Me and Twitter – have our own thing going

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I have a Twitter account. I’ve had it since March 2011, but rarely tweet. In fact I have only tweeted once since April. It is especially hard since I got rid of my IPhone. Want to know something funny? I have 900+ followers on Twitter. No joke. Out of the 900+ only 5 would know me if I were in their presence. I have a parody account (I don’t use my real name, and everyone knows it). My “specialty” is tweeting during NFL games. I use dry, witty and clean humor throughout the game. I no longer have NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV, so as a result I don’t get my home town team’s games, I have to rely solely on Twitter for live coverage. There is a tight community that is tweeting each Sunday, and I am part of that team. Just this week I had a follower send me a private message that read “I miss you so much! Can’t wait for the season to start.” That is the reason why my account exists

What I have to be careful of is enjoying it too much. I have been guilty of tweeting for several hours on a Sunday. Like all parents, I don’t want my kids to see sensuality, violence or profanity – but seeing their dad flopped on a couch staring at an IPad for several hours isn’t good either. My plan this year is to only tweet during one game on the weekend – that is it.

I enjoy tweeting because A) I am good at what I do. I am good at making people laugh, and B) I try to help people not take it too seriously. After all, it really is a game. Mike Brown doesn’t know me at all. Mike Brown (or Roger Goodell for that matter) have no interest in what’s going on in my life. With that said, I am not going to ruin my health over a game.

My humor is good. I have a couple of Steeler fans that follow me, and even they will send compliments regarding my humor – even when I am blasting Pittsburgh. I try to be honest: I am not a homer, and I am not a doomsday person. I really enjoy making people laugh. Maybe I am compensating for an internal flaw and weakness that I don’t want others to see – I don’t know – but I enjoy knowing that I helped bring good, hearty laughter into someone’s life

As for point “B” – I went through the 90s with the Bengals. I know just how damaging bad football can be to emotions and psyche. I spent HOOOUUUURRSSS watching a pathetic organization completely humiliate the city. My emotions were a wreck week after week. I don’t want others doing that. So what I try and do is lighten the atmosphere with some witty humor. Sometimes it is hard and you need to be extra creative. I just don’t want other guys falling victim to what I did in the 90s (and many other weeks/years). It is a game. Being a husband and father require my best (including my emotions and creativity) – not the NFL.

In two weeks the season will start and I will be on Twitter “doing my thing”. I look forward to it. I really do. At some point mid-season I will go over 1,000 followers. And still less that .5% will know who I am. That is OK. Mike Brown doesn’t know who I am either.

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A Great Saturday

I try to set aside a Saturday every six weeks that is known as a family fun day. The focus is on a day of fun with just the family. I really enjoy planning and executing these family fun days (even though a few have flopped). One recent family fun day included a train ride to a nearby town, ice cream, train ride back, then that evening we went to a dirt track to watch car racing.

We had a family fun day this past Saturday. We drove about an hour away to do some apple picking. On the way up my daughter and I were creating songs. We sang about everything from our cats to green beans. At the apple orchard my son and I broke off, while my wife and daughter formed their own team. It was a blast lifting my son up through the branches to get the really good apples. Thankfully he is a wiry little guy. But to get to the honeycrisp apples, it required a 1/3 mile hike waaay back in the lower 40. After about 40 minutes of picking we had two bushels of apples.

Then we had lunch, which I prepped and packed the night before. We ate in the pavilion area located at the orchard. The kids really enjoy these simple moments – lunch at the orchard, just family. To help with such moments I got rid of my IPhone in June. Today I have this 2009-style flip phone. So there is no interference with my kids. My attention is 100% theirs!

Before leaving the orchard we stopped in the general store to get some goodies. My wife got two apple donuts, my son got a small truck with candy inside, my daughter got some fudge, and I got a small loaf of apple bread.

Then we drove to a nearby state park and spent 90 minutes hiking. A small creek meandered alongside one of the trails. It had some small trout you could see from the banks. Halfway through we came to a clearing that had easy access to the water. My son couldn’t resist the temptation. He started playing with some of the rocks in the water. I saw a rock that would be ideal for a crawdad. I flipped it over and sure enough, there was a 3” crawdad. The kids were in awe of him! I tried to grab him but no luck

After our hike we drove back home where I mowed the yard and then did hibachi night!

