A Touch of Gold

~

Rudbeckia fills our garden in late August, blooming in a rich tapestry of gold.

~

~

This native Rudbeckia hirta, which first seeded itself here more than five years ago, attracts golden bees, butterflies and goldfinches to its tasty nectar and abundant seeds.

~

~

Rosettes of Rudbeckia leaves emerge in mid-March all across the garden.  They sprout wherever a seed has fallen or an underground root has spread.

There are always plenty to dig and share, especially those that emerge in the pathways.  The plants remain in the background througout spring and early summer, biding their time as they bulk up in the warming sun.

~

~

How much is too much?” I sometimes wonder…

Native plants are enthusiastic growers, determined to survive.  They take every available advantage to thrive.  In full sun and over tree roots, clumps sometimes get wilty when days grow hot and rain is scarce.  I sometimes revive them with a drink from the hose.

But those that are well established, in deep soil and partial shade, care for themselves.  All we do is clear the paths and set the boundaries….

~

~

Their opening comes slowly; not all at once.  Accustomed to sharing their space, they mix well with others.

~

Physostegia virginiana, obedient plant

~

Native obedient plant,Physostegia virginiana, creeps and spreads in the same way.  It has spread even faster and more aggressively than the Rudbeckia. 

This spring, I took the string trimmer to many areas where these two grow among a growing spread of goldenrod, Solidago.  I decided last year that those huge, waving plumes of gold were a bit over the top for our little woodland garden, and I’ve been cutting back the goldenrod to give other perennials a better chance.

The Rudbeckia and Physotegia took that trimming in their stride and came back bushier and stronger than ever.

~

~

Now native mist flower, Conoclinium coelestinum, is also growing in the mix, offering a subtle touch of periwinkle contrast.  I didn’t plan and intentionally plant this mix of native perennials to create a ‘meadow style’ planting.  I only recognize what nature is doing, and guide it a bit.

~

~

And our rich reward is a touch of gold gilding these late summer days, delighting us as we await the rich color and welcome coolness of autumn.

Our garden remains dynamic, changing from year to year.  Some plants persist and expand while others decline.  We plant a few new things each season and other turn up on their own.

Each new year’s unfolding remains a grand surprise, guided by nature and the seasons; a golden opportunity to learn and grow as a gardener.

~

Another native Rudbeckia, cutleaf coneflower, also fills our late summer garden with pure gold.  With a much larger habit and larger flowers, it is equally attractive to many pollinators and birds.

~

Woodland Gnome 2010

~

“I did not know that mankind were suffering for want of gold.

I have seen a little of it.

I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit.

A grain of gold will gild a great surface,

but not so much as a grain of wisdom.”
.

Henry David Thoreau

~

~

“Ô, Sunlight!

The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”
.

Roman Payne

~

Advertisements

Sunday Dinner: In the Shadows

~

“There is strong shadow

where there is much light.”

.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

~

~

“To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow.

For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly

as when one longs to taste it,

and when is the taste refracted

into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth,

and when do our senses know any thing so utterly

as when we lack it?

And here again is a foreshadowing –

– the world will be made whole.

For to wish for a hand on one’s hair

is all but to feel it.

So whatever we may lose,

very craving gives it back to us again.”

.

Marilynne Robinson

~

~

“One realized all sorts of things.

The value of an illusion, for instance,

and that the shadow

can be more important than the substance.

All sorts of things.”

.

Jean Rhys

~

~

“A garden should make you feel

you’ve entered privileged space –

– a place not just set apart but reverberant –

– and it seems to me that, to achieve this,

the gardener must put some kind of twist

on the existing landscape,

turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”

.

Michael Pollan

~

~

“It was such a pleasure

to sink one’s hands into the warm earth,

to feel at one’s fingertips

the possibilities of the new season.”

.

Kate Morton

~

~

“If you wish to make anything grow,

you must understand it,

and understand it in a very real sense.

‘Green fingers’ are a fact,

and a mystery only to the unpracticed.

But green fingers

are the extensions of a verdant heart.”

.

Russell Page

~

~

“The green thumb is equable

in the face of nature’s uncertainties;

he moves among her mysteries

without feeling the need for control

or explanations or once-and-for-all solutions.

To garden well is to be happy

amid the babble of the objective world,

untroubled by its refusal to be reduced

by our ideas of it,

its indomitable rankness.”

.

Michael Pollan

~

~

“To love a swamp, however,

is to love what is muted and marginal,

what exists in the shadows,

what shoulders its way out of mud

and scurries along the damp edges

of what is most commonly praised.

