Waiting. Hoping. Praying.

If the good deeds we have done together entitle us in any small way to call in a special request from above – we need that now. One of our own has fallen ill. She is loved and needed by her family, her extended rescue family, and by the dogs.

Because I am helpless to do more right now than to call for the prayers and good wishes of all, I send you flowers from the garden we both love.

And news that Chewy – one of your heart dogs – found his forever home today.

He fell instantly in love with his new little boy and will watch over him the way your family and we are watching over you. Waiting. Hoping. Praying for your full return to us.

Beckoning Fall’s Glory

The Delta Breeze finally blew in off the Bay, bringing an end to the stifling heat and still air while providing welcome relief to the parched garden. The days are still warm, but the cool nights provide a long-awaited respite after the months long scorching summer sun. The ground holds its drink better; the wind breathes life back into exhausted plants.

Fall is my favorite season. Here, it is a second spring extending our flowering season from September through Thanksgiving. The vivid colors of summer give way to the richness of gold, crimson, and purple velvet.

Instead of the giddy anticipation of spring or the trumpeting of summer, fall is a time for soaking it all in as the sun turns gold and the season slowly turns another page.

“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life.” ~ Hal Borland

Which is not to say that fall is not busy in the garden. The beds must be raised in preparation for winter rains, the bulbs planted, and the leaves mulched. And then, there is all the catch up required after a summer of distracting puppies!

The garden work provides time for reflection while surrounded by the chirping of tiny frogs in fading rose blossoms,

the call of birds gathering by the hundreds, and the watchful eyes of a beloved friend.

The low asters beckon to their relatives towering above them – all started from one transplant from the Historic Sacramento City Cemetery.

They will soon create violet waves across the garden. And as the leaves change color and drop to the ground, the garden will remind us again of life’s impermanence.

“The days may not be so bright and balmy — yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” ~ Northern Advocate

Here’s to warm afternoons turning to sweaters, and green turning to purple and gold glory. Here’s to fall.

What Becomes A Garden?

I knew something had changed when I drove up. The unkempt garden signaled a passing.

The sorrow was unmistakable in the moss and web-covered eaves,

encroaching weeds,

and empty chairs where once everyone gathered.

For years, the eclectic garden by the ocean was shaped and tended by one of the two innkeepers.

I learned that he had passed last spring. The grief was profound; the daily tasks too much – and the garden fell into disrepair.

If our stay was longer, I would have asked for the tools to restore some semblance of order – as a tribute to the gardener who kept it so well.

I think about what will become of our beautiful Memorial Garden someday when I am gone.

I know that it is the cycle of life for nature to reclaim what is rightfully hers.
Whatever we carve out of this earth is only temporary.

Nature was here long before us – and will, hopefully, long survive us.

But a garden carries the souls, I think, of those devoted to it.

From dust it is born –
to dust, it is someday returned.

In Defense of My Summer Garden…Again

Despite a LONG hot summer, the garden fared pretty well – until August, that is. The heat is partly to blame. Deadheading doesn’t help when 100+ degree temperatures shrink new buds into tater-tot size flowers. And it was certainly too hot to plant annuals as we usually do to keep the color going in the garden in between perennial blooms.

But there are eight tiny reason that the garden looks a bit ragged right now. They marched in with yet another heat wave at the end of July: eight adorable Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, and who-know-what-else mix puppies.

Irish – their mama – had been stray in the even hotter Central Valley. A good Samaritan took her in a couple of months prior intending to keep her, not realizing that she was already expecting. Three weeks into the care of eight puppies – they were ready to be done with mama and her litter.

A visit to the vet when they found her might have told them she was going to be a mom. They might have mentioned that her bent left rear leg – the result of an old break – was causing her great pain. They might have vaccinated her not knowing she was expecting. I guess things happen for a reason. The cost of her needed surgery might have led them to put her down or send her to a shelter. Vaccinations might have been deadly to the puppies. She was meant to come to us, but it was probably unsurprising – despite keeping her with the pups in our puppy-safe yard and house – that she contracted kennel cough and had to be separated from them after only four weeks.

Kennel cough can quickly become life-threatening for puppies. But with fast-action, meds and care, they came through it well and quickly.

We took over for feeding for mama – a slurpy mush of pulverized puppy kibble, cottage cheese, and baby food at first. It wasn’t long before the tiny pups were packing on the pounds.

I’m blessed to have flexibility in my schedule, so I signed on as morning Puppy Mama. You’ll remember that that role wreaked havoc with my summer garden last year when 12 Golden puppies arrived at the rescue. Morning Puppy Mama means showing up daily to clean, feed, bathe, and play with these adorable things. A straw happily drawn.

In these very hot days, they are out in their puppy-only yard in the mornings to have a chance to run and tackle before they are put in their air-conditioned shed for the afternoon. In the evening, Puppy Dad or Puppy Grandma free them so they can play in the cool night air. And when I need to take a day off, Puppy Aunt subs in.

Needless to say, it leaves little time for gardening.

But the garden will wait – and the bees and butterflies don’t seem to mind the weed mess below.

I will plant fresh fall flowers later when the scalding ends and something approaching fall begins – and all the puppies are home beginning their new, happy lives. Four down; four to go.

Mama Irish, meanwhile, has had surgery to eliminate her pain. The recovery will be lengthy, but her future is much brighter. She was a wonderful mom, taking such good care of her kids despite her own suffering. We will find her the perfect home and a happy life, as well. She certainly has earned it.