Winter days where grey and brown. Spring has been filled with fog and a bit of rain.
It is time for white. Clean and bright, white!
Do you ever push the doctor’s advice? “Do what’s comfortable.” he said. How do you know unless you do something? So I took my healing foot and drove to the lake to see my tree friends. (After breakfast at Panera.) It was a beautiful day and I was so grateful to be able to go out on my own. Of course, when I got home, foot suggested I give it a rest! Driving a standard transmission for so long now, I don’t think about how the left foot flexes to do it’s job. I was reminded!
In my indoor garden, I have a very aged African Violet which I love. Watching the buds open each day is soothing to my soul. I will try again to propagate a new plant. I’ve not been successful in the past. I rooted cuttings from the aged Christmas cactus and was delighted with a first bloom.
My indoor gardening efforts require patience. For the first time, I succeeded in killing the bud on an amaryllis. That made me very sad. My old bulbs seemed to want to sleep in till spring! Then all of a sudden, they grew! The pot on the left is my failure to bloom. Maybe next year! Soon, I will be showing off fabulous flowers!
The winds have been fierce this winter and the lawn and field are littered with downed wood. Ignoring it all is also a lesson in patience. On the one glorious hint-of-spring day, I ventured out into the backyard for the first time since mid December — because there were snowdrops! And those funny little rosettes of Autumn Sedum. It was so lovely to be outside, I had to go look for Lenten Roses.
Someone else’s fun. On a nearby street, many trees have been cut down. This property owner re-stacked quite a few pieces of the trunk of his tree and uses it to show his address, and his creativity. Last fall, the figure of a Black Headed Vulture was perched on top. The bird celebrates all the holidays. Here we have Cupid.
On a sweeter note, not only on Valentine’s Day, but everyday, my prayer for you —
May your cup be filled with JOY!
Those words were spoken quite a few years ago by my young niece at a tea party as she checked herself on her manners. Many days they seem appropriate for me to speak about my life and intentions.
The beginning of October, Pastor Di wrote her blogging plan for the month would be “31 days of Paying Attention.” While I cannot hope to imitate her writing in even a small way, I did think it would be an easy focus to get me back on track writing. After all, I notice, I pay attention, I think about things. YOU notice that I have no posts for October. Somehow my paying attention became a serious introspection that required processing, sifting and interpreting.
Even simple things like the early mornings and dark evenings that I love, became thought provoking. So, I’m finishing out the month with a few observations, a few attempts to notice, to pay attention.
2. One morning I stepped outside to cut a last bloom for the table, I glanced at the Elephant Ears with all the veins and shading of green glowing. Then I noticed the mist had settled like a dusting of silver. So beautiful and different from the large beads that usually form. I began to look through the garden and noticed other changes. Like the “skin” of the aged leaves no longer supported the droplets has they had.
3. I confess: I much, much, prefer coffee to tea. But tea does have a small place in my life and cupboard. I like the thought of taking tea, but I don’t actually like tea. And I have tried many. Loose teas, tea bags. Fancy tea rooms, kitchen tables. Green, white, red, black, fermented…
I have lovely tea friends who gift me with tea cups and accessories, all of which makes tea time charming. And Dear Aunt Dolly, urged me to take the family spooner, so many years ago. It holds a small assortment of silvery spoons from family kitchens, long closed. All at the ready for tea time.
I grew up in a tea drinking family. Teabags were common and easily discarded in trash or compost. And a great annoyance if by chance one burst open or one slipped from a dish and left a stain. Recently, I became aware that people were paying attention to those insignificant tea bags! They were looking closely at the construction and the dyed fiber of them. They were noticing even how the drying stains could be art! Hmm, I had to see for myself, so I began drinking tea, or at least boiling water and soaking tea bags. Different teas, herbs, spices – it was intriguing. While they dried, I watched tea bag artists on YouTube! Then, I hunted up my stamping supplies and tried my hand at a simple project.
4. A pathetic photograph of the charming Woolly Bear – Those fuzzy, wuzzy fall caterpillars, thought to predict winter weather. A friend mentioned that he had seen one. It made me realize that I had not seen one in a while. Pyrrharctia Isabella (Isabella Tiger Moth). A little research and I am amazed! These woolly creatures emerge in the fall and look for a dark and sheltered place to hang out over winter — FROZEN! True! They freeze solid and survive because they are designed with cryoprotectant in the tissues! I love knowing this! And yes, this deserves lots of !!!!! I’m on the look-out for Woolly Bears now.
