Divide and Conquer

“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.” ~ Elizabeth Murray


The garden looks especially beautiful and welcoming in the fall light.


Though the blooms are fewer, their rich colors pop against a canvas of turning leaves and warm brown grasses.


Ina’s asters have finally arrived, draped over the fence like a bee’s blanket of purple.


Maria, has of course, dressed the garden for fall.


Her holiday displays may not bespeak a memorial garden, but they certainly make a beautiful backdrop for our posing dogs. This is Ella.


Princess and Duke – all new arrivals.


With Maria and Ina both on hand, it was a perfect time to tackle the iris bed.


Peggy and Steve had a good start, but work has called them away. With three of us on scene, we decided to finish the lifting and dividing. From the size of the bulb clumps, it was pretty clear they had been left for years – a first, forgotten effort in the garden.


While Ina and Maria divided, I dug trenches and raised berms in a semi-circle.


We have decided to plant the sunflowers in the center next summer as the Willow Tree has taken their sun. During the other months we will fill with annuals to keep color in the garden year round.


It’s pretty amazing what the three of us can get done in a day when we put our minds (and backs) to it. We went home dirty, tired, but satisfied.

Ina Iris Day 10_13


“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” ~ Emile Zola

Seasons surrender

The season is definitely upon us.


It seems like it happened in an instant. One day the garden was bursting forth – and the next, the leaves were falling, the buds were smaller,


and the bold colors of summer were replaced by a palette of oranges, blues, purples and browns.


Summer surrenders to fall.


I’ve written about surrender before. To me, it is the hardest part of rescue, and something I will never get used to.
More and more, the garden has become a place for families to say their final farewell.


The garden was always intended as a place for farewells and fond remembrances, so I suppose it is fitting that families spend their last few moments with their beloved dogs in a quiet, secluded corner of it. Today, it was a father and son saying a tearful goodbye to their pup. No pictures. It would not have been right.

And then, Ben & Jerry – two more arrivals later in the day.


I did not meet their family. I know these two will be scooped up right away. Still, I cannot imagine what goes through a dog’s mind and heart when their whole lives change in an instant.


When I was young, we never had an opportunity to say ‘goodbye’ to our pets. Our parents made a decision – and one day they were gone. I can’t even remember what we were told. Maybe I choose not to. Proper goodbyes – no matter how hard – are important for us humans. I wonder what the dogs know.

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” ~ Winnie the Pooh, A.A.Milne

I am glad that we are here for them at Homeward Bound. I am grateful to everyone who supports our efforts. And especially so to the families that give these special dogs a new season of their own.

A Wedding in the Garden

This weekend, the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden created a brand new memory – our first-ever wedding.


Susan and Frank are volunteers of Homeward Bound. Susan walks dogs, feeds and provides companionship to our sanctuary dogs; Frank is an awesome talent who helps to keep our vehicles running. Susan also sought help for her beloved Stella – a story shared here.


Artistic, and completely unconventional – Susan chose the garden as her venue. There were probably more than a few raised eyebrows over the decision to have a wedding at a rescue, but in the end, I think everyone would agree it was a perfect place and a perfect day.


The garden is peaking, but waited just long enough to play host to the event.


Susan loves fall – so Maria and I arrived early to ensure that fall was on full display. Grapevines and garden flowers draped the arbor;


twig wreaths added a fall touch to the training pavilion where the reception was held…


and the simple bouquets were from the garden.


About 100 invited guests and a couple of special dogs (Susan’s Stella among them) were joined by uninvited guests: frogs and lizards (much to the kids’ delight) –


and the farmer’s combine which chose Saturday to begin the harvest. Thankfully, they stopped working about 90 minutes before the ceremony.


The garden has always been a special place to Susan – she has followed its progress in person and on this blog since nearly the beginning.


I was touched (and terrified) that she would trust her photos to me and Rob. I’ve tried not to share too many personal shots here as she has not seen them yet, but I’ll hope she that she won’t mind my few selections. We were all touched by their decision to request donations to Homeward Bound in lieu of wedding gifts. What a completely unselfish and generous act on behalf of the dogs.


The garden was always meant to be a place for fond remembrances. The love that filled it on Susan and Frank’s special day is a reminder that it is also a place where we create new memories. An unattributed quote: “The garden is a mirror of the heart.” Saturday, the garden mirrored two very devoted hearts. What a joyous day it was.


Congratulations to Susan and Frank with this hope: “The strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.” – Walt Whitman


Friends Together

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

We did a training and post on the Homeward Bound blog recently on how to do a meet and greet with dogs. It seems everyone has gotten into the spirit of making new friends!





Butterflies and bees.


Frogs…can you count them all here? Hint: some are fuzzy.


Frog 1


Frog 2


Frogs 3 and 4


Frogs 3 and 4 getting a little too friendly!


Brand new recruits Liberty and Skipper were getting into the spirit as well –


with Apollo making them feel more than welcome.


You may have noticed that Apollo is not much of a Golden. We love him anyway – and hope he’ll find his special someone soon!


Even our gardeners came together today.


We’re prepping the Memorial Garden for a very special occasion next weekend. Can’t wait to share. Until then…try leaving your corner of the forest for a bit to see what new friends you might find.