Thursday, September 20, 2018

Children's Garden in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, located in Brooklyn, New York, has been helping children learn all about growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs since 1914.  Kids ages 2-7 can plant their own crops in late spring and then come back to harvest them in the fall.

The Discovery Garden allows kids to touch and smell plants and experience different habitats;  woodland, meadow, farm, and wetland.  Kids can also dig up worms at the Nature Center. And what kids doesn't like digging up worms?

The gardens are open year round.  Admission for adults is $10.00.  Children under 12 are free.                                                           

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thank You and How to Clean Garden Fountains

A reader asked me recently how to clean garden fountains.  I thought I'd share the answer with everyone, in case there are others out there who are interested in knowing.

Fountains are beautiful additions to your garden, but if you don't clean them regularly, you'll notice algae growth and stinky, murky water.  Here's how to prevent problems.

1.  Skim debris out daily.  This is the best way to prevent problems.

2.  Do a full cleaning once a week (some people do this once a season, but I find it is better to do it once a week).  If your fountain came with instructions, read that first.

3.  Turn off the fountain pump and remove it.

4.  Drain the water.  A lot of fountains have drain plugs.  If yours has one, use it.  It makes the job easier.

5.  Remove any leftover debris.

6.  Wipe the fountain thoroughly with a rag.  If necessary, use a soft bristled tooth brush to remove algae. White vinegar can be used for stubborn stains, but test in a small area to make sure it won't hurt your fountain.

7.  Rinse the fountain with a hose.

8.  Clean the pump by removing the cover and picking out any debris that might be inside.

9.  Wipe the inside and outside of the pump and replace the cover.

10.  Re-fill your fountain with clean, fresh water.  There are special cleaning enzymes you can add to help keep the water clean.  You can get these at fountain supply stores.


I would like to thank everyone who helped make my book launch successful last week. Thank you for all the shares, comments, participation in the blog fest, and sales. I really appreciate it!

Here's trailer for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China if you'd like to take a look:

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How to Dry Herbs and Where in the World Blog Fest

Did you plant fresh herbs in your garden this year?  I did.  I love using them when I cook.  You can keep enjoying your herbs in the winter if you take the time to dry them and store them.  Here's how to do it.

First of all, different herbs require different drying methods.  This is due to the varying moisture levels in the leaves.  Sage, thyme, savory, dill, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, and marjoram require air-drying.  Basil, tarragon, lemon balm, and mints require an oven or dehydrator.  Chives work best frozen.  Whatever you do, don't use a microwave.  The results just aren't good.

To air dry, follow these steps:

1.  Cut your herbs when they are dry.  Shake to remove insects, and remove damaged leaves.

2.  Rinse the herbs with cold water and dry with a paper towel (or regular towel).

3.  Remove the lower leaves from the stems.

4.  Tie 5 or 6 stems together in a small bunch.

5.  Put branches upside down in a paper bag and gather the bag around the stems.  Poke some holes in the bag for ventilation.

6.  Write the name of the herb and the date you started drying on the bag.

7.  In about 2 - 3 weeks, your herbs will be dry.

8.  Separate the leaves from the stem and store them in a glass or plastic container (make sure you mark what it is on the container).  Ziploc bags can also work for storage.

To oven dry:

1.  Follow the first three steps from the air drying directions.

2.  Turn your oven to "warm"  (140-200 F) for 20 minutes.

3.  Turn oven off and pop in the herbs.

4.  Leave undisturbed overnight.

5.  You may need to repeat the process one more time.

6.  Follow step 8 from the air drying directions.


And now an announcement:  
Today is the big day! The release of my new book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China! It has taken ten long years to finally see it in print. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we're having a party. A Where in the World Blog Fest.    

Participants will answer the following question: If you could go through the Earth and end up in another country, where would you go?

