Tell Us About Yourself

oakleif(z6 AR)May 4, 2007

Let's get to know each other. My name is Vickie.I live in the ARK Ozark National Forest on 30 acres of hardwood forest. Because of trees,rocks and clay my flower beds are all raised which turned out good as i now have congestive heart failure,arthritis,diabetes,low thyroid and chronic depression. I can only work a little at a time. I have some herbs like the mints,sage,rosemary,lavender,mother wort,mugwort.

Some native plants,hostas,all kinds of spring flowers,which helps get rid of winter blues, iris,Daylilies.roses and other peranuals.

I've recently started adding some house plants for when i can't do much more outside.

As i said i only do a little at a time and feel proud of each square foot i do. my biggest problem is keeping myself up beat about such little progress.I've started using a shovel instead of a hoe to weed with as i can't handle that kinda sideways motion and using my foot is not as hard as using my arms.

I have 2 dogs a chihuahua,pug mix and a hound, blueheeler mix. Have 2 DD,s,one lives next door.2 GS,s and 2 GGC,s. Am 67.

I love to read mysterys,science mags,and gardening mags. I used to crochet and make quilts and different crafts but have'nt in awhile.

Thats about me. Now what about you,your problems and how you cope?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

I had stroke, diabetes (type 1), low thyroid, chronic depression. TRY TO garden--garlic, sage, oregano, rosemary, catnip, lavender, onion. I have mysteries (harlequin intrigue) books. I used to do polymer clay and sewing. I have a german shepard and 3 cat.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 7:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

thorspipi, looks like we'll have to work on getting others to post. i know ther's a bunch out there. I've been waiting for someone else to post so sorry i've waited so long to respond.

The mysteries i like are along the lines of tv,s "Law and Order." Lovable characters and no real blood and gore. Are the Harlequin mysteries like that? My favorite auther was Tony Hillerman.
I had a stroke too and my memory is not what it should be. Names and numbers seem to be my biggest problem. I got so much better but still have those problems. Did you completely recover from your stroke?

The depression is the worst of my problems i think. With depression it's so hard to get the want to. To do anything. Do you take medicine and get counciling for the depression? I could'nt make it without either. What are the names of your pets? My DD has 2 cats and they are characters My hound is Dillen and my chihuahua is Cricket. She weighs 5 lbs. and Dillen weighs 50 lbs and Cricket is the boss of the family.
Hope you have'nt given up on us,

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 5:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
valentinetbear(z6 PA)

Besides allergic to "the great outdoors?" LOL Technically, I have four health problems, but only one interferes with my life enough that I'm less abled. The major one is actually a surgical mistake -- my surgeon probably nicked a nerve to the back, while removing my gall bladder, and, strangely, it causes chronic pain in the form of spasms, charley horses, and IBS, throughout the inside and outside muscles of the front and sides of my abdomen around my waist, while my back is simply only sore from overdoing, like it has always done, since I was a teen.

The minor health problems are allergies (which never feel minor when they are bothering me LOL), a goiter on my thyroid (although that merely makes the bottom of my neck stick out, like an adam's apple underneath my adam's apple), and depression.

For the depression, I do take an antidepressant, but that really helps relax the spasms previously mentioned, more then it helps the depression. I finally simply got tired of feeling depressed a couple of years ago, so try to ignore it. (When the thought hits the brain, I don't stop to think about it for a while. I just let it pass by.) For me, doing anything isn't as hard as it used to be. Granted, I still hate doing chores, but treat chores the same way I used to treat having to eat lima beans. If I do them, I get a reward -- get to do something that's fun!

As for getting out of my own way (which is the way I feel when I'm depressed), if there is something I want to do, like gardening usually, but I don't feel like it, I remember how I felt about sex, when I was younger and "abler" -- I may not feel like doing it immediately, but, if I do start doing it, I remember quickly, why I like doing it. (blushing) LOL

So, who am I apart from disabled? I grew up in a small south Jersey town, and somehow fell in love with and married (26 years ago) a native Philidelphian. This small town girl is now a city-slicker, middle aged woman. (I plan to live to be 104, so I AM "middle aged." LOL)

Book wise -- gardening, crochet, church history/Biblicsl foundational stuff, with an occasional break into supposed biblical "problems," although the later is to explain stuff to nonbelievers, and craft books. Usually, the only time I go back to reading fictional books is to read the latest in the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series, or to read kid's stories about teddy bears.

Hobbies: Umm, Teddy Bears?! LOL But not in the usual sense -- again, going back to reading stories about Teddy Bears, it ends up that both my hubby and I were given a Teddy Bear when we first became disabled, and we use them for comfort from the pain (sucking my thumb gave me no comfort, and the pain was bad enough, before given pain meds that I tried everything, even that) and as ways to tell some really silly joke. Being given my first Teddy Bear when I first became disabled, he's developed a life of his own, with his brother and family, as I've created a couple of websites and their own Blog as my other hobby. My ultimate goal is to write a series of children's stories about their lives, but, well, I keep getting side tracked. (Below is the link to the original site, but on that same page is the link to their journal. Also, the last choice on the site's menu will take you to the third related site -- gardening from the view of stuffed animals.)

