Evening Meeting in the Garden

Ina, Maria and I called an evening meeting in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. Over delicious Turkey, Pesto and Tomato sandwiches (thanks, Ina!) we talked through future plans.

We had our first sighting of a Monarch butterfly, but it would not sit still long enough to be photo-captured. We certainly have created a haven for them, and we hope to see more in the coming weeks.

Surrounded by Robins, Quail, and Bunnies who kept their distance, it was nice to simply enjoy the fruits of our labor as the sun dropped in the sky…

when everything takes on a golden hue…

including my Jackson, who accompanied us tonight and enjoyed Maria’s Elfin Thyme!

I’m a little biased, but I think he looks as pretty as the flowers, don’t you?

The highlight of the evening was Ina’s confession that she added another plant to her Cottage Garden bed.  A talented gardener, she was concerned that the ideal sun and soil conditions were quickly creating monster successes. She issued strict warnings to us: “no more plants!” Ha! Busted.

There is always more work to do in a garden…

but tonight was more about fussing, photos, pups and friends.

A rare moment to soak up the sunset and enjoy all that has been created in the garden. Apparently, we are in good company.

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.


I have to admit, I was a little discouraged Friday night when I arrived at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden; by the destruction being inflicted on Maria’s sunflowers, the paths that are in disarray waiting for our fall project, and the never-ending weeds that grows like trees in this country garden.

Unlike maintenance at our home gardens where we just step outside the door – the trek out to this country garden takes time. As a result, we generally are limited to one full day of gardening per week, and one weekly, evening visit. Things pile up fast and it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed.

Sometimes , as they say, it is hard to see the forest for the trees. I’m sure the volunteers who waited Friday night for an expected dog drop-off sometimes feel similarly. It is not unusual for Homeward Bound to welcome 10-20 rescues a week. So much good accomplished; and always so much more to do.

I know for the dedicated volunteers of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue, the reward of seeing rescued dogs go to their new forever homes far outweighs the long hours and occasional discouragements. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and hit the garden early with Maria, weed whackers, trowels, and beads in hand. Beads? Read on.

First, it is amazing how much better things look when the paths are closely trimmed – even if the “lawn” is really weeds. At least they are (mostly) green and neat for now.  Our plan is to create an isolated grassy area next fall, and surround the beds with mulched paths, letting them grow larger and closer together. This will greatly reduce the amount of weekly maintenance, and hopefully create a cool resting point for the eye in a sea of color. Can’t wait!

Close observation confirmed Maria’s and Ina’s suspicions; the damage caused to the sunflowers was done by Finches who leveled their bold attacks in full view of us today.  (Thanks to our readers for your suggestions.) Maria’s counter attack includes hanging beads, metallic spirals, CDs and putting an owl sculpture in place to watch over the garden.  The Sunflower bed looks a little like Mardi Gras, but Maria assures me the beads were purchased, not earned. If that needs explanation, please visit New Orleans.

Roses were fed and they, along with the fruit trees and beds were deep watered as we expect a week of 100+ degree weather ahead. This is when we are grateful for clay soil. Still, we will be paying extra visits to the garden this week.

Toward the end of the day, Maria planted some Elfin Thyme between the stone patio slabs. This will be beautiful when it fills in.

The hard work pays off in more frequent visits from dogs and dog walkers.  Today we welcomed Maggie,


Brothers Bubba and (another) Bones,


And Cisco.

All is right in the Memorial Garden again.