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Hello everyone, and happy day!

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

I’m sorry it’s taken me a few days to finally roll out this Panel of Experts post. It’s been a busy past few days! I appreciate your patience.

Let’s get our festivities started right away. Hi Experts!

 

“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.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q. Tell us about the best pet you ever had.

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first:

A. I’m a dog guy and I’ve been lucky enough to have two awesome dogs over the years.  Suzy was my first dog, a black mutt that wandered onto my porch when I was 5.  She made it until my freshman year of college.  She was attached to my hip all the time and very protective.  Then came Rambo, a salt & pepper mini schnauzer.  He was a character and smart as a whip.  He knew many words like “walk”.  When you’d say that he’d start hopping around and actually go into the hutch it was stored in and retrieve it to go for a walk. He’d spend most of his days sitting on the couch and looking out the front window watching the squirrels hop up and down the large maple tree in our front yard.

As an aside, the Sleepy Dog Brewing Co. in Tempe, AZ has a slogan that states “You never forget your first dog.”  And they put it on a T-shirt which I secured at the Flagstaff Beerfest a few years ago.  Every time I wear that shirt I remember Suzy.  So, they’re right.

A. I had a great cat a little more than 10 years ago, the first cat I really ever had. He was a mean little bastard, hated everyone except for me, for reasons I never really understood. I had never been a cat person before that, but that little guy was loyal. He hissed and scratched at everyone else, but was perfectly calm and nice to me. He was kind of a like a dog in that he followed me around, always looking for attention. He would even fetch little balls of paper I would throw to him. I’d wake up with him laying in the crook of my elbow or even sometimes on my neck. Could have done without the neck part.

Great cat. I haven’t had a pet of any kind since he passed.

A. Frankie was a little terrier, mostly black with splashes of white. He liked to follow me when I pushed my gold Stingray bicycle over rough dirt roads and hard red clay. He got into his share of mischief — with a skunk, with a porcupine, even a rough go with a rattler. There is no need in this space to bring up how he died. Just know he was a good dog, with a friendly disposition and a boy could never have had better company. 

A.

Without a doubt, “Himalaya Harry” was the most delightful and interesting pet we ever possessed. We saw an ad in the paper that one of the airlines had flown in a plane load of baby Minah birds from the Himalaya Mountains to be sold at a large department store in downtown Cleveland. We had a family meeting and all agreed that we needed to add this to our animal world and what fun it would be to raise this fledgling and teach him to talk! Minahs are known to be the best mimicers of the spoken word!

Off the 6 children and I went to find this new family member. Mature Minah birds are a vision of beauty to behold. We were not prepared to find the fledglings looking like rejected sparrows. At any rate, the children made their choice and we made sure to find him a fine cage that would become his very own quarters, found a book that described his feeding, care and training and purchased the proper food.

In the ensuing weeks, while the children were in school, I would spend the recommended 15 minutes of “Talk Training” each day. At the end of 6 weeks, I thought we had been scammed and given a bird that couldn’t talk. All he would do is look at me and express: “AWWWWWWK” – A week passed and by then he had acquired his adult plumage and was a beautiful to look at but no talk. Suddenly, one evening when we had company over, he heard all this laughter and joined in and then began to talk. He repeated everything I had taught him, plus everything he selected to remember that the children said. He even imitated the voices of each of us, sang the songs we had taught him. He ended up with a vocabulary of over 200 words plus many songs and sayings and copied my daughter Karen’s laugh exactly. He also delighted in vexing me with calling –Mom, Mom!—sounding just like one of the children—-I would retort with—“Don’t yell – if you want something come here and ask me” Then foolishly I would realize that it was Harry because the children were all in school.

