“We don’t kill things. We rescue them. Just bring them back.”

These are the words of Jody, the co-founder of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary when I fessed up about the status of the donated grape cuttings. Left in a bucket of water a few weeks ago, I brought them home to help get them rooted while we contemplated their new home in the Memorial Garden.

I soaked them in rooting compound for a few minutes and placed them in a light, quick draining planting mix, as instructed by the nursery.  I put them in a protected area, and kept them moist – not wet. For a couple of weeks, I was pretty proud of myself as little buds formed and tiny leaves looked healthy. And then disaster struck. Last week, all of the green suddenly looked wilted and sad. I would categorize them as currently on life-support.

There were apparently wagers that I would fail. I have developed a bit of a reputation having broken the shovel and the picnic table. In fairness, the picnic table was itself declared on life-support as it was being bolted back together.

Reading up on grape transplants I see these words on almost every online article: “Grapes are easy to grow from cuttings.” Apparently for me – not so much. I am appropriately humbled.

I will return them to Homeward Bound, where my guess is that Jody will place them without any preparation in the soil, and they will somehow survive and thrive. She and the dedicated volunteers there have that way about them. Which is how this sanctuary has become a recognized leader in rescuing Golden Retrievers, and why I will leave grapes to others.

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

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