Out With the Old, In With The New– Goals for 2012!

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It’s been very busy around Little Cedars!  The two major landscape projects for 2011: the garden shed and the water feature,  have been completed.  All that remains to be finished is landscaping the areas around each.  Each season brings me a little closer to my ‘dream’ for Little Cedars.  The bulk of the hardscaping is complete and 2012 will be a year of planting those water-wise perennials and natives that I love.  The hardest part of all this will be waiting patiently for them to establish and grow!

cedar garden shed

My Garden Shed

The garden shed went along ‘swimmingly’.  I engaged John Williams, a local contractor, that I had worked with on other projects.  He is very reliable and I enjoy working with him.  The water feature was quite another affair!!! One would think, having completed hundreds of landscape projects, that I would follow the same advice that I give my clients.   “Get references!”  But Noooo!

I was working on several projects at the time and the fellow that was working on one of them assured me “he built water features all the time”.  And I’m sure he had.  It’s just there are water features and then there are water features!  His idea of what a water feature should look like and my idea were not even in the same universe!

botched water feature

His Idea of a "Finished" Pond 😀

Unfortunately, I did not discover this until he had undertaken the job.  Two days into the job and he is telling me that he will be “finished in the morning”.  I looked at the muddy hole with mountains of black liner showing and then I started asking questions that should have been asked before I let him start!!  I have had other water features built, nothing on the scale of this, but the smallest project took over a week.  He had not installed a filter or a scimmer, the pond was to be no less than 24″ deep and there wasn’t any area over 18″, the creek bed which was to meander down the slope was straight as an arrow!  Well the list of what was not done would take awhile (and I’m watching my blood pressure :-)) so to make a long story short–I paid him and politely invited him not to return the next day.

The moral of this story is ALWAYS GET REFERENCES!   If you can, especially on a large project, go see their work at several sites.  Also, you should have a detailed description and pictures of what you want. (I did have these and it didn’t help!)

It took me several months to get over that disaster!  Especially since the water feature is right by the driveway and I was reminded daily of the consequences of my actions or should I say the lack of.  When I finally started searching for someone to take out the mess and start all over, I definately talked to thier past clients and went to see their work.

The young men that I finally decided upon, Cliff and Bobby @ Fitz Water Design, were the most professional team that you could ever work with. They were fun to work with and did everything we discussed.  Fabulous experience!


Now, one of my 2012 goals will be landscaping the areas surrounding the pond.  The area will be a rock garden and I will be using small scale water-wise rock garden plants that will thrive in our 6b area. As I decide on plants,  I am going to catalog each plants’ characteristics and I will be sharing these in articles for GOTR.

Also, this 2012 season, a major goal in the demo gardens of Little Cedars will be to focus on the sustainable landscaping guidelines found in  SITES.  SITES is The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and

for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.  I will include articles on SITES in future GOTR articles.

The BIG picture is eventually to have all 7 acres of Little Cedars meeting the SITES guidelines.  I would love for this to be a SITES project but I haven’t won the lottery yet. 😀

I will be sharing more info about SITES with you as I write.  I thourghly believe in passing on our land in better shape than when we got it!

Posted in Little Cedars, Native Plants, Perennials, SITES, Sustainable Gardening, Table Rock Lake, Water Features, water-wise plants | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Has Sprung!

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Even though we are having a few yucky days at the moment, the previous little warm spell was enough to pop the spring flowers right up!  Hyacinth, crocus, daffodils and forsythia have been blooming for days.  The Redbuds are bursting and my lilac is almost ready to pop and it is just loaded with fragrant blooms.  I even have Fur Elise tulips blooming!

My ‘baby’ crabapple trees are setting blooms and the Cherry is in full bloom–It will be several years before they are a real show.  The ‘rule of thumb’ is that for every inch of trunk diameter of the tree you are planting — you will have the corresponding amount of years for the tree to become established (provided you plant it properly).  Therefore, a tree with a 2″ trunk diameter at planting will need approximately 2-3 years to establish a root system and really start growing.  The larger the tree the longer it will take to get established.

The beginning of Spring and watching my plants ‘come alive’ is what gardening is all about for me.  😀   I love all plants that bloom and smell but seeing plants emerge season after season, is the joy of planting perennials.  Most gardeners can’t wait to start seeing our ‘wards’ wake up and then we know that they made it through another winter.  We take pride in the fact that we had a small part in creating or caring for something that brings so much joy to ourselves and to others.

Enjoy Spring.  Remember, “the most wasted of days is a day without laughter”.