And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing.

Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth,

breeding grounds,

experimental labs where organisms and ideas

have the luxury of being out of the spotlight,

where the imagination can mutate and mate,

send tendrils into and out of the water.”

.

Barbara Hurd

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2019

~

~

“It is not hard to start a small garden,

all you need is a sapling, a planting pot,

a small bag of soil,

and regular watering.

There you go,

you helped cooling the earth down by one plant.”
.

Noora Ahmed Alsuwaidi

~

Sunday Dinner: Small Delights

~
“The great underestimates the small,
the leader underestimates the led,
the beautiful underestimates the ugly,
and you underestimate who?”
.
Alan Maiccon
~
~
“Smallness is subversive,
because smallness can creep into smaller places
and wreak transformation
at the most vulnerable, cellular level.
In a time when largeness is threatening to topple us,
I wish to remember and praise the beauty of smallness,
in order to banish the Goliath of loneliness.”
.
Sarah Ruhl
~
~
“Great man
is the one who is aware
of his smallness in this universe!
Greatness starts first of all
with accepting the reality.”
.
Mehmet Murat ildan
~
~
“All space is relative.
There is no such thing as size.
The telescope and the microscope
have produced a deadly leveling
of great and small, far and near.
The only little thing is sin,
the only great thing is fear!”
.
David H. Keller
~
~
“Express gratitude
for the greatness of small things.”
.
Richie Norton
~
~
“Just because our brains are limited in size,
does not mean our minds need be.”
.
Jeffrey Fry
~
~
“You may think I’m small,
but I have a universe
inside my mind.”
.
Yoko Ono
~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019
~
~
“To see things in the seed,
that is genius.”
.
Lao-Tzu

~

The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is filled at the moment with butterflies!

~

5th Annual Butterfly Festival

Williamsburg Botanical Garden

August 3 & 4  9-4

Admission Free, Donations accepted

Sunday Dinner: Resilience

~

“A good half of the art of living
is resilience.”
.
Alain de Botton
~
~
“No matter how you define success,
you will need to be resilient,
empowered, authentic,
and limber to get there.”
.
Joanie Connell
~
~
“I will not be another flower,
picked for my beauty and left to die.
I will be wild,
difficult to find,
and impossible to forget.”
.
Erin Van Vuren
~
~
“Never say that you can’t do something,
or that something seems impossible,
or that something can’t be done,
no matter how discouraging
or harrowing it may be;
human beings are limited only
by what we allow ourselves to be limited by:
our own minds.
We are each the masters of our own reality;
when we become self-aware to this:
absolutely anything in the world is possible.

Master yourself,

and become king of the world around you.
Let no odds, chastisement, exile,
doubt, fear, or ANY mental virii
prevent you from accomplishing your dreams.
Never be a victim of life;
be it’s conqueror.”
.
Mike Norton
~
~
“to be successful,
you have to be out there,
you have to hit the ground running”
.
Richard Branson
~
~
“One’s doing well
if age improves even slightly
one’s capacity to hold on to that vital truism:
“This too shall pass.”
.
Alain de Botton
~
~
“In the face of adversity,
we have a choice.
We can be bitter, or we can be better.
Those words are my North Star.”
.
Caryn Sullivan
~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019
~
~
“Grief and resilience live together.”
.
Michelle Obama
~
~
“On the other side of a storm
is the strength
that comes from having navigated through it.
Raise your sail and begin.”
.
Gregory S. Williams

~

 

Hibiscus Summer

~

Hibiscus of many sizes, shapes and colors fill our garden this week to the delight of butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.  Actually, to our delight, as well, as we enjoy their bold colors and beautiful forms.

~

~

Hibiscus flowers call across the garden, inviting closer inspection of their sculptural beauty.

~

~

Our herbaceous Hibiscus are natives or native cultivars.  Native Hibiscus delighted us during our first summer in this garden, and they still thrill as they bloom each year.

~

Hibiscus moscheutos

~

As natives, they ask little beyond sunlight, moisture and a place to grow.  Long after their flowers fade, they continue giving sustenance to birds and structure to the garden as their woody stems and seed pods ripen and split.  Cut them in early December, sow the seeds and spray them gold for a bit of glitter in holiday decorations.  Or leave them to catch winter’s ice and snow, feeding those birds who remain in the garden into the new year.

~

Hibiscus coccineus

~

I wrote about our native red Hibiscus coccineus last August, when it normally blooms.  It has already been blooming this year for almost a week; yet another indication of phenological shifts in response to our warming climate.

