Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Palm Beach Wagon ~~Jeep Grand Wagoneer

She invariably makes folks break into a smile.  A young man with his son in tow tapped on the window.  "My grandparents had this same car."

There's mostly happy memories associated with this early 4 x 4 sport utility vehicle.  Filled with family, headed for the lake.

Steve, who worked for AMC back in the day, calls her the "Palm Beach Wagon."

 To us she's the "Woody." 

Kids from Detroit are natural born gearheads.  Our moms, dads and granddads put together some of the greatest vehicles ever built.  With the Wags, there's nothing like the feel of that skinny steering wheel and the push of real pedal power.  Don't get me started on that front vent window.

I've loved this car forever.  But there's few left on the road.  Corrosion issues sent most of these gentle giants to the scrap yard.  Restored versions are the price of a college education. 

So when my  husband saw the Woody for sale roadside in the upper peninsula, he insisted his colleague turn the car around.  Few lucky wives get keys to a rusty wagon for Christmas.

Same kind colleague towed her south along the Mackinac Bridge that spring.

Three years, and a bare-metal restoration later, the old girl's nearly as good as new.  But she still smells like 1986--and so does the garage.

The Grand Wagoneer was built by Willys/Kaiser Jeep, American Motors Corporation, and then Jeep from 1963 to 1991.  Standard luxury appointments like leather power seats, power side and rear windows,  air conditioning, custom wheels, independent front suspension and automatic transmission set it apart from other wagons at the time.  As did the price.

On June 21, 1990 the last Grand Wagoneer rolled off the line at the Toledo Assembly Plant with a "Final Edition" Badge on the dash. 

The story doesn't end there.  Chrysler LLC promises to unveil the new Grand Wagoneer and smaller Wagoneer in 2019 or 2020.


Alleged prototype sightings bear little resemblance to the iconic Woody. But it looks hot.  Like a Grand Cherokee and a Range Rover had a child together.

With a rumored price tag of over $100,000, she'll legitimately remain the Palm Beach Wagon. 

Hope wood side panels remain an option.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hot Plants -- How Midwest Plants Can Survive Extreme Heat

She said yes!  Then, the robust hydrangea planted in the yard in anticipation of the firstborn's wedding  suddenly collapsed, brilliant blooms curling inward. 

For the past week temperatures have topped ninety degrees by mid-afternoon.  How can tender and newly planted flowers and shrubs survive this persistent heat?

Water is essential, but not the only defense.  Early morning watering helps, but if a plant is located in hot afternoon sun, it may still wilt.  If wind accompanies the heat, supplement water intake with hydration.  Direct a sold stream of H2O to the root and drip line of the plant.  Water on the leaves could act as a magnifier in the hot sun--so minimize overspray.

Some sagging isn't hazardous to the long-term health of a plant, particularly if it's well established.  Plants, like people,
tend to droop in high heat, but normally the luster's restored as soon as temperatures are back in the seventies to mid-eighties. 

Heat scorched leaves may be unavoidable and should be snipped away.  They won't hurt the plant, clipping only improves aesthetics and promotes regrowth.

Nevertheless, more than a couple days of significant wilt ,( i.e. reduction of the plant to less than a third of  normal height) can be deadly. 

If that's the case, the solution isn't terribly pretty--but it works.  Throw shade!  Fashion an open sided heat shield.  Nothing fancy, prop up some cardboard or a sheet.  Don't lay the material directly on the plant.  Leave room for air to circulate,  or a "hothouse" effect will follow. 

Once the heat wave passes, trim any permanent damage and increase water for a few weeks.

Don't fertilize until the plant is back in fighting shape.

By the time fall nuptials occur, the hydrangea should be big and blooming. 

But all eyes will be on the bride ...

Hot Topics:

Rockery and Roll -- Xeriscape Gardening

Will My Plants Survive This Drought?