If you’d like to leave well wishes for my dear friend, please do so in the comments section, and I’ll pass them along to her.

Let’s admire how adorable she is…

And then move on to Expert Lewis Casey. Expert Lewis, please make us smile:


I have my name on the Albuquerque Bee Keeps (ABQBeeks)  Swarm response list,

Individuals waiting to render aid, summoned to bring calm to chaos,

Advance the struggle to halt a maddening malaises upon an essential and vital entity of our world

Bees are in crisis, their life jeopardized,

Stupid humans feel threatened, intimidated by this mighty but gentle creature

My phones rings Thursday 4-23-2015, it’s  about Noon I spring into action.

“Hello Bee Keepers” a little ladies voice ask.

In my most deepest and manly’ s voice I reply  “YES this is a Bee Keeper”.

“Oh good! We have a problem, some bees have come into my husband’s shop,

he’s worried about his crew and customers”. “Can you help” she ask.

Can the Pope float, do dags have ears, can the Sun shine, is a bear Catholic.

“Why for sure we can help” I replied. She gave me the address, “Please hurry”

Unfortunately I’m not known for my speed, but I always get there.

A swarm has gathered in the top  corner of this small automotive repair shop near Yale Blvd  and Caesar Chavez Dr.

Dot, datta, dal,  I grab my cape, no I mean my gear, white coverall, long gloves, my smoker and fuel, and the crucial helmet and veil,

(a bucket, a large plastic bin, a large box, to hold the bees), (ice chest with ice, water and two beers for medicinal purposes in case I get stung)

A ladder if their up high, a long stick to hold the bucket, and a first aid kit in case I fall off the ladder.

So 30 minutes later I’m loaded to go, Now where the hell did I put the directions and address,

I’ll just look for a giant swarm on the side of a shop on something-something Yale.

God watches over fools and little children and I was going for a just cause

Also helps when the little lady calls me back and wonders if I coming or not, got the address written right there on my hand now.

When I got there I looked for the giant cloud of bees, reconnoitering the place, I talk with the owner,

He shows me where they were at, only a dozen bees or so are still there flying around the corner

Shoot or something like that I say, Their all gone I think,

But then the owner points to a large 5 gal. shop vacuum setting about a 100 ft. away from the shop.

He said that morning when he open the shop there was a bunch in the top corner , A swarm in Bee Mans terms.

He left them alone, cause he didn’t want to hurt them “Good man this David”  later in the morning someone told him about the hot line or so to call.

So his wife had given me a ring, as I have said.

After the call he went to look at the bunch of bees, but they were mostly gone, through some were flying around this old vacuum setting on a top shelf close by.

He was not sure where the bees were but took the vacuum off the shelf, walked outside into the parking lot, he saw a few bees fly out, he set it down and skedaddled.

I got there a little later and the vacuum and bees were just waiting for me, I watched as a few bees hovered around the exhaust.

I got a small blanket from the storage area behind the seat in my truck, had to move a bunch of stuff out of the way.

I tossed the small blanket over it and tied it down. Yeah bees

Took it home where I had my cleaned and empty hive box setting since my hive froze in the March snowstorm.

It still had honey left over from the last guys.

I enveloped myself in my bee gear, ready to great my new boarders

I carefully as a man who has never done this before, took the vac apart, set the top off the side and tried to pour the bees from the vac in to my cleared  top box,

Nothing ever goes as easy as you think it might, there was a lot of trash in that old vac.

So I pick out as much of the trash as I could, then I scooped them out by hand in to the box, several large handfuls of bees went smoothly into the box.

Have you ever held a handful of bees, Quite interesting most of them just sat right there for the move, I figured maybe the Queen was in one of the scoops, I was very careful.

Hundreds went in to the box but hundreds more took flight also which was still ok.

The lid where the motor is at, I had set to the side and when I picked it up it had hundreds and hundreds clustered around the motor.

I could not scoop them, so I used my little yellow hand brush and carefully sweep most of those too into the box.

Mostly they went peaceful, I covered the box but left a small opening on one of the sides because the air still had lots and lots of flying bees.

After standing there for a while fascinated by this most marvelous adventure I have ever had

I looked inside the empty top hive box and it had few bees there, the majority (thousands) had made their way down into the frames below

and were busy setting up shops, homes, schools, playgrounds, recreation centers,  paths, bars and restaurants.

After about half hour the air was clear, the rest had come home.

I think they like it here for when I checked two days later the hive was a humming

and my big beautiful Sage in bloom was covered with happy campers.

Welcome Thanks for coming

That is an excellent tale, Lewis. Bees in a shopvac, who would’ve thought? Thanks for sharing!

And thanks for being awesome. Not just Lewis but each and every one of you. You hit it out of the park once again. Great job!

That’ll do it for our Experts Panel. The Experts will return next week. They hope to see you back here.

Let’s move on to the puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

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

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Dan, from the CastIronDan site wrote, “Look like a real nice red ti plant!”

Oreothing wrote, “I feel like It’s fake because it looks too perfect”

Joseph Brenner from Texas wrote, “Nope. Not perfect enough to be fake. It’s Real!)B>{D}”

Chris Gonzales wrote, “It looks like it’s outside receiving natural sunlight. Looks too nice to be fake. Real.”

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

Claude from the Prickly Plants and Random Rants site wrote, “Thats a Hawaiian Ti plant… pink princess if im not mistaken. So real. And howdy! Long time, no see…”

Darryl Cheng who has this awesome houseplant tumblr wrote, “Looks quite real to me!”

Jason from the Garden in the City website wrote, “Real.”

Frackoon wrote, “I know I’m very late but I still want to play! Looks like a very real Cordyline terminalis?!”

That’s eight votes real, one vote fake.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view:

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

REAL! And yes, you guys were right – it’s a Ti plant. They can be chopped into pieces and they’ll grow. This one was growing happily outside in southern Florida. Really enjoying the humidity!

Well done, everyone! Once again you amaze me with your keen plant eyes.

To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award you each the following prizes: The first May weekend, two parallel lines, six ping pong balls, one May pole, four butterscotch candies, a billboard advertising your awesomeness, 15 1/3 bonus points, one local convenience store, three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, five harmonies, a crown made of yarn and glitter, San Pedro Boulevard, one pair of capri pants, four new dance moves, paprika, two spare index fingers, neon green, Anchorage, one Dieffenbachia houseplant, three irresistible offers, a legacy of winning, new kitchen cabinets, Linda, five gold stars, 11 more points, one artichoke and ricotta pie, three cheers, apple juice, one wrench, four winds of change, six baby chickens, and a dessert fork.

Congratulations everyone, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???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, May 7th, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winners 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.