AWARD

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

"I'M IN THE GARDEN!"

We have FINALLY had some warm and even HOT weather here in the Vancouver area and so I was able to get out into my Real LIfe garden and do a much needed clean up!  It doesn't take much for it to revert to back to chaos and having it be sooooo cold for so long allowed the garden to go WILD!  This is a photo of the back garden which began life as a lumpy green sward with a live stump which had roots that snaked over the surface and sent out suckers everywhere.  As soon as I could I had the entire back turf uprooted and removed along with the stump and installed as much paving as I could leaving only just a little bit of grass in between two patios.  You can see the Magnolia trees in bloom at the very back of the garden.  Mine always bloom later than others in the area because the garden is almost fully enclosed. A high retaining wall with a row of evergreens runs the length of the garden to the left and directly across the back.  The house is on the right and only the front of the garden entry is exposed to the public.  Lots of privacy!

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I had the house painted this tropical yellow about 10 years ago and the paint has hardly faded.  Yellow is not my favorite color but I was going through a mild depression at the time and needed something that would make me smile when I was feeling down.  This color always does that in the summer. In the winter it does not look the same and because in this part of the world where the light is more grey and muted this color can appear rather sharp but now with more sunshine it is just right!
The 2 black metal chairs are from the thrift store and I reupholstered the seats and added a bolster.  They are quite comfortable but they can be scorching hot in the middle of summer.  Here it is May and so few flowers are in bloom!? Also there are next to NO BEES!?  This greatly concerns me.

This is back end of the back garden where there USE to be some grass between the round patio and the main one.  You'll see the reason WHY there isn't any grass anymore but only a patchy mess, in just a moment.
I planted all of the boxwood that you see and I as sooo happy with it.  It keeps the garden ordered and even in the winter the garden has shape and is green,( when it is not covered with snow).  The mirror that you see against the garden wall is a mirror that I purchased from a home decor store and the white frame around it is the table top of a old patio table that was rusted and peeling and purchased from a thrift store.  I secured the mirror to the centre of the table top and then fastened them both to the garden wall.  It gives a nice focal point and I love the size of it!

Here is a closer view of the mirror and the ground cover under the right Magnolia!  Almost 11 years ago, Janine and I spent the entire day trying to dig out the GOUTWEED/BISHOPS WEED that used to grow under the trees!  We tried to dig it out and then to smother it.
  
FAIL.
  
I finally had to succumb to the use of a powerful pesticide and then had to wait a least 6 weeks before it was all at last dead.  I avoid poisons in my garden and want the healthiest environment as possible but this weed was impossible and even after all that I still found survivors periodically for the next year!  There is a less invasive variety but even when a friend of mine put that in her garden, I warned her but she wouldn't listen.....!
(Now she wishes she had!)
What you see now is Spanish bluebells, in bloom, Dead nettle ( the variegated leaves), violets still in bloom and the rounded leaves of  Lady's Mantle which has delightful sprays of tiny acid yellow flowers in the summer, and which hold onto raindrops and present them as tiny glistening jewels on their leaves.  I love this plant and it loves my garden as it self seeds and turns up every where all by itself.
The canopy of shrubs from the neighbors garden and the magnolia from mine

The round patio and the back corner of the lower back garden.  This section is always a late starter.  In the summer it is too hot and in constant need of water.


A large pot of perennial geraniums that have a fragrance in the leaves.  This plant is usually alive with bees but I have only seen ONE BEE!
 
This does not bode well for next year.
And this is the reason that the grass is so patchy!
Meet SADIE BEAR!  My Lassa,lassa, poopoo!
Sadie is 2 years old and this is just before her hair cut so she is very wooly still.  Her daddy, MAX MAXWELL is twelve years old and is my other dog.  Sadie is good company and is full of energy and is just as headstrong as her daddy, only he is much slower now than he use to be. Poor Max!

A long view of the patio and the raised planter to the left.  There are hydrangeas, roses, a Japanese maple tree, and 5 different clematis.  Perennial geraniums, variegated hostas, oregano, sweet woodruff, and spanish bluebells in this planter. Not all of it was planted by me, some just decided to move in and made itself at home.  Right now though there is just green.  When the roses come out next month I will show you what it looks like because the SIGHT and the FRAGRANCE is incredible!
So thank you for your visit and I hope that you are not too weary or bored with this tour.  I love the back garden and when the flowers come out I praise God and thank Him for the opportunity to see His handiwork up close and personal.  It always fascinates me and leaves me in Awe.  Earth is crammed with heaven!....



