Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Demanding an audience

As a photographer of limited skill and talent, I know there are scenes in my garden that I'll never be able to fully capture with my camera.  And even the most skilled and talented photographers can't capture all of the elements - the scent, the sound, the feel of the air.  So why is it that when I encounter one of those scenes - one that stops me in my tracks, makes my heart beat fast, causes me to whisper an awe-filled "thank you" - my very next impulse is to go get the camera?  

Surely I want to preserve the moment for myself - the photos, after all, will remind me of the smells and the sounds and the awe.  But it's more than that.  I know it's more because the next thing I want to do is show someone the photos I've taken.  I want to share the experience.

Is this universally true of gardeners - that we all want to share our gardens?
This time of year there is so much I want to share!

This little wren had to wrestle some of those twigs inside the bird house.

The Shasta Daisies must be the cheeriest flowers in the garden.

Red Yarrow, from our local Master Gardeners Plant Sale

I thought the asters bloomed in the fall, but not this variety.

I planted a pair of these daisy gardenias beside our sweet dog Bear's grave.
A sweet flower for a sweet dog.

Coneflower.

I love them when they're opening up.

Snow Fountains Gaura - a favorite of the bees.

Blue Salvia - the bees love this one, too.
Can you see the bee in the photo?
Hosta blooms attract the bees, too.

"Ditch" lilies

August beauty gardenia

My favorite shots of the hydrangeas are the close-ups.


"Gardening, I told myself, is the  most sociable of hobbies.  The very nature of one's field of activities demands an audience.  No one wants flowers to blush unseen or waste their sweetness."
Barbara Cheney - The Atlantic Monthly, June 1936


Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Every end is a beginning"

When you look at the year with a gardener's eye, where do you see the beginning?  
Maybe winter, when you plan and dream for the season ahead?  
Or are you like me, and view the beginning as the time those first green shoots and buds appear?  

The beginning of this gardener's year was late.  A look back at photos has confirmed my 
suspicion that the garden blooms have been appearing a week or more later than they did in 2012.
It's been such a cool Spring that many of the seeds I started didn't germinate.

The Easter lilies were blooming on May 20, 2012.


Today they're just beginning to bud.

The hydrangeas and daylilies that are just now budding were also blooming at this time last year.
Some of last year's blooms haven't returned at all.  
The columbine, gaillardia, and coreopsis are gone, though I'm not sure why.  
The impatiens that normally self-seed were stricken last August by downy mildew.  

But this is the way of the garden, isn't it?  Always changing.  Plants die while seeds sprout.  
The cycle of life continues.  While I mourn the loss of the columbine (that I started from seed), 


I rejoice at the first bloom on the daisies (that I also started from seed).


The garden is full of color despite the missing columbine.
The dianthus has an abundance of blooms and nothing can stop evening primrose.



The bearded irises from my mother-in-law's garden have multiplied many times over 
and put on a great show that has just now faded.


The Virginia spiderwort that I dug from my daughter's backyard continues to spread and 
light up the garden with it's blue blooms.


The pale pink blooms of the old-fashioned climbing rose, grown from a cutting rooted by my daughter-in-law, are as beautiful as ever.  (Read the story behind this rose here.)


These three plants - the irises, spiderwort, and climbing rose - give me special joy, with their faithfulness and connection to family.

Earlier in May, the scent of the Mock Orange greeted me at the steps


and the rhododendron blooms greeted me as I pulled into the driveway.


I look forward to the daylily, hydrangea, and Easter lily blooms,  followed by lantana, zinnia, and marigolds - the bright colors of summer.  I am thankful for the changing of the seasons and the gifts of each. And I am thankful, especially, for the reminder that "every end is a beginning."

"Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Shades of pink and purple


The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"