Book Notes: Great Garden Quotes: A Coloring Book

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When we were children we loved to bring out our cherished magical crayons and color “inside the lines” in our coloring books. And apparently we have not forgotten that delightful creative activity, for, as adults, we are buying Adult Coloring Books by the thousands and rekindling our love affair with interpreting someone else’s line drawings with our own imaginations! One such offering that will especially appeal to gardeners, is the newly released Great Garden Quotes: A Coloring Book with Wit, Wisdom, & Heart from GreenPrints, longtime publishers of much the loved GreenPrints Magazine.

Here are some pages from this lovely addition to the Adult Coloring Book choices. Each page carries a lovely quote that will touch and tickle a gardener’s heart!

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GreenPrints editor Pat Stone says the idea to publish a coloring book was not his idea! “Sure, I’ve been publishing remarkable black and white art in GreenPrints for over two and a half decades. But I never thought of sharing it in a coloring book–not until a subscriber called in and said, ‘I’ve loved your magazine for years and years. And after I read the stories, I color in every page!'” And the seed was planted for this book.

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If you or someone you love would like a copy of Great Garden Quotes, you may order a copy from GreenPrints by phone (800-569-0602), by mail (GreenPrints, P.O. Box 1355, Fairview, NC 28730) or at amazon.com Great Garden Quotes costs $14.95 plus $3.00 for shipping and handling. I think it’s a marvelous fun thing to do in winter!

I hope you are enjoying the magic of winter in its many manifestations around the globe. It is a special time, a unique and calming beauty in all its forms.

I appreciate all my readers and subscribers and I welcome your comments below.

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Also, many thanks for this Top 50 Gardening Blogs of 2016 Award, just received!
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Post Christmas Story

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Surely this is a Christmas story and clearly Spirit was at work, so there’s that. My daughter, Antonia drove out this morning for her next holiday destination and I walked back into her room and noticed she had left behind a Christmas box full of teas. Huh. I grabbed the box figuring I might still catch her at the Shell station. Jumped in the Jeep and headed down there and pulled up next to her as she was preparing to get back into her car. Jumped out, offering her the box, with a smile. “What’s that?”, she says. “Your tea!” “Oh!” Another goodbye hug and smiles and off she goes one direction and I in another. Figured I would swing by the post office on the way home. Finding the parking lot almost empty I suspected they might be closed, but I parked, went in, and walked toward my box, when I saw a homeless person asleep, rolled up next to the wall in a corner, his head propped up on plastic bags as a pillow. Hmm. I walked quietly back outside and approached a woman and man in a car who had just pulled up. She could see question on my face, I could tell. “There’s a homeless person asleep inside and I don’t want to go in alone.” The woman said, “I’ll go in with you,” and jumped out immediately to assist. He was just starting to stir as we entered and we went together to see him. “Are you all right?” I asked. “I’m cold,” he mumbled. We both wished him well. I checked my box and she and I both departed. “I think I have a sleeping bag in my car,” I told her, and, sure enough, an old fashioned large green sleeping bag, quite clean, was in the back of the car. I grabbed it and took it in to him. The woman went with me, and I placed it over him and said, “I brought you a sleeping bag so you’ll be warm. And look. When you leave? You can roll it up and tie it down in a roll and take with you and you’ll be warm.” “Oh, thank you. Bless you,” he mumbled. He was a small black man dressed all in black. Now he was under a green blanket. I wished I had a pillow to offer, but he was better off than when we found him. “Have a better day,” the woman offered him. And we walked out. She followed me back to my Jeep, told me she “takes care of old people, people who have memory problems” and that she’s paid eight dollars an hour. Is that even legal in California? I said, “I’m taking a bunch of clothes to Good Will. Do you want some skirts?” She said, “That would make a nice Christmas present.” We started sorting through and I could feel her hunger for something new, a gift, and I said, “Here, just take the whole bag. Take what you want and find a home for the rest. Merry Christmas.” It was a lot of clothes, but I no longer had to drive to Good Will, and they were gone. Good. And she was clearly happy. I got back in my Jeep and as I drove home I thought of the man we had left on the floor of the post office. What more could I give him? I went home and made him a big turkey sandwich. And I went through all my scarves, about which I had just told Antonia, “There are too many,” found a pale olive green wool cabled scarf that a man could wear and drove pell mell back to the post office. Would he still be there? I walked in and saw he was just rolling up the sleeping bag, tying it down and doing an excellent job. “Hi. I brought you a big sandwich. And I brought you some nuts and raisins for energy you can carry with you. And I brought you an orange. I wanted to bring you something hot, but I had nothing to carry it in. And I brought you this scarf you can put around your neck and stay warm.” He took the food and scarf, thanking me, and wrapped the scarf around his neck, which looked so much better on him than it ever had on me. I knew it would offer him some protection from this bitter cold. Antonia said it was 28 degrees this morning. And then I asked him his name and asked him how he got into this situation and I asked him if he was doing drugs and he told me a few things and was nearly honest. (I can read people.) And the last thing I said to him was, “You have to think of yourself first. You have to do it for you. And you are worth it.” And I left. And all this because for some “inexplicable reason” Antonia had left her tea on the bedroom table.

