The Fever

“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 YoungIMG_7776IMG_7848IMG_7980Trips 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. IMG_8083I’m filling pots with colorful Primroses, Pansies and Violas.IMG_7702IMG_7969The air is scented with the heavenly fragrance of winter Daphne. Is there a sweeter smell in February? Not in my book!IMG_7977A row of blooming flowering plum trees heralds our arrival along our driveway.IMG_8081And a hedge of tall Photonia brightens up the yard with shiny new red leaves.IMG_8082Flowering Quince and Forsythia are putting on their shows,IMG_7830IMG_7968while graceful Hellebores nod hello.
IMG_7846Oh, 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

The Blessings of Friendship and Love

Once a month my Book Group friends and I gather at one of homes for a few hours of  discussion on books, current events, both happy and sad news, great restaurants, movies, theater, and so much more. Over dessert and drinks, we share life together. The ten women who make up this group of genuine friends are intelligent, caring, generous, kind, opinionated, and strong.

Over the last few years, two of our members have passed away, two have gone through divorces, there have been deaths of spouses and parents, health hardships, and we’ve all felt the immense joy of becoming  grandmothers. Through all of life’s moments we hold together, hugging, laughing, loving, crying, comforting and cheering each other on. Each year the bonds that connect us grow ever stronger.

Last night, another milestone event brought us all together again. Under twinkling lights in the gorgeous gardens at Boeger Winery, we celebrated and witnessed the true bliss and deep love between one of our members, Kathy, and her beloved Charlie as they exchanged vows. The evening was magical.

IMG_5421IMG_5422IMG_5420IMG_5438IMG_5436IMG_5448IMG_5426IMG_5441IMG_5443I am so grateful to have these phenomenal women in my life and I cherish our friendships. Here’s to our devoted friendships. Here’s to love, sweet love. Cheers!

 

 

The Gardens at Oakmont Senior Living

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This summer my dad had the heart wrenching realization that it was time to move my step mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, into a memory care facility. He visited care homes that came highly recommended, and he made his choice of Oakmont Senior Living in Carmichael. Twelve days ago we moved her in.

The last few years have been challenging and emotional on all of the family, but especially on my dad, who was her loving primary caregiver. Through this atrocious illness, my father has lost his love, his best friend, and his companion through thick and thin for 45 years. It’s been a time of many lessons on tolerance, acceptance, unconditional love, and above all, patience, as we navigated through this journey.

I will have my second visit with her at the facility tomorrow and I will once again find comfort in the beautiful gardens at Oakmont, as I did last week. I will walk hand in hand with her out to the raised beds bursting with colorful blossoms and vines, herbs and vegetables, and ripening fruit. We will check to see if the sunflowers have opened from last week, and we may sample the cherry tomatoes. We’ll be on the lookout for hummingbirds visiting the salvia. And we’ll sit together in comfortable chairs listening to the wall fountain as it sings it’s peaceful lullaby to us.

Our hearts are burdened and battered, emotions are tender and fragile. My father, siblings and I, along with our loved ones are all bravely walking into waters unseen. But we know how to swim. We’ll do this together. And we’ll be okay.

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Naming My Blog

IMG_4388Why the name Hollyhocks and Heart Shaped Rocks, you ask? Well, I love all kinds of gardens, but my all time favorite type is a cottage garden just bursting with blooms. No cottage garden is complete without the old fashioned charmers, Hollyhocks to add color, height and even a bit of dancing in the summer breeze.

IMG_4812As for the heart shaped rocks — I first started collecting them many years ago. I find them often on walks and hikes, but sometimes they’re right in my path on a busy sidewalk, just waiting to be picked up and treasured. Some have even come home with me from as far away as Ireland, Mexico, and British Columbia! I also have dear friends who’ve given me their found rocks to add to the collection. I’ve never counted them all, but their numbers are perhaps as many as 100. I’ll get back to you on that someday. I have them displayed on window sills, in window boxes, some mingle in a tray or dish together, while others are placed around the gardens on our property. They really present themselves everywhere. Their message? Love is all around us. It’s up to us to open our eyes to nature’s masterpieces and receive her bounty.