I’m Back!!

Hi, I’m baaaack!


Yep, that’s me standing in the rain

California Spring Trials are over, customers wined and dined,  display materials put back in storage, greenhouses cleaned and we are back to normal. I thought I’d share a bit about what I’ve been doing the past several weeks.  My previous post, “Please Stay Tuned”…, gives a brief description of what my job entails. After months growing flowers and vegetables for this week-long endeavor, it’s finally almost show time. It takes two to three weeks and a small army to pull a California Spring Trials flower show off. I hope you will enjoy the photos I’ve included.

As you know, we’ve gotten a significant amount of rain in California this year. Set up in the rain is always a memorable experience. Here are some photos of my colleagues enjoying the rain and mud.



It’s raining, it’s pouring….



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After we bring in the hardscape (display tables, brick, banners) we arrange the plant material. Setting up displays take a lot of planning, time and energy.



SunPatiens display in process




Zinnia Profusion bed in process


Beds are filled with mulch.



Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to work we go!


And Viola! Instant garden



Completed Zinnia Profusion bed




Completed SunPatiens display


This is our living wall. I’ve been growing it since December 2016. It’s made of over 1500 Ornamental Cabbage plants. Thirty-three individual panels are connected together and hung on wood framing.


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Here are a few of my favorite photos.

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Please Don’t Eat Me! (Hibiscus)




A very hard working crew member




SunPatiens mixed container


After six months of sowing, growing and showing, it’s time for a cold one



Ahhh, that’s good.


Another awesome thing that happened during CAST was my retirement was officially announced. Now I can shout it from the mountaintops!!! Hurray!! My retirement date is set for December 31, 2017.

Please Stay Tuned…

Please stay tuned. I need to take a brief hiatus from writing my blog. My job this time of year is beyond overwhelming and extremely stressful. I am a flower grower, and while I realize most of you can’t imagine growing flowers can be anything but relaxing, I will try to explain.

I work for a  flower and vegetable seed company located on the California Central Coast.  Each spring, the company I work for, and many of our competitors participate in a week-long event known as, California Spring Trials. Competing companies use this international event to launch new plant varieties and showcase old favorites to customers.   The competition is fierce. Sales and marketing teams from participating companies try to outdo each other with unique displays that will beautifully show off their flowers. (think Fashion Week for flowers)

As Flower Trials Coordinator, my job includes timing each variety of flower to bloom during this specific week. Some species of plants take five to six months growing time while others take only 8 to 10 weeks. Each variety must flower on schedule. Every flower perfect.  There is little to no room for error. I guide my crew in growing the plant material and set up displays to showcase our plants. When all is said and done, customers wined and dined,  we spend 2 weeks cleaning up and returning the greenhouse to normal.

Please enjoy some pictures I’ve taken at past events.



Bed 15

Planting the Landscape


Sideshow Daisies in the Landscape


Begonia tuberhybrida



Vegetable Greens

I am looking forward to some peace filled gardening when I retire.

If you want to know more about the California Spring Trials check out http://www.greenhousegrower.com/tag/california-spring-trials/



A few years ago, I bought my husband a digital camera. Sadly,  it sat on a shelf in the closet. I can’t remember the exact occasion, but I decided to try out the camera. Since then,  I have taken a lot of photos to get a few good ones. Digital is so nice, I just dump the crummy photographs and keep what I like.  I am basically self-taught. I’ve read the manual and a book on how to take great photos

On a recent day trip to Monterey  California, I spent the afternoon at Lover’s Point enjoying the sunshine and taking lots of pictures. I was lucky to run across what I can only assume was a photography class, comprised mostly of retirees, cameras in hand taking photos of  Monterey Bay. I copied some of their techniques and sneaked in a few shots from vantage points that must have been on their assignment sheet. I decided then and there a formal photography class was on my list of things to do when I retire.

Here are a few photos I took that day.

I was particularly happy to get a shot of this surfer. He never got up and fell right after I took this photo. I just liked this shot.


