Archive for 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moscow, Idaho or BUST!

This is my baby. My baby has moved out.  Time to break out the BUBBLY!

No more rumpled clothes carpeting the bathroom floor.  No more dirty socks discarded on top of the dining room table.  No more stinky soccer equipment smelling up the laundry room. No more "What's for dinner Mom?" or "There's nothing to eat in this house".

Anderson Cooper has left the building......

which makes things a whole lot quieter around here. That's a given.

This is his NEW mom.

 This is his new HOUSE.

This is his new DOG.

These are his new FRIENDS.

That's him there in the middle

This is his new SCHOOL.

New St Andrews, Moscow, Idaho

I'm not sure he's ever going to want to come back home.

Good thing I still have Mini Me at home to keep me occupied.  She's a handful that girl!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Surprise - 60 Days at Darvonda continues...

Here the Big Guy sets the scene to reveal the SURPRISE to Tamara in hopes a glass of WINE will soften the blow!

I purposely left y'all hanging with my last post, in case you didn't notice.  I decided that would be a cute little literary trick which you would appreciate for it's dramatic effect.  There is just nothing like a good story with a cliff hanger, is there?

So I guess you want to know WHAT surprise greeted us upon our return from Las Vegas as well as what is #2 on my list of what happened at Darvonda in the past 60 days.  So here it goes......

2.  We ran out of SPACE and had to rent MORE greenhouses!

Perhaps some of you are new to my blog and do not quite understand the significance of this SURPRISE.  Maybe even some of you are thinking to yourselves "What's the BIG DEAL about renting a couple of greenhouses Tamara? ".  If you are one of these people, let me fill you in on why this is a REALLY BIG DEAL.....


Please understand that building new greenhouses is a very big challenge.  Constructing 8 acres is an enormous feat to accomplish and it takes years of planning before you can even see a single truss go up.  So try to imagine my utter shock and awe upon hearing that our entire facility was full beyond capacity.......

and there were pictures to prove this astonishing reality!

I knew, of course, that things were looking a wee bit tight.  When we took photos for the upcoming DUMMEN Spring Catalogue in our new range, it was quite apparent that we had pretty much maxed out on floor space.

Mrs. Jansen and Mrs. Jansen Jr.

Every nook and cranny had some sort of pot or basket in it which made it difficult to find a good spot for the photo shoot.

Photo Credit Dragonflight Photography

I may be laughing in the photo but on the inside I was worried about how we were going to make it all work out this Spring.  Where do you put 100,000 hanging baskets when you only have space for 80,000?

Am I really THAT short?!

It's a good thing that we Jansen women are accustomed to dealing with NEW CHALLENGES and STRESSFUL SITUATIONS or we might just run off together to some exotic location and let the men deal with all the craziness that comes with being in our business!

So it came to be that Junior started driving around looking for empty greenhouses to rent which are close by our Head Office.  He found one just down the road......

in which we could place a whole lot of planter baskets.

Rental Greenhouse # 1

Then he went and found ANOTHER ONE where we stashed even more!

Rental Greenhouse #2
My personal favorite was the Second Rental greenhouse because it was a FUNKY JUNK paradise, what with old doo-dads and what-cha-ma-call-it's hanging from the rafters.

I am telling you, there is "gold in them thar hills!".  I just need time to mine through all those boxes to find the treasure.

These two extra greenhouses really helped us manage our over-flow product.  I have to give Junior all the credit for really pushing to find a solution for us.  The only other option would have been to hang another layer of baskets here.......

or squeeze more pots in HERE.....

or HERE.......

but that would have meant COMPROMISING QUALITY.  That's just too heart breaking to contemplate.

Now, the fact that we filled up ALL of our new ranges, old ranges and rental ranges brings me to my next great happening at Darvonda in the past 60 days.......

but you will need to wait for my next installment to find out all about it.

I'm not ashamed to tell you that this is just another cheap little writer's trick.  Leave 'em hangin' so they come back for more.  I learnt that in Literature 12 class from my favorite teacher, Mr. Koat.  However, blogging didn't exist back then so I never had the chance to truly show him my talent's full potential.  What a shame.

To be continued.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

60 Days at Darvonda

Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

JUNE 22........J - U - N - E ........T - W - E - N - T - Y....... S - E - C - O - N - D ??????  How can it already by JUNE?!

