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!




In honor of Presidents Day, we threw a bit of a Homeward Bound garden party (while Penny slept!) extending our reach beyond the Memorial Garden boundary in support of the Sanctuary’s struggling trees. Seven of us gathered to free the ‘Scarlet Sprite’ (Grevillea rosmarinifolia) and Crepe Myrtles of their Morning Glory tormenters…


and clear the trees in the dog pens of their choking weeds. Before…


and after.


Capping off the day – the long-awaited Highbush Blueberries were finally installed. Regular readers will remember our battle to remove invasive blackberries from the site. Before…


and after.


Triumph was not ours alone today. I watched with delight as one of our trainers, Chris, played and worked with Lucy – one of the breeder pups who came to us just a few short weeks ago. Before…


and after.


“The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.”
― George Washington

Our work outside the garden is not quite done; the day was called due to a change in weather and the fact that we ran out of room in the refuse pile. Nor is Lucy’s transformation complete, but great progress was made on all fronts. Special thanks to gardeners Randy, Vonnie, Peggy, Pat, Ina and Maria today. It makes the exhaustion so worthwhile.

Handle With Care

Saturday was spent continuing to clear the shrubs and trees along the drive of the pesky Morning Glories. Progress is slow, and my aches and pains are a reminder that I am not as young as I once was.

An impromptu trip to the nursery was fortuitous. The Highbush Blueberries were in stock, and going fast. I picked up 12; six for each raised bed where the blackberries were unceremoniously removed from their resting place in the Memorial Garden. There are four different varieties which will keep us in blueberries from early to late season – assuming success.


This is not a simple plop in the ground operation. The Highbush Blueberries can be grown in our area, but they still require extra care. They demand somewhat acidic soil and good drainage. Our raised bed will help with drainage; mounds running the length of the bed will assist. We’ll amend the soil to make it more acidic, incorporating compost and sand as well. I read that coffee grounds placed at the bottom of each planting hole can also help with the ph level. Guess it can’t hurt.


Finally, we are advised to mulch with a layer of pine straw – a luxury around here that has to be shipped in. These simple looking shoots should come with a difficulty label rating, like those projects you have to assemble. But we’re accustomed to handling things with extra care around here.


These sweet pups are breeder dog rescues. The come to us having spent their whole lives in the production of puppies. Unaccustomed to human interaction, building trust is a painfully slow process.


Chris and Steve dedicated a good portion of their morning to coaxing them out to sit in the sun, while learning that a human touch could be kind and comforting.


Kylo and Rose have both had recent surgeries to address long neglected issues.


“This is what you should do;
love the Earth
and sun and the animals…”
~ Walt Whitman


We will love them all at Homeward Bound.