Gardens hold more than dirt and plants. They hold power. They heal.

Gardens foster community and relationships and awaken the senses while they provide hope and teach patience and fortitude.

Gardens contribute to our quality of life whether we're working in them or sitting back and taking them in.

Here we will dig deep and expose what all gardens hold, teach and reveal.


by Heather Ford-Helgeson

I like to think that most of us remember to be thankful more than once a year, that we don't necessarily need a holiday in order to give thanks for everything and everyone we have in our lives. Never-the-less, having a whole day in which to concentrate on being thankful is not such a bad idea; a whole day to spend with family and friends, to appreciate good and comforting food, to spend time with those we don't see enough throughout the year, to remember loved ones who are no longer with us, and to give extra hugs and kisses to those that are. Regardless of what the true origin of Thanksgiving is and how we feel about it, what we do with the day now is what matters most.

Up until a few years ago, I wasn't much for traditions and holidays and such. They often felt too obligatory and seemed kind of a bore.  I have grown up, though, and realized what a blessing it is to have family with whom to spend the holidays and that it is all about how we approach these days together and what we do during them.  I don't want any formalities and expectations other than fun, food and family and my guess is that is how most people enjoy the holidays best; no pomp, no circumstance, just lightheartedness and celebration.

When walking into a holiday home, what makes it all complete is a cozy atmosphere with heavenly scented air, good music in the background, familiar voices and laughter. I also love it when everyone pitches in to make the food. Somebody brings the appetizers, someone else brings the wine, another makes the breads and sweet treat, others create the sides, and one or a couple take on the main course.  A collaboration adds to the cohesive theme of any holiday.

If there's kids coming, the more fun for them, the better time everyone has, so I love it when there's toys, games, movies, and such about because then there's lots more laughter and squeals, which are the best ambiance to any holiday.

So, here's to you and yours. May your days be cheery and bright and may your holidays be full of everything that makes you happy, and thankful.

Best wishes to one and all.

As the Leaves Leave

by Heather Ford-Helgeson

My head has been buried in thought and my daughter lately and it is easy for me to go whole days with not noticing much of my surroundings.  The wind, a few days ago, caught my attention, however, and when I looked up and focused on the world around me, I was shocked to see that it is beginning to look a lot like winter; rather in-congruent when it's this warm, but none-the-less, winter is coming.

Thankfully there are still some leaves hanging on and so must we.  And besides, the sound of shoes crackling through leaves and the smell of them burning are triggers for memories of happy fall days of the past.

In a couple of days I'll get out in the yard to do the fall cut back of my perennials and when I'm done with that I'm going to rake leaves and I'm excited to see what my 15 month old will think of that; hopefully she'll jump on into the piles with me.

It feels good to a.) be doing a fall clean-up in November and know I won't have to wear thermal underwear and b.) to do a fall clean-up, period! I can't stand starting out in the spring with all the dead perennials and leaves all over my landscaped and garden areas. I want the snow to melt to reveal a blank canvas and as the days lengthen and the sunlight strengthens, watch mother nature create her works of art.

Happy fall, everyone, when next I write, it may be winter...but we can dare to dream for a couple more weeks of autumn.