It's that time of year in Greenwich where the air finally starts to get humid, you feel the heat of the sun on your skin and look forward to a nice cool swim.  It is so overdue this year!  After a very long winter dealing with illness and surgery - I am now being treated for Lyme disease.   I am disappointed about the prevalence of this tick-borne disease in my area of Connecticut and the impact it's having on the health of so many of us  (adults and children alike), as well as the confusion over testing and test results, but I'm not surprised that I got it.  I am an avid gardener and try to spend as much time outdoors as I can during the warm months: kayaking, going on nature walks with my husband, children and dogs, gardening and spending time in our yard.  Gardening gives such pleasure and satisfaction - it's such a visual activity, mixing colors and textures and adding depth and dimension with flowers.  Planting gardens, pots and window boxes is great exercise and relaxing -- it's definitely a favorite hobby of mine.  In terms of the Lyme, I am now more aware and trying to be more cautious of the ticks out - we treat our yard, dogs -- and now will dress differently while gardening and be very vigilant with our children when they are playing outside.  I hope you will too - Lyme is devastating and when it goes undiagnosed, is not something you want to have.  It can lead to heart, brain, joint, and major neurological issues.  In children it can cause disruptions to development.  Please spray yourselves and dress appropriately when walking in the woods.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone! I am starting to feel better after starting the antibiotics and have been able to garden over the past two weeks.  I had to throw away many pots that were damaged from the snow and ice that I forgot to bring in for the winter and start afresh (oops).  Our Kousa Dogwoods have been in bloom over the past week - they are so majestic that it takes your breath away to sit outside and take in their beauty.  Our rhododendrons are brimming over all over the yard and our hydrangea are slowly growing back.   We've got Mandevilla tied to our wrought iron fencing that is always a happy sight.   We had two spectacular 100+ year old Japanese Maples and one was horribly damaged in hurricane Sandy - it is slowly coming back to life as well.  Our trees saw a lot of damage from this harsh winter after two years of hurricanes - but overall, the yard is a pleasure to walk through.  The Birch trees lining a drive on the property are full and fluffy - and our Weeping Cherry  and Wisteria trees have had their Spring blooms and returned to their summer slumber.  Here are some iPhone photos I snapped this past weekend at my home in Greenwich while walking with my kids:
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My landscape designer and I designed these wrought iron gates a few years ago.  This was perfect for me since I wear so much quatrefoil and love it as a design element.  My bedroom set was purchased by my grandparents in the 1930's and has a Chippendale pattern with quatrefoil carved into all of the pieces . I have many of the Van Cleef pieces that my husband has given me over the years from the Alhambra collection and it's just a happy symbol that I love.  It's fun to personalize your yard and garden.
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Some of the flowers I purchased to plant this past weekend.  This is a nice spreading Vinca that I bought for some pots and for a garden bed area over by my pool.
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The happy Mandevilla perched over the fence.  Summer is here finally!

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These Kousa Dogwoods really elicit joy.  How can they not?  Just gorgeous!  I'm such a tree hugger!

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These signs I had made in Nantucket a few years ago.  When we purchased our house, it was called "Twin Elms" so I dubbed the guest house "L'il Elm Cottage"

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Pots I planted.  I mix up the colors every year.  This year I did some hot pink to coordinate with the peonies in bloom.

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More hot pink nestled into the peonies! This planter can be purchased at my retail site, The Well Appointed House, in our patio and garden collection.
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One of my dogs, a Cavalier King Charles with her puppy cut for the summer!

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The rose garden

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We've had a little bit of Beatrix Potter drama over the past week, which has surrounded this mother bunny, whose babies are being pillaged by some mean, nasty predator coming in the night.  We have yet to figure out if it is a fox or a Fisher cat (suggested by some wildlife rescue people that I reached out to). We found one of her cute little babies injured and after realizing that she couldn't move it herself off the pavement where it was left by the predator that dropped it there, we tried to save it but it was too late.  A second baby was taken that we found and this mother bunny has been in mourning all week.  She has sat vigil for five days so far in the place her babies were found.  I didn't know rabbits mourned like this, but she has become so friendly that she follows us around the yard.  Unfortunately, she ate my husband's vegetable garden down to the stubs, so we had to enclose it in chicken-wire over the weekend, but we have taken pity on the mother bunny and been giving her  a well-deserved diet of lettuce an carrots when she comes over for a visit.  She is so friendly!  These poor baby bunnies!
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Hunca Munca/Mother Bunny sitting vigil

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The baby was still alive here and we were told it would freeze over night when temps reach down to 60 (too cold for a baby) so we took it to the emergency vet hospital in Norwalk where they tried to save the sweet bunny.  Efforts didn't work unfortunately and baby bunny #2 was found this weekend, so we are trying to determine what is getting into our yard and harming our Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontails!  I hope you enjoyed some of my camera-phone photos of my garden. Stay tuned for more, there are many pots and spots that I haven't included here!  ~Melissa Hawks