Sunday Dinner: Finding Peace

~

“We wander through our lives

not sure of what we’re searching for.

“What is my calling?” we might speak to ourselves again and again.

It’s a redundant question;

we might even shout out loud, with no return response.

The answer to our question is peacefulness.

Once we find as much as possible,

we can begin to enjoy simple pleasures, and passions,

without interruption.

Nothing will fall in line without a soft place to land.”

.

  Ron Baratono

~

“Silence is not absence of words.

Silence is the space where words arise and dissolve.

Without silence, words have no meaning”

.

Rashmit Kalra

~

 

“The one who has found inner silence,

stops pondering over the meaning of life

and starts living it.

That’s the journey from “going with the flow”

to “being the flow.”

.

  Rashmit Kalra

~

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion

to all living things,

man will not himself find peace.”

.

  Albert Schweitzer

~

“I have within me all that I need;

I am love and life in action.”

.

  Jodi Livon

~

“World peace must develop from inner peace.

Peace is not just mere absence of violence.

Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”


.

The 14th Dali Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

~

“To be wise means to know when to stay silent.”
.

  Kamand Kojouri

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2020

Please visit my other site, Illuminations, for a daily quotation and a photo of something beautiful.

Sunday Dinner: Join the Dance

~

“The only way to make sense out of change

is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
.

Alan Wilson Watts

~

~

“Nothing in the world is permanent,

and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last,

but surely we’re still more foolish

not to take delight in it while we have it.”
.

  W. Somerset Maugham

~

~

“Consider the sunlight.

You may see it is near,

yet if you follow it from world to world

you will never catch it in your hands.

Then you may describe it as far away and, lo,

you will see it just before your eyes.

Follow it and, behold, it escapes you;

run from it and it follows you close.

You can neither possess it nor have done with it.

From this example you can understand

how it is with the true Nature of all things and,

henceforth, there will be no need to grieve

or to worry about such things.”
.

  Huang Po

~

~

“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever,

it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting,

the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock.

Generations do not cease to be born,

and we are responsible to them

because we are the only witnesses they have.”
.

  James Baldwin

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2020

~

“Of what is the body made?

It is made of emptiness and rhythm.

At the ultimate heart of the body, at the heart of the world,

there is no solidity… there is only the dance.”

George Leonard

~

 

Secrets of Appreciation

~

“Remember to give thanks

for unknown blessings

already on their way”

.

Valentina Giambanco

~

Camellia sasanqua and autumn leaves

~

“Living in thanksgiving daily is a habit;

we must open our hearts to love more,

we must open our arms to hug more,

we must open our eyes to see more and finally,

we must live our lives to serve more.”

.

Farshad Asl

~

Camellia sasanqua

~

“Gratitude is the seed of gladness.”

.

Lailah Gifty Akita

~

~

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”

.

W.J. Cameron

~

Japanese Maple

~

May the beauty of this day find you,

May joy bubble up in your heart,

May you know everyone near you as family,

May you feel the love  which surrounds you,

and may you enjoy the blessings of peace,

always.

.

Woodland Gnome 2020

~

Oakleaf Hydrangea

.

Please visit my other site, Illuminations, for a daily quotation and a photo of something beautiful.

 

Sunday Dinner: Sabi

~

“Wabi sabi is an intuitive response to beauty

that reflects the true nature of life.

Wabi sabi is an acceptance and appreciation

of the impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete

nature of everything.”

.

Beth Kempton

~

~

“But when does something’s destiny finally come to fruition?

Is the plant complete when it flowers?

When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout?

When everything turns into compost?”

.

Leonard Koren

~

~

“Wabi is about finding beauty in simplicity,

and a spiritual richness and serenity

in detaching from the material world.

Sabi is more concerned with the passage of time,

with the way that all things grow and decay

and how ageing alters the visual nature of those things.

It’s less about what we see,

and more about how we see.”

.

Beth Kempton

~

~

“…in repairing the object

you really ended up loving it more,

because you now knew its eagerness to be reassembled,

and in running a fingertip over its surface

you alone could feel its many cracks –

a bond stronger than mere possession.”

.

Nicholson Baker

~

~

“Should we look at the spring blossoms

only in full flower,

or the moon only when cloudless and clear?”

.

Beth Kempton

~

~

“Things wabi-sabi have no need

for the reassurance of status or the validation of market culture.

