What would our gardens be without perennial? For once I am not talking about a perennial in the outdoor garden. I am thinking about the perennials in our day-to-day lives. If we look at the many definitions of perennial, the common theme is the ability to keep occurring. I became familiar with the attributes of this perennial on the way to Niagara Falls Parks.

Niagara Falls in all of its August beauty! View from the Canadian side.

The Association of Garden Writers Annual Conference (more about that later) was held in Buffalo, New York. This was such a great event and the memories linger in my mind. From educational opportunities, garden tours, food, and fun – it is an event that I had been anticipating all year.  I had no idea that the best take away from the event was a new perennial for my life garden.

When I attend this conference, I always look for someone new to spend time with and get to know. As I looked for an empty seat on the bus, I noticed this swath of gray hair barely visible from behind the seat ahead. It was this little guy who just seemed to always show up. Whether it was for the Karaoke or the food – this perennial character continually showed up. My new perennial is not a plant, his name is Eddie Rhoades.

Eddie Rhoades, Songwriter, Performer, Comedian and Plantsman.

Eddie is from Marietta, Georgia and he can crack some memorable jokes. A dutiful husband, a loving grandfather, and lover of trees in the landscape. Eddie has grafted a secret citrus tree that will rock the world one day. Caring for a perennial in any garden means you have to get to know the plant. I had to get to know Eddie as we rode to Canada to enjoy the day viewing the gardens of Niagara Park.

Eddie took his initial pose with such grace. I could sense his excitement of this experience.

I clearly remember Eddie’s eyes – the twinkle and amazement of looking out at the American side.  Noticing the people at different levels across the rushing waters and pointing this out to me. I hope Eddie did not see the gentle tear that slid down my face as I shared this moment with him.  Our earth has me quite emotional at times.

Eddie REALLY got into the moment as he wanted to capture this view from the Canadian side as well.

Eddie was insistent on capturing me as well, so I turned the camera over for my photo session.

Cottage In The Court in Canada at Niagara Falls. Oh, what a beautiful time I had. I made another memory at Niagara Falls Park.

Eddie and I stood in awe of this phenomenal moment in time. I thought about how our perennials are like the Senior citizens in our life gardens. Sometimes we have to feed them differently, most seniors are careful about the amount of food they eat. We often consider what we plant next to our favorite longstanding perennial, so the beauty will not be lost from a new introduction. New neighbors can sometimes be overwhelming to our Seniors. Natural pruning of the circle of life occurs as our seniors lose spouses, family, and friends. I had to seize this opportunity with Eddie Rhoades since seeing Niagara Falls was something he never imagined.

Eddie Rhoades and Cottage In The Court at Niagara Falls, Canada. An unimagined moment in my life garden.

I have much more to share about The Association of Garden Writers and Communicators Conference. There were phenomenal tours, tons of takeaways from awesome vendors, a gracious swag bag and of course plants – even more perennials. THIS kind of gift for my perennial garden of life has just captured my heart. The bus trip to and from Niagara Falls Park was a reminder of the importance of perennials in the garden.

How does your life garden grow? Is it filled with annuals or perennials? Do you carefully tend to your perennials to encourage recurring beauty?

From the Cottage,



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