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Welcome to My Venture!

Although my approach may be a bit unconventional, it is my greatest desire for this online journal to be a unique place where we can share life lessons learned from the many wonderful people–past and present– who profoundly touch our lives!

I sincerely hope you will feel inclined to comment and pay tribute to these great mentors by sharing your thoughts with me and this community.  It’s my goal for all who visit here to benefit as we participate and read one another’s insights.

I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and something to learn!

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

Garden Therapy!  Pretty Flower Pots!

Other than cleaning out some of the leaves and debris that have collected in my yard over the winter months, the weather is still a little too unpredictable, where I live in Utah, to do much planting in my flowerbeds, but it is getting warm enough to plant a few pretty flower pots for my porch and patio…such a fun way to get an early touch of spring color!

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

“When beautiful spring comes, and nature resumes her loveliness…the human soul is apt to be revived also!”  Harriet Jacobs  

Simple Steps To Planting Pretty Flower Pots!

As we embark on our venture of planting pretty flower pots–I think most of us have one common thought in mind…!!

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

(via Etsy)

While I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes when planting my flower pots, my Grandma Mecham(my mom’s mom) who first nurtured my love of gardening, gave me a few pointers years ago when I used to help plant her pretty flower pots!

♣  Create good drainage.  We know that pots need good drainage so the roots can receive adequate oxygen for good growth.  An easy way to do this is to buy pots that already have a hole in the bottom so that when you water your plants, the water can drain freely and doesn’t stay stagnant around the roots of your plants.  All your plant TLC care will be wasted if your flowers get root rot.

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

Larger pots require more than one hole.  You can drill your own holes with a large drill bit if your favorite pot doesn’t have any.  My husband taught me that a few layers of masking tape placed on the spot where you want to drill your hole will keep more fragile ceramic pots from cracking.

Creating good drainge for flower pots.

You’ll want to have a drainage saucer underneath your pots if they are placed on a surface you don’t want damaged by water that drains from your pots when you water them.  You can also put a smaller plain pot with plastic or ceramic water catch dish inside a bigger more decorative pot…this is a useful trick for hanging pots.  There’s such a fun variety of decorative flower pots available now at your local garden centers and home improvement stores that come with matching trays.

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

If you have a place where you don’t want to run the risk of any water damage, you can add rocks to the bottom of a flower pot to create an internal drainage system of sorts–you will just have to be careful not to over water the plants in these pots.

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

My grandma used to break her old, chipped clay pots into small pieces and put them into the bottoms of her new flower pots.

♣  Add special potting soil.  Since ordinary garden soil is too heavy and can introduce disease, be sure to use a bagged planting mix or a homemade equivalent.  My sweet grandma used to make her own potting soil in a large wheel barrel by adding a special concoction of peat moss, sand, garden compost and fertilizer, then she’d enlist my help to get it all mixed up.  If you want to mix your own potting soil, google lists a gazillion websites that will help you do just that.

Making flower pot soil.

While there may be something satisfying about mixing your own soil bend, if you’re at all like me and want to save yourself the time and hassle of figuring out the best dirt composition to help your plants thrive, there are a number of really good ready-made  flower pot soils available at your local garden nurseries.

Miracle Grow potting soil.

I personally like Miracle Grow Potting Mix because it contains moisture control beads that hold excess moisture that is then released as soil dries out, so you’ll have to water less.  It also has a special mixture of fertilizer and nutrients needed for establishing beautiful flowers and plants in your container pots, while helping them resist disease from insects and fungus.  (Miracle Grow also has a soil mix that’s recommended for succulent plants and a fortified mix that’s great as an add-in for the flowerbeds in your yard.) 

♣  Use proper planting techniques.  You’ll want to buy enough plants to fill your container with a couple of inches between them, or you could do one large plant–the root ball should be no larger than about half the size of the pot you’re planning to use to put it in.  I like to buy bigger, more mature plants because they are well established and will bloom quicker.  Depending on where your flower pot will be located, (shade or sun) you’ll want to buy plants that will do well in those areas.  Take the time of year into consideration too.  Flowers like pansies and primrose can withstand cool spring evenings, while plants like geraniums, million bells, and ganzanias, to name a few, thrive in the summer heat.  In addition to planting flowers in your pots, putting in some pretty greenery will give them some unique texture.  Plant experts at neighborhood shops are a great source of information as you plan and shop for your flowers.

pansies-in-flower-pots-11

A quick planting review:  First, decide how you want to arrange your flowers, also pinch off any dead blooms or leaves.  Second, dig holes a few inches deeper and wider than attached root ball of the plant.  Third, pour a little water that has been mixed with a root starter into each hole before placing a plant in it–this will give a little boost to the flower’s roots so they get a good head start and will bloom quicker. (Since our flower pot season in Utah is relatively short, we’ll take every day of flower blooms we can get!)  Fourth, cover the root ball of each flower with a sufficient amount of potting soil, (a couple of inches) and put some a little ways up the stem to where the lowest leaves are developed so that the plant is anchored well and the root system isn’t bare to the elements.  As you smooth the dirt around your flowers, keep the level of the soil a few inches below the rim of the pot so the potting soil doesn’t spill over the rim of the pot when you water.  Fifth, once everything is planted, water flowers enough to leave soil moist, (until water barely starts to drip into your flower pot saucer) but not overly wet; watering like this every 2-3 days is key to growing and maintaining pretty flower pots!

