Looking Back

It was a strange summer for me this year; our beautiful old Irish wolfhound, who had been such a major and joyful part of our lives for almost ten years, died in early July. Hence the blogging break for a couple of months as I came to terms with that and all the ensuing changes.

Not only that, it was extremely hot and dry – the third hottest summer on record here, and the driest in over 50 years. I almost gave up on the garden as it shrivelled and burnt, with temperatures in the mid-30s all through July and August (apart from just a couple of cooler days in between.) We do not have a well in our garden, since we live on a very rocky hill, so watering long-term is not an option.

But then a last-minute attempt to save it with several evenings with the sprinkler proved a success and almost everything survived! Even my new dwarf Buddleia “Buzz Velvet” rewarded me with flowers after the first buds had been singed and failed to open.


Although the heat forced me to be physically inactive, I did spend some quality time with my family, partner and our other dog. Iย  also leisurely browsed blog posts, admiring your beautiful vases and gardens, while my fingers were kept active crocheting – yes, a new hobby of mine. My summer project was very calming, inspired by Eliza when she posted a vase photographed on a beautiful vintage pansy doily (Eliza’s Doily) in June. (Thanks again Eliza!) My sister helped me immensely, actually tracking down the original pattern in a 1949 pamphlet that some kind soul had scanned in and put on the internet!

My version is somewhat different, but I am quite pleased with it…


Another of Eliza’s posts was simply magical – do take a look at it here before summer is over: Lazy Summer Afternoon .

I thoroughly enjoyed all of Jason’s Tithonia posts this summer (Garden in a City) where he showed us his Mexican Sunflowers getting taller – I just love the way he describes how he deadheads them and would like someone to ring a bell each time he snips off a dead flower! (Jason’s Tithonias). A big thank you Jason, for introducing me to this plant last summer. I grew mine from seed and absolutely adore them – as do the bees and other insects!


I also enjoyed reading about Cathy’s challenge to herself to not buy any plants next year… one I will not be joining in with as I do not have that same self-discipline but also because I need to make changes in the rockery to grow more drought-tolerant plants. Good luck Cathy!


Then I followed Christina’s plans for changing her view from her terrace – which she is already putting into action. Her planting has inspired me over the years, as she also has very dry summers and long periods of intense heat in her Italian garden.


Annette’s Book, “Gartentrรคume”, has finally been published. Sadly it is only available in German (at the moment?) but I am taking great pleasure in reading about the gardens she has focused onย  – including her own. Exquisite photography and a truly wonderful way with words makes this a joy to read. Well done Annette! If you speak German then do take a look at it here.


Weather watching from a Scottish Croft Garden, glimpses of a Norwegian summer, Monday vases (Wild Daffodil gave us the tip to type in “In a vase on Monday” in Google Images – what a lovely sight!), butterflies and rainbows, hummingbirds and bloggers’ flings, all kept me well-entertained during my break. So THANK YOU fellow bloggers!


Hope you all had a good summer, and thanks for dropping by.





53 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. What a lovely post. So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved hound, it takes a while to readjust doesn’t it. This post is such a wonderful Bloghop – I will return to it til I have read all the links – I just joined Eliza on her river bank – fabulous! And thank you for the link to Wild Daffodil. Wishing you a wonderful Autumn.

  2. Cathy, I am so sorry to read your beautiful Irish Wolfhound passed away, dogs are such faithful loving companions, I agree with Christina, I am also very sure he had a good life with you. Your other dog must feel a little lost too. Glad to read though that your garden bounced back after the drought, incredible how resilient some plants are.

    • Thanks Julie. Our little dog was, as you say, quite lost without her big sister for a while. But I think she is now enjoying all the extra attention she has got. I was quite amazed anything had survived at all after a 2-week break in England, but yes, some plants are so very resilient and the light rain we have had the past week has given everything a new lease of life.