5. A post on Instagram asked for our earliest memories of Trick or Treat. The flashback was immediate. I was perhaps 6, maybe 7. Dad had walked my younger sister and I down the street, we visited some neighbors and collected our loot in those scary looking paper mache pumpkins of those days. I loved dressing up in costume and for some reason, I think I was dressed as a gypsy in a fancy skirt and bolero. Even with street lights, it was very dark as there were still some leaves on the trees. We walked as far as the Rosenburger’s home almost at the end of our long block. It was very large and on a very large lot, bigger than any other on the street. The Rosenburger’s were very elderly and I hope they enjoyed our childish visit.
As we turned from the door to walk down the steps, well, that was when it happened.
I became aware, alert, enthralled, if you will, with the darkness, the windy darkness and the swirling, rustling dry leaves. I hear some folk don’t like to hear the wind, do you? On that night, so very long ago, in the mystery of wind, it became my friend.
There was strong wind the other day, so I stepped outside. The dry leaves swirled around my feet, whispering. And the wind wrapped itself around me like a shawl and I was 6 again.
September 20, 2014 I wrote about discovering seed pods in my neglected pot of Calla Lilies.
July, 2015, I wrote of sprouted seeds.
Last fall, we moved the pot of sprouts into the garage where they would not freeze. In the spring, we rolled the pot out and up steps to where the plants would be seen and watered.
And we waited.
Our sprouts popped up and flourished. Sort of. We have a great pot of leaves. But no blooms.
Around July, I did some research. Too late, I found that they don’t like to be all cozy but needed to be given some space when you plant them. I would need to use more pots or space in the gardens.
Soon, we’ll move the pot back down the steps and into the garage. I hope the tubers have strengthened and will overwinter again. If they do, then next year, I will follow instructions and give them all room to grow and hope for bloom.
Another note: Last fall, I dug up the Elephant Ear bulb and found 3 offsets, which I saved. They managed to survive the winter cast onto the pot where the Calla Lilies slept. Potted up, they sprouted and have grown well. Previous years, I was not successful in keeping the bulb over winter, so this was great fun. The “ears” wiggle in the slightest breeze.
Rain and dew collect on the fleshy leaves and I’ve seen butterflies stop for a drink but they are much to quick for me to capture to share here.
Note #3: An odd sighting on the grounds. We have a bird bottle from Williamsburg, VA nailed up by the wood shed near our driveway. I’m used to wrens nesting in it twice each summer. However, the other week as we were driving out, I looked up and saw something quite startling — and certainly not a bird! You can click on the picture for a better look.
So many things happen from day to day, it’s good to take note. One never knows just what might happen next in a wild, living community!
Like a bee let loose from hibernation — zigzagging from bloom to bloom — me.
And April seemed to go by in a blink!
We began the month in North Texas although we spent some of our hours deep in the German countryside — my brother is the engineer behind the multiple trains and detailed scenery.
On our way to the airport and home, we spent some lovely, quiet hours in the Israel Prayer Garden in Corinth, TX. I hope to post more about that stop.
Spring is a time to keep an eye on the weather. Frost. Storms. We knew that had been some storm violence but we didn’t see much evidence on the drive from the airport. It was a shock to round the bend on the driveway and come to a stop. A tree had fallen and the crown covered the driveway.
The next day, I realized that much of my outdoor spring cleaning would have to be done, again. Our county has a brush recycling contractor — a blessing at the end of each truck load of pick-up and pruning. We were also blessed that your new lawn keeper came with a chain saw, took away firewood and left the driveway clean. I’m grateful for the stamina to do the work, however, it has has been tiring leaving no energy for digging and refreshing the garden beds – my winter dreaming. And, if only I could record or keep my thoughts together, there would have been blog posts along the way, not just wishful thinking and coffee drinking!
Late frost again nipped the new leaves on the hydrangeas and the bloom stalks of the Bleeding Heart. Time will tell if there will be bloom this year.
Indoors, the last stalk of Amaryllis bloom awaited our return from Texas. I had found an interesting article on caring for these amazing plants so I added to my normal regimen the advice to leave the spent stalk till it withered and faded. Another week or two and the plants can go outside for the summer.
I had reserved Annie F. Downs’ new book, Looking for Lovely, at our library. She writes, ” I want us to learn to look for the lovely all around us and collect it, hold it close, and see how God drops beautiful things into our lives at just the right time to help us step forward on our own paths.”
