A New Chapter in our Garden

Hoary Vervain
Verbena Stricta

I don’t know where to start, but I know where to begin creating a garden. I have not posted on either of my blogs ( Modern Day Kitchen Garden/ Immunity Gardens) in nearly 5 years. I will just say that when I saw this Native plant, Verbena stricta finished blooming and filled with adventure as it moved while standing still. It made me feel alive!

I’m not going to dwell on the past 5 years as to why I didn’t post. I would rather focus on being alive and seeing beauty all around me. We all have been through a lot during the Covid pandemic, and that is enough for a lifetime.

My garden was a place to escape when things just got too busy or filled with life changes. I believe gardens are a place we can heal and help others heal. Whether it is hanging out or growing food to share. My garden is not perfect; it is my refuge from a chaotic world sometimes.


I have not quit gardening in the past few years, but many changes have been happening in Palm Rae Potager, my Modern Day Kitchen Garden. It is being replaced by more native plants. I need to feed the pollinators. I don’t always get all the weeds out, but I keep the blooms coming!

In 2019, I picked Grace up from a Cattle Farmer outside the city.

I was on a train to Milwaukee, and my middle daughter called me to ask if I would like a dog. She purchased an old diesel truck with her husband ( he wanted one to fix for fun), and the farmer wanted to seal the deal with a puppy. His farm dog had a litter of puppies. They were mixed, and he was unsure who the father was at the time. The mother was an Australian shepherd, but Dad may have been a red heeler/Australian shepherd. I’d say Grace had a Red Heeler Dad!

Chance at 14 years old

My other dog, Chance, was 14 years old at the time with many health problems., Chance was the last of 5 dogs I had owned over the past 20 years. I was very sad and really was not in the process of dog searching. My middle daughter rescued Chance when she was in high school. He was with me since he was young. I didn’t know how he would adjust to a young dog running around. Chance had been the solo dog since 2017.

We were making life comfortable for Chance since he had a large tumor that kept growing. I would not advise getting a puppy when your older dog is in the process of passing on, but the farmer said they had to take a puppy for the truck deal. My daughter had two dogs.

I picked Grace up in June 2019. Chance did enjoy her a bit( he passed in November 2019) as he did not have much time left. He was painfully thin and was not doing very well; 14 years is a long time for a dog. She was in a kennel as a puppy, so he had a lot of time to run around and not have her bothering him. He did enjoy her company. I have to admit when he passed, being able to come home to Grace made saying goodbye to him a bit tolerable. As I write this, my eyes well up. I wish dogs could live forever. People’s relationships can be complicated; dog relationships are unconditional love. If you have ever loved a dog, you will understand that comment. He was a great dog!

Grace is my garden pal.

Grace keeps the chipmunks in check, and I never have seen a bunny in my garden since she has been here. Chance taught her well. She is a bundle of energy and never stops moving. It was impossible to get her to sit still for me to take a picture. The funny thing about Grace is she is a mix of all the colors of every dog I’ve had in Palm Rae Potager. I do have to say she hates the heat like the other dogs, but if you have a tennis ball, she will play for hours! I can’t imagine my garden without a dog.

It is time to start putting out the fall crops, which I started under lights in August. The Gaillardia needs constant deadheading for the bees. I will be starting to make plans for next year’s garden.

Fall is here, and the garden does not have that deep green look. Droughts are leaving their mark on all our gardens these days. You can feel the season starting to turn. A change is in the air.

The pole beans have battled the Japanese beetles for half the summer. They are starting to show some wear and tear. The butterflies are showing up with battered wings. Always makes me sad since the past few years, the butterflies are fewer and fewer. I have milkweed for the monarchs, but there are not as many. I can remember one day, I counted 7 flying all around me. Many other gardeners locally are complaining they hardly see any butterflies these days.

Black Eyed Susan and Plains Coreopsis

The flowers are dancing their last dance before the grand finale. There are some yet to bloom, but those are far and few between as we approach October. I look forward to the changes in our garden. This summer, my youngest was married. It is a new chapter for him and a new chapter for us as we adjust to the many changes over the past few years.

I look forward to visiting some of my old “blog” friends. It seems many are still out enjoying the beauty around them.

Keep on growing! Turn the page as I am. Embrace a new direction.

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