Other hobbies include writing (obviously, if you check out the websites LOL), taking pictures (not good enough to be considered a photographer), crocheting (no kidding LOL), drawing and watercoloring with colored pencils, and on occasional, wreath making.

My theory in life: I may not be able to do as much as most folks, but that simply means I have a lot more time then they do. Might as well enjoy it and play as much as possible. LOL


Here is a link that might be useful: The Teddy Bears' Den

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

Oh,Lynn, Your major health problem is the same as my DD,s. She had a back problem and had a new type surgery done on it and a mistake was made and a bent wire hurt some nerves in spinal cord and she has spasms in her back and legs and a lot of pain and is on disability now. So even tho i don't know your pain i can surely guess how bad it must be.
and i have the depression. sometimes i can fight it othertimes i seem unable to. ditto the sex.
I dearly loved the Clan of the Cavebear too and have reread them all. My favorite was the Valley of the Horses.
I read the bible and sometimes get into the history of it.I like the archeology of it too.
i like to crochet to but havent done any lately.

I went quickly through the Teddybear,s den but am running out of time and need to get to bed. I'll go through it more tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 2:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tony Hillerman huh? A really interesting writer!
Nasty back is my main problem but an arthritis similar to reumatoid arthritis is cutting into my gardening abilites too. Other health problems but none that affect my gardening.
I really can use ideas on how to do the heavy things when your back just isnt cooperating. (which is never)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
valentinetbear(z6 PA)

Between the inability to lean over often, because of the abdominal pain, and simply being 51 with the usual slow form of DDD, I might be able to help a little on how to work around a garden without any help from my back.

Raise everything to the level where you can stand up straight while doing the usual duties (watering, deadheading, and picking produces and flowers.) Bet you're probably thinking, "duh, now! How?" LOL

If you're rich, buy "raised beds" online. If you aren't, then become a trash picker, friendly begger, and FreeCycler. Look for anyone throwing away old picnic tables and benches, cheap plastic tables, wagons, grills, and tall containers.

"Friendly beggar" simply means to admire openly to friends and family how much you'd love their picnic table/red wagon/etc., when it finally becomes too old for them, or they buy new stuff.

As for FreeCycling, although it's not a given that you will get responses, find a group of folks, who would rather give away their old stuff, then throw it away. Here's the link to the original one, so you can find your local one --

Now, if you're wondering how to move around containers, once you fill them with soil -- think how much room the plant really needs, and fill the rest of the bottom of the container with light-weight junk -- aluminium cans, leaf compost, and my choice styrafoam peanuts and chunks.

Warning about the styrafoam peanuts -- they don't degrade, however they do merge well with the soil. And, since containers guarantee to leach out nutrients quickly, since watering is necessary more often, we do need to remove soil every year. (I reuse it by adding more fertilizer and compost to it, but even then, I have to swap around the soil, since the same plants shouldn't grow in the same soil year after year.) Someone suggested putting the stryfoam into stockings, but way too time consuming to me. Since this is my second year using it, I have discovered how hard it is to divide it out of the soil. This year, I'm separating the stryafoam from the soil by adding a layer of shredded paper in between. Hopefully the soil only sticks to the paper, which then will eventually compost. For smaller pots, I'm sticking the styrafoam into the leftover netting bag that onions come in. Of course, I won't know if those ideas will work until I remove dirt again.

The obvious bonus for lightening up containers is I can push them around my garden with my foot or my hip, depending on which level they are.

Hopefully, once my wagon (I bought an old red wagon at a flea market and have waxed it several times, in hopes it won't rust quickly) and my child's round picnic table are up, I won't even have to push containers with my feet anymore.

Hope I gave you a couple of new ideas.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

Hi! I like "L & O: SVC". Yes, lovable character.
Stroke? No, I am completely recover yet. Memory? Ah!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

Lynn, you have some great ideas. I'm still buying large flowr pots from DG two at a time and have transplanted more daylilies. DD is using an old wheelbarrow she got for free. It's the right height but she can't move it because the wheel is no good.She has minature roses in

The potting soil i have is light weight so i can handle it tho i don't plan to move them anyway. They either make it with heavy leaf mulch or it don't.

I've been fighting depression these last two weeks. but maybe on the mend again. Have started group therapy with several women close to my age.

