Six on Saturday: Searching for Beauty

As I surveyed my gardens this morning, searching for beauty I could share, my eyes at first only saw the work that needed to be done…like pulling all of this frosted hosta.

In focusing on the mess, I nearly missed this lime-green bit of beautifulness.

And the little snapdragon faces smiling at me on the front porch.

I might never have explored the lacy layers of fungus growing on our neighbor’s tree stump and woodpile. Fascinating.

It makes me wonder how many other beautiful things I would see in life if I would just stop to look.

And there you have it — my Six on Saturday. For more glimpses of gardens all around the world, head on over to the Six on Saturday host site at   https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/category/six-on-saturday/.

Six on Saturday: Fall Cleanup

Taking advantage of a window of dry-ish weather here in Wisconsin to clean out my flowerbeds.

My ceramic garden frog hangs out in various flowerbeds every summer holding succulents. I brought him in today for a good bath. Now he’ll spend the long winter months on my countertop holding something for me. One week it may be apples; at Christmas a few favorite ornaments; or perhaps a small offering of pine cones and acorns.

This pretty little Heuchera ‘Green Spice’ was hiding its almost heart-shaped leaves beneath a clump of garden phlox that had worn out its welcome. Locust tree seed pods and a few bright red maple leaves from our neighbor’s tree keep it company.

Hydrangeas have taken on a mellow, fall-ish hue of pink. I’m fairly new to the beautiful world of hydrangea gardening. I am enamored, to say the least.

Here’s a little glimpse of a fun up-cycling summer project. Hubby transformed freebie drapery rods into garden stakes with just a coat or two of Rustoleum spray-paint in a lovely shade of “Gloss Grape.”

I’m a hopeless cause when it comes to growing roses. Hubby dug out a struggling rose which had refused to flower for me this year and last. I guess the rose wasn’t finished with me as a gardener. A bit of root was apparently left behind, rewarding us with one sweet blossom…and a little reminder to not give up so easily.

Sadly, my pots on the porch were finished off by frost…but this little survivor wasn’t finished with the show. I’m a perennial gardener for the most part, but was super fascinated by the beauty of annual gazania and think it shall make an appearance every year in my garden.

Thanks for visiting my garden. Check out our ‘Six on Saturday’ host site The Propagator for 6-picture-tours of gardens all over the world and instructions on how to join us.

Six on Saturday: The Garden’s Faded Glory

A tired garden trellis is given a fun purple paint-job and a new lease on life, thanks to my hubby.

Iris ‘Immortality’ makes a return fall blooming engagement.

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Between raindrops – German Bearded Iris ‘Immortality’

We lost our birch tree last year and haven’t gotten around to grinding out the stump. It made a nice pedestal for my mother’s blue pot of dianthus and a bit of orange portulaca trying to make a comeback for one more blooming before killing frost.

This hibiscus moscheutos ‘Tie Dye’ just keeps on blooming. It’s slowing down, but still putting out a few ruffled blooms every day.

A few years ago my neighbors bought a whole bunch of plants in the hopes of doing a major landscaping project. Pots filled with the promise of spectacular blooms awaited planting, but it seemed they would never get planted. In fact, I rarely saw my neighbors. At summer’s end, I noticed my neighbor lady outdoors, so stopped my gardening to chat with her a bit. She apologized for the “mess” in her driveway – a few pots of dead and dying plants sitting in a heap. I asked her what had happened. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, much like these potted plants, my neighbor’s marriage was shriveling and dying. Pointing to the pots, she said that if there was anything I’d like to try to save, to just take it. Sedum ‘Maestro’ stands in testament to the fact that, like marriage, plants need attention and TLC.

My garden helper, Smoky – a neighborhood stray who chose us as his family three summers ago.

That’s my six for the week. Now, let’s see yours.

Keep checking back to our host’s site for the latest Sixes.

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

Six on Saturday – “Hello” to Autumn

Like most Midwestern gardeners, my season in the garden for 2018 is coming to a close and, as always, I have so much left to do. Over the past few summers, taking care of Momma has been my first priority with time spent in the garden has been very limited. This year Momma lives with me, so my gardening strategy has been to squeeze at least one gardening task into one of her daily naps. I know I’ve accomplished a lot more this year than the past two or three, but I still feel a tad bit overwhelmed. I have four new daylilies (purchased in June) which are still awaiting planting in my flowerbeds, hostas I’d like to divide, weeds that need to be pulled, bushes needing trimming, mulching that should be done, and my newly arrived mail-order of new tulip and daffodil bulbs awaiting burial in a sunny garden location. I’ve had all sorts of reasons (excuses) –  hot rainy weather paired with mosquitoes; cold rainy weather paired with soggy ground; and plain ol’ busyness paired with the tiredness that comes from late nights taking care of my mom as she wrestles with the fiend, Alzheimer’s.

