I turned 45 a few weeks ago.

That’s halfway to 90 which means the odds are stacked against me now if I want to say that half of my life still remains.

I know, I despise age complaints as much as you do. There’s always someone who can one up you or has been there before.

“You think that’s bad, I’m 63 and I have consistent pain in my …”

“Try being 76 with …”

“You have no idea what getting old means you son of a …”

My son turns 15 in a few days.

15 is scarily close to 16 which is the age where he is eligible to obtain his driver’s permit.

That’s some insane shit.

We moved into our current home in 2004.

My youngest child is currently 11 and if my math serves me correctly, she should be graduating from college in 2028.

My wife and I have talked about moving to the southern U.S soon after she finishes her schooling (fingers crossed for no medical school or graduate school, not that I wouldn’t be supportive but holy $$$$$ Batman).

That means we’re beyond the halfway point of residing in our current abode.

That means I’m beyond the half way point of composing my masterpiece of a garden.

Numbers are so stressful.

Here is where I now surprise you.

While the fear of my mortality has me up at night and seeking spiritual awakening and I’m genuinely missing the younger versions of my offspring, I love my fucking garden to pieces.

Seriously, no self-deprecation to follow.

It kicks ass and it’s all because of me.

It isn’t perfect and there’s much work to still do in order to obtain world domination, but I look at it right now and feel total fulfillment. It makes me smile. It moves me. It holds countless memories. It makes me mutter “Hell yeah” and it provides me with the perfect muse.

And to bring it all on home, I witnessed my wife utter these exact words as we strolled back to and within view of our home after a short walk last evening:

“Thank you for such a beautiful home.”

“It looks so lush.”

“It’s so not cookie cutter.”

Grab me a kerchief.  

The icing on the cake came courtesy of my daughter:

“I’ve never seen so many bees and butterflies in my life.”

It isn’t easy for me to speak so positively without a bit of snark but I’m going to do just that. The feeling may be fleeting and it may be due to the fact that I enjoyed some hemp oil with my coffee a few hours ago, but who cares. It’s here and now.

A few of my own observations from the weekend:

I finally understand the appeal of Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’) with its flag-like flowers that add a fantastic “see-through” effect.



The Allium ‘Mt. Sinai’ is thriving like never before and seems cool with a rather wet soil. It also goes without saying that the deer never touch it.


The fading of the Astilbe flowers doesn’t take away from this section of ¬†garden and I could argue why it looks even better while in decline.


The late afternoon sun completely lights up this part of the garden.



While Veronica ‘First Love’ doesn’t blow you away, its long blooming period (6-8 weeks) makes it incredibly useful.


It wasn’t planned and I’ll never understand why, but the droves of japanese beetles that arrive in my garden this time of year, tend to congregate on one shrub (Dappled Willow or Salix) and inflict their damage there only.

I can deal with allowing them to go to town for a while and then cutting back the chewed up branches weeks later. It has become the sacrificial lamb.

I would ask that they get a room though when things get frisky.


The following pics celebrate all those who frequent the flowers and bring the garden to life, from morning to evening, all summer long.





3 thoughts on “Fulfilled

  1. Chuck

    I look forward to your posts. I garden too. I love baseball too. But I’m in a small town of 1,000, no street lights, at 7,600 feet above sea leave,, and that’s our valley floor, the Colorado Rockies looming around me are 14,000 plus, hiked a few. So why does your post and photos resonate? I love the photos, and I love the writing. At 59, just, I can remember when our son turned 15. Seems like yesterday. He’s 26.5 now. So, with you at 45 and your son at 15, I can remember when I was 45, when Kip was 15. Helps me feel less old. I don’t know how I found your blog, but thanks for it. Don’t stop it. This is the stuff that gives life meaning, connects.

  2. Karen DeBonis

    I love that you are not willing to apologize for creating a kick-ass garden! My gardening and landscaping also makes our house stand out. I blog weekly about my simple life; sometimes gardening, other times old house projects, funny marriage stuff or just adventures of life. I realize that I’ve been a bit heavy on the self-deprecation side lately, and I was thinking about how I could be more positive. You’ve inspired me. Thanks!

  3. Linda O'Connell

    Always enjoy your posts, John, and if it makes you feel better, we restarted our garden in the PNW at the age of 63 and are having fun and relearning a whole new set of plants for zone8a. We used to think like you, always waiting for the future when we could go someplace warmer than WI. Well, looking back, those were some pretty great years. Your children are at such perfect ages for family fun. Now it’s all about the grands and we have a step grand that turns 16 this week. Fortunately he lives in Montreal and will have to wait awhile to drive. Another great post. I wish that I could send you a photo of one of my favorite grasses so that you could ID it. Also, what is the name of green and white grass or is that Pleioblastus Fortunei. If it is that, what conditions do you have it in, sun/shade, wet/ dry? I have that and mine is in a pot that I water frequently in partial sun but is doing abysmally. Thanks, Linda

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