My Christma cactus bloomed off and on all winter and has 3 blooms again.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am a 25+ year cancer survivor and became disabled after surgery in 2005. I am now in renal failure but not on dialysis at the moment. I am battling damage to my colon from massive doses of radiation and chemo I received in 1981 and 1982. Now I have out of control blood pressure due to the kidney failure. My left kidney has died since the surgery. I need to have another surgery soon because they have found another mass in my large intestine. I bought a new house last June and it had no flowers except 2 pitiful roses. I negotiated 3 months to get some flowers planted before the next surgery. I was in the hospital almost 5 weeks last time. I was just diagnosed with advanced degenerative disc disease and osteoporsis--great another specialist to see. I will probably end up with a colostomy this surgery but that might be a blessing in disguise. I stay home almost all the time now. I can't do much at a time and have to take more rest breaks than work time. I still manage to get a lot done because I refuse to give up. I have had to learn different ways to do things now. I do most of my gardening while sitting down. Blood pressure does not allow me to lean over, if I do I have to hold on to something when I attempt to stand up. Somedays I can't do anything at all. I have found that if I force myself to go out and do something I feel better for it. As far as depression, we all know it well. I can not take hardly anything for pain because my Nephrologist says it could mask the signs of kidney failure. Twelve hours in kidney failure and not realizing it could be fatal. I have planted an amazing amount of flowers in my negotiated time. When I come home from this next surgery I will be able to sit in my swing on the front porch and watch my flowers grow and bloom. I decided this would be much better than sitting out ther mad and depressed because I did not get flowers planted this year. Yes, I am very hard headed but that may have something to do with me still being here. I will be 55 years old Sunday, pretty good for someone that was given a 35% chance of living 5 years in 1982. My nephrologist says I will be back on dialysis permanently by the end of the year. I'm like Scarlet O'Hara--I'll worry about that tomorrow. LOL I'm glad I found this forum. Mom always said misery loves company but I'll be in the garden. It is impossible to be miserable in the gardens. I have 7 short leg Jack Russel Terriers that help me do everything whether you need it or not. I love to read but can't read much now because my vision stays blurred most of the time because of the HBP. Don't drive much anymore because of the vision. This not being able to go back to work has been difficult because I was a district manager over 10 retail stores when I had the last surgery. I went from working 70 hour weeks to a complete standstill. I still feel kinda like I'm skipping school. Now I have turned most of energy to making my yard into a cottage garden. When I figure out how to post pictures I will so you guys can see my handiwork. Thanks for this forum. I think this is such a great idea. Looking forward to making new friends. Renne'

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 4:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

Renne' Glad you checked in. Gee!! you are sure a fighter. You have done wonders with the handicaps thrown your way. My SIL had a colostomy and it never slowed her down. She had colon cancer.
I'm still replanting my daylilies into large pots and have started planting other things into pots. Yesterday i replanted a white sage,red sedum and red yarrow into one pot. I'm finding out i enjoy my plants more close to the house and where i can reach them so much better and i can rearrange them to my hearts content.

seven Jack Russel terriers!!! How do you keep up with them? Never a dull moment with lively terriers.

I have a swing on my front porch too,talk about relaxing.

Depression to me is the most dibilatating of anything i have and a constant battle.
Have a Happy Birthday Sunday.

Lynn, i love the aluminum cans in the bottom of my pots it sure makes them easier to move. Thanks again for the idea.

Lynn,Susan,thorsippi, would love to hear from you if you're around.

Renne',so glad you joined us.Welcome!!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 7:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Vickie and all, Hope this day is a good one for everyone. It will not quit raining here. I have been planning a greenhouse raising in the fall now, I might need to think about and ark instead. It has rained everyday except 2 in the last month. I live on a hill and the ground still squishes when you step on it. I realize I live in Louisiana but in the northern part, just about 15 miles from the Arkansas line. I live on the north side of Lake D'Arbonne. We have another house/camp on the south side of the lake but had to move because of the yearly flooding there. The doctors insisted that we relocate to higher ground. When we lived at the other house we had to wade thru water for 1/4 mile to get to where we would leave our vehicles. This usually happened for about 3 weeks each year. The upside is the front door is 10 ft from the water. I do truly miss being right on the water--so peaceful most of the time. If I could still handle the high water and wading I would be back there now. I do love my new house too. I enjoy watching new plants grow and bloon. DH brought home 2 white plumbago plants yesterday and they are in full bloom. So pretty. I want to go to the Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days this weekend but again it is raining. Maybe it will give us a break this afternoon. They almost always have a row of plant vendors from the wholesale nurseries in the state. I have found some really beautiful plants there. Several daylily growers are usually there too. Last month I got to go and I got 2 brugmansias, a white Texas Star perennial hibiscus a Passiflora "Incense" vine and a thunbergia grandiflora vine--all blooming big plants for $21.50!!!! That is why I want to go again this month.

Vickie, I am so jealous of your location. I absolutely adore your area. I used to spend a lot of the time in the state and national parks up your way. I got married in Thorncrown Chapel outside Eureka Springs. It is so beautiful there. I also used to go War Eagle every year before I got sick this last time. Actually last month was my first trip to the trade days in over 2 years. Went with MIL and DH's Auntie, we had to take a wheel chair for Auntie. I told her we might have to take turns in the wheel chair. LOL She did not want to go because she thought she would be too much trouble but we insisted!! She enjoyed it so much and so did we. They both love gardening too. We sometimes round robin our yards. We have weeding and planting days. It makes it more fun and we seem to get more done including a lot of giggles at each other. We share flowers and ideas. I will post again after the trade days. I am determined to go regardless. Thanks again for having me here. Renne'

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

You live in beautiful country too Renne'. We use to live in E.TX near Kilgore and went fishing at lake Caddo near the LA border. It would not be hard to get lost in that lake. The wildlife (both animal and plant) was out of this world. never knew what you would see next.
It's a short drive to Eurika Springs and War Eagle. I plan on going up there this fall. Did you ever make it to the Ozarks folk center at Mt.View? Its east of Eurika Springs.
It sounds like a lot of fun to have a round robin gardening party. I'll have to try the Huck Finn fence painting trick to rope someone into my garden.
I have a pink perennial hibiscus that i've had for several years and just got identified this year. I have no idea where i got it.
It's always fun to start a new garden. I've done it a few times,always make written plans and the garden seems to take on a life of it's own and is never like i planned but always loved.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Howdy ya'll!
I was a healthy and strong man not too long ago... I lived a very active outdoor life. But things started creeping up on me. I just thought it was aches and pains and strains from my lifestyle, but it all turned out to stem from a single source.

