When All Is New Again

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” ~William Shakespeare

The garden in April is both young and old. New friends appear…

Old friends are reborn.

The season was never over. It was just waiting for us to find it again.

From cold ground covered in earth and leaves, springs forth our long-lost friends looking new and refreshed; ready to write another season –

another chapter in our garden’s journey.

“Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, though in another dress.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Gracie is finding a second chapter, too. At 10, she was found stray and sent to a local shelter. Her owner was contacted, but never bothered to reclaim her – as if this beautiful life was done.

Not done – just waiting to be found again by a lucky someone who will recognize that under this sugar face is a young and loving heart.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

Gracie’s new beginning starts now – in April – when all is new again.

Rescue is Only The Start

When we set out to save this Memorial Garden from returning to the earth, we had no idea where the journey would lead.

It was a mission of rescue, re-creation, and re-envisioning.

Today – it is this.

But a garden is a living, breathing thing.

It changes over time; plants grow and morph; and once-happy companions need to find new homes. Like our Dahlias – recently relocated –

because their once-full-sun setting…

has been cloaked in shade.

Or this graceful rose, wild and tangled in its old spot…

now supported and delighted in its new home.

Rescue is only the beginning for our dogs, as well.
The work only starts with pulling a dog from a shelter, taking in a stray, or assuming responsibility for a surrender.
Some of our dogs come to us already blooming; they just need to be replanted (Seru!).

Others require training and TLC to bring out their best selves (Jackson!).

While we work through that process, transformations take place. They grow, become more confident, and come into their own (Chief!)

Sadly, sometimes, these are the dogs that wait. For all of their readiness, people have a hard time letting go of the dog’s past and embracing its future (Nico…adopted today…we told you it would happen, boy!).

When a plant outgrows its space, it sends gentle signals at first.

Eventually, it will struggle – deprived of the very things that made it grow so strong and well.

I hope these special pups will not lose hope or faith as they wait for that special someone who recognizes that all they need is a new start and new place to call ‘home’ (we’re working on it, Riley!).

Our work for this garden is a gift.

So too is our volunteers’ work to grow the potential of these pups into the great dogs they can and have become (Nick and Nora!).

Rescue is only the start.
‘Home’ is the ending.

Life is Good…Today

Sweet Spring.





“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”

Sweet Lindsey…


and Gunner.




and fleeting? We cannot say.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

May they bloom like little miracles.

“Life is good…today.”

Of Gardens and Rescue Dogs


What a garden needs is time,










and room to grow.


What a rescue dog needs…










and room to grow.


“One of the greatest virtues of gardening is this perpetual renewal of youth and spring, of promise of flower and fruit that can always be read in the open book of the garden, by those with an eye to see, and a mind to understand.” ~ E.A. Bowles

The greatest virtues of rescue dogs are the same.


In Its Season


I have reclaimed my refrigerator. As any West Coast gardener knows – this is not about household tips. It’s about spring bulb planting.


Daffodil bulbs can safely go into the ground in November at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. Many even return when left to “over-summer.” But tulips, hyacinths, and others require special treatment. In our warm Valley, there is no such thing as cold storage. So the bulbs are lifted in very late spring and stored in the refrigerator – much to my husband’s disgust. New additions join them for about six weeks of pre-chilling before planting (which means very little room for Thanksgiving leftovers!). Then, in December, as the nights approach freezing, they finally make their way out of the fridge and into the ground. Actually, pots above the ground.


We learned the hard way just how yummy tender tulip bulbs are to burrowing bunnies.


More than 500 Daffodils, Tulips, Iris, Hyacinth, Muscari, Iris, Chionodoxa, and Scilla – some gifted (thank you Lynn and Greg!); some saved – are now safely in their winter garden spots – leaving ample room in the fridge for Christmas cookie dough. A mission accomplished over a couple of beautiful Fall days.



As rain is (hurrah!) on the horizon, I accomplished most of the annual raising of the beds this weekend, as well.


Water is graded away from the kennels and toward the garden at Homeward Bound. Best for the dogs – but not so good for our drought tolerant plantings.


To keep them from drowning, the beds – which have been well dog-trampled throughout the season – get raised each Fall with a mixture of compost and soil before they settle into winter slumber under the untrimmed remnants of Fall blossoms and fallen leaves. Nourishment for a bountiful spring.


Fall is as busy in the garden as spring – only the chores have a deadline determined by cold and rain.


Work done. Eyes dropping. Back aching. Time for a hot bowl of soup and a snuggling dog.


“Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up.” ~ Henry David Thoreau




I took a little breather last week for a girls’ weekend in Sedona, Arizona.


It is beautiful country – magical, really.


Its towering sandstone formations glow red and orange against breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.


At night, the stars fill the blackened sky.


But gardening in that dark red, desert clay? While I think I’ll pass on that challenge, what blooms from the desert appears even more beautiful for the hardships it has triumphed over –


not unlike one of our newest arrivals, twelve-year-old Jake.


When I saw the blackened skin stripe on his back, I admit – I feared the worst. But it is actually all that remains of a horrible skin condition that stripped all the fur from his body.


I’ll spare you the “before” photos, but thank the Wine Country Animal Lovers and the Calistoga Vet Clinic for the miracle they performed.


Jake is with us now, for as many sunrises and sunsets as we are blessed with. The neglect that caused this condition, his worn down teeth, and his lumps and bumps is over. His new soft coat and his sweet disposition are appreciated all the more for what he has overcome. He’s magical, really.


Mirror, Mirror


Mirror, mirror on the wall…


Who’s the fairest of them all?


If these two bear a remarkable resemblance, it’s not a coincidence. I wrote about our foster, Yona, last week.


He’s soon to be a foster-failure. Having earned our Jackson’s full endorsement,


he will become an official member of our family on Tuesday, with a new name: Yogi.

The stunning beauty who looks so much like him is his sister, Lottie.


They went to separate families as puppies but came back to the breeder at roughly the same time for the same offense: cute puppy grows into adult, rambunctious, dog.


Lottie, like Yogi, has separation anxiety – although her case seems to be a bit more severe. To help her through it, she’ll have two very experienced dog people, one of whom is home most of the time, and two canine companions, Beau and Milo.


She’ll be living in Lake Tahoe with plenty of activities to wear her out. And what they say is true: a tired dog is a good dog!

We’re looking forward to mini reunions and future play dates at the lake or in the snow. Happy life, Lottie! You’re in very good hands now.





Cabbage Butterfly White_DSC_0031

White is so cooling in a garden, especially on very hot summer days.


White offers a place for the eyes to rest – a break from all the hot yellows, oranges and reds of an August garden.


White Rose_DSC_0011

White dogs are just as cool in the garden –


or elsewhere.

White Golden_DSC_9489

The come in all shapes and sizes,


offering up their love,

Mollie Going Home_IMG_0889 (002)


Daisy Going Home_IMG_1335

or just a helping hand.


One white dog had an especially sweet “going home” this weekend – turning her seventh birthday into her first “gotcha day.”

Olivia Going Home_DSC_0184

Earned after years of birthing puppies, and currently recovering from double knee surgery,


Olivia has found her forever home.

Olivia Going Home_DSC_0195

White. A color without hue…

Agapanthus White_Bee_DSC_9920

but plenty of heart.