This morning I took photos of spring outside my apartment. I haven’t started doing anything decorative or planted any pots yet on my patio.

I need to get into the storage closet and get all that I brought from the old apartment out. Which would be wind chimes, wall suns, etc.

Ron & Pat’s Patio & Birdfeeders:

Above is a small section of Ron and Pat’s yard/patio. They are in their late eighties and full of fun.

He builds and paints ships. I see her sitting in her rocking chair on their patio doing crossword puzzles.

Spring outside my apartment is the sight of a house finch at a neighbor's birdfeeder

This is a photo of a house finch at one of their birdfeeders. Sometimes I see chickadees there. And mourning doves are usually scanning the ground for dropped seeds.

This is making me want to possibly put out birdfeeders as well. Everyone else seems to.

Wouldn’t Ivy enjoy watching that?

I’d have to put them at the edge of the concrete blocks so I wouldn’t have to step up to the higher yard to tend to them.

As my physical therapist told me: No steps, stairs, or lifting. I’m working on it.

Outside my apartment patio door is the sight of a robin

Signs Of Spring Outside My Apartment:

Spring outside my apartment means that robins have shown up.

The American Robin is always a sight for sore eyes, as it is the quintessential early bird heralding springtime.

There’s the well-known phrase: “When robins appear, loved ones are near.” It alludes to the belief of many that the robin is a messenger.

Some see robins and are comforted that their loved ones are at peace.

And then others believe that their loved ones are visiting them when they see robins.

The sight of trees leafing out, like this beautiful Japanese Maple

John’s Japanese Maple already has gorgeous leaves. I just brought my potted Japanese Maple out from under the patio roof so it’s way behind his.

My Potted Japanese Maple:

Spring outside my apartment is the sight of my potted Japanese Maple beginning to bud

Some wanted to see the concrete block wall that borders my upper yard. I was inside taking this photo.

My wicker settee as seen through my patio doors

My entire yard beyond my patio is higher than the patio. Which limits me on what I can do, since I’m supposed to avoid steps.

A tree leafing out in the yard of a neighbor's apartment

Spring Outside My Apartment Means Lots Of Squirrels:

I often see squirrels on my patio looking for a place to hide their nuts.

They’re such cute little creatures. There are so many of them around here that you hear them constantly making their little kuk-kuk sounds.

Then there are the geese and ducks that join in with their own unique sounds.

Spring outside my apartment is John's yard and patio across from mine

John’s Patio:

This is John’s patio showing signs of spring outside my apartment patio door.

He has seating and tables, a water fountain, and lots of birdhouses and feeders. You can often see John and his beloved dog Boomer taking walks.

They just got back from a vacation out of state and Boomer went with him. Ron and Pat babysat his two indoor birds while he was gone.

John, who is 63, was looking for a house, but I believe he’s given up on that notion. Too much competition out there for a first-time homebuyer. He was wanting to use his VA loan status.

Spring outside my apartment is this tree with its burgeoning green leaves

Spring Outside My Apartment Means Trees Leafing Out:

This tree is leafing out in front of the apartment next to John’s. I’ve seen the woman who lives there, but haven’t met her officially. I think she’s been ill.

Maria told me that Steve told her to stop sweeping his patio. Because the food from the bird feeders that fall to the patio floor is for his squirrels.

She kind of laughed when she told me. I didn’t know he was feeding them over there. He hadn’t mentioned it to me.

To go to his back patio, I’d have to step up on the higher ground and I’m trying not to get up on that level. Maybe after I get my new boot Monday I can attempt it.

Every time I do get up there with the walking boot on, I nearly fall down because it’s so rocky. The bottom of my boot is rounded in the middle, which makes it kind of dicey to walk around up there.

Spring outside my apartment is the sight of this hosta with its gorgeous leaves

Above is a pretty hosta in a container in front of a neighbor’s apartment. I do miss my hostas and Lamb’s Ear.

A tree outside my window with white flowers

Grieving For Gracie As Well As My Patio Garden:

Along with grieving little Gracie, I am grieving for my patio garden. One of you mentioned that in a comment, and I realized that it’s true.

