We Rescue

Jody visited with me in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden today.  She has acquired yet another tree that needs a home and we were surveying the landscape for a best spot. As the co-founder of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, Jody specializes in rescuing, repairing, and giving new life to those that others have given up through one circumstance or another. Like Scrubs, who started “school” today.

We were marveling at the fruit trees that were long ago given up as dead. Yet with weekly deep watering, we see new hope for peaches and lemons in the future.

“Now you get it,” she says. “We rescue!” Apparently the birds are very happy about this mission. Look how they have been enjoying the rescued grapes, now abundantly producing.

I’m solo in the garden this weekend with our other volunteers scattered like seeds in the summer breeze. It’s a long list, but broken up over two visits, all was accomplished. Deep watering, weeding, staking Maria’s sunflowers (yet again!) and chasing bunny rabbits…

who have begun another home – this time in Jody’s garden. “Just leave them,” she says. Naturally.

It was family week in the garden, with visits from brothers Bubba and Bones,

and siblings, Marie and Mo.

It’s harder to find homes for two dogs together, but Homeward Bound is committed. For people who know that their long-term goal is having two, there is a lot to be said for taking a pair that you know are already crazy about each other. Both sets are as sweet as can be.

Cisco joined us again,

And dog-walker volunteer Karen brought through this gorgeous pup who wanted nothing but tummy rubs.

The Dahlia that Deb gave Ina has finally blossomed in the Cottage Garden,

And when Ina told us that Naked Ladies pop up everywhere in July and August, she wasn’t kidding!

They are everywhere in the Willow Garden now, so watch where you sit!

Despite missing the extra hands, we’re looking pretty good thanks to some milder weather.

Holding down the fort…

In the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden.

If You Would Have a Lovely Garden…

There is a Shaker saying: “If you would have a lovely garden, you should live a lovely life.”

The Homeward Bound volunteer gardeners have been hard at work all year creating the beginnings of a lovely Memorial Garden to remember and share with rescued Golden Retrievers (and their Golden friends).  Thanks to all who visit – virtually and in person. Remember to adopt or foster – so they may live a lovely life.

Sunflower Appreciation

So many people seemed to enjoy the post capturing the transformation of Ina’s Cottage Garden, I thought I would share some others with you periodically. Here’s a look at Maria’s Sunflower bed – from its messy start, to it’s mid-summer delight within the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden.

Inauspicious beginnings last Fall…

By February, it waits in anticipation.

Some April color, while the rains delay planting.

Then, they begin their march.

And before we know it…

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”
~ Helen Keller

July’s towering giants…

Not even the Finches can keep ’em down!

My only question is this; when the sunflowers fade in the fall…

what does Maria have planned for winter? Hmmm….

Mid-Summer Update

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen

In the hot Sacramento months of July and August, the garden is best tended to in the early morning and early evening. I snuck out to the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden late yesterday afternoon and early evening to get some of our weekly heavy lifting done, knowing that Sunday would also be over 100 – and that Maria, my Sunday gardening partner, refuses to quit as long as there is something more to be done.

So today, with the weeds largely beaten back, the deep watering done, and the heat turned to ‘high’, we enjoyed a more relaxed pace in the garden.

Our newest volunteer, Pat returned this weekend (yeah!) and did an amazing job of dead-heading all of the roses along the fences. She claimed to be a novice at the task, but with a little instruction, that is no longer the case! This is a zen-like, but time-consuming job – so we are very grateful for the extra hands.

Pat is a dog-walker, soon-to-be-adopter.  She lost her own Golden a bit ago, and is now ready to open her heart to another.  Well almost.  She has a trip planned in the coming weeks, but after that, she’ll be on the hunt. In the meantime, she is afraid to look, for fear of falling in immediate love. We’ll keep her busy in the garden until the time is right!

I swear we have magic soil in this garden.  Things grow so quickly and brilliantly in these beds.  We found this gigantic Johnson grass weed hiding in the Daylilies. A week ago it was small enough that its blades were camouflaged.  A few days later, its height has given it up as it towers over the bed’s rightful occupants.

This sprouted in the Willow Garden since last weekend as well. I have no idea what it is, but the larger stalk is already a foot tall. It looks like an Amaryllis, but this is not the right time, or place for that…and two stalks? (Magic soil?) I’m sure that it will reveal its identity to us soon, but if you know, please advise!

The grapes have begun to ripen…

along with the apples and pears.

The birds are enjoying the seeds of the spent sunflowers in Maria’s bed, while new and amazing blooms still appear.

The Bee Balm is thriving…

the neighboring Coneflowers are the beneficiary…

and Jody’s garden is on its way to ‘full and tranquil.’

No Goldens visited us today. Too hot. They were happy to go out for their walks, jump in their pools, and take their wet bodies inside to the air conditioning! Can’t say as I blame them!

I laughed, however, as I watched Rob try to coax two new arrivals into posing for pictures. Imagine how strange and nervous these pups feel when they first arrive. They don’t know that picture-taking is just one of the steps on their road to a new forever home. Rob is one of the dedicated Homeward Bound team members that I see almost every weekend working with the dogs. He has a special “dog-whisperer” way with the ones who need the most help. The many volunteers like him make me proud to be a small part of this special place and mission.

Evening Meeting in the Garden

Ina, Maria and I called an evening meeting in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. Over delicious Turkey, Pesto and Tomato sandwiches (thanks, Ina!) we talked through future plans.

We had our first sighting of a Monarch butterfly, but it would not sit still long enough to be photo-captured. We certainly have created a haven for them, and we hope to see more in the coming weeks.