I would go to New Zealand. I've heard it's amazingly beautiful. Since I enjoy hiking and nature, I'm sure I would have a great time there. If I could, I'd get on a boat and take a little side trip to Australia. I would like to see a concert at the Sydney Opera House, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and hold a koala bear. All those things are on my bucket list. My plan is to visit both of those places for my fiftieth birthday. What about you? Where would you like to go?

Page Count: 93 
Digital Price: 3.99 
Print Price: 7.95


BLURB: Squirt doesn’t believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi’an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.

It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can’t go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don’t know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.

Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?

About the Author: Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Ellis, her husband, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Author Links:

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for all of their support through the years. All of the wonderful comments, all the visits to other blogs where I've been a guest, and sharing news about my book releases on social media. You are all amazing! I feel so fortunate to be part of such a caring and supportive community! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

George Washington's River Farm

George Washington's River Farm and Gardens are located in Alexandria,Virginia.  The property covers nearly 25 acres and overlooks the Potomac River.  The farm was owned by George Washington from 1760 until his death in 1799.  It now serves as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society.

Children can enjoy this historic site, as well.  There are a dozen small gardens made just for kids.  These include a Fairy Tale garden, Hummingbird Garden, Butterfly Garden, Scratch and Sniff Garden, Maze Garden, and Bat Cave.
The Wildlife Garden is a big favorite for kids.  They can hang out at the pond and spot little creatures like turtles, goldfish, and frogs.

The gardens are open Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Before I go, I'd like to let you know that I am a guest on the DMS blog. If you'd like to read the interview, please click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Huntington Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Botanical Gardens, located in San Marino, California, were founded in 1919 by prominent businessman, Henry Huntington.  They are part of the Huntington Library and Art Collections.  The gardens cover over two hundred acres, and contain 14,000 different varieties of plants. There are more than a dozen
different gardens on the property.

One of the many gardens, is a children's garden in which kids can get a hands on experience with things related to earth, fire, air, and water.  It's not just about plants - it's about science.  Kids can crawl through a tunnel to view a prism of light.  They can feel the effect of sound waves through moving water in a sonic pool. They can experience what clouds feel like in the Fog Grotto.

Other features in the children's garden, include a topiary volcano, magnetic sand, pebble chimes, a fragrance garden where kids can smell citrus, rosemary, and lavender scents, and water bells.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Children's Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The Children's Garden of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, is two acres of fun for kids.  It's a collection of ten different gardens.  Some of the highlights are the Dinosaur Garden, where kids can dig up fossil replicas, a vegetable garden with an odd assortment of produce like purple tomatoes and polka dotted watermelons, and a Sunflower Garden, where in the summer months, kids can be watered by flowers in the sunflower fountain.

The garden is open from April through October, Tuesday-Sunday from 9-7.  Admission is $18.95 for children, and $21.95 for adults.

Before I go, I would like to thank everyone who signed up for the "Where in the World" blog hop. I really appreciate it! If you missed the information, you can go here

Also, I will be doing a book tour through Mason Canyon Book Tours. She's another blogger. It'll be during the month of October. If you are interested in having me as a guest on your blog to promote Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China, please sign up here. It can be a review, an interview, a guest post, or a book feature. You choose. Thanks in advance to anyone who signs up!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens

The Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of my kids' favorite places to visit in the summer. It features a 25-foot tall Discovery tree, which kids can climb and discover all kinds of hidden animals and treasures.  My personal favorite is Grandma's Scent garden which contains many fragrant plants and herbs.  There's also a Wizard's Garden, a Vegetable Garden, a Trolly Garden (sure to be a hit for train lovers), a frog pond (my son's favorite), and a Fairy Garden (my daughter's favorite).   The garden is open from May 1 to August 31.  Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children. 

Before I go, I'd like to let you know that I will be doing a blog hop to help promote the release of my newest book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. If you'd like to participate, the information is as follows:

When:  September 4-7, 2018

Where:  Your blog

Prompt:  If you could go through the Earth and end up in another country, where would you go?

Info:  All posts will have cover art, blurb, and buy links for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China which I will email during the last week of August.

The sign up is below. Thanks to everyone who participates!
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