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I’ve gone through a bit of rough patch on the garden enthusiasm front. I’m wondering if all gardeners go through this. I think it a distinct possibility, but I’d like to know from you bonafide dirt diggers. Some of you seem to keep on chugging, no matter what. Is that my fanciful imagination, or is it true?

In my defense, we’re on tail end of a kitchen remodel. Oh sure, it’s a first world problem, but gol dang, no kitchen for ten weeks gets trying.

Before it all started, I thought it’d be easy enough to make healthy meals at home. Hah hah hah. I seriously miscalculated how long one can maintain enthusiasm for laundry-room food.

Even the photo makes me anxious. Don’t send me back there.

Thusly, we were forced to spend a lot of time checking out Happy Hours around Portland, primarily though, Santa Fe Taqueria near our son Elliot’s apartment. That’s Jacob in the photo below making Spanish coffees. Yes, we’re on a first name basis with the bartender. We didn’t have kitchen for 2½ months.

One day when we were there, I finally realized HH started at 3 instead of at 2 like I’d thought, and I was so disappointed. Megan was along, and she told Jacob, “Moms love Happy Hour.” What! Doesn’t everyone? Moms my foot.

Jacob making Spanish Coffees at Santa Fe Taqueria. He also makes a mean Margarita.

No matter how well-organized I thought I was in the beginning, eventually the whole household was disrupted. Everything ended up in the wrong spot–all topped with fine construction dust. Even with my commando vacuuming skills, I couldn’t keep up.

This is in no way meant to disparage the fabulous people who worked on our remodel. They were fantastic, and I look forward to seeing them all again–in a social setting.

E.g., access to the garden required negotiating the tile-cutting station.

And cats. They had to spend most of their days in our bedroom. Doors to the outside were constantly opening and closing, plus the treachery of tools and general construction detritus.

Mister the inspector.

Mister was a big help.

At first I thought he was just naughty, but he consistently noted every new thing each day.

Huh. I wonder where these paw prints came from.

He does denies all knowledge of the paw prints the hearthstone cement.

Couldn’t have been me. I’m way over here.

But back to my gardening woes. I’ve come to realize is that my general lack of interest in gardening may be related to loss of my sweet Pumpkin just before Christmas. I knew I missed her , but I didn’t think it was affecting my every day life. Hmmph.

Pumpkin on the Arc de Pathway. She liked that path.

That pup was my constant companion for just shy of 13 years. She was so healthy, with all her natural hair color, until the end when suddenly she wasn’t.

Mine. All mine. Punky surveying her kingdom.

It took me a while to figure out that spending time in the garden, meant time without my little redhead. It’s never like you think, this business of grief. Sweet Punky.

Too wet to go out. Too cold to play ball. We sat in the house. We did nothing at all.

But now I’m back in the garden. It feels oddly comforting to have a direct connection to the feeling of loss. Not to mention, I took the plunge and became an official foster mom for the Oregon Humane Society.

Mama and three babies. One week old today.

Another thing in my defense on the gardening front, there was horrible, no good, very bad weather. Skies darkened, plants were battered, and so much rain. I kept expecting Noah’s Ark to show up out front. And it wasn’t even warm Oregon rain. No! Cold miserable rain. Not the most enticing gardening conditions. Yet I hear, some gardeners persisted: I just wasn’t one of them.

As to my lack of interest in the garden, eventually Mother Nature was having none of that. Like happens every single year–after I’ve wondered how on earth I spent so much time and money the year before, Ma Nature winks at me. And who can resist that. Come on.

Paeonia NoID. For now, she’s dubbed “Floozie.”

Floozie is the first Peony to awaken. She’s so bright, it’s hard to get an accurate representation of the color.

Next up is this White Peony. I love it so much. Can you believe I considered taking them out when I first moved here? I fancied myself a foliage gardener, eschewing those fluffy flowers. Dear lord. Someone smack me with a badminton racket.

Paeonia ‘Krinkled White’

Of course, it’s rude to leave a beauty like this surrounded with weeds. You can see where I got started–but so much more to go. Prolific weeds this year.

Paeonia ‘Krinkled White’ close up.

If I just showed close ups, you wouldn’t even know about the weeds. I’m such a blabbermouth, but I’d also like to know if I’m in good company. I always think I’m the only one who let it get like this.

So many all at once. Those threatening to hit the ground must be picked. Right?


Fluffy Pink Peony. Paeonia NoId.

Pink Fluffy Peonies even give the men a softer edge, to their chagrin.

Elliot & Deputy Johnny plotting to take over the world–with flower front drop.

Back in the garden, I almost forget the fluffy white one. I ask you again, how could I have thought removing these was a thing? Double badminton smack. All credit for the luscious peonies goes to the former owner.

How does such beauty exist?

Dear sweet dog, aren’t these great.

Flower confection

It’s even fabulous when fading. I’m in love with this look.

Gorgeous even as it fades.

I was going to show you a few other marvels from the garden, but this is getting kind of long. And I haven’t even shown you a close-up of puppies. Plants or puppies?

I know, tough choice. Fine, puppies.

Pinky Pie sends her love. That’s little boy Birdy to the side.

In conclusion, apparently life can be rich in perfection, and once in a while, I even remember to take note.


p.s. Maybe one more shot of garden goodness. Something of a happenstance, but I can take credit for plunking them in the ground.

Eryngium agavifolium, Artemesia versicolor ‘Seafoam’, and Magnolia laevifolia.