peace, solitude, the arboretum

“The Arboretum now nurtures people in the same way it once nurtured trees. It feeds their spirits and souls, their minds and bodies. It provides somewhere to put down roots, to be part of and give strength one to another through its collective efforts, its coming together whether to fight that which threatens it or to nurture its young and old, each “tree” supporting and being supported by its neighbours.”

~ The Arboretum Story, 1991

prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and gardens–find it all at the arboretum.


Morris Arboretum Philadelphia, PA




Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~ Albert Camus

Winter’s coming but until then find your favorite place in the park and enjoy nature at its best.

Photo credit: Jyothi Karthik Raja


Photo credit: Larisa Koshkina


While most summer flowers have already given up their season, fall daisies are just getting started. These hardy buds hang in there reminding us there’s beauty in simplicity.

Photo credit: Planet Natural



Oh, those crafty mason jars!!


Give me a jar, any kind of jar, and I can rule the world!!


Make scented oil candles for Christmas


Store stuff



Make an herb garden!


A mason jar wind chime


Use them for inexpensive luminaries



Got seashells? Display them in jars!


Photos: Pinterest Pinners

Gardening during the drought

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sometimes I think I need my head examined for trying to have a garden during a drought. Everything’s so brown and some days I feel like the stingy amount of drink I give the lettuce is a luxury. Lettuce is about all I have left. The lavender is struggling and so are my daisies. I follow the stringent guidelines of water restriction both inside and outside. We haven’t washed our cars in months. I’ve moved most of my regular plants indoors to keep them from frying in the blasts of August heat. But let’s face it, if California doesn’t get some relief soon, I’m not sure a garden is worth the effort.

To give you an idea of how bad things are, the trees located behind my house are dying…slowly. Pine, cypress, and the cottonwood that are located in what we used to refer to as the “greenbelt” are turning brown. The roots are searching for water that doesn’t come. The grass, once lush and green, has turned to what resembles straw.

I’ve always loved a garden setting. But here locally people are replacing their yards with rock, stone, or letting them go burnt brown naturally. I don’t judge. Whatever others feel they need to do for a yard during this drought is certainly understandable. Even though a few of the more elite are snubbing their noses at restrictions, we all wonder how long it will take to get rain. The media talks about some monster El Nino supposed to hit this winter. Cities are gearing up for torrential rain, floods, and they make evacuation plans and practice scenarios if mudslides occur. But for now, everything bakes. And we here in Southern California can only dream about a good downpour.

My idea of the perfect garden. This one’s in West Philly thanks to Farmer Liz.


So wherever you are, if rain is in your forecast, enjoy it. Not everyone is that lucky. 🙂


Dig in the dirt or find a spot to read



The weather’s been so wonderful here that I got out yesterday to weed the raised beds in the backyard. But this morning I’m paying for my enthusiastic “workout” with sore muscles I haven’t used in too long. My knees aren’t what they used to be either. So I’m hobbling around like I attempted to climb Mt. Everest instead of doing a little digging in the dirt. Keeping my pug, Beau, out of the mix is darn near impossible. But that’s another story.

For the life of me I can’t figure out why I simply cannot grow rosemary or lavender. I dug up the dead plants and decided to wait until spring to plant more. Sheesh, I guess I’m a sucker for the old adage, “give it one more try.”

I confess here that I get most of my gardening inspiration off Pinterest. And my hubby wishes I’d suddenly lose the DIY board there so I won’t be tempted to drag him into my dream plans. Many of these projects are a little too large even for two people but they are fun to dream about and to wonder how they’d look in that bare corner of the backyard where nothing seems to work. My hope for spring is that I can 1 Outdoor reading areacreate an outdoor reading area. I have the bench, but my trees are nothing like this picture. They just aren’t mature enough yet and I don’t have a cute fence for a backdrop that looks like it jumped out of a pastoral setting.

Which means this arbor bench below might work better anyway. But one look at the how-to instructions and it reminds me that it’s a little ambitious. I mean the materials listed goes on and on. If I want to include my hubby in tackling such a project I’ll need to plan on being extra sweet until March. Who knows? Maybe I’ll just stick my bench out there and leave it at that.

1 Arbor Bench