Holiday Greetings to ALL!

Since I’ve been so VERY lacking in posting in recent months, I’m sharing our Christmas letter with you so you’ll be all caught up. I promise I’ll get back to regular posting after the holidays!

It’s time for yet another Christmas letter, since it is unlikely, we will be seeing most of you in person so here’s a wrap-up of the past year.  David and I are still being rather cautious, so we cancelled our scheduled trip to Florida in January and basically had a quiet month.   I put the holiday decorations away, brought up a few amaryllis bulbs to provide indoor flowers, kept busy plotting out the garden spaces and starting seeds in the basement.  For fun, I built and began painting three decorative garden posts destined for the front garden.  David read dozens of books and worked on organizing the Purdue Drill Team reunion.

     February was even more quiet socially, but I ordered yet more seeds because I decided to convert much of the vegetable space into flower production to provide bouquets for the “Growing Kindness Project.”  I needed to try something new, grow new things, and challenge myself so by the end of February 125 varieties were already seeded.  As usual during the winter months, we both read a lot. 

Thankfully in March there was lots of basketball to watch, during which I cut and took labels off of donated empty water and soda bottles to become the “vases” for the give-away bouquets.  The crocuses, snowdrops, hellebores, scilla, squill and mini-daffodils began to bloom which certainly lifted my spirits.  I got my hair cut professionally for the first time since the isolation for Covid began, and most of our clubs and groups began meeting again so we actually saw real people’s real smiles!  I joined an Extension Homemaker’s Club which has been interesting.  The seedlings were growing, so I spent hours transplanting in the basement and cutting plastic jugs to make plant labels, hoping our little garden club’s plant sale would get to happen this year.  By the end of the month there were 209 varieties and already 4,177 baby plants in pots.

Spring bouquets with their “Growing Kindness Tags” ready for delivery to shut-ins.

April brought some lovely weather, so I could be in the gardens and actually planted out hundreds of plants under low tunnels in the potager.  Our daughter Alicia came for a visit and helped to pick hundreds of daffodils for bouquets which we delivered to shut-ins all over the county.  David’s flying club began meeting again so he could return to the relatively safe activity of flying his remote-controlled airplanes, including a new one he’d just built.  And happily, his Purdue Drill Team was able to hold their big reunion which was a grand success.  The tulips were exceptional this year, and I hosted a couple of group visits.       

My favorite tulip for 2022 was “Purshiana Blonde” which looks like a lovely variegated hosta when it emerges in spring!

  May is always a treat, with all the flowers and plants bursting with color, but it’s also always a very busy month getting everything planted and mulched.  Adding the bouquet making and delivering, a couple more group visits, and the garden club’s plant sale kept me more than busy.  I quit counting baby plants after I hit 6,000.  We did take time to take the red sports car on a road trip with the Ohio MG club, which was a lovely get-away.

     June was mostly gardening on my part, and I hosted the gourmet group.  David spent time delivering baskets of produce from my potager to neighbors and friends, and also helped deliver some of the bouquets.  He enjoyed some good flying weather and hours on the lawn mower.

A few of the many centerpieces made for the Ladies Afternoon Tea at the Fair

    July was about the same, with the addition of my baking pies daily for the 4-H fair week since the Extension Homemakers clubs in the county do the food “tent.”  I also did all the flowers & table centerpieces for the “Ladies Afternoon Tea” at the fair, which was lots of fun.  We didn’t feel comfortable enough to travel abroad, so our trip to France was cancelled yet again.

   August was more socially active, with a couple of picnics.  Our grandson Evan, who just graduated from high school in Germany came for a visit, which was a special treat.  David and I took his sports car to the MG rally in Ohio.  I gave a couple of presentations to local clubs on the “Growing Kindness Project.”

     In September we enjoyed a fairly quiet month.  I spent a lot of time watering, since all the rain seemed to go around us.  That’s when the water hydrants both broke and we hired a plumber to come dig out and replace them.  I finally decided I was too old to do it myself!  The summer flowers were going gangbusters, knowing that the season was drawing to an end and putting forth ever more effort into blooming.  I gave a county-wide presentation on bees and plants for bees, which was fun and provided all the centerpieces, which were also delivered to shut-ins afterwards.

     October found us on another MG rally, this one in southern Indiana and into Kentucky to visit Underground Railroad sites.  Lots of good food and good company, as always.  The foliage was lovely and it was perfect weather for riding in a convertible.  There were lots of meetings and activities that month.  I had a booth at a local bazaar for the first time in three years, so that was fun.   I went apple-picking to get Mom’s favorite (Grimes Golden) so she could put stewed apples in the freezer.  Also, we had a frost so it was time to give the gardens a good clean-up, pick up the thousands of black walnuts that had fallen, and I actually dug some additional garden space for more flowers next year!

The last of the bouquets for 2022…

     In November, the last of the bouquets were delivered for the “Growing Kindness Project,” making the total 506!  We’ve decided we need another delivery system, because it’s becoming impossible to actually pick, condition and arrange the flowers, and deliver them all over the county the next day.  I spent lots of days planting over 3500 bulbs (lots more daffodils and hundreds of tulips) and still picking up walnuts.  Also dug and stored a hundred dahlia tubers and got the garlic planted, and created a new planting bed for the dahlias for next year.  I hosted a group for afternoon tea, which I love doing.  David was happy to get to go to his Marine birthday dinner this year, and to go out with friends for a Veteran’s Day dinner as well.  Alicia returned for another visit and helped select new curtains for the living room.  It was time, after thirty plus years!  And, we celebrated my mother’s 97th birthday.

