December 31, 2016

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South Carolina Sunrise 

Another gift: waking up to a beautiful sunrise on the last day of the year. Was it a sign of good things to come?

One year ends, another begins.

Out with the old, in with the new.

A new year symbolizes hope. It gives us the chance to start over and set goals. We look forward to new beginnings and new dreams.

May the New Year bestow you with hope in your heart for a year of well-being, love, and peace.

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Happy New Year! May 2017 be filled with dreams that come true for you. 

xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Gratitude

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Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

~ A.A. Milne

A.A. Milne’s book: Winnie The Pooh is chock full of quotes I love. I chose this one in celebration of Thanksgiving Day.

My heart holds a rather large amount of Gratitude for my husband who makes me laugh every day and surrounds me with his love.

My heart holds a rather large amount of Gratitude for my two wonderful daughters who are a source of joy.

My heart holds a rather large amount of Gratitude for my family, who are bonded by the same enduring love.

My heart holds a rather large amount of Gratitude for my friends, who are always with me, no matter how far.

My heart holds a rather large amount of Gratitude for each new day, for birdsong and insects, for gardens, and for the warmth of sun on my face; filling me with joy and wonder.

And…

My heart holds a rather large amount of Gratitude for each of you, my dear readers.

Thank you!

xoxo

Take Joy

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The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take joy.

~ Fra Giovanni

This quote from one of my favorite books: The Private World of Tasha Tudor came to mind while on my walk this morning. For a very long time our world has been hurting. Each new day brings tragic events that cause us to pause and take notice. Our hearts are broken. We feel helpless. Is the world we live in today the new world of tomorrow?

We turn off the news but it doesn’t turn off the chaos. We go through the day hoping, dreaming and praying that when another day dawns, all will be calm and lives and hearts will heal.

On my morning walk, moss covered oak trees guided me on winding pathways. Stillness in the air was sprinkled with birdsong. A hawk circled against azure skies. I traveled over a wooden bridge, past brown, velvety cattails that stood guard over the pond. A gentle stream carried ducklings in line with their mother. In the distance palm trees stood amid tall grasses. I greeted other walkers as we passed. Each of us surrounded by the beauty of nature. I cannot change the world. I can only take joy in it.

May the following photos bring you joy.

xoxo

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day lily

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hydrangea

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Rosa ‘JACclam’

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Ixora Maui Orange

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Purple Angel’s Trumpet

 

At Last!

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The essence of most of my posts have been about my garden. The only attribute the yard had when we purchased our home was potential for a garden. We saw beyond the mounds of pine straw, gravel, odd bricks, pieces of cement, weeds and random plants, and had a vision of what the yard could become.

My husband and I began yard cleanup in October. He removed a white fence that enclosed the patio, dug up weeds and overgrown Sago palms and unearthed an assortment of hardscape materials. We hired a tree company to remove 6 huge pine trees in the backyard and 6 overgrown Washingtonia Palm trees in the front.

We decided to work with a landscape company to remove the rest of the unwanted debris, grade the land and create walkways. In January 2016 I contacted the landscape company and the work began in May.

When we moved here in September I began reading garden books for the Southeast region and made lists of plants I liked. My planting zone here is 8; I was happy to discover some of the same plants I grew in zone 6 will grow here.

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Before: The front of the house was hidden by overgrown plants.

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Before: We removed all of the shrubs in the front and added a few of them to the backyard.

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After: A brick walkway now replaces the cement walkway, 9ft trellises hold salmon colored roses and purple clematis.

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After: Purple spikes of Russian sage, one of my favorites, in my new perennial garden.

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Before: In the backyard, overgrown Sago palms and picket fences were removed.

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Before: Pine straw used as mulch gets messy and its hard to remove leaves.

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Before: We love the large leafed shrub called: Fatsia, it is grown for its beautiful tropical foliage.

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After: New Zoysia sod was added. I planted a Limelight hydrangea, divided irises that were in the front yard and planted them in in the backyard.

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Before: We were lucky to inherit 5 Camellia bushes that gift us with flowers in winter.

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After: The walkway ends in a circle, the perfect place for our birdbath, Japanese Boxwood and ‘Popcorn’ drift roses. We added shredded pine mulch and a new 6ft privacy fence.

 

A garden does not happen, it evolves. The land and plants are nurtured and it develops over time. That’s the joy of gardening: Constant change.

xxoo

 

 

 

Happy 1st Anniversary!

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On October 19, 2014 I published my first post for my blog: Always the Garden. I remember sitting with printed directions on my lap following every step trying to set up my pages; it was all new learning for me, scary and difficult. I had to refer to the Lingo sheet just to get through the directions; what’s a widget, dashboard, gravatar, header, menu, page, and post? Help! Starting something new is challenging and often I thought about giving up, but I didn’t and I’m glad.

I never knew the Blogging World was out there; it is a place of wonder; you can travel around the world and learn about interesting people and their lives. There are blogs on every topic of interest; most include beautiful pictures and writing.

When I started my blog I lived in Connecticut; a lot can happen in a year; now we live in South Carolina. My favorite season in Connecticut was Fall and now I’m experiencing the same joy: cool mornings with day time temperatures in the 70’s, breezes and no humidity.

Hidden in the foliage of our Lantana bush I discovered:

a chartreuse tree frog

A chartreuse tree frog.

and…

a gecko

A gecko; I love his eye, tinged with blue.

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Our Fall pots are filled with cold hardy plants: Ivy, Petunias, Marigold and a colorful plant called Croton. I used to buy Crotons in the Fall in Connecticut to add Fall color indoors.

May you experience joy in the changing season!

Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

xxoo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

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I’ve always loved change; starting over with a new outlook, goal or idea invites challenges and keeps life interesting. If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been silent for the last months, it’s because we’ve moved to a different state. My husband and I spent seven months getting a house ready to sell, putting it on the market, selling it after one month, finding a new house and finally last week moving in.

I loved living in Connecticut and writing and photographing the beautiful gardens I nurtured for so many years, but I longed for a new place where winters weren’t so harsh.

Now I have a garden that has potential; a new challenge!

Although I do not know all the plants and shrubs that I now have in my yard, I’m including pictures of a few friendly faces.

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Can you guess where I moved?

I’ve missed you! More to come; today, the furniture finally arrives.

See more: Weekly Photo Challenge

xxoo