It’s  been just over 15 months since my last post to this little gardening blog.  I originally planned to blog for a year, then petered out and lost interest.  Mostly I stopped because I was busy with other things.  Many other things.  Fifteen months of “magical thinking,” paraphrasing writer Joan Didion.  Busy with life and the stuff that happens.  So, to the small cadre of readers who followed “My Gardener Says…” , I disappeared.

In that fifteen months, I buried my father-in-law.

I endured a fire in my back garden and fence caused by strong, dry Texas winter winds and errant branches flaming against electric wires and an Austin Fire Department,  who, stretched too thin that evening, arrived late.

We were fortunate: no one was hurt and our damage was minimal and fixable.

I developed ligament problems in one foot and then fell and broke the other.

I left a job I enjoyed, but had fulfilled.

I graduated my surviving child from high school, gloried in his summer antics between childhood and the college road to adulthood.

©aaron in a hole

I became an Empty Nester when I moved him across the country to begin his new life.

I witnessed more water move through our property during the Halloween Flood of 2013 than anytime in our 28 years here.  The next day I saw that our dining room ceiling sustained water damage.

After investigation, we realized that  four juvenile raccoons, who had briefly moved into the space between the solar panels and roof weeks before the flood, had eaten through the shingles on the roof. The heavy rain poured through the newly made raccoon hole and into the attic.  Although slowed by attic insulation, the water leaked through the ceiling.   Our damage was nothing compared to folks who live in far southeast Austin, but still, who knew that raccoons would eat shingles on a roof?  Turns out, raccoons are expensive visitors.

I ended 2013 with a diagnosis of an  invasive form of skin cancer.  Happy 2014 to me.  Nothing too bad. Nothing that a little surgery won’t fix. Just call me Scarface.  Gardeners: wear your hats and sunscreen.

Oh yeah and I adopted a new kitten.

And I got a new dryer. Whoop!

In all of that and the other life stuff that happened, I gardened.

I  redesigned and replanted  the fire damaged garden.

I started to build (and haven’t finished) a Green Tower, for vertical veggie/herb planting.

I figured out two new places for blackberry vines (so I can grow enough blackberries to bake cobbler and pie and still have plenty to eat  from the vine).

I began a new perennial garden space, with an accompanying walkway in what was formerly a storage area.

It’s not finished yet.

I tweaked established gardens, always wondering: “why didn’t I think of that before??”

This winter has been a good winter for us: blasts of Arctic air, mingled with balmy days.    Plants, abnormally evergreen for most winters of the past decade or two, are dormant now, behaving like the herbaceous perennials they are. I’ve pruned more this year than in a long time and that feels good.

Minimalist gardens.

Going forward, I plan to chronicle my garden adventures more regularly. It’s a new year.

Magical life.

10 thoughts on “Magical

  1. Welcome back Tina. I have missed your posts. What a stunning recap of the missing months, So much has happened that I wouldn’t have dreamed was going on.

    I especially like your outlook on this winter. Plants behaving as they should. I have been looking at them from the opposite view, as in they look worse than ever.

    I so look forward to seeing where your garden changes take you.


    • Hey Shirley, thanks for commenting. I still keep up with other blogs (kinda, sorta), but life just took me in a different direction. The gardens aren’t lush, but that’s okay–winter will be over soon enough.


  2. Ahhh, Tina- nice post! We’ve had a lot of of parallels- father in law, age of son and kitten- happy to not share the flood and fire- sorry to read that. Best wishes for your new adventures; I look forward to seeing more! Best~


    • Thanks for commenting, Cyndi. Blogging is fun, but definitely a hobby with me, so it took a back seat for a while. I’ve noticed you hadn’t written in a while, maybe we should be “encouragement buddies.” 🙂


    • Ha! Me too! Truthfully, nothing was tragedy–annoying more than anything as it’s all perspective, isn’t it? The go-go was fun–it was nice to meet the gardeners I’d been reading and everyone was great.


  3. I’m certainly relieved the events you reported were spread out over a 15 month span. Reading about them all in the space of a few moments makes quite an impression. Fire, flood, pestilence – you’ve had a year of biblical proportion.

    I’m even more relieved to have you back blogging – at whatever interval that continues to occur. The blogosphere is a friendlier happier place with you as part of it!


  4. It’s been nice catching up on your posts. Like you, I didn’t mind saying goodbye to 2013. You’re just a few steps ahead of me with your empty nest. I’ll be sending my youngest off in August a few states over. It’s hard to believe but I’m happy he’s prepared to go and seems joyful about it all. The garden will help fill the time that he had previously occupied. A new year, a new season. The pared down garden spaces left behind from the numerous freezes are refreshing. I feel a new perspective was unveiled and it’s given me fresh ideas and fresh hope.


    • Hi Cat, thanks for stopping by! Well, “fresh eyes and fresh hope” is what gardening and gardens are all about. As for the empty nest thing, it’s what is supposed to happen, so as long as the little bird is on a good trajectory, it’s all good. I also enjoy when I have blank space to re-imagine. Best of luck with it all!


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