Garden with Grace

"I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some." ~H.Rappaport


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Rediscovering Inspiration

It’s that time of year in New Hampshire. The garden is done…hit by multiple freezes over the past week. I spent this morning in the garage and potting room organizing tools, putting away hummingbird feeders, and just looking around to see what could be salvaged or recycled for 2016 and what will no longer make it through another gardening season.

The Garden Cat, who continues to stalk me, found that I was in the potting room at the back of the garage, so he joined me for a while…he settled into the perfect spot to look over the spent garden to keep an eye out for chipmunks.

20151025_112138After I finished my “chores” I took some time to browse through the “Garden Library” in the corner of the potting room. It’s an eclectic mix of gardening guides and books collected over several decades by multiple generations of family gardeners. Some are gifts from friends, as well. This special library is stored in old wood crates, including one from Producer’s Dairy in Nashua.

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Today, my eye was drawn to one of my all-time favorite books by Adelma Simmons. I met her in 1993 at her farm/garden that was known as Caprilands in Coventry, Connecticut.

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At that time, I had a fascination with herb gardening and my visit to Caprilands turned that fascination into what is now a lifetime obsession. She signed this book for me 22 years ago this month.

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A lot has changed since that visit to Connecticut. Ms. Simmons passed away in 1997 and her herbal paradise is no longer open to the public. You can read more about her via this link.

The one thing that is unchanged is my obsession of growing and using herbs for culinary, mixology, and aromatherapy purposes.

I loved rediscovering this gem of a book today and remembering back to the day that I visited Caprilands in October 1993. I look forward to reading “Gardens of Delight” again to find renewed inspiration for the 2016 garden. (Thank you Adelma! )


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Pussycat, Pussycat, Where have you been?

As plants in the garden evolve and change over the years, so has the collection of “Garden Cats” that have taken ownership of my property. It’s funny, because not one of the “Garden Cats” of the past 20 years has belonged to me!

There are too many to mention, but some of the favorites are remembered in a collage in my potting shed.

L-R clockwise: Momma Cat, Cuddles, Bradley, Peppermint. (Momma Cat is the only one still living at 19 yrs old!)

L-R clockwise: Momma Cat, Cuddles, Bradley, Peppermint. (Momma Cat is the only one still living at 19 yrs old!)

For about 10 years, a long haired black cat with bright green eyes has visited the garden somewhat regularly. He’s always been shy, until this year’s gardening season started. His name is Oreo and his owners live a few houses away. Oreo prefers to be an outdoor cat and can be seen here and there and everywhere around the neighborhood.

When Grace was still with us, Oreo would watch intently as we’d walk by, always staying out of her sight (Grace was a big dog!), but I’d always see him peering around corners or from under bushes nearby.  I think that he realizes that there’s no longer a dog at my house.

This was especially evident today. Oreo’s ‘cattitude’ was in full force. Everytime I looked out the window, or walked outside, there he was, taking ownership of the garden.  He especially loves being near the Wine & Roses Wiegela (it seems to be an aphrodisiac for cats when the pink flowers are in bloom, similar to a kiwi vine that was in the garden a few years ago!)

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Oreo resting near the Wine & Roses Wiegela today.

Of course, he’s interested in the Catmint too, but I think that’s due to the fact that the chipmunks have a path nearby.

Oreo enjoying the view (and fragrance of the Catmint flowers in bloom!)

Oreo enjoying the view (and fragrance of the Catmint flowers in bloom!)

I never thought I’d blog about cats. I’m allergic to them. I don’t own any. And, I’ve always been a ‘dog-person’ as is evident by the premise on which this blog was created a few years ago.

However, I do enjoy the company of my “Garden Cats.”  And as any cat-person would tell you, you don’t own them. They own you! In this case, I feel honored that Oreo, and all the other “Garden Cats” of the past two decades, have selected to take ownership of such a special place (and of course, me!)

Just as “Good Queen Bess”, (who inspired the nursery rhyme ‘Pussycat, Pussycat’) decreed that an old cat could wander around her throne room as long as it got rid of mice, I allow the old (and young) cats to wander the garden as long as they do the same! Meoww!