The funniest episode occurred when our neighbor across the street, relayed a story about another neighbor that we all thought of as that “Dirty Old Man”. Our neighbor was lovely to look at and delighted in gardening in her short shorts. One day as she was working in her flowers she heard this wolf whistle and a man’s voice saying, “What a doll—What a doll!” She was incensed and called her husband and told him that nasty neighbor was annoying her again and whistling at her and making unseemly remarks. Her husband immediately went across the street and read the man out for his behavior toward his wife. The neighbor just stared open mouthed and said nothing as her husband marched defiantly back across the street. As she relayed this story several weeks later, I recalled that on that particular afternoon, I had placed Harry in his cage outside on our stone table to get some sun. I recognized that was one of Harry’s favorite sayings that the boys had taught him. He would Make the wolf whistle and then repeat “What a doll” over and over again and then laugh uproarishly! Needless to say we had a lot of explaining to do to many! However, Harry brought us years of Joy and many memorable moments.

——————

Liza here. Expert Lewis is unavailable this week. Let’s admire his adorableness:

And wrap up the Experts Panel.

Yaaaaaaay – Dottie’s back! Loved, loved, loved that story, Dottie. I can’t even imagine a Cleveland department store selling birds, but it was a different time then. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

Fellas, I enjoyed your stories as well. They each made me smile. Thank you for sharing your pet memories with us.

That’ll do it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will be back soon!

Up next, the answer to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these flowers were real or fake:

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “I vote real. And, barring another round of storms, I think we’re in the clear. The levees have been going down, finally.”

mr_subjunctive of Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake?

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “A very real and completely georgous claret cup cactus.”

jangogh61 wrote, “Real beautiful cactus!”

Carmen wrote, “Real. Cacti have the some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen….which is why I find it sad that stores sell them with fake straw flowers a lot of the times….they can’t compare to the beauty of the real things!!”

Jason from Garden in a City wrote, “Wow! As a person who really likes red and orange flowers, I’d say that is one spectacular plant! As for your quiz, I say real.”

Nancy Popp Mumptom of Phoenix wrote, “I know it is real because I have one like it in my front garden!”

That’s five votes real, one vote fake.

What’s the correct answer?

Maybe a wider view will help:

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

REAL! But personally, I think they look fake because they are almost too perfect. Up close, it’s hard to believe that something so delicate could possibly grow from something so harsh. They sure are spectacular, aren’t they? They’re blooming all over Albuquerque right now. This one belongs to a client of mine and it took my breath away.

Good job, everyone! It’s awesome that you played my puzzler!

To show you my appreciation for playing, I’d like you each to have the following prizes: The downward slide of June, one premier status, three cowboy hats, imminent summer, five gold stars, a lemon tree, one roadtrip to winningville, blue eye shadow, four avocado wontons, 13 1/2 bonus points, one dance contest, Mount Taylor, an ice cream maker, six bees knees, a trophy made of salami, one white picket fence, two skylines, William, four kiwi fruits, organic windchimes, the title of “plantiest” for the week, five sugar cookies, two gift cards, one game night, three parakeets, garlic salt, two compliments on your hairdo, plaid, a new propane grill, 7th Street, four diagonal lines, a peach sunset, and one water fountain.

Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are these flowers 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) Thursday, June 25th, 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.

Hello Ju-Junebes, and happy Friday!

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

As the world begins to shut down another week, on this site, we’re gearing up for Friday Festivities. I’ve got an all-new Ask the Experts Panel for you, as well as plenty of plant puzzler action.

Let’s start 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, I decided to give the Experts a chance to toot their own horn. Here’s the question:

Q. What do you think is your best personality trait?

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first as usual:

A.
I think that my best personality trait is being a nice guy.  I continue to listen to people describe me this way, particularly after my harsh divorce.  Prior to this, perhaps I heard it but it didn’t sink in because of the turmoil of my personal life.  Divorce is a horrible thing.  But it was also a time of deep personal reflection for me.  It allowed me to find myself and determine who I am.  That process is still ongoing.  I learn more about me every day.  And one specific thing has stuck out throughout the timeline.

Approximately 2 years ago, I was meeting with a gentleman in Indiana.  His brother was getting married, and he asked me if I had known of his brother’s wife, whom he mentioned by name.  It turns out, I dated her for a long time during and a bit after college.  He told me that she had referred to me as “the nicest guy she’d ever dated”.

