Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Welcome - Enter Here……Enter Often!

Has it really been 20 years?

Our first greenhouse, 20,000 square feet!

It feels like only yesterday we were starting out on the farm.

The old greenhouses are still in operation!

Not much has changed and yet nothing is the same.  Even our prices are better than ever!

Only moments ago, we were parents to 5 under 10, working hard in the flowers and trying to raise our family to be good stewards in this beautiful world we live in.

Now we're Grandparents to 4 under 5, working harder than ever and having more fun than we could have imagined 20 years ago!

We just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have watched our family and our business grow here in Milner.  Many of you have come in and offered your congratulations over the past few weeks, reminiscing with us on how much things have progressed.  You have rejoiced with us in the great things that have transpired over the past 20 years.  You have no idea how much your well wishes mean to us.

#blessings abound


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Old Fashioned Manners are Hip and Happening!

Poppies by Anna Benham

I don't know about you but I LOVE beautiful note cards.  They are a perfect little "Thank You" for any occasion.  Actually, in today's busy day and age, we seem to have lost a little of that old fashioned etiquette when it comes to writing thank you notes.  I mean, when was the last time you sent off a pretty card to show your appreciation for an evening of wine and companionship with your friends or family? Amy Vanderbilt, a well known etiquette guru from the 50's said the following:

Whether you spend a night or a weekend at someone's house, you must always send a thank-you letter to you host and hostess within a week of your return home. Take time to write an enthusiastic and appreciative letter, mentioning something you did that particularly appealed to you or people you met who impressed you. If you did not take a present with you when you visited, now is the time to send one with a gift enclosure card reiterating your thanks.  

Wouldn't you love to go back to those fabulous days when good manners were very important?!  Fella's opening doors for the ladies, youngsters helping the elderly with their groceries, young women hosting tea parties for their neighbours……

Those were the days.

I think it's time to bring them back, don't you?!

I must say, this past weekend I felt like I had walked back in time.  I was down in Idaho for a very special Bridal Shower.  You see, my son is getting married this summer to a beautiful young lady with South Carolina mannerisms.

The Bride and Groom
She calls me Ma'am.

Being called Ma'am was kinda disconcerting at first.  Now that I'm used to it, I find it rather charming!

My grandkids call her "Miss Annie"

Miss Annie getting help from Wee 3 to open her Shower gifts
They absolutely love her to death!

So, this weekend at the Bridal shower, I found out that lady like charms are not just antiquated and old fashioned things of the past!  Those fabulous qualities are still alive and flourishing in the tiny little town of Moscow, Idaho in the lovely heritage home of the Wilson's who hosted a bridal shower for my daughter-in-law to be.

Meet Heather Wilson, Hostess with the MOSTEST!

Annie and Heather
This beautiful young lady met us at the antique screen door on the front porch of their home and welcomed us with a cup of French Hot Press and fresh baked quiche at 10 AM Saturday morning.  The table was set beautifully with Mimosa ingredients and all sorts of home made goodness I can't even name.  I was quite stunned that she had put together such a lovely event for us!

And her MOTHER wasn't even home for the weekend!

There were a lot of guests……

and she was cool as a cucumber…..

a great time was had by all.

I must admit that I was mentally bemoaning the fact that my sister Rosa was not able to attend because she would have LOVED this heritage home with all the original wood trim and hard wood floor throughout.  I found out later that Heather's Dad even keeps bees out back!  It's like living the dream, right Rosa?!

Mr Wilson hiving his bees

Now, while I was sipping my coffee and enjoying my quiche, I met an amazing lady sitting beside me who just happens to be an artist with the most wonderful English Accent.  We chatted while the gifts were being opened and passed around.  She made mention that she is a painter.  At some point in the event I happened to see a BEAUTIFUL pack of note cards, a gift from her to the bride-to-be.  They were stunning!  Eventually I found out that these were hers and she has actually produced designs for the likes of Georgio Armani and Harrods.  She was so kind as to invite me to her home to see some of her work.

I did not hesitate to accept.

Later that afternoon I had the chance to hold some of her beautiful designer bags and fabrics that are to die for!  Oh, how I would love to have taken home one of her colorful purses, not to mention her china mug collection.

Anna Benham designs

But, not to leave completely empty handed, I managed to buy a very limited quantity of her note cards which I have made available in the store for all my friends and neighbours to enjoy!

Make sure to stop in and pick out your favourites before they are all gone!  Let's put old fashioned etiquette and "Thank You" cards back on the the map, shall we?!

