Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Gardener's Heart...

Oak Lawn Cheese Factory is feeling especially cozy this year!

By now most of your Christmas presents have been opened and for many, gardening thoughts may be temporarily on the back burner. I  have yet to feel that 'tug', although I was checking out some gardening books that looked like they could be very inspirational and gardening thoughts began to creep ever so subtlety back to the forefront of my mind.... afterall, we had summer like temps in late March last year... not so far off when you think about it. That special gardening excitement never flows too deeply below the surface and it can easily kick in without too much persuasion! One book that I am considering is David Culp's "The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage", the description of which would seem to fit in very closely with all the changes I've been making over the past year. This strikes me as being very pertinent for everyone truly dedicated to gardening... after all, having enough acreage may well be a concern for most gardeners so why not allow the land we do have work to its full potential! Maybe I'll go ahead and order that book as soon as I finish this post!

I titled this post as I did because I've decided to get a bit personal and share what I consider to be amazing news that I received just before Christmas. I have had an array of heart problems for many years and eight years ago it got to the point where I actually was forced to take early retirement because of my poor health.  Among my concerns are a number of arrhythmias which are now mostly under control thanks to the medicine called Tikosyn which I consider a life changer for me. Any forays into arrhythmia these days seem to be short lived and for that I am thankful. A pacemaker has also been very beneficial since I previously would often have very low pulse and blood pressure, and extreme dizziness. I now consider this aspect of my heart health to be an annoyance but under control.

There has been another aspect to my heart challenges however that has also been a concern for me; that being congestive heart failure. Despite warnings from members of my family, I decided long ago not to let these sorts of things control over my life. I learned to 'read' my body and let it tell me how much I was capable of... this fall as you may know I even ventured into the area of building fieldstone walls which can be heavy work. Just before Christmas I had my annual echocardiogram and to my cardiologist's and my amazement there was significant improvement. Two years ago my heart function was 35% and it has now risen to 55% which is considered in the normal range... I was ecstatic to say the least. I really attribute these changes to three things... 1. many sincere prayers from so many close friends at my church and in my life 2. some good medicines that help strengthen the heart and that I will continue to take, and 3. Gardening in all it's forms, including building stone walls! In fact, I am already planning my next fieldstone wall because it's very good medicine indeed!!

Here are examples of my stone work thus far... expect more in the future!
Take care and keep gardening... it's definitely good for the mind, spirit, and body!


My most recent wall with a bit of frosting on top!
One of the rock gardens

Rockery view #1
Rockery view #2
Rockery view #3

Retaining wall #1
Retaining wall #2
Building side walls

Incidental stone walls

Incidental walls


Gatsbys Gardens said...

So glad you are feeling better Larry. There would be nothing worse than a gardener not being able to garden. As you know, I am a big proponent of layering in the garden, mostly out of necessity. It does create a never ending interest in each area of the garden. I must take a look at this new publication.


Beth said...

Hi Larry, So happy for your great news! I have often wondered how you do it: how you work so very, very hard physically with the medical issues you face. Sounds like the physical work is good medicine for you! And praise God for His healing hand! Your photos are lovely, Larry. I received a gardening book for Christmas: "A Garden Makes a House a Home" by Elvin McDonald. (I'm going to take it to the B.C. and have him autograph it!) This book has lovely photos of gardens in different areas of the country. We are getting our puppy soon and I am so excited!
I hope 2013 is filled with joy, peace, faith, hope, love, and great health for you and your family, Larry.

kate Maryon said...

Hi Larry
Thanks for sharing your lovely rock walls covered in their frosting... This technique didn't require any mortar did it?
There are absolutely beautiful an go so well with your surroundings and rock gardens. They are something I'd love to add to a berm I have here...I am scared to go and find out what the cost per ton of rock is though! and how many tons did you use in this wall?
Im wishing you an abundance of great health, love and laughter for 2013 as well as many years to come!

HELENE said...

Hello Larry, so pleased to hear your health is improving, whatever is working for you, keep doing it! I have always said that gardening is the one thing that keeps me sane, sadly it hasn’t improved my health, but I couldn’t cope with all my medical issues without my daily potter around the garden :-)

I was out in the garden today too, in 13 degrees Celsius and beautiful sunshine. Most of my spring bulbs are on their way up, even the tulips! Happy New Year to you and yours, and let’s make 2013 as healthy as we can!

Larry said...

Thank you all for commenting.

Kate.... I collect all my rocks from farmer's rock piles....actually that is the hardest part of the process... going up and down some pretty huge piles with very little footing! At least the price is right... free!! I probably hit seven or eight different locations for these rocks.... I have no idea how many tons there are but it is many pick-up loads! Larry

Landscape Design By Lee said...

Thank you for sharing your photos of your wonderful rock walls...they add so much dimension to the garden and are a nice touch to the landscape. Glad to hear you are doing better and wish you continued good health in the new year!