They have no need for documentation of provenance.

Wabi-sabi-ness in no way depends

on knowledge of the creator’s background or personality.

In fact, it is best if the creator is of no distinction, invisible, or anonymous.”

.

Leonard Koren

~

~

“And therein lies a crucial observation:

Japanese beauty is discovered in the experiencing,

not just the seeing.”

.

Beth Kempton

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2020

~

~

Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age,

when the life of the object and its impermanence

are evidenced in its patina and wear,

or in any visible repairs.

After centuries of incorporating artistic

and Buddhist influences from China,

wabi-sabi eventually evolved into a distinctly Japanese ideal.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

 

Visit Illuminations, for a daily quotation and a photo of something beautiful.

Six on Saturday: Fruits of the Season

Figs

~

Gardens teach us many things.  Like any other education, you might want to believe you’ve learned everything there is to know; but the next week, the next semester, the next season, the next garden proves how much we still have to discover.  Gardening is a slow study; more than a lifetime can master.  And it can not be rushed.

One of the first lessons one grasps, an understanding that shades and colors all others, comes when one understands the nature of passing time.  Like a precisely choreographed dance routine, a garden unfolds and ripens within the context of time.

~

Begonia grandis, perennial Begonia finally blooms by late summer.

~

The wisdom of all the ancient schools is written within a season in the garden.  It is all there for those who will read it.  But only those who pause, and observe, and look for it will find it.  Like a ripening grape hidden under a leaf, knowledge grows in plain sight and yet also remains cloaked to a casual glance.

This is the season of fruition and ripening.  All of the promises and hopes that built through the winter and spring are maturing, now, into reality.

The hazelnut tree dances and shakes as squirrels scamper through its branches.  The ripening nuts satisfy with loud pops and crackles as a squirrel’s strong jaws crush them and the pieces rain down to the ground.  The nuts will be gone before they ripen, crushed into green fragments, snacks lying there waiting for other small animals to find.  A single huge buckeye pod swells in the upper garden.  all the others have been carried away already, or fallen, not quite mature.

~

Muscadine grapes will soon turn dark purple as they ripen. These grow near the back door, in easy reach.

~

Green figs ripen high in the branches of our fig tree and swelling fox grapes hang in curtains from their vines stretching across the canopy.  It is that time of year when golden Black-eyed Susans finally open and tight buds swell atop stalks of butterfly ginger lilies.  The perennial Begonias have finally bloomed, and branches of beautyberry are thick with tiny green fruits.  In another few weeks they will ripen to brilliant purple before they, too, disappear to feed the animals who make our garden their home.

~

Butterfly Ginger Lily will begin its season of bloom this week.

~

For as everything ripens, so it also will fade in time.   The first hints of autumn have already brought a scarlet tinge to the dogwood leaves.  Collapsed Hibiscus flowers lie crumpled on the ground.  moonflowers bloom for a night, filling the patio with radiant white flowers and their intoxicating perfume.  By noon of the following day they have finished.   Time measures the rhythm of each growing thing in the garden, just as time measures our rhythms, too.

~

~

Abundant rain has made this a good growing season here in Coastal Virginia.  Leaves are large and lush.  Japanese stilt grass fills in any space not cultivated, mown or mulched with its exotic, bamboo like leaves.  I was wandering through the paths today and discovered a rare surprise:  nature sown ferns.  There in the path, arising from a clump of moss, was a perfect little fern I never planted.  What a gift; what a little miracle of chance and opportunity and exuberance.  Later, camera in hand, I found some more.  I wonder now how many more little ferns may be growing in hidden, moist places, growing in their own rhythms from spore to frond.

This week the garden has grown nearly to its peak of lushness.  Paths have closed as plants reach from one side to the other to touch one another, and perhaps to soak in a bit more sunlight.  Late summer flowers come into bloom, vines stretch themselves ever further, some sprouting new leaves to replace ones lost in July.  Cuttings root, buds form and shrubs expand.  Goldfinches harvest seeds from faded flowers even as fallen leaves litter the street.

Every ending balances a beginning.  Time’s pendulum swings in a never ending cadence, marking nature’s pulse.  After long years we finally feel it and harmonize to its beat, at long last learning to see each moment as fully perfect and perfectly ripe.

