Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A hero, herbs and garden parties

J. R. Martinez kept joking that he was “on fire” as he spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. An unusual choice of words, he admits, because motivational talks from this veteran/actor/ “Dancing With the Stars” star stem from an explosion he survived in his military days.

Martinez needed therapy to walk again. Now he can dance. Now his thoughts about “finding a way to make it work” inspire people of all ages. He got his groove back by supporting other wounded vets, and says we can all do something to make the world better.

“We all can. It doesn’t matter. There are no excuses any more,” he said about being the best one can be in any situation.

What’s more, I sat next to a lovely couple during this presentation. The story of their life was inspirational, too.

Time for Thyme for Herbs

Spring is one of my four favorite seasons, largely because of the

Thyme for Herbs Society Herb Fest, conducted with Beaumont Botanical Gardens. “A Day of Herbs and Roses” will be from 8 a.m. to noon at Tyrrell Park on Saturday, April 14.

The International Herb Association has designated the rose as herb of the year for 2012.

Emily Baize, Thyme for Herbs president, asks we consider herbs as culinary plants, as they do in the

Mediterranean and Middle East. Vendors will feature foods with rose flavoring, rose water, rose syrup, and rose jam. Abbie and Jean Baradar from Abbie’s Imports in Beaumont will host an 8:30 a.m. demonstration. Amber Weir of Dandylyon’s Garden in Arlington will offer framed pressed flower art, sachets, crocheted items, quilt front aprons, and vintage jewelry. She will demonstrate pressing flowers at a free demonstration at 9:30 a.m. in the Garden Center. The plant sale on the Garden Center

patio will feature herbs, antique roses which can be grown organically, and Cajun hibiscus with plate size blooms in vivid colors. Tommy Hebert from the Golden Triangle Rose Society will speak on organic rose methods at 9 a.m.

Lucia Bettler from Lucia’s Garden in Houston will have books for sale, especially those on gardening with herbs and roses. Native plants, orchids, and bromeliads will also be for sale.

Wild Birds Unlimited will have information on birding in southeast Texas and products to attract garden birds.

Refreshments will be available as visitors browse the plant sales of herbs, vegetables, native plants,

bromeliads and orchids. An 11 a.m. demonstration by Randa Sfeir will offer samples of baklava.

Baize says members grew most of the herbs that are hardened to southeast Texas weather. Greg Bostwick, owner of Bostwick Farms and local meteorologist,

will talk about his Cajun hibiscus at 10 a.m.

Shari & Beau Cribbs from Beau-tanicals will have

soaps, herbal salves, lotion bars, and lip balms. Deborah Burdette will offer her cement and hypertufu garden ornaments. In addition to the Herb Fest activities, admission to the Conservatory will be free during the event.

Spring garden party

If you don’t have an outdoor garden area, make one indoors and host a spring gathering, suggests Ricky Eisen, an event planner and the founder of Events & Celebrations by Between the Bread. Here are some of her tips:

· Décor and Centerpieces – Use flowers as centerpieces. A money saving alternative is to use silk flowers which brings the spring theme to life and can be used year after year. For the décor, stick with light colors that compliment the outdoor space and the chosen flowers.

· Activities – Plan games or other activities that get guests up and out of their seats. Bocce ball, badminton and croquet are challenging and fun games that will get everyone mingling.

· Menu Choices - With the warmer weather, choose lighter fare for the menu and if you have a barabecue, take advantage of it. Create a signature drink and leave out all the ingredients allowing guests to mix their own. Instead of ice cubes that melt and water down a drink, use frozen fruit.

· Parting Gifts – Let guests bring the spring home by giving everyone a small mason jar with dirt, a packet of seeds and instructions on how to take care of their new plant.

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