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Hello carebears, and happy Friday!

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

Before we get to our Experts panel today, an update on some of the wildfires burning in New Mexico. The Las Conchas fire that threatened Los Alamos and Cochiti Lake has burned over 139,000 acres, it’s currently 40% contained, which is great. The Pacheco fire burned a little over 10,000 acres north of the Santa Fe ski basin, it’s 60% contained, also great. The Donaldson fire burning near Hondo, New Mexico has burned more than 101,000 acres and it’s 95% contained (way to go, guys!). The Wallow fire that started in Arizona and crossed over into NM has burned a total of 538,049 acres, a little over 15,000 of which were in NM. Wow, that’s a big fire! It’s 95% contained.

There are literally thousands of officials, firefighters, pilots and emergency personnel working together to fight all of these fires. The conditions have been brutal – hot, mountainous regions, unpredictable winds – which makes their work all the more amazing and heroic. These guys are pros. Their work has been tremendous. Thank you!

Ok, now on to our silly Friday Ask the Experts panel – a good distraction from the wildfires. You didn’t really want to work on a Friday anyway, did you? Of course you didn’t.

Let’s say hi to the Experts. Hi ya’ll!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

Look how cute you are! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

Expert Tina, you’re up first:

A. I would recommend to put your garden on a drip system with a timer. and check things on a daily basis to make sure the irrigation is working properly. It takes longer to hand water gardens and spend time to remove weeds and check for pest, although I find it therapeutic. I also want to check the progress of all my hard work. This year we planted a raised garden and planted some vegetables in large pots. Things are coming along nicely. You also should fertilize once a week. It really helps alot!

Aaaahhhh, nice, let the drip do most of the work! That’s good advice, Tina. No surprise there, with your 25-years of plant experience.

Good job again this week. For playing, you’ve earned a magic wand that has its own timer, raised hopes for the future and a garden full of bragging rights. Thanks for being here!

Expert Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A. First of all, stay hydrated. Heat exhaustion sucks.

If that doesn’t keep you going, then let the garden go. You can buy all that stuff at an air-conditioned store.

I kid, I kid! Stay focused and do whatever Liza tells you to do, that’s how you make it thrive during the dog days of summer!!

Well in that case, I’d like you each to mail a check for a hundred dollars made out to Liza to my main mailing address. And if you could get that in the mail stat, that’d be super.

Tim, whether or not your answer is correct depends on how much money I make. I’ll have to get back to you. In the meantime, please enjoy the following temporary prizes (you’ll have to give them back if no one sends me any money): an air-conditioned back yard, a trip for 12 to El Paso, 1,000 extra credit points and a swatch watch. Thanks as always for being here.

Expert EZ Ed Johnson, here’s the question to you:

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A. Go catch a ball game or two, drink some cool beverages, and if the garden’s still alive when you get back, great. If not, there’s always next year.

You know, that’s actually a really great idea. If people come to New Mexico for vacation, they should take in an Isotopes baseball game. They’re a hoot. The race between the green chile, red chile, taco and salsa is worth the price of admission.

Nicely played again this week, EZ. You’ve earned a career as a baseball pro in a future lifetime, Orbit’s greatest hits on cassette tapes (all 8 volumes!), and an A+. Congrats and thanks for being here.

Up next is the ever-charming Expert Dottie Correll. Dottie, here’s the question to you, sweet lady!

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?


Changing one’s perspective is often a great help when one has reached the point of boredom, exhaustion and frustration with a given project.
Inspiration comes in many forms!  How about taking a “snake’s eye”  view of your “labor of love”, lying on your belly and looking through the plants.  Capture it all in a “Kodak moment”.  ( I did this when my 6 children were all under the age of 10 and I was ready to “run away from home” —  I was amazed at how I felt looking at things from their perspective.)  Do close ups of your favorite flowers or plants.  You will be awe-struck at what you capture on film.— the delicacy of detail of the structure.  You will suddenly appreciate what your partnership with Mother Nature has created.  You will have preserved a fine momento of your summer’s work and suddenly find the energy to sustain your interest and energy through August and sail into the slow- down of fall, when all growing things prepare for a long winter’s rest.  Makes me want to break into song:” Ah sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you” (You have to be old to know that number!)  

Take care and don’t despair
Autumn and Jack Frost 
Will soon be there, 
Driving away our need for gardening

(I’m not a poet and I know it!  See you in the funny papers!)

Hahahahaha, good one, Dottie! See you in the funny papers, indeed! Such a great visual of you on your belly checking out the world through your kids’ eyes, too cute!

I’m going to call that a correct answer for sure! Thanks for playing this week, Dottie! You’ve earned not one but eight Kodak moments, a half dozen gold stars and a coupon good for a silver ticket.

Expert Lewis, you’re up next. What say you, fine sir?

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A. Oh boo who, what kind of gardener are we anyway if we get a little hot and tired and are ready to give up on our garden.  Did the tomatoes cry “Oh poor me”, did the carrots yell, “I quit”, are the squash and pumpkins hollering “Lets call the game off”, when did the turnips say “I’ve had enough”. Can the peas say “I pass” ,” Adios” sang the chile, “See you later” bellowed the beans, “I’m out of here” yelled the corn. “You can take this place and shove it where the sun don’t shine,” cursed the cabbage, ”I never liked you anyways” screeched the onions. “Why don’t you go to hell” screamed the garlic.