Hibachi night is one of a kind. My kids love going to the local hibachi restaurant. The atmosphere, the food being cooked in front of you, the cool things the chef does….so last year I decided to do my own hibachi night at home. It was such a hit that I have since done it two times.

What I do is buy a couple packs of frozen oriental meals and fix them on the stove. At our island my wife and the kids sit while I take my pancake griddle and turn it into a hibachi grill. I take rice that’s already fixed, put it on the griddle, add some egg and soy sauce for our own fried rice. Then I make my own yum-yum sauce – all while flipping utensils in the air and playing oriental music off YouTube.

As they work through the fried rice I take some of the entrees from the stove and introduce it to their plate. It is a fun time but boy is it a mess!

After clean up I fixed some freshly baked white macadamia nut cookies and served it with ice cream! A 5-star day

I have watched my kids over the years. They like vacations, but they LOVE little day trips like these, and silly activities like hibachi night. They value undivided attention and they can easily identify when great effort has been put into making their day happy. I am amazed at the detail they can recall when it comes to past family fun days. Whenever I announce we are having a family fun day, they get really excited. My son, who is low key, will get semi-emotional when he thanks me for such days. Several times on Sunday he would say “Thank you for doing this for us daddy. Thank you for apple picking and hiking and hibachi night”.

That’s what it is all about!

Suggested Butterfly Flowers

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So far I have isolated various butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants. This time I want to include several on this posting. Some you probably have heard of, others not so much. Typically these are best grown from plant, and not seed (unless you are really good at what you do)

Black Eyed-Susan’s – a classic. You’ve seen them everywhere, and it is a plant that easily transfers from the wild to your personal garden. Also known as Rudbeckia, the blooms on BES last for quite a while, making it a low maintenance plant. It also grows to be a strong bushy flower taking up a few feet in diameter and ~30” tall. Great for cut flowers to use in vases around the house. No need for watering unless signs of wilting begin.

Hyssop – comes in many varieties. I suggest going to a quality nursery for the best choices. Hyssops with trumpet shaped blooms will attract hummingbirds. This plant is also a magnet for bees (which is a good thing!). Be sure to read about and understand how to take care of which hyssop plant you get because each has a different standard for care

Coneflower – another classic. This plant grows and performs very similar to Black Eyed Susan. Wise to sometimes remove some of the bushy leaves within the plant so more blooms can grow. Another flower that is great for cutting. Blooms early in the season, and continues well into the fall. Ideal for dividing after a few years. Great for all varieties of butterflies

Fennel – yes the herb. These perennials get very tall and strong with bushy yellow blooms in the summer. Just leave it alone and let it do its thing.

Milkweed – a plant in high need. This is the primary host plant for the famous Monarch butterfly. It grows to about 3-4’ diameter and 4’ tall. Take the pods that will develop in late summer, remove the seeds and refrigerate. After late the first significant frost plant the seeds to continue populating the plant

Phlox – go with dwarf or garden phlox. There is a mounding variety that blooms for a couple weeks in spring then is gone. Dwarf phlox will grow about 18”. Garden phlox can reach 4’. Great from the back edge of your garden – or idea for filling a small plot with one plant. Phlox comes in many different colors and will continue producing blooms throughout the summer.

A few more suggestions: Lantana, Sedum, Catnip, Ironweed, Aster, Mallow and Butterfly Weed (not bush)

Each of these are winners in any garden and for the most part low maintenance. As with all plants, make sure to know in advance how much sunlight is required, what color the blooms will be, and just how big it will grow.

Ain’t No Sense in Wantin’ My Life to Live Over

We’ve all said, “If I could just go back….” All of us have bones in the closet, people we couldn’t look in the eye if they walked in the room. It has been my experience when someone talks about going back and doing something over again, it is to undo a currently bad situation. “I would go back and not pick up smoking.” “I wouldn’t have married who I married” “I would have gone to college” “I would not have driven my car after drinking”

I am very conscientious about this when it comes to my kids. I don’t want to say (as they are getting out of the car their freshman year at college), I wish I would have done more “x” or less “y”. Same with friends. I am trying to make a point of spending time with and communicating with my friends. Tragedy can happen in an instance and I don’t want to be in that “If I could do it over” situation

