Archive for April 2012

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'.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Has Sprung! Can You Say "BUSY"?!

This photo is one of the rarest you will ever find on my blog.  It is a photo of the Big Guy.......SITTING IN HIS OFFICE!  You may wonder how that could possibly be.  Isn't the owner of the company ALWAYS sitting at his desk, crunching numbers and thinking about what the future holds for the organization?!  Doesn't he constantly check the stats and call up important people to keep the whole thing running in tip top shape?!

Well, that's just not the way things go around here.  Nope, the Big Guy has a real "hands on" philosophy.  As a matter of fact, sitting in his big plush office chair just makes his bones ache.  So, instead you will find him doing things like....

sourcing trees in Oregon for our container garden program.....

checking out the stores to see how many EMPTY carts are standing ready for pick up (empty carts = sales are going well)

shopping with me to find the next unique planter.....

occasionally stopping for a bite to eat when the mood hits him.

However, there's never too much time to stop for non-frivolous endeavours like a cup of coffee....

because he has to make sure the right equipment is purchased and installed so our peeps can get their work done in a speedy and accurate manner......

which includes the installation of a GPS tracking system into all our trucks so we can see where everyone is at all times.

Then he hops back into his car and tours yet another RENTAL GREENHOUSE we have had to acquire since we were bursting at the seems even after our most recent 8 acre expansion.

 And somewhere in between all that he finds time to spend time relaxing with me for a few hours at a resort ......

 host a going away party for my darling Opera Diva and her hubby who have relocated to Edmonton.....

and check out a prospective Liberal Arts College in Moscow, Idaho where Anderson Cooper is hoping to enroll.....

Relaxing poolside before touring New St Andrews Liberal Arts College

as well as spend some quality time in the hot tub with the grand kids!

This Grampa is one amazing dude!

Never one to sit still for long, he's off and running again to check out our retail location....

which is OPEN and looking absolutely fabulous, by the way! 

NOTE:  my humblest apologies to my regular readers.  I haven't had time to update you on the latest trends at Milner Gardens but I do promise to catch you up as soon as I have SPARE TIME!

Ha ha ha ha!  That's a good one!  SPARE TIME!  I'm just too funny!

Now, if he isn't busy ENOUGH with all of that, he even finds time to locate cool JUNK for me to peruse for just the right pieces to make repurposed pieces of art with. 

 My friend Donna at Funky Junk Interiors is on the prowl for STUFF and we have our radars on high alert for anything that looks old and rusty!  Are you out there Donna?!  We found a junkers paradise just a few minutes drive from our place.  You wanna check it out?!

And that leads me to my ORIGINAL blogging purpose today which was to finally post a link to Mini Me's amazing new video, styled by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors, photographed by Ashley from Dragonflight Photography, filmed by Lydia Driegen (aka My Little Angel) from Fancy Feet Studios and edited by Mini Me herself!

Be prepared to be BLOWN AWAY.....


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Making of a Music Video

Being the start of the busy season here at Darvonda is never an easy time.  The stress level in the greenhouse is at a maximum, what with 20 acres of Spring hanging baskets and bedding plants just waiting to be shipped to the stores the moment the sun starts to shine here in beautiful British Columbia.

And yet, we have an even MORE exciting event on the horizon here at my place which has been many years in the making......
Mini Me is releasing her very first SINGLE!
For me, it's very hard to BELIEVE that this is even happening. Of course, I always KNEW she was a ROCK STAR

Yup, she finally bit the bullet and put herself out there. 

 Of course she had the help of some amazing peeps to get this whole thing produced.  The set design was done by my FAVORITE blogger and stylist in the whole wide world, Donna from Funky Junk Interiors!

 This woman can make things out of old pallets that you could NEVER even imagine.  I bet she could build me a mansion out of all those old pallets out behind the greenhouse if she set her mind to it!

Now keep in mind, the day the video was shot was also the Donna's 50th birthday!

I made sure that we celebrated this huge milestone with all of the crew late that evening but.......

sure as Murphy's Law, they first had to deal with some typical British Columbia spring weather which stopped filming in it's tracks!

The ladies plugged on undaunted once the hail stopped falling and my most favorite photographer in the UNIVERSE was there to capture all the fun.

Click photo to go to Dragonflight Photography blog
My Little Angel was the videographer on set.....

and Opera Diva was girl Friday.  No film set is complete without a girl Friday!

You may now realize that if all of my creative progeny were out filming then  Wee One and Wee Two are somewhat unaccounted for.

Never fear, my blogger friends.  That is where I fit into the picture.  This Gramma LOVES it when a plan comes together because it means SHE gets to BABYSIT!

Oh, I just can't resist those beautiful little cherubs.  They are such precious little peeps!

So, the video officially releases soon............

but in the meantime Mini Me is making sure she has her back up band well trained for her upcoming world tour!

Yup.  Wee One has JOINED THE BAND!