I am so ashamed.

I have not posted a single thing in the last 60 days.

Do you have any IDEA what all goes on in 60 days of Tamara's life?!  People, a whole lifetime of problems, obstacles, blessings and fun occurs in a mere 2 months when you are me. Frankly, it's getting a bit ridiculous.  However it does make for some lively blog posts once in a while when I finally find the time to write.

As Martha would say "That's a good thing."

So, here is a short list of the things I must soon post about before they become a distant memory in my aging mind, never to be recalled for the rest of my days.

Note:  Forgetting what I did last month, last week or even yesterday is an enormous problem in my line of work and I have an unfortunately poor memory.  I take a lot of photos to keep me grounded in my past.  Without the ability to look back on my old pictures and blog posts I'm like a woman living with a bad case of amnesia.  If any of my readers has a cure for such a troubling malady, please let me know.  Otherwise I may just have to hire a videographer to follow me around for the rest of my life to document my brilliant ideas in real time.

1.  Went to the Hardware Show in Las Vegas

How do I know that I went to the Hardware Show in Las Vegas you ask?  I know because I found the following photos on my cell phone:

I think we did a lot of walking down the Strip.

It also appears that we indulged in some wine along the way......

According to my pictures, we attended CARNIVAL at the VENETIAN HOTEL......

where we probably stopped for some wine but since I didn't take a photo, I don't remember.

We must have spent a good portion of time by the pool as well......

Tamara sitting poolside

I know that because these are my TOES and......

The Big Guy sitting poolside
and this is my husband.  We appear to be poolside.

It is also apparent that we attended the HARDWARE SHOW but due to the secretive nature of my employment in PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT for Darvonda Nurseries, I am not at liberty to share those photos of next year's container line.  You will just have to wait till they hit the shelves in Spring 2013.

However, I can confirm that we did eat quite a lot.  Apparently we had a pizza and wine for dinner one evening.....

and we had croquette and more wine on another excursion......

followed by chandelier gazing......


fountain gazing......


It appears that we rounded out our trip to Las Vegas with some very serious garden gazing as well......

which tends to make me feel a bit of garden ENVY......

since I never have time to really do ANY gardening at my place!

According to the photo's which I downloaded, we left Las Vegas and returned to the beautiful British Columbia to find a surprise waiting for us ........



Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning Mayhem

Good morning all my blogger peeps!  It's Monday morning in the middle of Spring Rush and things around Darvonda are as chaotic as usual.  Why not come inside and take a peak?  Wee One and I will give you the quick tour.

First things first, the plants are all looking great, so there's no problems on that score.

Great job, my grower peeps!  At least the flowers are looking AMAZING!


This morning we got a flurry of emails regarding one of the first deliveries to Edmonton.

The news is not good.

Alberta roads are murder on our plants.  Our semi-trucks cautiously bounce all over the winter damaged asphalt from the mountains to the prairies in a sometime vain attempt to arrive intact.  Unfortunately, plants which look like THIS in the greenhouse.......

occasionally look like THIS upon arrival!

OH NO!  Say it isn't SO!

How can things go from THIS.....

 to THIS so quickly?!

Oh the HORROR!

It's a good thing my GARDEN CRAZY sister Rosa lives in Edmonton because she has been speedily dispatched to deal with the carnage. 

Master Gardener Rosa enjoying Tea and Crumpets at my place!
I don't think Rosa knew what she was getting herself into when she agreed to be a Darvonda service representative.  It's a whole lot of work people, trust me on this one!

And yet, there is a PERK to all the added stress she has taken on.......

Whatever she can salvage, she get's to KEEP!

And just to get the ball rolling on her behalf, I would like to formally announce that Rosa will be hosting a PLANT SALE next weekend featuring some slightly battered bedding plants at low prices.  If you live in Edmonton, I would highly suggest you mark your calendar.  At THESE prices, things will sell out fast!

As a final note, don't forget to check out Rosa's new gardening website GROWING WISDOM where you will find all sorts of tips and tricks on how to plant a beautiful garden!

Now, I'm off to jump in a truck to CALGARY with the Big Guy to check on the stores there.   While we're there we will get a chance to meet all our new Darvonda service representatives.

