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Dawn Marie Carlson – Business, Marketing, & P.R. Consultant for Entrepreneurs and Authors and more!

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Elegant Azaleas

Elegant Azaleas

Delicate blossoms.

ELEGANT AZALEAS

Elegant azaleas can add a stunning impact in your garden. This azalea is gorgeous with prolific blooms from the bottom of the plant to the end of every branch. The color is a blush of faint pink with darker markings on the petal edges.

I bought this last spring and transplanted it this winter into a larger container where it busted out in a plethora of new growth filled with blossoms for the spring fashion show, the only thing missing is fragrance. The good news: azaleas can bloom for several weeks.

Two years ago, I planted a Red Bird Azalea that expanded and I had to transplant it after it doubled in size in one year. Some varieties are smaller and more compact and it is good to choose the correct size for your garden area (photos from the first year, last spring).

When I was young, we lived in Chamblee, Georgia near Atlanta. At our new house, my Dad planted several azaleas in the front yard and they looked grand with their cranberry blossoms each spring. The azaleas grew well under the pine and dogwood trees in the right environment, in the shade with acidic soil.

Elegant Azaleas 004

Blooming forth!

This spring, I added eight new azaleas for containers throughout my front and backyard. Azaleas prefer shade or tree cover with acidic soil either in the ground or containers. I have them in containers on the side of the house, on the front porch, on the deck, and on the patio. As long as they have some shade, they develop profusely.

Azaleas are either evergreen or deciduous plants; my plants are evergreen, providing green serenity in between numerous flowering plants in my garden.

During planting, I add soil amendments prepared specifically for azaleas, organic acidic azalea food, seaweed organic fertilizer, rainwater. These organic planting methods ensure healthy soil, healthy leaves and roots, prolific blooms, and sturdy growth.

Prune the plants soon after they bloom to avoid reducing next year’s buds. You can prune some of the branches every other year to ensure buds for the next spring. Mulch your plants two to three inches deep with pine straw, leaves or bark.

By providing azaleas with their favorite environment, your plants can produce abundant blossoms and healthy foliage for you to enjoy in your garden setting throughout the year. As a shrub, azaleas provide formal foliage throughout the year or you can prune them in a more casual, branching style.

Last night, I transplanted this azalea into a larger container with additional room for next year’s growth.

Elegant Azaleas - night blooming IMG_2001

Night blooming azalea.

Perhaps I can help you with your garden design or container gardening to make an impact at your entranceway, porch, or deck. For your commercial business or residential property, I will prepare a plan for your microclimate to make your entrance more inviting with a sense of place and beauty. Please visit my website page for more information: Dawn to Dusk Garden Design Services. Contact me today and let’s get started. How can I help you? Let’s plant some elegant azaleas; they can make a stunning impact in your garden.

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
–Thomas Alva Edison

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is one of the Most Powerful Engines of Success

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success.

California Bay Laurel

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essayist and Poet)

Photo: California Bay Laurel tree in Miwok Park by Dawn Marie Carlson.

Progress and Possibilities

Progress and possibilities

Planning tools.

PROGRESS and POSSIBILITIES

I want to rename the first month on my calendar “Progress,” “Possibilities,” or perhaps “Promise.” January brings the hope for new achievements–a gleaming start for the new year, all bright and shiny.

January is an excuse to reinvent ourselves, our business, our home, our lives. Each new year, I become excited at the possibilities for renewal. 

Progress and Possibilities

My morning view.

I begin by dreaming about my goals and projects, both short and long-term. I write them down, making them real. I then sort these goals with categories.

I make my list like a scroll, too long most often. As I draft my list with objectives and steps to achieve them, I begin to parse the list into actual possibilities and move some to my wish list. 

Each day, I write a list as though I finished it already. Later, I check off my completed tasks. Instant satisfaction!

Progress and possibilities

Gathering pine straw for the azalea and gardenia plants.

Some days, things happen and I need to change my schedule to handle them. I know, this is frustrating after I already made a great game plan. I then add those items to the next day and prioritize my list, I need flexibility.

I try to make small moments count. Sometimes, I take a few minutes out to complete a short task such as filing five files, write a card to someone, send a quick email, draft notes for a project, read something helpful, or read one or two emails, respond, and then file them. While I am on hold during a call, I will stay busy with something.

Progress and possibilities

Romeo exploring at the park.

I take small breaks outdoors where I find performing some quick tasks for a change of scenery and for some exercise. Sometimes, I walk Romeo up and down the street to refresh my brain, my soul, and to spend some time with him.

Even my small tasks add up towards positive progression. Sometimes, I merely breathe, enjoy the view, or daydream for a mental and physical break. Remember, these are all good things.