Now aren’t we humans a pleasant bunch or is it pathetic, do we let a little heat, toil and dirt beat us down, do we give up when the way gets to much for our armchair lives. Do we call it quits because the sweat of our brow stings our eyes, our back is sore, and our hands are stained with earth? Hell yeah the work is hard, but the only thing that will grow without our labor is the weeds and our apathy. No gift of the Mother is ever earned without some ones efforts and when that some one is you that effort is a handful of cherry tomatoes, shirt full of beans and peas, a basket of cukes, zucchinis and melons, a tub of pumpkins, savor that first bite of YOUR sweet corn, bask in the smell of fresh basil, appreciate the colors of a garden salad white radishes, green peppers, orange carrots, yellow pear tomatoes, lettuces and kale and cauliflowers. Smiles that come while the juice runs down your face from a delicious peach, the burn on your tongue from those fiery hot beautiful tiny red and green Thai chiles. What a sad place the world would be without the zest of life given by a slice of red onion and pile of chopped garlic ready for roasting. So go forth my friends yes you must earn the bounty but the reward is worth the endeavor.      

You crack me up, Lewis. Can I just say – that image you provided, of filling up your shirt with beans and peas? That is such a little kid and a dude thing to do. Women carry bowls out to the garden, or a colander. We’re prepared because we know what we’ll find there. Kids and men seem genuinely shocked when they visit a garden. Haha, I’m just teasin’ ya. I feel compelled to give you a hard time.

That’s definitely a correct answer this week – raising vegetables and fruits is hard, hard work but worth every drop of sweat. Good job, Lewis, as usual. For playing this week, you’ve earned an opportunity to referee a garlic/pumpkin boxing match, a pretend trophy for being one of Albuquerque’s urban farmers, and a medallion made out of a cucumber. Congratulations and thanks for being here!

That does it for our panel this week. The Experts will return in exactly one week.

Now, last week’s plant puzzler.

Name that Plant Problem!

Last week I asked if you could name this plant problem:

I was referring to the Philodendron bipinnatifidum, or the plant with the metal cart shoved up its arse.

When I asked what the plant’s problem was, my answer was that humans can be insensitive jerks. Someone jammed a cart against him, breaking several of his arms and I’m sure traumatizing him for a good long while, if not for life. He sits near a door and I’ll bet every time it opens, he’s like “Don’t hit me!” I mean, he can’t talk, obviously, or else he would’ve screamed when the incident occurred. But inwardly, he’s cowering. I know it.

You guys are much sweeter than me. Let’s see how you answered:

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “Loved this post! The answers were a lot of fun. Lewis sounds like a great guy.

As for the puzzler, I think the problem is that the Philodendron has been hanging around with the pothos. You know how they can be…[rolls eyes]. Honestly? I don’t know. I don’t really see a problem. Yet. I’ll have to come back again and take another look. For now, I think it’s the pothos…”

See, already that’s a better answer than mine because it diverts attention away from the victim and toward an alleged perpetrator who’s actually innocent. Here in America, we call that factchecking.

Good job once again this week, Martha. You didn’t get it exactly correct, but the odds are that the Pothos will do something sneaky in the future, so I’m gonna go ahead and call it a win today. So far, you’re the overall grand champion winner!

Tom from Theatrum Botanicum wrote, “It’s embarrassed to be seen with that birds nest of moss?”

He added:
“Also it looks like it wants some extra light and maybe a good feeding but mostly the light issue.”
Yes, yes, I like it, Tom. Not only has he had to endure the humiliation of having a cart up in his grill for several days, but ohmigod, what he’s wearing is hideous! And who did his hair?

I feel so guilty – if I’d known he was going to have an accident, I would’ve dusted him beforehand. And fertilized him more. Told him I loved him.

Sorry, I’m getting a little choked up…poor little fella. He’s been through so much in his short little life. The coffee spills, the water bottle dumpouts, the candy wrappers. Damn you, candy wrappers, oh, the indignity!

And now this. Bestemmed, and bummed out.

Tell me I’m not the only one who cares about this Philodendron bipinnatifidum! Tell me you think he deserves better than this degrading life, unappreciated, misunderstood! He can’t fight his own battles – we have to for him, and, and,

*Shakes head, snaps out of it*

My, goodness, I’m so sorry – for a minute there, I swear I was channeling Clarence Clemons on behalf of the plant. Weird.

Where were we? Oh right, you guys win. For playing this week, you’ve each earned one less dog day, nine story-filled nights (redeemable in August), an imaginary plaque and three checkmarks. Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Next up, the new puzzler. I promise, it’s much easier this time.

???Real or Fake???

Doesn’t really seem fair to make you come up with weird scenarios for my puzzlers when it’s so hot outside, so this week, back to a simple 50-50 choice. Is this plant real or fake?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, July 14th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

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

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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.