Keep Smiling.  Karen, ‘gardenlady911’.   😀

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Finally! I Get to Do the ‘Authoring’

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Hi– My name is Miss Elle, the authoress. 🙂

Miss Elle

Mom says, “There are only 24 hours in the day and I’m using 28 of them!”  She is not posting to Little Cedars because she is: trying to get updates completed on the site Gardening on the Rocks; trying to help Daddy with his site, Fish Table Rock; going to garden classes in Rogers; getting supplies for the worker men—blah,blah……….

Bottom line— I finally get to be the ‘authoress’!

The title of my story or stories, because it will be an ongoing tale, is “Miss Elle of Little Cedars & Friends”–adventures in the garden and other places.  I get to introduce you to all my bothers and sisters and friends.  And best of all, I get to tell you about some silly things that my parents do.

I’ll start by introducing you to my very big brother, Clark.  He came to live with this family in 2004 about 3 months before me.  He was about 6 months old then and since he arrived he has reached the small pony size of 120 pounds!  He has the gentlest nature and my mother dresses him like a person! Ugh… He gets to stay with Shane alot because he and my other brother Louie, whom you’ll meet later,  do not always see eye to eye:-)

I have made a slideshow of Clark just so you’ll see what a ‘ham’ he is.  Next time I’ll introduce my other brother, Mister Louie.  As mom says, Keep Smiling.   Miss Elle.


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It’s ‘More Beautiful-er’ :-)

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Just when I think it can’t be more beautiful– it is.  This morning it was like looking out at the Snow Princess’s castle.  There was a heavy fog last night and when the temps fell the fog decorated every tree branch with glistening limbs.  As the sun rose, the branches gleamed like diamonds!  Photo opp!  The pups and I couldn’t wait to play in the snow.

We tromped through the crunchy snow and watched the gentle winds blow the snow off of the trees.  It sparkled as it floated through the air and I tried to capture it with the camera.  Not only were the trees magnificent, the sun was creating great shadows in the snow also.

Walking through my garden is like walking into a winter wonderland.  Looking out over the lake, it has a thin ice cap that twinkles in the sun. The greenhouse has a snow-capped roof and my little fairy garden homes are barely visible.  Hope the inhabitants are warm and cozy. 🙂

Hope you are making some great memories today and I hope you enjoy my photos.

Keep Smiling. 😀  Karen.

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Be Careful What you Ask For :-)

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Oh well– no need to worry about those ‘sins’ I wrote about yesterday just yet.  After lamenting about the warm weather chasing my snow camouflage away, I awakened to the most beautiful of snows!  Sometime in the early dawn hours, the snow began falling and it is still peppering down at 9am.  It looks like we have about 3″ already and it does not appear to be slowing down.  These flakes are very fine but so dense that it has formed a ‘snow cloud’ and I cannot see the lake.  As I sit at the dining room table, I am surrounded by snow laden trees and it feels surreal.  It is as if I am suspended in a cloud of snow and surrounded by white glistening diamonds.

Winter Snow on Table Rock Lake

This will be another day for snow romps and photo ‘opps’ with Louie and Elle.  The snow is about 6″ or so now.  Casper and Fluffy do not have snowshoes so they will have to postpone their outdoor excursion–much to their chagrin.

Louie & Elle

Louie & Elle

Keep Smiling. 😀  Karen.




Posted in Animals, Life @ Little Cedars, Little Cedars, MIss Elle, Mr.Louie, Winter Photos | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Come Back Snow!!! I need you.

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A couple of 40 degree days and sunshine and the the snow starts retreating to reveal……..

"Lawn Art"

NO– this is not my yard!! 😀

One of the many pluses of snow, other that its astounding beauty, is that it provides a blanket to hide my multitude of ‘sins’.  The major one being my ‘junque’ (not ‘junk’–it’s special ‘junque’) that I have collected for my ‘3 million’ projects. All of which are started and for a myriad of reasons aren’t finished.

You know– the plants that are still in their little black plastic pots because they never discovered how to plant themselves– the mountain of empty pots belonging to those lucky plants that did find a ‘home’ last season and are awaiting the trip to the recycle bin– the rock steps that lead to nowhere are waiting to find their destination– the tools that never ‘walked’ themselves up the hill to the garden shed– the stacks of concrete blocks waiting to become a water feature or a wall (another decision!)……etc.

You gardeners out there, you understand.   Keep smiling.  Karen 😀

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Channelling Erma B. on a Beautiful Winter Day!!!

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Here goes–  Erma Bombeck I’m not.  But I’ll try not to put you to sleep! 😀

This week I just experienced my first “blizzard”–the term the weatherman used not me.  Personally, I’m thinking that the folks in Montana or Wyoming are finding great humor in our use of the term “blizzard”.   And in Boston, where they now have over 77 inches this season, they surely think we are a bunch of ‘wimps’.