In the mean time, my son, the groom, gave my husband a book that is a "Must Read" for all the fellas out there, he insists.  My boy is studying up on how to be a good mate to his Southern Belle and figured he'd better share his new found wisdom with his Dad.  Now aint that just the darndest thing?!

The Big Guy getting a bit of wisdom and sharing it with Wee 3 this past weekend!
Here's a bit more information on it and how you can get your own copy!  Wishing you a "muy caliente" week full of joy and passion!

and Other Short Essays for Men
by Douglas Wilson

"Marriage is not a vending machine, and love is not two quarters to put into it. It's a manner of life, not an exchange of commodities. So what does it look like when a man loves a woman?"

Douglas Wilson answers that question in How To Exasperate Your Wife and Other Short Essays for Men, and his responses are as wide-ranging and humorous as they are incisive and down to earth. Douglas explains why men's distorted view of wisdom handicaps their understanding of their wives, and he exposes rigid (and wrong) approaches to marriage and relationships. He gives practical advice for identifying unhappy households (Mom is ignored) and replacing abdicating Dad with a true leader ("Measure strength not in decibels but in performance"), all combined with hot tips on how to exasperate your wife (you may start with leopard-spotted underwear...).

Both realistic and insightful, How to Exasperate Your Wife and Other Short Essays for Men points husbands (and wives) towards a passionate married love that is particular, sacrificial, sacramental, and muy caliente.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A New Home - Remodelling a Retail in Under Two Weeks

I can hardly believe that 6 whole years have passed since we first started our little retail garden centre in the old Milking Parlour on the farm.  A lot of things have changed over the years!  We've had some great parties……

hosted a whole lot of Farmer's Markets…..

made some wonderful Christmas memories…..

so when the Big Guy decided it was time to move the store out of our old barn and into the new greenhouse, I was a little torn.  I love the old girl with all her bumps and wrinkles.  She just has so much charm about her, what with the old wooden walls and the crooked concrete floors.

But then I thought about the icy cold breezes that inevitably blow through the un-insulated cracks and crevices, the huge puddles that form everywhere on rainy days, not to mention the little critters that love to hide in dark corners, I figured "This will absolutely be a change for the better!".

So, with a good deal of trepidation on my part, we began the process of moving in to our new digs!

But I really wanted to retain some of the vintage character of the old place while enhancing the enormity of the actual greenhouse.

How on earth do you make something NEW…..

 look like it has a little bit of that OLD charm?!

What a conundrum.

Good thing Tamara is never one to be scared off by a challenge!

And where is the first place one goes for ideas when faced with a big design challenge?

Why, PINTEREST of course!

My first inspiration was a Pergola Pin I fell in love with…..

which the guys built for me in the blink of an eye.

And of course, when you do things the Tamara way, ONE is just never enough.

As a matter of fact, neither is TWO.  The plan called for EIGHT Pergolas in total.

As the guys were busy building and painting all these beautiful elements, I continued my PINTEREST trolling, looking for the best Shabby Chic Garden ideas I could find.

These two pins caught my eye!

And then, as if by divine intervention, I glanced through my living room window from my perch in front of the computer and saw that my neighbour across the street, Napier Antiques, had the very same fire truck for sale.  I immediately went over to check it out!  Wee One accompanied me to assist with the haggling.

Unfortunately, this lovely antique was a little out of my budget so I did a bit more internet searching and found a brand new fire truck/pedal car on that fit the bill.  Once the parcel arrived, it only took 3 of us to assemble in just over an hour.

I was in charge of reading the instructions.

The Big Guy did all the actual assembly.

Mini Me just handed him his tools.

We make a good team!

A few days later I managed to convince the fellas to bring over some of the walls from the old Milking Parlour and re-assemble them inside the greenhouse for a perfect vintage back drop.

With a few tweaks…..

the final display turned out perfectly!

Of course, I also need to make sure that my favourite Shabby Chic cottage came along in the move….

which was no small feat!

First the roof was removed and brought across the driveway…..

where it was re-assembled in a jiffy.  Just a quick coat of white paint and the whole thing looks good as new!

The next step was to bring in the old chandeliers…..

the road sign….

the front entry…..

and, of course, the walls for all our fabulous decor goodies!

It only took a few hours to get a whole bunch of wonderful product out on display once the shelves were up.  So many treasures to be found here this Spring!

So, I hope you make time to come and check out our new digs across the driveway for yourself.  It's warm and dry…..

full of amazing garden inspiration……

and a whole lot more surprises!

Now, pardon me if I go and soak my aching bones in a nice hot bubble bath.  It's been a busy couple of weeks and I think I may need to spend a few hours resting up before our big Hanging Basket Blowout this weekend to celebrate the BIG MOVE.  