I’m glad I don’t live in the old apartment anymore. But that patio garden was part of me for 8 years and I miss it. I built it from nothing to a garden I truly enjoyed.

What harbingers of spring are you seeing?

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke


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  1. We just came back from wintering in Florida, and I am so excited to see the early signs of spring here. Our forsythia are blooming, as is the magnolia tree. The daffodils have also popped up. Not much green on the trees yet. The Korean Spice Viburnum is the earliest of our bushes to flower, and it is full of buds. Robins were in the birdbath. I totally understand your grieving for your garden, because I know how I will feel when we sell this house – the deck is my happy place, and I can’t imagine not having it, but that is likely to happen in a year or two.

  2. I’ve always heard it was cardinals that are your relatives visiting you. I saw a couple, not too long after my father-in-law passed, and I was sure he was checking on us. I “talked” to him for a little while, and it made me feel so much better. Whatever bird it is, it’s nice to believe it’s your loved ones. In a way, it’s comforting.

  3. Well, the weather here in mid-Michigan has been crazy. We’ve had some semi-warm days, some with sun, and recently this week it has been raining, raining, raining. Today it didn’t rain but was so cold again I tho’t it could snow. Wouldn’t be surprised if we woke up to the white stuff tomorrow morning. We get extremely optimistic about Spring arriving on those sunny, warmer days only to be shot down when it turns frigid on us. But, Spring WILL come to Michigan–eventually!

    Looking at your photo of that cement block edging to your patio I wondered if you could figure out a way to place a small ramp from the patio floor to the top of the cement blocks so you could go up onto that level without hurting your ankle. Just a tho’t.

    Loved seeing the photos of all your neighbor’s patios and gardens. It surely seems there are a lot of people living there who are interested in similar things to what you enjoy. I’m happy that you aren’t so isolated as at the other place. Now there are neighbors, especially Steve, who would probably check on you if they didn’t see or hear you for a day or two. Much better than the isolation at the other place. And I know you will figure out some ways to make a beautiful garden on your small patio. After all, you are one of the smartest and most creative women I know of!

    Take care. ‘Til tomorrow.

  4. Brenda, I could not agree more with the comment above, you are blooming in a nw place. Perhaps this is your “Spring”, you are blooming in a new place and making new friends and that is so wonderful. I worried about you at your last place, it seemed like you were always alone. As for your patio garden, you can make something out of your space and I know it will be amazing! Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for coming to visit me!

  5. Here in coastal Massachusetts, we have a day in the 60’s followed by a day in the 40’s, but all in all, spring is definitely here. I’ve seen crocus, my shrubs are starting to sprout, the robins are hunting for worms, and the barn swallows are readying their nests for babies. And in the evenings, when I go out to close in the hens and feed the ponies, I can hear the spring “peepers” from the nearby stream.
    I hope you’re new boot helps with your mobility so that pretty up your patio and visit with your neigbors.

  6. I’m really excited for you Brenda that you’re starting to consider the plants for your wonderful patio. Even if you have to keep it a bit simpler than you have in the past it will bring so much happiness.
    Living in this new apartment complex appears to be a fabulous decision. New neighbors that are becoming friends is a huge bonus. Enjoy your life!

  7. I have no doubt that you will “bloom where you are planted”, looking forward to pictures of what you come up with.

  8. Something tells me you will no doubt come up with an arrangement on your patio that will be totally unlike anything you have done before. I think we just need to wait it out till the plan works out in your brain and you will make it happen to be a cozy comfy spot to enjoy visiting with your new friends and for Ivy to sit and watch over. It might not be your garden you have always had but a raised bed or a bird feeder or bird bath are all things I know you have stewing around in your beautiful decorating sense.

  9. Brenda, Robins are my very favorite bird, but for several years now they are few and far between here in Milwaukie, Oregon. When I do see one I am thrilled. I love it that you are taking the time to enjoy every single plant and shrub and flower in your view from your apartment. I know how much you miss your own patio garden, but you will find a way to make your space beautiful and peaceful and satisfying. Be patient. What am I saying……..I’ve never been patient in my life. Squirrels………right now they are the bane of my existence. Nearly every potted plant I had last year is dug up and destroyed. I have a huge oak tree and the squirrels are always trying to bury acorns in my pots. 🙁 Wish I could attach a picture. LOL

    1. Squirrels are indeed prone to do that. My problem has always been that I lacked patience. I’m learning it now and it isn’t easy.

  10. I try to avoid all steps and stairs due to knee arthritis. But I live in a tiny house with three steps up to the entrance. Looking for options, I saw advice to shorten the step distance.

    I have placed bricks in a safe pattern on the right side of each step so that I only do half-steps (more steps but much shorter). I just made sure they are placed wide enough for a sure step & securely in place. A paver of the right depth would work as well or better.

    I can go up and down as often as needed without any pain. Fortunately there are two handle railings to use as well which increase the safety.

    I miss the days of being able to hike/walk on rocky surfaces but I just have to look for other places that are safer. Now when I fall, I need help getting up so fall avoidance is paramount.

    Bringing in a few plants this year will lift your spirits. Maybe a birth bath with a trickle of water? Your neighbors have made the environment so welcoming! I’m glad you can take joy in that.

    1. Even if I make it easier to get up on the higher part of the yard, it is very rocky and unsteady. I’ve almost fallen several times so I avoid it altogether.

  11. Still chilly here in NYS,snow flurries tomorrow,our growing season doesn’t start until May 15, according to the charts,that’s even after Mother’s Day:(
    Uneven ground is very difficult to walk on with an injury,I have to be super careful with my right knee and left hip…feeling like Humpty Dumpty sometimes.

    1. All it takes is for me to step on something with this boot and since the bottom of the boot is rounded, I tend to end up going one way or the other in the boot because of that roundness. Which means it’s unsteady ground.

  12. Where I am in SE Wisconsin winter seemed to go away – in December, LOL. But it came back and it doesn’t want to leave. We’ve had snow scattered over several days for the past few weeks. It was snowing a lot yesterday. It’s been coldish, dropping below freezing at night. But we did have a short period of warmer temps and the ground thawed somewhat. Enough to make things mushy with the March-April snow and rain we’ve been getting. I finally see buds forming on trees, the grass is starting to turn green in places where it gets good sunshine. The robins came back early in March, but I feed them raisins on the patio so they know they have a food source here. The sign to me that spring is coming soon or the worst of the cold is over is the Juncos leaving. They were still here yesterday morning pecking about among the residue of the nuts I throw out for my tribe of squirrels. Today – not a sign of the Juncos anywhere, I can’t here them in their perches in the arborvitaes either. That means they took off to go north and they won’t come back until December. I have sedum popping through the ground, lamb’s ears starting to show, hints of the day lilies, and the irises have shocked me, some are 6″ tall. Also seeing my white dianthus coming to life, my daisies and columbines are showing green shoots. It’s 39 degrees and cloudy here today, but “warmer” temps are expected in the coming week, into the 50s, with more rain and possibly rain/snow mix. Ugh! I’m doing clean-up as weather permits, but it’s mucky out there, hard to make progress.

    1. Oh I’m jealous of all the plants you have coming up. One of my favorite things to do in early spring at the old apartment was walk outside several times a day to see if just a tiny bit of green was coming up through the dirt in the containers.

  13. Oh! I forgot to tell you. We went to Stringer to get a red bud but Martha Stewart had been there the day before and bought all the red buds they had!! She took them back on her private plane along with some antiques she bought while she was here. The employees at the nursery said her staff was a hoot!! Wish I had gone the day before!’

