A Lovely Little Late Season Bouquet

I didn’t grow many flowers this year, but here’s a cute though mismatched little bouqet I selected from my meager offerings. A few geraniums and lobelia are blooming in addition to this verbena, zinnia, and nasturtium arrangement.

Its not quantity, but quality that counts in many aspects of life. We just need eyes to appreciate beauty in whatever size or form it takes.

Parsley and Memories

My first experience with herbs was in the backyard of the farmhouse where I lived as as a young child. Parsley was the only herb my foster grandmother grew, but it made a great impression upon me.

I remember picking the pungent stems, just the way she showed me, chewing a few of the curly little leaves while I worked. The taste was pungent, savory, peppery, the flavor of spring, of tradition. My grandmother told me stories as we harvested, of life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when she was young.

She was nearly ninety, when I was born so the tales she told of tradition, of gardening, and just plain living, were nearly forgotten by most, even then.

Some years I’ve cultivated nearly a dozen varieties of herbal plants. This spring, I lacked time and energy for so many, but I couldn’t resist starting a couple pots of parsley, in memory of Grandma Lee.

Parsley loves cool weather. It’s sometimes healthy and full at Thanksgiving, ready for use in holiday turkey dressing. I’ve never planted it in late summer, but perhaps that’s a possibility.

Smoke Bushes – Reflect the Softness of a Summer Afternoon

My mom spoke of a smoke bush she knew of as a child. I never saw one till I was well into adulthood. Now there are a few I look for every summer, on lawns of my home town.

I discovered a collection of them this year at a horticultural research facility. It was a lovely day and I was in need of a walk to stretch my muscles and de-stress my mind.

I was grateful for the refreshing summer breezes on the moderately hot day and the billowy blooms of these unique shrubs. The rounded pink, puffy clumps seemed appropriate to the spirit of the weather and of my mood as I strolled the paths of the well planned, nature focused gardens.

My brief scan of information about them tells me they are related to the sumacs. Now that I know, I can recognize the relationship, but I likely wouldn’t have guessed.

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Another shade of whimsical, wispy smoke bush blooms delights those who stroll the paths of a lovely, naturalized garden.

Petite Petals of Lovely Lobelia

Lobelia always reminds me of calico printed, 100% cotton dresses; summer afternoons spent watching my grandmother can tomatoes. There’s no cooler, more comfortable fabric on a hot summer day than pure, soft cotton. Yet, today, lightweight cotton blouses and dresses aren’t always easy to find.

Lobelia is a plant I discovered through a friend. Now I can’t live without at least one every summer; for the memories it triggers of fabrics and friends, and its own special beauty.

Alliums Dazzled My Neglected Flowerbeds this Spring

I’m a bit behind in loading photos sometimes. And I must admit I’m trying to put less pressure on myself. We all need to disconnect, immerse ourselves in nature, think about nothing . . . after following the news so closely this tragic spring.

Allium(s)? are one of my favorite spring flowers, but like iris, they just don’t last long enough.

They look so lovely and star-like in a mechanical sort of manner. Word to describe them accurately, obviously fail me today.

My brain needs a bit more rest.

Our most creative brainstorms come when we’ve cleared our minds.

Perennial Summer Flowers Bring Hope for the Future

The bee balm, pictured above, and daylilies,

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Daylilies brighten the site of  a building that’s seen better days.

(some call them ditch lilies, this variety that takes over wherever planted, provided there is sufficient moisture), are blooming. The scent of honeysuckle

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Honeysuckle vines, gone wild, will cover nearly everything in a woodland.

sweetens the air. All’s right with the world, it seems; if one avoids crowds and doesn’t read the news, that is.

More and more individuals are becoming affected by COVID-19, now that we’re able to travel more freely. I don’t claim to have the solution to problems caused by this disease, but I know it’s not further division between U.S. citizens. I stay up to date and offer what little I can to improve the situation, but we all need moments of escape to replenish our spirits.

This morning I’ve put aside the news to focus on the beauty in my backyard. Maybe I’ll see some hummingbirds, since their favorite flowers are blooming.

Honeysuckle vines have gone wild in the woods, fields, untended corners of our lawn. Orange daylilies, hardy, reliable, simple, beautiful, open melon and butternut striped blooms in response to the morning sunshine.

My bee balm patch, which I thought I’d lost when we redesigned the backyard for drainage, blazes from the site where its discarded roots took hold. It brightens the landscape and beckons hummers once more to its attention grabbing, nectar filled flower heads. A reminder that this disruption in our society, tragic as it is for those directly affected by the virus, is only temporary.

Queen Anne’s Lace Triggers Memories

O’Brignal banks are wild and fair,

And Greta woods are green,

And you may gather garlands there

Would grace a summer queen.

-Rokeby, Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1822

Ah, for the days when poets composed sonnets to weeds.

I’ve always loved Queen Anne’s Lace, though in America farmers and gardeners seem to discount its beauty and consider it a pest.

But it’s much less invasive and dangerous than some later arrivals, like knotweed, poison hemlock (and garlic mustard, though I must profess my love for it too, in spite of the fact that it may be taking over forest borders from more demure wildflowers like trillium, spring beauty, bloodroot).

My mother told me the name of Queen Anne’s Lace way back when I was a child. She said it was a weed, but I sensed a part of her appreciated it like I did. I still imagine bridal bouquets whenever I see fields sprinkled or frosted with clusters of the frilly blossoms.

The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles tells us that the name references Queen Anne’s love of lacy head-dresses. The tiny purple floret at the center of each bloom is said to represent blood from Queen Anne’s finger when she pricked it while making lace.

Geraniums – The Flower that Makes Us Think of Home

A clay pot filled with pretty, cheerful geraniums symbolizes home to many of us.

Geraniums seem American to me, but The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles says they are found all over the world.

I always think of them as the most domestic of plants, their bright blooms that last all year cheering family and visitors from their spots on indoor tables and windowsills, in pots on doorsteps, or nestled in flowerbeds.

Sheila Pickles associates them with the Mediterranean “where they tumble out of terracotta pots and down painted stone walls, the very color of them creating a festive mood.”

Most people purchase fresh geranium plants each spring, but I have saved the roots over winter, hung them upside down in a cool place, and replanted them the following spring. I’ve also over-wintered them as houseplants, back when I had the space.

New plants can be started from cuttings too, if one has time to do so.

They’re generally carefree and easy to grow, and reward us well with their mood lifting color, whether we select traditional scarlet red, or the myriad pinks and whites available in today’s garden centers.

Side Door into a Lovely Country Church

Here’s another picture from my spring morning churchyard stroll,which I posted about earlier. There’s something simply charming about the plain white door, neat sidewalk, plush bed of vinca minor,otherwise known as “periwinkle” or “myrtle” ground cover.

It was a perfect morning, very calming. I sat beside the vinca Bed for some time, contemplating these crazy times. The solitude, except for the melodic songs of birds, gave me hope and inspiration.