Friday, June 05, 2009

A Good End

Every story has a beginning; in the case of this modest garden blog it was in February of 2005, with the bloom of the first snowdrop of the new garden year. Every story must also have an ending, and for An Iowa Garden, that day has arrived; it is a happy ending, though... I am not stopping because of ill health or a lack of stories or new plants to write about (I would say in the four years I've been writing this blog I've probably shown about a fourth of the plants in our garden). Rather, it is because of a lack of time; there are just not quite enough hours in the day, which I confess seems odd, since I retired from medicine six years ago, wondering how I would ever fill all my unaccustomed spare time.
I've made a lot of new friends through blogging, and have very much enjoyed meandering through other peoples' garden blogs too, and I hope a few folks have enjoyed following me about here in our garden, tucked in a small valley beside a pond, in a woods in eastern Iowa. This week the newest fawn is being paraded about by its proud mom, the young raccoons are discovering the challenge of shinnying up the birdfeeder pole in the dark of night, and the barred owls are hooting up and down the valley in the cool spring evenings. Seasons and years continue to unfold around and before me, and I feel deeply connected to all the wild creatures that share our land; and to the woods and to our garden in that woods. Living with (and in) nature can be occasionally exasperating, it can be funny or it can be very sad; but above all, it is a privilege. I have come to realize that the mark of a person can be measured by how they treat the least and most vulnerable of God's creatures.
Good gardening and Godspeed to all of you...

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What a beautiful ending for your blog. Thank you for such kindness.
My best wishes to you!
I respect your decision to bring your blog to an end but may I also add to that...I wish you wouldn't.
I haven't left comments but I do enjoy it.
I'm going to be staying in your area next week. My sister is registered at the Hope Lodge. I will be her caretaker for that time. I'm not sure how I'll manage that job but I will give her the same attention you give your lovely gardens.
Can you recommend any public gardens or parks that a gardener may enjoy in the vicinity?
I wish you nothing but peace and happiness!
Diane (Washington State)
I'll miss your musings- yours was one of the very few garden blogs worth reading, and the online gardening community will be poorer for your absence. Thanks for your efforts over these past few years
But . . . but . . .
say it ain't so! sometimes I thought it was all an elaborate joke, all of those beautiful blossoms in chilly iowa. I'll miss your inspirational garden.
Oh, I had just discovered your garden blog this year and loved it. I've brought a few plants into the garden because of you-adonis will hopefully be making a show next spring.

Hopefully, your blog will be accessable so I can go back further and discover more that is needed for my garden.

Wish you well.
I will miss reading your posts, as I always found them interesting, informative and entertaining.
Enjoy the extra time you can spend in your garden now.
Gonna miss your blog, Don! Enjoy your time healing the earth, making those connections that feed you, us, and those to come after.
After the shock of this news there is only one thing to say.
Thank you Don for your blog. Thank you for the time that you have given us. Thank you for sharing your garden.
But please do remember- Michael Jordan came back. In fact I seem to recall that he came back several times.

I do hope we can figure out some way to keep in touch. I assume that you will keep taking pictures. Maybe you can make guest appearances.
Dear Don, I also have just discovered your blog and look for updates daily. Thank you for all of the information you have shared and for encouraging us all to bring more diversity to our gardens. May your poetry for life and your philosophy flourish! Thank you.
Well, I'll really going to miss your blog, this is a sad announcement. I probably won't take it off my reader in case you might some day decide to post again. No chance of convincing you to continue on in a once a week capacity? Once a month? Oh well. I do wish you the best. But this was definitely a favorite, I was always excited when I saw unread posts from you in my reader.
No! I love your choice of garden plants and your garden style!

Well, if you change your mind, we will be here.
I've really enjoyed your blog over the past year and a half, since I discovered it. Best of luck and thank you.
I can't really remember when I first started reading your blog but it's been bookmarked ever since and I check it almost daily. I will miss it but certainly understand why you need to stop. So many plants, so little time! Thanks for all your thoughts,pictures and sharing your knowledge. Good luck to you.
I wish you much luck in whatever gardening endeavors you find to occupy your short time. It sure goes by fast. I've enjoyed all the posts I've read and must say you've taught me quite a bit. Like pinellia! Thanks and take care in your garden. You'll be missed.
You will be missed. I too have only been reading about a year, and it hit my daily sites to check list. I was fortunate enough to visit Don and his garden last month. What a wonderful place! Many thanks for the plants you gave me. As far as the time...I know it is hard to do all that we want to do. I get to focusing on one subject for a week to a few months and then drop it and go on to the next, and then months or years later return to work on it again. There is probably some diagnosis for that habit, but for me it is just drivemywifecrazyitiz. Good luck Don, we will all miss you.
Jon (in DeWitt)
Ah, I will miss you.