elizabeth


43 comments:

  1. Как у вас красиво!!!!! Сад очень большой!!!! У вас очеь милая собака!!!
    Ksandra

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    1. Hello Ksandra! Yes Sadie is cute and I love her very much which is why I let her spoil the grass the way she does. The back garden is very big yet I do not mind taking care of it. The front garden is even BIGGER and that is always a headache for me. There is also a side garden but the majority of that is contained in a large planter. Looking after it all was something I did eagerly for 12 years but now I am back involved in miniatures and I am older and it all takes more effort so I NOW wish the gardens were a lot SMALLER!

      elizabeth

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  2. Dear Elizabeth,
    What a beautiful and well kept garden. No bees ? Do you have fruit trees or a vegetable garden?
    I like your garden tour. I did the same because the garden needs attention and making minis has to wait. ;-)
    Hugs Dorien

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    1. Hello Dorien! Thank you I took the picture when the grass was cut and just after I groomed the boxwoods. Who ever said they were "Low Maintenance"? hahah I groom and cut and plant and prune and weed and sweep and then tell my sister who is an aerobic instructor, that I don't need to work out at the gym because I get it outside! I only grow flowers but I do grow herbs;rosemary, lavender, sweet woodruff, oregano , sage, chives, and lemon balm. As well, I have planted flowers that usually attract a lot of bees, so much so that you could hear the hum of them as soon as you stepped outside. It is not just in my garden that I have noticed an absence of bees but also on my everyday walks with the dogs. I return home and begin to rant about the lack of them to my daughter and even to myself I am sounding like a crazy lady! I'm hoping that they are off to a slow start only because of the persistent cold weather that we have been having although I had recently heard of a parasite that has wiped out a lot of them. I wish it would wipe out the Flies , THOSE, I HAVE SEEN Lots of!

      elizabeth

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  3. Hi Elizabeth, I guess we're all working in our gardens at this time, hehehe, me too :D!! Your garden is so beautiful, it has so many nice and wonderful corners. Love that table top with the mirror, very creative and it looks fantastic!
    No you didn't bore me in contrary, I LOVE to see garden of someone else to get some nice ideas :D
    Hugs, Ilona

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    1. Hello Ilona! I recall one year when the winter was so mild that I was out in the middle of January doing a garden clean up! So much of the year has come and gone now and I am just getting back into it. I love this section of the garden, so thank you for enjoying it too! I had purchased the mirror several months before the table top. When I discovered the table top, I knew that I wanted it in the garden as a feature so I placed it into position and THEN decided it needed something else in the centre and remembered the mirror! It EXACTLY FITS the centre section of the table top. They have been together in the garden for the last 9 years. Inseparable. A match made in heaven!

      elizabeth

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  4. Your Garden looks lovely! I really enjoy visiting Vancouver but I'm glad we're not going back there this summer (My husband's family has a cabin on Galliano Island, that's where we got married actually).
    My Grandpa lived there, and he just passed away in December. I don't feel ready to go back yet.
    We have a tiny garden, in the backyard of our townhouse.
    It's the first time I've ever had a garden! The previous tenants started a tomato plant, there is a wild strawberry bush, and we're going to plant Spinach. I'm pretty excited about it!

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    1. Hi Ruth! Everything in its proper time. Memories are powerful things and you have to respect them and listen to them when you are feeling heartsick and grieving inside. I recall the first garden I ever had and I didn't know what to do with it! I let it take care of itself and the weeds loved it! I would hack at it periodically but with NO Real Interest. It wasn't until years later that I got the gardening bug. When I moved here to my current home, I wanted as much land for gardening, as I could get and literally, reclaimed a wasteland and began some intense gardening. That lasted 12 years and now I have TOO MUCH GARDEN! I would love to scale it back and a tiny garden sounds IDEAL to me. Enjoy what ever comes your way, Ruth. Tomatoes are a great place to start! Just wait until you harvest your first crop, you'll be HOOKED!

      elizabeth

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  5. You have such a lovely backyard! I love all your spaces and sections...I have this acre yard I keep trying to add beds and corners to.

    but it still looks like big ole spance of rocks and burnt grass :P

    You give me hope, I will work on a nice sitting area like you have ..and maybe put on some blinders >=P