I guess, like all things, the weather is relative.  There’s probably very little humor in our Missouri “blizzard” for the truckers who were stranded on I-44 for hours..

77" in Boston

The road in front of our house is covered with a layer of ice carpeted by several inches of snow.  The road is virtually an ice rink.  The only traveller that I see is our ever faithful ‘mailmam’ in her trusty little yellow Jeep.  You know the motto “through rain, sleet, or snow” really applies in her case.

Evidentally, the garbage guys don’t follow the same motto. We haven’t seen them in two weeks!  Wonder if our ‘mailmam’  would give them bad weather driving pointers?!

A Winters' Stroll @ Little Cedars

The Eagle family loves this weather.  They have a built a nest at the edge of the water in front of Little Cedars.  Mr. and Mrs. Eagle are teaching ‘Jr.’ to fly and they perform great dare-devil acts in the clouds.  They look like they are dive-bombing each other!  They are so graceful as they appear to be ‘floating’ on air.  It has been so much fun watching them search for just the right ‘stuff’ to build and repair their nest.  As they fly by, we can see them clutching branches and leaves.

‘Jr.’ is learning to sit in the Oak tree by the edge of the water in front of Little Cedars and watch for a fish.  We have seen him swoop into the water and come up with a fish and then speed to the nest to tell ‘Mom’.  Unfortunately, the only pic that I have of them is not very clear.  As soon as I get a good one, I’ll share.

Our smaller feathered friends are happy that we brave the ice and snow in our trusty mukluks to keep their feeders full.  I know they must have a ‘telegraph’ system for miles because all of our ‘regulars’ have invited all their family members and friends!  It looks like a ‘bird convention’ on my front porch.:-)

Cardinal on Frosted Branches

'Winter Bird Convention'

A Tree Decorated with Cardinals

I hope you are also collecting some beautiful memories of these beautiful snowy days.

Keep Smiling.  Karen 😀


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Here’s to ‘New Beginnings’!!!

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Hi,  I”m Karen (aka “gardenlady 911”).  I live on Table Rock Lake in a cute little ‘fishy cabin’ that I named “Little Cedars”.  I grew up on a farm and love the country.  After many years, cities, houses and lots of miles,  I’m finally a ‘country girl’ again.


'where life is "mud-lucious, puddle-wonderful", eagles soar & time flies'

I am starting this ‘Little Cedars’ weblog to share the adventures and sometimes mis-adventures of daily life at Little Cedars.  Along the way, I’ll publish lots of photos and tell you about things I’m doing here.  Sometimes, it’s a little like “Green Acres” around here and I’m sure I’ll have lots of those ‘do as I SAY not as I DID’ days to share.  Hey, it keeps the locals entertained. 🙂

I’m sure I won’t be able to resist letting you know my opinion about something from time to time.  But I’ll try not to be too controversial or philosophical.  I have a friend who often tells me, “Why don’t you let us know what you really think Karen’.

My business, Gardening on the Rocks or GOTR for short, is located at Little Cedars.  I am a garden designer, garden coach, and writer.  I have tons of photos and lots of ideas to share.  

The website for my business, www.gardeningontherocks.com, and I welcome your visits.  At the Gardening on the Rocks site you will find in-depth articles on water-wise native plants and perennials and information about SITES the Sustainable Sites Initiative guidelines for developing sustainable gardens.  GOTR is a resource for Zones 5,6, and 7b.  It will highlight organic gardening and sustainable gardening practices which will attract ‘good’ insects  and wildlife to your gardens. You can contact me via the website to submit questions and comments.

In my spare time, I love to cook and I take 100’s of photographs.  Periodically, I will share my photos and publish some of my ‘Southern gal’ recipes like turnip greens and scalded corn bread.  I’ll use photos and step-by-step instructions for all the ‘nu-b’s’ just learning to cook.

I’m sure I will mention my family from time to time.  They are:  my two sons, Mike and Shane; my husband, Tony (Anthony to anyone in his family reading this); my rescue pups: Mr. Louie, Miss Elle (aka Ella), Mr. Clark, Miss Emma,and Mr. Boomer; my mischievous felines, Fluffy and Casper.  And I have to include our sweet Bob (aka Jabber Jaws) who just recently went peacefully to ‘sleep’ on her favorite bed.  We will miss her constant ‘talking’ and sweet kisses.

'Miss Elle"

"Master Clark"



Anthony & Louie, the 'super fisher' dog!


"sunrise-sunset, sunrise-sunset".....blah,blah " Luv that tune ?"!!!

"I'm hiding". Casper.



Miss Fluffy


Michael in Peru

Mr. Boomer & Miss Emma

Look, you're upside down..:-) Bob.

And last but not least- Miss Bobby.

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