My doctors thought it was MS for a while, so I was actually relieved to find out it was operable. On top of degenerative disc disease, there was a bone spur growing into the center of my spinal cord, in my neck. It was high enough to eventually cause my heart and lungs to stop (after being otherwise completely paralyzed,) so I'm grateful that I ended up just slightly paralyzed. At first, after the surgery, I showed remarkable improvement, and even tried to keep working. That was a bad idea, as I'm now very accident prone... My progress plateaued, and since then I'm getting worse. My legs are weak and heavy, and the aches and pains are returning. No health insurance means, well, some of you probably know...

So, I returned to the only sedentary skill I ever had, writing. I have sold some of my work, but not enough to make a living - yet. My forte is non-fiction, but my dream is to become a science fiction author. My favorite scifi authors include John Varley, Ben Bova, Larry Niven, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Alastair Reynolds. I'm currently writing some articles and a book about gardening.

I have always gardened, as far back as I can remember (years of chronic pain shorted out random areas of my brain...) I have about 1500+ square feet cultivated, in which I grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers. It takes me months sometimes to accomplish what I used to do in a few afternoons. So I do it the Chinese way - keep chippin' away, a little bit every day, and eventually it will be done. In other words, I work a little at a time all winter do what used to take me a couple of weeks in the spring.

If some of you have neuropathy-like symptoms along with your depression, I suggest you ask your doctor about Cymbalta. [I am in no way connected with any pharmaceutical company!] It's expensive, but it keeps my symptoms depressed and at the same time keeps me from getting the blues.

I hope to get enough materials and help together to make taller raised beds in case I can't walk at all someday. I'm also trying to put my old skills to use and get a greenhouse built so I can enjoy my puttering around in the winter months. Wouldn't it be great if there was an organization who sent volunteers to help the physically impaired with their projects? I wish I had thought of that years ago...
Nice to meet you!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

Hi and welcome to the forum. A scifi writer, i'll have to tell my DD about you as she is into modern scifi big time. Her favorite auther is Mercades Lackey(SP?) My favorite scifi writers were Jules Verne,Edgar Rice Burroghs and Isacc Isamov. Does that give my age away?

Have you heard of the magazine Co State by State Gardening? I take the ARK version and they have several state magazines. Their address is
State-by-State Gardening
PO Box 13070
Ruston, LA

I only have the addy of my state. Which is
e-mail is-
Hope it gives you another writing source.

Do you mind telling us what state and grow zone you're in? Wish you were clOse to ARK as i have the frame of a small green house i'd like to give away.

Those of us on this forum have a tough row to hoe,so we can empathise. I'm glad Cymbalta helps you. I can't afford it. But i will tell DD about it helping your neuropathy since she has it also. For me the depression is worse than anything else. I take prozac.

I've had raised beds though not tall enough so went to large planters am starting on replanting iris in them now. I think we all garden the chinese method. It's been so hot i havent done anything the last 3 weeks. Cool weather is due here in a couple days and i can get out and chip away again too.

I wish too we had an organization to help us out occasionally. Wonder if Master Gardeners would be interested.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 11:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gosh, I didn't even know this forum existed! I'm glad I found it. I am 47 years old with fibromyalgia syndrome. It's one of those pesky problems that doctors have no way of knowing what causes it and what to do about it. Basically I am in pain all the time. It feels like I have either been beat up by a mob, rolled over by a semi multiple times or competed in a triathalon. I never know where it will feel the worst. Sometimes it is the back. Sometimes the legs. Sometimes the hips. Other times my shoulders and arms. I still work but that is about all I am capable of doing. Most days it is very difficult to get up and get moving. But enough moaning and groaning ...

I have trouble bending over, forget kneeling or even sitting on the ground (I'd be rolling around like a turtle on its back trying to get up!). So I have been looking at ways to create a low maintenance garden.

I have a wonderful and supportive boyfriend who is the light of my life. I had a miniature pinscher but had to have her put to sleep when she was 13 years old and her liver went (and she wasn't even a drinker!). I miss having a dog around but apartment living is too difficult for taking care of a dog when you can't take it for walks or open a door and let it outside. So one day I hope to get another dog when I have a house.

Like most of you, I have severe bouts with depression because of my inabilities. My boyfriend owns his own home but it needs extensive work done to it and he would have to put in a bathroom on the first floor for me. So while he is working on that, I am dreaming up ideas for a garden.

Right now I am reading Ruth Stout's Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent. Despite being written in 1960, it is still relevent for today's organic gardening. Mulching sounds like a great way to create a low maintenance garden.