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Wishing you a lovely holiday.

Love and blessings,
Kathryn
XOXO


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About the Pumpkin Tree

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My dearest readers and very especially my new and longtime loyal subscribers, tomorrow is Halloween! I love Halloween, don’t you? And in celebration I am sharing the story from my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden that speaks of one of my favorite Octobers, in North Carolina, on the occasion of Antonia’s one visit to Appalachia. I have shared this story once before, titled “Invest in Trees” a few years ago, and it is nudging me to be told again. I do hope you love and enjoy!

Happy Halloween, dear ones!

Love and fall blessings!
Kathryn xoxo

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About the Pumkin Tree
My daughter was making her first journey to Appalachia! And
knowing we would not see each other that Christmas I leapt at the
chance to create a holiday with her in October. Fortunately Halloween
is one of my favorite holidays of the year, upon which I could readily
build, with vast support from the magnificent changing of leaves in a
North Carolina fall.
I called a tree farm outside Asheville inquiring if he had “anything that
looked like a Christmas tree”. Puzzled, he asked why. “Do you really want
to know?” I responded, grinning into the phone. He did. I explained that
my daughter was coming, that it was her first trip to North Carolina,
that I did not anticipate seeing her that Christmas, and that I wanted to
make us a pumpkin tree. This man knew how to hear a mother’s heart.
Clearly touched, he invited me to come out, even though it was a wholesale
business, and he would “find me something”. I drove myself out into the
country with my dog, and eventually spotted the long red gate he had given
me as a landmark. I pulled through the gate and found myself entering a
magical environment of all manner of trees in pots. I had never been to
such a tree farm before, and I was instantly enchanted. When I exited
from the car a warm young man came out to greet me, anticipating who
I was. He indicated I should follow him and I followed his lead through
pots and pots of trees, about which I could scarcely contain my curiosity,
until we stopped before what appeared to be some kind of small and
noble cedar. I felt strangely comfortable with its green upward spiraling
flat branches. It was a narrow tree, about five and a half feet high, and he
called it an arborvitae. “Tree of life,” I smiled excitedly. “I’ll take it!” When
I arrived home I wetted it down, then brought it inside (promising the
tree it was only for a few days) and began the joyful task of wrapping
smiling round pumpkin lights about its limbs, then topping it off with
a long strand of shiny red and gold tiny autumn leaves. I plugged in the
pumpkin lights and stood back to admire my creation: A Pumpkin Tree!

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I grinned with glee and anticipation of my surprise. A couple of welcoming
gifts wrapped in orange and gold papers with Halloween stickers
strategically placed about the packages finished off the project. When
Antonia arrived, tired from the long journey, the tree stood in a living
room corner in shining festive welcome and as she spotted it, her weary
face broke into a broad grin. I was so tickled, so pleased.
So now I own two trees. My ginkgo and a Western Red Cedar, as
it turns out, which, curiously, really belongs in the Pacific Northwest.
Nomadic as I am known to be, I am the owner and caregiver of two
trees, who will now make their way with me in my travels. Somehow
they give me great comfort. I fantasize, and have spoken with family
members about placing these trees in our family cemetery plot. Here
lie my greatgrandmother and greatgrandfather and grandmother and
greataunt, and a bevy of cousins are buried nearby, throughout the small
town cemetery. The plot was purchased over one hundred years ago for
us by my greatgrandfather, a true investment in a longterm proposition,
which is, in fact, what a tree is about. One day perhaps I will be buried
there and my body, first purified in the grace of fire, will become part of
these trees I nurture, who in return nurture me.
The trees in my life are not all physical and recognizable trees.
There are the traditions, maintained devotedly year to year, creating
the substance of family memories on which we hang our lives. Chai on
Christmas morning. Gingerbread and popovers and the familiar ornaments
that carry their special memories year after faithful year. Graves
tended. Birthdays honored. Scrapbooks and photo books marking the
passages of life. A wedding veil passed from grandmother to daughter
to sister to grandchild. Stories long told from generation to generation,
each word repeated faithfully as it was first heard by a grandchild or
greatgrandchild. Such is the stuff of families, the roots of which go long
and deep before us.
Who and what are the proverbial trees in your life to which you make
the faithful annual pilgrimages?
What does the honoring of these longheld
traditions give in return? How does change or turning away from them
affect your heart and soul? How can they be maintained, tended, and
cared for in a world that will not stand by waiting for us, but catapults
us further into a future we cannot predict, that we cannot count on to
stay the same? What will you take in your hand, your heart, your being
to sustain you on this ever-changing road, the trees of your life that lend
substance, courage, strength, rootedness, and meaning?

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