We’ve lived in our home for twenty five years. Our boys grew up here, exploring and playing on every bit of the property, and climbing every tree. Tree forts were built, rope swings were hung, a hammock was strung between two, and a zip-line was swung on in between another two. Now, our grandchildren are frequent visitors and they are the ones exploring.
This past winter we had to have four beloved trees taken down from one area of the yard. Each of the trees were either severely damaged from storms or were diseased. We were sad to see them go and worried about how the yard would look with a new lawn area where the trees once stood, and how the shade gardens would do when they suddenly received sun.
Imagine our surprise when the trees were cut down and we saw the shape of this oak tree stump! We knew at once that it would have a special place in the yard once our project was complete.After the trees were removed, the four stumps had to be grinded, roots were dug out of the ground, and a mini retaining wall was built. Then came adding amendments to the soil, and installing a lawn. With each new step of the process we began to feel more comfortable about the project. It didn’t take long before we began to love all of the sunlight we now have in front of the house, as well as our new views. So far, the garden beds planted with shade loving plants are all doing well.
Have a look at our finished project. We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. A million thanks to that oak tree that provided a shady place for our boys to explore and play for so many years, and now is the perfect little table for us or a sweet spot for a little one (or two) to rest after an afternoon of running, playing, and adventuring.
As I’ve been putting away the Christmas decorations over the last few days I’ve come to realize how perfectly our decorated tree tells the story of our family each year.
If I remember correctly we bought ornaments for our very first Christmas tree at Payless. Yep, it was a rainy Sunday in 1982. When my husband got off from work we went together and picked out just a few ornaments and a tree. This is one from that first year so long ago.By the next Christmas we were blessed with our first baby.And three years later, another precious baby boy joined our family.A good amount of our ornaments are family photos in mini frames and hung with ribbon.Throughout the years ornaments have been bought that represent a move to a new home, careers, interests, and now, grand babies. We’ve saved the child-made treasures from way back when, along with the ones the children would get to choose each year to commemorate a new sport or hobby they were interested in. They don’t all go up on the tree each year, but we look through them all, carefully unwrapping each and every treasure, smiling and feeling overcome with nostalgia.
A friend made this felted heart for me a few years ago,and a sweet daughter in law made this one.Gently tucked into luggage, special keepsakes are collected from our travels. This celtic cross came from a trip to Ireland.And this streetlamp with the hanging baskets of flowers was brought home from Victoria.Each one tells a story.Each one, a memory of our blessings. Each one, a snippet from our lives. My cup runneth over.
I wish you hope, health, peace and mad love in 2017. Happy New Year!
“Here’s to the end of this chapter. To all the late nights, early mornings, learnings gained and experiences shared, Here’s to love. Here’s to loss. Here’s to honoring, letting go, and transcending. Here’s to growth. Here’s to expanding. Here’s to a life with other heartbeats that would stop their world to celebrate your magic. Here’s to you, and your blank canvas. Here’s to filling it with nothing less than vibrant aliveness.”
“…But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye. For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall, you’ll find the tool and potting sheds which are the heart of all…”~Rudyard KiplingHere it is!Remember a few weeks ago I promised a post about my new garden shed? Welcome to Sunflower Cottage!
Wanting the paint and the style to match our home, but also wanting a bright pop of color for the door, I really don’t think it could have turned out any more perfectly.
Last fall I began looking in books, magazines and on pinterest for ideas for potting sheds. It was a bit overwhelming, but when our friend who built the structure for us started asking questions about how it would be used and what was most important to me, why then it all came together easily. Inside is a roomy potting bench, lots of shelving, and a pole to hang baskets and dry herbs from, and with the light from the two windows (three counting the window in the door) and a water source right outside the shed, I didn’t feel a need to have electricity or plumbing installed.
Here’s a bit of a peek inside. I’m still organizing and finding the best places for everything, but I’m already so happy to be working in this charming and cozy little storybook cottage, just as I knew I would! A gardener’s dream come true, for certain!
