Hot-Mess Melissa

13 Jan

1476143_10156425190745721_1209537005973563250_nSometimes I think I should rename my blog Hot-Mess Melissa.

That’s how my garden seemed at the end of the 2015 season, with the creeping Charlie creeping in everywhere and the choking-vine weed choking everything.

But here is January, yielding a clean slate. Just as I have resolved to stop complaining and exercise five days a week and count my blessings every day, I feel grateful for my garden going dormant and also for the weeds and yellow-jacket wasps going dormant.

I’m loving my winter garden. I have lit up my evergreens and am going to embrace the Wisconsin winter by flooding my yard (with help from my dear old dad) to create an ice rink for my 2nd-grader, who still doesn’t know how to ice skate. Stay tuned for ice-rink updates!

So cheers to 2016 and being grateful for our hot messes, for this is our year to try new things–be it better attitudes, habits, or plants and flowers.

I hope I never stop growing.

Getting Busy in March

3 Mar

Week One

  1. Continue to care for indoor houseplants by cleaning the dead leaves and ice-cube watering. 

Week Two

  1. Taxes, taxes, taxes.
  2. Continue indoor projects like cleaning the basement and painting upstairs hallway and bathroom so I can garden 24/7 as soon as the snow melts.

Week Three

  1. Check on stored bulbs such as dinner-plate dahlias and consider potting up and growing for early start.
  2. Sow seeds – I love planting seeds in peat pots so you can just plant it directly in the ground, pot and all.
  3. Garden planning. What do we want to eat this summer and fall?
  4. Share, share, share. Share garden ideas with friends. Share seeds collected last fall. Share garden books and magazines. The more we share, the more we have.
  5. Scour and savor all garden catalogs as they arrive.
  6. Prune, prune, and prune some more. I want to prune my William Baffin climbing roses aggressively, my crab apple needs some pruning maintenance, and I’m going to reshape my boxwoods.

Week Four

  1. Best for last! Visit my grandma in Palm Desert, California, and get new ideas to take home to Madison

My book is now available on Kindle

7 Jun

Bringing the George Costanza Fanny Pack Back from the ’90s

13 May

So, what’s a gardener who gardens for her profession, passion and lifeline to do when she discovers she has a pretty severe allergy to bees?
A.  Have a panic attack, or several?
B.  Have a nervous breakdown?
C.  Have a midlife crisis?
D.  Become a total shut-in, an agoraphobic?
E.  Never go outside again?
F.  Take the advice of Glennon Doyle Melton (Momastery) that we can do hard things, and make that appointment to see an allergist?

After I did A, B, C, D, and E, I chose F, and following a positive blood test and a positive skin-allergy test that was so positive it required Benadryl and Zyrtec and then the EpiPen injection, I have started venom immunotherapy for my allergy to yellow-jacket wasps. They are the ones that look like bees, but are not so cute and fuzzy or nice. In fact, they are very aggressive. My current strategy is to have my weekly allergy shots so that I will no longer have this allergy and in the meantime to wear a fanny pack with my Benadryl and EpiPen. I’m still looking for the fanny pack, but Shopbop has some supercute ones. My strategy also includes using the buddy system when I garden. Luckily, I have gotten busy enough that I needed to hire several gardeners to help with my workload.

I am also revamping my garden. The Summer 2014 theme is Stunning Foliage. Yes, I will still have beautiful flowers, like my favorite lilies and monarda and hydrangea and Sungold indeterminate tomatoes, but I will take a break from my beloved cleomes and cosmos and purple asters. I’ll also get rid of one pear tree, and the pear tree that stays will get heavily pruned. Then I will add stunning coleus–fishnet stocking, Kong and others–and loads of elephant ears and ornamental grasses.

Cheers to what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Spring 2014

17 Apr
Photo by Laura Zastrow,

Photo by Laura Zastrow,

My new book….available now on Amazon!

8 Apr


Anthropologie was a super fun day!!!

8 Apr



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