Whenever faced with a difficult season of life, it is good to start planning ahead for something in the future as a way of relief or light at the end of a tunnel. Whether it be a trip, an outing or some fun activity, it is a way to help us muddle through whatever situation we currently find ourselves.
Gardening has been a way that I have found hope for the future, especially during particularly dry spells. There is something exciting about seeing signs of life stirring in a dormant winter garden. New green shoots that protrude through the ground from crocus bulbs, Lenten roses or cheery yellow blossoms on forsythia bushes are often the first signs of spring that I spy in my garden during late January or February on warm winter days. It is always uplifting to my weary soul.
This year, I am more eager than usual to find the ever-comforting signs of spring to offer me hope for my current winter doldrums. I especially need a little boost of encouragement from my plant friends since my mother’s recent heart attack and health challenges.
To a plant lover, tender new plants are just like babies. We are excited when we see new signs of life. We nurture and care for them, watching them closely as they grow.
A Thanksgiving cactus and one that looks like a tail.
The one on the right is a jade plant.
These are hens and chicks.
These are bluish gray succulents of various types.
My handyman brought me some plant seedlings yesterday. His wife grows succulent plants of every imaginable variety. We have a common love of plants and have begun sharing starters with one another. I shared an aloe plant with her a few weeks ago. She sent back to me several plants in a bag. I have identified a Thanksgiving cactus starter, hens and chicks as well as a jade plant baby in the collection.
I love cacti and all types of succulents because they require little care, infrequent watering and do really well in the hot South Carolina climate.
I recently viewed the episode on Salvage Dawgs when they delivered this rocket from an old abandoned amusement park to the parking lot of the store. It is visible from a long distance so makes a great advertising sign and landmark for the area.
There are many different statues among the shop’s selection.
A garden bench made from an old truck hatch sits next to a fountain.
Recently my husband and I went to Roanoke, Virginia for a business/anniversary trip all rolled into one. Yes, that’s right, he got a business deduction while I got to share a hotel room and meals out at a beautiful vacation spot. Roanoke has special attractions for me.
The Blue Ridge Mountains surround this city that sits in a bowl-shaped valley. My grandparents’ former home rests on a hill where the mountains are visible from every vantage point. I went by the old house while I was in town. A neighbor was sitting out on her front porch when I drove by. I stopped to speak to her. She remembered my grandfather as she bought her house 30 years ago when he was still living. She called the current owner to see if I could get inside to look around. I was thrilled, of course.
Upon entry, I couldn’t get over how much smaller the house seemed than in my memory. Everything must seem bigger than life in the eyes of a child. The kitchen had been remodelled with dark cabinets and black granite countertops. The dining and living areas have switched places from where my grandparents had them. The walls have been painted dark modern colors and the hardwood floors have been exposed and refinished. The screened porch has been enclosed and the stoop over the back door has been removed. A quaint courtyard area surrounded by black wrought iron fencing is now located in front of the back door. The old chain link fence, many old trees, shrubs and roses that my grandparents planted are gone. It is strangely different but I was comforted knowing that the old house has been maintained and cared for.
Roanoke has become a tourist attraction because of a popular salvage store located near the downtown historic district. The Black Dog Salvage store is hugely popular because of a modern trend to recycle, reuse and reinvent items for home and garden decor. They have a television program called Salvage Dawgs which is in its fourth season on the DIY network. The show airs many of the shop owners’ adventures in finding architectural pieces in old homes or industrial sites that are being demolished.
While we were in town, I had to visit the famous salvage store. There is an amazing selection of wrought iron pieces, garden art, fountains and statuary for gardeners outside the store. Inside, there are old doors, mantels and windows to suit any taste. Another part of the store is set up with booths which are consigned to vendors who sell antique or home decorating items. One could easily spend an entire day and not see everything at this amazing store.
Here is my front porch. The ferns are about to take over.
The pink crepe myrtle and yellow Knock Out roses are in their splendor now.
I took a photo of Old Glory during the 4th of July. She proudly waves near our garage.
I began adding little miniature garden elements to my pots this year. Here are some mushrooms that I found. I know, I am entering into my second childhood.
While it was hot outside, I decided that I would work on some indoor gardening projects. Here is a “fairy” garden scene that I made from ideas I found on Pinterest. The house is an upside down flower pot and the mushrooms are wooden door knobs.
Here is my succulent plant collection. The aloe plants are very hardy. I keep giving away starters by twisting off the babies. I don’t know the names of all of them but each variety is very interesting.
Here is my herb collection. I have some thyme and chocolate mint growing in pots with flowers on my deck. It smells heavenly out there.
For those who are wondering about the progress of my garden, I have been meaning to post pictures during the summer while the flowers are at their peak. Here is how it looks right now.