“adult” moments…

  The great thing about social media is that there are groups for just about everything. Dogs, parenting, garage sales, women’s groups, cancer support, cooking, gardening, collecting certain things, you name it. I belong to some parenting groups because, well, I am more of a late stage parent as a step parent, so it’s a great way to learn.

In one parenting group, a post caught my eye. The poster was one of those women whose profile photo was like a head shot. Perfectly coifed hair, professionally done make up and wearing a strapless dress like she was auditioning for a Real Housevives show.

The post was crowd sourcing where to get a dog and bashing a rescue which had turned her down. There were a ton of comments including from her. She was exhibiting shall we say potty mouth. Kind of ironic on a parenting page where there are often comments about how can people get their kids to not curse and not exhibit aggressive and unpleasant behaviors.


This woman goes on and on about how wonderful she is and how wronged she was and bashes the rescue some more. When challenged about rescue bashing and potty mouth in a place about parenting and mostly parenting small children, wowza. Super classy…..not. More like a bare knuckles brawler with an expensive manicure.

 If I was a rescue having to decide on her, lordy I feel sorry for them. But truthfully (based upon her comments), her issue seems to be that somewhere in the application and interview process she did not meet their criteria.  Ok pretty simple: rescues and even shelters have rules for a reason. If you don’t meet their criteria move onto a rescue you have better chemistry with or try to politely work it out. Lord knows there are a lot of homeless animals out there.

But the whole thing about a woman who puts forth an image of super coiffed and living on the Main Line and not being able to use their words well enough that they can’t avoid expletives of any level on a group page they don’t own or control where they are basically a guest like everyone else? Unnecessary and poor form. And somewhat distasteful. If they want to do that on their personal page, well that is one thing and basically dumb. But on a group page? Come on and grow up. 

And I also don’t know what it is about dog rescue conversations online but aren’t you sick of them going from zero to nasty in a blink of an eye ?  There are so many animals needing homes, yet some people have to start this controversy constantly basically because they do not like being told in essence,  “no”. Why not try to work with these rescues ? Work through their reservations? Or (again) if you don’t have chemistry with one rescue, move onto another?

And truthfully for me what I don’t care for about these conversations other than the acrimony is the cursing in a public forum like that. Surely other words can be chosen? Or does that also go hand in hand with being told “no” or anything else they don’t want to hear?

How can we teach our children well when the adults in the room are behaving like idiots?

Just saying.

in the garden

I haven’t done a gardening post for a while. I have been putting my garden back together after another difficult winter.

In my gardening group people have been talking about how a lot of plants starting later than normal. All very true. But if you scratch the bark and there is no green underneath or it hasn’t budded or leafed out, chances are it’s a goner. I had a few of those, and I took the plants out. To some that sounds mean, as if I am wasting plants in my garden, but the simple truth is I don’t have space for plants that aren’t working.

That includes butterfly bushes. I used to have a Buddleia that was easily forty or fifty years old. It came with the house. But two springs ago, it never came back. I did not want a dead perennial centering a bed, so out it came. And its roots didn’t hold on when I pulled it out, it was dead. I turned the soil over in this smaller planting bed and began again.

The garden has a cycle of life like everything else and sometimes in spite of best efforts, plants die. I don’t like that, but I look at it as an opportunity to try something new. There are also many times where I have cut the dead off plants to the point of cutting them back to the ground where a shrub or even tree has then come back.

Such is the case of a dogwood we thought was dead last year so we cut it back to a 6′ stump that I plunked a birdhouse on. The birdhouse is now home to Carolina Wrens and the tree sent up new growth from the roots. A twelve foot giant old fashioned viburnum that we thought was a goner after the 2014 ice storm because it was all but flattened came back this year full of beautiful snowball like flowers (photo below).

The garden is like a blank canvas. What do you want your canvas to look like? I like color, but my jumble of color is complimentary. I don’t take “color challenges” I plant what pleases my eye. I live partially in the woods, so my sun is limited and I am learning more every year about woodland gardens. Now I have a little help with that as I am fortunate to have some of my late mother in law’s shade and woodland garden books. I love to go through them for inspiration and have learned quite a bit from reading the notes she left in the books.

