Took a late January trip out to the Memorial Gardens at Homeward Bound to see how our weeding stood up to the rain last week, followed by six warm sunny days. To my delight, there were only a few sprouts attempting to poke through our bark cover. They were quickly dealt with.

I ran into a dog-walking volunteer who had not seen the gardens since early fall. She was amazed at the progress. A new Cottage Garden has been laid out at the entrance to the shed. Should create a lovely little vignette and a welcoming path to the beds beyond.

A new board has been installed in the shed, with a list of chores to support the our fellow gardeners.

No Giving Up

Great news this weekend for the Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue Memorial Garden…the irrigation system has been pushed through and approved! It took a few tries, and a very generous donation from one of our volunteer gardeners, but it now appears to be on its way! This simple, but critical element, means that the gardens will truly have their best chance of long term success. In return, we hope they will someday soon, help to generate financial support for the Golden Retrievers waiting for homes.

Perseverance will ultimately pay off – for gardens and for dogs in need of rescue. Today I met Harlow – an incredibly sweet girl who, I understand, is without a home because she was not house-trained.  This loveable Golden is now in need of rescue for lack of human patience and perseverance. I hope she will connect soon with someone who will take the time to help her over this hurdle. In return, I suspect they’ll be rewarded with the unconditional love and gratitude of a very special girl.

For the love of Goldens…

Our eclectic group of volunteer gardeners met together yesterday at Homeward Bound to talk over plans and needs for the rescued Memorial Garden, but mostly to have the opportunity to touch base. We work independently, each of us responsible for our own garden bed. While the results of everyone’s hard work is clearly visible with each visit, we rarely see each other.

We come from all over the valley, with different levels of gardening expertise and strengths. Happily, we have multiple members with irrigation experience. Previous tactics apparently included manually moving oscillating sprinklers. Not only is the method time-consuming, it’s tough on sensitive plants and very beneficial to weeds! A well-planned system along with regular TLC should keep the star thistle at bay for good.

Laure shared that the plea in the Fall newsletter was her last-ditch hope for help after two years of start and stop efforts. Close to throwing in the towel, she was overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response. Even better is the action that followed. The gardens were quickly whipped into shape for the winter, and now sit prepped and ready for spring planting.

Dog SculptureAlong with introductions, we each shared our tie to Homeward Bound – a place where hundreds of abandoned, broken and special needs Golden Retrievers find homes each year. Most of us have adopted; someone fosters; one couple is on their fourth Golden.  Seems like we all know from experience how hard it is to lose our beloved friends. Still, another one finds its way into your heart. We all love our gardens, but this is why we are really here. For the love of Goldens.

Getting Ready

Our volunteer gardening army has grown to more than 20. The progress at Homeward Bound’s Memorial Garden reflects it. Visiting last weekend, I was amazed at how much has been accomplished in the middle of winter. While we desperately need some rain soon in our Sacramento Valley, the dry December provided an opportunity to get the gardens and paths caught up for the winter and ready for spring planting.

Most impressive is the progress made on the entry path and arbor. Entry ArborNow laid, bordered and ready for the memorial stones ready to be placed. The messages tell of the amazing bonds between families and their golden friends. You lose one, and you don’t think your heart will ever heal. And then one day, something furry saddles up beside you, a paw is offered, and soulful eyes pierce you. When you’re ready, the amazing placement team at Homeward Bound is ready for you.

I even see tonight on HB’s website that sweet Jack, who I met a couple of weeks ago, is ready for adoption. I hope he finds the right family soon.

Planning for planting

This is the fun part! Sorting through plant lists; organizing by size, color, season and shape. All spread out on the table like a patchwork quilt to bring some order to the chaos. Hours and hours of rearranging to produce a “natural” look for our perennial Homeward Bound Memorial garden bed.

Garden planningIrrigation allowing, we’re going for rich, intense colors inspired  by my garden buddies love for Dahlias. We’ll take a few liberties with perennial bulbs to have a garden blooming from early spring until very late fall.

Ready For Winter

My husband donated his truck and his back to help me cover the garden bed at Homeward Bound with redwood bark, tucking it in for the winter months. This will keep the weeds at bay while my garden buddy, Deb and I work out the plan for spring planting.

Garden Bed
Weeded, mulched, and covered with bark. All tucked in until spring!

The progress is amazing in the Memorial Garden, which is actually looking now like a garden, instead of overgrown weeds and tangles of hoses. Give passionate people a project and they’ll make you proud. Nothing, however, compares to the passion of the volunteers who work with the dogs waiting for adoption each week.

Today I met Bones. Aptly named at this point, but that is changing.  He is as gentle and sweet as can be, but completely deaf – the result of untreated infections in his ears. He is in better hands now, and ready for someone to fall in love with him. Also met a family meeting their potential four-legged addition for the first time. Pictures were flying to Dad who could not be there. Rose, may be more than just ‘golden’, but she is a total sweetie in need of an active family that will devote some love and attention to her training.  I hope she found her home today.

Patience and Progress

Just a few short weeks after the new volunteer gardeners began there is much progress at the Memorial Gardens of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary. With a little patience and attention, this…

  has already become this…

 

Just as patience leads to progress in the garden, the same is true of the rescued dogs who find their way to Homeward Bound in search of permanent homes. Today I met Delores, a volunteer working with a beautiful, lab/retriever mix, Jack. He desperately needs to put on weight, and while he is very human friendly, he is learning how to be comfortable with other dogs. Amazingly, she devotes five days a week to his recovery, both physical and emotional. She brings him special meals to supplement his diet, proudly noting his weight gain. And she walks him in, out and through the huge compound running pens, providing an opportunity for gradual exposure to other dogs. Patience, and progress. For our garden, and for Jack.

In the beginning…

Soon to be garden
The soon-to-be perennial garden. Let the weeding begin!

I have volunteered to help rescue the Memorial Gardens of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Elverta, CA. Through this work, our volunteer army hopes to support the rescue of more beautiful golden retrievers. Gardens are like paintings; a blank canvas and clutter of colors taking shape in imagination of the artist. These gardens require a great deal of imagination right now. But from this pile of weeds, my garden buddy and I we hope to make magic for the goldens of Homeward Bound.