Jacksonville natives, make plans to attend the Mandarin Garden Club Trash to Treasures sale this Saturday, October 1, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Furniture, glassware, household goods, toys, everything but clothing will be on sale inside their Clubhouse at 2892 Loretto Road. Stop by to nab an irresistible treasure, have a free cup of coffee, and visit the Garden Cafe for homemade baked treats.


Foodscaping: Practical and Innovative Ways to Create An Edible Landscape by Charlie Nardozzi (Cool Springs Press 2015) is, for the most part, a “picture book.” It has page after page of colorful photographs and only four chapters:

  1. Ways and Places to Grow Food
  2. Foodscaping 101
  3. My Favorite Foodscape Plants (the largest section, with about 40 featured plants)
  4. Plant, Grow, and Harvest

Nardozzi suggests starting small but have a plan – plant the right plant in the right place and grow what you like to eat.

He suggests substituting foodscape plants for ornamentals. His small list of substitutions for ornamentals included only a few edible perennials. Nardozzi also provided substitution lists for plants with seasonal color, interesting leaf color, and dwarf varieties suitable for containers.

In the acknowledgments, he gave a nod to Rosalind Creasy as the edible landscape trailblazer. Her 1982 book, The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping, still resides on my garden bookshelves. Her book is probably more complete than Nardozzi’s but has mostly drawings and only a handful of photographs. All those photographs in Nardozzi’s book show how it’s done.

The young cashier at the butcher’s shop made a remark about my shiny penny collection as I dug in my wallet. It prompted the guy in line behind me to give me his shiny penny. I tried to demur, of course, but he was insistent. It was so seldom he could make someone happy for a penny.

Outside in my car, I sat for a moment. I needed to let my brain slow down before I tried to drive off. I was amazed that the cashier remembered that shiny pennies make me happy. It meant that I had dug in my wallet for ugly pennies enough times for her to associate me with shiny pennies.

Why would this make my brain spin? Simple. My penchant for bright, shiny things was becoming memorable. How long before someone gave it a name like Old Crowitis and assigned the disorder to senior citizens? My fellow senior citizens have a lot to worry about – body parts going bad, outliving their money – without me adding weirdness to the list of things attributed to old folks.

Old Crowitis creeped up on me slowly. It started with shiny, copper pennies and my sister’s bling. Not being hip, I don’t think I knew what bling meant when Priss started showing up in t-shirts and sandals adorned with metal brads, rhinestones, and sequins. Priss was already afflicted with Old Crowitis. I, on the other hand, kind of wanted a bling shirt but not if I had to go shopping for it. My shopping occurred when I was with a friend who wanted to “just pop into” some store we were near. If it weren’t for my friends, I’d never get into any serious shopping trouble. My Hawaiian shirt with magenta sequin flowers was acquired during one of these friendly shopping trips. It didn’t cost a lot of money and I was bling-happy for several years.

At the beginning of 2014, my Old Crowitis sped up when I acquired a handbag with lots of metal brads and fringe. Oh my stars, the fringe! I was beside myself. I was in love. Once again, I was with friends but I was suffering through some lean years and they bought the handbag for me. Truth be told, I would have eaten cat food for a month to acquire that handbag.

2014's fringe handbag

2014’s fringe purse

The fringe handbag was made of “PETA-approved cruelty-free vegan” fabric. This probably means imitation leather made from polyurethane. I absolutely hated it. The shoulder strap deteriorated and by the Fall of 2015, Priss and I were out shopping for a new handbag I had seen in a magazine. It had beaded fringe and better quality imitation leather.

2015's beaded handbag

2015’s beaded handbag

I still couldn’t part with the original fringe handbag and its tattered strap. The new, beaded handbag went in the closet. This probably wasn’t a good idea because I think it was emitting Old Crowitis signals that ate into my brain. By 2016, my fascination with bright, shiny things went off the rails.

I began to buy beads, charms, and beading tools with the idea of sewing bling onto clothes since I couldn’t find any to buy that were already blinged-out. In craft stores, rhinestones and sequins literally stopped me in my tracks.

This was followed by cheap rings and watches with dazzling cubic zirconia. Lunch dates with other old crows were made for the express purpose of wearing all our “jools.”  The other old crows always had real jools but I was fine with my fake jools until the gold-plating wore off the ring in the first two weeks. This was so unacceptable to my Crowitis, I ended my online purchases of costume jewelry coming out of China. In short order, better jewelry was purchased and, once again, only because I was out with a friend who was shopping. This purchase fired up the “outliving my money” thoughts and, finally, the shiny penny incident at the butcher set off clanging alarms in my brain. Alarms that whispered  — you might have a problem.

Please understand that I have not confessed all of 2016’s bling events but I’m starting to wonder. Is there a 12-step program for old crows?


The website of the University of Florida IFAS Extension claims this is the Obscure grasshopper, Schistocerca obscura (Fabricius), which comes in conflict with humans because of its fondness for ornamentals such as hibiscus, which is exactly where I found it. The species is a strong flier known as “bird” grasshoppers some of which swarm as locusts.

The day I shot this grasshopper with my camera was his lucky day. I didn’t kill him.

Obscure-grasshopper, Schistocerca-obscura-(Fabricius)-0309

Obscure grasshopper, Schistocerca obscura (Fabricius)

MGC dollar clothing1-1758

The area for fancy duds.

This is it, all you residents of Jacksonville, Florida! The Mandarin Garden Club is holding their last clothing extravaganza for 2016. If you need some new-to-you civvies or the makings of a Halloween costume, act fast. You will find business suits, casual, dressy, formal, workout clothing, plus sizes and most of it is only a dollar.

Mandarin Garden Club

2892 Loretto Road (off San Jose Boulevard on the Taco Bell side of San Jose) then a few feet to a left-hand turn on Loretto

FRIDAY, August 5 and SATURDAY, August 6, 9-2 p.m.


I never know what I am going to find in the yard when I open the door. This week it was wildlife.

I’m calling these egrets but, truthfully, I don’t know what they are. Their beaks are not like egret beaks. This photograph is from Monday but I noticed them again the next day when I opened my door during a monsoon. There must have been at least 30 of them standing around in the rain seemingly unphased that they had no umbrellas. If you can identify them, please let me know in the comments.

white-ibis -0287

Wendy tells me these are White Ibis and Google Images agree.
Photographed 7/25/16



Five wild turkeys right outside my front door.
Naturally, some of them didn’t want their photo taken.
Photographed 7/29/16

I’m adding the ibis and the turkeys to my list of other wildlife seen on the Southern Rural Route – bats, buzzards, Canadian geese, foxes, flying squirrels, possum, raccoons.

My friend Cee, who I’ve known for about a dozen years, has some interesting yard art.


She and her husband built this super cool bottle garden.
Mulched inside the bottles, river rocks and landscape edging outside.

Cee’s husband also acquired a hand plow, and not having a compulsion to play in the dirt like some of us, turned it into a focal point in one of their garden beds. I’d like to give that plow a wild ride through some dirt to compare it to my plow. Alas, Mr. and Mrs. Cee don’t do dirt; they cover it with grass and flowers.


Hand plow as yard art – notice the two copper pipes holding it up

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