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Lake Life Review

I just want to start with, many people have their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, leaving not even two of us the same. Our personalities, hobbies and passions intermingle and cross paths with each other. But each to their own. No judging here!

This brings us to this issue's Lake Life Review. The thought of going to a greenhouse to plant our very own succulent was brought up during a Lake Life team meeting, while we were brainstorming future articles and reviews. As we discussed random topics, Tara busied herself with her fingers inside my orchid, picking, pinching and pruning. I might add, my orchid has bloomed the last 3 years! Tara will insist that I share how this orchid ended up in the garbage the first year, because I thought it was dead. Tara picked it up out of the garbage and said, "Susan, look there is a new leaf growing, give it a chance." So, back to the office it went, and sure enough the following year, I not only had one sprig of flowers but I had TWO!

As you can see, my green thumb is non-existent, and throughout this article, my terms may not all be correct. Do the flowers on an orchid grow from a "sprig"? What is a sprig?

The thought for this review was to go to the Ferguson's Garden Center, learn some things about how to plant succulents and how to take care of them. Throughout the rest of the year, or maybe it will be years, depending on how long each of the succulent arrangements last, we will be sending out updates via social media. Kind of like the "Flat Stanley" updates. "Where is he now?" But instead it will be one of our succulent farms.

The big question is who's succulents do you think will thrive the most. Or last the longest?

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I feel there are two different types of plant people. Although, in those two different types, they can vary from extreme to mild. You first have those that can grow anything. They simply just have to look at that plant and it perks up, so it seems. And then there are those that try really hard, or think they are trying hard, but remembering to water and care for the plant just comes around once every other month. And by that time, the plant has tried to give you all the signals of what it needs but you have neglected to water it. Or give it the attention it needs.

Lets rate our Lake Life team on my green thumb scale. A scale that tell us really how green our thumb really is.

I will throw myself under the bus first. I am the type of person that loves the idea of cutesy plants but tends to always forget to water it and it is too little too late. On the green thumb scale, I would give myself a very dark moldy green thumb. The only reason why there is a little green left in my scale is because there has to be some hope, I have raised two kids to reach the age of 12 and 14, and I have two healthy dogs. That should count for something on this type of scale.

Occasionally I can keep things alive, come see my orchid. But don't ask my mother-in-law. She has gone to Florida for the winter the past handful of years. Each year, she asks me to water her plants for her while she is gone. By the time she gets back, most are pretty brittle and brown. I am guessing it is just from those dry winters we seem to have here in Iowa, wouldn't you agree? This year she left us with only three. I say "us" this time because she has recruited Fran to help me keep them alive. The only hitch in that plan is I am her ride to get there. One of the three she left was a cactus. How could one kill that one, right? The other two...Co, I think you should come home soon!

As we mentioned, Tara loves to fuss, water, pick and prune her plants. She is one that will give a plant daily attention if they need it or not. For Christmas, Joy had given both Tara and I these beautiful poinsettias. I was able to take a picture of the one, because Tara still has hers alive and well. I thought poinsettias only lasted into the New Year and after that they should be pitched. Tara's thumb is very green. I mean seriously who still has a live poinsettia in their possession. If you do, please snap me a picture and post it on your facebook page and say "@lakelifeokoboji take a look... #mythumbisgreen!"

Moving along to Joy. Every Spring/Summer she grows a gigantic, I am talking HUGE, garden back at her parent's farm. With the help of her parents, her kids and her siblings' families, they get it tilled up and planted. All summer long, Joy makes many visits to the farm to water and weed the garden all for one goal, harvest. Amazing vegetables come out of her garden. I am just so lucky and able to reap some of those rewards. She shares well! Also, around her house she has such a nice curb appeal with the bushes and flowers circling the house. I would give Joy a very green thumb as well.

Jessie, I am unsure. I think she does have a very green thumb but she keeps it simple. She is very good at picking out plants that look so real that you have to go up to them and feel them to see if they are actually real. So, she has figured out ultimately how to have the greenest thumb. Buy faux plants! I am giving Jessie a green thumb because I have no evidence otherwise.

Then came Max. Welcome to the team Max. Nothing like taking you to pot some plants on your first Lake Life Review. Very manly. But all in all, I really think he enjoyed the process! And what guy doesn't like a little competition. Max just joined our team a couple of months ago so I am not sure where I really should put him on the green thumb scale. All I know is he is pretty diligent on any task he is given, which can only make a positive effect on the green thumb scale. And let's be honest, the amount of times he has to walk to raid the candy basket in one day, on one of those ventures he can bring back a little water for his new office companion. Wouldn't you agree?

So, here we are. At Ferguson's Garden Center with Bonnie. Bonnie showed us the ins and outs of all of their succulents they had in the shop. Our task is to take three succulents and plant them in a cute pottery container. Bonnie gave us all sorts of tips on how to aesthetically arrange and pick our succulents to make our container look fabulous. She walked through the care of our succulent. Tara, did you hear? Just need to water them a little bit every other week. Maybe you should get one that you can pet?

There seemed to be hundreds of options to choose from. Everyone did pretty good at choosing their three. Bonnie recommended one tall, one low and flat one and then one in the middle. I started with one called the Living Stone. It looks kind of like a rock. It "pops" once a year and then grows another leaf and dissolves it's old one. COOL! Don't you think? I can even flower! It reminded me of the Trolls in the Disney Movie, Rapunzel. When they ball up and roll. I just couldn't help but get that one. After I chose that, I just couldn't commit to anything else. Tara and Jessie were nearly done planting their three, and I still was on the search for my other two.

After finding two more to keep my living stone company, I started my planting. Now Joy, was almost done with hers, Max was placing his last "accent rock," and as I mentioned, Tara and Jessie were well done with theirs. I got mine pretty well started and then looked up. Max had a succulent that was hanging out of his pot. It gave it a way cool effect. Tara had one that was draping as well. And Jessie had a tiny something that made it almost look like moss. I loved it all. Then to top it off, I looked at Joy's, and she has one that is very red or dark purple that looks like tiny rose buds. But they are succulents. They were gorgeous. You know how it is, you think you are doing so well and then you look up and get a touch of envy running through your veins and think, "I want that one!" But then looking back at my own, I wouldn't want to give up any that I picked. I have the cool Living Stone. And my Chocolate Soldier has fur, you could pet it!

So now the game begins. Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Keep a look out for how our succulents are doing. And where they go! Just like "Flat Stanley," they just might get to travel some!