The MAR Blog

Up close and personal.
Where I've been, what I'm doing, what I’ve seen and what I’m up to next.

My Schnauzer– will work for food

TGIF – welcome back!

Just last Friday I had the pleasure to be booked at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut for a lecture and PowerPoint presentation about how I created a four-season garden. I revealed over a hundred new photographs that have never been seen or published. The event was packed and in fact, sold out! I was told that we broke a new record for the most attendance at a lecture to date. It was a perfect spring day so I decided to bring Miss Violet along and why not, she makes the perfect sidekick and sells more books with her charm than I do. Arriving early, Violet sat quietly in front by the projector screen waiting for everyone to arrive and take their seats. I kept a very close eye on her to ensure that she did not leave the area. I began like every other presentation I had given in the past, but this time I needed to address my new co-host…

the little brown and white puppy that so proudly waited for me to come to center stage. I introduced little Miss Violet Von Schhnorkenheimer as everyone was amazed at how perfectly she behaved. Then only 21 weeks of age, she acted as an experienced professional. That’s cost me some well-deserved cookies.

I spoke a bit about Violet’s breeder, Kenna Smoyer, from West Virginia who made this adoption possible. Everyone was surprised to learn that Violet was a Schnauzer and commented on her wonderful demeanor. That’s a great breeder, I was told over and over as I would heartwarming say back, ” She was not only unbelievable to work with, she truly loved Violet and her six brothers and sisters with the same caring and passion.” She won me over on the first call when she said to me that she would never ship her puppies on a plane, regardless of circumstances.

Truth be told, she is not in the business to produce puppies on demand, but rather she does it for the love it brings others and the experience she has with the puppies. Kenna has a gift and quite frankly it keeps on giving. I knew the moment I spoke with her that she was the right person from whom to buy my next Schnauzer. Her commitment to her puppies requires that the people who adopt a dog promise to stay in touch. It’s an extended family and she knows where all her puppies are. She does not sell a dog for the income but rather for the rewards it brings each person who has the pleasure to purchase a puppy from her. All this is done with no fancy web-site or promotions. Kenna will have one litter a year so don’t think about getting one fast. Violet’s Mommy needs to take a well-deserved break. No worries though, new puppies should arrive by year-end. Violet baby, we’re going to have cousins!

I love Violet more than I can say. She is my only child and having her in my life has made me a better person. She is a gift and I will always thank Kenna for making it possible.

As I was just about finished with the presentation, Violet began squeaking her little toy chicken just in time for questions. She stood up from her nap and looked right at me as if to say, ” ok, let’s talk about me again now”. Violet, now 22 weeks, has learned to sit, stay, lie down and to jump in the car. Big steps. Next will be “roll over and play dead”. Stay tuned.

It was a delightfully sunny week to work and play in the dirt. Violets spent some time in the garden of course, and was always ready to pose for me. I posted the photos on Facebook and Twitter. Violet in front of one of my Peony trees (Kamatafuji) in full bloom, so beautiful it was getting everyone’s attention including Violet’s. Forget about the fabulous large delicate pink flowers, look at Violet. She is getting so big and is looking more and more like her Daddy, so I’ve been told more than once.

Wednesday morning I wandered in my garden photographing all that was beautiful. From the water drops on the peony buds to the moss growing under the Styrax Japonica, it did not take me long to get inspired to spend some money so off I went to treat myself to Oliver’s Nursery, in Fairfield, Connecticut. A nursery like no other, not only does Oliver’s offer selection and quality that is unbeatable, but also a garden filled with established trees and shrubs galore, the perfect place to wander and ponder. With my morning Starbucks in hand, I was stopped by a lovely woman who said, ” You’re Mar Jennings, right? I just bought your book – I love it!” This quickly put a smile on my face validating why I wrote it. She asked me what I was doing? I simply said, “Often we are so busy that we forget that nurseries are a wonderful resource filled with ideas and inspiration. I often take some time and just wander in the gardens and look at what’s blooming and what may be of interest for my ever growing and changing garden”. You see, most people come in search of something and get in and out and never really take the time to wander around and just visit. Think about a nursery as someone’s garden you might visit. Once there, you want to ask questions and learn as much as you can from that garden. I know this happens to me when people visit my garden. There are so many wonderful nurseries you can visit that offer so much more than just a place to purchase a plant, tree or shrub. Never walk through a nursery garden and forget to admire it, and if you find yourself later with a full wagon–well that’s just a bonus. Learn, have fun and go home and plant. “If you can carry it, you can plant it” is my mantra!

Thursday, I was off to New York to be interviewed by Better TV to promote my book,
Life On Mar’s, A Four Season Garden. This will air nationally next week. I must thank everyone who has commented about the book and how it has inspired you to rediscover your garden in a whole new way. I’m told many of you not only purchased just one book, but two. Please continue to share your comments with us, as we love hearing from you. Thank you for making my first book such a huge success.

It’s Friday and I’m off to New Canaan for a book signing and lecture at the library. And yes, I’m bringing Miss Violet…come on now, wouldn’t you?

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