Three Additions to Millie’s Garden

Oh, last week was a glorious, gorgeous hint at spring…Will she arrive early, or was this just a tease? Every year Chouchou and I start feeling the gardening itch as soon as the first beautiful days arrive. This year was no exception.

Originally, we had wanted to wait to add anything until we’ve seen what flowers came back, what bloomed and where we need to fill in. The other day was a wonderfully mild, sunny day, and I just couldn’t help it. We headed to our favorite local nursery, The Gardener Nursery, and I found a couple of early spring flowering camellias I wanted to bring home. We also gave a change of scenery to a few other plants. Read on to see what we moved around and the camellias we added.

Mom’s Rosebush

Mom had told me about a rosebush that she had in her garden that was starting to feel cramped. She had mentioned digging it up one phone call. The next time we talked, she mentioned it again and said she was going to dig it up and she wanted to give it to us for Millie’s garden. Then when I was visiting her a couple of weeks ago, she had already dug it up, and she had it ready to send home with us.

I am glad we have a rosebush for the garden, although I admit I have absolutely no experience in this arena. As with pretty much everything in Millie’s garden, this is an opportunity to learn. The only other rosebush that I’ve ever had is the one that came with our house, and although we’ve not pruned on schedule or like we should, it seems happy. It blooms for us throughout the year, so I hope this new one will be as low maintenance, too.

We planted it near one of our granite rock features, giving it a little “company” as it grows. I am excited to see that there is already new growth on this rosebush and hope to see some blooms this spring or summer.

I always love to research the symbolism behind each plant or flower that we choose and plant in the garden. For pink roses, Bloom&Wild says they symbolize grace, joy, and gratitude, and they are perfect for those you “appreciate most, like your friends, siblings or teachers.”


We have been in our house for eight years now, which is crazy to imagine, because I feel like we just moved here. When we first moved in, Chouchou purchased three rudbeckia for the side entrance of our house. They are beautiful, fall blooming flowers, and as the years passed they became bushier, more cumbersome. We only have a few mums in the garden, and I wanted to add more fall blooming flowers, so we dug up, split and moved these – our three plants split into six, and we were able to add them in pairs around the edges of the garden.

They have beautiful white blooms with a yellow center, and although I thought that these are rudbeckia, as I search for symbolism, the pictures for rudbeckia (black eyed Susan) I do not see any images that match ours!

They look a little rough, cut back the way they are, however they are settling in to their new dirt and the new growth has stayed strong. I anticipate lots of beautiful blooms this fall now that they have been split and there’s more growing room for each plant. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to accurately identify the plant as well, so that I can share with you the symbolism of the flower.

Spring Blooming Camellias

Chouchou and I have a distinct memory of a large, twenty foot camellia in the backyard where we rented in Richmond. We were leaving the apartment in the middle of winter, after an ice storm, and there were flowers in full bloom encased in ice. It was such a beautiful sight and a symbol of beauty and strength despite the adverse weather conditions.

We want to add different features to the garden that will make the garden a lovely respite throughout every season. As we were planning we discussed the camellia, and planted two last winter. They were beautiful to watch bloom this fall into winter. Then, as we visited our nursery last week, I learned there are Spring blooming camellias as well.

Who knew? I am learning that as is true with most of the flower families, camellia varieties could be fall blooming, spring blooming, or even long blooming.

According to, “With camellias, the calyx and petals fall away together, which is why the camellia also represents eternal love or long-lasting devotion.” How fitting, as we will always hold Millie dear in our hearts and this garden is a reflection of our long term devotion to her memory.

Early spring comebacks

Daffodils, Narcissus, and Tulips

Last year we planted a ton of daffodils and tulips, after they had already flowered for the season. We weren’t sure if they would come back, and we had forgotten where we had planted some of them! I am so glad that we made a garden key, that helped us as we walked around last week. To our surprise, the daffodils and tulips have already started breaking ground and some of the daffodils have even started flowering!


In addition, we had planted peonies last spring. Every time we get a new plant, I research it, and I realized after the fact, it is suggested to plant them in the fall. I watered these little rootstocks all summer long. Some grew, others never broke ground, and we never did see a flower. I wasn’t sure what to expect this season. However, on a recent walk through the garden, MC pointed out where some peonies are coming back, and I am thrilled! We planted nine in all, and there are three so far that we’ve seen emerge. I feel like each day we find a new something that’s woken up and begun to show itself.

Butterfly Bush

Lastly, we trimmed up our butterfly bush. We were advised to cut it to about knee height at the beginning of spring, so Chouchou and MC did that as MA and I supervised. I saved a few of the cuttings – we would like more butterfly bushes for the butterflies, but I didn’t see any sense in buying a new one if we could propagate more for free. So, Chouchou and I are conducting an experiment to see: (one) if we can propagate butterfly bush, and (two) to see whose method is most efficient. I’ll keep you posted with updates in a few weeks! I am pretty confident that these will propagate easily, as the words “invasive species” were popular words across many websites describing butterfly bush.

Has the recent warm weather inspired you to garden?

