Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April

by Patrick on April 15, 2015

Well it seems a warm spring, even a day in the high 80s, has pushed things at least two weeks earlier here in Kansas. To my northern friends where spring is just starting, nobody would fault you if you believed the images below were actually taken in Ar-Kansas. This has been my most extensive bloom day ever. So on with the show…

pink crabs 2

This double pink crabapple is on one side of the front canopy. The plant is kept in line by a nearby pin oak whose bare branches are creating the shadow that add texture to this image.

bare crab

I’ve never see anything like this but this long bare branch is appearing as some sort of modern vase with a sprig of blooms in an opening in its middle. Can branches look sexy? Read more →


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When we came to America from Sydney in November of 1978, our poor subtropical bodies were battered by one of the harshest winters in recent memory. So imagine our joy when the weather began to wane, when we were greeted by a stunning shrub like one we had never seen before. Daffodils2 But fast forward 35 years, as first noted in Chaucer’s Tale of Merribee in 1386, familiarity breeds contempt. I now perceive it as too harsh for one’s eyes and I wouldn’t think of wasting valuable space on a 10 day display . But I think I’ve found a way to breath life into it by pairing it with some unique daffodils to enhance the quality of both. Our chaplain Brother Leroy is a patient soul whose arms I borrow and whose patience I test in creating these displays. His calm voice and persona adds to the creative juices flowing. Read more →


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The Aneurysm Update

by Patrick on March 22, 2015

Hey friends,

I finally had my appointment with the neurosurgeon and while things are very complicated, Mum and I agreed I’m in the very able hands of a superior doctor. Now the rundown:

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My Friends, I Have an Aneurysm

by Patrick on January 21, 2015

Hey my friends,

As some of you know, my world was rocked again yesterday after a MRI of the brain uncovered an 8mm aneurysm in the back of the brain. They believe there’s only a 1 % chance it may rupture but they probably would have said the same thing about the AVM in my spinal chord as well before it ruptured. The initial results of the MRI were clear according to the doc but he came by an hour later to share the shattering news that a more extensive analysis had uncovered the growth.

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Greetings from ICU (Kinda Sort of)

by Patrick on January 2, 2015

Hey my gardening friends,

Well actually, greetings from PCU (Progressive Care Unit). I glad to report it’s one step down from ICU. Was sent from my nursing home because I could a barely talk and couldn’t tell my nurse her name. Been though this before, according to hospital records, in November 2012. It’s a tell-tale sign of an urinary tract infection (UTI). While I was in the ER, although my nursing home nurse sent instructions I had wounds and need to be turned from one side with two pillows above and below my derriere and then every two switch sides. But I spent four hours in the ER in a hard stretcher-type bed without pillows. I’m afraid there will be lasting damage.

Unfortunately my boys were down to see me (12/30-1/3) as well as my brother Andrew and his family. His wife Kelly thought she might have something so she stayed at home while Andrew and my nieces Sarah, Annie & Emily and my brother Tim’s step-daughter Kelsie and daughter Adele, all came to visit today.


The Muirs know never to visit someone empty handed, so all five of my nieces decided on the above arrangement in a cup that will keep on giving on a shelf in my room.

I’m hoping to be out tomorrow as we now know the bug in my urine which cannormally the urine analysis (UA) takes 48 hours. Say a little prayer for me, my friends, for a quick recovery.


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A Pink Christmas for a Friend in Need & Indeed!

by Patrick on December 25, 2014

Well it maybe hard to believe, but as I’m turning 50 next year, I’ve never been touched by breast cancer. But unfortunately, a very good friend I’ve known since high school, is in the middle of that fight. There’s not a lot of things I can do or say to her, but in honor of her journey, I wanted to show my support for her in the medium I know best: horticulturally. So to mostly cheers (with a few loud exceptions), Trinity is bathed in pink for my friend and to provide more support to the perception that I’m a contrarian (just for the fun of being contrary to most things).

If you were to visit Trinity during the year, you’d probably notice a 9′ stone cross across from the front entrance. It was made from  limestone fence posts that formerly tried to  civilize the open range of Western Kansas (Also known as Bob Dole’s territory). Look for an upcoming post on the history of the 18-year old and the details of the sculptor who I’ve met and who was a relative of one of our former residents.


As you can see here I asked our Director of Plant Maintenance, aka: the maintenance dude, to wrap the cross in white lights and place a 9′ tree next to it. If there ever was a better snapshot to represent — Jesus Is the Reason for the Season — I can’t imagine what it might be? By design, the bigger glow is on the cross. The tree is decked in pink and silver balls. And the whole this was blessed with 4″ of snow last week. Read more →


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Stunning Season Ending Arrangement

by Patrick on December 8, 2014

As over 100 guests entered our front door to attend our annual Friends & Family Thanksgiving Dinner, they were greeted by the best and most dramatic flower arrangement of the season. I’d been waiting for things to slow down for our beloved Chaplain Leroy to help gather and arrange this beauty of a beast. My go-to vase is the Square Vase from Pottery Barn measuring 6″ X 6″ X 12″ that would make a great monogrammed gift for any gardener on your list for $69. Remember giving can always begin at home. The vase is lined with purple-stemmed ornamental kale leaves on all four sides under the water. The crabapples were harvested from the rootstock of an old apple tree on our grounds that had run amok because the suckers of the crabapple rootstock appearing below the bud union were never trimmed back. The whole affair is crowned by miscanthus stems. (Please click on the image to see this beauty full size)


After I finished it and stepped back, it occurred to me the whole designed followed a very familiar. Recognize the Thriller/Filler/Spiller formula for containers? The Square Vase is perfectly designed to successfully repeat this formula for yourself. Give it a try and please share the results with all of us.


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