I can feel it. Can you? That subtle shift away from summer and into fall. Cooler morning and evening temperatures, less daylight, acorns spotted on my walks, birds feasting on the faded sunflower’s seeds, and yes, just a hint of color in some of the leaves. Here’s what’s catching my eye right now in late August:
This maple leaf gave me reason to pause yesterday evening as I was out watering. Just a hint of what’s to come!And this Chinese Pistache caught my eye in a parking lot last week! Won’t be long now until the trees are all aglow with gold, rust and crimson hues.I’ve cut back many of the summer perennials that put on such a gorgeous show for us all summer. Still blooming are the Black Eyed Susans,Bee Balm,
Colorful and carefree Zinnias,and a few Hollyhocks!Last September, I went to the outdoor wedding of a friend and fell in love with Sweet Autumn Clematis which was rambling along a split railed fence. A few days later I ran out and bought one for our yard. Just look at it now, happily climbing up the pergola! It’s a new favorite of mine.My brother brought me this rock all the way from Colorado. I’m loving the way it nestles in the roots of this oak tree near our porch. It’s bigger than my hand!A double heart within an olive tree’s bark. Such a delightful find recently!
Tell me, what’s catching your eyes during these glorious last days of summer?
“In summer the song sings itself.” ~ William Carlos Williams
Lately I find myself having to walk away from the news, turning off the TV. Newspapers pile up on the counter for a few days until I’m brave enough to sort through them. I have all but checked out of some social media sites because of the mean spirited political climate. Don’t get me wrong. I am interested in and want to be informed of what’s going on in the world, and I want to do my part to make the world a better place. But for the time being, in light of the violence, chaos, the constant turmoil and heartache in our world, I now need to take it all in small doses.
I firmly believe that despite the evil we know that exists, it is still an incredibly beautiful world filled with good hearted, thoughtful, kind souls everywhere. There is beauty beyond measure to behold. We don’t need to judge; we don’t need to agree on anything at all to be kind to one another. Let’s extend more compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Let’s work on finding the best in everyone.
As for me, I’m taking care of myself: I plan to keep going on early morning walks with this sweet girl,I’ll keep hiking and seeking solace in nature,I’ll spend all the time I can with these grand loves, I’ll keep writing, reading, listening to music, baking and trying new recipes, looking for good news, visiting with the wonderful friends and family members I’ve been blessed with, I’ll have morning coffee under the pergola. I’ll keep my eyes open for hearts,and I’ll be in the garden.I’ll be counting my blessings and praying for our world.
Peace to all.
“When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” ~Minnie Almoner
Happy first day of spring!
I’ve spent a good portion of yesterday and today working in the yard. Nothing glamorous, just putting down a new layer of top soil, feeding plants, taking inventory of what I need to replace, and cleaning up garden beds. This time of year it’s easy to lose myself out there. Hours pass quickly, and before I know it it’s late afternoon. There’s so much to do, but somehow it doesn’t feel like work (until the soreness kicks in the next day!) amidst the glory of nature’s reawakening. Isn’t it remarkable to watch what’s blooming from day to day? Here are a few scenes that caught my eye.I must be in a purple-y mood!
If you haven’t noticed already, I have an appreciation for quotes. I keep journals of passages from books that speak to me, along with favorite quotes. Through the years, I’ve added some inspiration in the garden by writing some quotes I love on rocks. I simply write with a sharpie and then spray them with a clear protective spray. They need to be re-done each year, and that was another bit of work (play!) I was doing this weekend.Suddenly our surroundings are bursting into bloom. Each time I’m out driving I’m noticing the emerald green of the hills swathed with poppies, singing loudly. Miracles are happening everywhere we look! What’s catching your eye right now?
“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
Winter is dead.”
~A.A. Milne, When We Were Very YoungTrips to four different nurseries within a week. Vases filled with Daffodils and Daphne throughout the house. Checking on each and every plant and tree to see how it fared during the winter. Soil under my nails. Yep, I’ve definitely got it. Spring Fever!
It’s only late February but the high temperatures have been hovering in the high 60s and even 70s for a couple weeks now. I’m really hoping March brings much more rain, but right now, well, right now I’m loving all these bursts of color. Right now, it feels like spring is bustin’ out all over!