Be well out there. I know you will be doing good works and inspiring folks whatever you are doing.


Sorry to hear about your retirement from sharing your enjoyment with us who are far away. Yours was a sweet sound in the grey noise that is blogging. Thanks a lot for the time and effort.
Christian, UK
I am really going to miss your musings - they have been both inspiring and amusing. Hope you find time to post somewhere once in a while and keep in touch with all your garden friends.
I will miss checking your site every morning as a refreshing break from work. Guess we will need to drop by and see you more often to hear your stories!
Hi Don,
Very sorry to see you're hanging up the blogging trowel ... I and many more are going to miss your wry musings! Not to mention the voluminous knowledge you passed along to us lesser gardening mortals!

I understand and totally respect your decision to take time out, but do hope that if the spirit moves you, you won't shy away from posting here and there....

Please do consider leaving your content online and searchable, because you have provided a valuable resource for many many gardeners who will still find it useful (e.g. me: primroses!) That way, you can be be elevelated to "Golden Blogger Sensei Emeritus" status! (At least at my blog!)

All the best to you and your wife!


PS... Our Dragon Arum has 4 fully formed bloom set on right now (out of 8 offshoots!), and they'll probably be in bloom in a week or so. I hope you'll drop by to take a look, and a cyber whiff!
I've never been sure whether I came across as an old softie, or as a bit of a smart aleck on this blog; one can be a bit of both... therefore, I want to be say clearly that your kind comments mean a great deal to me and are very touching.
To those concerned that An Iowa Garden will be erased: at some point it will be; there is already too much "stuff" on the internet, and my blog will never be confused with great garden literature (spell and fact checking were never my strong suits). However, I'll leave it up as long as it seems to be useful; I'll check the counter every six months or so and see if it still gets hits (it'll be kind of like clapping to keep Tinkerbelle alive).
To Diane visiting Iowa City; there really aren't any wonderful public flower gardens here. You'd be welcome to tour our garden; if you have time call me at 339-8260. My wife Liz is an oncology nurse in the outpatient chemo. unit at the U.
Oh Don,

I'll really miss you and your garden. I've really learned alot. You can be sure to find me on you door step if I'm ever in Iowa. Like wise if you're up by the Twin Cities let me know.
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Don, I deleted my former comment as it needed "work!" I'll try again...

Don, You have been such a source of information, inspiration and conversation during these past couple of years after I discovered you and your blog. It's making me really sad to think there will be no more posts.

(I believe that the time you spent creating each of your posts might be three or four times the amount I spend on mine. Yep, you've been short-changed! Sorry!)

Whew! At least you're remaining in Iowa City... that's a relief! :-)
You can, at least for now, cease blogging - but I cannot ever imagine you not gardening. And your gardens will be ever grateful for more of your attention (as will Liz!) ;-)

Your friend - SG
Sad news for just one more of your anonymous lurking minions.
I confine myself to a Daily Top 12
List of favorite garden blogs,
divided by region, and you've been
atop my Midwest list for many years. I totally respect your
reasons, but will seriously miss you.

Cheers, many years of happy
playing in the dirt.

Marci in Baltimore
As someone in eastern Iowa with a small gardening space, I've lived vicariously through your blog. When my day had gotten too hectic, I knew I could visit here for a few minutes and relax.

In light of all of this, I just wanted to say thank you & let you know that you'll be greatly missed.
Hello Don;

Messages have changed paths between Iowa and Vermont over recent years and I have appreciated them a great deal. You have heard me say that I wish a "day stretcher" existed as many times the days are short, the list of things to do quite long.

You have touched many through your medical work and through gardening too. Smiles are important!

Best gardening wishes and sincere thank yous!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
I'll miss you even though I haven't been a faithful visitor. I'm glad you will be leaving your blog up for a while so I can visit it now and then. A link will remain on my blogroll for as long as you still have it available. Thanks for the time and information you've shared with everyone and best wishes for whatever occupies your time and thoughts in the future.
So sad!
I enjoyed being here from time to time!
I enjoyed your musings about garden life!