For previous garden updates, check out the links below:

  • You can read about early spring updates here;
  • Summer updates here;
  • Spring and summer additions here;
  • Our nursery haul here;
  • December additions here;
  • Fall additions here;
  • The end of week one progress here;
  • Check out the grotto in progress here;
  • Read about the chopping of our cherry tree here;
  • and see what we started with in our before pictures here.

March gratefulness challenge

Allow yourself to be proud of yourself and all of the progress you’ve made. Especially the progress no one else can see.

@tinybuddhaofficial via Instagram

We’re mid-way through March, and I realize I had not shared my March daily “gratitudes” I’m noting.

As I was choosing what to focus on daily, I wanted to give myself a little credit. I feel like I am trying to take on and focus on many different projects right now, in addition to the daily Mom gig. Today I was especially frazzled. Fridays are supposed to be Fantastic, Phenomenal, Fabulous. Not Frazzled. I had to readjust my lens more than once today.

The projects I have chosen to take on and the things I choose to do are for me. So if I am finding that I am losing my patience or becoming stressed, I need to take a step back, and give myself grace.

I feel like there is an abundance of information (both in my home library and online) and things I could fill my day with. I see, create, or plan ideas and activities, and when I can’t accomplish them or lose the purpose, I get super frustrated at myself. But I need to think about quality. And keeping my sanity. And giving myself the space and time and credit for all that I do accomplish daily.

So when I saw this quote, I thought…Yes. It should be all about this month. I should celebrate little successes and progress that I make. Last month I shared outwardly my gratitude for others, and this month I am taking some time to turn inward and give myself some credit.

I hope that you take some time to give yourself credit for all of your successes and progress whether it be mini or monumental.

Read more about last month’s gratefulness challenge:

Three updates to February’s gratefulness challenge

February is such a strange month for me. It is a month where we could experience freezing, frigid weather or we could have days tricking us into thinking that it is springtime.

Many customs worldwide, including Groundhog Day, la Chandeleur and Mardi Gras, make us feel superstitiously hopeful for the days of Spring to arrive. The days get a little longer, although I know we still have some Winter ahead before we can expect Spring.

Personally, February is a month full of losses, too – I started to list them out here, and we literally have a handful of family, including my dad, who have gone before us.

Yesterday was a wash for me – literally – I didn’t check anything off my to do list. But I had the opportunity to do something bigger. My uncle came over and he helped repair our hot water heater, as one of the elements had gone bad. Typically, this would have been something I had called Daddy for. I was freaking out about the impending ice storm, the loss of power that would surely happen, and all the household chores requiring hot water that I wanted to do before said loss of power.

My uncle put his whole day on hold, came over, and in just a couple of hours was able to fix our hot water heater like it was new. That’s something Daddy would have done, too. I stood close by while he worked, offering help when I knew I could and staying out of the way and observing the process otherwise. I always loved helping Daddy because I was learning something new and getting quality time with him. I enjoyed the same yesterday, as I learned about how the water heater worked and was able to visit a little, too.

Despite not tackling anything on my list, I was grateful for the time I had with my uncle yesterday. And getting back to the post, that’s what I’ve made this whole month about – practicing gratitudes and sharing out. I knew what a strange and bittersweet month it was for me, and I hoped that I could make a positive impact on others who may be feeling the same.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer

Gratefulness challenge updates

We (I say we, because I know there is at least one other person who has taken this challenge with me – thank you!) are two weeks plus into February’s challenge. What is gratefulness if it’s not shared?  I think it always brightens someone’s day, and who doesn’t need that? Here’s a quick update on how I’m making it happen, the two-way feel-good vibes, and who I’m reaching out to.

Making it happen: 

Brain dump 

I made a cheat sheet, and that has really helped me give specific examples of why I am grateful to the person I am thanking.  It has given me the intention to reach out to those people and helped me find the words as I send them my note of gratitude.

Cheating a little 

Let’s be real here.  Some days I did not send a gratitude note.  I spent the day with the kids, I was in a funk, or I chose a shower and self care over reaching out.  And I gave myself the grace to do or be all of those things. 

A routine of being intentional

After missing a couple of days a few times, I decided to make choosing a person part of my morning routine. By setting the intention to contact that person that day, it has helped me to get caught up and even ahead.

Feel good vibes:

Some letters I’ve been able to sneak deliver, or I’ve sent through the mail and it’s been a happy surprise for recipients.  Others have been out-of-the-blue texts.  It’s helped me reach out to people I haven’t talked to in a while, and it’s been nice to reconnect.  

I feel good just knowing that I am sharing my appreciation to these people.  It’s been very gratifying and a positive boost for me to touch base.  

Whether it was an act of service, or having a positive mindset, something specific that was said or shared, all of these people in some way have positively affected me.


I have such a variety of people that I have or will be reaching out to – ranging from family to friends, pastors to colleagues, and doctors to influencers – these people have all in some way shaped, influenced, or otherwise inspired me to be the person I am today.  

They helped me in my season of grief with the passing of my father and Millie, they have inspired me to go after my dreams or they have shown me what it means to have grace (I’m trying!).