~

Moonflowers, Ipomoea alba

~

Woodland Gnome 2020

~

Beautyberry, Callicarpa hybrid

~

Visit Illuminations, for a daily quotation and a photo of something beautiful.

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

Six on Saturday: ‘Garden Bathing’

Caladium ‘Berries and Burgundy’ grows enthusiastically in this shady spot.

~

Maybe I’m too easily entertained.  Or maybe I’m just a sucker for a pretty leaf.  We’ve reached the time of the year when I can happily circumambulate the garden admiring the newest, brightest leaves appearing on our Caladiums and other ‘Elephant Ear’ plants and noting how many different flowers may be in bloom.

Now, let’s be honest here:  there isn’t a great deal of happiness in our public lives at the moment.  We watch every dystopian plot line play out in the daily news, even as we plan how to avoid viral contamination in the mundane acts of collecting our mail, picking up the groceries or taking a walk.  I find a good antidote to the general anxiety of our age in ‘garden bathing.

~

Alocasia ‘Plumbea’ with orbs

~

Maybe you’ve heard of ‘Forest Bathing,’ or shinrin-yoku?  This Japanese practice of spending time out of doors under the canopy of trees can be brought right home to our own gardens, as we soak in the atmosphere through all of our senses.  The Japanese scientists who study these things found greater happiness, well-being, and good health among those who devote some time to soaking in the sights, sounds, scents and sensations of nature.

I’m happy knowing that 40 years of research has proven what gardeners already know:  we feel better when we spend time outside in a garden.  Curiously, it doesn’t matter so much whether we are in our own garden or a friend’s; a public garden or a park.  Time spent under trees and surrounded by plants helps us feel better in measurable ways.

And not just plants, either.  Spotting a turtle or a dragonfly feels like a gift.  Watching butterflies feed or birds glide around the garden brings its own peaceful contentment.

~

Alocasia with Caladiums

~

Maybe that is why I awaken each morning with a gardening ‘to do’ list already percolating in my waking thoughts.  Whether my list includes tasks at home, at the local botanical garden, or both; I awake with purpose and the intent to invest some early morning time out of doors working in a garden.

Whether I’m pulling weeds, watering, or just monitoring how the plants are growing, I can blissfully disconnect from the day’s narrative of outrage and gloom.  Every opening flower and bit of new growth gets counted as a worthy accomplishment.

There are many ways to express compassion for others and ourselves.  There are many ways to assist others in experiencing happiness.  We each do what we can.  I read about an artist who painted a flower for every staff member of a distant hospital, over 1000 in all.  His paintings were framed and presented to each person as a ‘thank you’ gesture for their healing and sustaining work.

~

~

There are those who cook and deliver meals or loaves of bread to those in need.  Others sew and deliver masks, or check on lonely neighbors.  There is a task waiting for every willing heart and hand.

What could be more life-affirming and joy inducing than planting and tending a garden?  We need beauty, tranquility and inspiration now in ways we may have not needed them before. They are an antidote to the darker feelings that bubble up in our thoughts each day.

So I reach out to all of my gardening friends and to everyone who nurtures a plot of growing things.  Let us continue the work and know that it is good, and purposeful and that our efforts make a positive difference in this crazy world.  Let’s sow beauty and reap happiness, for ourselves and for our communities.

~

Caladium ‘Splash of Wine’ is new in our garden this year. This is the first leaf opened from the tuber.

~

Woodland Gnome 2020

~

Caladium ‘Debutante’

~

 

Visit Illuminations, for a daily quotation and a photo of something beautiful.

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

Sunday Dinner: Considering Our Place

~

“Consider your own place

in the universal oneness of which we are all a part,

from which we all arise,

and to which we all return.”

.

David Fontana

~

~

“The Destiny of Man is to unite,

not to divide.

If you keep on dividing

you end up as a collection of monkeys

throwing nuts at each other

out of separate trees.”

.

T.H. White

~

~

“This is my country,

that is your country;

these are the conceptions of narrow souls –

to the liberal minded

the whole world is a family.”

.

Virchand Raghavji Gandhi

~

~

“And in the case of superior things like stars,

we discover a kind of unity in separation.

The higher we rise on the scale of being,

the easier it is to discern a connection

even among things separated by vast distances.”

.

Marcus Aurelius

~

~

“A choir is made up of many voices,

including yours and mine.

If one by one all go silent

then all that will be left are the soloists.

Don’t let a loud few

determine the nature of the sound.

It makes for poor harmony

and diminishes the song.”

.

Vera Nazarian

~

~

“Each person you meet
is an aspect of yourself,
clamoring for love.”

.

Eric Micha’el Leventhal

~

~

“I say to you all, once again –

– in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return,

we are only as strong as we are united,

as weak as we are divided.

Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading

discord and enmity is very great.

We can fight it only by showing

an equally strong bond of friendship and trust.

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all

if our aims are identical

and our hearts are open.”

.

  J.K. Rowling

~

~

“Pit race against race, religion against religion,

prejudice against prejudice.

Divide and conquer!

We must not let that happen here.”

.

Eleanor Roosevelt

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2020

.

“I felt knowledge and the unity of the world

circulate in me

like my own blood.”
.

Hermann Hesse

~

 

Six on Saturday: Summer’s Spell

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ opened its first flower of the summer on Thursday morning.

~

By mid-July, finally, the garden unfolds its best treasures.  All of the daffodils and tulips, Iris and Clematis served as prologue; while time, heat, rain and sunlight worked their annual magic to bring the summer garden to fruition.  And right on schedule, our garden has filled once again with butterflies and hummingbirds.

July feels like the garden’s natural state.  All of the weeks leading from winter to high summer are only preparation for this magical time. Lantana shrubs have covered themselves in nectar filled flowers, tiny magnets for every pollinator who happens by.  Huge panicles of Buddleia tower over our heads and golden yellow black-eyed Susans open around our knees.  But the best and the biggest, the most enticing to our hummers and butterflies, the Hibiscus, open their wide flowers for the first time only in the humid heat of a July morning.

~

Native Vitis vultina, the frost grape, winds and stretches out new growth every day, as our Rose of Sharon trees fill with flowers.

~

Now, the Hibiscus syriacus, the woody Rose of Sharon trees, began to bloom in mid-June, right as I was finally pulling out the last if the Violas and Gardenias perfumed the air.   They signal that hot weather has settled in and spring has faded into summer.  Bumble bees fill their flowers, almost white sometimes from all of the pollen they collect while sipping nectar deep inside the safety of their huge petals.  Hummingbirds dart from flower to flower, hovering by each open blossom before diving in for a sip.

But the larger Hibiscus moscheutos, with flowers as large as dessert plates, are still growing in June.  Each herbaceous stem is still extending towards the sun, topped with a cluster of tight green buds.  The Hibiscus stems grow taller and taller each day.  Their leaves grow larger than my hand.  The anticipation builds.

And then finally, one hot, muggy morning the first one of the season opens, and you know that summer has settled in for a few magical weeks of astounding beauty.

~

Native Hibiscus moscheutos blooms beside Caladium ‘Burning Heart.’  Holes in their leaves prove that both are feeding our garden insects.

~

I saw the first one open on Thursday.  I was just home from an early morning errand.   It caught my eye as soon as I pulled into the drive, and I was astounded, (as I am every year) at its size and brilliance.  Hibiscus open early in the morning and close again each night.  Some flowers may last only a day, some may last a few days, depending on the weather.  But they always appear suddenly, expanding and opening as if by some natural magic that the human eye can’t see.

Later in the morning, while watering in other parts of the garden, I found a second and a third clump of Hibiscus that have finally come into bloom.  These are native plants and spread their own seeds around the garden each year.  I own one hybrid clump, bought some years ago from a dealer at the farmer’s market.  The rest of our Hibiscus planted themselves and tend themselves.  I only make sure they have water when it’s time to set buds and bloom, and then cut their woody stalks back to the ground sometime in winter.

~

This is the fourth stalk of blossoms our Crinum lily has put up so far this year. It takes these Amaryllis relatives a few seasons to settle in and grow productive, in full sun.  These are growing at the northern end of their range here in Zone 7.

~

The flamboyant Hibiscus coccineus aren’t quite ready to bloom.  I watch their progress each day, give them a good watering to encourage them, and wait.  It won’t be long until their first huge, red blossoms open amid the tall red flowers of the Canna lilies.  The Cannas wait for July to bloom, too.  First one, and soon a clique of scarlet flowers tower over the perennials around them.  They also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to their flower covered stems.