But we, your readers do respect your decision!
Godspeed Don!
Best wishes!
I want to thank all the new commenters; as I mentioned before, each comment is a pleasure to see. I will say, not having a garden blog after over four years, takes a little getting used to; right now the white flowering jack in the pulpit, Arisaema candidissimum is blooming, a lovely species Clematis addisonii has opened its little bells, out at the nature preserve, a doe has been trailed by her two darling little fawns, while here in the garden an American redstart landed right in front of my nose and started fanning its brightly striped tail. I kept feeling like I should be running for the camera, then realized... oh.
Like a few other gardeners, I just stumbled onto your blog this past year. What a tremendous treat! I've already added several of the plants you've talked about - thanks. There's no doubt in my military mind you will be missed. Well done! Don

Art in Missouri
Don, I totally understand your decision. Blogging takes tremendous part of valuable time. Please, don't delete your blog, it has so much useful information. Maybe, you'll post from time to time, just for your own pleasure. Thank you for all your posts and good luck in your new blogless life (oh, it sounds terrible!). Take care.
HiDon. Gee, I don't check you out for some time and you leave! I can understand your decision, but I will miss your posts. I loved your gardener and your delightful blog will be read often and over again. Thanks for sharing your life and garden with us!

--cherb in NS
Just thought I'd "check in" for a moment, and I found your comment! It's going to take a long time to get used to not seeing a new post here. But, hey! I can search for anything and find old ones! :-) Perhaps you should just periodically have a blank post so we can continue to write you "missing you" notes. Have a great day!
I've been reading your blog for as long as I've been gardening...a grand total of one year. I bought a century-old Victorian house surrounded by mature trees and had no idea how to garden, until I stumbled upon your blog. You have been an inspiration. Because of you I have learned to look for the jack in the pulpits hiding underneath the bridals veil and the Solomon's Seal peaking its way out from beneath my porch. My summer Sunday mornings on the front porch with my coffee and laptop will be lonely without you.

I hope you enjoy your secondary retirement.

Don, now you and Liz will have time to get together for some pizza soon. I totally understand your need to rest from blogging. Enjoy your new freedom. We have enjoyed your wonders with you - it's been absolutely the best.
Janice & Jay
I've also enjoyed reading your blog, with all its unique plants and great writing. Thanks for all the time you've spent writing it over the last few years.
I have enjoyed lurking on your blog all year. I'm sad to see it go, but I wish you all the best! :)

i am your biggest fan. for two reasons: i'm a longtime reader and blogger, and a gardener in the Midwest. so i love this blog. i'll just tell you: it Hurts me to know you're done, even as i totally understand. really, i do. you didn't even have to explain, i read this post and i was like, "oh. i remember when i had to put down a blog." it's Hard.

anyway: thank you. so much. this blog has been Zen Perfection of garden blogs. i've read a bunch. yours was the Best. 100 years from now, when they're writing the book about the early history of the Internet, and it's the chapter "nature and the early internet" they're going to use this blog for the pics and examples. never take it down.

just so you know, it's a "blogspot" blog. so just don't do anything, and it should stick around for a few years. maybe more. you can also easily make a CD of the entire blog. email me if you want help. anheduanna AT yahoo dot com. but seriously, you're the Champ. this was the Best Garden Blog ever. thank you.
i have learned a lot from reading here, so this is disappointing news. perhaps one day you will choose to blog once or twice a month with updates on recent changes in the gardens and a few photos. it would be very tiring to blog several times a week, i think. best wishes to you and your wife as you find more free time in your life. :)
Just an additional note to say I greatly appreciate all the new messages that have appeared. The summer here has been unusually cool and wet, so the garden is rather a jungle, with seven foot tall lilies, and the late azaleas covered with starry flowers in orange and spicy pink. Several American redstarts are nesting in our woods this year; the cutest and most fascinating of little birds, constantly singing "Chewy-Chew-Chew", and fanning their tails as they hop from tree to tree looking for insects. The resident deer herd has one doe with a single fawn, and now another with a pair of fawns, all looking very sleek and content with the thick, green grass that the rainfall has produced. The evenings are long and lovely, with the green frogs chirping until the sun sinks behind the west ridge and all grows still. It's a wonderful time of year.
Don, A person never knows how many readers visit their blog... and now you're getting an idea. :-) Thanks for an update on what's happening at your home - you paint beautiful pictures.
Yes, it's good to read a bit of what is going on in the garden Don. I think your writing is missed by all, so even if you just pop in from time to time, and update us, like you did, it will be a treat.
You are so missed and I, like the others, understand your decision and still wish you would not!
Thanks for sharing as long as you did..
I was a lurker on your blog, but I was always fascinated by your photography and the animals and what you managed to grow in your region. Thanks for sharing your garden!
Thanks for your time and the wonderful posts and pictures. I've learned a lot.
Don - I totally understand. Thanks for sharing your garden and life with us. Take care and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Hi Don and Liz, Will you be coming to FF before long? You could visit! :-)
Shady... I REALLY wanted to get down to FF for a garden visit this year, but it ain't gonna happen; we've been out of town, out of state, or out of the country a good chunk of the time this summer, and my "to-do" list has grown as the summer flies by. Next spring?
What a beautiful ending for your blog. Thank you for such kindness.
My best wishes to you!