When you make an incremental effort on your project, you 
are making some movement. You are building momentum and perhaps you are not recognizing the impact yet. 

Progress and possibilities

Gather your tools that you need for your project.

You will eventually notice the changes you are making and suddenly you will sense a level of achievement. Don’t stop, keep going. Feel the inspiration. Use this as a spur to incite motion.

Your effort will begin to evolve more towards progress. Eventually, you will feel the glow of success from your completed project.

Ahhh, January, you bring a fresh new year filled with progress, possibilities, and promise.

“Well done is better than well said.”–Benjamin Franklin.

Everything To-do List – You’ve Done It!

Everything to-do list, you've done it!

Romeo lounging on the deck, dreaming about his to-do list.

Everything To-Do List–
You’ve Done It!

Everything to-do list–you’ve done it! Sounds good, doesn’t it?

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.” –Margaret Thatcher.

 

Yesterday, I made a two-page list of home tasks and projects that I want to complete and say–yes, I did it! Some of these tasks and projects are “nits” as Jack Canfield (Author of “The Success Principles”) calls them, those irritating things that are not yet completed. I completed all of my tasks and projects! Hey, where’s the parade, the band, and the fireworks?

Everything to-do list, you've done it!

Making lists, creating a vision for future completed tasks and projects!

“Put first things first,” Stephen R. Covey explains in Habit 3 of his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.”

“With Habit 1, Be Proactive,” and “Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind,” you start to build the foundation for Covey’s “7 Habits.”

 

Habit 1 states that you are the visionary choosing to make progress. Habit 2 defines your mental vision from the beginning to the end–your mental blueprint.

As part of your vision creation, selecting the most important tasks and projects, that are not urgent, is Quadrant II of Covey’s four-part matrix. This quadrant prepares you to focus with a laser beam on your greatest result for your time investment.

Everything to-do list, you've done it!

Sean fishing for a pleasant view.

Using the Pareto Principle, you realize 80% of your results with 20% of your effort with a laser-like focus on your most effective tasks or projects. I call it, “Fishing for whales, not minnows.”

In Habit 3 you are building the foundation for your vision, you begin to implement your vision, tasks, and projects.

Progress evolves. You are making things happen. Momentum builds and you are completing additional tasks and projects with greater skill and speed.

Everything to-do list, you've done it!

Raking pine straw and cleaning up the garden.

After I created my vision list and analyzed my most important, not urgent tasks and projects, I “chunked down” my tasks into manageable pieces and moved mountains, or foothills first, and mountains later. (“Chunking down” is a concept from Jack Canfield.)

I completed the project and it matched my vision for it. I began other projects and completed those and yes, momentum is building and I am not done yet. There are more check marks on my long list and my results are pleasing.

There is a great sense of satisfaction and relief when you add a check mark as completed to those items on your list. Celebrate your victories! There, I see the parade, the band, and the fireworks heading our way now.

Congratulations, “You had everything to do, and you’ve done it!”

Action is the Real Measure of Intelligence

pink geranium gracing the rain barrel

pink geranium gracing the rain barrel

Action is the Real Measure of Intelligence

“Action is the real measure of intelligence.”
–Napoleon Hill.

Yesterday, I took quick action while the late afternoon light was perfect for photos of my garden flowers. I always document the garden and flowers so I know what is working well or not and to remember their beauty on a dreary winter day. This ordinary pink geranium looks bold and glamorous high on top of the rain barrel with the arched stucco wall as a frame behind it. Photo by Dawn Marie Carlson.

Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures - The Mysterious IntruderHave you read the reader’s comments page on the “Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures – The Mysterious Intruder eBook?”

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Great Actions

peonies may 2015

peonies may 2015

“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”
–Theodore Roosevelt.

Peonies from my sister’s garden, photo by Dawn Marie Carlson.

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Visit the Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures - The Mysterious Intruderpage and read about my first eBook – Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures – The Mysterious Intruder on sale now for instant delivery! Click on the book for the page telling you more about this fun adventure for children of all ages!

Thanks for stopping by to read my news today.

 

Begin the Hike, Move Forward

Begin the Hike, Move Forward 

IMG_2055You already know what project you want to complete; you spent your valuable time researching and then writing your game plan and choosing the right trail to pursue. Now, begin the hike, move forward.

You know the next steps and begin taking action, building momentum and seeing your big project moving through to completion in smaller, more manageable mini-projects.

Hilltop boulders McGinnis Park
Once you achieve completing your mini-projects one after another, you feel accomplished. Your project work is fundamentally easier because there is momentum tumbling forward.

