Haunted by the ghosts of plants you’ve killed with kindness?

Scary Abused Rosa Radrazz Victim Pic 1
Scary Abused Rosa Radrazz Victim
Uprooted Rosa Radrazz Pic 2
Uprooted Rosa Radrazz
Rosa Radrazz Knockout Almost Knocked Out Pic 3
Rosa Radrazz Knockout Almost Knocked Out
Hope Springs Eternal Rosa Redrazz pic 4
Hope Springs Eternal Rosa Redrazz
Rosa Radrazz Singing Rocky Theme Feeling Strong Now pic 5
Rosa Radrazz Singing Rocky Theme Feeling Strong Now
Rosa Radrazz Singing New Attitude by Patti LaBelle pic 6
Rosa Radrazz Singing New Attitude by Patti LaBelle
Jaimee Goehring Agreed to Present her Pretty Face to Protect the Guilty
Jaimee Goehring Agreed to Present her Pretty Face to Protect the Guilty

Be warned folks this post is not rated. Due to the violence against plants it could deserve an X rating. Are we, the collective we, not all haunted by the ghosts of plants we have killed with kindness or worse, shear neglect? It’s scary stuff, the things we do in the name of “taking good care of our plants.” This innocent enough story starts out just when the Texas summer is beginning to really heat up and when plants are really counting on us for just a little mercy, a little extra water and to do them no harm. A very gentle spirited person came along and hoped to purchase an easy care Knock-Out rose bush, and note, I did not say no-care rose bush, plant it, see it thrive, produce a profusion of blooms and beautify her home. Her name and face have been changed to protect the guilty. The face you see is a lovely person, Jaimee Goehring who has complained mightily about not seeing her planted like a wanted poster on this blog. So there you have it, Jaimee has graciously agreed to be a stand in for an attempted murderer and an alleged abuser of a Knock-Out rose bush or shall we say an alleged attempted murder of a rose bush.  The date of the alleged crime is on or around early June of this year when the alleged perp came to me and said that she had ripped the poor unsuspecting rose bush up by its roots because she found that its current location was inconvenient. She had originally purchased an easy care Knock-Out Rose called Rosa Radrazz, one of my favorites. She said she decided to transplant it and it was already getting hot. After she ripped the poor little bugger up by its roots she decided that since the roots looked a little straggly she would give ‘em a trim. I don’t know what in the world ever gave her the idea she was an expert on how roots should actually look but at the moment she had shears in her hand and had no impulse control and with a few snips she felt better.  We all like to trim stuff above ground, but ripping it up and deciding to trim it below ground because it looks a little ragged, that’s a little extreme. I explained that the roots she trimmed sounded like basically feeder and surface roots spreading to get ready for the insufferable, Texas summer heat. The first assignment I gave this well meaning criminal and plant abuser was to go take a picture of the bush, do not touch the bush, stand back at least 5 feet and to do it no harm. The alleged abuser agreed to stay back at least 5 feet from the victim bush and take a picture, and bring me a picture of the poor wilted plant. Then we could determine a course of action. I could see sincere remorse in the face of this plant abuser and that is why I agreed to take the case. The next day after I examined the crime scene and the victim from the crime scene photographs, I could see with supervision this repentant offender could again be a rose bush caregiver. Here is our course of action.  The first killer in Texas heat is dehydration so we had to be sure since it was already getting hot and she so deftly snipped all the surface roots that would have made sure the plant got extra water that the plant did not get dehydrated. Then I asked her to pinch every single dead leave that was left on the bush, that was kind of a penance and it would make the bush look lots better and make me feel better, then I told her to trim every cane that looked dead back to green wood and take

Rosa Radrazz Razzle Dazzle 'Em
Rosa Radrazz Razzle Dazzle 'Em

another picture and bring it to me. Then I asked her to deep water the bush.  We agreed on a root stimulator and a simple plant food and watering campaign and left the plant alone. I was concerned that the bush was very close to the heat generating bricks and also almost on top of the sprinkler head but Knock-out Roses are so very forgiving I really thought since I could see most canes were green that the plant really would be OK when she first brought me the pictures. She thought the plant was not going to survive and I truly could see it would be OK. I was more cheerleader than anything and knew she cared about being a better rose bush care giver. I knew from the beginning this offender could be rehabilitated and had been restored as a good contributor to the world of growing things.

