What’s Blossoming

What’s blossoming in the garden? Everything!


A brief and rare April shower brought cooler temperatures and blossoms everywhere.


My wayward gardeners returned, but only one of them to work! Ina tried to hide behind the towering roses,


but she was found and made to toil and tame her rowdy beds.


Maria stopped by – but only for a scheduled playdate between Yule and Scrappy.


Socialization time is (almost) as important for Yule as weeding.


Socialization was the plan for Desta and Cooper as well.


Desta and Cooper are the under-sized Goldens that I wrote about recently. Desta was captured stray, malnourished, and frightened. Cooper was unsocialized and terrified of his own shadow. They have been nursed back to physical health, and found emotional comfort in each other’s company.

But expanding their world is what is needed to get them home, so off to puppy school they went!

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They kept their distance from the wildest of the bunch,

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But gradually inched forward to meet other dogs and humans.

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In the safety of puppy class, they can learn about dog body language,


And people kindness.


Flowers aren’t the only things blossoming this weekend at Homeward Bound.


Killers: Lily and Turbo

This is Killer.


Her real name is Lily, befitting her sparkly collar – but belying her murderous manners. She moved into the neighborhood about a year ago, along with a once-feral cat named Turbo.


He comes by his name rightly, don’t you think? They live across the street, but they have made my garden their home.


Don’t let the cute act fool you. These cats are bird lover’s nightmare. I’m still too devastated to relay the story of the baby Mourning Dove massacre. They are tight-lipped about which one was the actual assassin.


And a gardener’s nemesis, leaving their little stink bomb surprises in the beds to be uncovered by unsuspecting weeders – or poop-loving Goldens. Yes, Jackson. We’re talking about you.


Bonus: in the middle of the night, they jump off the tree onto the roof to test our dog barking alarm. Yup. Works like a charm.




How in the world do you teach them: “GO HOME!”


Happiness on Parade


Spring flowers – unfolding one by one – produce little pings of joy, but there is nothing like the thrill of the roses’ first bloom.


Rain showers, followed by brief blast of summer heat, set off a parade of color and scent over the course of a few days.


Magnificent against a still bright green landscape, our old friends returned looking fresh and rejuvenated.


The bare roots that were removed and gifted last spring from a Napa Valley home, survived their dusty, thirsty road to us and are finally flaunting their stuff in a glorious display.


But the parade of roses was only the first act this weekend.

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” ~ Gerard de Nerval

The dogs that arrived by the van loads over the past few weeks have blossomed as well. And this weekend, quite a few of them marched out in a parade of happy tears!

Sunny and Shadow were a package deal that found a ready-made family!


Carma had good Karma, and found a wonderful new mom.


Charlie Valentine will finish his heartworm treatment under the watchful care of his new humans. Home is where he will find the quiet and rest he needs for many days of wild play ahead!

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Both Ruby and Dixie were looking for active, adventuresome families. Perfect fits!

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And the last of our two precious puppies got adopted – on the same day! Let there be no puppy left behind!

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Now that’s a parade of happiness that rivals even first bloom!

Learning to Dance in the Rain


“A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

By accident, fate, or by design – life took some interesting twists and turns in the last few weeks. Some sad, some scary. But one thing I’ve learned: life just happens. When the storms come – you can let them drown you in sorrow and doubt, or you can learn to dance in the rain.

Dancing in the rain is what the garden did this weekend –


and the dogs. Nope. These are not Golden Retrievers. But that is another story.


I think the garden was a bit more appreciative of the puddles than Roger.


I know that many who read this blog are praying for an end to rain or snow, but we delight in the grey and gloom knowing that an endless stream of blue skies and hot, thirsty days await.

“Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.” ~ Proverb


I’m grateful for the rain, just as I am grateful for the sunshine that brings warmth, and flowers, and light to life.


No point in wishing for one or the other. All we can do is live in the present, take advantage of each accident that befalls us, and dance in the rain.


Magical Friends

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The first time I saw these towering plants, I thought I had entered a fairy tale land.

The Pride of Madeira (Echium) generally grows near the coast in California. But as a native of Madeira and the Canary Islands, it found a welcome home in Sacramento’s WPA Garden. We tried, without luck, to grow it in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. But it thrives in this enchanted garden tucked inside William Land Park, an urban oasis, creating a perfect climate for Mediterranean and coast-loving plants in our otherwise hot and freeze-sensitive valley.


Pride of Madeira begins blooming in April with towering spikes of violet-blue flowers. At the coast, it is considered invasive. But here, it stays pretty well-behaved.

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Its hundreds of tiny flowers cast a magical spell over bees and butterflies.

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And this one in particular:

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The Pipevine Swallowtail. This tailed beauty has an iridescent blue blue body, white spots on the upper side of the hind wings, and a row of orange polka dots.

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I can almost always find one flitting from flower to flower: two blue beauties – magical friends.

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Desta’s Week


A lot can happen here in a week. The roses can come into bloom,


Bees can find heaven in lavender again,

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Grape leaves sprout from dormant canes,


And dogwoods –


and dogs – can blossom.

Desta was a stray found gorging on cat food left outdoors. A Good Samaritan captured and brought the clearly emaciated “puppy” to Homeward Bound’s vet. The “puppy” turned out to be a one-year-old, growth-stunted Golden who had clearly had an encounter with something unfriendly – most likely of the moving vehicle type.


Her skull is concave in spots as a result, and her limbs were pencil thin when found. Her tummy was engorged – the result of eating all that cat food. The tasty treats can wreak havoc on even a healthy dog. Desta required immediate care.

There’s no way to know how long she was out there on her own, but it had to be a while. Our Doc fixed her up and called us. She arrived last weekend, weak and terrified.


We bathed her and began loving on her, but had to carry her to the garden. She was too terrified to walk on a leash.


We put her within eyeshot of Cooper, an 11-month old that had been surrendered to a shelter for exhibiting some of the fears you usually see in feral dogs. He too could be a runner.


As it turns out, they were each others’ best medicine.

Alone, they were frightened little pups that would probably bolt at the first opportunity. Together, they could be brave.


We let them play together in the sunshine until they both collapse from exhaustion.


Part of that play includes socializing them to humans and just look at the progress in just a few days!


A lot can happen in a week.