  3. Cathy, I’m so sorry about the loss of your dog – it’s heartbreaking every time and there’s no comfort. All I tell myself is that I’ll meet them all again, preferably on a meadow full of wildflowers where we can catch up. It’s good to have a break as well. I’m sort of having a tiny one at present and with two major projects over the summer there wasn’t much time anyway. It was a great summer but extremely hot and dry here as well so instead of lying in the shade I was trying to save my plants most of them time. Thank you very much for mentioning my book – I’m so happy that you like and also about all the lovely reviews it has been getting up to now. Welcome back and as always I look forward to following your inspirational blog in the months to come. Best wishes ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That is a lovely thought Annette – thank you. One of my favourite memories of our ‘Maus’ is of her racing through the wild flower meadow down near the canal and getting yellow legs from the pollen! Thanks for your kind wishes too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for the pingback Cathy and what a beautiful job you did on the doily – a work of art! I am truly impressed and kudos for your sister finding the pattern instructions, isn’t the internet wonderful? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Now I know approximately how old mine is!
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved hound, after having lost my ‘girl’ last October, I know the hole they leave in your heart. Healing takes time.
    Sounds like your summer was a bit brutal, sounds like maybe soaker hoses and more mulch might be in order next summer. However, with the crazy weather we’re having globally, it might be the opposite extreme next year. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Your images show a fair amount of success despite the lack of rain.
    Nice to have you back in the blogosphere, Cathy!

    • Hi Eliza! Yes, summer was a tough on both me and my garden, but both are bouncing back with the cooler and damper weather! You have hit the nail on the head…. if I plant drought tolerant heat- loving plants we will probably have cool wet summers for the next three years! LOL! It’s a challenge I enjoy though, and there may well be some permanent mulching next year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Isn’t it horrible when we have to say goodbye to a beloved pet? They become such valuable and loved family members. I’m so sorry that you have been going through a sad time.
    That is a beautiful doily. Welcome back to the blogosphere. You have been missed.

  6. We’re so sorry to read that your beautiful Irish Wolfhound passed away, Cathy. Our heartfelt condolences.
    Thank you so much for the pingback, it’s highly appreciated. We wish a lovely autumn and all the best for you and your family,
    Dina & co

  7. I had an Irish Wolfhound,Molly. They leave such a big gap in your life when they go. So sorry to hear you have had such a sad summer. Nice that you are back in the blogging world.

  8. So sorry to hear about the passing of your dog. It’s dreadful but you soon just have the happy memories they brought you and start to forget the horrible moments of their leaving you. Like you there, our summer has been stinky hot but isn’t nature just a mazing? The garden is now awash with colour in these cooler-but-still-warm days. Salvias, cosmos etc have perked up and are flowering beautifully. And, like you, I grew tithing from seed. I wasn’t sure at first as they looked a bit weird, frankly and were so slow to get going. But boy are they fabulous now!! Some lovely orange-red ones and zingy yellow! Definitely growing loads more next year! Such pretty crocheted placemat. Makes even me a crochet-phobe quite like crochet!!xx

    • Thanks for all your kind words Lindsay. I love the sound of different shades of Tithonia. Could you tell me where you got your seed from as I have only managed to find the orange sort so far. Thanks!

  9. It’s great to see you back on the blog here, Cathy, though I know how much it takes to get over the loss of a much-loved pet ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I hope that heals soon for you… I love your crocheted mat; I had a similar pattern (I admit I never worked it!) and was fascinated by the white centre and the coloured threads for the pansies! Yours looks so nice worked that way! And I have now added tithonia to my next seeds list… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. My condolences on the loss of a beloved companion. I’m so glad, though, that you discovered the joys of Tithonia. They love hot weather, so I’m sure they were happy in your garden this year. And thank you for the link!

  11. I honestly wasn’t familiar with the breed Irish wolfhound so of course I googled it. What a huge package of personality and love. I’m sorry you’ve lost your special pet Cathy. Your crochet is impressive.

  12. Pets become so much a part of our lives. They are such wonderful friends! May the pain of your loss gently be replaced with sweet memories. Our gardening has changed too, this is the fourth year of drought in California. Our small vegetable garden is watered by drip, and sparingly at that.

    • Thanks Deb. The good memories have already been flooding back. ๐Ÿ™‚ We intend to put in a large tank at some stage to collect the winter rain from the roof for use in summer… but it will be a major project for a future date!