10" Baskets for only $7.99 each.  

I think it's going to get a little crazy around here real quick!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Crazy

Christmas time on the farm can only be described as CRAZY!  One can never guess what the season will bring from minute to minute.  FLEXIBILITY is top priority for us greenhouse peeps. It's the only coping mechanism we have to avoid the extreme stress which could potentially lead to institutionalization.  The bizarre challenges we meet would make a really exciting REALITY TV SHOW to rival DUCK DYNASTY.   This year has been no exception, including but not limited to:

-  Containers from Asia taking the long way to Vancouver
-  Delivery trucks (with human drivers inside) inching their way through blizzards on the Coquihalla, better known as the "Highway through Hell" in white out conditions
-  Power failures
-  Wind storms
-  Computer glitches
-  Delayed flowers


 -  an inconvenient meeting with a moose while on a sales trip between Edmonton and Red Deer.
NB:  thankfully the vehicle managed to remain wheels down, regardless of the air time/Duke's of Hazzard stunt Junior managed to pull off!   However the damage sustained from the impact did render the car un-driveable.

The list could go on AD INFINITUM.

Yet, as every poinsettia grower knows, these plants have to make it to market as fast and fresh as possible!  Nothing must stand in our way.

It's a good thing for me that the younger generation loves to hang around the greenhouse during this hectic time.  Their smiley faces and sparkling eyes remind me of all the best things that Christmas has to offer.
My Little Angel provided soothing Christmas carols even though she is ready to give birth any day now!

It also keeps me from using any of the unsavoury vocabulary that regularly pops in my head when some NEW problem arises.  I would hate to have a negative effect on their upbringing.

So, we hope all of our poinsettias (better knows as "our babies") have found a warm and cozy home with a happy family for Christmas.  Don't forget to water them or they may drop a few leaves and that would be a crying shame!  

Now we can finally head out on a well deserved holiday in the mountains where NO ONE can reach us with any problems for at least a few days.  If you need me, I'll be curled up on the couch in front of a cosy fire in SunPeaks enjoying a bottle of wine and a good book.  Just leave a message.....


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

One More Year of Gratitude

My 4th Birthday

I woke up this morning one more year older, one more year wiser and one more year grateful.  Now, perhaps I am feeling all this gratitude more acutely on this particular birthday because I just spent a weekend with my dear sister Rosa down in Moscow, Idaho.  We were at a writers workshop being encouraged to immerse ourselves in gratefulness because that's how good writers SHOULD live.  If you want to be a REAL writer, they told us, you have to be the kind of person who notes the little details and stores them up in a thankful heart to be shared as a blessing to others.

Point well taken.  Thank you Wordsmithy 2014.

Recently my mother sent me this photo of my wee self on my fourth birthday. I found it again this morning in a photo album.  It brings back stored memories as bounteous as a squirrel's stash of winter nuts.  When I look at it, the faded colors and indistinct details snap into sharp focus.  I recall the scratch of my dress, all starchy and stiff, on my tiny little shoulders.  I hear the clink of my birthday bracelets dangling heavily on my pudgy little wrist.  I sense the squeeze of new clip-on earrings pinching my lobes like crabs clinging to a sandy beach.  I  recall how much I hated that short, boyish pixie cut hairstyle which denounced my feminine sensibilities in a way that I found completely reprehensible.  The memories are so intense, I just want to reach into the photo and hug this little me and comfort her, for I know that the years ahead are heavy with fear and sadness, loss and loneliness.

My childhood was spent in uncertainty, having to choose between my Father and my Mother, living apart from my sisters.  Rosa, the oldest, chose to live with my father.  I chose my mother.   I missed Rosa intensely, those many years we spent separated.  She had a wonderful sense of the magical that I idolized.  I would imagine the great stories she would tell when we would see each other again.  I thought up plots and sub-plots which we could weave into one grand fairy tale on our next visit.  Every fable I concocted had a raven haired princess warrior who was brave and true, just like my big sister.

The past few days were a great gift, a chance to once again weave imaginary stories  that may never be written, and spend precious time with my dearest friend and kin.  We shared a bed, talking into the wee hours of the night about metaphors and similes, hobbits and wizards, dragons and Dumbledore.


We giggled together like we were little kids.  We immersed ourselves in the details.

No barn went un-photographed......

and no meal went un-documented.

  Megabytes of data are cluttering "the cloud" with digital memories of our wonderful weekend.

And I am one more year older and one more year wiser and I am one more year grateful.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

Psalm 103