Flowers for When The Heart Is Broken ~ For the Love of My Dog


Dogs’ lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.
— Dean Koontz

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On Monday, I had to say goodbye to my dog Jack. He was two-months shy of 17 years old, five of which I was his owner.  I have had dogs before and have also experienced the grief and heartbreak that comes with making that decision for them, and saying goodbye. But this time it felt different because unlike my other dogs— Rummer and Snoopy— Jack was not sick; his age simply caught up with him.  It was not a decision made because an illness was taking him. This time it was about dignity. Last Saturday I went to the vet, we discussed it and he agreed that it was time. That confirmation hit me like a truck even though I was prepared for the possibility. Here it was— that moment I have read about when you are called, as a responsible dog parent, to make that ultimate gesture of love for your canine companion. And so I did.

Saying goodbye to Jack Frost (as I called him because he loved snow) had the crushing power of Snoopy and Rummer’s death all roll into one, and it waited the entire weekend to hit me like a jackhammer. But instead of letting that rule our last day, I spent it with Jack doing what we love to do most— snuggling and watching Hallmark movies. I spent Jack’s last few hours alone with him. I gave him his pain pill, cuddled with him wrapped with his favorite knitted blanket, which he marked as his last summer on the same day I bought it. And I fed him venison and ice cream— he loved it. Then the light snow started falling and I thought of how appropriate it was for a dog who loves snow to have snow on his last day on this earth. We went out for a little walk and then he wanted to eat snow... and guess what? I let him.

Then with his dignity unbroken, we went to see Dr. Murphy. As he drifted, I rubbed his fur, especially that spot on top of his head that always seemed extra soft. I tried to memorize the feel of his fur on my fingers. At that moment I wanted to say “Stop! I haven’t had enough time with him!”, but he was ready. He was tired. As he drifted, I told him he was the best doggie ever and that it was my honor to be his mom. That I hope he knew that his other parents loved him to the moon and back. I thanked him for being such a good boy... and then it was over. He looked like he did a hundred time when he was asleep— peacefully slumbering with the little tip of his tongue sticking out. I could see those little Wheaten teeth and I chuckled; and then the dam of tears opened and my heart broke into a thousand pieces.💔

The next day was even worse as I had to face the reality, as I looked at his things, that he is not here anymore. A wet spot on his bed where he drooled in his sleep served as a reminder that hours ago he had been here with us. And as hot tears streamed down my face while I was cleaning his food bowls, still holding pieces of chicken he left the day before, the doorbell rang and a parcel for me was delivered. Flowers. Beautiful flower from another friend and fellow Wheaten terrier momma. When I thanked her via messenger on Instagram she said “One thing I know, you LOVE dogs and flowers. I hope these make you smile.”  She knows me well.

‘Pink Ice’ protea, pink stock, ‘Cymbidium’ orchids, light peach roses, amaranth, fresh eucalyptus, lilies and Bronze Football mums… all beautiful and vibrant. It is the blessing of a gardener that the gift of flowers can bring such joy even at moments like these.

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The beautiful burlap-wrapped flowers just lifted my broken heart. They are bold in color and with such personality... just like my crazy Jack had. And as I smiled, I knew that eventually, some day, I will be able to think about Jack without falling apart.

I have heard that the pieces of a broken heart grow back together and make space for more love. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to give love to another dog— I know I will. But Jack’s death just broke me hard. And I think part of it, is that he represents one of my last connections to my life before I got married three years ago. He was with me for 5 years, but so much happened and it felt like he was with me for much longer. His departing literally took my breath away. Now here I am, going between moments of calm and moments of straight up ugly-crying, but I continue to live and will continue to strive to be the awesome person Jack, as well as Snoopy and Rummer, saw me as. ❤️

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The Growing Cycle Begins with Fall Planting


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It is that time of the year when we put our faith in the hands of mother nature and hope for the best come spring. It is fall planting season! This is my second year fall planting for spring, and believe me when I tell you— this IS a leap of faith for me.

Last year only two of my 50 bulbs I planted bloomed; the rest either did not or they only grew the foliage but not the flower. And I suspect there was also a critter partly involved in my tulip failure. But I am not giving up yet, and so with everything in me, I ordered 300 bulbs that I plated this weekend. Yes, I am a bit behind but work at the hospital and life have been busy.

Before I continue— a quick review of what I do when planting fall bulbs. First, I use garden soil combined with potting soil. This year I added perlite to help keep the soil lighter and aerated. I then added bulb food to the garden beds, which I get from Dutch Grown, the same place I get my bulbs from. Then I plant. I place the bulbs pretty close. The beauty of bulbs is that you can plant a big amount in a relative space. For me this is no problem because come spring, I harvest not just the flowers, but also the bulbs, as it helps keep the flowers longer.

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You will notice that I have to size of bulbs. The bigger ones are tulips, while the smaller ones are allium. This is my first time growing allium, and I am super excited by the variety I am growing (more on that below).

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 Y’all, sorry for how dry my hands are, but I hate wearing gloves in the garden unless necessary.

Y’all, sorry for how dry my hands are, but I hate wearing gloves in the garden unless necessary.

 Everything is planted and cleaned for next spring. Everything looks so empty and sad. :(

Everything is planted and cleaned for next spring. Everything looks so empty and sad. :(

Now this year, I strayed away from my normal preferred palette of pastels and went with more dramatic colors. Still I did ordered two light ones. The first is tulip ‘Menton’. I saw this one last year and loved everything about it. It is the most beautiful and delicate pink color with hints of salmon on the edges. It was on the pricey side so I am hoping they grow strong and beautiful.

 Photo credit: Dutch Grown

Photo credit: Dutch Grown

 Photo Credit: Dutch Grown

Photo Credit: Dutch Grown

This tulip, I will combine with another beauty I have wanted to grow since I saw it: tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’. This beauty of a tulip is just everything I love about flowers— lots of petals, feminine, but it’s true beauty is when it opens fully.

 Photo credit: Floret— I love how this photo shows them opened.

Photo credit: Floret— I love how this photo shows them opened.

 Photo credit: Dutch Grown

Photo credit: Dutch Grown

But aside from this pink one, everything else I ordered is darker and looks, oh so deliciously beautiful! Next on the list is Allium Sphaerocephalon (Drumsticks). This beautiful allium is not the typical orb shape of the most commonly known but I loved the shape and the coloring.

 Photo credit: Dutch Grown

Photo credit: Dutch Grown

Next is one that is near and dear to my heart—tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ or as it is known in our house as ‘The Honeymoon Tulip’. It is known by this name because three years ago, during a connection in Amsterdam on our way back home from our honeymoon in Norway, we stocked up on these babies. They bloomed one year, and the next nothing. We do not know what happened. Thankfully, we also gave some to my mother-in-law and I have been able to enjoy them in her garden. This photo really does not do it justice, because the color is darker and the petals look almost velvety. Super excited to have this one back!

And finally, there is this beauty that grabbed my gardener’s heart and did not let go, so I just had to get it— tulip “Rococco”. I mean, look at it! It is just so stunning!

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And there you have it, my friends. Fall planting is done, and now, we wait until next spring. In the meantime we plan for summer! Have a wonderful week!

I may be found on one of these link-ups: In a Vase on Monday, Mosaic Monday, Home Sweet Home, Friday Bliss, Home and Garden Thursday, End of Month View(31st of the Month), Blooming Friday, Pink Saturday, Nature Notes, Dishing It & Digging It.