A Touch of Paradise – My Indoor Garden

In 2007 my husband and I went to Kauai.  Oh. My.  Hawaii is truly beautiful.  We left the Philadelphia Airport with a light snow on the ground and landed in Paradise.  The fresh breeze were heavenly.

It was in Kauai that I fell in love with Plumeria .  I could devour the scent until it permeates every cell in my body so that wherever I walked I would leave prints of deliciousness.

Well, we moved to the mid-west in 2009.  About two summers ago I was at an acquaintances house, and there, in her backyard were several tall sticks of plants with leaves on the top and beautiful flowers popping upward.  I grabbed her and asked what they were.  I knew already but I needed her to say it.

Plumeria“, she stated, “I picked up a stick at the Honolulu Airport years ago and now I have several plants”.  She handed me a pot with a stick and leaves on the top.  It was mine.  I promptly named her Leilani.

A dear friend in Florida, whose husband is an avid gardener of tropical plants, showed me pics of hers and shared what fertilizer to use.  I was nervous. I live in Missouri and the winters are so cold – even in the house at night.

I prayed for Leilani often.  She began to grow taller.  Some leaves would drop and others always came in new.  We went to Florida shortly after that to visit my brother.  I left Leilani in the hands of our house/dog sitter and told him that if hail or tornados were in the forecast she must come inside.  He took care of her well.

While in Florida, I ended up with Sandra Dee, a Pony Tail Palm.  I also acquired a Hindu Rope Plant that I quickly named Slumdog Millionaire – after one of my favorite movies.  And to top  it all off – my friend and her gardener husband gave me a Plumeria that had three branches – I named her Carman Miranda. The back seat of the rental care was a jungle!  I was thrilled.

These plants are my indoor piece of Paradise.  I love it.  Last year Leilani bloomed for the first time.  Carmen Miranda has yet to bloom, but I’m rooting for her!  Spring came slowly this year but they are now on the front porch since temps are steadily in the sixties.  And yes, when hail is coming I bring them in the house!

Here are my babies:

Slumdog Millionaire - he will get better now that he is outside
Slumdog Millionaire – he will get better now that he is outside
Sandra Dee
Sandra Dee
Carman Miranda
Carman Miranda

You must know that both the plumeria lost ALL of their leaves in the fall.  I tried not to panic.  They remained naked all  winter but grew in height.  Then the leaves came back int the spring.  I was very pleased.

This next pic is Trini Lopez.  I threw some lemon seeds from my water last year into a pot of dirt – Tada!  Hope he grows well.

Trini Lopez
Trini Lopez

And my last picture came from my daughter-in-law.  She knows I fear Garden Gnomes.  I need one of these:


So, if one of your dreams is to have tropical plants and you live in Alaska or Missouri.  You CAN do it!  Have a great weekend and watch out for the Garden Gnomes!


cate b


What Was I Thinking?

How can I possibly complain?  Well, I can, of course complain.  It’s a free country.  But it’s more like – why would I complain?  Sometimes when my life is full of questions and very little answers I tend to wander…… in my mind mostly.  Wander and wonder – should we be doing this?  Should we be living here?  Should we, should we, should we…….???????

Well all that in the first paragraph takes a lot of energy!  I pooped out.  When I get restless and tired of waiting for things to unfold I dream of tropical islands.  Do  you know why?  I do.  I realized it yesterday.  It’s because the few times I visited tropical places was on vacation.  They represent peace and rest and comfort and carefree living.  But I know that living in these places is not all of those things I just listed.  Living in them is exactly that.  Day to-day responsibilities just like here exist in day-to-day life on an island in the Caribbean.  I lived in a beach town. Tourists everywhere all summer long.  I was not tan!  Day-to-day life!

That said, my favorite flower is the Plumeria.  Not only are they beautiful to my eyes but the scent is magnificent.  I live in the mid-west of the USA and it is far from tropical weather.  With our harsh winters and extreme summers we cannot grow tropical plants outside.  BUT!  We can grow them inside.  Since last spring I have been nurturing a Plumeria that I named Lelani  and she bloomed this summer!  I am also nurturing a Plumeria named Carmen Miranda – she has not bloomed yet but is thriving in our perfect, yet rare, summer weather on the front porch.  She is getting big.  Joining them is a Pony Tail Palm I named Sandra Dee and my Hindu Rope Plant that I named Slumdog Millionaire.  It’s alright – I do have a very active imagination and I am fun! And here is a picture of Lelani:





sandra-dee2Slumdog_millionaire_ver2one of my favorite movies…………………..

May you all find a corner of paradise in your everyday world!  It’s there.  You just have to look for it.


cate b

Happiness is a Warm Ukulele

I love to write about things that make people happy.  That bring a smile and a hope and joy. I hope this makes you happy as it has me.

I have a ukulele!  I type that phrase with a big smile on my face.  I can play guitar and chords on a piano or keyboard.  I can play around on a Native American Flute.  I’m not considered an accomplished musician and I’m not excellent on any one thing.  I just love music and I love to try new things.  So recently I got it in my head that I wanted to play the ukulele.  It just looks and sounds like fun!

So, while on a family vacation last month I picked one up from a local music store.  It was a gift.  I held it and walked out of there with a smile on my face very much like a child holding a bag of candy sticks from the local General Store.  I scored big time I thought.

I took it back to the house and googled what strings they were.  I had no idea.  I searched my iPhone for a ukulele tuner and chord chart.  Found one for free.  I tuned it and I played The Boat Song by JJ Heller and Sloop John B.  Such fun.

Now I pick it up when I sit on the couch and just strum and sometimes sing along.  It is a very happy instrument.  It does wonder for me when I get down.

So glad that a little instrument with just four little strings can bring such a contentment to a troubled soul.

IMG_3429 I’m not ready to video tape me singing along.  In time.

Find your little instrument in life to bring peace to your soul and happiness to your life.  We all get those dark times.  For some it will be music for some art work.  For some gardening.  But do it.  It is healthy and the outcome is great.




ukulele moon Next goal is to learn to play Over The Rainbow – Iz style.











cate b

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