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    1. Hello Jane! Girl! You crack me up!
      Thank you for the compliment. There is ALWAYS hope,Jane! This backyard was an eyesore when I moved in and the Initial reason that I began to renovate it was because of a partially removed but still active stump of a honey locust tree that had surface roots that were getting dangerously closer and closer to the drainage and also made mowing a nightmare. Once I started ripping things out..... well you know the story. I would do one 'simple' project and then tell the contractor, "You know, I think I want this too..... Oh, and what about?......" And so it goes. Fortunately, my contractor CEASAR, and his brother EDWARD, were 'Old School' and took pride in their work and were always good humored and gave me good advise which I trusted and who I was able to then recommend to others who were just as pleased with their work as I was. A real credit to their profession. Year after year I have enjoyed this space and have never regretted it. Bite off only a small section at a time and make it work for you. As my daughter told me yesterday; that is how you eat an elephant!

      elizabeth

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  6. He disfrutado mucho con la imágenes de su jardín, es una delicia, estaré encantada de ver esa fotos con las rosales floridos y todas las demás:-)

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  7. Hola RosaMaria! Thank you for the compliment and I am really anxious for the roses to be in bloom too! I have lots of climbing roses in my gardens and last year there was just a MASS of Fragrant Deep Pink blossoms of the English Rose "Gertrude Jekyl" that was a sight to behold. Entwined through the climbing rose are different varieties of Clematis ranging from light mauve to deep purple, and under those are the hydrangea bushes which have blossoms of either a pastel lavender blue or a rosy pink. Everything is late, but I will hope for the best. It appears that this year, everything is going to bloom All at the same time. Most Unusual.

    elizabeth

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  8. Elizabeth, your garden is so beautiful it leaves me speechless...a little paradise.

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    1. Hello Susan! Thank you for that! I have favorite spaces within the garden and I have only shown a very small section of it. This back garden is my favorite and often times my sister, who lives with, me will say, " Why don't you just sit and enjoy it for a change?" Well when I do, I start to look around and see something that needs doing and then I'm up and at it again. So it may look like 'Paradise' to you but it looks like' Work' to me! ( The curse of the gardener!) haha
      But I love it.

      elizabeth

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    2. Oh I did chuckle when I read this Elizabeth, you are a real gardener if your garden looks like work ;) My garden has been a work in progress for 30 years.....sitting looking at it makes me itch to work on it but I must ration the scratching worse luck, or I end up looking at the ceiling above my bed and bewailing my stupidity. My dogs love my garden too, it's an adventure playground for canines!

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    3. Hello again Susan! All gardens are "Work in Progress" I have had sections of the gardens that have "taken my breath away" with their beauty, one week; and look like "who done it?" the next. The trouble is they just don't stay put! They are always changing on you whether you like it or not!
      In the early days I use to plant and change my mind almost weekly. My plants use to cringe when they saw me coming towards them. ( " Uh OH!!!, where's she thinking of putting us NOW!!!!? ... " NO NOT THERE!!!!" ) Well this went on for several years and now I am reaping the results. Bits and pieces of renegade plants that pop up in places where I HAD planted them and have since changed my mind. Resulting in CHAOS. You reap what you sow was never truer!

      elizabeth

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    4. My dear Elizabeth, I do believe you are my doppelganger! I'm sure if we met, we'd spend the whole time bursting a valve laughing as we compared notes :) My husband says my plants spend their whole lives dizzy, never knowing when they're going to be moved next. You think you've got it right but the next time you look it's all wrong and plants need shifting... again!!!

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    5. Hi SISTER! ( I just KNEW I was ADOPTED!)

      elizabeth

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  9. Thank you for writing such a kind, thoughtful reply Elizabeth. It warmed the cockles of my heart.
    Hugs,
    Ruth

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    1. Hello again Ruth! I am glad that I was able to say something beneficial as I often put my foot in my mouth unintentionally. That makes me happy that your "cockles are warmed" (Smiles)!

      elizabeth

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  10. Hi Elizabeth! Your garden is like a little piece of heaven. It looks like a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. It must be very peaceful to sit there. Sadie Bear who looks adorable seems to agree! Thank you for sharing this.

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  11. Hello Lucille! Thank you for your comment and you are right Lucille it is a lovely place to relax; when I can do it! My joy of 'relaxing' in it, is Grooming it. Time goes by sooo quickly when I am busy gardening. I can be out in it all day! My limbs ache but I feel rejuvenated! You have told me about your little potted garden on your balcony and from time to time I have thought about how good it would be to not have SO much garden to have to look after and have something smaller like yours. But you can't go backwards with this kind of commitment, only forwards. So the only one that really gets to RELAX in the garden is SADIE BEAR and her daddy MAX. Those Lucky dogs!

    elizabeth

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  12. Thanks for the ride, it's the prettiest and friendliest garden I have long seen. You have so many cozy corners and so much green. There are many bars in form of trees and hedges, your garden gives me so much inspiration.
    How you ever, finds time to minis, is beyond my comprehension.
    Your garden invites to peace and introspection. It must be lovely to sit and observe the flowers blooming.
    Yellow is not my color either, but I find it very beautiful at houses. We have an area up North in Denmark. It is an old fishing town, Skagen where all the houses are painted yellow. it's so beautiful to look at. So I am sure that the house`s color is so good to the green, your flowers and when the sun shines on your yellow house, it must be beautiful.