I can feel it. Can you? That subtle shift away from summer and into fall. Cooler morning and evening temperatures, less daylight, acorns spotted on my walks, birds feasting on the faded sunflower’s seeds, and yes, just a hint of color in some of the leaves. Here’s what’s catching my eye right now in late August:
This maple leaf gave me reason to pause yesterday evening as I was out watering. Just a hint of what’s to come!And this Chinese Pistache caught my eye in a parking lot last week! Won’t be long now until the trees are all aglow with gold, rust and crimson hues.I’ve cut back many of the summer perennials that put on such a gorgeous show for us all summer. Still blooming are the Black Eyed Susans,Bee Balm,
Colorful and carefree Zinnias,and a few Hollyhocks!Last September, I went to the outdoor wedding of a friend and fell in love with Sweet Autumn Clematis which was rambling along a split railed fence. A few days later I ran out and bought one for our yard. Just look at it now, happily climbing up the pergola! It’s a new favorite of mine.My brother brought me this rock all the way from Colorado. I’m loving the way it nestles in the roots of this oak tree near our porch. It’s bigger than my hand!A double heart within an olive tree’s bark. Such a delightful find recently!
Tell me, what’s catching your eyes during these glorious last days of summer?
“In summer the song sings itself.” ~ William Carlos Williams
Lately I find myself having to walk away from the news, turning off the TV. Newspapers pile up on the counter for a few days until I’m brave enough to sort through them. I have all but checked out of some social media sites because of the mean spirited political climate. Don’t get me wrong. I am interested in and want to be informed of what’s going on in the world, and I want to do my part to make the world a better place. But for the time being, in light of the violence, chaos, the constant turmoil and heartache in our world, I now need to take it all in small doses.
I firmly believe that despite the evil we know that exists, it is still an incredibly beautiful world filled with good hearted, thoughtful, kind souls everywhere. There is beauty beyond measure to behold. We don’t need to judge; we don’t need to agree on anything at all to be kind to one another. Let’s extend more compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Let’s work on finding the best in everyone.
As for me, I’m taking care of myself: I plan to keep going on early morning walks with this sweet girl,I’ll keep hiking and seeking solace in nature,I’ll spend all the time I can with these grand loves, I’ll keep writing, reading, listening to music, baking and trying new recipes, looking for good news, visiting with the wonderful friends and family members I’ve been blessed with, I’ll have morning coffee under the pergola. I’ll keep my eyes open for hearts,and I’ll be in the garden.I’ll be counting my blessings and praying for our world.
Peace to all.
“When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” ~Minnie Almoner
Happy first day of spring!
I’ve spent a good portion of yesterday and today working in the yard. Nothing glamorous, just putting down a new layer of top soil, feeding plants, taking inventory of what I need to replace, and cleaning up garden beds. This time of year it’s easy to lose myself out there. Hours pass quickly, and before I know it it’s late afternoon. There’s so much to do, but somehow it doesn’t feel like work (until the soreness kicks in the next day!) amidst the glory of nature’s reawakening. Isn’t it remarkable to watch what’s blooming from day to day? Here are a few scenes that caught my eye.I must be in a purple-y mood!
If you haven’t noticed already, I have an appreciation for quotes. I keep journals of passages from books that speak to me, along with favorite quotes. Through the years, I’ve added some inspiration in the garden by writing some quotes I love on rocks. I simply write with a sharpie and then spray them with a clear protective spray. They need to be re-done each year, and that was another bit of work (play!) I was doing this weekend.Suddenly our surroundings are bursting into bloom. Each time I’m out driving I’m noticing the emerald green of the hills swathed with poppies, singing loudly. Miracles are happening everywhere we look! What’s catching your eye right now?
“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
Winter is dead.”
~A.A. Milne, When We Were Very YoungTrips to four different nurseries within a week. Vases filled with Daffodils and Daphne throughout the house. Checking on each and every plant and tree to see how it fared during the winter. Soil under my nails. Yep, I’ve definitely got it. Spring Fever!
It’s only late February but the high temperatures have been hovering in the high 60s and even 70s for a couple weeks now. I’m really hoping March brings much more rain, but right now, well, right now I’m loving all these bursts of color. Right now, it feels like spring is bustin’ out all over!
Here, the Weigelias are just beginning to leaf out. I’m filling pots with colorful Primroses, Pansies and Violas.The air is scented with the heavenly fragrance of winter Daphne. Is there a sweeter smell in February? Not in my book!A row of blooming flowering plum trees heralds our arrival along our driveway.And a hedge of tall Photonia brightens up the yard with shiny new red leaves.Flowering Quince and Forsythia are putting on their shows,while graceful Hellebores nod hello.
Oh, I know it’s still early, but I can’t get enough of these happy harbingers of spring. What’s blooming in your gardens right now in late February?
“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” ~Gustav Mahler