Flow of Grace

Hi Friends!

Throughout each and every day, there is one ‘word’ that continues to guide me through 2022…

FLOW (verb) ~ to move or proceed smoothly and readily; forward motion; with abundance and ease; “go with the flow” (noun) ~ the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake; showing no sign of stopping; performing vigorously and enthusiastically; “in full flow”

I can feel this current of change as I write my Morning Pages and as I work with ink, paper, stamps, and watercolors in my Paper Garden studio downstairs. This year, I can also feel the flow of grace as I head out to the garden each morning!

Photographing the perennials in my garden always brings me such joy! This year, most of my garden photos are close ups, with good reason.

The ‘heart’ of my garden has always been my Herb & Tea garden.

Bee Balm and ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangeas in full bloom

When I look up while tending the herbs and mints used for tea, the view has really changed over the past few months!

A mountain of soil is the current backdrop beyond the white picket fence.
Next door a BIG new house is growing, day by day!

Now as I walk through the arbor, there is an exciting, new view from my perennial garden.

My days in the garden begin even earlier now, as I gather my garden tools at 6:00am and get started. This lets me enjoy a whole hour of birdsong before the contractors begin working with their very noisy tools and machines at 7:00, on the dot!

My huge garden project this year has been redesigning the large garden bed that had been a woodland, shade garden, nestled beneath our two, towering 100-year-old pine trees. (See what happened here.)

I spent many weeks removing shade plants that have happily lived there for over 35 years. I tried to find new homes in other garden beds for hostas, ferns, European ginger, and pachysandra.

I bid a fond farewell to the grape mahonia and Lily-of-the-valley. Although I combed through the soil diligently to remove every root, next year should any reappear, it might feel like a nice garden memory!

As I struggled to chop and dig up very long tree roots day after day, I often wished that I had some of the heavy equipment just a few feet away beyond the tall, chain-link, construction fence.

After a while, we learned one another’s work patterns. The friendly workers tried to muffle the deafening sounds of their machines with big pieces of plywood to save my hearing as they framed the new house. Each day, when the contractors stopped for their 11:00 lunch break, I just kept digging. It was so lovely to enjoy the birdsong again while the crew took their break!

Once the large area was cleared, it was time to begin creating my new Sunshine bed! Oh, how I loved transplanting perennials from other parts of the garden that should thrive in this new sunny garden bed. It felt almost like ‘watercoloring’ with real plants! I transplanted beautiful, old varieties of Phlox that grew in the garden before I came 35 years ago. I added several Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ and Stella d’Oro daylilies. As I planted, robins, wrens, cardinals and bunnies stopped to enjoy the show!

Then I made several early morning trips to our city’s free wood chip pile. That’s where I met Jasper, a very friendly yellow Labrador, who also loves free wood chips! It felt so good to finally mulch the new Sunshine bed with wood chip walking paths. No more muddy shoes.😊

Last week, it was such a joy to scatter grass seeds along the edges of my new, ‘right-size’ garden bed. Although my plans often changed over the past weeks, I just went with the flow! I can’t wait until all of the transplanted perennials are in bloom. It won’t be long now…

I’m sure I will make more changes to the Sunshine bed next year. This year, I just used plants that I already had. I’d love to add a few native plants and some flowering shrubs, too.

The new house next door won’t be finished until December. After it is sold, the new neighbors will very likely put up a privacy fence next Spring. I’m so curious to see what kind of fence they will choose… and how my garden might change again!

🌻 The flow of grace continues…

Our hearts and prayers are with the families of seven beautiful lives lost and more than thirty injured by gunshots in the senseless, tragic mass shooting during the Highland Park, Illinois Fourth of July parade.

This is such a complicated, worrisome time in our nation’s 246-year history. We must find ways to work together to end gun violence, preserve women’s health, ensure racial justice and fair voting rights, as we care for one another. Enough is enough.

We can do better! ❤️🤍💙

Perennially yours,

💗 Dawn


8 thoughts on “Flow of Grace

  1. You are so right – ‘we’ can do better. As for changing garden beds from shade to sun, I have been there and done that. This year I took out an entire shade garden to make a parking space. I moved my prized plants around the edges and along the walkway so I could keep them, but I also gave a friend a half a pickup load of plants to start her shade garden at a new house. I can imagine you do appreciate the breaks so you can hear the birds and not the machines. Yes, you will probably have a new backdrop when they put in a fence, but at least you will get the good side of the fence. 🙂 I garden every morning for a couple of hours. I can’t imagine not gardening. Enjoy your early mornings.

