Alley Park

While out running around Saturday, I meandered into Alley Park near Lancaster, Ohio. Part of Lancaster’s city park system, it’s home to picnic areas, seven miles of trails, a terrific log cabin, nature center, a catch and release lake and this covered bridge.

It’s called the George Hutchins Covered Bridge. Built somewhere else in 1865, it was brought here for the Fairfield County Bicentennial Celebration in 2000.

At just 49 feet, it’s not an enormous bridge but it’s in great shape and the perfect venue for small events. In fact, it was decorated Saturday for a late day wedding.

I wandered around here for a bit before heading down the road to bargain shop at Peddlar’s Junction. Just before this, I had visited a local sunflower field. Read about that experience here!

Also, in case you need a pep talk – this flower was growing all alone in a pavement crack. If a little flower can muster this kind of resilience and will to live, we can too!

Alley Park

While out running around Saturday, I meandered into Alley Park near Lancaster, Ohio. Part of Lancaster’s city park system, it’s home to picnic areas, seven miles of trails, a terrific log cabin, nature center, a catch and release lake and this covered bridge.

It’s called the George Hutchins Covered Bridge. Built somewhere else in 1865, it was brought here for the Fairfield County Bicentennial Celebration in 2000.

At just 49 feet, it’s not an enormous bridge but it’s in great shape and the perfect venue for small events. In fact, it was decorated Saturday for a late day wedding.

I wandered around here for a bit before heading down the road to bargain shop at Peddlar’s Junction. Just before this, I had visited a local sunflower field. Read about that experience here!

Also, in case you need a pep talk – this flower was growing all alone in a pavement crack. If a little flower can muster this kind of resilience and will to live, we can too!

Perception

Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component of gratitude. And gratitude is a key component to joy.

Amy Weatherly

Look closely and you’ll see weeds in this picture. Don’t and you’ll find many colorful flowers.

Joy and satisfaction don’t just happen. Look for the good. Find beauty in the weeds. Appreciate the smallest things. Be grateful for this day. Choose joy over discontentment every chance you get.

Be brave and strong and make the best of every day even when you’re not feeling up to it. It’s Friday, friends. Let us rejoice.

People Are Like Hydrangeas

This hydrangea was a gift from a friend’s yard many years ago. I had it for well over a decade before it bloomed and had all but given up on ever seeing it produce a flower.

The first year it bloomed it was blue and produced just a handful of flowers. The next year, I noticed some lavender beginning to develop. This year, it’s larger and loaded with varying shades of blues, lavenders and pinks.

It’s beautiful.

I like to think that humans are a little like this late blooming hydrangea. We may take a while to get comfortable enough to show our personality. Then, with each passing year, we add to our knowledge, skills and interests, causing our personality to blossom in new and colorful ways that are often quite unexpected.

The best people are the ones who are willing to learn, to try new things and to adapt. They’re the ones with a little color to their personalities and some happy surprises.

Groovy Plants Ranch

Hands down, the coolest greenhouse I’ve ever been to is Groovy Plants Ranch. It’s located near Marengo, Ohio just north of Columbus and is a fun place to wile away an afternoon.

I went for the neat props they use throughout the property but had seriously underestimated the flower selection.

Let’s start with the fun part like this sun dappled VW Beetle that was surrounded by potted ferns when I visited.

And this pretty little number!

They also use some more rustic pieces like old tractors and bikes. A restored 1956 Century Camper serves as a food truck.

Plus, there’s retail space in this 1869 schoolhouse.

And lots of fun flower pots and metal yard art.

And then there are the plants. There’s an enormous variety of things that are just a little different. Sure, you can buy a petunia but it will be a variety you won’t find in most local greenhouses and certainly not at a big box store. It will also be enormous and healthy.

Overall, they have a nice selection of perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, houseplants and succulents and I enjoyed my shopping trip immensely.

Want to go? I hope you will! Get their current hours and address, read their blog and check out some of the selection at their website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

What We Learn From Crocus

The crocus are blooming in earnest. It never ceases to amaze me when this happens after a harsh Ohio winter.

It’s surprising that something so small and delicate could do this – to be so brave and strong they push their way through the cold earth and into the weak light of day before almost anything else.

The crocus appears before the graceful iris, before the cheerful forsythia and even before the first buds on the mighty oak.

The crocus gives us hope and proof that anything is possible during this season of renewal. If the tiny crocus can come back after a harsh season, so can we.