“Feel not obliged to make good use of every ripe fruit on the vine.”


While living in Sonoma County on these four acres of land at the end of a dirt road there happened to be, as mentioned, a lovely apple orchard at the entrance to the property. This gave me the opportunity to learn about tending to twenty-three trees. During my first winter there, there was an early freeze and subsequently not that many apples emerged in the springtime. Imagine my surprise when in the second spring each tree’s limbs hung towards the ground under the weight of hundreds of apples. A full crop. What to do? In the beginning I diligently and happily climbed a ladder and picked blemish-free apples and mailed a large box to my parents and a large box to my daughter, being careful to have them approved by the local agricultural office before putting them in the mail so as not to unwittingly introduce some hidden menacing bug into another territory. They were always pronounced as fine. Then there was the round of picking for my own self. My canaries loved the abundant fresh organic fruit. Next an offer to neighbors,many of whom had their own trees to harvest. I felt the urgency to share the abundance and my good fortune. I began feeding apples from the ground to the donkey and horse next door, whose fences ran across the edge of my property. They joyfully complied and I discovered that they began to do all their daylong grazing along my fence-line in hopes that I might emerge and toss them some fallen apples. Their owners hardly saw them! The apples continued to ripen and fall. What to do? I decided to call every food relief society within a two-county range to see if I could get someone to come pick the apples for hungry families. Sadly, I could not find a single agency who felt they had the manpower and /or insurance coverage to come pick apples for needy families.

I heard from one of the agricultural experts that coddling moths would be making their homes happily within any apples on the ground. One morning I gathered an entire orchard’s worth of fallen apples from the ground and put them in the recycling bin. Gone. Apples continued to fall. The horse and donkey and canaries burst with apples. I bought a dehydrator. I dried apples for Christmas presents, after dipping them in lemon water and cinnamon and sugar. Yummy, but very time consuming. What does one do with so many apples? Where does it end? I had apples in boxes on the back deck. I had apples in the refrigerator. I had apples in bowls in the kitchen. I took apples to my grandmother’s nursing home. Must I do something with all of them?

Very unexpectedly a new critter appeared on our hill. A lovely blonde mama coyote with her baby. She loved the apples. She was hungry and had a new baby to feed. By this time the end of the season was nearing and apples stubbornly clung to branches, withering. I begin to shake the trees allowing the last apples of the season to fall. I left them for mama coyote. I advised both Cheyenne the donkey and Reno the horse that all subsequent apples would fall to the mama and her babe. But Cheyenne protested vociferously. She bucked. She brayed. She tossed her head and loudly hee-hawed as each morning I would walk to the orchard with my dogs and not feed her. Most mornings we would see mama coyote scamper out of the orchard into the surrounding pine forest.

So the season ends. And I realize that I am not obliged to make good use of every ripe fruit on the vine. The Earth and its inhabitants will naturally recycle what I am not able to use. It will be someone else’s joy and benefit. I can count on a master plan. I realize that life offers us myriad choices and that as we say yes to some, and no to others we might feel we have missed out on something, or that others, like Cheyenne, might protest loudly at our choices, feeling abandoned and not understanding. Choices we must make, however, and trust that whatever is left behind will serve a fellow being.

This is an excerpt from Kathryn’s book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden, which is available on Amazon.com, as a Kindle e-book at Amazon sites around the world, and at various indie bookstores around the country.

Book and Blog News: Lovely news! Gardening blogger/author Helen Yoest has kindly included Plant Whatever Brings You Joy blog in her column in the spring issue of Country Gardens Magazine Many thanks to her!

Spring blessings,
Kathryn xoxo


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First Signs


I must admit, as much as I appreciate the much needed rain, I am far more reluctant to venture out to the furthest reaches of the garden due to The Mud Situation. But venture I did recently, fetching a dog. Imagine my surprise when I turned round and saw the quince all awash in buds, some of them already opening. I caught my breath and realized immediately I’d been missing something while seeking refuge in the warmth and comfort of my cozy home. I promised myself I’d put on my new wellies and see what other magic I’d been “avoiding”.

“Beauty surrounds us, but we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” ~ Rumi


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These red camellias, of course, had caught my eye. I’m eternally grateful for their emergence each spring. The 17″ of rain that fell on us in January has forced their blossoming earlier than usual, but the noting of subtle changes each year adds to the mystery and does nothing to change my appreciation. On the contrary, I think the changing pattern actually accentuates my gratitude. Take nothing for granted.

My excitement was most reserved for the wild violets, however. There are the traditional purple ones, about which I have written–one of the most visited posts on this blog in its seven plus years! There is a deep and abiding love for wild violets, and I wish more nursery people knew and appreciated that fact, the hunger for them so apparent. And then one year the white ones emerged. I have no idea how or why. But they are equally charming.

“Cherish the beauty of the season.” ~Kathryn Hall, Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden

Walking along the side of the house in my peripheral vision I saw an unexpected blue tinge. I bent to see what had caught my attention and saw it was a borage, full of buds, preparing to open. I am particularly fond of borage and make no attempt to discourage it, wherever it wends its way. The bees adore it–always a plus– and it offers its lovely pure blue color from early spring to well into cold weather.

Rounding out taking stock of my waterlogged garden was the discovery of blossoms on the rosemary, and a struggling but determined primrose, whose cheery face I welcomed!


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I will henceforth be taking those delicious restorative walks in the rain. With two lovely Border Collies I have good company, and, lucky me, they are always willing companions, regardless of the weather.

What is it that is emerging in your garden that sustains your spirit these days? I look forward to hearing how spring is making itself known in your world.

Love and end of winter blessings,
Kathryn xoxo


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Book Notes: Great Garden Quotes: A Coloring Book

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When we were children we loved to bring out our cherished magical crayons and color “inside the lines” in our coloring books. And apparently we have not forgotten that delightful creative activity, for, as adults, we are buying Adult Coloring Books by the thousands and rekindling our love affair with interpreting someone else’s line drawings with our own imaginations! One such offering that will especially appeal to gardeners, is the newly released Great Garden Quotes: A Coloring Book with Wit, Wisdom, & Heart from GreenPrints, longtime publishers of much the loved GreenPrints Magazine.

Here are some pages from this lovely addition to the Adult Coloring Book choices. Each page carries a lovely quote that will touch and tickle a gardener’s heart!

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GreenPrints editor Pat Stone says the idea to publish a coloring book was not his idea! “Sure, I’ve been publishing remarkable black and white art in GreenPrints for over two and a half decades. But I never thought of sharing it in a coloring book–not until a subscriber called in and said, ‘I’ve loved your magazine for years and years. And after I read the stories, I color in every page!'” And the seed was planted for this book.

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If you or someone you love would like a copy of Great Garden Quotes, you may order a copy from GreenPrints by phone (800-569-0602), by mail (GreenPrints, P.O. Box 1355, Fairview, NC 28730) or at amazon.com Great Garden Quotes costs $14.95 plus $3.00 for shipping and handling. I think it’s a marvelous fun thing to do in winter!

I hope you are enjoying the magic of winter in its many manifestations around the globe. It is a special time, a unique and calming beauty in all its forms.

I appreciate all my readers and subscribers and I welcome your comments below.

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Also, many thanks for this Top 50 Gardening Blogs of 2016 Award, just received!
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