Celebrating Gardens: Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden


For our  “Wandering Wednesday” this week, we chose to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland, Oregon. What a beautiful morning spent exploring and experiencing the different gardens within that walled city block. Beautiful, peaceful, inspiring…a lovely place to visit and enjoy.


Celebrating Gardens: The Oregon Garden


Our second Wandering Wednesday was a late-May trip to the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. What a beautiful and inspiring day! We spent hours walking and enjoying the creativity of the different gardens, and came home with some fun ideas for our own yard and garden. We decided we must wander that way again before too long because it was so much fun. Be sure to check out the link to their homepage because there are many activities and events to enjoy there along with their beautiful gardens.


Celebrating Gardens: A School Garden


I am a newly retired school teacher. Simply put, I loved my work, enjoyed spending my days with young people, and loved sharing the experience of learning with them for 27 years. I was fortunate to be able to spend most of my teaching years at the same elementary school, Peter Kirk Elementary, in Kirkland, in the Seattle metro area. It was a very nice community to work in and I appreciated (and did not take for granted!) the wonderful care and support given to all of us at the school by the parents and the community.

During the last five years of my teaching, there was one parent who took on the volunteer job of “school gardener.” That wasn’t the official title, but she was a gardener and a “do-er” and, with PTSA funding, she slowly began to transform the little garden areas both inside and outside of the school into beautiful, meaningful gardens. I took great delight in watching that transformation, and she became my gardening hero, my mentor.

signorderlogoOne project she created was a butterfly garden with the 2nd graders. It was a learning garden, with classroom lessons created and taught by parent volunteers, providing hands-on gardening experiences for our students. It became a certified wildlife habitat, named affectionately by the 2nd graders as the “Flutterby Butterfly Garden.”

She also refurbished an old “Native Plants Garden” that had been put together many years earlier by 6th graders as a year-end gift to the school. It was greatly in need of care, and she gave it wonderful care! It was located in a courtyard right inside the front entrance to the school, so it became a lovely “first impression.”

I watched closely as she did project after project in the different courtyard areas and around the school and I learned that one gardener can make a huge difference. She is my inspiration as I return to gardening in this new stage of my life.  I hope you enjoy this slideshow of some of the photos I’ve taken of her gardens in the last few years. Kudos to you, Bobbi O.

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Celebrating Gardens: Seattle’s Japanese Garden


My husband and I lived in the Seattle area for 24 years, but it wasn’t until just before we moved away that we finally visited the Seattle Japanese Garden. We’d driven past it many times, but never found the right time to stop, so we decided it was one necessary visit before we left town. So at the end of the day on my husband’s last day of work before retirement, before we met friends for dinner, we stopped at the Japanese Garden. In retrospect, it was a wonderful place to celebrate our retirement. It was like a place apart — apart from the rush of our work days, our careers, and a place apart from crowds and from our every day life. As we walked through the garden, we could feel ourselves slowing down, calming down, letting go of the stress, just enjoying the incredible beauty. A perfect transition to our newly-retired life…

Garden Reading: The Morville Year

The Morville Year

I love the feeling of accomplishment when a project is completed. This morning I finished reading The Morville Year, by Dr. Katharine Swift. It was a lovely read and a real gardening education for me as I look forward to my return to gardening at our new home in Oregon before too long.

littleflowerThe project?  As I read the book, I kept track of all the flowers, books, places, and people she talked about in this story of a year in her wonderful garden at Dower House, Morville Hall, Shropshire, England.  And then I created a Pinterest board where I collected photographs of each thing on my list. The result is a visual book review, which I really enjoyed creating! If you are already a member of Pinterest, please visit my board and enjoy the photographs that I chose to honor this book. [Please forgive any mistakes I made in my photo selecting.] I don’t know if you can visit the board without being a member, but here is the link, just in case. It was a labor of love for me … homage paid to a lovely book.


[This review was originally published on my book blog, A Fondness for Reading.]