    I look forward to seeing more pictures of your beautiful flowers.
    Hugs
    Wyrna

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    1. Thank You so much Wyrna! You always have such a lovely way of expressing yourself, God bless you! I love green; it goes with EVERYTHING! I started this garden with the intention of having only pinks and blues and purple flowers and then white flowers were added. An old rose bush that withstood my abuse has deep red flowers and there are UNSTOPPABLE 'volunteer' Iceland poppies in a beautiful bright yellow to name just a few of the colors that are interspersed throughout the garden. I used to be more diligent and tried to remove the colors that popped up uninvited. Now I just let them be. Sometimes the plant has a better idea of where to put itself than I do! haha That row of yellow houses in Skagen intrigues me greatly! How pretty that town must be. Thank you for letting me know about it. I wonder if it would come up on Google? I will check it out.

      elizabeth

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  13. Oh, your garden looks like a real parc! Beautiful and the green so lush. And such a sweet dog you have....

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    1. Hello Liduina! Thank you! Do you know that this house sits on a corner and the property is 'Pie" shaped. The house sits on the wide end and the garden surrounds it and enclosed entirely by tall trees and hedges front, back and sides, but there is still a large green section that is at the narrow end of the property that is just grass and trees and looks just like a mini park. I bit off more than enough with the gardens that surround the house so I leave that lower section alone and just mow it periodically. I have devoted myself now to just the MAINTENANCE. That is more than enough to keep me busy!

      elizabeth

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  14. Hello Elizabeth,
    So, when are you starting a miniature garden project? Your yard is just wonderfula nd so beautiful. I couls spend days just sitting there working on a project. I really love what you did and the yellow is a great idea. It must take incredible work to keep it looking that good.
    Sadie Bear is lucky: she ius beautiful, she lives ina gorgeous yard, and she belong to a great lady! It's a dogs life indeed!!!
    Have a wonderful day my friend, and I hope you enjoy your lvoely yard and are blessed with good weather.
    Love
    Giac

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    1. Hello Giac , my friend! How are you? I think about your loss and know that your grief is still pretty fresh. I had some past experiences that left me pretty devastated and that was how I began using gardening as a therapeutic means of recovery. I threw myself into it and it gave me great pleasure to see that in spite of my griefs, that God was still in control and was not far away. That is what got me into it and now I am hooked! It does take a lot of work, there is no getting around it! Weeds don't take a vacation! As to a mini garden, I do have one planned for the stone cottage when I get al little bit further along but I don't usually bring the projects outside to work because the idea of hauling it all out and then back inside again is not too appealing to me and I never have what I need when I need it anyway and so it would be in and out and in and out...... you get the picture! hhahah I do have huge old fashioned climbing rose just outside the studio window and a beautiful view of the front garden that makes it almost as good! Sadie and Max have the idea living conditions as you said, Giac , It IS a dog's life!
      a BIG HUG to you!

      elizabeth

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  15. Hi Elizabeth
    I'm so happy that you took some time to enjoy the awesome weather we have been so blessed with in the last few days. Other than that.....my oh my.....your garden is looking great! And yes Sadie Bear looks quite regal in her garden. Lucky dog!
    Fats

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    1. Hi Fats! You know it was a necessary thing! It was fast getting out of control and I can't bear it to be chaotic at this time of year! It began with just a desire to get it swept clean and then just a "quick"? removal of the weeds that needed pulling, then the hedge just needed to be groomed...... I JUSTcouldn't stop! Not until it was done and then onto the front and side gardens the following day. It felt so good and I was properly exhausted by the end of it all but in a good way! I can never stop being amazed by it all! Sadie is very disrespectful of the grass however, and just looks at me with those big puppy dog eyes and tilts her head to one side when I'm speaking to her. I guess when you 'gotta go', you GOTTA GO! haha

      elizabeth

      p.s. I located the wall papers that you are going to be needing again and will bring them with me to the show, plus the table tops that we talked about. I won't forget!

