Sledding, boozing and spreadsheet reviewing

First off, let me pass on “best of luck” to my more northern neighbors after “Nemo” passed through last night. Here in central NJ, we only received about 6 inches of snow but I can see that New England really got pounded. If I had to guess, they are “Finding Nemo” unpleasant.
6 inches of snow is about the perfect amount of snowfall. It is enough to make it feel like a “storm” and it’s enough to be able to play outside (yes, I am 40 years old). It is also “not enough” to be trapped inside or too overwhelming of a task to remove it.

So after a late sleep, eating of “from scratch” pancakes (apple cider to be exact; my wife so rules) and general relaxation, we took the kids to the local sledding joint in Solebury, PA. My daughter has been a bit ill of late but she was willing to fight through it for the good of the family.

The place was packed with sledders and an inordinate amount of punk pre-teen alpha males but we were able to find a nice area all to ourselves. The kids loved it and we hung for over an hour.

Here’s a few quick videos of the kids sledding down the hill. It is actually a lot steeper than it looks and was a fairly sweet ride:         

The main hill is a lot higher and more adventurous, but we’ll take baby steps with the kids. Future X Games participants they are not. But still, an awesome winter good-time:

Back home by late afternoon and a hoppy beverage was required … an IPA to be exact. Today, we sampled the following:

Like the beer in snow pic? I know, I know … impressively creative.

Anyway, Founder’s Centennial IPA was extremely drinkable and not as overwhelming as some IPA’s can be. Extremely fruity and floral (yes, I just said that) and a wonderful IPA’ish finish. Good times. An 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.

So snow sports done, good beer drunk and it was time to find my favorite spot on the couch. I had serious work to get done. The kids needed to disappear and stay quiet. I needed to pull up my ever precious plant spreadsheet so I could work more on my spring planning/planting.

After careful thought and consternation, I finally came to grips with sharing just a snippet of said spreadsheet with you. Here she is (and don’t even think about stealing the format):     

Yes, it is all in alphabetical order by Latin name.

Yes, I’ve started to log the exact bloom times of plants to the day.

Yes, there is a method to the madness of shading some of the plant names (a secret for now).

And yes, the spreadsheet extends further to the right with even more bits of valuable info.

The process of reviewing the spreadsheet reminds me of plants I forgot that I had planted the following fall and helps me remember which plants bloom at the same time for design purposes. I keep it updated on a regular basis and it always sparks creative ideas.

Speaking of which, last year I had planted a few Allium ‘Puple Sensation’ (which began blooming on May 2nd last year, as witnessed in the spreadsheet above):

These bulbs loooked tremendous scattered throughout my beds; a nice architectural addition if you will.

On a whim at the end of October, I planted a mass of these to see how that effect plays out vs. individual plants here and there. I had totally forgotten about this mass planting until I reviewed the spreadsheet. A nice momentary “Oh yeah, sweet.”

While I have your attention and in a somewhat related note, I have a Heuchera that I love but have no idea what cultivar it is. That is where you all come in. I have tried Google but have yet to make a definitive connection. Take a look at the following pics and if you can identify the cultivar, I will be forever indebted to you:

Thank you in advance.

The day will end with my wife and I watching a few episodes of “Homeland” and chillaxing.

Good times.


7 thoughts on “Sledding, boozing and spreadsheet reviewing

  1. Gary

    Hi John,
    I can’t remember the last time we had snow like that here. One of the downsides of living near the sea I guess. I would love to have joined in with the sledding (and I am 52). The spreadsheet….very impressive, and much needed when there are so many plants both old and new to keep track of. Is there a column with photos as well by any chance? IPA…Nice! Is the Heuchera a ‘Palace Purple’ by any chance?

  2. Landscape Design By Lee

    Hi John-

    Fun post. We are literally snowed in here on Long Island…still waiting for the plow to come with 19.8 inches and 3 foot drifts. Anyways your Heuchera looks like ‘Plum Pudding’ with the newer growth looking more rosy pink than deeper burgundy. Have fun in the snow. I am passing the time by trying out my new camera, not an easy task poking through the window to get pictures! Check them out!

  3. Patty

    Glad you weren’t snowed in!! Looks like you and your family had lots of fun sledding. I’m not sure which Heuchera is as it looks like there are a couple of close contenders. Maybe Spellbound?

  4. Anonymous

    Hi John,
    The heuchera looks very much like my Amythest Mist, if it’s been in your garden for a few years (maybe as long as 5-10 — time flies). If it’s a newer cultivar it’s probably something else as I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere recently.

  5. Kris Peterson

    And I thought I was the only one keeping a spreadsheet! Mine doesn’t have water specs but does identify planting area within our property (which is a pain when I move stuff all the time). I’m afraid I don’t recognize your Heuchera, although I’m afraid it doesn’t look like ‘Plum Pudding” or ‘Amethyst Mist’ to me.

  6. Ann

    I think I’m in love with you – whatever your name is, and I WILL figure that out, I promise! (I can hear you thinking, “umm…great – ?”)
    Here’s why:
    * You have an awesome garden…
    * From what I’ve seen (in the 5 minutes I spent reading before I wisely decided to proclaim my sudden feelings for you), you share my completely irreverent blogging style…
    * You love turtleheads…
    But above all:
    #2: You live up to your blog name SOOO spectacularly that I’m nearly swooning with sheer recognition! (Especially given I JUST asked my husband TONIGHT “is it weird to be THIS obsessed about gardening?” Not to mention the 45 minutes it took me earlier to PERFECTLY place 3 new shrubs… And then there’s our new private joke about the Hosta he moved for me – 8″ to the left – it looks sooo much better now!)
    Are you scared yet? Don’t be. I rarely do out-of-state stalking – too much time away from my gardens and spreadsheets. Bwahaha!
    But seriously, I’m super excited to have found your blog! I was looking for advice on pruning a Ninebark ‘Diablo’ and really enjoyed your posts on the topic. I knew I’d found a kindred gardening spirit when you mentioned ‘hours of research’ (if you were kidding, please don’t tell me and ruin the vibe here, OK?), but when I got a look at your spreadsheet…well, this comment had to happen! Yep, I am ALL about a man with good Excel skills.
    Seriously, love your blog and I’m very much looking forward to learning more from you!

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Ann – not scared one bit and thank you so much for the accolades. I’ll continue this same style for eternity, it is all I know. Ha.

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