Tom T. Hall has dozens of lines that I absolutely love. One of my favorites is from a relatively unknown song called “I Hope it Rains at My Funeral”. I have a clip to the song and the end. The song is about a man, probably middle age, that has made a string of poor decisions. And for the most part they have worked against him. Looking back on his life he can see how he ended up where he is. The man comes to that “If I could go back…” moment, but instead he says the following:

Ain’t no sense in wantin’ my life to live over
I’d find different ways to make those mistakes again

And that’s the truth as far as I am concerned. Ain’t no sense in wanting to go back to 1990, 93, 98, 2003, 07, 12….whatever mistakes I made then, I would find a new (and possibly more destructive) way to make those mistakes again. Not only that, but in the mistakes I have made, I have been able to learn from them – and very well become a better person than I ever would have otherwise.

But – that doesn’t make up for the people I have hurt in the past. As Tom T. says in the song “I guess there’s a few that I still couldn’t look in the eye.” There are too many people – male and female – that I have hurt in the past. Who knows, maybe they struggle with something internal today due to something I said or did 20 years ago. I cringe at the thought. Those are the events I would like to do over. Not so much what I may have endured, but the pain I may have caused others. And not to just clear my conscience. That would be a selfish motive. I’d like to undo those moments because they were wrong. A human was treated less that human by me.

Apologizing is a good thing, but must be carefully done. I may find someone via the Internet, apologize to them electronically for something I said/did in 1997. Turns out they had forgotten all about it, but now I have brought the horrible event back to their mind. Did I do a good thing? That’s why apologizing must be done with all parties in mind, not just your own.

As I come out of the locker room for the 3rd quarter of my life, I am much more aware of how my actions can have long lasting consequences. Not only to my life but to others. My goal is that when I enter the 2 minute warning of my life, that I have minimal regrets on how I played the 3rd and 4th quarter

First World Problems

On a rare occasion you hear something that makes you go “That’s genius!” That happened to me this morning. I was fortunate enough to share breakfast this morning with Super Hero Russell. He stopped by our men’s group study (he actually founded the group in 2008, and lead the group until relocating to the other side of town a couple years ago). The four of us guys were sharing our summer adventures, when one of the guys joked that his son never uses wrapping paper on gifts. He just throws any gifts into a gift bag (no paper stuffing either) and hands it out. Super Hero Russell quickly says “Gift wrapping is a scam. It is a first world problem.” I snapped my head around and said “What did you just say?” “It is a first world problem. Like someone complaining that one of their AC units is down.” I busted out laughing.

You got to understand. Super Hero dishes out nuggets of wisdom one after the other. I have learned to cling to everything that he says. But this one was genius! A first world problem – the kind of thing only spoiled people complain about. These are  not real problems they are just presented as problems. So I went ahead and created the following list of additional “First World Problems” during my lunch today:

  • Line at Starbucks is too long
  • There is a chip in my granite countertop
  • No new shows on Netflix
  • TV in guest bedroom isn’t working
  • Rained on our vacation in the Bahamas
  • No room in garage for third car (SHR)
  • The rear defroster on my car isn’t working
  • Amazon messed up my order
  • I have to find a place to store my leaf blower
  • I need an edger
  • I missed Sports Center
  • There are no good sushi restaurants in the area
  • We are not allowed to water our lawn more than twice a week (SHR)
  • One of my double ovens isn’t heating properly
  • Our comforter doesn’t match the curtains
  • I missed the sale at Pottery Barn
  • The nanny is late
  • One of our IPads isn’t working
  • I need color ink for our printer
  • The dog got through the invisible fence
  • The special diet food for our cat is very expensive
  • The rear window wiper on our SUV isn’t working
  • I ordered pinot noir and instead got cabernet
  • My car’s AC doesn’t cool down the cabin fast enough
  • The internet keeps dropping me
  • The store ran out of People magazine
  • It is raining on my freshly washed car
  • My sun tan is fading
  • We ran out of protein powder
  • I forgot to pick up our dry cleaning
  • I hate dragging the vacuum cleaner to the third floor
  • My Kindle broke
  • We need a new coffee table in the den
  • How do you get a stain out of chinchilla
  • It is hard cleaning my 55 gallon salt water aquarium
  • Having a hard time with my low carb diet
  • Tuition at the boarding school increased
  • It is crowded in the American Girl Doll store
  • How do you change a light bulb in the foyer chandelier
  • Twitter is not working
  • I have to go to the bar to watch the game
  • Where do you find a pure bred Lhasa Apso
  • Can’t find anything to match my pin-stripe suit
  • I chipped a nail
  • The greens were too fast today
  • I had to wait 20 minutes to get my prescription filled
  • I tried to get Elsa to our daughter’s birthday party but she was already booked
  • We need a 30’ extension ladder to get the leaves out of our gutters
  • I hate the new format on Facebook
  • My Sirius satellite radio isn’t working right
  • I was forced to by Jiff because the organic peanut butter harvested from peanuts grown in the small, rural, organic farm in SE Georgia was sold out
  • I spilt my bottle of cologne
  • I’m out of teeth whiting strips
  • I am missing one of the Harry Potter books