How is your February going? Are you leaning more into Winter or Spring?

Read more about my “bujourney” here:

Reminder! February’s Gratefulness Challenge

Hi friends!  I can’t believe we have made it through the first month of 2021, and that February is tomorrow. I feel a little ahead of the curve, I posted my February gratefulness challenge over a week ago, and we’ve got our valentines already made, addressed and ready to go in the mail tomorrow. More on that glittery goodness later. I thought a little reminder might be nice if you are joining me in this challenge!

January recap

In my bullet journal, I like to log some sort of gratefulness each day.  For January, I focused on laughter with the quote:

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”

William Makepeace Thackeray

Isn’t that the truth, though? When there’s a little bit of light-heartedness and laughter in the house, everything feels a little warmer and brighter. I will admit, this is something I need to work on – sometimes I am just a little too serious.

Mon Cœur (MC) has always been verbal, and now she’s really entertaining and astonishing me with her witticisms.  This month it was pretty easy to laugh with all that she said. When I felt I was being a little too serious, she was always close by with something to lighten the mood. Here are a few snippets I never want to forget:

In the kitchen, while Chou chou and I are fixing lunch, MC approached me.

“I would like some S-T-H-A-O, please.”

Me: “What does that spell?”

Whispering, “Candy!”

She picks up on us spelling words when we are talking about something S-E-C-R-E-T that we don’t want her to hear.  She understands this, and most of the time, unless we spell out the whole darn sentence, she gets it anyway, through the context of the rest of the phrase.  Now, she is applying this method of spelling out words, and perhaps wanted me to know she wanted candy, without Chou chou knowing!

While washing her hands, I asked “Do you want to sing the ABCs or Happy Birthday?”

“It’s just an hour! Not a minute!”

Well, now I know! She’s got a concept of time, but it’s still very nebulous to her.  When I ask her the last time she washed her hands, she’ll say, “Friday!” and it’s a Monday.   She knows her time, days, and holidays, although how they all fit together are still a mystery, and I love when she responds with a totally crazy answer that is still absolutely in the correct context.

After asking me to W-A-T-C-H, while Chou chou and I were having a conversation, I responded, “You may watch one show.”

“I make the deals, not you!”

Oh really?! She’s pretty assertive, and so it was funny when she thought she might get the upper hand on screen time.  We all had a good laugh, a good roaring belly laugh, and then Chouchou reminded MC who wears the pants around here. ME.

While she was playing in the kitchen, MC started counting, “One, two…Five, six, eleventeen, thirteen, nine, ten!”

Chouchou told her, “You know how to count – One, two, three…”

MC interrupting: “Don’t organize me, I’m counting!”

Linguistics is a mysterious and amazing field.  MC has a vast vocabulary although sometimes I find myself struggling to understand her particular word choice…Like why did she say organizing?  And when someone is mad…why does she say they are curious? She’s still figuring it out and I love listening to her as she shares her thoughts on her world.

Just yesterday, we were in her cabin playing and she grabbed the magic 8 ball (Chou chou’s childhood one – remember those?!), and with her serious voice (yes, she has a serious voice), she begins asking, “How do you…?”

And I looked at her in awe, thinking to myself, “Girl, you know how to use this!” But she must have seen confusion in my eyes, because she looked at me, and said, “Mom- you ask this thing questions!” and she went back to asking her question, “Is Olaf here?…(looks at the ball)…nope!”

February’s challenge

I really enjoyed January’s daily notes which I shared above. For February, I am planning on noting daily gratitudes for others based around the quote:

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer

As an introvert, keeping in touch with people and reaching out are not at the top of my priority list.  I think it’s super important, though, especially now, to reach out and tell people how much they mean and the impact that they’ve made in my life.  It’s a boost for me, thinking positively about the people in my life, and it’s a boost for them, hearing personally (out of the blue) what impact they have made on me.

Tomorrow, I will begin a personal challenge to reach out to at least one person a day to express my gratitude for them.  I hope you’ll join me and touch base with those who have touched your life.  

Read more about my “bujourney” here:

February’s Gratefulness Challenge

For this shortest month of the year, I am proposing a daily challenge to my reading community!

I’ve talked before about how I log my gratefulness daily in my bullet journal, and how recently I have tried to put a spin on each day’s log by embracing a monthly theme. For January, I tried to note something each day that made me laugh or smile.

For February, I am planning on noting daily gratitudes for others based around the quote below:

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer

I think in some ways this daily gratitude log will be easier than months past…I can start the day thinking of someone to whom I’m grateful. Or, perhaps something will remind me of a person who I feel lucky to have in my life. After 37 years, I feel like I am surrounded by more than 28 people who have lifted me up, who have lighted the flame.

I am going to try my best to reach out to these people throughout the month to let them know that grateful I am to them, because, who couldn’t use a little sunshine?

I’ll keep you posted on this month’s progress!

Are you with me? Will you note a person to whom you are thankful everyday? Maybe even reach out to that person to share your thanks?

Read my previous posts on bullet journals here:

Six lessons I’ve learned while beginning my bullet journal journey

On new beginnings and bullet journaling