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.