 Shade and woodland gardens can have color all their own. Varying shades of green, reds, purples. Hecheuras have grown on me and I love hostas and ferns. The hostas for me take extra work and routine spraying with Deer Out.

I have discovered many plants that have variegated cultivars. Like Solomon’s Seal (polygonatum biflorum). I purchased a wonderful variegated form from Yellow Springs Farm in Chester Springs PA. I planted mine with a white peony.

 When I plant my baskets, pots, and beds I like to mix it up. The end result is often decidedly old fashioned, but how they are planted reflect me, not some landscaping service.

Pots and baskets I approach differently. For the sunny areas you will find my pots planted with herbs, scented geraniums, and even red lolipop onions. I use the herbs in my cooking and to me, visually,  I like it. My hanging baskets this year are sage, thyme, and oregano.

In the rear, my pots are more shady as the woods are what drives designing a garden back there . Caladium, coleus, variegated ivies, hostas, ferns, and even a compact growth hydrangea.


As I live with a woodland garden, I experiment more every year. I go through lists of both shade tolerant and deer resistant plants. I have a lot of spring bloomers (azaleas, daffodils, and so on), so I have to look for plants with interesting and different colored foliage for summer and fall. It has taken a couple of years but the shade and woodland gardens are finally getting some depth to them.

Weeds. Weeds are a problem. Weeds are always a problem. I don’t use weed killers much, so weeding is a constant chore. I can’t keep the woods weed free, so I weed to a point and then I leave it up to Mother Nature. Except poison ivy and poison sumac. I will spray poison ivy killer.

In the front where I have sun is where you will find old fashioned annuals like zinnia and lisianthus. And my english roses and fancier hydrangeas, Miss Kim Lilacs, miniature lilacs (smaller leaves, smaller blooms, more comact growth habits), viburnum, bee balm, herbs, variegated red twig dogwoods, sedums, day lilies, and more. I have a buddleia with a variegated leaf I put next to a variegated red twig dogwood last year and I love the way it looks.

Sometimes my garden frustrates me because it is not doing what I envisioned, so I rearrange plants. Like a bed on the side on a hill off the deck. There were some abelia and things I planted that didn’t do well or really survive the winter, so I yanked the stuff out. In their place I substituted different colored milkweeds and grasses down the slope and hydrangeas at the top. It’s my next experiment there so we will see. Just a bunch of smallish plants right now. 

Part of the simple joy of gardening is connecting to the earth. Now that does mean critters like toads and snakes, not just chipmunks, squirels, foxes, birds, and so on. I do share my garden with a giant garter snake. I am not a huge snake fan and you can always tell when I run across him because he always startles  me and I always let out a squeal. Then it sort of just looks at me and slithers off under a bush.

We can ask fellow gardeners for advice and input, but at the end of the day, how you learn is just getting into the dirt and starting to plant things. If you use a landscaping or gardening service for bigger projects my best advice is to research plants that interest you first and make sure what you are paying them to do reflects your vision. It’s like interior decorating – if you don’t offer up what you are thinking, your house ends up looking like it was planned for someone other than yourself.

Also, take advantage of local plant sales and plant swaps. It’s not only a great way to experiment, but also to get plants which are right for where you live. Among my favorites a? The sales put on by local arboretums and gardening clubs.

Gardening is also a great stress reliever! Happy Sunday!

devon horse show: #thisplacematters

pizap.com14315430407401I was thinking about the post I wrote recently on Devon Horse Show. In it I asked who owns local history, of which the Devon Horse Show is an integral part of the history of Main Line residents, Chester County residents, and so on.

The answer is pretty simple: boards may come and go, but they do not own the history.  Which is why it was ludicrous that they pressured a perfectly nice local historian into cancelling a talk given at a library on the history of the Devon Horse Show, wasn’t it? Just like it is utterly ridiculous they try to squash a roadside historic marker which is an honor, right?

So it got me to thinking. May is Preservation Month if you follow what the National Trust For Historic Preservation does. Devon Horse Show falls in May. So what if there was a grassroots movement to do a THIS PLACE MATTERS on Devon Horse Show?

