Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

It's Gonna Be a Helluva Year

I'm pretty sure this year, 2020, is going to go down as the year I was officially declared insane. I might actually have to buy a straitjacket and wear it before the year ends. How much do you think it will cost for me to turn one of my bedrooms into a padded room?

In the early spring we are heading down to California for a very quick, 2 1/2-day, 3-night, final visit to Disneyland. I say "final" because Nigel, who works for The Walt Disney Company, plans to retire this year, which means the end of inexpensive hotel stays and free park entry. Although I pretty much hate travel, I am looking forward to it, because...Star Wars!

The parks do such a great job with landscaping, and I'm very curious to see what kind of plants they have put in that they think might evoke an alien planet. Nigel was there last fall and texted me photos of the Star Wars area, but that's not quite the same as actually having eyes on it. There were some Grevilleas and Aloes, but one area that Nigel texted me was full of ornamental cabbages. I'm not sure Nigel knew they were cabbages, but he sent me a text that said "Look! Space cabbages!"

Look! Space cabbages!

And then....

In the early summer we're both hopping on a 9-hour trans-Atlantic flight and going to England and Scotland for 2 1/2 weeks of touring. This trip is a BIG DEAL, at least for me. The last time I was in England was at least 15 years ago, to visit Nigel's mum (who has since passed away), and the last time I was in Scotland (where my mum was born) I was in college, too many years ago to count. We plan to start out spending a few days in London, and then we're going to Yorkshire (where Nigel's parents are from) for about a week, followed by a week in Scotland, and finishing up with a few days back in London. I have a long list of gardens and historical places I plan to visit, including Kew, Scampston Hall, and the Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens. Nigel spent his teenage and college years in Edinburgh, and he wants to show me his old neighborhood and the public school he attended. Nigel is an "old boy" of George Watson's College, which is what they call a secondary school. It's co-ed nowadays, but I'm pretty sure it was boys-only back in the olden days when Nigel attended.

So yeah. I hate traveling, and this trip is to another continent. On the other hand, I'm also excited to be seeing many great English and Scottish gardens, not to mention historical sites like the Tower of London and the Roman wall around York. We do not plan to rent a car. Nigel's eyesight is not good enough for driving, and I don't dare to even attempt driving on the other side of the road. Once we arrive, we plan to travel solely by railroad, London Underground, and on foot, which they say is better for the environment. (We'll just ignore that long-ass plane trip...)

Speaking of travel and being anxious -- I did something else just before Christmas that makes me wonder if I completely took leave of my senses. I volunteered to be part of a committee that will be hosting the Garden Bloggers Fling in the Puget Sound area in 2021. The other members of the hosting committee are Debbie Teashon, who writes the website, Peter Herpst, who used to blog at Outlaw Gardener, and gardener Camille Paulsen, who is the business membership director with the Northwest Perennial Alliance. I'll be returning from England the day this year's Fling starts in Madison, WI, so I won't be going. Guess what? None of the other members of our team will be going either! I'm sure we have a lot of hard graft and sleepless nights ahead of us. Our plan is to share many of the gardens that were in my post All The Other Things Part I, as well as loads of others.

All of that means the real hard work on the Fling will probably start as soon as I get back from my trip to England. But of course, once Nigel retires at the end of the year, he can help me out. I can hear him now negotiating with bus companies.

The malaise that sets in at the end of every gardening season hasn't lifted as much as it usually does. Normally by January I'm back outside cutting back last year's spent perennials and working on making changes to the garden, but so far I still feel kind of blah. I didn't make any New Year's goals at the turn of the year. To be honest, before Christmas I was considering giving up blogging.

However, I have always wanted to be a writer, since I was very young. At one point I wanted to be a creative writer, and write science fiction, or mysteries. The blog does fulfill my need to write. So I guess I'll keep at it a while longer.

I'm also not getting any younger. My birthday always comes at the end of the year, so by the end of 2020 I'll be another year into my 60s, and creeping decrepitude.