OUI Built A Prefabricated Greenhouse for $142.00

Greenhouse Construction Under Way in Garage
Greenhouse Construction Under Way in Garage
Greenhouse Wall Size Prospective
Greenhouse Wall Size Prospective
Almost a Winter Home
Almost a Winter Home
Greenhouse Front Framed Out
Greenhouse Front Framed Out
Greenhouse Door and Foam Board Applied
Greenhouse Door and Foam Board Applied

It was a simple plan. It always seems to start that way doesn’t it? My plan was this, since I would have at least ½ acre of gardens and over 150 rose bushes to take care of I would have silk plants in the house, live plants outside. No house plants. Then people for most occasions started getting me house plants, big ones, in pots because they say I have a green thumb whatever that means.  And they had to go outside. OUI also added outside, first one flagstone patio next to the back door where shade did not allow grass to grow then another stone patio in the back yard along the north fence because there were always cool breezes “out there” and then a stone path in the front yard under the oak trees. OUI planted two oak trees as seedlings in the front yard and now they are mighty oaks providing the most beautiful shade you can imagine. Shade is a valuable commodity in the hot, very hot, north Texas summers.  I will be able to write a book on the conversion of the front yard from a sun to a shade landscape.  These oak trees almost inspired me around the time of the Kentucky Derby to drink a mint julep under the shade of my very own 20 year old oak trees. I discovered the true recipe in the Wall Street Journal.  A mint julep is straight pure Kentucky bourbon, has to have “shaved ice” and a sprig of mint, a little powdered sugar and here’s the part I like the most, only shaken in a pure stainless steel cup. Don’t hold me to that recipe it’s from memory. Just remember that its mostly pure bourbon and I don’t like bourbon. Sorry bourbon lovers, no offense. I like the thought of sipping a mint julep in the shade under the old oak tree in a beautiful large brimmed hat (hear designer like they wear to the Kentucky Derby) in a stainless steel cup bought a Tiffany’s.  I digress, but since we are on the stone path I will remind you of a quote I am famous for. My husband was sitting on my daughter and son-in-law’s patio in Hesperia, California. My grandson Jake was taking him a marguerita, and I said Jake please give your grandfather a glass of water and tell him “drink your water, you can’t quench your thirst with tequila.” Now instead of all the other great quotes he could say remember when Gaga said whatever, he likes to say, “you better drink your water, you can’t quench your thirst with tequila.” To top it off both Jake and my granddaughter Ashlyn say it frequently. Maybe it will come in handy one day.

Enough meandering down the garden path of memories. Here’s the materials list for the greenhouse , prefabricated in the garage and assembled on the stone patio along north fence in the back yard. This greenhouse is 8 X 8 X 7 ½” and it meets all neighborhood association rules and city codes standards.

The materials list is exactly as it was written from the Home Depot receipt with exact costs dated 10/13/2010. I’m getting this out there to you today on a  Friday so you can go buy your materials today or early Saturday and build this over the week-end. You can get it done before NFL football on Sunday.

Materials List for  8 X 8 X 7 ½” Greenhouse

2X3-8’ 31 studs @ $1.87 ea       $57.97

1X2X8     3 studs @ $1.12 ea     $ 3.36

2X6X8’    HT                            $3.68

Box of 3” dry wall screws          $8.69

Door hinge & latch                   $ 2.58

Fill Strip 4 @ .99                      $ 3.96

Foam board/1 side alum foil



This structure can be built in the garage and moved to location to be erected. Construct 3 – 8’ X 8” walls on 2” centers. The 4th wall has a door framed out of 1 X 2’s and hinged with a latch so you can secure it shut. The roof is constructed with rafters of 2 X 3’s and visqueen stretched over the top. Screw a lawn sprinkler to the center rafter for watering and attach a garden hose along the rafter for watering. Last year we had record cold and although most plants made it this year we insolated the structure. We came down 30” from the top with visqueen and wrapped entire structure with 4 X 8 sheets of foam board with an aluminum foil face facing inside 6 feet high.  The beauty of the  design is that this structure can be disassembled and stored and reassembled each fall and your plants are safe again for the winter, saving 100’s of dollars in plants each year. Now you can get busy protecting all those plants.