Then, just last week at a formal dinner event, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a wonderful woman whom I’ve known for several years.  As I was telling her about my “new life” and expressing how happy I am, she told me the following; “I am so happy for you to have found someone who realizes what a special and nice guy you are.”

Certainly, there are a lot of other things I could’ve been called.  But I will certainly take “nice” and run with it.

A.
I really don’t enjoy tooting my own horn, it makes me uncomfortable; in fact, I don’t enjoy anyone tooting my horn. My attitude toward this is along the lines of the old Groucho Marx quote: “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” I immediately look with a jaundiced eye at anyone who gives me a compliment, myself included.

Gun to my head: I’m smart and I have a pretty good sense of humor. Those are my major redeeming qualities.

A. Best personality trait?  I’m funny. No really. Well maybe not funny funny.  Just, well, kinda funny. Not laugh out loud funny. Just, hmm, that’s funny.

—————-

Expert Dottie is unavailable this week. Let’s admire her adorableness:

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

A. I care.

Lewis, look at you being all brief this week! That’s new for you, haha! But really, that short phrase is incredibly accurate at describing yourself.

EZ, I think you’re hilarious! And your answers always make me smile. Thank you for this week’s contribution. Thack, I know you hate tooting your own horn, but you’re correct – you are smart and you have a wicked sense of humor. Well played! Andy, yeah, you’ve got that Midwestern niceness about you! I think it’s cool that you have lots of examples where you know what people think about you.

It’s probably good that Dottie sat this one out – she’s got too many wonderful qualities to narrow it down to one. She’s compassionate, kind, loving, brilliantly funny, intelligent, genuine, talented…the list goes on and on. I hope she feels better soon!

Let’s call that a wrap for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in a week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the current 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:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Partly real. Real leaves, fake flowers.”

Joseph Brenner from Texas wrote, “Real plant, fake flowers and butterfly.)B>{D}

Can you put a rush on that life raft? They’re closing highways out of Texarkana like crazy!”

Carmen wrote, “I agree, real plant (peace lily maybe?) And very fake flowers. I don’t like them together, it looks like a toodler stuck the fake flowers in there…at least I hope so, any adult who thinks it looks good has very bad taste!! Lol”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “That is a real plant south fake flowers. And I’m really indifferent.”

That’s four votes for real plant, fake flowers. Zero votes for anything else besides a life raft (hope you’re staying safe, Joseph!)

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a closer look:

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

Oh yes, the plant is real. The flowers and butterfly very fake. I saw this at my bank and it made me groan. Why ruin the look of a perfectly good plant with fake flowers? I have no idea who thought that would look attractive.

But way to go, everyone. You totally weren’t tricked in the slightest! Well done!

I’d like to show my appreciation for you playing by awarding you the following prizes: The first weekend of June, one chrome trophy, cheese enchiladas, four gold medals, 16 bonus points, your own personal mascot, three treasures, two postage stamps, a gazebo, the title of “grooviest, awesomest, bestest, coolest, winningest plant person ever” for the weekend, Shelby County, one limousine ride, three hummingbird feeders, a hillside, two spare jazz hands, 15 minutes on a Ferris Wheel, six more rewards, two baby ducks, four cherry empanadas, Karen, a coupon for unlimited dog kisses, Rio Grande Boulevard, one new garbage disposal, a radio dedication in your honor, three folded napkins, five surprises, two petroglyphs, time and a half, one ankle bracelet, 12 extra golden years, two grilled cheese sandwiches, and one coin flip.

Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler for you.

???Real or Fake???

I’ve used a similar plant to this in the past, but not this exact one. Do you think these flowers and the plant are 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, June 11th, 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.

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

Hint: THIS MAY BE A TRICK QUESTION. Use your eagle eyes. I have confidence in you.

Leave your best guess in the comments section. There will be imaginary prizes for all who play. I’ll reveal the answers and the winners after an all-new Ask the Experts Panel tomorrow. Good luck, and I hope to see you back here!

Hello endofmayersandmayerettes, and happy Friday!

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

Woohoo, it’s Friday! We’ve been patiently waiting all week for this day to arrive. So, let’s rejoice!

Let’s get our Friday 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.