With only a suggestion, my wonderful husband painted a few of my garden trellises to renew their almost spent life cycle. Here’s one he painted red for me. It looks amazing as a backdrop for some orange zinnias that are still lookin’ snazzy on the edge of a flowerbed awaiting fall cleanout.

One of autumn’s faithful beauties is most definitely sedum. So, so, so pretty.

Our fireplace woodpile houses a few chipmunks who love to use the top log as their stage for their morning ‘chippy’ serenades. I noticed something fun when I was looking through photos…their stage has a lovely heart shape in the wood-grain on the end.

One of my favorite shades of green in the garden is this one – a lovely chartreuse-y green that lights up the garden wherever it is planted. This ‘Tiger-Eye’ Sumac graces the north-east corner of our backyard deck.

I don’t recall planting cosmos this year, but I’m loving this fuchsia pink volunteer…and so are the visiting bees.

This beautiful cherry red zinnia makes me smile too. With very little effort, late summer and early fall are rewarded with this cheery flower. I’m a perennial gardener, but there is always room for zinnia in my gardens.

And I always, always wish I had planted more zinnia.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my very first contribution to ‘Six on Saturday’– a fun blog meme hosted by  The Propagator, and introduced to me by Carolee, whose blog “Herbal Blessings” makes me aspire to be a better gardener. Please take a moment to check out both of their blogs. You’ll soon find yourself virtually wandering through some pretty amazing gardens all over the world and I guarantee  you will learn something along the way.

 

 

My Caregiving Dream

Everyone tells me I need to take care of myself. “You can’t take care of your Momma if you’re not taking care of yourself.” I hear it from my family, my doctor, friends at church, my Facebook friends, and my on-line support community at myALZteam.com.

It’s true.

So, I’m trying to listen. I joined a gym and have been getting regular exercise, striving for 5 days a week while my hubby keeps tabs on Momma. It was the right thing to do and has been so helpful.

My concerned friends also say, “Take advantage of respite care. You need to take some time away – maybe go on a vacation.”

True again. But, I’m finding that one easier said than done.

Looking into respite care options has opened my eyes as to how difficult it is to find respite memory care in my community. I found two facilities with a room available: one would require that we bring our own bed; the other seemed perfect, albeit expensive.

Me and my guy in NYC

Thankfully, my sister was able to arrange her schedule so she could take care of our mom while we got together with our kids and their families over Thanksgiving and again for our recent vacationing in NYC.

It concerns me that there seem to be so few options out there for someone with Alzheimer’s. I am learning that places which advertise offering respite care do not have dedicated respite care units. Rather, you fill out paperwork, have your loved one evaluated, then get their name placed on a wait list. Then you wait for someone to move out or die.

If I had the resources, my caregiver dream would be to build a respite care facility that would offer all the usual assisted living amenities, but operate a bit like a hotel, with guests staying for a few days to a month. My dream respite home would serve restaurant style meals, or bedside meals, depending on the guest’s particular need. Hallways would resemble a neighborhood street, with each door a different color, and a comfy chair or two outside on their “porch” just for sittin’ a spell and talking with passersby (you can see in the pictures below that I’m not the first to think of this).

My Dream 3
Photo credit: sixtyandme.com
My Dream 2
Photo credit: tsomides.com

My little “neighborhood” would have a business district too. Pampering would be a high priority with a beauty parlor and a barber shop. A little store for “buying” snacks and comfort items would provide the dignity of making choices – maybe even an “ice cream parlor” serving up a scoop of the day.

In my dream, I also see a beautiful little chapel where guests could hear the Word of God preached and sing great hymns of the faith as they worship God.  I would invite churches to bring their choirs and youth group ensembles to sing too.

I envision a wheelchair and walker-friendly theater featuring classic movies with closed captioning. We would host music and dance recitals allowing young music students to interact with the memory-impaired through the heart language of music and the arts. I can only imagine the joy this would create.

My Dream 1
Art Therapy

Artists could share their passion – painting, jewelry making, knitting, card-making – showcasing their art form and perhaps encouraging our memory challenged guests to get creative too.

 

Dirt Therapy
Dirt Therapy

Oh, and we certainly can’t forget the gardens!

Yes! In my dream I see amazing gardens (with plenty of lilies, of course!), planted and cared for by volunteers, scout troops, garden clubs, and youth groups. Of course, there would be multiple raised gardens where guests could play in the dirt to their heart’s content.

I can dream, can’t I?