While much of this is tongue-n-cheek, I hope it does help you to maybe sit back and reconsider what really does qualify as a problem. Not to lay on a guilt trip, but here in America, what most of us mistakenly label as a “problem” is usually nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Take time to reflect on some of the serious issues many other people are facing today. And maybe it is time to get rid of that chinchilla coat.

Feel free to submit more “First World Problems”. I look forward to your submittals

Washington, Lincoln, God

Smiling Dan will relate well to this post!

A few weeks ago I was reading something written by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. He was speaking on the issue of “giving to Caesar what is Caesar” (Mk 12:17, Mt 22:15-22). The attempt by the Pharisees to trip Jesus up over his loyalty to God or Rome using taxes as the snare. As always, Jesus trips them up with their own rope.

I’m not worried about breaking down the event captured in the Gospels. Instead I want to talk about Ravi’s extension and use of this lesson in our lives today. Ravi points out that indeed, taxes were expected to be paid to Caesar – it was his rule. So Jesus says “Whose image is on the coin?” “Caesar’s!” they replied. “Correct, so give to him what is his.” The point being give to him what is his, after all his image is on the currency itself.

Ravi then says “whose image is on the one dollar bill? Washington. Whose image is on the five dollar bill? Lincoln.”

In America we are especially possessive of time and money. Beyond addiction! It is “our money” or “my money” we proudly proclaim as we balance the checkbook. In a sense it is. We have gone out and earned it. In that sense it is ours. But we are often controlled by it. The money owns us, instead of us owning the money. It is more important to us than people because of the image on it (Lincoln, Benjamin, Jackson…). Image – whose image is the currency made of?

Now the killer question. “Whose image is on you?” God’s

Ravi continues to explain that the image imposed on anything is important. But given that truth, then that means nothing, literally nothing, is more important than humans because of the image engraved on us. We are made in the image of God. Sorry, folks, but humans are more important than pets, trees, oceans and yes, money.

People, other people are more important than material possessions. It has to be wonderful to not only accept this truth, but live it out. Not because of race, wealth, last name – but simply because people are made in the image of God gives them immense value. Human lives and well-being are important – absolutely important.

This gives me a new perspective on money in my wallet. I now carry a few dollars lose in one pocket to giveaway when approached by homeless people on my way to work. Yes, I can easily stand in judgment of them (that makes keeping my $3 so much easier). But if I understand the biblical landscape correctly, because that person is a human, if I were to shun them in order to keep my few bucks, then what I am saying is my money is more important than them.

God gave his Son because I was so important. I wonder just what I am willing to depart with for the sake of another person?

I Smell a Rat

The following is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity:

“We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is  some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed.  And the excuse  that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself.  Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular  acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated.  On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly.  But the suddenness does not create the rats:  it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man:  it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.  The rats are  always there  in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

Lewis at his best! Selfishly I am glad to know someone as great as Lewis was an “ill-tempered” man like myself. He is so spot on. I am at my worst when I am suddenly provoked. I have seen this play out at work. I will be deep in thought (on something work related) and someone will interrupt me. It has happened more than once where I let the individual know that I am not happy with their interruption. Maybe it was responding with one word answers, a quick “huff”, a sharp “what?”, no eye contact, or an emptiness in my eyes – either way I want to other person to know that they interrupted me and it was not welcomed. And what a man does when he is taken off guard is an indicator of what kind of man he is.