I may have asked my Experts this question in the past, not sure, but everyone loves a good ghost story, right? I decided to ask again.

Q. Please share with us a ghost story.

Expert Andy, what say you?

A. No ghost stories here, although the movie that probably scared me the most was the Amityville Horror.  That house was the definition of haunted.  Whether ghosts were behind it or not, who’s to say.  But if that’s what a ghost is and does, I’m out.

A.

I may have told this one before, but it still (pardon the pun) haunts me to this day.

My daughter was born in April, 2003; my father died in January, 2003. The fact that he never met his granddaughter still makes me emotional. Anyway, one night I heard Samie giggling in her room in the middle of the room, she must have been 3 or 4 at the time. So I go in to ask her what is going on. She tells me, very matter of fact, that she just saw my dad outside the window, making funny faces and being silly. I say, how do you know it’s my dad, you’ve never seen him. She says “It was Grandpa Paul. He looked like you, but it wasn’t you.”

She insists to this day (she’s now 12) that she saw my father that night. Freaks me out every time I think about it.

A. I was told the story several years ago. She was 19 at the time, but she said when she was a child and alone in her bedroom one night, she noticed smoke coming from the wooden window sill. She moved toward the window, then felt a presence behind her. She turned and thought she saw her grandfather. But the image was quickly gone. The smoke also disappeared, but the wood felt warm. This happened a couple of times. Her grandfather had died years earlier, in a fire. When she told me the story, her voice was calm, but low, as if she did not want anyone else to hear.

————————

Liza here again. Expert Dottie is unavailable this week. Booooo! Let’s admire her adorableness:

And move on to Expert Lewis. Lewis?

A.

Morning,
Rain,rain,rain, sorry to much rain
I am in Denver to celebrate my
niece’s Katie high school graduation today. She is a great kid / young woman and we love her dearly.
Her dad who lives near Dallas was planning to be here but his home was flood on Monday and he was evacuated and staying in a shelter.
Last night he was trying to fly here but the rain delayed and then canceled his flight.
The river is rising again and his home will probably be flooded again.
Ok I love the rain but maybe sometimes enough is enough.
Pray for those in peril and make a donation to the American Red Cross or some other worthy aid organization the need is great.
Thanks
L

Well those answers ran the gamut, didn’t they? I was amused with Andy’s answer – I remember being terrified by that movie back in the day. Both Thack’s story and EZ’s were SUPER CREEPY!!!!! Yikes, those gave me goosebumps!

And Lewis, I’m sorry about your family – those floods in Texas are awful! And there’s more rain on the way for them. It’s really a bad situation all the way around. My prayers go out to everyone affected.

Let’s call that a wrap for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in a week. They look forward to seeing you back here.

We’ll move on to the current puzzler now:

???Real or Fake???

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

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “That looks like a very real pitcher plant.)B>{D}”

It seems that Joseph was the only person brave enough to venture a guess this week. Thanks Joseph!

So how did he do?

Let’s take a wider view:

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

I’m not sure if this photo is helpful or not, but IT’S REAL! All the flowers in this bouquet are real. And really pretty, too!

Real plants and flowers are always better looking than their fake counterparts. Fake plants are expensive, they get dusty, and they don’t clean the air in a room – so why bother? I can actually see the benefit of fake flowers at times – they can be artsy and they certainly last longer. But I still would rather have real flowers any day, fresh bouquets are lovely in the home.

Great job Joseph! I’m not surprised – you’re very skilled at this game. I hope you’re staying safe over there in Texas.

To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award you the following prizes: The end of May, one life raft, one diploma from the school of fresh flowers, three kudos, a salad spinner, 15 1/2 bonus points, one swimming pool, three Opuntia in bloom, five pushups, Cojita, four shades of blue, Brent, seven biscochitos, one swimming pool, three spare big toes, grapefruit juice, two basketballs, Bernalillo County, one pedicure, a vacation to tomorrow, 6th Avenue, two small Koala bears, four Spanish songs, one ceiling fan, four flour tortillas, a gentle breeze, three constellations, one cheerful forecast, four hamburger buns, two Birds of Paradise trees, five accolades, three compliments on your outfit, a chess board, less rain, and a jar of maple syrup.