We love seeing these scarlet flowers nodding above the garden, perched atop their distinctive and beautiful foliage.  I try to collect and spread their seeds as the season wanes, to encourage more plants to emerge each year.

~

~

The tree Hibiscus, Hybiscus syriaca, are widely naturalized, though they originally came from Asia.  Drought and pollution tolerant, they are easy to grow and easily hybridize in an ever expanding selection of cultivars.  Beloved by bees and butterflies, they bloom over many weeks from early summer until autumn.  These fast growing trees reseed themselves in our garden and I often have seedlings to share.

~

Hibsicus syriaca

~

Hibiscus mark the height of summer in our garden.  They bloom over a long period, and we feel a subtle shift into another, late-summer season when they finally begin to fade.

~

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’

~

Woodland Gnome 2019

~

Sunday Dinner: Seeing What There Is to See

~

“Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book
which ever is before our eyes –
– I mean the universe –
– but we cannot understand it
if we do not first learn the language
and grasp the symbols in which it is written.
The book is written in mathematical language,
and the symbols are triangles,
circles and other geometrical figures,
without whose help it is impossible to comprehend
a single word of it;
without which one wanders in vain
through a dark labyrinth.”
.
Galileo Galilei

~

~

“In the various arts,
and above all in that of writing,
the shortest distance between two points,
even if close to each other,
has never been and never will be,
nor is it now, what is known as a straight line,
never, never, to put it strongly
and emphatically in response to any doubts,
to silence them once and for all.”
.
Jose Saramago

~

~

“His way had therefore come full circle,
or rather had taken the form of an ellipse or a spiral,
following as ever no straight unbroken line,
for the rectilinear belongs only to Geometry
and not to Nature and Life.”
.
Hermann Hesse,
~
~
“The brain does not own any direct copies
of stuff in the world.
There is no library of forms and ideas
against which to compare the images of perception.
Information is stored in a plastic way,
allowing fantastic juxtapositions and leaps of imagination.
Some chaos exists out there,
and the brain seems to have more flexibility
than classical physics
in finding the order in it.”
.
James Gleick

~

~

“Give me a place to stand,
a lever long enough and a fulcrum.
and I can move the Earth”
.
Archimedes

~

~

“The pits and tangles are more
than blemishes distorting the classic shapes
of Euclidian geometry.
They are often the keys
to the essence of a thing”
.
James Gleick

~

~

“Maths is at only one remove from magic.”
.
Neel Burton

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019
~
“That’s the thing about magic;
you’ve got to know it’s still here,
all around us,
or it just stays invisible for you.”
.
Charles de Lint

~

 

Six On Saturday: Visitors

~

When we arrived back home this afternoon, our garden guests scattered as I climbed out of the car, laden with bags and parcels.  Two or three scolding goldfinches flew up into the lowest branches of a nearby oak.  They had been perched down among the Verbena and basil, feasting on ripening seeds.

~

~

A pair of cardinals glided across the yard very low, taking cover in thick shrubs.  A hummingbird zoomed higher to a tasty blossom well out of my reach, and then zoomed again out of sight.

~

~

The butterflies seemed least concerned about my sudden and unexpected arrival home.  They are calm and congenial, most of the time.  Still, they took wing and glided away, secure that there would still be nectar waiting for them when they returned.

The bees buzzed on, diligently, flower to flower, knowing they would be left undisturbed.

~

~

Thunder rumbled across the garden, and my camera was tucked away in my bag.  My hands were full, and I was still a bit creaky from the long drive.  I could only hope that our visitors would return by the time I could put everything down inside and get back out to the garden.

But as I headed back out, camera and two new little plants in hand, the skies opened.  I was met at the door with the staccato pounding of a summer rain storm.

~

~

It had been that sort of day; rolling thunder, bright white flashes of lightening, and rain squalls  leaving deep puddles on the roads.  But I’d left all of that 100 miles behind me, and was home now, and was a bit surprised the storms had caught up to me so quickly.

No matter, I went on about my business setting the new plants where they could enjoy the shower, staking a toppled elephant ear, and watering the pots on the patio that were out of the reach of the lovely, sweet smelling rain.   Five minutes and it was mostly passed.

~

~

I headed back up to the upper garden with my camera, and was greeted with the determined hum of worker bees.  I could hear the birds calling to one another from their perches in the trees.  A single Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly floated among the Buddleia and Verbena.  It was enough. 

I was home, and back to the garden once again.