That sucks.


  1. Exciting but understandably daunting, Alison! Maybe you can rent the straight-jacket just to have it on hand, in case you might need it. I was happy to hear about the 2021 Puget Sound Fling and have already put my husband on notice that we WILL be going, even if we have to drive there to avoid the vertigo problem. He can have a nice visit with his brother on Vashon.

  2. Keep on blogging. I love your fresh truthful opinions on everything.

  3. As I began to read this post, I was watching the beginning of the Impeachment trial, and I was thinking that I might go crazy this year. than I see that you have different thinks on your plate to make you crazy. With all this to plan for and cope with, maybe you should ignore politics?
    Actually everything you have to look forward to sounds wonderful!

  4. I cannot wait to see and read all about those amazing English and Scottish gardens! I'm also excited to hear about the 2021 Fling!

  5. So happy to hear the '21 Fling is in WA! I'll be there. Your trip to the UK will be wonderful--so many gardens!

    I'm struggling too. You didn't even mention November 3rd which feels like a guillotine blade waiting to drop. Celebration, or Emigration?

    I'm 20 minutes from D-Land, so if you need a home garden fix...drop by.

  6. It will be a fun trip even it drives you crazy. All of those gardens! I can't wait to hear your take about them. WA Fling will be fun!

  7. That last "joints" joke cracked me up.
    I am looking forward to your travel posts; how exciting. I love traveling, and it's be over 20 years since I visited the British Isles and before I was interested in gardening. Another visit that includes British gardens is on my bucket list. I am excited about the fling happening in my own back yard. Though not a blogger, I'll be able to participate through other's postings.

    1. You could always start a blog and Fling with us!

  8. Wait what? Cabbages? Pulease! I can't wait for a proper garden report from Disney as well as your UK coverage, wow! You're a traveling lady. As for the's gonna be so great!

  9. Oh, Kew Gardens. Went by myself, no one else in family interested, thank god. Took the train. After all these many years, the most memorable thing: the alpine gardens. Unbelievable variety and beauty. Ate lunch on the grounds & people-watched. Such fun! You'll have a blast. Love all your new jokes. Thanks, need the humor!

  10. Glad to hear that the fling is back on! If you want to expand your public transportation options, there are some low-key boat rides between London and Kew; I'd often take the underground out and return by boat with nice views along the Thames.

  11. My daughter-in-law Beckee and her family are huge Disney World fans. Not sure if they've been to Disneyland. So glad to hear the next fling will be in Puget Sound. So does that mean the base will be in Tacoma?

  12. Oh that ALL sounds exciting to me! Especially the trip overseas and the Fling. So glad to hear it's on this side of the world. That means I might be able to go - hooray!!! :D Anyway, please don't stop writing - I love reading your take on things.

  13. I love your crazy posters in this post. Sorry you won't be at the Fling this year. Looking forward to this year's and next year. You have a great collection of bloggers on the committee. You all will rock it!
    I envy your trip overseas. I miss traveling in Europe. That said, I also am glad when I get home. Enjoy!!!

  14. I hope you enjoy all you get to see on your trips, even if not the traveling! And then you'll come back to your garden being lush and overgrown, with lots more inspiration to write about... Sometimes crazy can be fun!

  15. The title of this post turned out to be prophetic. Thinking of you and hoping you are doing okay.

  16. Oh, little did you know. I guess your trips are on hold for now. Take care and stay safe.

  17. I am hoping you and Nigel are doing well. This is a crazy time, but thank goodness for gardens to escape to. :-)

  18. Dang. I want stock in your future-prognostication company. Hope you and Nigel are muddling along in appropriate social distance with the rest of us. Hope to see you in 2022, one way or the other!

  19. Alison, I've been thinking of you and Nigel as I hear about the fires in the Bonney Lake neighborhood in the last couple of days. I keep you in my thoughts and hope for better days!


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.