I wish this weren’t so. I have known a few people in my life that never seemed to be interrupted. They could be losing pints of blood from a cut on their leg, be on their way to the hospital, but couldn’t care less that you are asking for their pumpkin bread recipe. “Oh no problem at all” they would say……as they slip into a coma.

My cellar has far too many rats. Heck, I am not sure you even need to come in unannounced! Hang around me long enough and they will pull up a seat next to you. This is something that has always leaped off the pages of the four Gospels. Jesus never seemed interrupted. It wasn’t that he was indifferent, or didn’t have things on his mind. Rather he seemed to graciously accept that he would be interrupted – A LOT! He never lost his cool. He never scolded or humiliated anyone for doing so. In fact he scolded some of the disciples for their lack of patience with the crowds (as if it were them that the crowds wanted to see). And it wasn’t because he was a “yes man” – nor someone who had a need to feel wanted. He accepted the fact that he had to put himself last – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Outside of prayer, I really don’t know how to go about exterminating the rats in my cellar. I don’t mind the cobwebs and dust, but the rats really need to go. I want to be a person who joyfully and willfully puts himself dead last. I want to know what it is like to be the Cleveland Browns….OK that was low. But honestly, such a condition (impatience) is an ugly disease. It isn’t good for anyone – not me, not my family and not those that come in contact with me.

Please let me know if you have the number to a good exterminator!

Slim Gym

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I lifted weights in high school, then took a hiatus for a few years. During this hiatus, my weight ballooned to 270+ pounds. In fact, on my 20th birthday I weighed 274 pounds. The next day I went on a diet, and over the next few months dropped 80 pounds. It was ridiculous! And somewhat addictive. Females seemed to appreciate this transformation as well! Who needs drugs when you can do this?

I would continue to work out, and run a few marathons over the next two decades.

For the most part my weight toggles in the 190s. There is no rhyme or reason. Sometimes food just seems to stick to me, while other months I cannot keep it on.

Going to the gym is innocent isn’t it? I mean, OBVIOUSLY I go for the positive benefits like health, wellness, flexibility, bone density and stress relief. Or is that the reason?

On average I would work out 5 days a week. A workout (including transportation to the gym, cardio, lifting, cool down, shower, fixing my protein shakes…) would last about 90 minutes. So, 5 x 90 minutes = 450 minutes = 8 hours 10 minutes. That is 8 hours 10 minutes per week dedicated to the gym

For ease of math, lets round it to an even 8 hours. 8 hours per week x 50 weeks (take a couple off for vacation) = 400 hours. 400 hours / 24 hours = 17 days! That means LITERALLY 17 days of my year was spent “working out”. One more time — SEVENTEEN DAAAAYS.

Let’s go a little further: 17 days x 20 years = 340 days. So basically one whole year of my existence has been spent working out. And for what?

I fully believe in the statement that you can tell what is most important to a person by their checkbook and calendar. Super Hero Russell and I were talking one time over lunch and I mentioned “What do you think when people say “I meant to call you” or “I want to meet for lunch sometime but I’m too busy”. His answer was pure gold. He said “People will always make time for what is important to them.” That was it, and he went back to his lunch. As usual he was right. People will always make time (and excuses) to do the activities that are most important to them.

I have felt for years that God was questioning my motives for going to the gym. There was this uncomfortable feeling that I was guilty of vanity. Come on, why does a grown adult need to work out for several hours a week? The normal excuses of stress, health, well-being just don’t hold up under interrogation.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is a level of dad/husband I want to become. The cards aren’t exactly stacked in my favor. But I have great role models (see the Four Horsemen post) and what I recognized out of these men was that not a one of them (and others I want to model) spend several hours a week – ultimately hundreds of hours per year – in a gym. They just don’t! These men are too busy making positive differences in the world. They are more focused on building relationships, and being great husbands, fathers and leaders. Their calendars and checkbooks will show you what is most important.

The excellent Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland puts it well: “Pleasure has replaced purpose, a flat stomach is preferred to character and meaning.”

So I quit going to the gym in June. Cold turkey quit and have never looked back. My so-called workout these days is getting up at 4:30am and walking around the neighborhood for 40 minutes. During this time I enjoy the fresh air, birds waking up, the chorus bull frogs and crickets, and alone time with God. I rarely work up a sweat.

There is no way I can become a 5-star husband/father when so much time is dedicated to the gym. I cannot. It becomes something else that is taking away my time, energy and focus from my wife and kids. My employer already does enough taking of my time, energy and focus.