Garden Therapy! Pretty Flower Pots!

Since flower pots do require more frequent watering, some of the nutrients are more likely to be washed away from the plant’s root system, so if you want happy, healthy flowers, use a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks according to package instructions.  I personally like Bayer Advance 2 in 1 Insect Control Plus Fertilizer, it comes in spikes or liquid form for easy use.

♣  General maintenance and upkeep.  Many plants continue to produce new flowers if you remove spent blooms.  Pinch off dead flowers (deadhead) just above a leaf or bud.  When plants begin to look wilted and past their prime, pull them out carefully and replace them with new ones; doing this also makes it so you can easily transition from one season to another and keep your flower pots looking fresh and lush.  As you water, you may need to add a new layer of potting soil or mulch to your container pots to keep the root systems covered well.  As already mentioned, fertilize pots regularly with a bloom boost.  Guard against common flower pests such as aphids, spider mite and mealy bugs by spraying every few weeks with an organic pest control.  I use Bonide Eight Insect and Disease Control Spray because it treats any fungus disease plants may get as well.

Maintaining spring flower pots.

Pretty spring flower pots in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment, get creative, and express your unique personality when you plant your pretty flower pots!

Little Things Mean A Lot! www.mytributejournal.com

“For children, most importantly, being in a flower garden is something magical!”  Fritjof Capra

Happiness is where I planted it!Flowering houseplants www.mytributejournal.com

“When you plant flowers…you decorate your soul!”  Luther Burbank

You can check out other simple spring gardening tips here.  I’ve also got some fun ideas for planting a fairy garden here.

I’m curious to know what flowers you have planted in container pots that are low maintenance and bloom beautifully?

–Happy planting!  Love, Mary

The Power Of Wow! Be Amazed Every Day!

The Power Of Wow!  Be Amazed Every Day!

The Easter season and the beauty of spring seems to beg for us to truly be amazed by all that this wonderful world has to offer.   One of the last pieces of advice my dad gave me before he left this mortal life was to always look around me and find something to be in awe of each day…the power of wow, he liked to call it.

The Power of Wow! Be Amazed Every Day

As grown-ups, we may not experience the innocent delight and awe of a child discovering nature for the first time, but we can certainly open up our hearts and be filled with the wonder and happiness that can be experienced when we take the opportunity to be amazed by the incredible gifts that are ours to enjoy–simply because of our existence here on earth!

The Power Of Wow! Be Amazed Everyday!

“Give each day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life!”  Mark Twain

Being More Mindful!

In trying harder to live each day with a more mindful approach, I’m reminded of a neat plaque that hung in the play area of a pediatric unit where I used to work:

“Be sure to explore the world with a fresh curiosity!”

Would you be surprised to learn that amazement is an instant stress reliever?  Dr. Rick Hanson of Psychology Today, even goes so far as to say that, “being amazed brings you into an enlightened relationship with the inherent mysteries and astounding bounties of the world you live in.”  We can often become preoccupied with our daily obligations, but I’ve found that the chance to be amazed is more likely to happen when I remember to allow myself the luxury of being wowed by the neat surprises that each day has to offer…when I do this–I feel energized and more grateful!

The Power Of Wow! Be amazed Every Day!

Today Is A Wonderful Gift!

I know that when I live more present-minded, I’m less likely to get stuck in my head–instead, I tend to focus more on savoring life and the people and things that make each day a wonderful gift.  Michael Kernis, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia, asserts that “when people are more mindful, they’re more likely to experience themselves as part of a greater good; it heightens their instincts and they are able to let go and focus more on the things that matter most.”  Living more mindfully doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from the past and the life lessons that have made us stronger and helped shape who we are…I also believe in setting goals and having strategies in place to help us plan for the future so we can take advantage of every opportunity to build a more meaningful life.

Learn from the past, plan for the future but live for today!

“The past is behind us, learn from it.  The future is ahead, prepare for it.  The present is here.  Live it!”  Thomas S. Monson 

A Few Things Thant Amaze Me!

I’m amazed…when I see the world through the beautiful eyes of my grandchildren; it gives me hope in the future of this sometimes crazy world!

Seeing the world through a child's eyes!

“There’s a certain joy and wonder everywhere about you, when you see the world through a child’s eyes.”  Katrina Mayer

I’m amazed…by the arrival of each season–but spring is my favorite!

Be amazed!

