Perfect Fits

In a garden, it’s important to think ahead about a plant’s attributes, needs, and the space it will fill (not to mention a gardener’s skill). For example: Ina’s green thumb and her grasses…another path lost!


These weed trees (even the arborist couldn’t identify them!) were planted before we arrived on the scene at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. Over the course of three seasons, they grew to a height of about 20 feet and they were still headed skyward. Scraggly, branches shooting out in all directions, with roots as big as their trunks.


Without a lot of forethought, a Mulberry, Rosebud and two 20-feet (and growing) weed trees were planted in one garden bed. Something had to go! Ina felled the middle one a few weeks ago; covered it with a black plastic bucket and left it to rot. Since we planned on replacing the one on the end with a pretty “Purple Pony” Flowering Plum, the stump and roots had to go. Three people (thanks Maria and Frank!); two saws; one power tool; and a sledge hammer later…we were ready to plant.


This Flowering Plum variety is a dwarf cultivar and will max out at 12-15 feet. Its flowers will be beautiful in the spring; its deep purple provides the perfect complement to the adjacent yellow and pink roses. The birds will feast on its fruit.


I’m sure the weed trees had their purpose – somewhere else. But they were not a good fit for our garden. Understanding their nature would have spared my aching muscles and their sad end.


With dogs, it is equally important to assess characteristics and personality in order to find the right fit. While we struggled with the tree, a parade of puppies was being taken to the adjacent yard for assessments.


These are the same tiny things I showed you a few weeks ago – now full of spit and vinegar, and ready to go home! To make good matches, we need to understand their unique personalities and temperaments. Do they play nicely;


do they come when called; do they chase a ball…and will they return, or bogart it?


Do they like to cuddle? Or will they squirm if held?


Do they prefer the company of humans or dogs?


You can read about the test and the pups on the Homeward Bound blog (linked here), including a gallery of the individual puppies and a touching video capturing their very first days. Two have been adopted as of today. Ten more to go! We’re hoping for perfect fits for all!

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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.

9 thoughts on “Perfect Fits”

  1. I really love the look of grasses, and always think they’re a good drought-tolerant option, but I recently read that some of the more popular grasses, like Pampas Grass, are considered invasive here in California. That was such a surprise to me given how landscapers like to use them. I can see how you were kind of invaded yourself! And the puppies are just gorgeous. What a beautiful environment you’ve given them!

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