Garden Photo of the Day

A Ray of Sunshine in the Garden

By Kim Charles

Cho Cho Bremner of New Zealand shares her bittersweet garden story.

"My garden in Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand.  I used to spend a lot of time gardening with my dog Olivia.  She was a nuisance  as she wanted me to throw a small stone for her to chase.  I had to stop my gardening so often to keep her happy.  But she died three years ago and I hardly spend time in the garden anymore.  Luckily, most of them just survive on their own fighting for sun and water with the weeds.  The last photo is my precious darling dog, Olivia."

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/17/2017

    Dear Cho Cho, your garden is so lovely and I can understand how it is filled with so many memories of your beloved, Olivia. Any of us who have gone through the loss of a much loved pet companion know how fragile our hearts can remain for a long time afterwards. My husband and I can still experience a welling of fond tears as we recollect certain memories of our super special dog, also,coincidently, named Olivia. I hope your journey through grieving finally takes you to a place where you garden outdoors again... even if some of the life giving moisture to your plants happens to be tears. I'm so very sorry for the passing of your dear dog and how it has left such a hole in your heart.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks. My new puppy is Harley. A precious gift from Olivia who gave way for her to join us. In where I live, I am only allow to have two dogs. Already have another old deaf dog, so now Harley comes to fill in her gap. Harley is also a constant reminder of Olivia, a dog which has taken part of my heart.

  2. frankgreenhalgh 04/17/2017

    Hello Cho Cho from 'cross the ditch' (Australasian saying guys) - Sorry about you losing your beloved gardening partner, Olivia. Love the wood sculpture and the very interesting steps. The dense planting must be helping in terms of weed control. Have you given any thought to getting a new puppy to enjoy and help rekindle your love of your garden? Cheers from Victoria, Australia

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks Frank. My new puppy is Harley. She is a gift from Olivia to let her join us.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 04/17/2017

        Great Cho Cho. Look forward to future posts from you concerning your puppy and gardening. Cheers, Frank

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 04/17/2017

    What a marvelous and bright garden, Cho Cho. I hope you can once again find joy and beauty in the marvelous garden you have created with your pal.

  4. annek 04/17/2017

    I'm so sorry about the passing of your pal, Olivia. Our dog friends own a piece of our heart and when they go, that piece hurts terribly. Your gardens are so very lovely, I hope the time comes when you can experience the joy you once found there.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks. My new pal is Harley. She has the same beautiful nature as Olivia. But there is always a bit of sadness which I can't ignore when I am in my garden.

  5. Doxnmomx2 04/17/2017

    You've brought me to tears. I barely looked at the explosion of beautiful flowers to see Olivia. She has such a sad expression on her face. She's over the rainbow bridge wanting to see you with another special pal. Bless you and thank you for sharing. Your garden is just fabulous. I think I see a few stones that need to be thrown... Hugs.

  6. user-7007366 04/17/2017

    What a beautiful garden, you have built a wonderful peaceful place. I love the stairway. I hope that soon the pain of your loss will shift to joy in her memories. I lost a son a few years ago and I know that making new memories are one of the ways I honor him.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks. The concrete steps are my husband's creation. Big hug to you, your son is with you in your heart and mind all the time.

    2. frankgreenhalgh 04/18/2017

      Sorry about your great loss, and thanks for a marvellous sentiment about memories. Cheers from down under.

  7. Vespasian 04/17/2017

    I am so sorry you lost your gardening pal, Olivia. I also lost my gardening pal, Toby a beautiful Maine Coon/tabby cross, who always followed me round the garden to keep me company. However I found the garden to be a healing place for me and I am currently creating a new garden in our new home, helped (or hindered by my two cats, Gideon and Gus) May you find peace in your garden too, it is a truly beautiful place!

  8. Maggieat11 04/17/2017

    Oh, my! Your passion and talents for gardening are overwhelming. I am sorry for the passing of your beloved "Olivia". Perhaps you will be able to garden again and "share" those moments with her in your fond memories. Indeed, your gardens are lovely and I am sure that many others have also enjoyed and been inspired by your lovely gardens. Best Wishes to you.

  9. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 04/17/2017

    Good morning, Cho Cho. You and Olivia certainly made a beautiful garden together. I particularly like those stairs. It's a tribute to your hard work that the garden still looks so good and I sincerely hope that you find yourself another gardening companion.

  10. janiesweelybaker 04/17/2017

    I teared up reading your story and also scrolled quickly down to find your picture of sweet Olivia. What a precious baby! I have two of my own and cannot imagine life without them. Your gardens are absolutely beautiful and I love the driftwood sculpture. I hope at some point you will be able to find that love of gardening again and share it with a new four legged baby! And us!

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks. The new puppy is Harley. We have a lot to thank Olivia for giving way to her.

  11. Sunshine111 04/17/2017

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your dog Olivia. Your gardens are beautiful however, and I love how the bright colors pop against the gray of your house.

