New Additions


April showers bring … April flowers. In abundance.


The garden is in full bloom making my early morning arrival extra special.


“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


Last week: five long-term residents went home. This week: five arrived in one day. Plus three more for good measure throughout the week.


The universe seeks balance, I guess. No rest for the weary.

We have a new addition to the garden: a beautiful bird bath.

Bird Bath_DSC_8036

Maria made it for Jody, our president who, with her husband, imagined this whole Homeward Bound effort and works tirelessly to sustain it. It’s the perfect centerpiece for her special bed in the garden.


As beautiful as they are, the flowers in the garden have tough competition from the pups named for flowers. Iris…




Sweet William,

Sweet William_DSC_8068

and Stephanotis.


All spoken for – from a long list of families that have waited a long time for these rare arrivals.
Until their going home days…we’ll enjoy watching them bloom, as well.


Catching Up

For those of you suffering through snow and ice, let me catch you up on our Northern California garden!


The Narcissus arrived – a bit early thanks to all that water in December (and woefully, none in January).


The roses took a final bow following a brief freeze…


and let us know that their time had come. January is the month for pruning roses In Northern California. By my count, there are 41 of them in the garden proper with another 20 along the perimeter. To help get the job done, Ina brought a fresh recruit. Beth is a knowledgeable and focused gardener – and a great addition.


St. Francis, Patron Saint of Animals, took a serious tumble from his housing in a high wind storm.


Sadly, we were unable to revive him. Given his stature, a proper burial was planned at the base of the podium. Because of conflicts with her plantings, however, Maria wanted to save space and lay him to rest with his head upright.


While discussing the inappropriateness of this plot, Scrappy misplaced his ball, adding insult to injury.


The plantings were displaced to create a proper resting place; the ball was retrieved…


and disaster was averted.


You might remember Yule – the frightened dog that Maria took home to foster. Well, that was two weeks ago, and she is not showing any signs of giving him up at this point! He has adapted really well at home and become much more confident and clearly relaxed.


He is an excellent garden dog. Another great addition to our team.


Late in the day, one of our longer term residents went home. At only six years old and gorgeous, you’d think that Ernie had everything going for him.


But he is one of those very independent dogs that doesn’t connect right way to people. Not to mention that his manners were less than perfect. He went home for a time with our dog photographer/whisperer, Rob, to work on those. Today, it paid off. His new people spent a lot of time with him and learning about him. Their “going home” photo (thanks Rob) reflects a match that was worth the wait.


Happy life, Ernie!

Mid-Summer Update

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~ Sam Keen

In the hot Sacramento months of July and August, the garden is best tended to in the early morning and early evening. I snuck out to the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden late yesterday afternoon and early evening to get some of our weekly heavy lifting done, knowing that Sunday would also be over 100 – and that Maria, my Sunday gardening partner, refuses to quit as long as there is something more to be done.

So today, with the weeds largely beaten back, the deep watering done, and the heat turned to ‘high’, we enjoyed a more relaxed pace in the garden.

Our newest volunteer, Pat returned this weekend (yeah!) and did an amazing job of dead-heading all of the roses along the fences. She claimed to be a novice at the task, but with a little instruction, that is no longer the case! This is a zen-like, but time-consuming job – so we are very grateful for the extra hands.

Pat is a dog-walker, soon-to-be-adopter.  She lost her own Golden a bit ago, and is now ready to open her heart to another.  Well almost.  She has a trip planned in the coming weeks, but after that, she’ll be on the hunt. In the meantime, she is afraid to look, for fear of falling in immediate love. We’ll keep her busy in the garden until the time is right!

I swear we have magic soil in this garden.  Things grow so quickly and brilliantly in these beds.  We found this gigantic Johnson grass weed hiding in the Daylilies. A week ago it was small enough that its blades were camouflaged.  A few days later, its height has given it up as it towers over the bed’s rightful occupants.

This sprouted in the Willow Garden since last weekend as well. I have no idea what it is, but the larger stalk is already a foot tall. It looks like an Amaryllis, but this is not the right time, or place for that…and two stalks? (Magic soil?) I’m sure that it will reveal its identity to us soon, but if you know, please advise!

The grapes have begun to ripen…

along with the apples and pears.

The birds are enjoying the seeds of the spent sunflowers in Maria’s bed, while new and amazing blooms still appear.

The Bee Balm is thriving…

the neighboring Coneflowers are the beneficiary…

and Jody’s garden is on its way to ‘full and tranquil.’

No Goldens visited us today. Too hot. They were happy to go out for their walks, jump in their pools, and take their wet bodies inside to the air conditioning! Can’t say as I blame them!

I laughed, however, as I watched Rob try to coax two new arrivals into posing for pictures. Imagine how strange and nervous these pups feel when they first arrive. They don’t know that picture-taking is just one of the steps on their road to a new forever home. Rob is one of the dedicated Homeward Bound team members that I see almost every weekend working with the dogs. He has a special “dog-whisperer” way with the ones who need the most help. The many volunteers like him make me proud to be a small part of this special place and mission.

NBA Draft Day Close-ups

It is NBA Draft Day, an official holiday in my house. In other words, I might as well be invisible. So I took the opportunity to make an evening trip to the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden to get up close with some of our blooming friends – beginning with Deb’s first Dahlia’s of the season…

Susan and Jeff’s Miniature Dahlias…

Maria’s Sunflowers,

Vonnie and Randy’s Roses,

Sue’s Marigolds,

and a host of others:

Next up…wide shots of the garden as the sun sets. Y’all come back now.