Here, the Weigelias are just beginning to leaf out. I’m filling pots with colorful Primroses, Pansies and Violas.The air is scented with the heavenly fragrance of winter Daphne. Is there a sweeter smell in February? Not in my book!A row of blooming flowering plum trees heralds our arrival along our driveway.And a hedge of tall Photonia brightens up the yard with shiny new red leaves.Flowering Quince and Forsythia are putting on their shows,while graceful Hellebores nod hello.
Oh, I know it’s still early, but I can’t get enough of these happy harbingers of spring. What’s blooming in your gardens right now in late February?
“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” ~Gustav Mahler
Bird watching in my yard brings me great enjoyment. I try to make sure my bird feeders are clean and full of a variety of seed and suet cakes for them, at all times. Actually, it’s the least I can do for all of the concerts and amusement they provide to us!
The children and I made special treats for the birds recently and hung them in trees. We threaded cheerios onto pipe cleaners (even the littlest hands were able to push the cheerios down once I had placed it on the tip of the pipe cleaner), we hung sliced oranges with twine, and then we smeared bird booster onto pinecones and hung those as well. The recipe for bird booster came from Sharon Lovejoy’s Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars book, which is jam packed with fun activities to do with children.
Bird Booster Recipe:
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup canola oil
4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup white flour
A few spoons of sunflower seeds or raisins (I used our no waste birdseed that we always have on hand)
Pinecones tied with twine for hanging
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and then slather the mixture onto and into the scales of the pinecone.
Now it’s time to hang the treats.The wonderful books, Winter Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow, and Night Tree by Eve Bunting provided the perfect follow up activity.
It’s true, I have always had a love affair with autumn, but have you ever seen one as beautiful as this year’s? Who can resist the brilliant shades of red, gold, and orange that the trees and gardens are wearing this time of year?
Come with me, won’t you, on a tour of some of my favorite areas on our property.
Here we are at the pergola sitting area.And this is across the lawn looking toward that area with the pergola.The Eastern Redbud’s heart leaves are a favorite of mine.Ornamental grass, Miscanthus is in the foreground near the seasonal creek bed with birch leaves just starting to change to yellow, and maples putting on a fiery show.This old wheel barrow is planted with Coral Bell’s, Violas, Euonymus Sunny Delight, and Evergold Carex.I love the lawn covered in these beauties.I had been on the hunt for two child sized adirondack chairs and found them last weekend in Sutter Creek at a favorite shop called Antique Gardener. I had envisioned them in white, but I love how these look right now with the terra cotta pots in the background and the reds of the maples in that area.
And now let’s head over to the front porch. This sweet old yellow chair greets us with some of autumn’s vibrant bounty as we walk up the sidewalk. Purple Love Grass is in the pot behind the two pumpkins to the left of the chair.Sweet November, indeed.
Once in awhile while working in the yard I come across something that floods my heart. My breath catches, and life pauses while memories take me back to a time when my sons were children. Recently, two little figures from yesteryear have presented themselves as I’ve been digging in the soil. I found an armless Playmobil knight character and then a few months later, a little matchbox car.
Each, covered in dirt. Each, a treasure from so long ago. I now keep them in their current state, in a dish in our home office to remember that special time.
Those boys are grown men now, but this is the property where they spent countless hours building, creating, exploring, and discovering. We moved into our home when our children were 5 and 8 years old. For many years forts were built in the trees. Rope swings hung from each. Hideouts were formed inside blackberry brambles. An area of our property was made into a baseball diamond for awhile, and then later it evolved into a paint ball war zone. Obstacle courses were created for bikes and then for 4 wheeling. My oldest built a large half pipe for skate boarding, and a red go cart was driven all around the property and neighborhood by two boys with wide eyed grins.
The places where they played have now been turned into gardens, wide paths and lawn areas.Five years ago my son and daughter in law were married under this pergola. How quickly time has passed. How precious were the days. The past may be gone, but it has been replaced by a wonderful future with new adventures, and best of all, once again, little ones play here.
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
The leaves on our trees and shrubs have not yet begun to change, but take a look at the Virginia Creeper rambling over our fence. There’s so much beauty to look forward to!