Firing my Landscape Crew!

Weeding, cutting the grass, edging beds, and watering are incredibly rewarding and relaxing. Outside work creates moments of Zen for me, much like meditation does for others. The peace and quiet of working alone outside is heaven. 

And then this happened. 

Caught red handed

This is Spud. She likes nothing better than to lie in a sunny spot in the grass or in our raised vegetable bed and oversee my gardening endeavors. I find her overly judgmental most of the time. It’s my fault really. I made a tactical error by having her outside with me while I fertilized my roses. I scratched around the bushes before fertilizing, and I should have known better. Since I had been scratching, clearly it meant that when I went inside, Spud needed to finish the job–by digging a pit and exposing the roots. It was all I could do to control myself. I’ll just consider it aeration. But she’s still fired. 


Anam Cara 

Heart-shaped rock at Rudolph Falls by Susan Witmer Wolffe

There is a Celtic term, Anam Cara, meaning spirit friend. For me, Anam Cara is a place. It’s Richwood, WV, a stone’s throw from the amazingly beautiful Monongahela National Forest.

Cow Pasture Trail by Jeromy Rose

Cow Pasture Trail by Jeromy Rose

Richwood is the hometown of my good buddy Jeromy, whom I’ve visited for thirty years and with whom I’ve mule packed, swum in Rudolph Falls, canoed at midnight on Summit Lake, fished, and hiked. Breathtaking views and flora do my soul good. 

Rudolph Falls rocks worn smooth by Susan Witmer Wolffe

Water lilies at Summit Lake by Susan Witmer Wolffe

In the snow, I see irises. 

What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them. ― John Lubbock

Just hold off a day or two!

I love a snow day as much as the next girl, but in the winter, not in the second week of March after a balmy January and February. Everything has been tricked to pop out sooner. The problem is that we’re expecting a pounding of snow overnight. Our first snow of the season, really, which is a little unheard of in Zone 7. If the snow could have held off just 2 more days, my cherry tree buds would have been open enough to cut a few branches. As it stands, I have only this blurry photo (the wind had picked up) of the tiny looking things. Am hoping freezing weather won’t cause all the buds to drop.


Not sure how long this forsythia is going to last. I cut it this week when I should have been driving to work. A quick wet snow came on us in the morning and I wanted to bring some inside before the petals fell. These flowers looked slightly suspect and may have succumbed to the freezing weather. We shall see. 

I’m going to root these branches–easy to do–and find a sunny spot to plant them. Forsythia flowers much more if planted in sun, but once the petals fall it looks rangy. Need to tuck it away in a sunny corner. In Chinese medicine forsythia is used to detoxify the body and treat colds and fever. A perfect antidote to winter. 


Nandina berries generally ripen to a bright red in the fall and winter. In spring they darken and sometimes shrivel, so I am happy to have a bounty to cut today. The berries dry beautifully without water, so I was able to be creative about where to put them. I tucked a small sprig in a Staffordshire figurine of two greyhounds and the rest in a Chinese export Rose Medallion bowl.

Greyhounds have a special place in my heart because we’ve rescued 4 ex-racers–Stoner, Tom, Andy, and Diana–all through Greyhound Rescue, Inc. in Gerrardstown, WV.

My reticulated Rose Medallion bowl, made to hold fruit while allowing air to circulate, is one of my favorite pieces. It’s perfect for a big arrangement of Nandina. Thin strong stems easily fit through the slots of the bowl which anchor the berries. I took the photo on a chest, above which rests a beautiful painting of cabbages gifted by my mother-in-law Benita. Immediately after, the berries went out of reach and onto the mantel because of their high toxicity to dogs and cats.