Friday, November 9, 2018

Veterans Day 2018

On Sunday November 11, 2018 Americans will celebrate Veterans Day while England, France, Belgium and Canada celebrate Armistice Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  If you've seen documentaries or movies on WWI, you know it was a terrible conflict.  We visited the famous Flander's Fields in Belgium during a trip to Europe which just happened to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII.  We thoroughly enjoyed touring the nearby WWII site of The Battle of the Bulge with the visiting veterans who fought there.

I have noted BBC presenters are already wearing poppies on air as is their tradition.  Veterans sell poppies here in San Antonio during the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Tomorrow morning the Austin-based PBS program Central Texas Gardener will rebroadcast their tour of the Healing and Therapy Gardens at the Warrior and Family Support Center on Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio where a group of dedicated gardeners volunteer on Tuesdays.  Many of us are family members of veterans and several are themselves veterans.  We're honored that producer and friend Linda Lehmusvirta chose to repeat the show this year for Veterans Day.

Through the magic of YouTube the program is available here.  

I also recommend following Central Texas Gardener on Facebook and subscribing to Linda's wonderful, informative CTG garden blog.

My post on what it's like to have the CTG crew visit is here and posts about my first visit to the gardens in 2013 which inspired me to return as a volunteer start here.

And I'll finish by sharing photos from my five years in the gardens which serve wounded active duty soldiers, veterans and their families.

First, a few of our volunteers at work.  Pat works at local favorite Shades of Green Nursery and generously helps out on her day off.

Cliff Bingham, an Air Force veteran, mows the lawns.

Sandra Woodall, a fixture at gardening events around town, logs a lot of hours in the gardens.

There are so many more of us that I don't have photos of yet so thank you all!  In case you're wondering, I do actually work in between taking photos of the beautiful gardens.

A favorite combination with chartreuse and purple potato vine in raised planters from a few years ago.

Monarchs on the purple coneflowers.

John Fanick Phlox has found a perfect spot in part shade.  I have learned so much about how to plant my own garden from working here.

Everybody's favorite bloomer in the heat of August is Pride of Barbados.

Bright orange Mexican Cosmos adds a cheery touch in late summer too.

Giant Celosia heads are a head turner for our visitors in early fall.  They reseed quite nicely all around the garden.

Hibiscus Mutabilis emerges in cream and brightens to deep pink before fading again.

Like my own garden, Queen Butterflies are there most of the year.

Cheerful Zinnias greeted us all summer this year.

The Helping Hand on the stone is a symbol of volunteers throughout the military community worldwide.

Enjoy your Veterans Day, Armistice Day or Remembrance Day as our freedoms were purchased at great price.


  1. This is wonderful! Thanks for the tour and the introduction to your fellow workers and caretakers. Linda is a dear, isn't she? I'm the daughter of a veteran, too, and I truly appreciate their sacrifices. Blessings.

    1. She is awesome and such an asset to our gardening community.

    2. Thank you, dear Beth and Shirley. There's something in my eye. . . Beth, it was a joy I'll never forget to meet you at last.

  2. Your team of volunteers does a great job for the benefit of an important part of the population, Shirley. Thanks for the CTG link to this episode.

    1. Thank you Kris, we truly enjoy it!

  3. I've had it in my mind to volunteer here since I read your post a few years ago. Thanks for the reminder! I'll reach out with your contact form to get details.

  4. Great news Abbey, your little one must be growing up fast. It's fun to see you with time to get involved with the SA gardening community too.

  5. Just watched the piece on CTG. Great story and mission. Thanks for your volunteer work.

    1. That's nice to hear Michael, we do enjoy getting together each week.


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