I Am So Lucky!

This morning Reed and I headed south 100 miles to Iowa State University to visit Rieman Gardens, a 17 acre plot of gardens, pathways, wind sculptures, gazeboes, rose gardens, experimental vegetable gardens, children’s gardens, porticos, potted plants, a butterfly garden, a tropical horticulture building and more I can’t even name! We got 30 minutes away from home and stopped for gas and I HAD LEFT MY PURSE AT HOME!!!!!!

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I had carried out a load of outgoing mail for the mailbox, towels for our laps, hand sanitizer and the garbage but no purse. Should we go back home? I knew I had some money in the console so Reed started counting. One dollar bills and quarters came to $87! Wow! We went on to Ames. We stopped and put in $10 gas plus $5 of 2 coffees and 2 donuts. Yup, I didn’t even have enough gas to get there and home again.

We got to Iowa State and Rieman Gardens where we paid $12.50 to get in – total for both of us. We went to the butterfly garden first where it was so hot but so many butterflies in the air, it was unbelievable. Here are some photos.

We walked for two hours and marveled over the variety of trees and plants, all which were labeled. This picture is blurry – sorry – but it’s too good not to post it.

I think we liked the pond the best and believe these huge blooms were lotus blossoms and the seed head after the petals drop.

The water lilies were assorted colors from white to deep magenta. Just gorgeous!

Does anyone know what those flat saucer things are?

There were even some succulents and cacti – which we noticed were in their pots and sunk in the larger pots so they could be easily pulled and moved inside when it gets cold.

And here was the tropical rain forest where I found many of my favorite plants that I like to grow inside.

And that was our visit to Rieman Gardens – time for lunch at Hickory Park.

On our way home we stopped at the antique mall where Reed bought a chicken plate – forgot to get a photo. Then we stopped at the thrift store where I picked up two tomato pincushions for fifty cents each! Score!

We got home by supper time with dollar bills still in our pockets – haha! I didn’t go over the speed limit once because I didn’t have my license, I had no credit card or checkbook or insurance cards. The upside is that I didn’t have to carry my purse the whole day! How’s that for a great day? I am so lucky! I knew you’d love this story, girls – you can’t make this stuff up!

54 thoughts on “I Am So Lucky!

  1. Judy

    What a great story. We put change in the ash tray of our car but have never had that much in there. I see that you were given the answer on the giant water lilies. Having spent time in Thailand we saw them in the ponds there all the time along with the lotus. I never thought to look them up as I just assumed they were some type of water lily. Now I know more about them thanks to your question. I always thought they were cool and imagined maybe walking on them (I know they would not have held me up) but I did just see a video of a child standing on a huge one.

  2. Susan-AZ

    What an awesome day!!! Lesson learned, maybe I should keep some extra cash in my car too! Easy to forget your purse! Thanks!

  3. Tanya

    If anyone is traveling through West Texas, do not miss the International Waterlily Collection in San Angelo. They even have a facebook page. It is in a city park across the street from St. Paul Presbyterian Church. One man worked many years to get a gorgeous variety of plants. When our sons were in high school, the biology teacher gave extra credit to students who would go work seasonally. Students grew up with great appreciation for hard work and plants! (I know, you would think West Texas is all hot and dry. Trust me, San Angelo has lakes and trees and worth a stop for several things: a good art museum, Eggermeyer’s General Store with old fashioned candy and such, and nice people!)

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Tanya – I would never have guessed TX would have a waterlily collection – and how wonderful to engage the students! Thanks so much for this info!

  4. Marian Stever

    Oh, MARY, the ADVENTURES that you do have! I will have to read this again because I am not a “sponge” like Reed. Such a fun day and educational, too. Glad you made out with your $87 in loose monies!!!!!
    Enjoy what the month of August brings!

  5. Janie

    Very nice photos. So annoying when you forget stuff. I’m doing it all the time,,,ugh! I don’t know what the saucer-like plants are, but what is the white object to the left in that photo? Looks like an orb, if you believe in that sort of thing.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Janie – it’s a decorative sphere – there were several as well as a traveling exhibit of wind driven garden sculptures.