Email Marketing Solutions
Obviously I am way behind on my blog reading. Shame on me for thinking you'd always be here.

Thank you so for leaving this blog up! If you ever take that guy up on archiving your blog, I'd like a copy of that CD. I've always thought of this blog as a way to learn about new plants, and I'd hate to think of losing it.

My son actually turned his blog archive into a book. He formatted it nicely in a word processor and self published it. I have a bound copy of it, myself. But he didn't have pictures in his. That makes it more complicated.

Hope you keep checking back here in this comment thread. I will also add to the chorus of those who attest that one does not need to post consistently. You can add a blog post on whatever irregular schedule you want.
Absolutely next Spring (or summer) for sure! I may even have more of my projects finished by then. ha.

It DOES sound as though you're both enjoying this Summer. :-)
You will be missed! Hopefully you will find the time to return! My schedule is hectic with a law practice and twins, but wordpress allows me to timestamp stuff for the future, so if I can find a few hours one Friday night I can post stuff for a month or so ahead in the future. Saves lots of time and daily posting!
Oh how we'll miss you. But there always comes a time to move on, so if this is it - then do. One plea only - don't delete the blog. leave it on the web so people can find it and enjoy it.
Thank you, and enormous good wishes for the future.
I just finally realized you stopped blogging. Though I am sad to see you go I hope you enjoy your garden more freely now.

A great ending to a great beginning for sure.
Don, I really enjoyed wandering around your blog -- particularly enjoying all that detailed information on all those special plants you grow.
how sad I am to see you're not here. I haven't blogged in over a year, but I frequently thought of you and your beautiful garden. I knew you looked just like that. I just knew it. I cried when you blogged about your cat dying. I laughed at your pics of the bold deer.
I will continue to check back. God Bless you, sir.

You always come across as a real sweetheart; I hope your days are filled with happiness.
Things are humming around here; I'm thankfully almost done for the year grubbing through the nature preserve removing garlic mustard and brush. A few days ago the most beautiful, biggest fox I've ever seen ambled into our backyard, checking things out. The ring billed gulls are passing through on their way south, and fill the evening sky, lighting up in the last rays of the sun, in the purest white against the deep indigo sky. On a sadder note, the tiny fawn that was born right by the garden, and is now a yearling, has shown up with a broken leg; it's still getting around, and is forming a lot of callus around the break, but one doesn't quite know what to do in these cases. I've been feeding it some corn, and it seems to be keeping up its weight, but this evening it and its Mom showed up at the back door; I took out some corn and they ate that, so I took out a bucket of sunflower hearts for real energy, and they ate those, so I took out more corn and the yearling ate that (Mom was full). When I came back through the yard again, they were down by the edge of the woods, but the yearling was still looking back up the hill, so I took out more sunflower hearts, and the yearling came back and ate half of them... that's going to be one full little deer tonight!

I hope you have enjoyed your summer! I miss your blog and knowledge almost as much as I did having you for my doctor for 20 years! I still wish you had not retired, Dr. B!
So good to hear from you again Don. Hopefully the little fawn does ok. Keep us posted.
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How is that yearling doing these days Don?

Merry Christmas!

Terry... Snuggles is doing surprisingly well; when she first broke her leg she was quite emaciated and barely able to get around. I've continued feeding her corn almost twice every day (especially now that we've gotten a foot of snow). The leg has healed after a fashion; she's even able to stamp her leg at P.J. the cat if the cat gets too close. We've also got a couple of HUGE bucks that come and go; one of them is a real beauty with a gigantic rack. They're hiding out here during hunting season.
Thanks for the update. What good news for Snuggles.