“Spring brings out our optimism!”  Susan Bissonette

I’m amazed…by the talent and passion of people who take pride in their craft!

Be amazed!

“A good chef is like a sorceress who serves up magic and happiness!”  Elsa Schiaparelli

(If possible, take the opportunity to sit where the chef’s prepare your food at your favorite restaurant…and be amazed!  My husband and I like to do this at The Copper Onion in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.)

I’m amazed…and my spirits are lifted by a beautiful sunset when I leave work after a long, busy shift at the hospital!

Be amazed!

“At the end of the day, before you close your eyes…be content with what you’ve done and proud of who you are.”  Tribute Journal

Mostly I’m amazed…at God’s love and His kind hand in my life!

Have a beautiful life.

“When you rush through life…it becomes a race, but when you cherish each moment…it becomes a beautiful journey!”  Apoovre Debey

Please share how you stay amazed with the world around you?

–Love, Mary

Admirable Women! The Creative Vision of Joan Ganz Cooney!

Admirable Women!  The Creative Vision Of Joan Ganz Cooney!

Many children around the world, including my own, as well as my grandchildren, have grown up being able to take advantage of the creative vision, drive and revolutionary work of Joan Ganz Cooney, the admirable woman behind the Children’s Television Workshop, whose credits include one of the best known and best loved television shows in history, Sesame Street!

Admirable Women!

“Cherishing children is the mark of a civilized world!”  Joan Ganz Cooney

An Unlikely Career Path:

Born in 1929, Joan Ganz, was raised in a conventional household in Phoenix, Arizona, and though she was initially drawn to studying theater, her family encouraged her to pursue a teaching career.  She graduated with a degree in education from the University of Arizona in 1951.  Eventually, Ms. Ganz  became interested in journalism and by 1954, she moved to New York City to work as a publicist for various TV networks.  While living in New York City, she married Timothy Cooney, and had the opportunity to become a documentary producer for public television; it was while she worked on these documentaries that she decided she wanted to use television as a means for teaching children.

Joan Ganz Cooney: Co-founder of Sesame Street.

(via Children’s Television Workshop)

Joan Ganz Cooney decided early in her career as a television producer that she wanted to make a positive influence in people’s lives by using television as an innovative teaching medium for the benefit of young children everywhere! 

After conducting a number of studies on the subject of using television programs as a way to teach children, Joan Ganz Cooney used her research to convince others of television’s potential for expanding a child’s learning arena.  Her programming format inspiration came from the way TV commercials were produced; shows were created that had a quick pace intended to hold children’s interest, featuring a variety of educational segments in each episode.  With financial assistance from the Carnegie Corporation, the U.S. Department of Education and the Ford Foundation, Cooney established the Children’s Television Workshop and Sesame Street premiered on TV’s Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in November of 1969 and has remained on the air ever since and continues to thrive in its mission to help kids “grow smarter, stronger and kinder”!

Sesmae Street with Jim Henson puppets.

(via Sesame Street) 

Along with its unique, multiracial cast of actors, Sesame Street also features characters created by the late Jim Henson, better known as the Muppets.

Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street!

FYI…..did you know that Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch were the first two characters Jim Henson created for the Sesame Street television series?

Joan Ganz Cooney was also the mastermind behind other successful children’s shows like, The Electric Company (1971-1977), 3-2-1 Contact (1980-1988), and Square One TV (1987-1992).  While she is no longer the president of the Children’s Television Workshop, she remains actively involved with the development of Sesame Street and other program planning in the organization.

Awards And Honors:

Joan Ganz Cooney has received countless, well-deserved honors for her dedication to educational television for children.  In 1989 she received an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 1995 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.  In 2007, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center was founded, a nonprofit organization dedicated to children’s education and literacy.

Here, in her own words, is the continued vision Ms. Cooney has for children’s educational television:

A Compelling Passion!

I’m in awe of a woman so dedicated to the education and well-being of children.  For me, she’s made possible the opportunity of watching the animated face of my youngest granddaughter when I tend her, who at a year and a half is learning while watching the adventures of her favorite characters, Abby and Zoe, on Sesame Street.  Truly, Joan Ganz Cooney is a woman to be admired and her influence will live on in the lives of so many children…and adults, for that matter…everywhere!  In May of 2014, at a Sesame Street Workshop gala, Cheryl Henson, the daughter of Jim Henson, praised Ms. Cooney for always being so passionate about her vision of a better society that could be described in one compelling phrase: Put the children first!

Joan Ganz Cooney: Sesame Street workshop co-founder.

(via Joan Ganz Cooney archives)

“It’s not whether children will learn from television, it’s what children will learn from television…because everything that children see on television is teaching them something?”  Joan Ganz Cooney  Children’s Television Workshop

Did you watch Sesame Street as a child?  If so, who were your favorite characters?  What would loved ones say your life’s passion is?  (I know…that’s deep, but interesting to think about.)

–Mary