Wish us luck that everything arrives in ONE PIECE!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where in the World is Moscow, Idaho?!

Down town Moscow, Idaho

This past weekend the Big Guy and I played hooky. 

We just couldn't take the pressure anymore. 

We cracked. 

So, we packed up a few of the kids and the grandkids and skipped town.  We threw our bathing suits and some baby formula into a duffle bag and started driving.  Our GPS coordinates were punched in and off we went.

Escaping from the lunacy of Spring rush at Darvonda is just THAT EASY!

Sure, we have millions of plants to sell.......

planters to plant.......

carts to ship to a store near you.......

but we just HAD to take a little break before full out SPRING 2012 hits us like a ton of bricks.

Perhaps you are wondering WHAT could possibly entice us to leave at such a crucial time in the year?  Is there anything more important than getting all those amazing plants out to the garden centers and Big Box stores?!  People are CLAMORING for our famous hanging baskets to hit the store shelves........

What could possibly be MORE IMPORTANT than Spring Harvest at Darvonda?!

There is only one answer to that question.

BEETHOVEN, of course!

I will openly admit that I am completely obsessed with dead men and their music.  For some reason, my kids are just as infected with this strange addiction.  So, when I received a phone call from my new best buddy, Dr. Erb, choral director at New Saint Andrews College, asking if we would drive on out to Moscow, Idaho to play in the Logos Benefit concert, I only hesitated long enough to print out the music and buy a couple of new A strings at Long and McQuade.

You don't have to ask Tamara TWICE!

The drive from our house to Idaho is just a mere 8 hours of beautiful scenery......

while young children are strapped tightly in their government approved car seats......

a federal regulation which is much appreciated by young Mother's around the world!

On this trip we were fortunate to only have a SINGLE diaper distaster along the way.....

which was really made much worse than necessary once Wee Two was given freedom from his car seat bondage.  Suffice it say that the above picture is a tame version of the fecal fiasco we were forced to deal with.

We awoke the following morning in our room at the Best Western University Hotel which is connected to a fabulous indoor swimming pool.

Wee One and Mini Me lounging pool side

Gramma was unable to find Wee One's bathing suit so I improvised with a "onesie" from her little brother's diaper bag.  She was slightly embarassed by this fashion faux pas but I eventually convinced her that NO ONE would ever be the wiser.  She should never trust her Gramma on these sorts of things.  I can't help myself but share such adorable cuteness.  Can you blame me?!

Eventually the girls went off to meet Dr. Erb.....

which they did with no slight trepidation.  Would they meet his standards?  Or would they just be a burden at the back of the orchestra?  But, Dr. Erb is one laid back fella and he soon had them marking out bar numbers and taking notes on fermata's like they've known each other since childhood.

The Big Guy and I took the grand kids to the park.  That was our contribution.

Being a grandparent is really quite a difficult task considering our advanced age.  It's reasonably difficult to run after a spirited 2 year old in down town Moscow........not to mention I was wearing a very fashionable but impractical pair of high heels.

However, it turned out to be even more physically challenging to tote around Wee Two who really needs to go on a diet soon.  The Big Guy and I made a quick trip to the Thrift store to buy a used stroller so we could relieve our weary arms!



For lunch, we basked in the sun at La Casa Lopez, munching on tacos and salsa for hours.

Then the girls went racing off to rehearsal......

where they struggled to keep up with the amazing Dr. Erb and his incredibly talented pianist, John Ahern!

John Ahern, Master in "Tickling the Ivories"
In the end, the concert was a smash hit.  How could it NOT be?!  MY girls were playing in it!

I was so enthralled with the beauty of the music......and distracted by the Wee One who was constantly asking me questions and begging me to read her stories.......that I completely FORGOT to film a thing!


Fortunately for me, the Big Guy had his wits about him and took a short but most appreciated clip of the final 50 seconds of the Beethoven Choral Fantasy.

He's a keeper I tell you.

So, here goes a tiny smidgeon of the beauty which dragged us 8 hours drive from our cozy neck of the woods and away from the insanity of Spring rush 2012.

As a side note, the greenhouse coped SO WELL with our absence this weekend that I'm seriously considering taking the Mother's Day weekend off too.

I'm just sayin'.