No, I am not advocating people cannot have hobbies and “me time”. My first question is what is the motive behind whatever it is you are doing. I’m sorry but in a shallow, vain culture a lot of this working out frenzy is nothing more than folks wanting to look good in a selfie, or battle the inevitable – getting old. You’ve seen those “You gotta look at me in the gym” photos right? From 30+ year olds no less!

8 hours a week to something so shallow. That was my life for 20 years. Yet, had my kids said “Can I have 8 hours of uninterrupted time this week?” I would’ve probably pushed back. Yet this was EVERY week I was voluntarily donating 8 hours to the gym. For nothing more than shoulders, biceps and waistline.

I recall a conversation I was having with a bodybuilder in the gym. It was offseason, so he was free to eat whatever he wished. During the conversation he said his boy just had a birthday party the previous weekend. I asked if he ate some cake and ice cream (expecting the obvious “yes” answer). He looked at me and said “I can’t eat that stuff. I lift too hard.” I thought how shallow, and then I realized I had done the same nonsense plenty of times in my life. Skipping something offered because it my increase my sodium retention or make my pants a little tight for the rest of the day. Good grief.

Once we move into the world of marriage and kids it is good to reevaluate our hobbies. Are there better ways to relieve stress (which is funny because gym memberships, workout clothes and protein powder puts stress on your finances, while working out all the time puts stress on your schedule…..just saying). People found ways to stay healthy long before there were gyms on every street corner. We are still dying around 75-80. Things haven’t changed!

Gold’s Gym isn’t the fountain of youth. Neither are yoga pants, kale, egg whites, military presses, and stair climbers. And Gold’s isn’t going to make me a better husband or father. It may help me get more looks from passerby’s or take better pictures – but that’s about it

Hobbies of any kind need to be exactly that – a hobby. Something you get to when you can. They should never dominate your checkbook or schedule. As for me, I have another struggle I am dealing with, and that is football. I love football, but I have spent absolutely too much time in my life watching football, and allowing my emotions to get caught up in a game where no one: not the players, not the owners, not the refs – give a rip about me. So, my stress reliever is football, but it has been anything but that. Over the past few years I have been slowly weaning myself off the NFL. This year I have an additional step that should lead to even less football watching.

I selfishly hope God helps restore some of the days I have lost in my life either watching football or working out. More importantly I hope the time he restores to me are hours that make a difference in people’s lives.

Meanwhile, I look forward to letting people freely look at my calendar and checkbook during the second half of my life!

Russian Sage

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Mature Russian Sage

Monrovia.com uses the following description for Russian Sage “Tall, airy, spike-like clusters create a lavender-blue cloud of color above the finely textured aromatic foliage. This vigorous, hardy, heat loving and drought tolerant plant resists deer and pests. A superb companion for perennials, succulents and ornamental grasses.” That pretty much sums it up.

This bushy perennial has nothing to do with Russia by the way, but is a favorite amongst butterfly gardeners. Very low maintenance. If anything too much attention (like watering and fertilizing) can have a negative effect on the plant. Russian Sage enjoys plenty of sunlight and soil that is not overly soft. It is a plant that will do well in clay based soils so long as there is sufficient drainage

Like Salvia, it is wise to not plant Russian Sage near a downspout or low laying area in the garden. If Russian Sage gets too much water, especially early in the season, the woody stems will not develop and the plant will droop and lay on the ground like a cluster of purple noodles

Russian Sage has hard, woody stems that should be cut back in the fall. However, during the blooming season (May – September) the plant does not require any trimming or deadheading. The aromatic purple blooms will take care of themselves.

Bees and butterflies both love Russian Sage. I have seen as many as 30 bees hovering around one plant at a time. I would not call this a hummingbird magnet. After owning Russian Sage for two years I am yet to see a hummingbird feeding at one.

Expect the plant to get about four feet tall and four feet wide – as early as the first year when planted. Russian Sage can also withstand most winter weather.

I like to pull my fingertips gently across the purple blooms and smell the pungent aroma. It has a very distinct and strong smell, like rosemary

So if you have the room and are looking for a lovely plant to add to your garden that requires little attention, and is very forgiving to gardener errors – the Russian Sage is for you.

Available at any nursery or large home improvement store.