A Garden Is Not a Place

“A garden is not a place: it is a passage, a passion.

We don’t know where we’re going;

to pass through is enough;

to pass through is to remain.” ~ Octavio Paz

I am never alone in the garden. When all have left and I have it to myself, I am still surrounded by the memories of all that remain.

The virtues of getting lost


“If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.” ~ Author Unknown

I’m going to get lost for a week or so. Time to take a travel break and find some serenity, inspiration and rejuvenation where there is rain and lush, green forests. Ina and Anna will tend to the garden as Maria is also away. Who knows what mischief they will get into?!


When the cat’s away…

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Spring is quickly slipping by. I said farewell to its blooms today in case they are not here when I return.


All signs point to summer’s arrival including the sprouting of sunflowers,




and the nesting mourning doves in the garden trees.

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I feel better about leaving knowing that this pup has left as well.

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Junior was the last of our hunting dogs. Deaf, it took a little while longer to get him home. But home he went this weekend, with previous adopters who gave Lisa (now Ellie) her new chance at life.


His new people are renaming him “Orion” – for the Greek hunter – and the constellation by the same name. Not that he can hear it. But no matter. I’m pretty sure he knows that his life just got much brighter. Instead of chasing ducks in a field, he can light up the lives of his new people.

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Happy life, Orion. We’re going to miss you.
And happy week to all of you. Aloha. See you soon.


Of thorns

“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy that to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” ~ Voltaire

We passed through more than a few thorns this weekend – literally and figuratively – beginning with the dreaded foxtails!


Foxtails are nasty pointed grass clusters that lodge themselves into pets’ eyes, ears, noses, toes and fur, among other places. In long-haired dogs (we have more than a few of these!) foxtails can be hidden by fur between the toes or on the body and, if left unattended, can poke the dog’s skin and eventually cause a large abscess requiring surgical removal.


Foxtails are barbed in such a way that they can only move in a “forward” direction. Since a dog’s body is incapable of degrading or decomposing them, they can wreck havoc. They grow in abundance in California – and on an eight acre dog sanctuary located in the country, you can imagine the threat. So this weekend we called on our dog walkers and gardeners for a “weed-a-thon” rising early to tackle the trails, benches, and other areas well traveled by the dogs. It’s not exactly my favorite kind of gardening…but it must be done.


Candy was kept company by her beautiful Shane;


and if the company of dogs is not incentive enough, donuts always do the trick!


Sundays, Kathryn holds Reactive Dog Training Class. This class is for dogs that don’t play nicely with others; some of them are our rescues, others are from community members seeking help.


A dog can’t be forced to like other dogs. But you can help them cope with their fears or anxiety by teaching them alternate behaviors. Our trainers have had amazing success with turning these thorny issues into good canine behaviors. I’ll share more on an upcoming post.


This poor pup was literally covered in thorns.


We are just beginning to write his story of true rescue; it deserves a post all its own. I will bring it to you soon. In between all, we managed to get a little gardening in!


After a week of unseasonably hot temperatures, the weather has cooled, and the garden is breathing a sigh of relief.


It weathered the heat well, and brings forth new treasures each week like this Jerusalem Sage…




Maria’s first sunflowers…


and of course, Roses – thorns and all.


With the promise of two stories to come, have a great week and I’ll hope to see you back here soon!

Dahlias returned

Before I began this journey to rebuild the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden, I had no experience at all with Dahlias. They were the gift of a volunteer gardener and fell into my charge. I watched them blossom through the summer into magnificent plates of color and fell in love.


I dutifully dug them up in the fall; placed them in a box of vermiculite following instructions I had read, sprinkled lightly with water and a little prayer, and then left them covered in the dark, cold garage. Every six weeks or so I would open the box and add a few more sprinkles to ensure they didn’t dry out until this weekend, when I pulled them out of darkness. To my delight and amazement, each “eye” had a tiny shoot springing forth. Today, they were returned to their spot in the garden. With any luck, the Dahlias will spring forth within a couple of weeks.


“Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.” ~ Shigenori Kameoka

All sorts of little joys were sprouting forth in the garden this weekend; the arrival of blueberries where thorny blackberries once ruled,


Blooming Honeysuckle and Clematis


Jerusalem Artichoke and Rose Campion…


and multiplying gardeners! Randy and Vonnie were back to check in on their recently planted Butterfly Garden, to continue the attack on the driveway brush, and to take their latest adopted pup, Chelsea to training class.


One of our dog walkers recruited her mother, a seasoned gardener to join our effort. It is a great way for them to have some time together around shared passions, and we could not be more delighted. Welcome Diane!


And our newest recruit, is but a sprout herself. This is Alexandria.


Her dog goes to class on Saturdays, and while she waits, she loves to wander the garden. This week she helped me with weeding and watering while she explained photosynthesis to me at a million words a minute. A gardener is born.

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” ~ Gertrude Jekyll

Finally, this sweet girl, Roxy, and her foster mom, Michele, were a surprise find and a story all their own. More on them to come soon!


Until then…happy week…from the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden!