The unceasing effort

Oleanders accent architectural beauty in Athens, Greece 2008

Oleanders accent architectural beauty in Athens, Greece 2008

“Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers– and never succeeding.”Gian Carlo Menotti

Humans can create stunning works of art, but the best of these only imitate, echo, enhance or complement the beauty found in nature.  Art is usually made, at least in part, from materials found in the natural world, and is most appealingly displayed in combination with nature — paintings hung in elegant wooden frames, sculptures adorning colorful gardens, buildings surrounded by landscaped grounds.  Whenever you find yourself admiring the work of a painter, sculptor or architect, note how the beauty is accentuated by the inclusion of something that cannot be made with human hands.  How blessed we are, to be surrounded by many forms of mastery!


  1. Julia, don’t forget to include the mastery of putting together eloquent words, as you have just demonstrated – you ought to put a flower in your hair.

    • Thank you Eric, that is so sweet. Actually I have been known to put a flower in my hair from time to time, though not anytime lately. Maybe I should try it again 🙂 I appreciate your kind words and thanks for visiting here.

      • Rene

        That’s what I do with the flowers that kids give me at school—put them in my hair.

        • What a lovely way to respond! Each time the kids look at you, they can see your appreciation of their gift.

  2. Thank You, Julia! Living in God’s world of beauty, the enemy can not disCOURAGE God’s children. IJN. amen.

    • Hi Kate, it is nice to hear from you! I agree that appreciation of creation is our best defense against despair. When our son was critically ill for an extended time many years ago, I would sit outside with him in our porch swing and just listen to the wind in the trees and watch the birds and enjoy the beautiful green colors. It felt to me almost as if God was telling us we were loved and not forgotten. I came to really understand the verse about mercies being “new every morning.” I hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks for visiting here.

  3. Sheila

    Julia, your words are truly food for thought. The beauty made by God far surpasses any human work of art. We are fortunate to have Brookgreen Gardens, a 9,100 acre garden museum in our area,south of Myrtle Beach.The natural setting is breathtaking:
    I continue to pray that Jeff is strengthened everyday. Sheila

    • Sheila, thanks so much for that link! As I read this, my nephew who lives in Charleston SC was with me (he is visiting us for a couple of days) and I told him about Brookgreen so he and his family can visit there; he said it would be an easy drive for them. It looks beautiful, I hope Jeff and I can go there sometime. Thanks so much for your prayers. Jeff has had an easier time with chemo this week and I really hope this means he is getting better. We are so grateful for the prayers and support of so many; I am sure this is keeping us afloat right now!

      • Sheila

        Julia, the “Nights of a Thousand Candles” event every December is too spectacular for words! You may be able to view the images on the website. Thousands of hand lit luminaries light the night…. among the beautiful paths,statues,foliage and reflecting pools. I do hope for you and your family to experience it sometime. Sheila

        • Thanks for telling me about this. Jeff and I have talked about wanting to take a trip down the coast; maybe we can plan it for December and arrange a get-together there so I can see the gardens AND my great-niece and great-nephew too! Our Yorktown neighborhood (over 500 homes) does the luminaries every Christmas Eve and they are so beautiful even just on the streets, I can imagine that they’d be gorgeous in a garden alongside reflecting pools.

  4. True that, no ones as masterful as Mother Nature. So that’s Oleander! Very pretty. Hope it’s surviving the floods in Greece this weekend, my gosh they are getting hammered. You may not have seen the coverage since you don’t really watch the tele.

    • No, I had not heard about Greece getting flooded; hope they don’t have too much trouble – they have been having it rough there lately in more ways than one. When you go to CA you are likely to see lots of Oleanders because they are everywhere there, growing almost wild along the highways in some places. Our landlady in CA would not let us plant Oleanders because she was afraid they would take over the yard! CA has lots of bouganvillea too. We have some Oleanders here in Virginia but they turn ugly when it freezes – the leaves get brown and don’t turn green again until the weather gets really warm. The flowers are really pretty though.

  5. Julia, thank you for reminding us that our fantasy worlds would be incomplete did we not include the beauty and wonders of Nature. You always provide food for thought!

    • Thanks Marta! I am so happy you to have you visit us here.


  1. Beauty without color | Defeat Despair
  2. The unceasing effort | Defeat Despair

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