Total cost $141.81

Last year’s Greenhouse cost $98.00. The upgrade this year cost an additional $43.81 and I will need to check to see how much additional labor if any OUI spent in constructing it.  My contribution consisted of spraying myself with mosquito spray although I did sustain multiple painful bites prior to spraying myself so there is a misery factor to be considered and I did hand my builder wood screws like I hand Denise foil when she colors my hair. I also had to park in the driveway while the walls were being prefabricated in the garage.  I made suggestions about whether the foam board came in suitable earth tones for the back yard or could it be painted. OUI opted not to paint it in case the paint slithered off in a gooey mess, but my builder was willing to try and paint it in an earthy selection. I like that in a builder, don’t you? I think I’ll use him on my next project.  I also poured a glass of chardonnay for the construction crew. That’s a lot, don’t you think? One must sacrifice. I also requested that the construction crew not sit on the white love seat in his work shirt.

Next topic children’s garden with perennials and a if we can locate one a Christmas Camilla that will bloom at Christmas.

Jake & Ashlyn
Like to Quote Gaga, "Drink Your Water, You Can't Quench Your Thirst With Tequila"

Of Mice and Men and Greenhouses

Cold baby Mouse

Cold baby Mouse

Flowerhouse Pop-Up Greenhouse
Flowerhouse Packaging


Assembled Flowerhouse

Rakish Friends
Rakish Friends
Scarecrows for Mice?

The Texas Almanac says the average date of the first freeze in North Texas is around November 16th . Based on that date if you live in this planting zone you need to have options.

OUI have the greenhouse I have been promising you built and I will write about it in the next couple of days. I  am feeling mighty pressured about the cold bearing down on us because the greenhouse is constructed and my husband said only three walls were up and a tiny mouse already ran in right during broad daylight while he was watching him and it’s still warm outside! What does that tell you? Beside the fact that the first inhabitant of the greenhouse is a mouse and a Sago Palm that an elephant and a mouse can hide behind? It’s going to be cold or mice aren’t afraid of him.

Option #1: Prefabricated Greenhouse for $98.00, the perfect economical plant life saver,” had some issues

Option #2 Buy a collapsible Flowerhouse Pop-up Greenhouse shown is this post

Option #3 Stay Tuned for $125 new improved version next post

Today, Michael Fox, my son and creative designer of this BLOG casually mentioned “you’ve slowed down on the posts a bit, haven’t you?” He went on to say “I was in Calloway’s Nursery today and I saw a pop-up greenhouse after I helped dad lift the roof on your greenhouse yesterday so maybe you better go over there and do a comparison.” That’s all it took because I flew over there in his dad’s Dodge pick-up after work, camera in hand because last year when I was researching all greenhouse options we went to Harbor Freight and the options we looked at were about $500.00 and although the greenhouses were pretty sturdy and allowed us to collapse and store them we ran into many issues regarding homeowners restrictions, city codes, etc. So we built the one I described to you earlier in this BLOG, see “Oui Prefabricated Greenhouse for $98.00, the perfect economical plant life saver,”  but it had some issues with the 12” of snow we had while I was freezing to death on supposedly a little getaway week-end in San Antonio and the visqueen roof blew loose during the wild storm. Still the plants survived fairly well.

Now I know some of you are probably saying “too late Gaga I live in Minnesota!” But you’ll have this next year and I’m pretty sure those of you around the world are saying “I just want a greenhouse” because I’ve had some comments on the BLOG in languages I can’t translate.

The option to purchase a collapsible greenhouse is for those of you who are tired of losing all of your potted plants and spending all that money to replace them every year. I have spent literally fortunes on potted plants lost to winter freezes and as I think I have mentioned I have brought in little creatures that I don’t want to live with and it seems unfair to kill after giving them a good home and feeding them.

This option is for those of you that are not handy, are in a hurry or just think this is a good option for you. This product is available at Callaway’s or probably online:

The product is called Flowerhouse Pop-up Greenhouse. It’s comes in three sizes and I have included some assembled shots. I shook and rattled it pretty good and it seems fairly sturdy but I don’t know how it would hold up to 12”inches of snow and lots of wind.  Here are the sizes and costs at Calloway’s in North Texas and their associates were so helpful; they even helped move things around to take pictures.