This is what the National Trust for Historic Preservation says about This Place Matters:

Every single person in the country has places that are important to them. Places they care about. Places that matter. We want to see and celebrate the places that matter to you.

It’s simple…

Download and print the sign (or display it on your phone or tablet). Take a photos with the sign at the places that matter most to you.Share your photos online with the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters. Look for your photo in the gallery below, and stay tuned to @SavingPlaces on Instagram and Twitter as we spotlight our favorites


What if people did this at Devon this year? You can download the sign art free HERE.

Could you imagine the IMPACT if #ThisPlaceMatters started showing up on social media about Devon Horse Show and started trending? People could do it outside the horse show in case the kabal had a hissy fit. People could start now as a matter of fact.

Boards come and go, but they do not own our history.  The tradition that is Devon Horse Show is part of our history and people have to begin to act now so that Devon and the land are preserved. Because that is one thing that has always bothered me – the question of is the land Devon Horse Show sits on preserved in any way? Is it Is there a trust set up to preserve the actual land? Deed restrictions at county level and so on?

Why are  they are terrified of a historic roadside marker?  Why don’t they want local historical societies discussing the history? Is this all a larger scheme for down the proverbial road? Unfortunately Devon Horse Show seems to be the perfect scenario for conspiracy theories since raw land for development is such a hot commodity, right? (Think of what almost happened to Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show a few years ago with that failed bid for eminent domain for private gain, right?)

Anyway, I was thinking about this. I think the Devon Horse Show is a perfect candidate for #ThisPlaceMatters.

Thanks for stopping by.

devon matters

who turns down the honor of a pennsylvania historical marker? devon horse show (apparently)


Just when you think stupid can’t happen again at Devon Horse Show, up crops the news that much like Britney Spears oops they did it again (at Devon Horse Show). According to published media reports Devon Horse Show has committed the astoundingly unbelievable and ignorant gaffe of thus far (there is always hope they will come to their senses, right?)  turning down an amazingly approved  historical marker commemorating the history of the horse show!

Seriously???  It is an honor to be chosen for a historical marker in Pennsylvania. They do not just give them out like gold sticker stars to kindergarteners.  They are hard work, and it is super competitive.

How do I know? Because it takes a lot to get one approved and I have done that. (Wayne Natatorium, Wayne PA approval 2009, sign erected 2010)

When I read the press release in March from the state I was very excited (see excerpt):

The new markers, selected from 50 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,300 familiar blue-with-gold-lettering signs along roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.

Since 1946 PHMC’s historical markers have chronicled the people, places and events that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries. The signs feature subjects such as Native Americans and settlers, government and politics, athletes, entertainers, artists, struggles for freedom and equality, factories and businesses and a multitude of noteworthy topics.

Nominations for historical markers may be submitted by any individual or organization and are evaluated by a panel of independent experts from throughout the state and approved by the agency’s commissioners.

More information on the Historical Marker Program, including application information, is available online at www.PAHistoricalMarkers.com…..Devon Horse Show, Devon, Chester County
Begun in 1896 and designated a Heritage Competition by the US Equestrian Federation (USEF), the Devon Horse show is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the nation.  It was a founding member of the American Horse Show Association, which became the USEF.

This awesome news came out just a little before the news of which Chester County historic sites were receiving grants.

And of course this latest news arrives on the heels of the article which was obviously placed in the Inquirer recently which heralded the new era at Devon Horse Show after a “year of tumult” which appeared March 30th:

Two months before thousands should stream into its grandstands, the Devon Horse Show has been on the receiving end of an unlikely question for an event in its 119th year:
Will the show go on?

Such inquiries stem from more than a year of turmoil at the storied Main Line institution, including the departures of staffers and board members, whiffs of scandal, and a regime change.

The nonprofit’s new leaders – who came to power just before Christmas – say the upheaval is behind them.

“At this point, there is no time or effort looking backwards,” chairman Wayne Grafton said. “All the effort and focus is looking forward.”