    • We are most definitely kindred spirits, Judy! We were probably hard at work digging at the same time! I thought of you so often as I repeated those wise words, “They are not children or pets.” (Although John often refers to them as “the kids.”😉) The Sunshine bed ended up being a little bigger than I planned, but it’s smaller than the shady area. I’m hoping for a tall, white, privacy fence. It would be the perfect garden background.
      Yes! The garden is my happy, healing place. If I didn’t have the blessing of a garden, I would volunteer in someone else’s garden. Waving from my garden to yours, Judy! Thank you for always being here!💗

  2. Dearest Dawn, It’s lovely to see your beautiful garden and hear about the changes you are making. A sunny garden will be wonderful! I have always had a shade and partial shade garden. I know you must be excited to move forward and “flow with grace”, my friend. Gardeners are experts in regard to going with the flow! My own garden has been neglected this season and I have been working to take care of that. The heat and humidity sends me outside early as well.
    I thought of you immediately concerning the terrible news about Highland Park! We really need to ban automatic weapons. It’s so upsetting…no one needs that kind of weapon. And yes, women’s rights are being taken away. We must send a wake up call to our Congress to take measures that protect the least among us. I really pray everyone votes with all of this in mind.
    Sending you hugs and love, Tell John hello and I hope you two have a wonderful summer.
    xoxo Martha Ellen

    • Welcome home, Martha Ellen!! I thought of you so often the past few weeks and I had a feeling that you and Grayden might just be on an adventure! I’m so happy to know that you were able to take your favorite kind of trip. 😊
      Take care to pace yourself in the garden in the heat! I overdid it, working in the heat for 5-6 hours on the days that I was at home. It really wore me out! The rest of my garden projects will happen at a slower pace.
      The tragedy in Highland Park is so heartbreaking! It’s a beautiful town, smaller than ours, only 26 miles from here. I can’t imagine how a close-knit community can ever heal from such a tragedy. I share your prayers, my friend!
      Martha Ellen, I wasn’t able to leave you a comment this morning on Blogger. So, you will find an email soon. Wishing you, Grayden, and Samuel healthy, happy Summer days! Sending big hugs all the way to Virginia!💗

  3. What a joy to read your delightful blog. I, too, have a large house being constructed next door. The began work a year ago in March. Hoping for nice, quiet neighbors. Our water shortage prevents much gardening so I live vicariously through your efforts. Keep up the good work! Love, Anne

    • Such a treat to find your comment waiting for me today, Anne! It really is fascinating to watch a house being built day-by-day. We are blessed to have a very kind builder next door! He is trying to keep the neighbors happy during the l-o-n-g building process.
      It has been another busy week in the garden, so today was a relaxing day in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs. There are sweet, little, paper hollyhocks ‘blooming’ on my work desk in the studio today.😊
      Heartfelt thanks for the beautiful anniversary card, dear friend! We also loved the postcard from your latest adventure. Your happy mail is always so delightful, Anne!💕
      Sending sunny hugs all the way to California!💗

  4. Hello dear Dawn, you’ve been in my heart and thoughts. I love your word: Flow. Such a powerful intention. Thanks for your beautiful photos as you navigate the changes in your environment. Such a good reminder that nothing stays the same. We humans like to think once we have something in place, that’s it 🙂 I was interested to hear about your free mulch supply. I wish we had that. I’ve been buying truck loads of mulch. The latest had gone from $100 to $150, but I’d been waiting so long I was grateful to get it. Still think I may need one more load. I now have very little grass left so will be laying cardboard and spreading this mulch once it stops raining. But then there are the previously mulched areas that need topping up. Already after 3+ years of mulching I’m growing amazing veggies in the mulched areas – sweet corn, Jerusalem and globe artichokes, garlic (hope it survives the rain), onions, yacon and all kinds of berries and fruit. And I’ve buried mushroom spore all over the place so at times I have so many mushrooms I need to dehydrate them.

    I’m working with a group in our community to prune (and learn to prune) fruit trees and start veggie gardens. We’re starting to experience food scarcity and this is a great climate for growing food – one of the best in the country actually.

    You are inspiring, to be flowing with the changes around you. I’m sure your garden will become amazing and fit who you are now. I’m about to start planting a medicinal herb garden. Got a great book o medicinal herbs from the States and surprisingly, we have many of the same herbs here, in addition to some special Maori healing plants. I’m learning!

    love and hugs to you and enjoy your time in your garden in these turbulent times. Vicky xox

    • Oh, Vicky! What a beautiful, garden oasis you have created on your land in just a few short years! I love that Winter in New Zealand means an abundance of homegrown veggies, fruits, and nuts. The pollinators must love your garden.
      Your volunteer work will make a real difference toward the problem of local food scarcity! I can’t wait to hear more about your medicinal herb garden, Vicky! There is so much to learn about cultivating, harvesting, and preparing herbs. Although I LOVE the colorful flowers in my garden, the herbs feel like the true ‘heart’ of my garden!
      We are both so blessed to spend healing hours in our gardens, Vicky! Wishing you sunshine, gentle showers, and healthy, happy days in the garden! Huge hugs, dear friend!💗

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