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.

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

A Few of My Favorite Cottage Flowers

Dianthus, euphorbia and verbena make an adorable display in this pot. I try to keep  outdoor flowers watered through September.

Our flowers this year have bloomed better in late summer than in June when they received excessive daily drenchings from Mother Nature.

A Celebration of Summer Foliage

A friend and I have a running joke. She seems amazed by my fascination with leaves. When we worked together on a communal art program, I was determined to choose the project which included real leaves in the design.

I guess I do have a bit of a fetish with them. I love the way they make tree branches sway on hot summer days. Like the tide of the ocean, the swaying reminds us we’re all connected to something bigger than we are.

The above geranium is of a different variety than I’ve grown previously. I’ve never had one with leaves quite like this.

Following is a tiny collection of the myriad of leaf designs featured by mother nature.

I think this plant is called Snow on the Mountain? That’s what my mom said, but there is another plant in the nursery catalogs called by that title. Does anyone have another name for this one?
One of my favorite leaf designs is that of English Ivy. So artistic, and cheerful. I used to collect dishtowels, picture frames, and other home accents featuring an ivy pattern.
Hosta plants offer some of the most dramatic leaf designs and are carefree in nature. This is a Thunderbolt variety. One of my very favorites.
Gardens offer a great collection of foliage varieties to enjoy. Check out all the textures, colors, scents the leaves give off when rubbed – next time you hoe, weed, or otherwise cultivate your home plot, or visit the garden of a friend.


What plants do you think have the prettiest leaves?

Send us your comments.

A Memorial to My Father?

I discovered this brick in a pile of reclaimed building materials, and immediately my father came to mind.

It’s dated the year he passed away. I’m not sure if it was made by Canton Brick, the imprint on many salvaged ones I’ve seen in the area, but it made my day.

If I still had my expansive flowerbeds, I would find a place of honor for it among the blooms.

Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. Hans Christian Andersen
Read more at:

Snow is in the Forecast -But Snowdrops are Up!

I almost forgot to look for them this season. They surprised me when I walked outside this morning. They’re one of my favorite flowers, I suppose because I’m so in need of blossoms after winter’s gray skies and snowstorms.

Wouldn’t earrings made in their image be incredibly cute?!

Roses at the Beach

Didn’t visit the beach roses at my favorite beach in Maine this year, but a great beach recently discovered on the North Coast features a lovely rose garden in the expansive park that surrounds the shore.

It’s one of the most lovely rose gardens I”ve seen, so well laid out, wonderful mix of pink, red, yellow, and variegated varieties.

Everything still blooming two weeks ago when I was there, before our big freeze. Probably have to wait until next year for the color, but hope to return to the lakeside site soon.








One of the Loveliest of Autumn Blooms

I wasn’t introduced to this gorgeous plant until I was in my twenties. It seemed to become very popular in the 1980’s, appearing in gardens all over town, including my own.

I haven’t seen as many new plantations of the lovely “carefree if placed in a proper spot” plant, but these I found in the little garden at our county fairgrounds, as I took a break from strolling through the exhibits, relaxing on a bench amid the blooms.

Dreaming of Dianthus . . .

The lovely flower with the pinked petals – frills formed around the edges. Which came first I wonder? There must be a connection between dianthus, commonly known as “pinks”, and pinking shears used by seamstresses to finish edges without stitching.

This particular plant’s blossoms peep demurely from a pot near my back door. Some years the pinks stop pushing out blooms by this late in summer. This year, they’re still growing strong.

I’ve always wanted a cottage with a picket fence lined with a row of tall hollyhocks, fronted by dianthus. To sit at home all summer in such a site, drinking tea, reading Jane Austen novels and creating my own stories would be a dream come true.


A Favorite Flower of August Makes it’s Reapperance

I never  heard of resurrection lilies until I was almost twenty. A lady I worked with told me about them and gave me a start.

I don’t have them at my present home, but whenever we go for a drive I see them everywhere. Thankfully people planted them in the past, and they are very hardy, as I’ve only seen them at one nursery in recent years.

The little sphere of foliage appears in spring, only to disappear soon after. In August, the blossoms rise like magic on long, slender, graceful stems.

Several summers ago, the flowers became extra special to me, as I saw them everywhere the first time I could go for a long drive after being bedridden for some time.

Nature often gives us just what we need to sustain us.