Congratulations! And thanks 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

Fair warning: THIS MIGHT BE A TRICK QUESTION!!!!!

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, June 4th, 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.

Oooh, Hollyhocks are blooming all over Albuquerque right now. They’re so pretty!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, hollyhock flower

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

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

Leave your best guess in the comments section. I’ll reveal the answer and the winners tomorrow after an all-new Ask the Experts Panel. There will be imaginary prizes galore for all who play. Good luck!

Hello memorialists, and happy Friday!

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

Yay for Friday. And yay for holiday weekends. I hope everyone has something interesting planned. I hope it involves some form of honoring our fallen heroes. Or just grilling. Whatever, it’s a holiday from work – do what you like!

Let’s get right to our Friday Festivities by saying hello to our beloved 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.

Sometimes, I like the Experts to have the freedom to say whatever they would like. This is one of those weeks:

Q. Open question – share a story, tell us about your family, talk about upcoming vacations, anything that’s on your mind.

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first:

A. As I write, I am on my annual pilgrimage to the Indy 500.  This will be my 33rd consecutive year attending this event; the largest attended sporting event in the world.  Over 250,000 amidst the world’s most glorious raceway.  Every year, Taps is played before the race and 250,000+ people go completely silent.  Try keeping a dry eye in the midst of that.  It is not possible.  Perhaps it is that that draws me back, which would be enough to be sure.  Thank You to all of those who have served, and particularly those who have given their lives for freedom and the pursuit of our American way of life.  Where opportunity is truly open to all, amidst seemingly mountainous hurdles, at times.  For it was many soldiers who have given all of us this opportunity to scale such mountains.

A. I’m going to London and Scotland this summer, completing my tour of the British Isles that I started last year by visiting Ireland. People have been asking me what triggered this sudden urge to become a world traveler, and I’ve given them a simple answer: do it now, because life is short and unpredictable. Carpe diem, basically. I know that is cliched (which I normally abhor) but it’s true. I’m going to do all of this now because I can. The events that drove me to this conclusion are far too personal to share here, but suffice it to say that when you come face to face with your mortality, really stare into the abyss, I mean really stare into it and grok it, you’re changed. And I returned from that with a sense of urgency to do everything I ever wanted to do now.

That turned out way deeper than I intended, I apologize. Dottie, I hope you’re recovering well! Best to everyone, thanks!

A. Between the two great wars, when folks had little more than prayers to cling to, my grandfather hopped a freight train to California. When he got there he found the work was no better, the prospects no more golden than the ones he had shed in New Mexico. After a few weeks, he tired and knew it was time to go home. He walked to the beach so that he could say he at least saw the great Pacific, then climbed aboard a train heading east. When he was home, he gave my grandmother a small crate of oranges and never left her side for the next seventy years.

——————–

Liza here. Dottie is still recovering and is unavailable to join us this week. However, I’m happy to report that I was able to pop in on her last week and see her person. Which was awesome.

Here we are showing off a beautiful vase that Lewis’s son made and that Lewis gifted to Dottie for her being so amazing:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, me and Dottie

Please ignore that I’m stepping on her oxygen line. Thankfully, I didn’t kill her during my visit, and we had a great time catching up. I can assure you, her sense of humor is fully intact.

So while she’s not here with us today, she’s doing well. Let’s admire her sunfloweryness:

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

A.

Catch a rain drop on my tongue, Dry my face off because I’m too stupid or overjoyed to get out of the rain, Drive in the rain-always be cautious-slow down,

Sleep while it is raining, Eat during a rain storm, Smile at the rain,

Talk about the incredible rain, Write about the loving rain,

Smile again about more great rain, Visit while it is raining , Laugh at the rain,

Walk in the rain, Get drenched-soaked and  dripping wet caught in a beautiful downpour,

Stand under a buildings eves during a fabulous rain because I already was soaked the day before by a sudden stunning rain, Read about the glorious rain, Bike or try too while it rains-not as much fun as on a sunny day,

Sit in the shade under a raining sky, Fish in the rain,

Get the hell out from under the tree while a great rain fall and scary lightning dance,

Grow in the rain-give thanks in the sun,

Plants love the rain too-you can see it in their smiles as they dance in the rain

Oh the glorious rain, rain, rain, rain, and even more rain

It is raining in New Mexico lots, we are smiling lots

Yes indeed, the glorious rain. We’ve been very lucky the last week or two with an abundance of rain in the desert. I hope it never stops.