Soon, you will recognize your project finalized. You reached the mountaintop and as you scan the vista, you feel proud of thyself!

Be kind to thyself. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements! 

P1010027“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”
–Nora Roberts.

Photos by Dawn Marie Carlson, Dawn to Dusk Enterprises.

Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures - The Mysterious Intruder

My eBook is for sale – Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures – The Mysterious Intruder.

An entertaining dog story for children of all ages! Take some time to read to children, they will always cherish special times spent with you.

Visit the page dedicated to the book(s)!

Nurture your mind

IMG_3625“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.”
–Benjamin Disraeli

Do something special for yourself: exercise, read, smile, work in the garden, clean your vehicle, clean your house, walk your dog, enjoy your accomplishments and celebrate them!

Photo of cosmos, lavender and various flowers in my garden courtesy of Dawn to Dusk Enterprises – Garden Design Services. Enjoy!

Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures - The Mysterious IntruderTake a look at my eBook – Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures – The Mysterious Intruder.

Visit my Fuzzy and Romeo Adventures page dedicated to the book(s)!

An entertaining dog story for children of all ages! Take some time to read to children, they will always cherish special times spent with you.

Tending to my Garden

Tending to my Garden

OIMG_2983n Sunday afternoon (May 3, 2015) I tended to my garden for a couple of hours.

My original plan was to work in the garden for most of the day as I have several projects in my garden queue, including transplanting fresh new plants that want a new home, which is a high priority.

Instead, I carved out only a couple hours at the end of the day tending to my garden. Whenever I do this, I chastise myself for not starting earlier when I begin to see how many garden tasks I have on my list as I look around.

I reminded myself that in Jack Canfield‘s book The Success Principles, he says to Chunk It Down’ (Principle #8) into more manageable pieces. If you focus on smaller tasks and provide energy and determination, you will complete them and cross them off your list as done!

I needed to focus on and tend to the side IMG_2589garden, which includes the rose garden, vegetable garden, fruit trees and grapes.

I watered the four grape vines and the fruit trees (peach, cherry, plum and apple) and they are growing well after my nephew, Sean amended the soil two weeks ago. It’s time to add organic fruit and vine fertilizer to them so I will add this task to complete this week.

IMG_2980The roses need their special organic rose fertilizer
this week. The plants have a healthy crop of fresh leaves and most of them are now producing fragrant blossoms such as this lovely pink/peach rose.

This particular rose was over three feet tall alone and I had to cut it down for the vase. The leaves are healthy and the petals too, thanks to healthy soil, organic fertilizer and rain water.

My new companion garden is sprouting, known as the Three Sisters Garden. Sean helped me plant this garden.

If you can, enlist the help of children of any age and teach them how to garden. They too can learn the magic of seeing something they planted bloom and grow and love nature in return.

The corn, beans and watermelon seedlings IMG_2624are sprouting and growing quickly.
The circle of corn is surrounded by the circle of pole beans, which is surrounded by the circle of watermelons. The corn will support the beans and the watermelon leaves will protect the roots and shade them while maintaining moisture in the soil. The beans process nitrogen into the soil maintaining the health of all three.

002I have one cherry tomato plant next to two heirloom tomatoes one of which is yellow. They are all new varieties as suggested at the nursery to try new varieties each year.

The Three Sisters Garden and the tomatoes received some tender loving care, rain water, organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer and IMG_1863new tomato supports in anticipation of an enormous crop! We added plenty of soil amendments to this small garden so they have the right ingredients for a large harvest.

Another project  performed yesterday: pruning the plants in the backyard. This is ongoing but I saved this for one great pruning.

Normally, I prune the plants weekly as I see things but I didn’t have my pruning shears nearby – but now I do, handy, where I can use them more often. Then I will use them more often and my plants always look like someone cares for them. The way I like them to look.

This morning when I opened the deck door to let Romeo outside, the plants IMG_1861looked trimmed and tended and I was extremely pleased to see how much neater the plants look.

There are several great things about tending to your garden –  you can revel in your effort, sweat and enjoy the final results. You feel a sense of satisfaction. Nice work!

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of IMG_2581getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

–Mark Twain (American Author and Humorist).

 

Quotation: Helen Keller

IMG_2326“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence.”
–Helen Keller

I took this photo in the Meditation Garden at the Unity Church while on a photo expedition for practice with Pat Straub. There were several seating areas with wood benches, boulders and redwood logs with unique natural habitat areas for viewing and to enjoy the peaceful bird life. We had dense, tule fog, which added to the tranquility. We decided that we would return again on a sunny day for additional photos.

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