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


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!


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

Book Notes: Great Garden Quotes: A Coloring Book


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!



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.





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 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!

Post Christmas Story


Surely this is a Christmas story and clearly Spirit was at work, so there’s that. My daughter, Antonia drove out this morning for her next holiday destination and I walked back into her room and noticed she had left behind a Christmas box full of teas. Huh. I grabbed the box figuring I might still catch her at the Shell station. Jumped in the Jeep and headed down there and pulled up next to her as she was preparing to get back into her car. Jumped out, offering her the box, with a smile. “What’s that?”, she says. “Your tea!” “Oh!” Another goodbye hug and smiles and off she goes one direction and I in another. Figured I would swing by the post office on the way home. Finding the parking lot almost empty I suspected they might be closed, but I parked, went in, and walked toward my box, when I saw a homeless person asleep, rolled up next to the wall in a corner, his head propped up on plastic bags as a pillow. Hmm. I walked quietly back outside and approached a woman and man in a car who had just pulled up. She could see question on my face, I could tell. “There’s a homeless person asleep inside and I don’t want to go in alone.” The woman said, “I’ll go in with you,” and jumped out immediately to assist. He was just starting to stir as we entered and we went together to see him. “Are you all right?” I asked. “I’m cold,” he mumbled. We both wished him well. I checked my box and she and I both departed. “I think I have a sleeping bag in my car,” I told her, and, sure enough, an old fashioned large green sleeping bag, quite clean, was in the back of the car. I grabbed it and took it in to him. The woman went with me, and I placed it over him and said, “I brought you a sleeping bag so you’ll be warm. And look. When you leave? You can roll it up and tie it down in a roll and take with you and you’ll be warm.” “Oh, thank you. Bless you,” he mumbled. He was a small black man dressed all in black. Now he was under a green blanket. I wished I had a pillow to offer, but he was better off than when we found him. “Have a better day,” the woman offered him. And we walked out. She followed me back to my Jeep, told me she “takes care of old people, people who have memory problems” and that she’s paid eight dollars an hour. Is that even legal in California? I said, “I’m taking a bunch of clothes to Good Will. Do you want some skirts?” She said, “That would make a nice Christmas present.” We started sorting through and I could feel her hunger for something new, a gift, and I said, “Here, just take the whole bag. Take what you want and find a home for the rest. Merry Christmas.” It was a lot of clothes, but I no longer had to drive to Good Will, and they were gone. Good. And she was clearly happy. I got back in my Jeep and as I drove home I thought of the man we had left on the floor of the post office. What more could I give him? I went home and made him a big turkey sandwich. And I went through all my scarves, about which I had just told Antonia, “There are too many,” found a pale olive green wool cabled scarf that a man could wear and drove pell mell back to the post office. Would he still be there? I walked in and saw he was just rolling up the sleeping bag, tying it down and doing an excellent job. “Hi. I brought you a big sandwich. And I brought you some nuts and raisins for energy you can carry with you. And I brought you an orange. I wanted to bring you something hot, but I had nothing to carry it in. And I brought you this scarf you can put around your neck and stay warm.” He took the food and scarf, thanking me, and wrapped the scarf around his neck, which looked so much better on him than it ever had on me. I knew it would offer him some protection from this bitter cold. Antonia said it was 28 degrees this morning. And then I asked him his name and asked him how he got into this situation and I asked him if he was doing drugs and he told me a few things and was nearly honest. (I can read people.) And the last thing I said to him was, “You have to think of yourself first. You have to do it for you. And you are worth it.” And I left. And all this because for some “inexplicable reason” Antonia had left her tea on the bedroom table.


Wishing you a lovely holiday.

Love and blessings,
© 2008 - 2017 Kathryn Hall. All rights reserved.
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