You have a big heart to welcome the deer into your garden especially when all those little bulbs and spring treasure are in bloom.

Happy and Healthy New Year Don!
Hello there, Iowa Boy! Are you home or are you somewhere in Warm Weather enjoying a beach?? I just had to write you that I've sowed a few seeds (from one of the Tripartita altopurpura plants you gave me) in a mini greenhouse. Check out my post:

Happy Winter to you both! :-)
Shady; I'm home for now, but will soon be on my never-ending search for the perfect margarita. I see your technique for growing seeds; very clever... unfortunately beer doesn't come in plastic jugs, or I might try it.
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I apologize for my belated viewing, but I want to thank you very much for sharing yourself and your beautiful gardens! Thanks also for leaving the blog up-the images and your writing are worth a re-read to be sure! Best wishes for the future! :)
Lisa at Millertime
good luck to you!
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Guess you meant it, Don! I hope your quest for the perfect margarita goes well - if that quest takes you to Austin there are many garden bloggers ready to party with you.

You're wrong about cluttering up the internet - your words and photos deserve long life.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

(oh lordy, the verification word is "fratbacq" .... leads the mind to odd places)
Hi Don, Are you getting ready for Spring gardening? :-) It's been a long Winter.

I have found a Minnesota garden blog you'd enjoy visiting!
Shady, Just got back from Mexico with the worst cold I've had in my whole life, so I'm just now starting to recover to the point where I think it's worth gardening again, but I've kind of got too many irons in the fire so this is going to be a low key gardening year. I'll get that blog address from you sometime.
Don, I really miss your blog...I wonder what is blooming in your woods right now. How did the snowdrops do? (I bought some because of seeing yours.)
I'm blogging now too and enjoying it...really miss your fabulous blog. Would you reconsider?
Well, I just got a new computer (switched from PC to a new IMAC), and it has taken a while to get everything set up, so it took me a while to even check here for new comments and get them posted; so much comment spam was showing up that I had to go to comment moderation. The vultures seem to know when a blog is inactive, and I was getting an amazing selection of Chinese Viagra ads appearing here.
At any rate, by now the snowdrops have come and gone; I've had great success with many new varieties; now have maybe 8 species and 30 named varieties. I'm quite surprised how well they do here, and they are clumping up and spreading like crazy. Another great success and new interest is corydalis, and have added many interesting new varieties. We've had a VERY hot, dry spring so everything is about two weeks ahead. The cypripediums are just starting to bloom and have maybe a hundred stalks of yellow lady slippers getting ready to open, the lepidote rhodies are about done, the Japanese maples all look great. I'll not be blogging again, I fear; if anything I'm even more busy now than when I quit. So much of my time is now spent in local habitat preservation and restoration, that I hardly have time to garden... what I'm now doing is more important, though. We have a new fox with kits in the back ravine, and Mom makes regular evening rounds in our back yard to nail chipmunks; our cats aren't keen on the fox, but I kind of like her, as she's friendly; I call her Fuzzy, and if I sit down and talk to her, she'll roll over like a dog.
I've vaguely thought about "re-doing" and expanding my blog as an online book with an entry for each day of the year (A Year In An Iowa Garden?), but that would require more time and energy than I have right now... perhaps if advancing age nails me with something that physically slows me down but leaves me mentally intact, I'll get on it.
Hi Don,

Can't say I would not love to see you blog again but do understand why you can't. Your last idea sounds interesting, but don't wish you any bad health to accomplish it. Maybe when the snows of winter slow you down a bit?

Glad to hear about your snowdrops-I received a few from Hitch this year too so I'm really looking forwrd to them all bulking up soon my way.
Hi there Iowa Boy! You are sounding appropriately busy, so I suppose you could be off the hook for no longer blogging. It is, however, nice to see that you're reading your comments!! :-)

Btw, I'm going to be on our local garden tour Sunday June 13. Why don't you and Liz head down here?? I owe you a tour!!
Shady... I've wanted to get down and see your garden this spring. So far, this year has just been daunting; my little rear end is so tired most evenings I fall asleep on the couch. Gardening and the garden has just about been put on hold. Still have hopes of getting down, but I must admit it hasn't happened.
I'm going to ask one of your relatives (or Liz's) to invite you to FF on the 13th! :-) It would be fun to find out what you're doing up there!!
Thanks Don for all of your informative posts. Though I have never posted before, I have been a faithful reader and have enjoyed your blog!!
thank you
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