I also saw a segment on Great Lakes Gardener on the local PBS station about a garden run by a non-profit organization in the Milwaukee, WI area that was created just for wheelchair bound people. They had some cool planters at the appropriate height. But the one that caught my eye was a set of simple shelves with plastic bins planted with a variety of flowers. The bins where tilted on their sides so, once the flowers filled out, you couldn't see the shelves or bins. It looked like a beautiful wall of flowers.

I have also seen planters that were simply heavy plastic bags that could be hung against a wall or fence. I imagine one could finagle something similar and hang it on a fence or the garage at a comfortable level.

My boyfriend has a collection of old wooden chairs that I plan to one day use in the garden as shelves. If his fence can handle it, I would like to hang them on the fence and put potted flowers on them.

Another thing my b/f is good for is collecting discarded wood. He takes apart furniture that people throw out for the wood and hardware. I'm sure when I get my garden that he will be able to build me some simple tables for plants.

I look forward to getting to know you folks better and I'm thrilled I found you!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 12:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First, Vickie, thanks for your resonse. I live in north central Arkansas, zone 6b. I have a copy of the Arkansas state-by-state magazine. I'm a little worried that their writers' credentials are more impressive than mine, but I plan to submit something anyway.

Hot?! My digital thermometer has recorded high temps of 105 in the shade recently... I always used to thrive in the heat, but now it gives me the 'wiggles' (as my wife calls it) when I'm outside for too long.

I was a guest at a Master Gardeners meeting earlier this month. It seems like they have their hands pretty full already, but it's worth asking them. I'm going to be their guest speaker in March, talking about heirloom vegetable varieties.

Luna, fibromyalgia bites, huh? I've had that for a long time, too - only in the back. I found a doctor who gave me some kind of shots directly in the knots, and it really helped. Might have been steroids? Anyway, now that I'm so much less active, it doesn't bother me as bad.

The Ruth Stout method is great. My only advice there is that it is best if the soil is in good shape to begin with, then use mulching as a maintenance program. Also, the heavy mulch is sometimes problematic because of all the troublesome critters who live in it...

I know the depression is hard for most of us to avoid. After having been so handy for so long, I now feel useless and burdensome at times. But you just have to get past it. There's not much to be done about it, so what's the use fretting? You have to look forward, not back. We all still have something to offer!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 12:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It certainly sounds like you have your plate full, seeds! I applaud you for staying active in mind and spirit.

Yep, fibro does bite the big one. I have had cortizone shots but they don't seem to help me much. I did take some steroids for a while (pills) and they helped tremendously but when I stopped, the pain started up again. I know you can't keep taking steroids without screwing some other part of your body up.

It sounds like you are the go-to guy for questions about gardening! I will definitely have to make a note of that :)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

Welcome luna, I'll always associate you with the beautiful luna moth.

You have some good ideas for low maintance gardening. I have an old cart with 2 shelves i am thinking about trying the bins on it next year. It sounds beautiful.

It's great you have such a good and talented BF
My late husband was like that. He saved all kinds of stuff and could make so many things by figuring them out.

What kind of gardening are you interested in? what kind of flowers,annuals,perennuals, etc...?

Had bursitis in my sholder last winter and was given cortizone shots twice and was also told i could'nt take them much.

seeds, you can't be too far from me. I'm in NW AR on top of a mountain in the ozark Nat. Forest,at the county line of Johnson and Newton Co.

Do you want a small greenhouse? It's woodframe with plastic cover that is all but gone.e-mail me.

If you're going to give a talk to Master Gardeners sounds pretty impressive to me. I want to invite you to the ozarks forum. We have folks from all over AR AND MO. It's kind of quiet now but will pick up later on. And we have several guys that post quite abit. One is just north of Little Rock.
We have several into heirloom veggies. I was a few years ago but can't keep up a garden anymore.
Got some info from an OK gardener about an heirloom tomato that can be planted in a large container and bares heavily. It's name is Large Dwarf and can be found at She is going to try to grow it this winter and i decided to also. Sure hope they work.

There is a couple of threads on OK forum about tomatoes right now.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 5:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the warm welcome, Vickie! I am all about native flowers! If it grows like weeds I am all for it. I am currently living in an apartment so I don't have much of a garden (my balcony can fit just so many planters!). My BF is in the process of fixing up his white elephant of a house for us to live in. I have some seriously plans for his small ciy-size front and backyards. I just have to wait until all the construction type work is done so everything doesn't get trodden on.

My wish list of perennials include purple coneflowers, shasta daisies, black eyed susans, California poppies, day lilies, bee balm, bleeding heart, cosmos, blanket flowers and hostas. I have to add herbs to the list as well. So far, I haven't had the best of luck with vegetables so that would take some consideration.

My plans to minimize upkeep is to have easy to grow flowers and plants and mix in some garden art to take up space and add color.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 5:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

luna, I like pretty much what you like; wild flowers,daylilies,hosta and herbs and i like flowering shrubs,ferns and spring flowers of all kinds. In late January and February I get cabin fever bad and with all the grey woods I itch for some green. So i planted all the spring bulbs i could think of over the years. Once they're planted you can almost forget about them,except for the iris.

I have some purple coneflower and blackeyed susan seeds i can send you. e-mail me. oh have some catnip seeds also.