EZ, I love that story, how very cool. 70 years, wow! Thack, I like your dark side! We look forward to hearing about your travels. And Andy, I’m jealous that I won’t be joining you for the race. Readers, I think I’ve said this before, but the Indianapolis 500 should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s truly the greatest spectacle in racing. The cars are so loud that they make your whole body shake, which of course, is a hoot, so you spend the whole race laughing. And even if you’re not a race fan, there is something very special about sharing an experience with hundreds of thousands of other people. It’s a perfectly wonderful American tradition.

And then there’s the Hoosier Hospitality to make it even better. Even though there’s no Jim Nabors this year singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” (my personal favorite part of the day), it will no doubt still be an incredible day at the track. Andy, have a ball!

Ok, that’ll do it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in a week. They hope to see you back here.

Readers, if you have any questions you’d like to pose to the Experts, shoot me an email or leave your question in the comments section. These Panels are supposed to be fun for you, so we can talk about what you’d like. Just let me know!

Now, let’s move on to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

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

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “You got me with that one, because it was both fake AND dead looking. But I’m pretty sure this Hibiscus is 100% real.)B>{D}”

Judy from Ohio, who happens to be one of Dottie’s daughters, wrote, “Fake? The very end looks plastic to me”

Niteflywoman wrote, “Real looks like a pic I took of my sister-in-laws flower.”

Ginny Burton of Burton Optician wrote, “Real. The tips of the stigma have that velvety look that I don’t think you’ll see in an artificial flower.”

Terry wrote, “It looks too “perfect” to be real…..so I believe it is! Nature has a way of exceeding itself in beauty.”

That’s four votes real, one vote fake.

So what’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view:

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

Ooh, sorry for the bad quality photo. But the flower is REAL!!! This was taken in Florida way back in February. I don’t see too many Hibiscus flowers in Albuquerque, so I was drawn to these. I just love how pretty they are. There’s no way a manufacturer to could duplicate Nature’s beauty.

Way to go everyone! You did great!

To show you my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: One Memorial Day weekend, a billboard advertising your awesomeness, four jumping jacks, one pink tutu, the taste of the wind, 18 bonus points, a plaque with the inscription “You’re the Best!”, six moonrises, 33 fast cars, five hamburgers, yarn, Calle de los Suspiros, six hugs, a spare set of sideburns, a tiny gargoyle, seven biscochitos, two triangles, Josh, a pair of bejeweled sandals, one new coat of paint, four instances of benevolent mischief, two new Flamenco dance moves, four hot dogs, one parade in your honor, a bouquet of Nigella flowers, one ponytail, Milwaukee, three tube socks, five pickle slices, one stained glass window, nine waning days of May, one shower curtain (slightly used), four golf balls, one Kalanchoe houseplant, a bottle of shampoo, Tijeras Avenue, the unofficial start of summer, three elves, Gila National Forest, three mozzarella balls, and one trophy made from chewing gum.

Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Let’s do another flower. Is this flower 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 28th, 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.

Helloooooo everyone! I’m back. Sorta. The Experts and I will be returning tomorrow with an all new panel, and I’ll have a new plant puzzler for you, too.

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

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

Leave your best guess in the comments section. I’ll reveal the answer and the winners tomorrow after the Experts Panel. There will be imaginary prizes galore for all who play. Good luck!

Hello Mayflowers, and happy Friday!

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

Ahhhh, another weekend has arrived. And shew, not a moment too soon! I hope everyone had a fulfilling week, and that you have fun plans for the weekend. Also, Happy Early Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there.