Surrounded by Robins, Quail, and Bunnies who kept their distance, it was nice to simply enjoy the fruits of our labor as the sun dropped in the sky…

when everything takes on a golden hue…

including my Jackson, who accompanied us tonight and enjoyed Maria’s Elfin Thyme!

I’m a little biased, but I think he looks as pretty as the flowers, don’t you?

The highlight of the evening was Ina’s confession that she added another plant to her Cottage Garden bed.  A talented gardener, she was concerned that the ideal sun and soil conditions were quickly creating monster successes. She issued strict warnings to us: “no more plants!” Ha! Busted.

There is always more work to do in a garden…

but tonight was more about fussing, photos, pups and friends.

A rare moment to soak up the sunset and enjoy all that has been created in the garden. Apparently, we are in good company.

Cottage Appreciation

Logging the most recent pictures of the Ina’s impressive Cottage Garden bed within the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden, I was inspired to go back and look at its beginnings. Like the rescues at Homeward Bound, it has been transformed with TLC and a little training. I thought you might enjoy a simple pictorial review. P.S…she has graciously agreed to extend the Cottage Garden to frame a stunning entry next summer!

February; rocks and working the soil.

March; a river runs through it.

April; plantings and sprouting paths.

May; paths conquered! Drip and compost spur growth.

June; beautiful silvers and greens in late afternoon.

July; dotted with yellows, purples and the  brilliant pink of Crape Myrtles.

What the Garden Attracts

You know the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden is getting better by the sheer volume of visitors we are getting now – two legged and four.

Vonnie and Randy were out early to tend to their Butterfly bed. Vonnie has a new rule which is my favorite: “Come out to do your garden, and work on two others as well.” After weeding and dead-heading their bed, they weeded the Tree Circles and part of Jody’s bed.

We have seen many white butterflies, but few of color or spectacular display. Bemoaning their absence, Vonnie and Randy installed two solar cousins along with the ornament that already graced the garden.

The additions apparently established a welcoming tone – attracting the real thing later in the day.

Pat joined us early as well. She is a dog-walker volunteer who took a shine to our project, and graciously offered to help out. After a walk-through, she graciously weeded Sue’s Grandma’s Garden bed.

Maria arrived mid-morning with a long to-do list. Top priority was leveling some of the settled stones, and planting more of the Elfin Thyme.

What awaited in her Sunflower bed was a grand surprise; a gigantic sunflower measuring a foot across!

A family was getting acquainted with Raffy as a possible adoption. I’ll need to update you later on the status, but they certainly looked good together!

Peggy and Steve came to work on their Iris Bed, installing a scarecrow, and a string of fun dog toys. We hope the scarecrow will send a message to the finches. If the dog toys disappear, I don’t think we’ll be able to blame the rabbits!

In keeping with Vonnie’s new rule, they pitched in on multiple projects; dead-heading the roses, pulling crab grass from the Willow Garden, more weeding of Jody’s bed, and help with the stones and thyme planting. Being a guy, clippers and trowels were not enough for Steve, who quickly wielded an ax on some troublesome roots. When we last left him, he was using the ax to weed. It’s a guy thing.

We had more four-legged visitors than I can remember or had a chance to write down. Mosh and Marie (read their story here)…

Judy with Cisco…

And these Golden beauties:

Trishkin was our last visitor. He is a Sanctuary dog – which means that due to his health issues, he will have a forever home at Homeward Bound. Such a sweetie.

It’s been a long time since we had so many hands at one time in the garden – not to mention paws. We got so much done, that I was actually able to spend time in the Perennial and Hummingbird beds for a change.

There is an old Spanish proverb which says: “More in a garden grows than what the gardener sows.” That was certainly true at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden today.

Thanks to everyone for pitched in or stopped by. It’s great to see you in the Gardens.

Tucking in the Garden

Another evening visit to the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden this week. My turn this time. Hopefully it is our last day with temperatures over 100 for a while, thanks to the Delta Breeze which is just beginning to kick in.

The bunnies were too quick for me to capture…

The dragon flies would not hold still…

So you will just have to take my word for it.

Nothing profound to say; the Garden says it all.

And then it says “goodnight.”

Maria’s Notes from the Garden

Maria did an early evening check on the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden this week to see how things were faring in our 100+ degree Sacramento heat wave. Ina surprised her with a visit earlier in the day to water, so a work visit turned into a rare chance to simply take in the garden as the sun mercifully dropped lower in the sky.

She found a Mantis – praying over her Sunflowers…

and a beautiful sunset.

Beau, her nine and a half-year old Homeward Bound foster dog, stayed home where it was cooler.

Maria is one of those special people who foster – generally taking the older, special needs dogs. What a good second-chance life for Beau. He seems to be right at home in his own little garden, complete with lizard!

The Memorial Garden’s Purpose

I’m told there is a little confusion about the purpose of the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. It’s simple really; it is a place to honor and remember Goldens (and their Golden+ friends) who were adopted through Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and have left our lives, but not our hearts.

It is also a welcome place for all of the dedicated Homeward Bound volunteers and dogs to rest a bit in the shade and appreciate the peaceful surroundings.

Homeward Bound has commemorative bricks which can be purchased in honor of your lost friend, with the proceeds supporting Goldens in need of adoption. See the HBGRR website information here.  Jody plans a large welded metal tree covered with tags from all of the adopted dogs (that will have to be a very large tree!) In the future, we hope the garden will provide other means of raising funds for the dogs.  All ideas are welcome.

So no, this is not sacred burial ground for ashes or other. Please come on in, visit, share your pups with us, and spread the word.

P.S…if you have been wanting to volunteer but have been too shy to ask – we would love to hear from you.

Hope to see you in the garden!