  6. abenteman

    Never carry a purse. Most slacks have pockets: just them. Card carrier for pocket includes: DL, ins slip and cc. Being a talented person with the S M, alter small pockets. Yes, that takes time: much better than carrying a purse.

  7. Launa

    Oh, Mary…thank you for sharing such a great day with Reed and all of your fans who so enjoy your adventures. What a rewarding day!

  8. MartyCae

    Thanks so much for sharing your outing. Big chuckle about the purse! I have done this before. Really annoying when I do!

  9. PJ

    Thanks as always love your stories n photos n as my mother in law always says no worries things will work out n you just proved that!!😊😊👍🏼👍🏼

  10. Carole

    What a day! I’m impressed with your ability to make such a great day AND stop at the thrift store! Reed is one lucky guy, and I know you feel lucky to get to spend time with him. What a great kid.

  11. Jan Frank-de Ois

    Aren’t those Gardens spectacular?!! We Iowans need to really spread the word ( and about Hickory Park–love that ice cream!). Note to self– start dropping money in the console. You two were modern pioneers!

  12. Paula

    Love this story and how you made such a wonderful day without getting upset. You are such a wonderful “Grandma” to Reed and he is so special for you. Paula in KY

  13. Angie

    I love Your stories with Reed. What memories you are creating with him. I can imagine the exchange between you two when he was counting the money and excitement when you both realize “yep we. can still do this, off to the gardens” !!!!

  14. Kathy

    Summer vacations should be all about fun days like this one but to make it an adventure by having to count the spare change in the counsel and make it last for the day, makes it even more memorable.

  15. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Don’t forget to refill your console with loose change! You never know when you might need 80 dollars! Great story and a greta day out!

  16. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary,
    The ‘flat saucer things’ are the leaves of Amazonian water lillies. There are two types, Victoria amazonica and (the slightly smaller) Victoria cruziana. Victoria amazonica is the biggest water lily in the world. It comes originally from the shallow waters of the Amazon river basin. The leaves can grow to 10 feet in diameter. On the underside they have a web of spiky struts to support the leaf surface (the spikes are to stop them being nibbled by fish). The flowers are over a foot in diamter. They open at night (as they are pollinated by beetles). They are white the first night, close during the day to trap the beetles, then turn pink by the second night, when they open again to release the beetles, who go in search of more white flowers. The third day the pink flower closes and sinks below the water to start the seed growing process. The leaves in your photo look fairly small, so I would guess the plant is a Cruziana. It does not have enough leaves to be flowering yet.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Fiona – I am blown away with all your pertinent information about those flat saucer-like things. I can’t wait to tell Reed. He’s a little sponge for knowledge! Thank you!!!

  17. Katie Hernandez

    Thank You for sharing your Great venture..pics are Great..
    And Reed enjoying that sundae 🍨 Thankgodness for Change
    Katie in AZ..🌵

  18. Jo

    Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without! Sound familiar?
    Resourcefulness is in your bones.
    What a beautiful day, yep, hot, but the pix and memories are worth it.
    How’s the other boy doing? The one with the reconstructed foot.

  19. Linda

    Our daughter graduated from Iowa State, so we have been many times to Ames, Rieman Garden and Hickory Park. Enjoy them all very much. There is an interesting story behind the man who funded The Rieman Garden. I believe he is the same person behind the wonderful magazine, My Iowa, and several others.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda – my latest copy of Our Iowa is right here on the table and sure enough, I looked for the publisher —- Roy Rieman! Did he really find the garden originally? I have to know more!

  20. Sue

    That last bit about not making up stuff made me chuckle out loud.
    Loved this story. I have left my purse, lists, head….so many times in my life so I know how you must have felt when discovering you had left the purse home. A sinking feeling, for sure. How wise, though, to keep money in the console.
    The gardens look so beautiful. Glad the two of you had a great day.

