We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time

~ T.S. Eliot

If you’ve followed my blog in the past you know my husband and I lived in a small town in Connecticut for several years.

When my husband and I retired I wanted change. I wanted to live a big city, in a warmer climate,  gardening in a longer growing season. We moved to South Carolina and I  was excited about gardening in a different gardening zone, I read books learning about plants I had never grown before.

We moved into our house the end of summer; we felt like we were on vacation, warm temperatures and summer clothes. Seasons changed but not the landscape. I can remember trying hard to notice Fall; but with very few changes and the same warm, humid temperatures, it wasn’t the same Fall I knew in Connecticut.

In December I was happy purchasing evergreen roping and wreaths knowing I would continue our tradition of decorating our porch for Christmas like we had in Connecticut. Everything was brown in 2 weeks. Remembering what we had before made me miss it more.

I thought I’d adjust to the area if I started gardening but found out garden centers didn’t stock perennials and shrubs until April, so much for a long gardening season. When I was able to purchase plants, we created new garden beds; I enjoyed the creative part of planning the beds, but my heart wasn’t in it. Digging into the sandy soil made me feel like I was at the beach.

I tried to like our new city, but it wasn’t happening. Everything felt wrong. I realized all the things I thought I was tired of were still a part of me, held in a special place in my heart, and I didn’t want to give them up.

I remember the first time my husband and I walked the property of our Connecticut home. I wrote about that time in my first blog post: I Always Pulled the Weeds. Please click here to read.

You are probably thinking, who would move to an area they didn’t know anything about.  But, I did know. I read retirement blogs and articles referencing the best places to retire. I read city forums with questions and answers of pros and cons of areas. We visited the area 4 times and I felt sure I was making an informed choice of where to spend the rest of my life. But, I was wrong.

And so I chose this T.S. Eliot quote again, because it best describes how I felt the first time my husband and I walked around the property of the house we now call home. 

It is winter now, with remnants of our first beautiful snowfall still on the ground. Evergreen roping and a wreath decorate our front porch. And dried Annabelle hydrangeas are bent with snow-capped flowers.


Merry Christmas!





December 31, 2016


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.


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








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.


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

Thank you!


Take Joy


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.



day lily




Rosa ‘JACclam’


Ixora Maui Orange


Purple Angel’s Trumpet


At Last!

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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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.





Happy 1st Anniversary!

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.


a gecko

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


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.