Today, I’ve got an all-new Ask the Experts Panel for you. I’ve also got some plant puzzler action for you after the Panel. 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.

For the fun of it, I decided to ask the Experts this question:

Q. What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

Expert Andy Williams, what say you, fine sir?

A. This, without a doubt.

PastedGraphic-1

 

A.

In an attempt to conquer my fear of heights, I rappelled down a 16-story building downtown as part of some charity thing. The first step I take off the roof was the single most terrifying moment of my life; after that, it was cool as hell!

Unfortunately, I’m still afraid of heights…

A. There was that time I got shot at. A couple of people tried to stab me. There were drives on winding icy roads or the day I stood outside and watched a tornado fly overhead. But most dangerous? I remember the time I asked the homecoming queen to go to the movies with me. She said, well, I will let you guess.

—————–

Liza here. Expert Dottie is still recovering and therefore is unavailable this week. I’m going to hold this space open for her for as long as she needs. Let’s admire her adorableness:

And move on to Expert Lewis Casey. Lewis?

A.
I have done a lot of dangerous and stupid things in my life, rock climbing, swimming after eating, excise alcohol and drugs, driving with unrestrained kids or dogs, drag racing on bald tires, wild land firefighting on a windy day or writing bad verse.

But the most scariest thing that I have ever done because I did not know how it would go, what greatness I would achieve, could I hold my own.

I have found greatness,
It has gone far,
I have held my own
What was so scary you ask

The words “I do”

Wow! Those were some amazing answers, gentlemen!

Andy, oh hell no! A tiger? No thank you! Thack, I know what building you rappelled down, and I have the same response – hell no! I’d be way too chicken. EZ, Lewis, you must be kindred souls!

Those were great, thank you for sharing your stories with everyone. I appreciate it! And I enjoyed hearing about your dangerous sides.

The Experts are taking a mini-break next week, so they’ll return in two weeks, on the 22nd.

They hope to see you back here.

Let’s move on to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these plants were real or fake:

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “Real.)B>{D}”

mr_subjunctive of Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake? My first reaction was “painfully fake,” but then, as usual, I couldn’t point to anything specific that made me think that, so now I’m not sure.”

Joseph then added, “Yeah, me too. But the longer I looked at them, the more they reminded me of plants that I forgot to bring inside, during a cold snap. We shall see…)B>{D}”

Liz in Jemez, New Mexico, wrote, “Real!”

That’s two votes real, one vote fake.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a closer look:

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

They’re FAKE!!!! And oh-so-ugly!!!! Also, very dusty. I can understand the desire to have some greenery in this dimly lit space, but are ugly fake plants really the answer? There are lots of living breathing plants that can handle dark rooms with no trouble at all.

mr_subjunctive reigns supreme this week – well played, sir! You’re all winners in my book though.

To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award you each the following prizes: One happy Mother’s Day weekend, four lucky charms, six broccoli florets, a pair of amusement park tickets, the title of “Mostest, Bestest, Awesomest Plant Person Ever” for the weekend, 14 2/3 bonus points, three coffee mugs bearing your likeness, five cartwheels, one braid, Atrisco Boulevard, four feathers, seven heart beats, three stripes, one submarine, two baby panda bears, Lorraine, more wisdom, a bouquet of peony flowers, the scent of the sky, four sopapillas, eight spare taste buds, two fairy tales, a pair of ballet shoes, one king-sized bed, an all-expenses paid trip to candyland, four new tires, two rainbows, oregano, Raton Pass, three joyful moments, 16 more points, dark purple, one meteorological forecast, four fruit cups, an Epiphyllum houseplant, one ceiling fan, and three sesame seed bagels.

Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this Hibiscus flower 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) TWO Thursdays from now, May 21st, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winners when the Experts return on May 22nd. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

You still have time to guess the current puzzler, in which I asked if these plants were real or fake:

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

Leave your best guess in the comments section. The deadline is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST). I’ll reveal the answer and the winners after an all-new Ask the Experts Panel tomorrow evening. There will be imaginary prizes galore for all who play. Good luck!

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!

A.

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:

A.

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.

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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 Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

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

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

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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