Garden Ballet


Monarch Butterflies are doing dances all through the butterfly bed in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. We have created a haven for them with Butterfly Bush, Milkweed, Lantana, Verbena and a host of others.


As long as they stay still, I can pretty much capture them.


In flight – not so much.


I was able to capture the dance of this rare specimen, however. Quite the ballet – don’t you think?










Take a bow, Dee Dee! Such a cutie.


Sunshine, Freedom, and a Little Flower

A perfect long weekend starts early with the afternoon off and a sneak trip to the garden.

The Hummingbird Garden with Veronica, Coreopsis and Asiatic Lily in bloom….


The Cottage Garden, freshly tamed. Ina has been here!


The Butterfly Garden, filling in at a rapid rate. I saw a Monarch today, but it got away!



The Dahlias, making their way skyward…


Maria’s Garden, a jumble of color awaiting the Sunflowers arrival…


Darn bunnies burrowing beneath the blueberries…


And visitors. A lizard with a keen sense of irony…


And Pelican Bay. Taking up residence in the flooded rice fields.


“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
~ Hans Christian Anderson

(I’ll be back tomorrow.) 🙂

Down the rabbit hole

If you think plant names are challenging – try coming up with unique and memorable names for thousands of rescued dogs. Lately, we have resorted to “months” – artist month, musician month, etc. This is writer month. Which is how this sweet little girl acquired the name Beatrix Potter.


She is a breeder surrender with only one functioning kidney. That makes her imperfect in a breeder’s eyes – but certainly not in ours, or in the adoring eyes of the family that adopted her today.

It is fitting that Beatrix Potter’s namesake should be represented in the garden today. The author of the Tale of Peter Rabbit must have inspired the return of our bunnies who have tunneled two burrows under our prized blueberry bushes. You might remember that this was the former site of the dreaded blackberry bramble. As fate would have it – the bramble served as the bunnies’ previous home. They have apparently returned to take their revenge!


Beatrix Potter wrote, “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”


The Memorial Garden is like that. Begun with a desire to contribute to the rescue’s mission, it has taken us down the most wonderful rabbit hole of friendship and extended Homeward Bound family.


Today we met to re-work Randy and Vonnie’s butterfly bed. All but the roses were lost in last December’s deluge.


So we regrouped; raised the bed; and planted a host of perennials for attracting butterflies: Bee Balm, Milkweed, Sage, Yarrow, Coreopsis, Penstemon, Lantana, and more. The bed will be quite a showpiece in a month or so – befitting its position in the center of the garden.


Then, it was time for a doggie parade.


Dressed to impress with colorful collars and leashes donated by the generous folks at Lupine, we took photos to create an appropriate “thank you”.


Some of us were more into hamming it up and cuddles than modeling, but everyone knows that looking good is important to a dog’s self-esteem!


When you look good, you feel good…and you never know where that will lead a rescue dog. Maybe even to a forever home!


Remaking our corner

“It is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.” ~ Amelia Earhart


I asked my painter friend recently: “how do you know when it is done?” She had many answers, but the bottom line was that it rarely was. She confessed to reworking a canvas as much as a year after she put it down. The Homeward Bound Memorial Garden is like that for me – much to my fellow gardener’s chagrin. They laugh at my long list of projects and inability to leave things alone.


Sunday, we re-worked the Butterfly garden which has been conspicuously absent of Butterflies. We pulled up the large, heavy bark –


and started loading in piles of soil to raise the new transplants so they won’t sit in the winter water that floods the garden in December and January. Butterfly Bush, Monarda, Yarrow, Milkweed, Coneflower, Sage, Verbena, Lantana, and more will provide a welcome home.

While they mock me, I see them making plans of their own. With the ground work begun in the Butterfly bed, Maria had us turn attention to the herb garden. We love our pups; but not the way they relieve themselves on the herbs. So we have devised a scheme to put flowers in front and raised herbs in the rear.


Ina, meanwhile sneaks off to “contemplate” – which is almost always followed by a burst of fresh perspiration inspiration. This time, she has designs on the leftover stone. We’ll see what masterpiece she cooks up next.


The dogs? They just laugh. Unsure why anyone would want to work so hard when there are walks to be had –


apples to be retrieved…


and little boys to be played with.


“Gardeners are – let’s face it – control freaks. Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wresting weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways? The more one thinks about it, the odder it seems; this compulsion to remake a little corner of the planet according to some plan or vision.” ~ Abby Adams, What is a Garden Anyway


Compulsion or not, this little corner of the planet seems a little better for the effort.


What the Garden Attracts

You know the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden is getting better by the sheer volume of visitors we are getting now – two legged and four.

Vonnie and Randy were out early to tend to their Butterfly bed. Vonnie has a new rule which is my favorite: “Come out to do your garden, and work on two others as well.” After weeding and dead-heading their bed, they weeded the Tree Circles and part of Jody’s bed.

We have seen many white butterflies, but few of color or spectacular display. Bemoaning their absence, Vonnie and Randy installed two solar cousins along with the ornament that already graced the garden.

The additions apparently established a welcoming tone – attracting the real thing later in the day.

Pat joined us early as well. She is a dog-walker volunteer who took a shine to our project, and graciously offered to help out. After a walk-through, she graciously weeded Sue’s Grandma’s Garden bed.

Maria arrived mid-morning with a long to-do list. Top priority was leveling some of the settled stones, and planting more of the Elfin Thyme.

What awaited in her Sunflower bed was a grand surprise; a gigantic sunflower measuring a foot across!

A family was getting acquainted with Raffy as a possible adoption. I’ll need to update you later on the status, but they certainly looked good together!

Peggy and Steve came to work on their Iris Bed, installing a scarecrow, and a string of fun dog toys. We hope the scarecrow will send a message to the finches. If the dog toys disappear, I don’t think we’ll be able to blame the rabbits!

In keeping with Vonnie’s new rule, they pitched in on multiple projects; dead-heading the roses, pulling crab grass from the Willow Garden, more weeding of Jody’s bed, and help with the stones and thyme planting. Being a guy, clippers and trowels were not enough for Steve, who quickly wielded an ax on some troublesome roots. When we last left him, he was using the ax to weed. It’s a guy thing.

We had more four-legged visitors than I can remember or had a chance to write down. Mosh and Marie (read their story here)…

Judy with Cisco…

And these Golden beauties:

Trishkin was our last visitor. He is a Sanctuary dog – which means that due to his health issues, he will have a forever home at Homeward Bound. Such a sweetie.

It’s been a long time since we had so many hands at one time in the garden – not to mention paws. We got so much done, that I was actually able to spend time in the Perennial and Hummingbird beds for a change.

There is an old Spanish proverb which says: “More in a garden grows than what the gardener sows.” That was certainly true at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden today.

Thanks to everyone for pitched in or stopped by. It’s great to see you in the Gardens.