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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

DSCN8377Walking around my gardens in the misty morning hours is like a wandering prayer; a Praise the Lord here for the indigo just about to bloom and a Hail Mary there at the graceful grasses bowing in the breeze.

I wonder at the miracle of the growing grandeur and gasp in glee at the flight of a bumblebee, dusted in pollen, hoping that her friends will come and dance inside the wells of nectar upon the garden path.

I love to find the reflective beads of moisture on m’ lady’s mantle, or the august leaves of hostas, and is it not refreshing to find such powdery white snowballs on a warm May morning?

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My morning walks are melodic carols with the joyful noise of cardinals, chanting to the heavens and the call and response of the a pair of orioles high atop the trees, whilst a hop, skip, and jump away one of God’s little creatures heads home to breakfast at Toad Hall.

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So it goes today, here along the Cutoff; a wandering prayer of thanks for the riches on my garden path and for you as well, my friend, for you as well.

Amen

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“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”

Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine. 

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IMG_7491 - Version 2As I do most mornings, I took a walk about the garden, stopping first in Penny’s Arbor House (aka Papa’s Tree House, according to grandson Ezra).  A wren was searching about for her for breakfast, As my eyes took in the lush, green if weedy expanse of lawn, I could see the havoc the resident herd wreaked upon several plants.

I heard an oriole high in the canopy. I saw him yesterday, wearing his bright orange cloak. He was perched, quite regally on a pole just a few feet from the Wildlife Habitat sign – a Kodak moment if ever there was. I no sooner turned on my camera when he flitted away, resuming his melodic sonnet upon a branch on the edges of the canopy. If you look closely, you can see his silhouette.

As I looked down on the arbor plot I saw that, for the first time here, the trillium have bloomed. It was a strategic purchase at a past garden club member’s plant sale two year’s ago.  They are under their own miniature canopy of Mayapples and Ladies Mantle. No “apples”, yet, but a widening spread of green umbrellas just waiting to cover any May blooms that might come.

IMG_7488The first of the tree peonies are in bloom.  The sweetly dressed girls in magenta gowns arrived first to the garden party with the soft pink skirted lasses in the wings, waiting their turn to shine, while Laddie has just about finished his turn on the dance floor. Don’t you just love the excitement of prom season in the garden?

IMG_0409IMG_0474I wandered about, like Wee Willie Winkie, upstairs and downstairs in my nightgown (only I was still in my pajamas with a yellow rain slicker on – a fashion trendsetter if ever there was one).

A gaggle of geese, who take room and board at the neighbor’s stream, flew overhead; morning rush hour traffic on the Cutoff. Either that or they were admiring my yellow rain slicker. I fear a pair of geese have muscled their way into Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s territory. I haven’t seen the ducks in several weeks, but, have seen a pair of geese in among the cattails and murky water. I’ve also seen a muskrat taking a bath and immediately thought of Wind in the Willows.

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The bleeding hearts are beginning to fade. I made a mental note (never a wise idea) that I need to cut the faded stems in hope of another strand or two of hearts for the blossoming girls to wear to the prom. I’ll do that tomorrow, I thought to myself, only my neighbor may have heard me say it out loud, for just then I caught an intoxicating fragrance behind me, in front of me, and to the far side of the house, where the lily of the valley are at long last in bloom.

So, dear friend, you might have guessed that I took out my thumb and fingers and began to snip, snip away, fashioning a most welcome spring bouquet.   This one’s for you, Sallie,

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Each May, I wander the curved flagstone path and watch for the fern-like leaves hidden among the garden litter. First the stems  poke through, then the leaves, dancing like a whisper in the wind. The first bud reaches out like a balled fist against the fickle moods of spring. Then, while I am occupied elsewhere, pulling weeds or under the beguiling fragrance of the  lily of the valley blooms, it happens. The ephemeral peony, Laddie,  ( Paeonia peregrine) is suddenly in bloom, waving at me – or, perhaps at the bleeding hearts hanging out nearby.

Did you ever see a Laddie?

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I find joy in ordinary days; days where the water slowly laps the shore and ancient tree roots step out to welcome it. The ordinary days that remind us to seek the sunshine and to tread softly on our good earth.

Though the air had warmed and the sun was shining, the ground on Saturday was still saturated from the recent rains. With the last of the Autumn leaves still on the flower beds, I need to bide my time before exposing the tender shoots emerging. The heartier plants are poking through, but, under the leafy cover are hostas and poppies, daisies and lilies-of-the-valley. They must be slowly unveiled, for frost can still nip their noses, while the wandering herd of deer consider them appetizers after the long, hard winter.

So, it is. My garden work grows slowly; a plot here, then there, the beds gently uncovered then sprayed to deter the deer.  I have tentatively started to rake winter away, but, on Saturday, it was slow going in the sodden garden. I just needed to be outdoors. My car seemed to know this and steered me toward the Morton Arboretum, which was busy but not overly crowded, especially for a Saturday morning in spring. Like Golidlock’s porridge, it was just right.

It was my lucky, ordinary day.

An ordinary day, for sunning on a log, watching shadows grow.

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and preening on the shore after a dip in the cool lake.

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I saw the first bee looking for sweet nectar

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while a majestic lady, starting her bloom, wore a dress with white blossoms while her slip of Scilla reflected the pristine sky.

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All once upon a time; on an ordinary day, looking for those angel rays of hope on the tips of daffodils.

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Do you have ordinary days?

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Turnings

dscn66135-e1269782576184She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
 A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

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Sheepdogs

DSCN7790Hey, Lady, come back here . . .”

On to my next project/event, I made a trip out to Glen Ellyn to meet my friend Joyce who was generously lending me props for an upcoming garden club event.

Joyce and I made a quick exchange, she headed on to her day’s work, and I toddled along my own route, which led me right past the Morton. Well, what is a gal to do on spring morn? I turned in, the entrance wide open with employees methodically planting rows upon rows of yellow pansies, which elicited a smile as I pulled up to one of the welcoming gatehouses. I whipped out my membership card to be scanned, was encouraged to “have a nice day”, and moved forward. As my window rolled up, a loud command was barked from behind me.

HeyLady, come back here!  Come back!”

Seeing no one behind me, I slowly reversed course and backed up to the window.

You can’t bring a dog . . .”

and then her hand went to her heart as she said

oh, I’m so sorry, I thought I saw a sheepdog in your car. Dogs aren’t allowed on the grounds“.

We had a good laugh, the gatekeeper, the sheepdog, and me, then I motored on down the paths to find the day’s emerging joys; crocus and daffodils and the slow, steady greening of our little corner of the world.

“Arf! “said the boas –

and I’ll just bet you are wondering what they will be used for, aren’t you?

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