Sweet Alyssum, Gardenia & What I’m Reading

living room

Charlie and I have settled into a routine. Much like our old routine really. But a little different. He is easy. He does want out a lot. He loves the outdoors, sniffing where squirrels have been on the patio.

I haven’t seen the baby Bewick wren again. Maybe it has learned to fly and begun its own journey.

I wonder if Mama bird and baby bird ever see one another after the fledgling learns to fly? Does the baby fly away and not look back, off to parts unknown?

sweet alyssum

The sweet alyssum smells glorious. I could not find the purple sweet alyssum this year.

Did you know that sweet alyssum is a member of the mustard family?

Speaking of perfumed plants…


Do you recall my getting a potted gardenia at the nursery around the first of the year? I was told I could keep it indoors. Well, I never could get the blooms to open into flowers.

So about a month ago, I repotted the gardenia into a bigger pot and put it outdoors.

What you see above is the first flower. Others are about to open. They smell wonderful as well.


In the mornings when I wake up, I am no longer surprised that Abi is not here. I have adjusted to her absence. Still I miss her terribly. I cry. I mourn.

The anxiety meds my doctor ordered are helping. I take a small bit of a pill in the morning. I was already taking it at night before sleep.

It helps to level my emotions, though they’re still there just under the surface. I suppose they will be for some time.

Charlie never did quite learn to be fully house trained. Which is why I asked for and have vinyl floors. I tried my best to train him. It just didn’t fully take. It is what it is.

At times Abi had accidents too. I do not let such things bother me. It surely isn’t the end of the world. It isn’t worth making a big deal about because you love them and what would be the point? Anyway, that’s how I look at it.


I am now reading “Not Perfect.” It is about a wife and mother who wakes up one morning to find her husband gone. He has left them without money or a way to locate him.

She tries to keep life as normal as possible for her two children. Their father traveled a lot for his job, so she tells them he is on an extended business trip.

Though they live in a luxury apartment, she has resorted to stealing small items from stores and friends. Things she has no money to pay for. Like dish washing liquid, a loaf of French bread. At home she writes each item down so she can one day repay it.

The cupboard is almost bare and she has to feed her children, but she cannot find a job.

She lies to people who know her. Her best friend, the other mothers at the fancy private school her children go to, which fortunately has been paid for the year.

Her husband left ominous words if she reveals his absence: “I will tell them what you did.”

The reader is not sure what she did, and it is not apparent that she knows either. A good read.

Have a nice holiday weekend, doing whatever it is you plan to do. Summer is now upon us.



  1. That book sounds great, Brenda – I’m off to look for it on Amazon!

    Yes, a new normal. We all have to find it at some point in our own lives. What else can we do?

    I planted Sweet Alyssum this past weekend in the bed where the tree was ripped out. I love the smell, and I wanted something a bit ‘tamer’ than petunias in that area, plus the scent will be heavenly when walking by. I also put in Delphinium, some zinnias I had planted from seed, and moved some Hostas around. And thyme, as it’s great next to a path…it releases its scent when stepped on. It’s a bit of a mess so far as the Hostas were all ones that were trampled during the removal of the tree, but should come around once things get going.

    Sending you and Charlie hugs on your new normal day.


  2. Beautiful photos, you have the ability to capture moments beautifully. I am happy you are able to begin to function, it is a sign of healing. Gardening and reading are two wonderful ways that will help you work through grief. I also read ‘Not Perfect’ and liked it but I was a little frustrated at the wife’s inability to really face reality and find work and just get on with it! But I’m a practical sort that knows how to support herself and move forward. On the accident in the house thing, I totally agree about ‘clean it up and move on’ theory. I just adopted two puppies this weekend (probably not smart, since I’m 67, but I so wanted them) so I’ll be doing a lot of that over the next few months. But you can forgive anything when you see the sweet faces.

  3. My Milo is going on 15 years and is in remission from cancer. He loses his bladder and bowels quite often. I have no problem with it, but when someone makes a comment, as if he hasn’t been ‘housebroken’ I want to scream. He is old and not functioning well. I’s not the end of the world for me or him! I’m so glad to hear that you and Charlie are having better days.

    The book sounds really interesting. I like to look your recommendations up on Amazon. I still have a stock stockpile to go through!


  4. As usual, your photos are wonderful. I love the scent of gardenias; I’ll have to look to see if the garden center has alyssum — not sure what that smells like.

    I know you miss Abi (and always will); us readers miss her too. Nice that you have little Charlie for company.

    The book sounds like a really good read; about to connect to my library site and put this book on hold. Thank you for the review. Hope the remainder of your weekend is quiet and cozy.

  5. I love sweet alyssum and gardenias. These last ones would not do well where I live. Your patio has such an variety of flowers….just gorgeous!
    This under the surface sadness/uneasiness you feel Brenda is part of the grieving process. You will continue to get better.
    Sending hugs

  6. Brenda, so happy that you are feeling better. My first Gardenia was given to me in a small bouquet at my Junior Prom. The fragrance was awesome! My future husband gav e me another one at our Senior Prom! I am happy to hear that you and Charlie are slowly settling into a routine together. As always, love to see your beautiful flowers.
    Thanks about the house breaking of dogs. My two Yorkiepoos have had trouble in that area too, but I like what you said – it is what it is.

