A Late Summer Stroll Amid Open Fields

A starting point for a late summer stroll, this fence is lined with ripened thistle plants. The down lines the homes of American Goldfinches, those bright yellow birds often referred to as “wild canaries”.

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.

August Skies, Lullabies . . . from a John Denver Ballad Remain in My Head

“Cool and Green and Shady“, the song is called. I won’t type the lyrics to avoid the royalty police, but if you haven’t heard the tune, please check it out.

There’s nothing better than relaxing in nature, staring up at blue sky, whether the view is wide and open, or framed by the timbers of a dilapidated building, feathery leaves and spruce branches.

What, more than sky, whether cerulean and smooth, or black and dotted with dainty stars at night, inspires our thought processes, triggers our desire to know more, the realization we will likely never know anything for sure while our feet remain on the ground.

That realization is the beginning of real wisdom.

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.

Eerie Sky After a Strong Thunderstorm With Damaging Winds

The muggy June 10, 2020 day turned into a scary evening for travelers dodging branches and homeowners worried about wind damage to buildings and trees, and power outages.

Seldom seen mammatocumulus clouds followed the thunderstorm, as a strange yellow-green and then pink glow bathed the landscape as if a color filter had crossed the sun’s face.

I haven’t heard of any tornadoes but the gust front held tremendous power. Perhaps it was a downburst?

Following are a couple more of the many photos I couldn’t resist snapping to record the rare skyscapes of the evening.

picture of mammatocumulus clouds
Sky and trees after the storm

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Another unique view of the clouds as they drift apart overhead, framed by tree branches that thankfully survived the wind.

I’m alternately fearful or fascinated by storms. Trees, which I love, suffered significant damage. I had to dodge limbs as I drove home, and many people are still without power 24 hours later.

I was a bit nervous as I took these pictures, as another bank of clouds threatened from the horizon, but I was so in awe of this sight I only see every few years, that I remained outside. Thankfully the cloud bank didn’t turn out to be another set of thunderclouds.

The cooler air the storm left behind made sleeping much more comfortable.

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.

Oaks Against the Canvas of a Spring Sunset

Soon their branches will be filled with leaves, but for now these giants stand silhouetted against a spring sunset. This country road I take fairly often is one of most rustically scenic in the area.

Lilacs – Flowers of Love and Death

Lilacs are said to symbolize first emotions of love. But white lilacs have dual associations of youthful innocence and also death.

Supposedly a white lilac will refuse to bloom if another lilac in the garden is cut down. Some say it’s bad luck to bring a white lilac into the house.

I don’t know about those concepts, but to me lilacs symbolize the fairest time of year – early to mid-May, and Mother’s Day. I recall picking a bouquet many years during young adulthood, as a gift for my mother on that holiday.

Their sweet scent was a welcome perfume in the kitchen where the purple – and yes, we had white ones too— blooms ruled the dining table for days.

The lovely photo is from Sheila Pickles’ The Complete Language of Flowers.