"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Even more neglected!

Well I thought after my last post that it had been awhile between posts, but I think it was even longer in between this time.  This last summer, fall and winter have been pretty tough and quite busy making the blog absolutely last on the list of things to be able to do.  I had mentioned in some recent posts that my Dad had been sick with melanoma and sadly he passed away in September.  That was and has been very hard for my mom and sisters and the rest of our family.
Sweet Pea started high school (high school here starts in 10th grade) and the Littlest Gardener is now in first grade!!  Sweet Pea had a very busy season of playing both school soccer and rec soccer and the Littlest Gardener also played soccer and I coached her team.  Then Sweet Pea started driver's ed!  It's hard to believe she is old enough to drive now!
Three weeks ago I started the WSU extension Master Gardener program.  It has been so fun and I can't believe how much we learn each class.  The speakers have been so interesting and it is great being in a room with 80 something other people that love gardening as much as I do.
Our winter has been pretty mild (I better knock on wood).  We had a week of very cold weather and a light dusting of snow, but otherwise it hasn't been bad at all.
As soon as Christmas was over I couldn't wait to try and find some time to get outside and work in the garden.  It is so therapeutic and I always hope that everyone has found their own form of therapy to take their mind off things.  Whether it's baking or sewing or quilting or crafting or running or doing yoga.  I think it's so important to have something to do during hard times.

 The flowering currant I was concerned might have died from the lack of water and care last summer did die.  But, of course I've already replaced it with this Cryptomeria 'Black Dragon'.  I think it will actually look better than the currant did in this spot.

 During the freeze the pond froze so much that the pump quit working and I was really worried that both the pump and all the fish would be dead.  Luckily the pump still works and we only lost one fish.

 The rabbit hutch was moved to the other side of the rhododendron and that meant open planting space!!
 I put up another birdhouse and planted a rose called 'Gruss An Aachen'.  It is supposedly the first floribunda, bred in 1909.  I'm hoping it really is as pretty as it looks on the tag!  It's also supposed to do pretty well in shade.

A look back down the path.  The Sarcococcas on the left have such a great scent!  It is so worth planting one of these for something that smells and looks good in winter.

The chickens have been laying all winter and we have been keeping my mom and neighbors stocked on eggs!

As every experienced chicken owner told me, they do destroy your yard.  So these girls get to have free run on this side yard (that is until I net the blueberry bushes very soon).  Only one can fly over the fence, but she quickly gets lonesome and goes back to where her friends are.

Hellebores are starting to bloom.  They are another plant that I highly recommend.  They aren't cheap, but worth every penny in my book so you can have some color this time of year.

For Christmas Sweet Pea got me this cute frog spitter.  I have wanted one for a long time.  My husband and I used a barrel liner and stones we already had to make a mini pond.  I don't plan to put fish in here, it's much too shallow.
We have had two very nice trees die here, the drainage is not good enough for them, so instead a birdhouse went in!  Once the plants start to fill in I think it's going to look even better.

I got the vegetable beds cleaned out and am going to put some of my new vegetable knowledge to use here.  I am determined to have a productive garden.  Our master gardener speaker told us that copper tape does work to keep slugs out as long as they don't have a bridge over it.  I'm going to work on putting in traps to get the ones hiding and hopefully then I won't have them mowing all my seedlings down.

Some violas.

Another pretty Hellebore.

The only ornamental kale that didn't turn to mush after the freeze.

My friend brought my girls some fairy garden decorations and plants to make a garden in memory of their grandpa (who all the grandkids called Bompa).  Santa left a few more things in the Littlest Gardener's stocking and I think it looks very sweet.

Hopefully this wasn't too depressing of a blog post after months of not blogging.  Knowing that spring is around the corner has made me feel very hopeful for some better times coming up.  I'm very lucky to have such a good husband and kids and the greatest friends who gave me so much support during the down times. 
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It


  1. Dear, dear Catherine ~ I am sorry for the loss of your Dad, and my heart and prayers go out to all of your family, especially your Mom.

    It is good to see all that is blooming in your gardens, and read about your plans, etc. Gardening is definitely wonderful therapy.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. The same disease took my father in law 9 years ago. I also have a 10th grader who just finished driver's ed, and just got his license this last month.
    Good for you for doing the Master Gardeners program! That is very exciting!
    We moved in October to a new house, and I am starting virtually from scratch again, although there were a number of plants that found their way here from my old garden, including a number of hellebore. I love them! And yes, they are spendy!
    Wishing you continued good weather, and Spring coming quickly! Heather

  3. Catherine, condolences on your Dad's passing. Was it him, or your FIL, who helped you build your arbor in the front garden? Your Hellebores are so beautiful, especially that first one with the frills around the center. It's so nice to see a post from you. I hope you find time to continue blogging. You're one of very few Seattle-area bloggers left.

    1. Thanks Alison! It was my father in law who helped build it.

  4. Catherine I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. Losing a parent is so difficult and I still miss my dad...he gave me such a love of gardening and I find solace in my garden. I also feel close to him there...I was glad to see the hens and how big they are and all the wonderful news about the kids! Good luck with your classes. I have missed you.

  5. I am glad that I had not deleted you as I thought you might be back. I am so sorry about the loss of your dad. No one is ever prepared for any of the to happen. I always think of you hummingbirds and the chickens too. And your kids grew up overnight. Thanks for sharing as I really like all of the gardens.

  6. Sorry for your hard times but it's good to hear from you! Enjoy those Master Gardener classes - how fun to connect with a bunch of crazy-about-gardening friends. A friend of mine grew a whole row of Gruss An Aachen and they were lovely, delicate, elegant roses.

  7. So sorry to hear about your dad !..what a great loss...but i am so glad you are back !! welcome darling...with open arms.......and a warm hug from me...Ria...x !!

  8. Oh it's good to see a post from you Catherine. So sorry to read that the last few months have been difficult for you. I hope that you can find some comfort through being out in your garden. That first hellebore is an absolute beauty and they are just so perfect for this time of the year. Take care and try to make sure that you have some time for yourself xxx

  9. I always love seeing photos of your garden. Sorry for your loss.

  10. Hi Catherine, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your father. That must have been hard. But how great that you despite that and all the other things going on in you life had the energy to sign up for the WSU extension Master Gardener program. I would love to do something like that, but right now my life is just too busy, it is really not an option. 'Gruss am Aachen' is a wonderful rose I hope that it is doing well for you! I love your hellebores and the fairy garden of your daughter is quite cute. All the best,

  11. I missed your posts. Glad you're back!

  12. so sorry to hear about your Dad, and what a lovely idea to make a garden in his memory. I look forward to hearing what you learn from the master gardener program - I always wanted to do that. Those helebores are so beautiful....

  13. My sympathies on your dad passing. Sounds like you have been quite busy. Your garden continues to look nice. Neat to see all the changes. Those chickens are really working for you. The new frog spitter is cute! Enjoy your time in the garden and with your family.

  14. Hi Catherine! I'm so sorry to learn about your Dad. Please accept my sympathy.
    This winter seems to last so long. Maybe because we actually haven't had any winter. It's something between fall and spring.
    I like the fairy garden in memory of Grandpa....
    Kids are growing so fast. My boys are in 9th grade.
    Kudos to your for getting into MG program!
    All The Best,

  15. Hi Catherine. I SO understand why your blog has been neglected after reading your post. My heartfelt sympathies on losing your Dad. I am still in mourning over my beloved Aunt who passed Dec 2012. I think time dulls the pain but I don't really think I'll ever stop missing her. It's good you have your family to get together with ~ I'm sure that helps.
    Your garden looks wonderful. I am envious (as always) of your Jan blooms. Everything is covered in snow here but what's new! Congrats on starting the Master Gardener program too. I've wanted to do that as well but haven't ever gotten to the place where I have enough time to commit. Especially for all the volunteer hours required (at least here)
    Happy (belated) New Year, hope it's full of happy, positive experiences. I know I'm hoping that for me too! Thanks also for your nice comment on my blog. I appreciate it.

  16. I'm so sorry about your dad, Catherine. I can imagine your garden has been a nice respite. The pond looks great. The hellebore blossoms are incredible. Love the fairy garden too. I'm glad you're enjoying your MG classes. I think we're all ready for spring now, right?

  17. Catherine, I'm sorry to hear about your father; my condolences to you and your family.
    I found your enthusiasm for the Master Gardener course infectious. I'm looking forward to doing this next year after I'm retired from teaching. It looks like spring is already arriving where you are. Enjoy! -Jean

  18. Nice to see you back, Catherine! Your post is great. Your hens look fantastic! We had one hen that was being picked on so badly - the other hens would pull the feathers out from her neck as we watched. It was awful and went on for months and months - until she molted. Then the other hens for some reason allowed her feathers to grow back and have stopped picking on her. Go figure. We're so looking forward to spring! Hellebores are a great plant and I might, just might, have two that will bloom for us this year!

  19. Hi Catherine, so sorry to hear about your Dad. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  20. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dad Catherine. I love the fairy garden in honor of your dad. What a sweet idea to get the children involved in. I hope the copper tape keeps the slugs off your veggie beds.


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