Friday, May 27, 2022

Holden Clough

 Iris ’Holden Clough’, is truly one of the gems of our gardens. It easily took ten years to acquire. Over those years I attempted to obtain a specimen from all local nurseries and when that didn’t work I contacted British nurseries to no avail. Then a few years ago Marjie and I were buying peonies at a nursery in Canby and as we were leaving with a car load of peonies Marjie suddenly shouted “stop, Holden Clough”!! I slammed on the brakes but when I looked at what she was pointing at I saw a large clump of blackberries. We got out of the car and walked down to the blackberry patch and sure enough stood Holden Clough. I immediately walked back to the farm house and asked them if they would sell me a specimen of their Holden Clough iris. The farmer looked at me as though I was speaking a foreign language, he attempted to repeat the name and shrugged his shoulders saying that they only raise peonies. I told him he had a clump growing by the roadside and I was willing to pay him for a specimen. He quickly dug out a small clump of the prized iris that contained more blackberry root then iris. Marjie needless to say was absolutely thrilled that she was successful in bringing Holden Clough to Menagerie Manor. So my love your beautiful little iris is having it’s best year

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

May Garden Upgrades

The planning for my late wife Marjie's Celebration of Life is involving some changes at Menagerie Manor. These changes involve some hard work and with myself being fairly crippled up with bad hips most of the hard work has been undertaken by my son Ian and his wife and her parents. 

Several weeks ago they poured cement pier blocks for the large Gazebo that I purchased. Which replaces the massive arbor that held our old Wisteria, now removed.

It will have a metal domed roof on it but that will have to happen later as my son is now suffering a painful back after lifting the heavy timbers and getting everything bolted into place.
The gardens have been made weed free and Marjies beautiful collection of peonies are starting to bloom.                                                                                                                                          
I probably planted to many seed trays of Zinnias but being over zealous has its benefits, the extra pots of zinnias will be laid out for guests to take and plant in their gardens in her honor.  

As of yesterday all of MeMa's / Marjies dahlias have pushed through the soil
Her Kitchen window box has been planted up

The Yuma Garden has returned along with a small collection of historical pelargoniums

Since it is just me here now I did away with the Kitchen Garden saving a small strip for a row of new dahlias and some giant zinnias

My pots of seed potatoes are growing well against the warm wall of the Garden Shed

'Holden Clough' was MeMa's favorite Iris, they truly are a gem in the garden

Had this metal sign made dedicating our labor of love to my one true love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


 Spring brings a feeling of renewal. I admit that losing my wife at the start of winter and Holiday season made it very difficult to stay positive and depression became a real battle for me, especially the evenings. To replace conversations with my wife I would turn the radio on and have music playing just to have the noise, the quiet was killing me. Recently my physician filed the documents declaring Roxy my emotional support dog which allows me to take her with me almost everywhere and she fly's for free when I take a flight. My last trip to Arizona in February cost me one hundred dollars trip to take Roxy with me. Roxy is no stranger to air travel from her days of being a show dog. She traveled in a soft crate which sat at my feet, she slept the entire trip. Roxy fits her new status well, if I am struggling and tears begin to fall Roxy is at my side immediately licking the tears away until she has me laughing and she will not leave my side until she feels dad is back in a good place. 

With the coming of spring life in the gardens here at Menagerie Manor is bustling, getting the gardens back in shape. July we will have a Celebration of Life for Marjie. I chose to have it then as we will have all her lovely flowers in bloom. She loved her flowers and filled all thirteen rooms with fresh flowers. On the fireplace mantel I keep her photo and keep a vase of fresh flowers next to it.  The greenhouse is filled with flats of zinnias and many other annuals. Today the seedlings are at the stage for pricking out and putting them into individual pots before I plant them out. What used to be the kitchen garden will be planted in zinnias and dahlias. 

We have been having some strong winds so the pathways are covered in debris from the old Redwood tree. I had just spent a day cleaning the pathways before the wind so I shall be spending another day doing what I had already done. 

But spring in the gardens brings such beauty that if I have to do a job that had already been done seems to take the sting out of the job. 

Every week I have purchased six large bags of potting mix in order to prepare and plant trays of seeds.

I moved the wall of the kitchen garden in a bit in order to give me a wider path between it and the new garden shed. The kitchen garden this year will be planted in more flowers. 

                                                                      Spring brings hope

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Cheeky Has Landed


This is Cheeky, he is 26 years old. His dad and mom passed over the rainbow bridge without him. Al and Wanda used to have the cabin across the road from the our family cabin. They used to Snowbird with my folks every winter destination Yuma Arizona.  A very content Cheeky would ride on his perch mounted to the center column between his mom and dad chattering and whistling all the way. 

When Wanda passed Al’s health was failing as well but he and Cheeky took care of each other.  Last year Al’s health started a downward spiral and when he became bedridden Cheeky would climb out of his cage and walk through the house, down the hallway to Al’s bed, climb up and sit on his towel laying on the side of Al’s pillow and keep his dad company. When I heard that Al passed I asked about Cheeky and was told that Al’s son was looking for a home for him. Twenty six years old is exceedingly old for a cockatiel and at that age they don’t adapt well to environmental changes so I called Al’s son and told him I would come get him. I drove out yesterday and Cheeky was locked up in his cage and sitting waiting for me. He really enjoyed the ride home, calmly talking to every vehicle that passed us. When we got home I set his cage on the table I set up for him right across the room from Marjie’s canary Jason. The two started talking to each other immediately, I’m hoping it was all good whatever they said. Welcome to Menagerie Manor Cheeky may you spend what time you have left enjoying life before mom and dad call you over that bridge.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Dealing With Life

Since the loss of my dear wife I have sat down many a time to write something, anything. But each time I would sit and look at my screen and then close it up. Marjie's death has left me at the edge of a black hole if you will. I try to keep myself busy so that I don't spend my entire day crying for my loss. God bless our little dog Roxy, when she feels I am going toward that black hole again she will grab one of her many toys, come bounding in growling and daring me to try and give chase. We play keep away for a good while and she loves to go for walks.

 My good neighbors have been keeping a very watchful eye on me, if I forget to open the heavy drapes in the morning I will usually get an inquiring phone call or knock at the door to make sure this old gardener is well. I have so many frozen dinners in the deep freeze that I certainly will never starve. 
Deep sadness held onto me for quite a while but I have my family to think about, I am never short of something to do. 
Our youngest son Ian and his family came over and helped demolish and haul away the old chicken house making way for the new garden shed that will be delivered on February 3rd. 

A couple of days ago I had a cement pad pored for a good solid base for the new shed which is 8 feet by 14 feet. 

The boys and I are planning a Celebration of Life for Marjie / MeMa, in July so that all of her roses and dahlias will be in bloom. She so loved her flowers and I am sure my "Flower Lady" will love that we planned it around her flowers.
MeMa and our granddaughters Taeya and Lucy delivering flowers to all of the neighbors