Refuge and Rest in the Christmas Garden…

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Dear Reader:

It is over. Christmas has come and gone. I removed the dried, brown “greenery” from the magic moon gate…it was time to let it go. Nothing is sadder than watching greenery wither and die.

Late yesterday afternoon I took a few minutes to reflect on all the hustle and bustle of the day and smiled…a rather tired smile. Two days and nights of craziness…food, family, and more food.


I went and plopped on one of my garden benches holding my ‘reading angel.’ The sun…oh the glorious sun…it felt so good beating down on my face. I have missed it so much! The most lovely thing about a garden is the sanctuary it provides a weary body and soul…a sense of renewal.

As I stared down once again at the reading angel….I realized that reading was what I wanted to do for the next few days. Read, watch television, and read some more. Just like Reading Angel Rutledge loves to do.

(Walsh sent us some Christmas morning pictures from Virginia! Rutledge loves his books.)

imagejpeg_1 (2)imagejpeg_0 (1)imagejpeg_210881580_10102346457377491_5672354958332098584_n (Rutledge and his cousin Madeline were looking for Santa…obviously they found him from all the presents under the tree.!)imagejpeg_3 (1) Rutledge at the air museum.

My body has been calling out for me to stop and rest for the past few days and I plan to do just that…reading doesn’t require talking…but, boy, I sure miss talking.

Memories of Christmas Day are already beginning to blur as my eyelids grow heavier in the warm sun on this quiet Christmas Day afternoon.

How did it all begin…oh yes…First…my brother Ben and I loaded up the car with presents around 8:30 and went to Mt. Pleasant to see what Eva Cate and Jake had gotten for Christmas, enjoy a delicious brunch, and exchange more family presents.

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Then we hurried home, I put my broccoli casserole in the oven to cook and hurried over to Doodle’s for the annual Dingle Christmas luncheon…Doodle is the the cook of all cooks…with a little (very little) help from her friends/family and the outcome is more spectacular every year.

By four o’clock I was home….and then the garden called out to me. I wanted to stay in the sun as long as possible. (Plus I had three wonderful reasons to go to the garden.) John and Mandy gave me three stepping stones with the grandchildren’s names on them to place before each Japanese maple tree… planted for them a few weeks ago.

Aren’t they neat?

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There is nothing like a garden sanctuary to clear the cobwebs of too much ….”too much”…in life. The birds, squirrels and pets all seemed to be enjoying the sun again as much as me….with chirping, barking, and scampering….nature just seemed to perk up again.

How peaceful…to listen to God’s World on a quiet Christmas Day. A time to remember to thank God for life, memories, holidays, and family gatherings.

I came across a fun Christmas Garden poem and wanted to share it with you today.

A Gardener’s Version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

 Twas the night before Christmas and all through the yard the branches were bare and the ground frozen hard; The roses were dormant and mulched all around to protect them from damage if frost heaves the ground.

 The perennials were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of 5-10-5 danced in their heads. The new-planted shrubs, had been soaked by the hose to settle their roots for the long winter’s doze.

 And out on the lawn, the new fallen snow protected the roots of the grasses below. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a truck full of gifts of gardening gear.

Saint Nick was the driver – the jolly old elf and he winked as he said, “I’m a gardener myself. I’ve brought wilt-pruf, rootone, and gibberellin, too. Please try them and see what they do.

To start new plants, a propagating kit. Sparkling new shears, for the old apple tree. To seed your new lawn, I’ve a patented sower; in case it should grow, here’s a new power mower.

 For seed-planting days, I’ve a trowel and a dibble, and a roll of wire mesh if the rabbits should nibble. For the feminine gardener, some gadgets she loves; plant stakes, a sprinkler, and waterproof gloves.

 A chemical agent for the compost pit, and for pH detecting, a soil testing kit. With these colorful flagstones, lay a new garden path, for the kids to enjoy, and bird feeder and bath.

And last but not least, some well-rotted manure. A green Christmas year round, these gifts will ensure.” Then jolly Saint Nick, having emptied his load, started his truck and took to the road.

And I heard him exclaim through the motor’s loud hum “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a green thumb!”

( Author/ horticulturist –  Richard Jauron – Iowa State Horticulturist Extension)

So until tomorrow…. Remember to be kind to yourself and make time to play and rest…you deserve it! Find your special place and retreat to it. 

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.” (Gertrude Jekyll)


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to Refuge and Rest in the Christmas Garden…

  1. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Glad you had a good Christmas. All is well…rest and enjoy reading and relaxing. My 95 year old Mother wore me out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky Dingle says:

    How adorable…your mother is the real deal for sure!


  3. Brooke says:

    Whew!! My sentiments exactly, Boo, It’s been a whirlwind but wonderful holiday with many special memories . It’s funny ….after the children and grandchildren left a couple of hours ago, I was lost..walking in circles. The ‘quiet” was deafening.
    Now I am adjusting and plan to spend the day just like you!!
    I miss you and love you!!!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Hi My Ya’s. Boo is alive and well….except for the voice…Doodle and Lassie sat me down Christmas Day and forbid me to try to talk any more for fear of permanent vocal chords damage…so I am carrying a pad around and even wrote out directions to the Terrace Theater on James Island to go to a noon movie today. (Jackson, you and the boys must go see The Imitation Game about the brain wizards who broke the famous WWII Nazi Enigma Code. One of the best movies I have seen in quite awhile. Just a remarkable movie! Y’all will not be disappointed! Ben has stayed on the other side (B&B) this Christmas so I won’t be tempted to talk (and I am sure (also) so he doesn’t have to listen to me cough)…but with the sun out my spirits are soaring again too…I am catching up with some correspondence and reading….so, as Betsy would say, “It’s All Good”. The minute I feel like my voice has returned and I am no longer having any coughing spasms I promise I will call each of you individually and catch up….love and miss you so much. Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! Love you! Boo

      Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2014 14:49:40 +0000 To:


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