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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Find the Seed at the Bottom of Your Heart…

Gerber Daisies are one of my favorite flowers. Being an annual, there’s always a pot of them in the summer garden to add splashes of color among the perennials. That means I get to pick out a new plant each year – and there’s always a bright array of options ranging from red and orange to hot pink. My closest friends know that I can’t resist seeing one of these flowering plants or a bouquet of cut stems without taking a moment or two to absorb their beauty.

Gerbers are a plant that I can usually find at a local grocery store by mid February (Whole Foods in Nashua usually has great ones!) Bringing this live plant into my home during the later part of winter, as the days start to get noticeably longer, gets me excited for the start of the pending gardening season. (Especially on days like today, when the three storms over the past five days bring a fresh accumulation of over 25″ of snow.)

The ritual of adding this annual flower started about 15 years ago with a pot of bright red Gerber Daisies to welcome visitors at the entry to the backyard garden.  The blossoms were about 4-6 inches across were show-stopping as they bloomed all summer. There were always at least three flowers in bloom with as many buds pushing up through the dense soil. I diligently deadheaded the plant to always encourage new growth – until one day I faced a dilemma.

One of the newly emerged buds, on a stem still less than an inch tall, didn’t look like the others. It was very flat and lopsided, as if someone had tightly pinched it. Being close to the end of the growing season, there was only one more bud pushing through the soil. My first thought was to snip the odd bud. I didn’t.

About 10 days later, the most beautiful flower was revealed — a bright red Gerber Daisy with a beautiful, perfect heart center.


I pull out this image every year, to share it with friends for Valentine’s Day. It’s a heartfelt reminder to look past perceived imperfections because there may be something perfect inside just waiting to be revealed.

Side Note: I think it’s important to share this factoid, since this is the ‘Garden with Grace’ blog. When Grace, the dog, was in a New Jersey shelter, her name was Gerber before she came to New Hampshire via an animal rescue group.  There were thoughts of adjusting her name to Daisy, keeping the thought of Gerber in place, but since she responded to Grace and arrived on Good Friday, the rest of history. That said, I think of that girl whenever I type the words Gerber Daisy. She had her imperfections too, including scars from years of abuse, but when cared for and loved, she had a perfect heart, too.

“Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.”

~ Shigenori Kameoka



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Peace & Grace

Fitting tribute to where Grace used to rest in the garden.

Fitting tribute to where Grace used to rest in the garden.

It’s been over a year since I blogged about the Porch Dog and the Porch Frog.  The entire 2013 gardening season went by in a  flash.

Grace, the dog, is no longer physically with us.   She passed away about 10 days after my Porch Dog/Frog post in late summer 2012. As anyone who has ever loved a pet knows, it was very sad and the loss felt profound. Someone once said that dogs come into our lives when they need us most, and they leave us when we need them most. How true that is. I still miss her today.

Pixie Grace Phlox

While the physical presence of Grace the dog disappeared, the spirit of Grace in the garden never left.  A neighbor provided some beautiful Pixie Grace Phlox to forever honor her memory in the garden. A total of six plants were added to the garden in the autumn of 2012 (one to mark each of the years that Grace spent with us during the 2nd half of her life) .

This variety of phlox was beautiful in the late summer of 2013. It bloomed near the anniversary of Grace’s journey to the Rainbow Bridge.  It was such a fitting tribute since the flowers were planted where Grace, the dog, often rested nearby, in a shady spot between the hydrangea and lilies.

Gardening with Grace Continues

Some friends have asked me to share some various gardening experiences as they start to discover their own love of gardening.  Because of this, I’ve decided that there is a need to keep the ‘Gardening with Grace’ blog going and to provide periodic updates about my own gardening experiences in New Hampshire (I am far from being an expert, but am a third generation backyard gardener!). I also am doing this for personal reasons too, so that I can continue to improve my skills and expertise in the area of social media and expand on my own personal brand.

When I came up with the blog’s name it was about not just gardening with my dog, but gardening with the essence of the actual meaning of the word grace.  Stay tuned….even though we’re in the midst of a cold winter, getting sucked up in the early January ‘polar vortex’, I’m still tending to my indoor garden activities and will share those experiences as we look forward to all the 2014 has to offer.