Seeing the Flowers at Our Feet


“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” ~ May Sarton

No garden is perfect. When I post photos to the blog, I work around spent blossoms and rarely select the ones with tiny bugs.

Iceland Poppy_DSC_6115

I try not to share too many sad dog stories. And I most certainly avoid sharing our occasional “moments” with each other. Everyone has them. They are an expected part of our rescue effort which requires passionate people from all walks of life working together. People just crazy enough to come back time and again despite the inevitable heart breaks.


Maybe it paints too perfect a picture. We set high standards for ourselves and each other. And sometimes, we fall short.

Bringing plants together in a garden for the first time creates a kind of temporary chaos. Ideally, they provide mutual support and a complementary scheme that falls together in an effortless blend. In reality, there is usually a bit of a learning curve and adjustments are predictable. Some shine brightly and risk overshadowing others;


some spread and inadvertently crowd out.


Roses require constant pruning, feeding, deadheading and fussing.


Asters think they rule the world.


Bee Balm just does its thing and prefers to be left alone.


Once a plant’s nature is understood, a few simple moves can make everything blossom harmoniously. A garden finds its melody and individual notes are welcome – even with imperfections.


“In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

As individuals, we are as imperfect as the garden. And yet, somehow, we come together to accomplish great things. Kaylee came to us a few months ago. She was emaciated, diabetic and blinded by cataracts.


Her diabetes was brought under control and she gained fifteen pounds, making her eligible for eye surgery to remove the cataracts. A couple of weeks ago, Kaylee met the faces of the people she knew only by sound and smell. She caught a ball.


And she started running like the wind with joy as her sail. Our dog photographer, Rob Kessel, captured her beautifully through each stage. You’ll find links to her galleries below.


“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are not perfect. Far from it. But with a few adjustments, we come together to make good things happen.


Kaylee’s galleries:
Kaylee on Arrival
Kaylee Can See!
Kaylee Today

Published by


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.

10 thoughts on “Seeing the Flowers at Our Feet”

  1. This is a very well stated description of conflict in volunteer organizations beautifully executed through metaphor. The writing and photography are exquisite. Thank you both!

  2. I love pics of flowers that are “past their prime”. They still show some of their younger coloring and display so much character in their many interesting features. Most of us automatically look for the “perfect flower” for our cameras and overlook these beauties but then, doesn’t our world celebrate youth far more readily than it does the elderly?

  3. So true…the chaos in all its forms…is part of rescue work. Ups and downs. Luckily the ups usually outnumber, or at least, out shine, the downs.

  4. What a wonderful post. You’ve allowed your readers to have a good start to their week with a reminder that we all have room to do better but that we’re probably harder on ourselves than we should be. Give Kaylee a hug for her great accomplishments and enjoy your gardening tasks and know that if I could share that pruning, weeding, and moving with you I certainly would. 🙂

  5. Amazing post – the gardens are really lovely and growing beautifully. But my heart today goes to Kaylee – she is one lucky dog to have found Gardens. She is thriving all because of the selfless work by a generous group of folks.

  6. I am in love with Kaylee, with Homeward Bound for the wonderful (and, I have no doubt, often very difficult) work you do, and with this post. It’s important to know that there are imperfections and stumbles along the way, but the beauty of anything approached with love will surely shine through.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s