Surfer at Lover’s Point. Monterey Bay, California

This photo was taken at the same vantage point most of the other photographers were shooting. I had to wait my turn. I love how the water sparkles like jewels.


Lover’s Point, Monterey Bay

I read somewhere to position yourself to take the best shot of your subject. I took this photo laying on the ground so the tree branch would not totally block the rocks and the water below.


Along the walking path. Monterey Bay, California

By trade, I am a flower grower. I always take photographs of flowers. This ice plant flower caught my attention. It’s beauty intrigued me. I think I will call it Starburst.


Flowering Ice Plant Monterey Bay, California

My Kind of Solitude

My husband and I have been hiking together for years. It’s what we do together. Or at least we leave and return to the trailhead at the same time. He is almost a foot taller than I, and a few years younger. His long legs carry him quickly over the hill. He is on a mission. I, on the other hand, am out for a quiet walk in nature. I stop to take a photo here and there, then sit on the bench at the top of the hill taking in the stillness that only comes when no one else is nearby.


First Signs of Spring


Babbling Brook

Eventually, I catch up to my husband and we walk back together.


Hiking the De Anza Trail

Hiking is one of the things I look forward to doing more of when I retire.


Taking a deep breath,  I close my eyes and experience the beginning of a new day.  A crisp breeze gently blows across my face. The cool, damp grass chills my bare feet.  A rooster crows in the distance. Opening my eyes, I watch the last of the stars dim as the sun makes its way above the mountain top changing the blue-grey of the early morning sky to soft hues of pink, orange and golden yellow. I am grateful for this brief moment of peace before I step into the hustle and bustle of the day.




Blog Under Construction-please excuse my dust

Yikes!!! As with my retirement, I am still in the process of crafting my blog. Two weeks ago I didn’t know a widget from a hole in the ground. I always thought they (widgets) were some mass produced thing-a-ma-gig that served no purpose, but I’m getting there.  I have been working with Learning the Fundamentals provided by WordPress. I finally figured out how to leave a comment on someone else’s blog, but am still trying to figure out how to respond to comments I receive on my blog. So Georgie and Terri, thank you for your comments, suggestions, and encouragement. I appreciate them.

I signed into Grammarly. It has already corrected two typos.Yesterday I signed up for Canva so I could add some images to my posts. A bit confusing. So I went to Pexels, chose a photo, now I  need to figure out how to download the photo to my post. No go. So I went to my own photos and tried to attach one. Still without a photo.   Maybe I’d better add technologically challenged to my “About Me” page.

OMG!! I may have just figured it out! Doin my happy dance. Not so technologically challenged now.


And now, for my next trick,  I shall attempt to add links to my two mentors. Dang, my first try was a bust. Then I got sidetracked by the little bell in the upper right-hand corner of my screen, telling me to “manage my comments.” Learning something new every five minutes.

My second attempt. Copied and pasted the URL (whatever that means)



I thought this would underscore or highlights the links, but it didn’t. Maybe if I press “Publish” it will do so. Let’s see. Yep, I gave it a test and Viola! It works.

Gonna head out now, but first let me regale you with another one of my favorite photos. Caption included. So proud!


Pilings at The Wharf–Monterey Bay, California


Emotional Aspects of Retirement Finances


I realize on my “About” page, I said, this blog was not about the financial aspects of retirement, but I discovered finances are a very emotional subject. A trip to my financial adviser early this week had me wondering if I’d really saved enough. Then one of the kids hit up the Bank of Mom and Dad for a loan. How could I deny a small loan to one of my children? I went into a tailspin. My stomach griped, I tossed and turned throughout the night, and wondered if my decision to retire was as well thought out as I thought it was. I’d socked money away, spent a year living on less, and looked at ways to create more cash flow.

In the days that followed, I took time to look at my finances again and, said child, found another outlet to solve their own financial crisis. I’m ready. Panic attack averted (for the time being) I am moving ahead knowing I am financially able to do this and my children are able to solve their own problems.