I have angels and realistic frogs,turtles and squirrels and benches in my garden.

I know you are lookng forward to getting in a real house with a yard.
Someone dropped off a puppy in my yard yesterday.
Real cute little thing so guess i've got 3 dogs.
glad i've got a big fenced in dog pen and doggie door.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 6:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd love the coneflowers and black-eyed susans if I had a place to plant them! I will definitely keep you in mind when I do.

That is mighty sweet of you to take in the stray pup. Sometimes dogs can be so much fun in the yard and other times they can be a pain. If they behave, they make wonderful gardening companions.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 8:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm from Northeast AR--nice to see some fellow Arkansans on board! I have fibromylgia as well--have had it since I was 30 (I'm 45 now). It really hurt at first, but I've gradually learned to use my own methods as opposed to the doctor's--which means no steroids (they did work, but the side effects weren't worth it), a different sleep med which is effective for me (the usual meds just didn't work!) and vitamins/minerals. The last time I took a steroid shot was in 1995--after receiving it, I swore I wouldn't get another one, so I started scrounging all the books/articles I could to find vitamins/minerals/herbs which were thought/proven to fight inflammation (such as flavenoids, Vit C, etc.) When it came time to get the usual shot, I didn't need it! But the thing that helped the most was the promethazine (generic Phenergan) which allows me to get that necessary rest to allow the muscles to recuperate. I also found that nightly muscle stretching of the worst muscles (which in my case are my legs) totally took the pain away. Now, if it would only take the fatigue away! I'm still flexible and pain-free enough to garden, but the fatigue gives me more bad days than good--but I have gotten quite a bit accomplished this year finally.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 9:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good for you, grnthumber! I used to get so damn sleepy at work that I would actually fall asleep at my desk. I don't get that way as often as I used to but my pain is worse. It seems like if it isn't one it is the other!

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will enjoy it here.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, luna. I look forward to all the great tips I'll find here--I don't plan on giving up gardening for a long while (I hope).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
oakleif(z6 AR)

grnthumber, I thought i'd replyed to you but guess not. Welcome to the forum

I did just about what you did in treating yourself after getting fed up with my health care. I take herbs and vegetables that help me. I gave up all my meds when i went on SSI and would have had to pay more than i brought in to pay for them and insurance for them was too expensive after i lost my old ins, I also found out alot of what was wrong with me was side effects from medicine.Take prozac for depression again tho.

Good going!!!

I have a feeling you can give us some good tips also.

Want to invite you to the ozarks forum too. You must be up around the New Madrid fault line. I used to have bookmarked a site that kept up with all the tremblers from it. Need to get it up again. It was interesting to keep up with.

What kind of gardening do you like? veggies, herbs, flowers?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 4:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Vickie! Thanks for the welcome. I have that earthquake site bookmarked--I'm attaching it for you. I check it everyday--we don't feel them often, thankfully.

I've gotten off all the meds, too, except for the one I already mentioned, and that's cause it's pretty cheap and effective. When I first got sick, I was on several meds to handle the pain, including prozac and mega doses of Anaprox (now known as Alleve). I actually loved Prozac...I had the best gardening summer ever, it gave me so much energy, but I couldn't sleep and without sleep, the pain got progressively worse. I wish I could still take it! I totally believe in the power of vitamins and herbs and wish everyone would at least give it a try. And thanks for the tip on the Ozarks forum...I definitely need to poke my head in there. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: USGS Earthquakes USA

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 8:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
susz52(5a Ont Ca)

Hi, I just found this forum and have been going from post to post. Just amazing, I had no idea this existed until today and regret I didn't look before now. I would have been much less frustrated with myself the past year. I'm a 55 year old canadian woman, who lives in S/W ontario. I began to have sciatica like symptoms in June '06. I was taken off work at that time. In October when I did not improve a CATscan showed I have lower lumbar stenosis. Basically I have bone rubbing on the nerve to my left leg which gives me pain and if the irritation is severe, muscle spasms from my butt to my whole left leg and I can sometimes barely walk.There are times when any movement at all sets the spasms off and I can barely crawl. Honestly that is what makes me behave for the most part. There maybe others like me. Does anyone else have trouble sitting on hard surfaces or walk bent over? I can't complain, so many have worse problems than I do. I use an anti-inflamation medication and a sleeping pill at night. I just can't ignore the pain at night and yes being tired makes it all worse. I have recently had a regular epidural dose of steroid and it helped for about four weeks. I was more pain free and it was easier to move. Now it's worn off, I more clearly realize what I really felt like before. I wasn't as good as I thought. You learn to block a lot out and after some relief it's worse when the pain comes back. I can have more shots while I wait for an appointment with a neurosurgeon. Supposedly there is a surgery to relieve the affected nerve. The waiting list is long but so many people need help more than myself. It is never a good thing if you have to be first. That is always bad news. With patience I got back to some gardening this summer. I have to re-think how I utilize my garden space and make it more manageable with my limitations. So far I have shovel-pruned the fussy plants,and cleared neglected spaces. Took me all summer but it is a huge yard. Now with winter coming I will be planning a new layout and plant collection to implement next spring. Everyone's posts is an encouragement and there is a lot of experienced advice being passed around. I really look forward to reading more and asking questions. Better Days, Susan

    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 6:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Susan, I agree about the steroids. They help for a while but when they wear off - look out! lol!