  13. I am sorry about your dog. Ten years is a long time. I had cat for eighteen years, name of Hino. He was a white cat, with two different colors eyes. He was deaf. Because of his lack of hearing, I had to find ways to communicate with him that didn’t involve my voice. Subsequently, we grew VERY close. If I had a soul mate in this life, that cat was it. When he died, I felt a hole in my heart. I healed, but … I understand such loss. BTW – The cat you see as my profile picture, is Hino. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you. It’s a lovely picture of Hino. Yes, we were also very close – wolfhounds are so quiet and gentle and have a very close relationship to the other members of their ‘pack’, so I know what you mean about communication and soul mates…

  14. My condolences on your loss. Beloved pets bring us such joy and sadness too, but much more joy than sadness. It’s been hot here too. It’s hard to take the “brown-ness.” I know the coming of Autumn is going to be celebrated by many.

    A very lovely post. Your pics are always so beautiful Cathy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you Nancy. I keep hoping our grass might recover before autumn, but I think that was it with ‘green’ for this year! I am not really ready for autumn yet and prefer to think of it as late summer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Oh I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear hound Cathy. It must have left you very heavy hearted. Your garden has done well to survive the searing temperatures without any major losses. Is it cooling down now? Your crochet mat is fabulous – are those little pansies round the edge? Creating it must have provided a welcome and therapeutic diversion over the summer.

    • Thank you Anna. It is much cooler now and I am hoping autumn will be delayed for another few weeks. Yes, they are pansies on the doily and you are right – it was calming and therapeutic working on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. You’ve been busy! Glad that the dry heat of summer is fading, we just had a nice rainy day here and things seem to have breathed a sigh of relief.
    I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Thanks Frank. My garden also bounced back after the first rain and cooler temperatures at the beginning of the month. We could still do with some more moisture though!

  17. Good to see you back Cathy, but so sorry to read about your loss – it’s hard to lose a pet when they’ve been a part of the family for so long. Your summer weather sounds to have been much more summery than we’ve had here – I love your photos… especially the bees on the flowers.

    • Thank you Sarah. The bees have been very busy all summer and now that the sedums are opening it is buzzing out there again! The Tithonia and sunflowers were a great attraction, and the cosmos too, which surprised me.

  18. Our dogs do become such an important part of our life, I am sure yours had a good life with you.
    The garden is looking very colourful following the hot summer you have experienced this year, we could have done with some of it over here.

    • Thanks Brian. Yes, our wolfhound certainly had a happy life here with us and loved being outdoors in our garden all year round. I would have gladly sent you some of the heat we had in July and August, but temperatures are now much more pleasant and I can finally get out and do some tidying up!

  19. Pingback: In A Vase On Monday – Mauve & Purple | Eliza Waters

  20. Hello Cathy. I dropped by via Eliza’s lovely blog, to see your crocheted pansy doily, which is just beautiful! I love the variegated yarn you have chosen, and now you and Eliza have inspired me to find, somewhere in my stash of unfinished projects, the same doily which I began crocheting back in the late 1970’s!

    I’m so sorry to hear that you have recently lost your dearly loved fury friend. We lost our Tess, a Rottie, about eighteen months ago, and my eyes still well up when I think of her. It must help though, having another dog to pour your love into. I have two cats, and although they are not the same devoted and loyal beings that dogs are, I love them both so much and would be lost without them.

    • Hello Joanne. So nice of you to drop by! Now I do hope you find that doily – I really enjoyed the whole process, choosing the yarn and studying the pattern with my sister. And then the concentration while working on it was real therapy for me. Thanks for your kind words too. Yes, our other little dog has been getting lots of extra attention and tries so hard to fill the gap!

  21. What a good idea to take time out, especially when you lost your devoted dog. My heart goes out to you Cathy. I love your post this week, your flowers and grasses are beautiful despite the drought and rain. Sending you all my best wishes. x

    • Thank you so much Gillian. The garden has put up with a lot this year, but seems to have bounced back and even the asters are starting to bloom now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Hoping things level out for you Cathy…losing a cherished pet is a huge blow, and very heartbreaking. It looks as though you certainly made the most of the summer and love the new hobby. Here it was one of the hottest and quite dry at times…good to hear you did not lose your garden plants.

    • Hi Donna, I think only one plant has died (a Polygonum) and two newly planted shrubs – Euonymus and Viburnum- suffered terribly and dropped lots of leaves, so I hope a damp autumn and winter will revive them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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