Fabulous Friday: ‘Black Magic’

Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’

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It has been a few years since I ordered Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic,’ and so it puzzled me a little when I noticed a few dark purple leaves peeking out among a stand of Colocasia, ‘Pink China’ around our bog garden.  Never one to quibble with gifts of nature, I said a silent ‘thank you!’ to the universe and let it be.

Its leaves were quite small, beneath the towering canopies of C. ‘Pink China,’ and they never particularly took off.  What with my extended absences from the garden in late June and July, and the punishing drought of July and early August, it is a wonder this remnant survived at all.

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Our bog garden in July, with  C. ‘Pink China’  backlit to show its beautiful color.

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But it did.  And it stubbornly kept pushing up leaf after leaf, despite everything.

It was mid-August before I followed through on my determination to rescue this plant from its less than hospitable spot.  It is the least I could do, considering that it has hung on through at least two winters and survived the crowding of our very rambunctious and energetic C. ‘Pink China’ growing all around it.

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After about 10 days in the pot, I was ready to move our little C. ‘Black Magic’ out into the sun of our perennial garden at the end of August.

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See what a little horticultural love can do?  From a single leaf on a bit of rhizome and root, our C. ‘Black Magic’ has not only rapidly grown in its pot, it has already grown an offset!  A second little plant has emerged inches away from the first.

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September 15, 2017,  C. ‘Black Magic has already grown an offset.

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It is a genuinely magical experience to watch this little guy grow!  At first, I set it in a shady spot for about 10 days to establish.  Once I saw evidence of new growth, I knew it wanted sun, and moved it out to this choice spot where I would keep it well-watered.  I expect to leave this Colocasia out in the garden until late October or early November.

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September 20

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Now that I know  it is winter hardy here, we can decide whether to move it to a sheltered spot on our patio, or into the basement when nights grow cold.

I have been watching for new leaves to emerge around the bog garden, too.  Surely, there are still a few of  its roots in that bed.  In fact, I dug two more tiny starts, each less than 3″ tall, earlier this week.  I’ve potted them up and set them in shady, sheltered spots to grow on.

I like this beautiful, dark purple leaf, and C. ‘Black Magic’ is known for growing into a spectacularly large plant.  Plant Delights Nursery, which offers this variety, reports that the plant will grow to 5′-6′ tall and wide when given rich, moist soil and plenty of sun.   They also suggest that it can stand winter temperatures down to 0F when grown in a sunny spot, well-mulched through winter.

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This variety is known to spread quickly, as many Colocasias will, with lateral stems which run just above or just below the soil.  New plants will spring up from the nodes, rooting  into whatever soil is available; eventually forming a thick patch of plants.

I have to say that didn’t happen in the areas where I planted this variety originally.  My guess is that the part of the garden where I first planted it was too dry for it to thrive.  I moved an offset from the original plant down to the bog garden a couple of years ago, where it eventually survived.

C. ‘Black Magic’ may be grown with its pot submerged or in a wet, boggy spot in the garden.  In fact, I’m growing C. ‘Mojito’ and C. ‘Tea Cups’ most successfully with their pots partially submerged.  These are thirsty plants, needing a  lot of water to hydrate their huge leaves on hot summer days.

But I’ve learned my lesson now, and will make sure to offer plenty of water from here on to keep these rescued plants growing strong!

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Colocasias love rich, moist soil. They will grow into a dramatic display when their needs are met.  Allow plenty of space, as most cultivars will grow to 4′- 5′.   From left:  C. ‘Pink China’, C. ‘Tea Cups’, C. ‘Mojito’, C. ‘Pink China’

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C. ‘Black Magic’ was originally spotted growing in the Philippines.  It was collected, grown on, and eventually introduced to the nursery trade.  It is a dramatic plant; a touch of the tropics which will thrive in a more temperate garden if simply given a little consideration and care.

I’m happy to have another chance to get it right with this beautiful plant.  Every season we learn a bit more, don’t we?  That is one of the fabulous gifts gardening gives us, always another chance to grow our gardens well.

Woodland Gnome 2017
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September 22 …  It is Fabulous how much this Colocasia has grown since we moved it to its pot about six weeks ago.  (Why the plastic dish?  The wet sand is there for the butterflies, who frequent this part of our garden.)

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Fabulous Friday: 

Happiness is Contagious!  Let’s infect one another!

 

 

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Wednesday Vignette: Rest

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“You rest now. Rest for longer

than you are used to resting.

Make a stillness around you,

a field of peace.

Your best work, the best time of your life

will grow out of this peace.”

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Peter Heller

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“Your call to power is to slow down and reflect within.

Gather the peace within yourself

before you go out and act among the world….

Establish this peace in your life

and you will experience a whole new reality

of the world that flows with you in every way possible,

rather than against you.”

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Alaric Hutchinson

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

 

Sunday Dinner: Consumption

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 024~

“Mindful consumption is the object of this precept.

We are what we consume.

If we look deeply into the items

that we consume every day,

we will come to know our own nature very well.

We have to eat, drink, consume,

but if we do it unmindfully, we may destroy

our bodies and our consciousness,

showing ingratitude toward our ancestors,

our parents, and future generations.”

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Thich Nhat Hanh

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 019

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“I vow to ingest only items that preserve well-being,

peace, and joy in my body and my consciousness…

Practicing a diet is the essence of this precept.

Wars and bombs are the products of our consciousness

individually and collectively. Our collective consciousness

has so much violence, fear, craving, and hatred in it,

it can manifest in wars and bombs.

The bombs are the product of our fear…

Removing the bombs is not enough.

Even if we could transport all the bombs

to a distant planet, we would still not be safe,

because the roots of the wars and the bombs

are still intact in our collective consciousness.

Transforming the toxins in our collective consciousness

is the true way to uproot war .”

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Thich Nhat Hanh

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 026

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“We convince ourselves that even our shameless waste,

our unchecked consumption and our appalling ignorance

of anyplace in the world except our own little corner

must continue–or they win!

No, when you become smarter and less gluttonous,

you win. We all win!”

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Bill Maher

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 002

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 021

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“Drink your tea slowly and reverently,

as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves –

slowly, evenly,

without rushing toward the future.”

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Thich Nhat Hanh

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 034~

Nature Challenge Day 2: Lilies and Koi at the Heath’s Gloucester Gardens

May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 004

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We returned to Gloucester today, with my gardening sister, to visit Brent and Becky Heath’s gardens and pick up our ‘end of season’ order of plants and tubers.  Brilliant sunshine and warm fragrant breezes off the river made for a perfect day to wander around their acres of display gardens.

Every plant the Heath family offers is showcased somewhere in the gardens, grown against a backdrop of ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials and Virginia natives.  We learn so much by observing these thousands of plants grown in optimal conditions by professionals who truly love the many plants they nurture.  I am continually surprised with an unexpected combination of plants, and by familiar plants grown in unusual and beautiful new ways.

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 005

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The garden was punctuated today with hundreds of Amaryllis bulbs grown out in the beds with other perennials.  You probably know Amaryllis as one of those bulbs sold in the autumn, and grown in a pot during the winter holidays.  Well, come spring, one can plant those bulbs outside in a flower bed.  Many of them are hardy in our coastal Virginia winters and can be left to naturalize, blooming in early summer.

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The Heath's gardens, where Amaryllis grow beside perennials.

The Heath’s gardens, where Amaryllis grow beside other perennials.

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Jay Heath, attacking weeds along the main path, encouraged us by pointing out that our wet spring has brought abundant growth of ‘natives,’ or weeds to some, to everyone’s garden.  Even with a dedicated staff, they are still challenged to stay ahead of this spring’s abundant growth.

Side by side, both the nurtured and the ‘self-sown’ sprawled and bloomed, a banquet for their bees and butterflies.   The ground was wet, saturated by recent storms.  And everywhere were signs of the change of season and evolution of their garden.

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 011

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I was captivated by the first water lily blooms of the season.  The Koi here were nearly hidden by the many water plants.  Imagine having to weed the water garden, too!  But that is just what is planned for later this week, along with a re-do of the planters surrounding the fountain and pool.

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 014

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We were fortunate to find owner Brent Heath consulting on the water garden as we wandered back to the shop.  I am always delighted to find Brent in the garden because he so generously shares his deep knowledge of plants with interested visitors.

My friend and I had questions, and he guided us around some of the beds to demonstrate answers and to give useful advice.  He points out plants like the old friends they are, teaching us all the while.

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This is the meadow garden where Brent showed us Mountain Mint and other native perennials we might grow in our own gardens.

This is the meadow garden where Brent Heath showed us Mountain Mint and other native perennials we might grow in our own gardens.  Some, but not all of these plants are listed in the summer catalog.

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We each accepted a generous clump of Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum, pulled from the meadow, with advice to plant it in a bed with deep borders to keep it in check.  This native medicinal herb can be used in numerous ways, both in herbal medicine and in a perennial border.  But Brent introduced us to its strong delicious fragrance, and advised that rubbing it against one’s skin keeps flying insects like gnats and mosquitoes far away.

Mountain mint is very hard to find for sale.  Brent and Becky Heath don’t sell it at their garden.  But I had been looking for a source ever since reading about its use in perennial plantings in Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury’s new book, Planting:  A New Perspective This is one of their ‘go to’ plants for long-lived perennial plantings which carry through all of the seasons of the year with minimal maintenance.  For Brent to spontaneously offer us each a well rooted clump was a tremendous blessing for us both.

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 026

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If you still have an empty spot in your garden, and would like to fill it with something gorgeous and unusual, please take a look at the Heath’s online summer catalog of plants.  Their end of season, 50% off sale lasts through Saturday, and their offerings can’t be beat for quality and value. We filled the back of our car and look forward to happy planting days ahead!

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May 25, 2016 Brent & Beckys 001~

Blogging friend, Y,  invited me to join the Seven Day Nature Challenge last Saturday.  Thank you for your invitation Y., at In the Zone, and for sharing your fascinating photos taken around our shared state of Virginia.  Y and I know many of the same places and share a love for the quirky and beautiful, the fun and poignant.  I appreciate her invitation and will follow her lead to capture the spirit, if not the exact parameters of the challenge.

Not only is one asked to post a nature photo for seven days running, but to also invite another blogger to join in each day.

For this second day of the challenge, I’ll invite you again to join in.  This challenge has been out there for a while, and many nature photographers have already participated.  If you would like to take up the challenge, please accept in the comments and I’ll link back to you tomorrow.

Although I try to take photos in our garden each day, friends and followers may have noticed that it has been a very long time since I’ve been able to post daily.  Life has gotten quite busy over the past year, and the garden is always calling me out of doors!

But in the spirit of the challenge I’ll set the intention to post a photo or three daily.  If you decide to accept this challenge, too, I’ll look forward to seeing what surprises May has brought to your corner of the world, even as I share the beauty of ours.

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All photos in today's post were taken at the Heath family display gardens in Gloucester, VA, which are open to the public during much of the year.

All photos in today’s post were taken at the Heath family display gardens in Gloucester, VA, which are open to the public during much of the year.  Please check their schedule if you are planning a trip to visit the shop and gardens.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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Achillea

Achillea

Kaleidoscope World

May 21, 2016 garden 023~

We returned to Jones Mill Pond this afternoon.  The swans were nowhere in sight, but the far bank shone with pale pink Mountain Laurel in full bloom.

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May 21, 2016 garden 024~

May has remained cool and wet; those rare days when we see the sun luring us outside to enjoy a few hours in the garden.  Abundant rain feeds abundant growth.  Every tree and shrub has cloaked itself in verdant leaves; fresh, vibrant, and lush.

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May 21, 2016 garden 028~

Wave after wave of spring blossoms linger in these moist and cool days, embellished with raindrops and growing to gigantic proportion.

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May 21, 2016 garden 022~

We feel surrounded by a Kaleidoscopic world of green.  Every stem and blade stretches itself from one hour to the next, as though this May will last forever.

Paths close with encroaching vegetation, all hard edges blurred by expanding green.

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May 21, 2016 garden 026~

The opposite shore glowed even on this dull day between rain showers.  The spongy ground sank beneath my every step as I clambered around the near bank of the pond, taking photos down the coves and hoping to catch a glimpse of the swans at rest.

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May 21, 2016 garden 032

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It was utterly silent; no croaking frogs or calling birds to break the spell.  We’d seen turtles along the way, driven from their usual spots by this morning’s torrential rains.

But none were visible at the pond.

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Found along the way, near Jamestown, this wise old turtle held its ground as I took photos.

Found along the way, near Jamestown, this wise old turtle held its ground as I took photos.

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Asclepias stands ready to feed hungry Monarch larvae.  Hundreds of flowers offer up their nectar filled blossoms.

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May 21, 2016 garden 021

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There is cover for every creeping, slithering, nesting and burrowing creature wanting a home.  But they did not show themselves this afternoon.  Maybe they had found other shelter, still waiting for the next shower they could feel drawing ever closer.

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May 21, 2016 garden 034

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Woodland Gnome 2016

~May 21, 2016 garden 020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Fresh Perspective

April 6, 2016 Parkway 023

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“If you look the right way,

you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

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Frances Hodgson Burnett

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April 6, 2016 Parkway 059

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“No perspective, no perception.
New perspective, new perception.”

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Toba Beta

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April 6, 2016 Parkway 026

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“The struggle of today, is not altogether for today –

it is for a vast future also.”

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Abraham Lincoln

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April 6, 2016 Parkway 054

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“If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe,

then I’d have to say the universe

aimed rather low

and settled for very little.”

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George Carlin

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April 6, 2016 Parkway 063

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016 

Early spring along the James River, and its creeks, near Jamestown Island, Virginia,  brings greening to the marshes and the surrounding forests.  Osprey and Bald Eagles build their nests for the season, along with many pairs of ducks, geese, herons and egrets.  Migrating birds stop to rest and feed.  The landscape awakens for its new season of growth.

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April 6, 2016 Parkway 022

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“The landscape looks different

from every blade of grass.”


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Marty Rubin

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For The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Future

A Frog’s Life

March 29, 2016 garden 008

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“Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,

the lovers, the dreamers and me.”

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Kermit the Frog

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March 29, 2016 garden 006

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“The mind of a child is a beginner’s mind

and, for them, every idea is fresh, stimulating

and leads somewhere surprising.”

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Kermit the Frog

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March 29, 2016 garden 007

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“Life’s like a movie. Write your own ending,

keep believing, keep pretending.”

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Kermit the Frog

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March 29, 2016 garden 003

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“You are all sitting here listening to me – a talking amphibian.

That alone is a radical act of creativity.

It’s what I call a “conspiracy of craziness”.

 

“It’s not easy being green. “

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Kermit the Frog

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March 29, 2016 garden 009

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

Taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens in Gloucester, VA

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Inter-dimensional

February 29, 2016 early flowers 058~

“Fish would probably be the last

of all creatures to discover water.”

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Flavil  Yeakley Jr

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 021

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“Some look at life, for their entire life,

before they actually see.”


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Nikki Rowe

 

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 014

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“Intention and awareness

are the two tools that enable us to create

anything our heart desires

from the universe.”

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Russell Eric Dobda

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Photos taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens in Gloucester, VA

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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February 29, 2016 early flowers 076

 

Sunday Dinner: Meditation

December 4, 2015 Gloucester 062~

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,

for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;

wait without love,

for love would be love of the wrong thing;

there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought,

for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light,

and the stillness the dancing.”

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T.S. Eliot

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 068

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“Looking at beauty in the world

is the first step of purifying the mind.”

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Amit Ray

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 069

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“So many leaves have fallen on my life.

Some settled nicely to rest,

but most fell, withered to bitter cold and drifted on.

But, after all that, I would brave all the coldness of humanity again

for the sight of a few more beautiful yellow leaves

falling on Aspen, and the birds….”

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E.S. Lehman

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 024

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“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth,

how much money you have gathered

or how much attention you have received.

It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters,”

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Amit Ray

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 018

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“Through my love for you,

I want to express my love for the whole cosmos,

the whole of humanity, and all beings.

By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species.

If I succeed in loving you,

I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth…

This is the real message of love.”

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Thích Nhất Hạnh

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 053~

“An awake heart is like a sky that pours light.”

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Hāfez

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 025

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“The mind can go in a thousand directions,

but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.

With each step, the wind blows.

With each step, a flower blooms.”

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Thích Nhất Hạnh

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 014

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

All photos taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens in Gloucester, Virginia December 2015

A Forest Garden 2016 calendar is available now.

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 021

Sunday Dinner: Community

November 6, 2015 Parkway 101

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“Everybody is a story.

When I was a child, people sat around kitchen tables

and told their stories. We don’t do that so much anymore.

Sitting around the table telling stories

is not just a way of passing time.

It is the way the wisdom gets passed along.

The stuff that helps us to live a life worth remembering.”


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Rachel Naomi Remen

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 061

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“I alone cannot change the world,

but I can cast a stone across the waters

to create many ripples.”


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Mother Teresa

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 088

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“One of the marvelous things about community

is that it enables us to welcome and help people

in a way we couldn’t as individuals.

When we pool our strength

and share the work and responsibility,

we can welcome many people,

even those in deep distress,

and perhaps help them find

self-confidence and inner healing.”


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Jean Vanier

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 096

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“The world is so empty if one thinks only

of mountains, rivers & cities;

but to know someone who thinks & feels with us,

and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit,

this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”


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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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November 6, 2015 Parkway 100

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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November 6, 2015 leaves 018

 

 

 

 

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