This is such a timely read for me, I bought my own copy. I had more experiences of loveliness in April, so – To be continued!
Both of these are Amaryllis, who knew! It’s all in the family and the reason they thrive here is that the Amaryllis family contains a lovely poison that deer and squirrels and rabbits can smell so they go off and eat something else!
Of course, I can’t let the season go without sharing my indoor Amaryllis family blooms.
With several warm days, I began the spring cleaning. Not the house, but the “yard”. I’m not sure if there is a standard definition of yard, but my body has always told me that this is something bigger. To keep it from overwhelming, I mentally divide the space into rooms, some large, some small usually depending on just how much there is to be done, picking up, pruning, raking, seeding, hauling in to recycling – four trips, so far.
Many years ago, I read a book which advocated starting at the front door and working clockwise through the house to declutter and clean. I apply that concept to the outdoors. Although I stared with the blueberry “room”, I’m now on track starting at the driveway and working clockwise, grateful to be out doing this work and enjoying the unusual warmth.
Along the way, I take note… Lenten roses are in bloom.
Hope you are enjoying your days and taking note of beauty.
January ended with deep snow and cold blowing in the Snow Queen took up residence and has been reluctant to leave, affecting this whole month. Barely had one storm been cleared when the next blew in. While this week brought heavy rains and flooding, there are still tall mounds of icy snow in some yards and many parking lots a month later.
Usually February is the time to pour over seed and plant catalogs, dreaming of beautiful, lush flower beds, fragrant herbs and bountiful vegetables. No more.
For my indoor gardening efforts – a sunny window, occasional water – and the amaryllis are finally coming along. These bulbs are at least two years with me and get exactly the same care. They seemed quite healthy when I potted them up so I find it very odd that one has no leaves, just the bloom stalk. It was very, very slow to even decide to put forth that effort. A mystery.
I’ll close now with the lovely, lovely snowdrops – pulsing with life, they pushed through frozen ground and soggy leaves this week. Like little bells ringing out good news – Spring is coming! Spring is coming!
I’m almost ready.
The long quiet of Christmas spilled over into the New Year. While I normally find January rather invigorating, this year has been different – a long slow cozy. I had a long slow re-reading of last year’s discovery, The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. One of the features of the country house is the conservatory. I have a small unintended collection of house plants, they could use such luxury! What they get is some light from the dining room windows. Being real here.
The pinky stem violet blooms magenta, the pale one, white. The Christmas cactus dropped all its bloom this year – I was using the dining room at night – too much light for bloom. The aloe was beautiful and now is suffering through winter. The amaryllis — who knows! And then there is the pot in the corner of ‘things’ that are ancient and love me in spite of my neglect.
Yes, I’m a very accidental window gardener. The thing that drives me is Winter. Drab, long, usually cold, winter. So, when I was offered a bulb vase, I said yes. How difficult could it be to buy a bulb and sit it over some water?
At the garden center, I couldn’t decide on color or bulb from the few remaining offerings. Hyacinths are more popular than I knew. I was reluctant to invest in another vase, and surely I could create something useful… so I bought two. I did some research and set my expectations on a shelf in the garage and promptly forgot them. Out of sight… and the fact that in my research I missed some key instructions, something about changing the water…
In spite of my ignorance of their needs, the great desire locked in their heart was to grow ‘at the scent of water’, and so they did. When I saw some foliage, I moved them to my “window garden” which proved a happy place for them to bloom.
Whether bulb or container, I cannot know, but the growth in the bulb vase was much better than my jar creation. The leaves remained short and the blooms rather stem-less but these are minor defects. See for yourself!
How I wish you could inhale the heady fragrance! Lush and full of the promise of spring, it became my favorite place to linger with tea.
Yes, I added water to the top of the neck of the vase just after taking the photo.
Mornings are dark and rainy ones are especially so. It’s time for lighting candles in the early hours. The rains, storm driven, arrive daily. But in the showery time, I stepped outside the door, camera tucked under sweater, to be and to see.
A few years ago, my sister gifted me with a plant. Survival was a challenge as the deer immediately discovered this new delicacy. Somehow, it survived and bloomed and scattered seeds. Last year I moved it farther into the shade and most of the plants survived and thrived in spite of occasional deer visits. I featured the lovely blooms of the Hardy Begonia in the September photo.
But it is those tricorn seed pods which hold my attention now. Will the scattering seeds survive and thrive to continue populating this stretch of wild garden? We will have to wait till next mid-summer.