It is so heartening to see so many people who refuse to give up and find gardening therapeutic and fulfilling. You are all such a great inspiration!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 1:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calpat(zone9ab No.Ca.)

I too, just found this post, I think I have something to offer. But first, nothing wrong with me except old age, abused body & sheer stupidity! I'll soon be 82 years old, atheletic all my life, enjoyed sailing, swimming, surfing, then on to playing golf, fishing hiking, skiing(water & snow), partyed, married, raised DD, wrote 3 cook books, wrote for Mexican Travel Publications! Well the list goes on &'s called Una Aventura Mas (One More Adventure). That's what life has always been for me and now In my late years there are more adventures, some I like & some suck! I love making people laugh and I don't care if they laugh with me or at me as long as they have a good time. We all know what pain is, physical & mental but we also know that there is someone who is always worse off than we are. I love my gardens, though I have to admit this past summer in No. Calif. temperatures were consistently in the 100 plus from May till just a week ago. My Dahlias suffered but managed to put on a good show of blooms, my roses look like they were deep fried, but are showing signs of new growth and my prized Mums are finally showing signs of budding up. Last May I had to finally resort to carrying oxygen bottles as my lungs/breathing is not what it use to be. This has been a comedy of errors! I have about a 45 ft. plastic tube connected to a machine that makes oxygen so that I can navigate around inside my home with this tube feeding me oxygen thru the nostrils. Every now & then one of the connectors will get hung up going around a corner or a piece of furniture and it stops me cold in my tracks! I also have one portable tank on a small cart that I can take outside to play in the dirt. This sometimes gets signals mixed and the cart goes one way, while I go another, also a "stopper". Then there is the really portable tank, it's good for about 2 hours, I can wear it like a back pack or fasten it around my waist, really great as it frees up both hands. Only thing I have to watch is when I bend over, that sucker can kick me in the rear like a ole mule. It takes me longer to do anything & that makes me a bit cranky at times, but as soon as I realize that no one gives a hoot, I pull myself together and get on with it. I'm thinking about adding cartoons of me & my oxygen to whoever needs a pick- me-up!
What ya think?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
susz52(5a Ont Ca)

Calpat, the more the merrier. If you post pictures I will print them up for my neighbour too. He is a veteran and you sound similar to him. He never gives up and grows the most amazing vegetable garden. Both of you are an inspiration to me. Luna, sounds like you have been there too. Better Days to us all. Susan

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 11:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

calpat, I would love to see those cartoons! lol! I think we all need to laugh at our physical limitations or they will drive us nuts. Glad to see you have a wonderful sense of humor and don't let life's aches, pains and roadblocks stop you from enjoying life.

I would make a pretty hilarious cartoon character myself. I often sound like Malcolm's friend Stevie on Malcolm in the Middle and people scatter when I ride around on my motorized wheelchair!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 12:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calpat(zone9ab No.Ca.)

Okey all I need to do is learn how to draw cartoons! LOL Pat

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 11:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a terrific forum! Finally, a place where I can post without feeling intimidated regarding my gardening.

I am Sable and I am retired and live on the CA Central Coast in zone 9. DH is still working, so my days are my own, although God willing, we'll be grandparents in two months. I have extensive arthritis in my lower back and it's creeping down my left leg. Sometimes the pain and neuropathy are terrible, sometimes not bad at all. It has made regular gardening impossible for me.

We have an odd property, not conducive to gardening, so we built a large deck, in stucco, to match the rest of the house, with high walls, so that I can have privacy and our two cats cannot escape. That's where I do container gardening. I have two rose trees and a large rose bush (Double Delight and it's having a glorious flush just now), plus lavender, many succulents, marigolds, lobelia, alstromeria, and lots of bacopa, plus a few plants whose names I can't recall, lol. Usually there's more variety, but this was a slow year for me.

For indoor gardening, I grow amaryllis just about all year long. I don't grow them from seed, just order lots of bulbs, and almost always have one or two flowering.

I love to read (well I garden and have cats, so what else is new?). My favorite topic is biography, both presidential and those of women artists and writers. We just watched Miss Potter and loved it and so Beatrix's bio will be arriving from Amazon pretty soon. I also read a great deal of current events and history, mainly about the Middle East (that was my field when I worked). Also like fiction - novels and "cozy" mysteries and thrillers. Like Oakleif, I hate blood and gore, so am fussy about those kinds of books. I discovered Nelson DeMille a few years ago and read almost everything by him, but saw the first chapter of his latest, online, didn't like it and didn't read it.

DH and I are big fans of Netflix. If the TV is on, it's usually turned to Law&Order and Seinfeld reruns.

I have had anxiety/panic syndrome for many years and like Seedsonshirt, take Cymbalta and also have Xanax for back-up. They keep me going, although I much prefer to be at home and on the deck than anywhere else. My worst attacks have always been triggered when I'm away from home. But due to a great doctor and the meds, I don't dwell on this much.

