5 Things I Loved About Last Week: Garden Edition #celebratelu 6/21/14

celebrate link up

Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to find positives at the end of the week.

We’ve had some wild weather in Dakota over the past couple of weeks, including tornadoes and baseball-size hail. My little town had been lucky–reaping the benefits of wild weather patterns (cooler evening temperatures as the storms blew in, lots of rain) without the dangerous consequences suffered by other areas (tornadoes, hail, flash floods). But on Tuesday night, we had a major thunderstorm with hail of various coin sizes. Not big enough to bust windows, thank goodness, but more than big enough to completely trash a garden.

Leftover hail the morning after:

On Wednesday morning, I stood on my porch surveying the wreckage of my garden and feeling rather sick. It looked like a Giant had come tromping through my flowers. After a damaging storm like this, I feel lucky that I don’t depend on my garden for food or livelihood. I don’t grow a single vegetable. My garden is purely for beauty and pleasure.


It is not very beautiful right now. And working in it is not very pleasurable. So much snipping of broken stalks and damaged leaves to be done.

But still, I can celebrate:

1. Thanks to Colorado gardeners, I know what to do to salvage my garden! I spent a few minutes mourning on Wednesday morning, then realized I’d better get busy. I read about a dozen articles and blog posts written by Colorado gardeners–who apparently deal with a lot of summer hail–about how to clean up your garden after a hailstorm. There was much terrific advice, and I knew exactly where to start when I headed out to my garden. I am still working on it, but I am hopeful that nearly all of my plants will recover.

2. Peonies! When I first inspected the damage, I thought there were zero flowers remaining in the garden. But then I found three peonies bent over in the dirt, protected by another plant.


3. Oregano! It was the only thing still standing straight and tall. Not one broken stalk. Not one punctured leaf. That stuff is hardy.

4. Fences! About three dozen new perennials and herbs that I hadn’t yet planted sustained virtually no damage from the storm because they were tucked away on the right side of a tall fence.

5. My new herb garden! I planted the new herb garden yesterday. The new front garden is beginning to take shape. My son came outside last night, surveyed my work, and said, “It looks like that magazine.”


This is the magazine he means:


As your eyes are no doubt telling you right now, my yard looks NOTHING like this magazine. But I appreciated his magical thinking. It’s probably never a good idea–and especially not when you live in South Dakota–to take inspiration for a gardening project from Martha Stewart Living magazine.


But my garden can certainly be beautiful in its own way.

garden (2)

Pre-hail, of course.

And now for a few gratuitous cat photos.


Last week, I wrote about how Abby refuses to share her special Powell’s book box with other cats. But there has been A Development. She hopped into the box with Puck and tried to bully him out, but he ignored her. He’s an 18-pounder and so oblivious that he once crawled into my lap while I was holding my thrashing, shrieking, raging, spitting, nearly-puking-with-a-temper-tantrum eight-year-old and settled right down for a nap. There was barely any lap available because, you know, thrashing, shrieking, raging, spitting, nearly puking eight year old. But Puck was undeterred. He saw a small opening and he took it.


Puck just looked the other way when Abby squeezed herself into the box with him. She slapped him. He closed his eyes. She looked confused. Then bored. Then sleepy.

And now we have this happening:


For like eight hours every day.


crazybox - Copy


18 responses to “5 Things I Loved About Last Week: Garden Edition #celebratelu 6/21/14”

  1. Your cats are hilarious. Very, very cute. Oh so sorry about your garden. Love the imaginative, magical thinking. Best way to view the world! I am doing a lot of it right now 🙂

    • I was actually really surprised that I wasn’t more upset about my garden this week. I was sad for about five minutes and then I just got back to work. I’ve been quite cheery and positive as I have been out there hacking away and gathering dead stuff. Am I turning into Pollyanna?? Perhaps the weekly celebration is just infusing me with positive spirits all the time! Or perhaps it’s just about gaining some perspective. Your post today definitely resonated with me!

  2. Ooo I love those box pictures. Wish our two would cuddle up together but while they like each other body contact for extended period of time no chance LOL

    • This is an odd development at our house, as Puck, the large tuxedo, has little tolerance for other cats. But he does have a large tolerance for the path of least resistance, which is clearly staying still rather than getting up.

      • Lol! So typical cats. The problem with our two is that our female keeps twitching and our tuxedo boy hates that so he will push her off eventually hehe

  3. I totally get the frustration with hail. Two years ago we had to get a new roof… last summer the hail trashed it again… and while I was gone interning over the past 3 weeks we has another HUGE storm. My plants that I put in before I left were completely destroyed as were many cars and homes throughout the area. Our courthouse lost most of the windows on the north side, and there was softball size hail about 20 minutes from our home. I have never lived in a area before that gets so much hail! We are very thankful that no tornadoes have touched down nearby, but that is always in the back of our minds. I was VERY glad that our vehicles were in the garage this time when the storm hit. It sometimes seems as though we have personally purchased the building that houses the local body shop for cars.

    • I was so focused on my garden that it was hours before I thought to check my car! When I bought it new several years ago, it sustained $10K of hail damage less than one week after I’d bought it new. Unbelievable! This is a really challenging area of the country to live, weather-wise. The summer hailstorms, the fires started from lightning, the drought…. and of course tornadoes, which we seem to be having an unusual number of this summer.

  4. You pre-hail plants are beautiful. And it’s the first day of summer so there’s plenty of time for them to make a comeback. Also, I LOVE the color of your house–and the red window trim looks devine.

    • Thank you! We had it painted last summer and I’ve been very happy with the gray, though I kind of wish I’d gone with my initial love–this very vivid yellow–for the porch trim. But I do like the red–it’s classic. I do hope the flowers will recover. I’ve read conflicting info on whether I should trim back my daylilies or not, so I am experimenting by trimming six plants and leaving the rest to see what happens!

  5. That hail damage is amazing! I have never seen anything like that. Here in Wisconsin, we don’t get hail very often, but we did get some terrible storms this past week. Needless to say, I haven’t had to water the garden all week! I love the pictures of your cats, especially the last one. So cute!

  6. I’ve been there with the garden, living in Colorado, Elisabeth. Sorry about the storms. I knew about them from a Facebook friend-what a mess. But they will come back, always do. Love the cat stories. Cats are push and resilient all at the same time, maybe a lesson there? Have a good week!

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