78’ X 96” X 96” $399.00


78” X 72” X 72” $249.99


56” X 48” X 48” $129.99

Next post the built greenhouse in the back yard, home already to a little mouse and a giant Sago Palm and lots of other potted plants.

Steer Clear of the Atrium

Dwarf Mondo Grass Under Glass
Dwarf Mondo Grass Under Glass
Balcony View
Atrium View From My Room at The Gaylord Texan
Bromeliads Will Lull You Into Thinking You Are In Paradise Not an Atrium
Very Scary Geese Girls
Geese Girls Ready for Halloween Parade
Steer Clear of the Atrium
He Lives on Dwarf Mondo Grass in an Atrium

If you have been following my Tweets on Twitter, you know I have been living in an atrium at the Gaylord Texan on beautiful Lake Grapevine since Wednesday attending the Texas Association of Builders Sunbelt Builder’s Show since last Wednesday.

The Gaylord Texan is a gardener’s paradise composed of miles of trails and plants in an indoor atrium, hotel, resort and convention center. Staying there has given me a prospective to ponder and a Tweet of an original nature that I’ll share with you and introduce to you a new and brilliant friend I met through Twitter. If any of you have been curious about Twitter here is an introductory course in Twitter as well, and you can start on the Twitter path with me. On Saturday morning before dawn, but who knows what time it is in an atrium, I was pondering my new mantra “what should I Tweet about, what should I Tweet, what should I Tweet about, …,” and I threw back the covers knowing sleep was over and I ran to my IPad with sketchy WIFI access to ask my knew Tweet mentor Margie Clayman of the Clayman Advertising Agency, Akron, Ohio, http://www.clayad.com a Twitter question. Here is the question, “Margie, as a marketing maven by day with a gardening alter ego by night, is it acceptable to mix my identities when I tweet?” And right there in front of my sleep blurred, tradeshow crazed, Tweet driven eyes was a Tweet from Margie to the entire world all about,  guess who? No! You are never going to believe it in a million, bazillion years! Never! All my wildest happiest gagasgarden dreams come true. My wonderful new friend, social media Twitter master Margie Clayman with a respected ad agency that’s been around since 1956 has a Tweet and a training film clip featuring gagasgarden and she’s training people new to Twitter.

And just when I think it doesn’t get any better than this, Margie has marked as a favorite my Tweet from the Gaylord Texan this pondering Tweet. “I love dwarf mondo grass under glass – Gaylord Texan” And that is because while at the Gaylord Texan I had lots of time while walking on miles and miles of trails back and forth from my room to the convention center to think about how much I love dwarf mondo grass. This training clip will get you on your way with Twitter and Margie and I are out there Twittering away and we’ll assist you, well maybe Margie will assist you. Also I submitted gagasgarden BLOG to Margie http://www.margieclayman.com/?p=668. In her featured article  

Musings on Marketing and Other Morsels

The ravings of a 3rd generation agency woman

#30Thursday Lucky number seven! 2010 October 14

In her Musings on Marketing and Other Morsels Margie she also selected gagasgarden BLOG as lucky number 13 on her list of BLOGs to follow. So, for those of you who want to learn like I do and have been wondering how to Tweet go to this link and watch the training film Margie put together using me, Gaga as an example of a new Twitter user. The clip is amazingly easy to follow and it will teach you how to get started and answer so many questions. I will tell you the first week on Twitter Margie invited me to #Tweet Diner and I searched 456 social networking apps on my IPad looking for #Tweet diner only to ask Margie where could I find the app and she said just put the Tweet Diner in the search bar on Twitter and you’re in and she still had to find me the night of the event out in the main stream conversation by saying gaga put a # in front of your tweets  and then you’ll be in #tweet diner. It was like conversation on steroids. Watch her training clip and see how gagasgarden questions helped her formulate a clip for those new to twitter.


Also it was time to put the goose girls in their Halloween costumes so I have them in their costumes. Our daughter Laurie said the other day, “Mom, I thought one of the goose girls was a boy.” So on the way to buy our goose girls Halloween sign I told my husband about the dilemma of whether we had been dressing the girls in the appropriate attire, he said  “they’re unisex, but let’s go home and check to be sure. I told him “now that’s funny,” and I was going to write that in the Blog and now he wants to be paid for his material, so I told him to write himself a check.