It's an inspiration to read these many stories and to see that somehow we all keep going, pruners and watering cans in hand and one eye on the sky!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 3:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi everybody. This is my first time checking in on this particular forum. I was reading this post with no intention of writing anything, but calpat made me laugh as she reminded me of something that happened to my mom. She had COPD and just passed away this spring. We loved to garden together and were determined to start a vegetable garden together this year, only she didn't quite make it. It was going to be our therepy together. I have MS and Chrones disease so we would have made quite a pair.

To get back to calpat..I was at my moms a few years ago when a health care worker showed up to assist her. Mom had been sick and on oxygen for years. We were all talking about how happy we would be when spring finally got here and how much we looked forward to the flowers and working in the garden after a long winter. One of us spied the first robins of spring on the front lawn and all rushed to the window at the same time. In our haste the healthcare worker stepped on my mothers oxygen tube just as my mom headed for the window and the tubing ripped off her face and shot across the room. It shocked us all so much that we froze in horror. Then my mom started laughing so hard she lost her breath which made her laugh harder. By then we were all laughing until tears were rolling down our cheeks. The healthcare worker was renamed Robin and was taunted endlessly about trying to rip my moms ears off. She went by Robin for so long that neither of us could remember what her real name was.

I know that this thread was supposed to be telling you about me. Well in a round about way it is. I started my garden without her, though it broke my heart everytime I went out there. We had talked for a few years about how much we wanted to put in a vegetable garden and can, but weren't able to because either she or I was too ill to do it.

Gardening, though painful for many reasons, has been good therepy. I cried a lot of tears out there this year. Grieving not just for the loss of her, but for the loss of me and the life I had hoped and planned for. It took several years for me to be finally diagnosed with MS and Crohns. Years of misery with my doctors telling me that there was nothing wrong with me. Years of anger and frustration because I knew it wasn't "all in my head". I was being robbed of my life and I didn't even know why all of these things were happening to me. Long story.

I let go of a lot out there with my hands buried in the soil. Gardening is good for the soul.

Thanks calpat for a memory that didn't hurt--too much....
Thanks Vickie for starting this post!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 6:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in Northern Missouri close to Columbia. I have not been completely diagnosed yet. So far it is strongly leaning toward SLE (systemic Lupus Erythema). One of the things I have a difficult time with is being out in the sun, I get a form of what you would call sun poisoning. I am only 40 yrs. old and I worry about not being able to do anything because of getting the butterfly rash from the sun, illness, and no energy. Like many of you I don't have insurance, what I do have is a very loving husband, daughter and son.
I started reading this post looking for others with lupus to find out how they work in the sun.
So far I have been wearing my big hat and long sleeves. I would like to find long sleeve shirts that are a bit thinner and less heavy. We are also going to get an umbrella for me to work under. They are building raised beds for me as soon as the rain stops long enough to dry the yard so they can get a truck in with all the gravel and dirt.
Hubby thinks if he puts some posts every so many feet around the beds that I can just slide the umbrella in them as I go. Then I won't have to worry about putting energy into poking it into the ground or moving a heavy umbrella stand. I really hope this works. Has anyone else tried something like this? My family is really creative and I know that we will learn and be able to make adjustments as my disease progresses.
I really love the ideas I have read about so far, great thinking with the plant pots, clever to put aluminum cans in to decrease the weight.
Thank you all for sharing and I hope to get to know you all better in the future. I am so glad I decided to read this board =).

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 11:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've not seen this thread before, and I wish I had. I have bilateral radiculopathy. The nerves to my legs don't work as well as they should. It's what I have left after surgery for spinal stenosis. The surgery worked to relieve the constant pain, but if I stand or walk too long my back muscles clench, and sometimes spasm, making me very unsteady. It hurts too, and no pain reliever I've tried yet really helps.

I have a lot of plants in pots, and some raised beds. I also have several stools that I take from spot to spot to sit on as I plant or weed. Some of the beds in the front yard are not raised, however, and due to Homeowner's Association guidelines, they may never be raised far enough to help. So, to weed or plant those, I lay down on the ground. I keep a stool nearby to help pull me up, and some short handled tools let me do a lot on the stool. Still, sometimes, ya just gotta get your fingers in the dirt (I do, anyway).

I was a teacher for 19 1/2 years (surgery in Dec and never made it back to school). Fortunately, the Texas Teacher's Retirement system granted me a full pension due to disabilities, so I have an income and if my husband ever loses his job, we have a back up for insurance. I still tutor part time, and that helps keep me sane. I love teaching.

I get things done a little at a time, like many of the other gardeners in this strand. I find ways to do things I can't do anymore and find help when I just can't do them any way I try.

I am very glad I can garden. It relieves depression for me, better than the two pills I take (primarily for the palliative effect on nerve pain). I love watching things grow and change.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden Spot Blog

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 2:03AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Affordable Automated Garden?
Does anyone know of an automated hydroponic garden...
Can you name this plant? and what is wrong with it??!
I bought the plant thinking i could bring it back to...
A tangent, perhaps - healthcare cost and the cost of water.
It just occurred to me as I am setting here staring...
using tea bags around pots
hello. it is my first post here. Can I open old tea...
houzz Where is Gardening Australia ?????
I know we are at the bottom of the earth but where...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™