The Inquirer article discussed the booting out of Wade McDevitt and his relationship to the Devon Yard/Waterloo development site – which just had an unpopular seeming unveiling April 27th. The Daily Local covered this:

In a public meeting on April 27, Waterloo Devon L.P., Urban Outfitters, Inc. and Anthropologie, Inc., presented the proposed Devon Yard development to a standing-room only crowd at the Hilltop House in Devon….During the meeting Monday, the principals on the project repeatedly noted that no part of this application for development is on Devon Horse Show land, and that they are not addressing how it will impact parking or traffic during the show. Sarah Coxe Lange, who identified herself as a “life-long exhibitor at the Devon Horse Show and former president of the show,” encouraged the planning board to consider how it could impact the Devon Horse Show, ‘preserving a cultural phenomenon’ and the history of the location.

(It’s a really long article in The Daily Local so go read the whole thing and it still sounds ghastly doesn’t it?)

Anyway….apparently last year Michael Morrison the esteemed president of the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society was asked by then Devon Horse Show President Sarah Coxe Lange to help the Devon Horse Show get a historical marker.  Apparently others no longer part of the horse show also knew about this marker application.

And I believe that because I went through the process personally.  You need a sponsor, there is an in-depth application and so on. Basically, you can’t just wake up one morning and say “I am going to apply for a historical marker”  like it’s a manicure or hair appointment.   It is a long process and the sign itself if approved costs a couple thousand dollars.

Did I mention what an honor and BIG deal it is to be chosen? It is.

Now when I read the article in which TEHS Michael Morrison was quoted it piqued my interest.  He said (and I quote briefly from the article by Linda Stein in Main Line Media News):

“Once it was announced there was great joy at the horse show,” he said. “It’s a pretty big deal to get these markers. They are not easy to obtain.”…. “Somewhere between that week and a half and our meeting, things started to turn sour,” said Morrison. He said he learned that the new leadership, which took over after the board voted Lange out in January, didn’t want the historical marker.

Really? Good news and good publicity  is not wanted at Devon? They would rather continue the bad publicity (and this latest article already has over 40 mostly negative comments). They would rather continue air their dirty scandal ridden laundry?

How can the Devon nouveau be so blasted ignorant? Don’t they get this is not a punishment or impediment, but an honor? Getting a historic marker is a GOOD thing. It is also FREE GOOD publicity that money cannot buy (and by the way Devon Horse Show sure must be flush if they are paying for Phelps Media Group these days, right?)

Now according to this article apparently Devon nouveau are claiming they did not know. I find that extraordinarily hard to believe…again based upon my personal experience in obtaining a historical marker.

I called my contact at the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program Karen Galle today to ask her basically why a group would want to turn down such an honor. She is one of the people who shepherded me through the marker process. She is the nicest lady. She said she had received a call from from a local reporter and she really did not know the situation but  had responded to the  questions of basically whether a historical marker places restrictions upon a property. The answer of course is there are no restrictions  as the signs are informational and educational in nature. Often these signs are erected where something historic once was and no longer is – you know along the lines of “George Washington slept here.”

It’s not restrictive to the property and wow who else is fascinated that Devon nouveau would not know this? And be worried about it like they are getting ready to put a sale sign on Devon Horse Show?

These historical markers enhance an area. Goodness.  A marker is  CACHÉ….bragging rights. It enhances not detracts. I get that not everyone loves historic commemoration or preservation but one of the hallmarks of Devon Horse Show has always been its very history. Look at their own and published mission statement:

In 1896, the Devon Horse Show started as a one-day show. Now, years later, it has become the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. It is internationally recognized…..and one of the most exciting events to happen in our area. While it draws top competitors from around the world, the show continues to reflect the local traditions and lifestyles of the Philadelphia Main Line.

Can we say D’Oh  Devon? Wow if they were smart they would be planning an awesome ceremony centered around the sign dedication.  It’s a no brainer…. but these people continue to make a mess out of all things horse show, don’t they?

I will be skipping Devon Horse Show this year I think. I am but one person so it really doesn’t matter,   it’s just a personal decision.  What they did to Sarah Coxe Lange was distasteful enough, but to make this big, giant fuss in a negative way over something as positive as the honor of being approved for a historical marker?  Ehhh no thanks. Maybe next year…….

I really hope this horse show survives these people. I really do.