What has been a mass of green erupts in gold, red, pink, purple and white:  Hibiscus, Rudbeckia, Eupatorium, Hedychium, Solidago, Crinum, Physostegia, Conoclinium, Salvia, Verbena and Alliums.  It is our garden’s own summer fireworks show of nectar laden flowers.  A visual feast for us, and a perpetual feast of nectar and seeds for our winged neighbors who float and fly and buzz through it from sunrise until deep into the evening.  For as long as high summer lasts, that is. 

~

~

Ironically, this is the least likely time of the year that we will just wander out to enjoy it all.  Mid-July always brings stretches of scorching heat and oppressive humidity in coastal Virginia.  The day is best enjoyed in early morning or late evening.  And time spent in the garden includes watering the pots and deadheading flowers as they fade, to encourage new ones to take their places.  It is the busiest time of our gardening year, and the most rewarding.

A hummingbird buzzed close to my ear this morning as I photographed a bee sipping Lantana nectar.  He was considering whether to come in for a sip when I straightened up to admire him.  Shy as always, he turned and flew up through the trees and into the upper garden.   Perhaps I’ll catch his portrait another morning.  And if not his, there will be no shortage of winged neighbors so long as summer’s spell lingers in our garden.

~

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly feeds on our Lantana.

~

Woodland Gnome 2020

Visit Illuminations, for a daily photo of something beautiful.

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

Sunday Dinner: “A Discipline With a Deadline”

~

“Butterflies used to reproduce

on the native plants that grew in our yards

before the plants were bulldozed and replaced with lawn.

To have butterflies in our future,

we need to replace those lost host plants,

no if’s, and’s or but’s.

If we do not, butterfly populations

will continue to decline

with every new house that is built.”

.

Douglas Tallamy

~

~

“We were the product and beneficiary

of a vibrant natural world,

rather than its master.”

.

  Douglas W. Tallamy

~

~

“Knowledge generates interest,

and interest generates compassion.”

.

  Douglas W. Tallamy

~

~

“We can no longer afford

to consider air and water common property,

free to be abused by anyone

without regard to the consequences.

Instead, we should begin now

to treat them as scarce resources,

which we are no more free to contaminate

than we are free to throw garbage

into our neighbor’s yard.”

.

  Douglas W. Tallamy

~

~

“Our privately owned land

and the ecosystems upon it are essential

to everyone’s well-being, not just our own.

Abusing land anywhere has negative ramifications

for people everywhere.”

.

  Douglas W. Tallamy

~

~

“My point is this:

each of the acres we have developed for specific human goals

is an opportunity to add to Homegrown National Park.

We already are actively managing

nearly all of our privately owned lands

and much of the public spaces in the United States.

We simply need to include ecological function

in our management plans

to keep the sixth mass extinction at bay.”

.

  Douglas W. Tallamy

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2020

.

“Conservation biology . . .

[is] a discipline with a deadline.”

.

E. O. Wilson

~

~

To Learn More (These books should top the reading list of every serious naturalist and gardener…. Woodland Gnome)

Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy

Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Bloom Where You Are Planted

~

“To accomplish great things we must not only act,
but also dream;
not only plan, but also believe.
.
Anatole France

~

~

“Only those who attempt the absurd
can achieve the impossible.”
,
Albert Einstein

~

~

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion,
which is life,
by artificial means and hold it fixed
so that a hundred years later,
when a stranger looks at it,
it moves again since it is life.”
.
William Faulkner

~

~

“People pretend not to like grapes
when the vines are too high
for them to reach.”
.
Marguerite de Navarre

~

~

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing
unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…
I have never in my life envied a human being
who led an easy life.
I have envied a great many people
who led difficult lives and led them well.”
.
Theodore Roosevelt

~

~

“Not much happens without a dream.
And for something great to happen,
there must be a great dream.
Behind every great achievement
is a dreamer of great dreams.
Much more than a dreamer is required
to bring it to reality;
but the dream must be there first.”
.
Robert K. Greenleaf

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2020

~

“One bulb at a time.
There was no other way to do it.
No shortcuts–simply loving the slow process of planting.
Loving the work as it unfolded.
Loving an achievement that grew slowly
and bloomed for only three weeks each year.”
.
Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

~

~

Visit Illuminations, for a daily photo of something beautiful.

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

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A new site allows me to continue posting new content since after more than 1700 posts there is no more room on this site.  -WG

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