Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category


Went to a garden party 
to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories 
and play our songs again . . . Ricky Nelson

A morning meeting followed by flowers and food and friends old and new –  it was a perfect panacea for mid-March madness and the anticipation of spring!
Each year, round-about now, the District II area garden clubs, of which my club belongs, has its annual meeting.
It is, as these events tend to be, a bit of work and flurry of preparation for those in charge, a distance to travel for many of the member clubs, and an event that often competes with other events such as St. Patrick’s Day, Lent, the Chicago Flower and Garden show, spring break and more.
Gardeners are sturdy folks, however, and they brave whatever March weather may bring, squeeze in time in their own busy schedules, bring baskets of goods to raffle off, and get all “gussied” up. As the banquet room slowly fills up, it is akin to a glorious garden slowly opening up and then in bloom.
The tables were adorned with vases of tulips. There were bundled in ribbons and attendees were able to take some home.
The food was quite good and I won’t mention the chocolate mousse. I managed to lick the parfait glass clean.
Gaily wrapped and adorned raffle baskets were distributed to winning ticket holders. I love these events which bring out the child is us all – especially when we win!
 The highlight of this meeting is the program. This year we were treated to a floral presentation – Flowers by Christine. I will let Christine’s exquisite arrangements speak for themselves. Lucky were the ladies who were able to take one of them home.
This was a delightful event and a precursor to Spring which, by the way, officially arrives today here in the Northern Hemisphere!



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When kindness has left people, even for a few moments, we become afraid of them as if their reason had left them. When it has left a place where we have always found it, it is like shipwreck; we drop from security into something malevolent and bottomless.  Willa Cather



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“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog – the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see. “

Corrie ten Boom

It was mild for January. Misty.  50 degrees warmer than a week earlier. Fog greeted us in the early morning and enveloped us by mid-afternoon.

Rambling along a backroad, taking it slow, I opted to turn left instead of right. I was so close to the Morton Arboretum that I decided, then and there, to go for a visit. It had been so long since I spent time at my favorite outdoor museum. I cut through the fog and dove into the “soup” for a few laps around the grounds.

I drove the west side first, biding my time, wending around the alternate route past Lake Marmo. There, I spotted a bird of prey surveying the grounds.

I parked the car and wandered over to the Visitor’s Center to check out the gift shop and then, my real reason for the stop, to indulge in a cup of hot white chocolate! White chocolate on a soupy day – what more could one want? Tom was nearby and ended up joining me. On the way to refreshments my eye caught this half eaten tree cookie.

There is usually an engaging, hand-crafted arrangement near the entry of the Visitor Center, assembled with plant material found on the grounds of the Arb. This unique arrangement caught my eye and whet my appetite to fashion an arrangement to soon.

Click onto the photo for a better view.

Refreshed and renewed, my Antler Man homeward-bound, I opted to drive around the east side of the Arboretum, even as the fog thickened from soup to stew and blurred the horizon.

I could still see the shapes of trees, but, they took on a mysterious manner with distorted apparitions – fog spirits – as far as the eye could see in a muffled atmosphere that rejuvenated me as I took the long way home.








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. . .  But while the earth has slumbered, all the air has been alive with feathery flakes descending, as if some northern Ceres reigned, showering her silvery grain over all the fields.We sleep, and at length awake to the still reality of a winter morning. The snow lies warm as cotton or down upon the window-sill; the broadened sash and frosted panes admit a dim and private light, which enhances the snug cheer within.

From A Winter Walk by Henry David Thoreau

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I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion. 

Henry David Thoreau

I am not sure that I would actually sit on a pumpkin, but, Tom and I did recently rest upon a log at the Morton Arboretum’s Glass Pumpkin Patch on a rather blustery autumnal afternoon. The glass pumpkins were quite intricate and lovely and the log was actually comfortable so we did not feel at all like bumps.













Cinderella did hitch a ride in a mouse drawn coach fashioned from a pumpkin and Peter, that infamous pumpkin eater, notoriously put his wife in a pumpkin shell. Despite tales told long ago, I truly doubt that he kept her there very well! Pumpkin pie would have been a much better choice for Peter’s pumpkin and much more pleasant for his ill-kept wife. Such are the ways of nursery rhymes and fairy tales.

Hereabouts, pumpkin patches in produce stands are much diminished as we near the end of October. The days grow shorter and the shadows longer as the nights close in and we edge toward the first true frost of the season.