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  16. Your garden is so elegant! I love all the privacy in there. It's perfect for an afternoon of Pinterest. LOL! It's a fantastic garden design. The mirror adds so much sophistication. It's a wonderful retreat. Thanks for sharing the photos.
    hugs♥,
    Caroline

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  17. Hello Caroline and Thank you! I have always admired the elegance of the French style of gardening which is so well groomed and makes great use of clipped hedges and low parterres and lots of paving. I also admire the informality of English style gardens that have a great exuberance to them and always seem to be full to over flowing with plant life. I was hard to decide which I liked the best so I tried to use some of both! I have an outline of rigid and formal walls and green walls that help contain the free forms of the plants which are determined to spill over when they feel like it wherever they want to. I am now like the garden'referee' and I only interfere when they get too aggressive and decide to strike out on their own and/or bully their neighbors! haha I use the garden as a retreat from the stresses of Real Life by working in it and always rediscovering the wonder of it all, whenever I do.

    elizabeth

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  18. Elizabeth, your garden looks divine, what beautiful spots to sit and relax in and that Magnolia tree is amazing!!

    ML Fi XXX

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    1. Hi FI! Thank you! The magnolias are late this year, so they have not been in bloom for long now and they are already beginning to drop their petals. The cold has outstayed its welcome and everything is behind schedule. Boo Hoo! The fragrance from them is exceptional and we had a nice run of summer like weather last week that made the whole garden fill out and the air was filled with beauty! I have another younger canary yellow magnolia in the front garden and again, rich beautiful fragrant air. Simply divine!

      elizabeth

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  19. Aw! Your pup is SO cute! :)

    toddlindsey.com

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    1. Thanks Lindsey! I think that she is a sweetie too! Between her and Max, her doggie daddy, she is the more obedient and by far the most loving! Max is more independent and headstrong but he is MY BABY!

      elizabeth

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  20. Hi Elizabeth!
    I was just looking at the photos of your beautiful garden! It is picture perfect. My human, Sam, loves the look of gardens but definitely does NOT have a green thumb, if you know what I mean. Sadie Bear is very cute. =^.^=

    Isabelle

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    1. Hello Isabelle! Thank you for your lovely compliment! I love to garden and this picture was taken right after all the clean-up work was done. I kinda wish it would stay tidy longer because it doesn't look quite so tidy now. We have had some very wet weather and that keeps me indoors but doesn't stop the garden from being active. So I'll be back at it again very soon. I'll pass on your compliment to Sadie Bear, she will love it!

      elizabeth

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  21. Dear E, your garden, your garden, what can I say? I wish I have your garden, your green thumb, your energy. Sighhhh...I can't bear the thought of not having a garden even if it is one as unkempt as mine.

    Please, my dear, sit down and enjoy your hard work, this beautiful sanctuary. Have tea and think how in a far away country like Singapore, there's someone pining for for your garden :)

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  22. Hello My dear Sans! You know that the grass is always greener on the other side of the world/ Oh!/ I mean fence! hee hee! I love my garden especially now that the grass is cut and the ALL the flowers are in bloom and the BEES HAVE FINALLY COME! The garden is finally filled with them and after such a long cold spring I no longer despair. It is "earth crammed with heaven" right now! But now I do believe I shall have a cup of tea and think of you.

    elizabeth

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  23. What a lovely garden you have! Have you considered reproducing it in miniature? I would look awesome!

    I'm sorry for Max. I too have an old "furry son". Mine is larger, though. He's something between 17/18 years old. I adopted him from the streets. He has trouble walking due to age, but he'll get up anytime to follow me around, he just wants to be near me all the time, so precious! Needless to say I try to stay in the same room as long as I so as not to tire him out... :)

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  24. Hello Evelyne! Thank you for the compliment! No, I have never considered reproducing this garden in Miniature. It is a novel idea though. I know how you feel with regard to trying to accommodate the infirmities of old dogs. Poor Max was chugging up a steep hill with Sadie and I, and lagging further and further behind but still trying to keep up. I had to eventually pick him up and reached the summit with him in my arms, much to the wounding of his pride at the indignity of it all. I still call him 'my puppy' even at his advanced age! I admire Max's pluck and determination but I know that he is not the dog that he used to be anymore, even though Sadie keeps him young at heart.

    elizabeth

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  25. Hi again Elizabeth,
    Been checking out some of your posts and have become your latest follower. Your back yard is lovely............hope you have some
    cool weather so you can enjoy it some. Your doggie is cute too.
    Blessings, Nellie

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