    1. We all have our weaknesses. So why wouldn’t our beloved pets? Things have definitely been a bit easier with the anti anxiety meds to help me out. It keeps me from being so emotional in front of Charlie, which scares him.

  7. Brenda, it sounds like you and Charlie are getting back into a routine which is good to hear. My Molly has “accidents” as well and I clean it up and move on. A mild inconvenience to the joy she brings to me. My gardenia Bush has finally produced flowers as well . You can’t beat that sweet fragrance! We are staying home today with me reading and Molly by my side. Life is good! Carol and Molly

  8. Just put that on my “have to read” list. It sounds good.
    I am glad you have adapted to the absence of Abi. I know that it is so hard to lose a beloved pet.
    I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. xo Diana
    ps- Gardenias are one of my very favorite flowers. Your bloom is gorgeous.

    1. The bloom was kind of under the leaves so hard to see. But the scent was wonderful.

  9. Gardenias are beautiful and smell wonderful, but I have never had success overwintering them in the house. Mine always seemed to get those bugs that look like cotton. (I am having a senior moment and cannot recall their name.) Our Shihtzu (9 months old) sometimes remembers to use her puppy pads, but never seems to realize she is supposed to do her business when she goes outside. I understand the Shihtzu breed is one of the hardest to housebreak. We just go with the flow, too, because we love our little Lollipop.

    1. Charlie will do his business outside, but never seemed to understand he should not do it indoors. I’m not going to chastise him. If he’s nearly 12, he probably isn’t going to change. I love him no matter what.

  10. Oh my! I love the scent of Gardenia. I am sending you positive thoughts this morning. That book sound like a good read.

    1. It is a good read. Which is why I’m trying to slow my reading of it. But it compels me to keep going.

  11. I love the fragrance of the Gardenia. My first corsage from a boy when I was very young, many… many years ago, was a gardenia, and I remember I thought then how wonderful the smell. “Not Perfect” sounds like a book I would like, so on my way to Amazon to get it. Thanks so much for sharing, Brenda..Hugs to you and Charlie…

    1. I started the book last night and read half of it. You want to keep turning the pages.

  12. Brenda, I’m glad you are adjusting to the loss of Abi. Time doesn’t heal. Maybe you no longer cry every single day but the pain is still there. That’s the way I felt about my Buca boy and other fur kids I’ve lost. It’s comforting to know that Charlie and you are getting closer, I love that. And I like your cozy little house. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I feel like Charlie and I are closer now. Abi was lovable but very demanding. Now it’s just him and me.

  13. The buds opened! I am amazed, after all this time I didn’t think the gardenia buds would open. What a treat….here in Florida the gardenias are just about done blossoming . I love gardenias but have not been successful in growing them. Love alyssum too. So glad you and Charlie are settling into a routine. Not hot here due to all the rain. We have almost 12 inches this month. Very soggy in Fl. Have a nice weekend.

  14. I am happy to read that you are doing better. Time does make it easier just never easy. I know I will always miss my Charlie but I have such wonderful memories of him. Your garden is looking lovely. I do enjoy gardenia’s but have had no luck in growing them myself.

    1. I guess my gardenia needed more sun. I still miss Pepper, a rescue dog I took home from a shelter I once volunteered at. He was a senior dog and no one wanted him. I took him home and had probably six years with him. Loved that dog. He died in 2006.

  15. Brenda, your house looks so cosy. I love the cow painting!
    It is what it is, that is for sure. I am happy to hear that you are Carlie are adjusting to a new normal. I know it is hard.

    I love all of your plants, I learn so much from you as I know nothing about plants. I made a list for next year so that I can get some of the things you have mentioned.

    Have a nice weekend.

    1. Well, I’ve been a gardener for a long time. It’s in my blood. A new normal is still a normal. We all learn to adjust. We have to.

    1. Yeah, I just moved it a bit, away from the wall. Just something different. I haven’t had the urge to do much lately, but I did that.

  16. Your patio is more lovely by the day. My mom always had alyssum ! The photo of the dove is wonderful! We are having near record heat/humidity here in eastern Iowa; I will not go out unless necessary. I am grateful for the central air in my house as I have COPD. My dogs never got quite trained either but they will use puppy pads in the house…though sometimes they “miss” the mark. I have no carpet either so not a big deal to me.either. I am glad you are Charlie are getting along ok. Yes, it will take time….

    1. I have puppy pads too. Abi would sometimes use them at night, sometimes she wouldn’t. Charlie always missed the mark. I hate carpet anyway. I think of it as a big used Kleenex, due to all it gets on it, and who would want to walk on that? I have central air too, thankfully. Just don’t have insulation.

  17. a good post. “it is what it is.” yes. and if we could only learn that value sooner!
    it pretty much applies to everything. what was that old saying? “go with the flow.”
    I have the windows open just as long as possible now. that is my own little blessing.
    I’ve learned to do without the light. to keep it cool. like you say… it is what it is.
    love your patio garden. it’s just beautiful!

    1. I have the window blinds open a bit in the morning for the house plants, then I close them to keep the heat out too.

Comments are closed.