I haven’t written a post for several months. As some of you know, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in mid-2020. The treatment has kept me going but my hands are numb and this makes writing a challenge. Some have suggested dictation software and I’ve been meaning to look into that.

Common Witch Hazel blooms in October

I’ve also been combatting fatigue and difficulty concentrating, so I’m not sure if dictation will be an effective answer.

However, it’s a new year so I thought I would try to generate a short post.

Highlights of my last few months:

We went to Maine in October where we ate an insane amount of fresh seafood, walked through coastal villages, and had the pleasure of lunching with Laurie Graves of https://hinterlands.me/ and her husband Cliff.

View from a Maine lighthouse

Our good friend Jo Ana did the lion’s share of putting the garden to sleep for the winter. As always, her help has been invaluable during my illness. Also, thanks to her I got a good look at the Common Witch Hazel we have tucked away in an obscure spot on the east side of the house. Most years I don’t think to look until after the blooms are all done.

In spite of everything, we planted over 250 bulbs, thanks again to Jo Ana and also our good friend Anne. Of these, 100 or so went into containers – mostly some Tulipa kaufmanniana varieties that are new to us, but also some ‘Princess Irene’.

‘Princess Irene’

Then we planted some more ‘Ballerina’ Tulips in the Driveway Border and some T. clusiana and Narcissus ‘Geranium’ and ‘Barrett Browning’ in the Parkway Bed.

For Thanksgiving, we drove with our son Daniel to Minneapolis where we had a long weekend with David and his partner Meridith, and a holiday meal hosted by my brother and his wife. We stayed in Chicago for Christmas, celebrating with Daniel and Beckee and her parents. We’re expecting a visit from David and Meridith later this month, Covid permitting.

Incidentally, I’m trying to keep up with everyone’s garden blogs but no longer comment for reasons stated earlier.

So that’s about it. Best wishes to everyone for a happy 2022.

58 Comments on “It’s Been A While”

  1. I have been thinking of you, and so grateful to hear how things are going given your challenges. How wonderful for friends especially gardening friends who help sustain us….keeping you close in my heart.

  2. So good to see your post, Jason! I’ve been wondering how you are, so grateful that you’re still active, even if with challenges and am glad you have such an excellent support system. Lovely photos, glad you can get some traveling in. Keeping you in my thoughts, best wishes for you and your family in this new year.

  3. So great to read this post! I have been thinking of you. And how wonderful to have you visit us in Maine. Very glad to read about your holiday visits as well as all the tulips that were planted. Take care, take care and post whenever you feel like doing so.

  4. So delighted to find you in my inbox, Jason! I’ve thought about you so frequently since your last post. I’m sorry your treatments are resulting in these very unpleasant side effects. I’m sure you’re grateful for the garden friends who help you out. Hope 2022 finds you able to be back in the garden and also blogging again. You are missed!

  5. It’s a real pleasure to see that you have enjoyed your travels and visits, and that your garden continues. I’m looking to seeing the tulips in the spring, and hope you stay warm and cozy through the winter.

  6. It is very good to hear from you. I understand your reasons for not posting. I had a TBI while in the military which left me with a few permanent issues – trouble concentrating and a few aphasias – one where I loop my thoughts – verbally or in writing and another where I know the word or words I want and can even “see” them in my mind but cannot express them – again, verbally and in writing. Damage to my hands resulted in trauma caused arthritis and there are days when writing or typing is a no go. My situation doesn’t compare to the side effects of cancer treatment but I do understand. I’m glad you are as well as possible and able to travel. Also glad your gardens are doing well and you have friends to help keep things in order. I keep eyeballing a section of my dining room garden that needed work before winter but will now have to wait for spring as the ground has frozen. Again – so good to hear from you. I wish you and your family a year full of blessings.

  7. Great to see this post and glad that you and Judy have had some good travels and time with family and friends. And wonderful to some some images from your garden. Hope that 2022 will bring more travels and more time in the garden.

  8. Jason – great to hear from you again! Your trip to Maine sounds great and I think that Maine air is very vivifying. I love the photo of those brilliant tulips – and I am counting on the spring bringing all of us new joys and good health.

  9. I can’t tell you how nice it is to see a post from you. I have thought of you often and am glad to hear you are still getting around and seem to be enjoying it. I have been avidly reading the Donna Leon books which you recommended to me, which is another reason I so often think of you and want to say thanks for the suggestion. Gardening season will be with us before you know it.

  10. Jason, Good to hear from you! Your photos are wonderful, as always. There is nothing like fresh seafood in Maine. My mouth is watering. So glad you are able to spend time with family and friends in the midst of this pandemic. You are motivating me to pledge to plant more bulbs this Fall. Take care!

  11. Lovely to hear from you… and good to read all about your garden and travels and your family. I’ll look forward to seeing all the tulips in spring and I’ll plant some orange ones ( you once commented on some that we had in the front garden) Keep warm and rested… the gardening blogging world isn’t quite the same without you..😁🌞🌞

  12. Oh, so nice to see your blog pop up in my inbox. Sorry that you are having difficulties with medical symptoms, but it’s good to know that you are still out and about, managing some visiting, and planning spring things for your garden. You are indeed lucky to have a good support system especially one that involves taking some of those gardening chores off your hands and mind. That mostly leaves you with just the pleasure of observing the results of all your prior planning and work.