I find myself leafing through cookbooks and magazines looking for new recipes and reviving tried and true favorites at this time of year. Jack-o-Lantern Tea Loaves (pumpkin bread) and potato soup, hearty stews and warm, crusty bread nourish our bodies in the flickering glow of candlelight. Russet and amber hues replace the sun filled rooms and bright colors of summer as warm jackets appear and socks and sturdier shoes replace summer’s sandals.

Walden Pond

When I happened across Thoreau’s quote it reminded as much of the Glass Pumpkin Patch as it did of a long-ago visit to Walden’s Pond. On a crisp and sunny October day, Tom and I sat on Walden’s shore eating a simple picnic lunch as we watched rowers and swimmers glide across the pond. A scattering of writers and artists and others worked at their crafts as we wandered a well-worn path to the site of Thoreau’s cabin. There, I imagined, as I do now, the short but notable life of a man whose words continue to inspire in this still new and quite troubled century. It is not such a bad thing to be content with the simpler things in life rather than the crowded velvet cushions. I think I’ll pick up my current read, have a cup of tea sweetened with local honey and settle in for the night here along the Cutoff.



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Oh, September grass is the sweetest kind, it goes down easy like apple wine.
Hope you don’t mind if I pour you some, made that much sweeter by the winter to come. – James Taylor


There is an aged apple tree: near death if-truth-be-told. It stands, barely, far back on this equally aged property we call home. The tree has a newly splintered limb as well as a hallowed-hidey-hole demeanor. It is related to an apple tree that straddles the neighbors’ property and ours along a grassy peninsula of ferns and creeping Charlie.

We take turns looking at the drive-by apple tree and contemplate its condition in times of neighborly chats, musing over its gnarly stature, remarking over the observance that we can now see through the trunk and hoping that it doesn’t topple in the next big storm. That the apple tree still bears fruit is remarkable.

The deer wander down our respective driveways, munching on the windfall apples or tugging on the branches, stripping them of fruit. Oddly enough, there are still plenty of apples that one side will bake a pie with, the other applesauce.

The wasps arrive, come September, attracted to the apples’ juices – road cider pressed from the weight of our cars. The scent is noticeable now, not only along the drive, but also in the grassy plot of sunshine and fallen oak leaves further back. What the deer don’t eat the riding mower will devour. We will, however, manage to claim some apples for ourselves. They are easy enough to harvest in the grass and a long pole with a basket grabs the hanging fruit, plucking them from the  tree branches.

As the long slant of the warm September sun casts her golden glow upon the apple trees, I feel gratitude for the earthly stewards who planted them so many years ago, for these apple trees provide shelter to birds, squirrels, butterflies – and they host a vociferous chorus of tree frogs that serenade us well into these soft September nights. The shade us from the sun in summer and they add to the winter landscape when the snowfalls arrive.

Do you have any fruit trees or pick fruit yourself at orchards? Do you cook/bake with apples?









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“I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening, we feel whole as we make our personal work of art upon our land.”
– Julie Moir Messervy, The Inward Garden

I have not read Julie Moire Messervy’s book, but, as soon as her quote appeared to me it brought to mind the gardens on this year’s Elmhurst Garden Walk. I hope to read this book sometime soon.

From the homeowner who reverently said “my garden is my sanctuary” to the garden that was overflowing with plant divisions from family and the garden abundantly planted with garden art, the six private and one public garden weave well into Ms. Messervy’s words.

The day bloomed with all the glory of a made-to-order day. A soft breeze, low humidity, blue skies and sunshine – it could not have been a better day for An Afternoon in the Garden. 

Along with the gardens, the Faire in Wilder Park was bustling with a wonderful mix of vendors and a Monarch Festival.

Would you like to take a walk with me to the Faire, the private gardens, and the public gardens of York Community High School?

The Faire

York High School’s Inner Courtyard Garden

The private gardens.

I wish you could have been with us in the gardens, at the Faire, among the personal work of art that filled the day.

I wish, as well, that you could have met the homeowners, the teachers, the students, and a few of our scholarship recipients that also came to the Elmhurst Garden Walk and Faire. Scholarship and helping local endeavors, which include the activities that involved children and students this year are why the Elmhurst Garden Club holds this event and where funds raised are allocated.

Have you attended a garden walk or public gardens this year? Have you read this book, or another garden related book that moves you to garden, to explore nature?








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