Here’s an update on the greenhouse. It is built in the garage, because OUI built it while I was attending the Sunbelt Builders Show.  The materials cost $112. We have plans for the kid’s garden. I have names of some landscape designers we are going to interview at Calloway’s for perfect perennials for winter. Please learn about Twitter by watching the great clip by Margie Clayman of Clayman Advertising Agency. Then you can set up a Twitter account and follow my Tweets and Margie’s Tweets even if you don’t feel like you want to Tweet yet.

Glamour Shots and The Lollipop Guild Garden

Geese Girls Fall Attire

Patio Potts
Greenhouse Candidates
Non-Stop Begonias
Plants Needing Winter Home

Is gardening glamorous? Today it was. Kim Ritzenthaler of www.kimtakespictures.com took pictures for gagasgarden and for an extraordinary experience go to her site and click on her macro photography of her nature slide show. It is an experience in wonderment.

In the 8o’s I headed up a French line of cosmetics and toured the US with make-up artists from Paris, France not Paris, Texas. When the président directeur general Thierry Mauvernay of Innovation Scientifique Dermatologique visited he explained, as I escorted him back to DFW for his flight back to Paris, “Sue, it is now difficult to have new artists travel to the US, you make them work too hard.” And here’s what will amaze you. I was pleased at his remarks, I took this as a compliment. We travelled to every major metro in the US, hit the stores by 7:30 AM for kick-off breakfasts, pep rallies to pump up the troops, and then worked all day until the stores would close at 9:00 P.M, including week-ends. The French girls were young so they partied until who knows. They never appeared weary after 9:00 PM when it was time to go out and hit the dance clubs in every major metro across the country.

And you say Gaga “What does this have to do with gardening, and growing roses?” And I say once again, EVERYTHING!” Gardening is hard work and it’s all about passion. Someone once said to me in a very sappy voice. So hear extra sappy when you read this “What a nice little hobby you have. “  And I inwardly coiled up like a fer-de-lance, a member of the viper family of snakes, which is the most deadly poisonous snake on the planet.  Being outside, planting and growing things is essential to my soul. Doing this is a need not an option so we can’t categorize it as a hobby. If for some reason I have to live in a high rise apartment then I would devise a place to grow things.

Whatever stage you are at, hobby or necessity we are going to walk a new path together.

One beautiful afternoon a dear friend, Susan Davis was over for a wine and rose tour and by that time I was showered and looking quite presentable and for some reason we got on the topic of whether she thought gardening was a glamorous “hobby.” I excused myself and returned dressed in my protective spraying clothing, my respirator for spraying, gloves, tennis elbow brace for the acute tendinitis I had developed from pruning roses, not tennis and my Solo pump back pack sprayer. I know she will never see me the same way again.

Now that I have explained gardening is lots of work and can be glamorous and it was today thanks to Kim I have a little circuitous work to do. I have to go to the HR Southwest Conference in Fort Worth through Tuesday then go to the spectacular Gaylord Texas for the Texas Association of Builders Sunbelt Builders Show where I will hope to gain some insights toward building the greenhouse. However, we have purchased the supplies and I have arranged to interview some landscape designers for the kid’s garden.

I am so excited about the pictures the lovely Kim Ritzenthaler took of this spectacular fall garden today. She got such beautiful shots that I almost collapsed laughing when my husband looked at one particular shot where my head is emerging from the flowers and started singing from the Wizard of OZ “We Are The Lollipop Guild” and both he and Kim did the Lollipop Guild dance on this glorious day in the garden. I will leave you with that song playing in your head as it has mine all day because that wasn’t enough for  my husband to sing and dance that song he had to show me the clip on YouTube of the Lollipop Guild and how I looked just like ‘em when they emerged from the flowers. That’s better than a space alien in my respirator and Solo pump back sprayer and elbow brace I suppose.

The interviews with landscape professionals on winter perennials, kid’s garden and greenhouse coming soon. Reports from the HR Southwest maybe but definitely from the beautiful spectacular Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas at the Association of Builders Texas (TAB) at the Sunbelt Builders Show next Wednesday through Saturday night.