    Take care.

  13. How nice to “hear” from you! Maine looks so picturesque, but I’m not likely to get there, being on the opposite coast. It sounds like you had a nice Thanksgiving and Christmas. You always have such beautiful tulips. Not my thing, but I do enjoy the colorful display yours in pots always bring.

  14. Glad to hear from you Jason, you have been on my mind. Glad you have had opportunities to visit with friends and family this year. I broke down this year and bought some tulips- though my area has too short of a winter to keep them going year after year. If they bloom this year I will be happy.

  15. So good to hear from you Jason. It is great that you got your spring tulip palooza planted up. I will look forward to seeing what all pops up. Hopefully by then you will be better able to type up a report and shoot some pictures for the blog. I know Mz Judy would be able to help sort that out for you. Cheers and here is to a Happy Healthy New Year for you and yours.

  16. So glad to hear from you, but it is understandable that blogging may not be at the top of your to-do-list. We understand. It sounds like your love of gardening certainly extended to friends, and it is so nice that these friends now come forward to help. I wish I lived closer because I’d lend a hand myself. Happy you had a nice holiday season, and I hope 2022 is good to you and yours.

  17. It’s wonderful to have this update from you, Jason, and especially good to hear that you’ve been able to do some traveling. I’m really glad your family has been able to gather, despite all the complications resulting from Covid. You certainly have been missed. I hope that by springtime things will be better and you’ll be able to share some photos of the tulips with us — best wishes to you and Judy for the New Year!

  18. Being relatively new to your blog, I’m sorry to learn of your illness but glad you’re receiving effective treatment even if it unfortunately comes with some cost. It’s great that you’ve been able to travel a bit and that you have help with your garden. I look forward to seeing those tulip blooms in the spring!

  19. Good to hear from you Jason, you have been missed. I am glad you have been able to get away and spend time with your family. And how great that you will have plenty of tulips to enjoy in the spring. I hope you will be able to share them with us. Happy New to you, Judy and your family. Take care.

  20. So HAPPY to see your blog just now and thank you for the wonderful photos and words–humorous and informative–I have enjoyed for several years. I have never commented but seeing your post again–I just had to tell you how much so many of us benefit from gardeninacity. Best wishes for you and your family in 2022.

  21. So very nice to hear from you, Jason! I wish you and yours a wonderful and MUCH healthier 2022! I imagine the tulip photo is from last year – we have some open Hellebores (of the later varieties) over here in Portland already, but that’s more unnerving than anything else. It’s FAR too early. Be well, friend!

  22. So glad to hear from you again! I too tend to forget the witch hazel, but this year it made itself known by blooming profusely. I plan to add several more and make it a witch hazel patch. I’m getting (paid) help with my landscape. There is no reason for us to do it all ourselves, regardless of our health. Besides, I like supporting local businesses.

  23. I join the crowd of those happy to hear from you. I have missed your frequent observations and insight, and I actually looked back at some of your older posts as I planted some bulbs in containers this fall. The best part of winter in Chicago is dreaming about spring! Peace and happy kaufmanniana dreams to you!

  24. Hello Jason, it’s really good to hear from you and I’m glad you have your annual tulips in to look forward to in the spring. It sounds like you’ve been pretty busy when your energy has allowed. I hope you had a great thanksgiving and holiday season with your family and I hope 2022 brings improvements all-round because goodness knows it’s way overdue.

  25. Well, as others have said, it is great to have an update from you. Happy you’ve been able to travel and be with family. Glad your friends have pitched in with gardening activities. Those orange tulips will be fantastic. Keep well. Best to you and Judy and rest of your family for a happy year ahead. /Susie

  26. It’s wonderful to hear from you. I wish I could offer a hand in your garden. But, I did plant a ton of tulips here this fall and thought of you while deciding what to put where. You are my tulip inspiration. It sounds like you took full advantage of what Maine has to offer–I can’t think of a better place for a vacation. If you decide on another trip to Maine, our welcome mat is always out!

  27. So lovely to read you again – from all the comments and my feelings (even as an unfaithful blogger!!!!) you’ve been missed. Look forward to reading as and when you can and hoping 2022 will be good for you and the family! All the very best.

  28. I have been a bit irregular in my blogging recently so had missed this post, but called in to see if there was an update and am delighted to find one. I had been happy to see you’d met up with Laurie via her blog. I sometimes use the voice memo on my iPhone. It may be my accent, but I find it pretty inaccurate – geared more towards business than gardening. Two examples I’ve had are ‘Please stay on the train for two or three years’ and ‘dog growling tree’. Goodness knows what I actually said. I hope you’re feeling and getting much better and am sending very best wishes.

  29. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear this, Jason, but I’m glad you have good help with your gardens. Even though I’ve been very sporadic with my blogging and reading other blogs, I think of you at tulip time, wondering what varieties you’ve chosen and how many containers you’ve done, and also while I’m watching the birds at our feeders. Also, you introduced me to tithonia, which I know plant every year for the Monarchs! Best wishes to you; I hope for you that the numbness isn’t a permanent thing!

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