  21. Karen Gaither

    I have a mental picture of your face when you realized you didn’t have your purse. I am very impressed with $87 of change in the car.
    Reed seems like such a sweet young man. I love you have a pal to run around with and teach him about plants, chickens, goats and quilting!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Karen – I tried very hard not to swear over my stupidity! But in the end it was a good lesson for both of us – I am going to put that money back in the console so it’s 5ere for my next emergency – haha! BTW – your house is gorgeous! The lights are perfect! I have wanted outside lighting for years!

  22. Noeleen Taylor

    Dear Mary, you are not the only one who misplaces things. I ‘m glad i had my old bathing suit in the car ,along with a spare towel when i got to my hydrotherapy class yesterday! The good one was neatly folded but still in the hot water cupboard. Love your scratches. Noel.

  23. Barbara Bennett

    Glad everything worked out for you.

    Last year I left Maryland, headed to Illinois. An hour into the trip I realized I forgot my purse. Nothing to do but turn around and go back home to get it. Put me off schedule for my normal stops.

    I keep some emergency cash in the locked glove box but I sure couldn’t be gone for 10 days halfway across the country without license, etc.

  24. Carolyn Boutilier

    that was an exciting trip, no extra baggage to carry all day. glad you and Reed had an amazing day at the gardens. Our granddaughter loved going to butterfly gardens.
    Carolyn B

  25. Kathy Hanson

    Oh my, what a day – so glad you were able to continue without your purse, and isn’t it nice not to have to carry one on such a beautiful outing! Lucky Reed to have you to show him so many wonderful things!! G;ad that you had such a fantastic day! Lovely pictures, what a wonderful place to visit!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy – you might be our next day trip – but I’ll bring my purse!

  26. Donna Sproston

    What a wonderful day for you and for Reed. My husband never carries loose change and we always have a tub full in each car (and in lots of places around the house.) It has come in handy more than once! Once we paid for a meal with $20 in loose change–not only did I forget my purse but he forgot his wallet.

  27. Jeanie from sw IL

    What a great day for you and Reed, in spite of the heat. The pictures are wonderful!

  28. Julianna

    Isn’t it interesting when it all comes together anyway?! Glad you and Reed had such a good time. Again, a simple visit to a Garden for the afternoon can be such a learning experience. Such beauty in the world – and I don’t mean just the plants. your giving of yourself and all your knowledge is such a gift to all of us, esp Reed.

  29. Julianna

    Isn’t interesting when it all comes together anyway?! Glad you and Reed had such a good time. Again, a simple visit to a Garden for the afternoon can be such a learning experience. Such beauty in the world – and I don’t mean just the plants. your giving of yourself and all your knowledge is such a gift to all of us, esp Reed.

    1. Becky from Iowa

      What a great road trip!!! I can’t believe you didn’t go home to get your purse…Hahahaha!!!!! I love going to Ames to see the gardens. I haven’t been up there yet this year. And I love Hickory Park also and the quilt shop. Reed probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the quilt shop to much. The weather is beautiful….enjoy and have a blessed day!

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Becky – Reed would have loved the quilt shop but we simply ran out of time!

  30. Teresa

    What a special day you had! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. I can’t believe you had almost $100 in loose money in your glove box, ha! Quilters are known for acquiring stash!

    1. Bonnie McKee

      What a great adventure and a fun day of making wonderful memories! I love it! 🙂

    1. Mareen

      Remind you of another time many years ago Mary. Left your purse with lots of money at mcsdonalds in ankeny good thing is it was turned in

    2. Ginny Jackson

      Shoot if I’d known you were coming I’d have met you there. I have a free pass good for one adult and 2 children.
      I volunteer at the butterfly wing twice a week and in the winter the “flying colors” cheer me up on those cold days. You are one of the few who ever get a photo of the Common Blue Morpho butterfly with their wings open. They are from Costa Rica, n amed for the God of Dreams “Morpheus” (Morphine is named for him too). because their wings are iridescent and sometimes the blue is darker, lighter…

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Ginny – I had no idea you volunteered there – we just loved it. I had been there years ago but Reed had not. The blue butterflies were just gorgeous! Would you like to meet for lunch sometime?

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