Tag Archives: gardens

Punctual surprise

“Let a thing be but a sort of punctual surprise…let it be delicate, painted and gratuitous, hinting that the Creator is solely occupied with aesthetic considerations…” ― Hope Mirrlees Mirrlees has captured one of the things I so love about flowers. “Punctual surprise” is the perfect way to describe them. They come back every year …

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Treasures everywhere

“You don’t need to go to exotic places to find meaningful things. With a bit of curiosity, you can unearth treasures everywhere.” — Mark Zeff Zeff heads an architecture and design firm, so he’s referring here to collections that are featured as part of interior decoration. However, the principle applies to all sorts of treasures, …

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Life is there

And still the earth is cold and white, And mead and forest yet are bare; But there’s a something in the light That says the germ of life is there.           — Jane Goodwin Austin, “February,” c.1886 I searched through all my February photos and couldn’t find any that showed pretty flowery …

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Small places in a large world

“A story is a garden you carry in your pocket. The stories we tell ourselves and each other are for pleasure and refuge. Like gardens they are small places in a large world. But…we must never mistake the stories we tell for truth.” – Alexandra  Curry Over 30 years ago in a Bible class, the teacher …

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Flowers, always

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”― Claude Monet I was looking through my archives of January photos, and found this one from the first month of 2016. Jeff had brought me a dozen white roses for no particular reason, except that he knew I loved flowers, and I think he loved them nearly as much …

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Count on flowers

“No matter how uncertain our world sometimes seems, we can count on flowers to appear each spring.” – Barbara Milo Ohrbach Longtime members of the Defeat Despair community will be familiar with Susan, whom I first met here and whose previous visits have inspired earlier posts. She spent some time with Matt and me this …

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Hard to imagine

“Instead of running away from our loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, we have to protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude. To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into …

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Bringing people together

“Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” — Clare Ansberry As a context for visiting with neighbors, I think gardening is second only to walking a dog. Whenever I’m out working in the yard or the flowerbeds, I always end up having friendly chats with neighbors who …

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Always flowers

“There are always flowers for those that want to see them.” — Henri Matisse This quote appeared on the November page of a calendar. When I saw it I knew I wanted to feature it in a post sometime, because it captures the spirit of this blog. In the calendar photo, there was a picture …

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The garden of the spirit

“The ground I tend sustains me in early summer, but the garden of the spirit is the place I go when the wind howls…Raised in the mind’s eye, nurtured by the faithful composting of orange rinds and tea leaves and ideas, it is finally the wintergarden that produces the true flowering, the saving vision.” — Louise …

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The color green

“When I look out the window, I exhale a prayer of thanks for the color green…for the simple acts of faith like planting a garden that helped see us through another spring, another summer.” — Barbara Kingsolver Many times over the years I have felt deep gratitude for the color green, especially as it reappears each …

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Spring always finds a way

“…spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.” — Charlotte Eriksson Probably there are few spots of ground in this hemisphere that have been more neglected in the past three years than our once-lovely azalea garden in the corner of our York …

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To wander

“Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both ‘at one with’ and ‘separate from’ the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as ‘learning to survive’ …

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More important

“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.” — Meryl Streep “Eat your vegetables. They’re good for you.” — almost every mother who ever lived Pediatricians are important in fighting children’s diseases, to be sure, but it might be even more bizarre that we somehow generalize their crucial responsibility …

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Power to gather

…he is happiest who hath power To gather wisdom from a flower…              — Mary Howitt What is your favorite flower?  That’s a tough question to answer; I tend to be fondest of whatever I happen to be seeing at the moment.  But if I had to choose, the delightful …

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Come as children

O men, grown sick with toil and care, Leave for awhile the crowded mart; O women, sinking with despair, Weary of limb and faint of heart, Forget your years to-day and come As children back to childhood’s house.   — Phoebe Cary Today I invite you to set aside a few moments for remembering what it …

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My garden of thoughts and dreams

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” — Abram L. Urban This year, the Yorktown Garden Stroll was scheduled a month early, in April instead of May. …

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Blooming most recklessly

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.” — Rainer Maria Rilke I probably say this every year, but I can’t remember when I was more eager for spring. Because I was expecting visitors in late March and early April, …

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Sweet remembrancers

…Thus in each flower and simple bell, That in our path untrodden lie, Are sweet remembrancers who tell How fast the winged moments fly. Time will steal on with ceaseless pace, Yet lose we not the fleeting hours, Who still their fairy footsteps trace, As light they dance among the flowers. — Charlotte Turner Smith …

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The right way

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett Recently on an early evening walk, I was basking in the new cool of September, and as I approached our Alexandria townhome I looked over the expanse behind it and felt almost as if I …

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Dressing herself

“September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes I agree with Holmes that the beauty of October is usually more extravagant than the showy displays of September. …

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If we only knew

“Good heavens, of what uncostly material is our earthly happiness composed— if we only knew it!  What incomes have we not had from a flower, and how unfailing are the dividends of the seasons!”  —  James Russell Lowell It’s hard to choose a favorite season, but this time of year I’m especially aware of the …

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The symbol of communication

“Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages.” — Hana no Monogatari One year ago today I sent a special birthday wish to one of the most faithful readers of this blog.  You don’t see her name in the comments or …

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Constantly and visibly

“Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil.” — Roman Payne I don’t know whether it’s because I’m less than three years from 60, or because of all the life-and-death issues my family has faced in the past 18 months, but I …

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A kind of artist

“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” — Wendell Berry History tells us much about the wide-ranging though conflicted brilliance of Thomas Jefferson.  Aside from his celebrated love of books, farming may have been his greatest passion. He and his trusted gardener …

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