     And now, it’s mid-December!  We hosted our first tree decorating party since 2018, and have had a few more small parties as well.  I’m still picking up walnuts, and have planted the first seeds (those very slow-growing lisianthus) for the coming season already!  The garlands are on the potager fence (at least they are still there at the moment, although with this amazing WIND they may not stay put much longer!) and the wooden snowmen are in place.  I’m looking forward to a little “down time” this winter after such a busy summer and autumn.  Oh, and maybe I’ll get those three decorative garden posts I started last January finished and sealed so they can go into the garden next spring!!!

     We’re hoping that 2023 has more travel and social activities.  We feel so very blessed to live where we do, surrounded by fields and woods, and thankful to be healthy and able to enjoy our passions.   Our greatest wish is that each of you remains healthy and happy, and that at some point we can actually spend some time together!   Merry Christmas, and may 2023 be a happy, safe year, filled with hope and love for all!

Holiday hugs! Carolee


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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18 Responses to Holiday Greetings to ALL!

  1. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I am so pleased to hear from you again! Though reading about your year I am nt surprised that posting on the blog has taken a backseat. Those bouquets much have brought so much joy to the recipients. Your energy and generosity put me to shame. Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope 2023 is a good year for you and yours.


    • carolee says:

      I’ve missed our conversations, too! Part of non-blogging is time factor, but also by the time I’ve finished cutting/arranging/carrying/pulling carts of flower-filled buckets, etc. my hands are just too sore to type! And, I’m brain dead after a day of delivering. It’s an emotional roller-coaster…so many sad situations, but so many smiles! Happy, happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. margieclyde says:

    I have missed reading your blog posts this last year! Am glad to see you back to posting. Have a great year gardening!


    • carolee says:

      Hopefully I will be more organized this coming year, and also I THINK I’ve learned to not take on so many commitments!! Just gotta start realizing and acknowledging that I’m just not as young as I used to be and everything takes longer than I intend!!! Merry Christmas!


  3. March Picker says:

    Such a great update, Carolee. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  4. ThingsHelenLoves says:

    Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year!


  5. What a delightful letter with month-by-month updates and stories! Thank you. I had been a bit remiss in my online journaling, too, so I suppose that next week I simply can review what I wrote in my garden journal (real paper, real pen) and compose a year-in-review similar to yours. That is, if you don’t mind? In the meantime, I wish for you and your family a beautiful Christmas/Epiphany season with all that God has in store for you.


    • carolee says:

      Heavens no! Feel free do a similar post, which will no doubt be very unlike mine in detail. I often glean ideas for posts from reading other’s thoughts. Blizzard here, so there will be lots of reading, painting, and maybe some baking. Gardening thoughts are off in the hinterlands but will no doubt return once the sun shines again! First seed germinated this morn so that was uplifting despite the howling winds! Happy, lovely, warm holidays to you as well!

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Kit Miracle says:

    I always look forward to your writing, Carolee. Many of us have missed some of our scheduled postings. We’ve had some issues here and the garden was a miserable flop this year. I’m making some changes in the new year including cutting back the size and adding some raised beds. There is just too too much to take care of properly these days. Thanks for the inspiration.


    • carolee says:

      Loved your post this morning. Our low was minus 10. Today seems like a heat wave already at 2 degrees, because FINALLY the wind that caused minus 54 wind chill has stopped howling and the sun is visible for the first time in days. I’ve actually increased my gardening area this fall but know the day is coming when I will either have to scale down or find some help. But while I CAN do it and still enjoy the work, I will. Blessings to you on this special day. Happy Holidays.


  7. bcparkison says:

    So glad to read of your success with Growing Kindness. I do hope to get more into it this next year . Just needed to remake my beds from daylily to cut flowers. I may make it …may not..time will tell. One step forward…two steps back seems to be my progress.


    • carolee says:

      I have lots of daylilies as well. Too bad they aren’t a good cut flower! Are you doing ok in the cold? We are finally back in positive degrees rather than minus zero or below, so that’s a relief but we had no snow cover during all that deep, deep freeze so I’m sure I’ve lost some plants. Time will tell…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. bcparkison says:

    I live in an older house that is cold. Sitting in front of a heater most of the day means I’m not getting much done outside of the laptop. We are on the rise temp wise but this back and forth is hard on us. Cold ,hot,cold ,hot …Ugh. My pansy pots look pretty pitiful…maybe I should cut them back and hope for the best. I did earlier get 1o Oriental lilies planted out ..we will see if they come up and I did dig the Dalia up so soon will get they back out. Nothing as grand in number as what you do but gotta start somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good to hear your news again. Hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year!


    • carolee says:

      And to you as well. So far 2023 is off to a good start, except all “my” sports teams are losing!! Oh well, if that’s the worst I can certainly manage! Ha! May it be a good year for you and yours as well.


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