  14. Spring is slow coming here in Southern Wi. Yesterday it snowed though it has melted.This morning there was a heavy frost…4 tiny yellow crocus are trying to bloom…we feed the birds…it brings us great joy to watch them…the gold finches are turning yellow and yes the Robin’s are here..we put up new bird houses..we have cardinals all winter and chickadees too…it is a cold 50 degrees with a breeze…trying to sit on our screened in porch all covered up with my dogs…I like most of you need the sunshine and beauty of everything to make me feel whole again after a long winter…enjoy you all every day…take special care Brenda💕

    1. Well even if I have to wear a walking boot for much of the time if I have one that is a lighter weight it will make things easier.

  15. We are so far behind you here in northeast IL. No signs of blooms on trees yet. Just some perennials starting to poke out of the ground and some daffodils, too – but that’s it. Still cold and rainy here, even some snow.

    I was the one (or maybe one of the ones) who mentioned you missing your patio garden at your old apartment. I can understand that. If we ever moved from this house, I’d really miss my gardens. We’ve worked so hard on them over the years.

    I can’t wait until it’s flower season here. I’m almost tempted to run up to Home Depot and get a hanging basket of pansies for the front porch. They can withstand temps down to 25 degrees, so I should be safe. I could always bring them into the garage at night if I have to.

    1. We went out to lunch today, Kasi, Kendra, Riley (Kendra’s 18 year old son) and me. Then Kasi took me to a small nursery and I bought two mixed plantings. Did it today so she could carry them to her car and then to my patio. Have to think ahead to get things done.

  16. Woke up to a dusting of snow here in lower west Michigan, so have no signs of spring to contribute!
    I think squirrels abound in that complex for the same reason you are thriving there: peace, safety, kindness, and generosity – both given and received.
    You’re a “get it done well and get it done NOW” kind of gal, so your gardening issues bother you more than they should. In time, you’ll work things out and end up even happier than you were with your previous little flowering paradise. I just know it.

    1. Yes, I know I am. I nearly did myself in decorating this apartment because of that habit. It was silly and careless of me. But I wanted it done so I could look around and see that it was done. I’m trying to do better.

  17. I haven’t commented before. First I would like to send my deepest sympathy on the loss of Gracie. We loss our dog 2 years ago and still miss her greatly. I was thinking maybe you could get window box type planters and set them (or one) on top of the blocks. If you go to home depot and type in window box planter, it brings up several different ones. Also you can type in planter trough and it brings up a smiliar style. I am a gardener also so I understand you missing your garden at the other place.

  18. I’m glad you are surrounded by likeminded neighbors ❤️ When I saw the step ledge, I wondered if you could get some raised planters on legs or very tall pots? But your creativity will find a solution and next thing you know, we will be inspired when you share ❤️

    1. Steve next door said he thought last year he had figured out a solution to not being near a water source. He bought one of those big containers that has a spigot toward the bottom where people can get drinks of water. But then once he had it in place, he realized he had no way to get the water to it.

  19. We are far behind you in Indiana. It snowed in neighboring towns. The daffodils are beautiful! The lilies are coming up and the sedum are emerging.

    I have lots of cardinals and by us they are our loved ones visiting us. I love thier bright red feathers. The Robin’s have been back for about a month.

  20. The complex you are in sounds wonderful with a lot of neighbors feeding the birds etc and they all seem to be nice people. Here in Southern Ontario I am still waiting for spring to appear before I can get on the garden again. It is just not warm enough yet.
    I do think of you often Brenda even if I don’t comment a lot. I am truly sorry you had to go thru that with dear Gracie. Cats don’t always like other cats and it sounds as if Ivy is enjoying you all to herself.

    1. Ivy talks to me now. If I say something to her, she meows back. I sat on the patio a little bit ago and she sat at the patio door so she could see me. I opened a bit of the screen door so she sniff the air.

  21. I had 3 crepe myrtle trees planted last fall: one white, pink and purple. I’ve been waiting to see their leaves pop out and it is happening now. The white one is being defiant and late to the party. I have to replace some lavenders that didn’t survive in their pots. Please be careful out there in your new boot.

    1. Thanks. I seem to be getting more unsteady with the boot on instead of getting more steady. I’m just worn out having to wear the thing. I get tired faster. My energy is just not what it was.

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