  12. Cenepk10 04/17/2017

    Awww. Sweet story. Gorgeous garden. Love the crocosmia ... Get a new dog to drive you crazy. Can I send you my cat ? He drives me crazy.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Cute cat. Almost looks identical to my daughter's cat. Nice to meet your cat, thank you.

  13. user-6841468 04/17/2017

    Your garden is incredibly diverse and beautiful. I wish my garden looked that good with neglect! It sounds like you should get a new dog to share your life, garden, and happiness with.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks, my new pal is Harley. As beautiful nature as Olivia, and I thanks Olivia each time I hug Harley.

  14. marilyngist 04/17/2017

    The story moved me to tears, the photos of the garden and garden art are lovely and represent many hours of fruitful hard work, but what strikes me especially strongly is that in this community of gardeners we have so many eloquent, sympathetic, and supportive members who have responded to your grief.

  15. user-4691082 04/17/2017

    Dear Cho Cho, I am so sad to hear about Olivia. I know every member of our GPOD family is grieving along with you as we view your lovely garden... I am so in love with your driftwood...please let us know when you get another companion. We are all in the same situation at one time or another.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks. My new pal is Harley. Just as beautiful as Olivia. Each time I hug her, I send a silence thank to Olivia to let Harley joins us as a family.

    2. chochobremner 04/18/2017

      Thanks Ronda. I got a wonderful new pup Harley now. I have so much loves, time and being able to provide a good home for another dog that I know Olivia will be happy for me. She took away a chunk of my heart with her the day she passed.

  16. user-7007498 04/17/2017

    Cho Cho, thanks for sharing you story about Olivia and your garden. I hope you will find a way to get back out there, because that's where your special time with Olivia occurred. The garden can heal.

    I lost my dog about 9 years ago. Molly was always with me in the garden. I now feel her presence with me and fondly think about our special time together.

    Best wishes.

    1. chochobremner 04/18/2017

      How I envy you being able to feel Molly's presence. I am still waiting for that moment to come. She still hasn't visit me in my dreams. Have a wonderful new pup Harley now, but she doesn't play like Oliva. I don't garden much but spend a lot of time where we buried her. Planted an olive trees by her.

  17. SJWallace 04/17/2017

    Gardening is great therapy, Im sure your pup would want you to keep his garden going so he can enjoy it in spirit with you while you work. Your heart will go on...don't give up....your garden is a little piece of heaven. Maybe a sculpture in a quiet spot to meditate and feel his presence. Your garden is stunning.

  18. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 04/17/2017

    Thanks for your story. Your garden is colorful and bright. When you're ready, seek a new animal companion who can fill your days & nights with delight and mischief. You'll fall in love with them and maybe your garden again too <3

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks. My new puppy is Harley, great gift from Olivia to make way for her to join us.

  19. schatzi 04/17/2017

    So sorry about your loss of your gardening partner. You have done a great job on your garden. If this is the way it looks with "neglect", you are very lucky! It is gorgeous. When you are ready, another dog will steal your heart. Try to get out in the garden - it's good therapy.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Thanks, my new pal is Harley, a gift from Olivia I like to believe.

  20. DarliBarli 04/17/2017

    Would have loved to read the story, but a Monrovia Hydrangea advertisement covered it up and could not get rid of the ad.

    1. chochobremner 04/17/2017

      Lol! I send the photos and story, but I can't see and read it myself!

      1. DarliBarli 04/17/2017

        I am so sorry. Hydrangeas are among my favorite flowering shrubs - I love them. So let's go sit in the garden and drink wine!

        1. chochobremner 04/17/2017


  21. chochobremner 04/17/2017

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. Strangely I couldn't see the photos on this post myself. The concrete steps was made by my husband and he was thrilled to hear that some of you liked it. I did have another dog named Harley. She has the beautiful nature just like Oliva. Each time I hug Harley, I send a silence love and thank to Olivia. - Cho Cho

    1. grannieannie1 04/18/2017

      I CANNOT SEE YOUR PHOTOS!! A sponsors ad covered them up. Can someone in management of Fine Gardening fix that, please?

      1. florencewendell 04/18/2017

        I agree I frequently have problems with your site. Ads over the content

  22. wittyone 04/17/2017

    Well, I do wish I could have read your story and seen your photos. Sounds like some people managed to get them and some not. The space below the title of your post has "sponsored content on Fine Gardening" and a video about painting your rooms with confidence. Maybe those who didn't get the whole story could get a repost?

  23. tennisluv 04/18/2017

    I also am not able to view the pictures of your garden and your beloved Olivia. So sorry about the loss of your gardening buddy. Hopefully, Kim can re-post your story and the pictures so more of us can see the gardening the two of you did together.

  24. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/18/2017

    I cannot see the garden pics. Have they been removed?

  25. user-7008506 04/27/2017

    Link doesn't work

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