Woodland Gnome 2019
.
“The master of the garden is the one who waters it,
trims the branches, plants the seeds,
and pulls the weeds.
If you merely stroll through the garden,
you are but an acolyte.”
.
Vera Nazarian

Many thanks to the wonderful ‘Six on Saturday’ meme sponsored by The Propagator.

Sunday Dinner: Aspirations

~

“Faith is the bird
that feels the light and sings
when the dawn is still dark.”
.
Rabindranath Tagore

~

~

“Dreams are what guide us,
art is what defines us,
math is what makes it all possible,
and love is what lights our way.”
.
Mike Norton

~

The Williamsburg Botanical Garden bathed in morning light.

~

“Rome was not built in one day;
But one day Rome was built.”
.
Kayambila Mpulamasaka

~

~

“We never know what we can be or do
until the need is there
and we are tested by it.”
.
Terry Brooks

~

~

“If you trust in yourself. . .
and believe in your dreams. . .
and follow your star. . .
you’ll still get beaten
by people who spent their time
working hard and learning things
and weren’t so lazy.”
.
Terry Pratchett

~

Monarch butterfly feeding on Asclepias syriaca at the Stonehouse Elementary native plant garden.

~

“The heights charm us,
but the steps do not;
with the mountain in our view
we love to walk the plains.”
.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

~

~

“Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky.”
.
Rabindranath Tagore

~

A female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly feeds on Martagon lily at the Stonehouse Elementary School garden.

~

Woodland Gnome 2019

~

~

“Our deep aspiration
is an immense source of energy.”
.
Thich Nhat Hanh

~

~

“Imagination grows by exercise
and contrary to common belief
is more powerful in the mature
than in the young.”
.
Ursula K. Le Guin

~

Our Forest Garden as June draws to its close.

Sunday Dinner: Becoming

~

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere

or achieving a certain aim.

I see it instead as forward motion,

a means of evolving,

a way to reach continuously

toward a better self.

The journey doesn’t end.”

.

Michelle Obama

~

~

“She said the music made her wonder,

Does it alter us more to be heard, or to hear?”

.

Madeleine Thien

~

~

“You may live in the world as it is,

but you can still work to create the world

as it should be.”

.

Michelle Obama

~

~

“But in the midst of all that uncertainty

and lack of clarity, there lies a wild beauty.

A hope. Possibility.

The promise of something bigger than us

happening just beneath the surface

that we can’t see.”

.

Mandy Hale

~

~

“Over and over again we
become lost and un-lost
We become and un-become.
This is meant to be.
Without our knowing and
unknowing we would have no
splendid, epic stories to tell.”

.

Susan Bocinec Terry

~

~

“Or maybe they weren’t changing.

Maybe they were just now becoming

what they had always wanted to be.”

.

Eilis O’Neal

~

~

“My fears teach me courage.

My weaknesses coach me to strength.

My scars remind me

not to make the same mistakes.

I can become who I long to be

by loving who I am now.”

.

Toni Sorenson

~

~

“We are all in the process of becoming.”

.

Harmony Dust

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2019

~

~

“Give focus

only to which you want to see expand,

anything else is nonsense.”
.

Nikki Rowe

*

Six on Saturday: Portraits

~

Our garden buzzes and hums with the voices of hundreds of hungry bees and wasps.

~

~

The butterflies silently float by, elusive and aloof.  A dragonfly lights on a petal, watching me, patiently posing while I take his portrait.

Our garden is filled with such beauty this week.  We are enjoying the butterflies and bunnies, expanding perennials, trees clothed in their summer colors, expanding ferns and flowers.  Oh, so many flowers opening each day.

~

~

As we celebrate the summer solstice, our garden is still becoming fuller and fuller with each passing day.  Vines grow so fast we wonder whether they are under some magical, summertime spell.  Clusters of grapes on their wild vines swell, well out of reach, in the tops of some dogwood and rose of Sharon trees.  Our family of cardinals swoops through the garden, clearly playing tag, and watching for the opportune snack.

~

~

I wander about with my camera, trying to capture a portrait here and there to savor the beauty unfolding all around us.  It is so much bigger and more expansive than my tiny lens will capture.  And so I focus on the details, the tiny bits of beauty we might otherwise overlook.

Here are six portraits from our garden today.

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2019

~

~

“When magic through nerves and reason passes,
Imagination, force, and passion will thunder.
The portrait of the world is changed.”
.

Dejan Stojanovic

Many thanks to the wonderful ‘Six on Saturday’ meme sponsored by The Propagator.

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 672 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest