Collage: Hibiscus

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Hibiscus flowers fill our garden each summer from July through September. 

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Tree Hibiscus, also known as Hibiscus syriacus or Rose of Sharon; were first planted by earlier gardeners on this site.  Now they reseed themselves all over our garden.  Deciduous, their lean frames catch winter’s snow,  and hold seed filled pods to sustain our birds all winter.

Both leaves and flowers open a little late, but the flowers keep coming into September.  Butterflies, every sort of bee, and hummingbirds feast on their nectar from early July until autumn.

Rose of Sharon flowers remain fairly small, only a couple of inches across.  Our other perennial Hibiscus sport huge, saucer sized blossoms.

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Native Hibiscus moscheutos, which grows wild in the marshes near us, grows rapidly once the weather warms in early summer.  Though its flowers are short lived, they keep coming over several weeks.  The dried seed pods linger into winter, when we finally cut back its woody stalks.

Beautiful swamp Hibiscus, Hibiscus coccineus, will soon burst into bloom in our garden, sporting scarlet flowers on towering woody stems.

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Hibiscus coccineus, another native Hibiscus, will bloom before the end of July. Its beautiful slender leaves gracefully clothe its tall stems. it will tower above the surrounding garden when it blooms.

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These showy, generous blossoms blend into a collage of color in our garden, animated by the many pollinators buzzing from one to the other, sustained by their sweet nectar.

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Woodland Gnome 2017
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For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Collage

 

Sunday Dinner: Liberty

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“The moment you say that any idea system is sacred,

whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology,

the moment you declare a set of ideas

to be immune from criticism, satire,

derision, or contempt,

freedom of thought becomes impossible.”

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Salman Rushdie

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“If there be time to expose through discussion

the falsehood and fallacies,

to avert the evil

by the processes of education,

the remedy to be applied is more speech,

not enforced silence.”

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Louis D. Brandeis

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“They who can give up essential liberty

to obtain a little temporary safety

deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

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Benjamin Franklin

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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“We are all like the bright moon,

we still have our darker side.”

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Kahlil Gibran

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Garden Tapestry: July and August

July 13, 2015 Our native Hibiscus are in their full glory. This seedling pokes up amidst the border of Canna Lily and Colocasia.

July 13, 2015 Our native Hibiscus are in their full glory. This seedling pokes up amidst the border of Canna Lily and Colocasia.

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Cathy, of  Garden Dreaming at Chattilon,’ inspired me through her comment last week, to review my garden photos taken over the last year with an eye to those ‘tapestries’ of plant combinations which worked well, and also to analyze those which didn’t.

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July 1 2015

July 1 2015 A ‘Chocolate Vine,’ Akebia quinata and a wild grapevine grow beyond the trellis and up into a Rose of Sharon tree, with Dogwood foliage providing the backdrop.  The Akebia bloomed in early summer, before the Hibiscus.

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I started with my favorite gardening months, May and June.   I love these months because our roses always come into bloom by Mother’s Day in early May, and our Iris are at their best.  But many other interesting plants are growing, too, as the summer progresses.

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July 11, 2015 and we still have abundant roses blooming in the garden.

July 11, 2015 and we still have abundant roses blooming in the garden.

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Looking back over my photos from this last July and August, I’m struck by how many are close ups of pollinators and single blossoms rather than true ‘tapestry’ shots.  I’m also a little disappointed in myself for neglecting the weeds and wild grasses to the point where there are some shots I’d rather not publish.   They are inspiration to do a better job of keeping up with the weeding and trimming in 2016!

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July 28, 2015 and the Joe Pye Weed is in its glory and covered with bees.

July 28, 2015 and the Joe Pye Weed is in its glory and covered with bees.

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There are also several fairly ‘new beds’ which haven’t filled in quite yet.  They were more a ‘patchwork quilt’ than a tapestry in mid-summer!

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July 16, 2015 the Joe Pye Weed, planted in 2014, towers over this new perennial bed.

July 16, 2015 the Joe Pye Weed, planted in 2014, towers over this new perennial bed.  This bed did extremely well over summer and bulked up nicely by autumn.

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But excuses aside, there were some areas which pleased me.  The part of our garden nearest the street, where I concentrated my attention this season, was cloaked in deep shade until three major trees fell in a storm in June of 2013.  Suddenly, this shady and fairly neglected area was bathed in full sun.

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July 16, 2015 This is the farthest edge of the new border where Cannas end and a variegated Butterfly Bush is growing into its space.

July 16, 2015 This is the farthest edge of the new border where Cannas end and a variegated Butterfly Bush is growing into its space near a stand of native Hibiscus moscheutos.  Foxglove still bloom on the front edge of the border.

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I’ve been planting this area with perennial beds, ornamental trees, bulbs and shrubs since July of that year, beginning with our ‘stump garden.’

A sister gardener made a gift of a grocery bag full of Canna lily divisions dug from her garden that fall, which started our very tropical looking border of Cannas and Colocasia.

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July 16, 2015

July 16, 2015 the leading edge of this new border begins where the Ginger Lily ends, in the shade of a Dogwood tree.  Some of the Colocasia didn’t make it through the past winter and were replaced by hardier varieties this spring.

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We already had native perennial Hibiscus and tree Hibiscus, or Rose of Sharon, growing when we came to the garden in 2009.  But once there was more sun available, more of the seedlings began to grow and bloom in this new area.  We also planted several additional Hibiscus cultivars, a variegated Buddleia, several perennial Salvias and Lantana along this long, sunny border.

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July 16 This is the other side of the border, where Hibiscus and other perennials were left by previous owners of the garden.

July 16 This is the other side of the border, where Hibiscus and other perennials were left by previous owners of the garden.  The deep magenta Crepe Myrtle ( in the center of this photo ) has been growing from a seedling and finally gained some height this year.

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This border grows better each year as the Cannas and Colocasia multiply, the Hibiscus grow, and the existing shrubs grow larger.

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This shady bed, under a Dogwood tree, holds mostly ferns and Hellebores. The Begonias, with their large and colorful leaves, stay in pots as summer visitors.

This shady bed, under a Dogwood tree, holds mostly ferns and Hellebores. The Begonias, with their large and colorful leaves, stay in pots as summer visitors.

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Another perennial bed, still in shade, has done exceptionally well, too.  I raised a circular bed under a Dogwood tree by ringing it with containers, and filling in with bags of compost.  This was home to a good collection of Caladiums the first year, inter-planted with various ferns and seedling Hellebores.  Plants in raised beds definitely perform better than plants put directly into the ground over most of the garden.

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July 10, 2015 Here is my magical Begonia, which dies back to its rhizome from time to time. From its sad start when I set it out in May, it has now grown its summer crop of new leaves in a shady bed of ferns.

July 10, 2015 Here is my magical Begonia, which dies back to its rhizome from time to time. From its sad start when I set it out in May, it has now grown its summer crop of new leaves in this shady bed of mixed ferns.  It is going into its fourth year now, overwintering in a pot in the garage.

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I add large leaved Begonias when the weather warms in May, taking them back inside in October.  The mix of ferns here makes a pleasing tapestry of foliage.  The Hellebores have finally grown large enough to bloom this winter, and now they take much more of the available space in the bed.

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July 28, 2015 Oxalis and Hardy Begonia share one of the border pots with a division of fern. These plants are all perennial, and should fill the pot nicely this summer coming.

July 28, 2015 Oxalis and Hardy Begonia share one of the border pots with a division of fern. These plants are all perennial, and should fill the pot nicely this summer coming.

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I’ve also planted Sedum along the sunny edge and Saxifraga stolonifera into the pots which ring the bed. This past spring I added divisions of hardy Begonias with their lovely reddish leaves, which will fill in over time.

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August 2, 2015 our Devil's Walkingstick has come into full bloom.

August 2, 2015 our Devil’s Walkingstick has come into full bloom along the border of the back garden.

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July and August give us Crepe Myrtle flowers and a lovely tapestry of flowers and foliage from the many trees around our garden.  A ‘Devil’s Walkingstick,’ Aralia Spinosa, grows into our garden from the woody border between our neighbor’s garden and ours.  It was absolutely spectacular this summer, and I’ve found several seedlings in other parts of the yard.  This native plant grows wild along the roads in James City County, blooming in mid-summer before covering itself with inky purple berries in early autumn.

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August 30, 2015 Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana is a native shrub.

August 30, 2015 Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, is a native shrub which ‘volunteered’ in a stand of Ginger Lily this summer.  Considered a weed by most, I chose to let it grow for the beauty of its flowers and berries.  Birds love the berries and pollinators enjoy its long lived flowers.  But, because I let it set seed this summer, we know that seedlings will emerge all over the garden next spring….

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Much of our garden tapestry was either  already here when we began to garden, or has sprouted as a volunteer seedling.  Nature takes a strong hand in what grows where, and what is ‘edited’ out by storms and the passing seasons.  Our best intentions and plans often get thwarted or changed along the way.

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August 5, 2015

August 5, 2015 August brings this glorious ‘Butterfly Tree’ into bloom at the bottom of the garden at the edge of the ravine.  It is a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators.

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As gardeners, we can certainly add plants, prune, ‘weed’ and change the landscape with new planting beds.  But at best, we adapt to the ongoing life of the garden with our own human touches.

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A scented Pelargonium growth in a bed cloaked in Vinca and Creeping Jenny.

August 7, 2015  A scented Pelargonium grows in a bed cloaked in Vinca and Creeping Jenny in the ‘stump garden.’  Vinca minor is one of the default groundcovers which encroaches in every part of the garden.  Beautiful, it quickly takes over new planting beds; and so often chokes out other desirable plants.

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Shades of Violet

Basil

Basil

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“To maintain peace in the world,

first maintain peace inside of you.

A restless mind can never generate beneficial ideas.”

 

Mehek Bassi

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Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

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“True restfulness, though, is a form of awareness,

a way of being in life.

It is living ordinary life with a sense of ease,

gratitude, appreciation, peace and prayer.

We are restful when ordinary life is enough.”

Ronald Rolheiser

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Blue Mist Flower, Conoclinium coelestinum

Blue Mist Flower, Conoclinium coelestinum

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“If a solution fails to appear …

and yet we feel success is just around the corner,

try resting for a while. …

Like the early morning frost, this intellectual refreshment

withers the parasitic and nasty vegetation

that smothers the good seed.

Bursting forth at last is the flower of truth.”


Santiago Ramón y Cajal

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Oxalis

Oxalis

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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.”

Peter Heller

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Catmint

Catmint

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

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“The most valuable thing

we can do for the psyche, occasionally,

is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room,

not try to be or do anything whatever.”


May Sarton

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Basil

Basil

 

Moving On

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Summer is moving on towards its climax in our garden.  I found the garden filled with butterflies this morning when I came out to water.

The butterflies we’ve watched for since April are in residence now, and flutter constantly from flower to flower, shrub to shrub; as they drink their fill of warm, sweet nectar.

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I counted five individuals on a single Lantana this morning.  When I turned around, more fluttered behind me in another flower bed.  They surrounded me as I moved around the garden, watering.

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No longer timid, they continued feeding as I approached.  They no longer fly away when my camera beeps.

I can watch them from the window above my kitchen sink.  In fact, I would say that every window opens out onto views of butterflies moving on from one flower to another.  One may get lost in simply watching them; a voyeur of sorts, hypnotized by butterfly wings.

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Perhaps they are the ones entranced.  There is a rich buffet of flowers beckoning them to feed:  Lantana and Butterfly Bush, Rose of Sharon, mints and Sage, Echinacea, Zinnia, Monarda, Rudbeckia, Hibiscus.

The litany of sweet flowers goes on and on in the August garden.  Butterflies float from flower to flower almost like devotees fingering prayer beads.

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Lycoris radiata

Lycoris radiata

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Two new flowers have come into bloom this week, which signal our shift towards autumn. The Lycoris radiata never appear before mid-August; timed with the onset of our hurricane season.

The ginger lilies also begin their bloom towards the end of August, just as Labor Day draws close each year.

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White Butterfly Ginger Lily coming into bloom

White Butterfly Ginger Lily coming into bloom

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We have a crescendo of growth now, in this third week of August.  Cannas and ginger lily tower over our heads.  Colocasia leaves reach gigantic proportions in the shade.  Ferns grow tall and Begonia flowers emerge thick and vivid from their canes.

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This is the season where wishes materialize, beautifully fulfilled.  The garden crawls with life, never silent and never still.

Newborn blue tailed lizards skitter up the wall above the hose.  Cicadas whir and bump in the border.  Birds call to one another as wind rustles through the tall stems of lily and Canna.

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And butterflies float by silently, above it all, moving on in search of the next nectar filled flower in their never ending quest for summer’s sweetness.

Woodland Gnome 2015

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Morning Glory

Morning Glory

After the Storm: Butterfly Days

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Our morning dawned clear and cool.  A nice breeze blew through the garden this morning, helping to dry raindrops from leaf, petal,, and blade.  A morning like this serves as a delicious appetizer for the cooler, brighter fall days nearly upon us.

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I started the morning on our deck, emptying anything with standing water.  Butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds and bees floated past as I worked.   And so I was more than ready to head out to the garden as soon as our breakfast dishes cleared the sink.

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Armed only with camera, sheers, and gloves; my dual mission was to hunt butterflies with my camera while tidying things up a bit.  A perfect morning for weeding and trimming begins with soft Earth and a breeze.  One could not hope for a better August day than this one.

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The storm rumbled on for quite a while last night, but brought us only rain.  We were happy the winds didn’t reach our garden.  Another front passed very early this morning, before sunrise, leaving behind wetness everywhere.

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We appreciate the rain, which keeps the garden growing and the flowers opening.  And we appreciate the coolness and breezes which greeted us this morning.

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But mostly, we appreciate the beautiful creatures drawn in each day to drink their fill of nectar in our garden.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

Just Hanging On

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The lower garden buzzed with activity this morning as I stood there, camera in hand, taking photos as quickly as the camera would record and refocus.  There were butterflies behind me, all manner of strange looking pollinators moving methodically from flower to flower in front of me, and bees buzzing all around.  I could feel the wind off the wings of a large bumble bee who flew up and around my shoulders inspecting the camera, and me, probably.

Totally aware, the pollinators watch me watch them.  How often has one flown away in the split second between focus and photo?  They can sense when I’m ready to snap the picture.

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Some mind, others don’t mind at all.  Hummingbird moths prove especially patient with my photo shoot, keeping on about their hungry business of visiting each flower.

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In the sun’s mid-day glare it is often impossible to tell where the focus falls, and I snap by instinct.  Only later, working at the computer can I mine the riches and discard the misses!

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But the bees were especially comical today.  They’ve grown fat and heavy by this point in the summer’s feasting; and as they landed on tall, narrow stalks of sage the whole stalk would fall over, with the bee still holding on madly, to sip its fill.

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I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  Many of the photos I snapped had a blur where the bee should be.  Happily, a few are clear enough to share.

I sometimes feel like the bees on these hot, muggy mornings of early August.

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We are just hanging on, waiting now for the cooler wave of autumn weather  to find us.  We are hanging on through the numbing heat, sustained by the sweet nectar of fresh peaches, ripe melons, fat blueberries and crisp cucumbers.

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We are hanging on to the long summer evenings where daylight doesn’t quite fade away until nearly nine, and creatures chirp and sing until past midnight.  We are hanging on to the pleasure of flowers blooming, and the fun of baby lizards flashing their blue tails across the deck in the afternoons.

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We know to hold on tightly to suck every last drop of pleasure from these last few weeks of summer.

The shelves at Walmart brim with packs of pencils and stacks of clean notebooks.  Back to school supplies now fill the shelves where picnic ware and sunscreen sat just a few weeks ago.

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Change is in the air; but only the first hints of it.  For today, there is still time to stand still in the midst of the butterfly gardens admiring the fine growth of Salvias and mints, Basil and Rudbeckia and all the activity they attract.

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We’re  just hanging on to the pleasure of watching butterflies cruise around from shrub to shrub as a hummingbird dives down into the midst of the bees, hovering just above them for a while and planning his attack.  My partner watched with me this morning, resting in the shade between bouts with the lawnmower.

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He pointed out the hummingbird, and dispatched me after the butterflies he sighted.  The photos then are teamwork today.

They allow us to hang on to the magic of summer mornings in the garden, keeping company with one another, and with the magical and wise creatures who join us there.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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Loving Kindness

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We all need a bit more loving kindness in our hearts and in our lives. 

Lama Surya Das, author and teacher, published his personal version of the Buddhist Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, on his blog last week. 

This is a beautiful meditation, which I would like to share with you.  

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May I be happy, content and fulfilled.
May all beings be happy!
May we all be equally peaceful, safe and serene.
May all beings be free from harm, danger and fear.

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May we walk together the path of wisdom and compassion.
May I practice loving kindness.
May I practice equanimity, acceptance and non-reactivity.


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May I be free from suffering and enjoy peace and ease.
May my heart remain open.
May I enjoy and appreciate the holy Now.
May I awaken to the intrinsic Light of my own original true nature.

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May I be healed and whole again;
May the planet be healed and restored.
May I recognize my intrinsic interconnectedness and interdependence with others,
And help overcome inequality and poverty through generous sharing and nonattachment.
May I live in gratitude and grace.

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May I love deeply, and with full acceptance, and may I open my heart also to receive love.
May I forgive and be forgiven.
May I be free from suffering, stress and anxiety.
May I see the radiant light in all people and things, including those who disagree with me.

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I bow to true Buddha-nature, equally innate in one and all.

Lama Surya Das

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“Learning how to love is the goal and the purpose of spiritual life —

not learning how to develop psychic powers,

not learning how to bow, chant, do yoga, or even meditate,

but learning to love.

Love is the truth. Love is the light.”

Lama Surya Das

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

These Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Crepe Myrtle and Roses were blooming in our garden this morning.  It was nice to discover them between showers, and to share them with you….

 

Sunday Brunch, Or, One Thousand Shades of Green

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I took Sunday brunch in the garden today, feasting on the sounds, smells, and beautiful sights the garden offers on this mid-summer’s Sunday.

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It is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  In Williamsburg, our sun rose today at 5:47 AM and will set at 8:30 PM for an astronomical day length of 14 hours and 44 minutes.

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Interestingly, our period of the summer solstice began on June 17 this year when the sun rose at 5:46 AM and set at 8:30 PM.  Our days will remain this exact length until June 24.  The sun will rise a single minute later on June 25, at 5:48 AM.  The sun will continue to set at 8:31 until July 6, when it will finally set a single minute earlier at 8:30 PM.   By then, the sun won’t rise above the horizon until 5:53 AM, a full six minutes later than today.

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The sun is felt, even after it has dipped below the horizon.  It stays light now for more than an hour past the moment of ‘sun-set,’ and it stays hot from dusk to dawn.

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We had violent thunderstorms move through Virginia again last night, feeding off the muggy heat which envelops us.  We were among the fortunate who kept our power and our trees as the storm passed.

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And this morning dawned rain soaked, hot and bright.  Opening the slider to the deck, I inhaled the greenness in the morning air.

Our cat slipped past my ankles to drink the fresh rain water collected in his dish overnight.  He lingered a little while to listen to the birds chattering from their hiding places in the overhanging trees.

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But he lingered only a little while.  He was ready to slip back inside to the shade and cool of our house when my partner appeared at the door.  Wise old cat, he knows this heat can be deadly.

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He was asleep behind a chair when I suited up and headed out to the garden an hour later.  Camera in hand, I went only to appreciate and record the morning’s beauty.

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But you know the truth of good intentions.  Before long I was deadheading something here, pulling a weed there, and finally succumbed to the lure of the herbs we picked up on Friday morning still waiting in their tiny nursery pots.

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I was in the lowest, sunniest part of the garden planting a Basil when my partner’s voice reached me.  He was back out on the deck, searching for a glimpse of me in the green forest below.

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His voice broke the spell the garden had woven around me. 

He reminded me of the heat, and called me back inside.  It was only then that it registered that my clothes were soaked with perspiration and I was exposed to the fullness of the still rising sun.

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We lost a friend this past week.  We lost one of the kindest, gentlest, most loving people in our circle of friends.

Long retired, he was a tireless volunteer in our community; a gardener, caretaker for stray cats; devoted husband, father, and grandfather.  Our friend was out walking in this relentless heat mid-week, and collapsed.

He was doing what he loved, out of doors, and left us all peacefully and swiftly.

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The news reached us yesterday morning.  As much as we will miss him, we are so grateful that he left us all on his own terms, and was active until then end.  May it be so for each of us.

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And yet his passing in this way is a stark reminder to all of us. 

We must respect this extreme weather, and remain cautious in the face of the heat and sun.  Our children, our pets, our elderly and even ourselves need a little extra consideration during this hottest part of the year, in the northern hemisphere.

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The sun burns, and burns quickly.  The heat overpowers our body’s cooling systems.  The heavy, humid air makes it that much harder to breathe.

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I will not pretend to understand climate change; but I can see the signs that our climate is changing, rapidly.  And so we must change and adapt.  We must shift our behaviors to survive.

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Our friend’s passing was only the latest in a string of untimely loss this week.  I won’t rehearse the litany of loss; I trust you’ve been watching the news, too.

But the common denominator in all of these heart wrenching stories boils down to this:  People going about their business, doing what they have always done, were caught in extraordinary circumstances.

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There is a a message here for each of us.  Perhaps it is no longer, “Business as usual.”   Perhaps we all need to be more mindful of our changing environment and plan for the unexpected to touch our lives.

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It is summer in Virginia.  Our theme parks and beaches are full of tourists.  There are festivals every weekend, and holiday traffic fills our roads.

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And our garden is full of fragrance, color and sound.  Something new blooms each day.  Blackberries ripen, bees buzz from flower to flower and the herbs release their perfume to the caress of the sun.

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Everything is growing so fast.  A thousand shades of green filled our garden this morning. 

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Most people, when asked, will tell you how much they love the summer; and will give you a long list of things they love to do in these few sweet weeks from June through August.

May this summer be filled with joy for you and yours. 

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And please, remain mindful of a few simple things you can do to keep yourself and loved ones safe and healthy during this special season:

1.  Stay hydrated, and always carry water with you for everyone in your party when traveling.

2.  Keep your head and skin covered when outside.

3.  Wear sunscreen, routinely, to protect yourself even further from the sun’s rays.

4.  Stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day.  Seek the refuge of shade.

5.  Pace yourself.  Don’t overexert when it is hot and muggy.

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6.  Watch the weather forecast, several times a day, and plan accordingly.  Stay off the roads when heavy rains and are expected.

7.  Keep pets indoors when it is hot, and keep fresh water available.

8.  Never leave a child, a pet, or a companion waiting outside in a car during the heat of the day.

9.  Remember that our environment is rapidly changing. Expect the unexpected.  Remain alert to these changing conditions, and prepare in advance to survive potential hazards and extreme weather events.

10.  Balance pleasure with vigilance.  Enjoy the fruits of summer and all of the special experiences it brings.  But do so smartly and cautiously, so all survive to enjoy many more summers to come.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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With fond remembrance of our treasured friend,

Lt. Col. Alden George Hannum.

May his memory always bring  joy to those who loved him.

Remembering Summer

Purple sage with onion.  This experiment in repelling deer from this bed was a total success.

Purple sage with geranium and  onion. This experiment in repelling deer from this bed was a total success.

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The last day of January came clear, bright, windy and cold in our garden today.  The sun rose earlier than it has in months, heralded by birds calling to each other before its first rays poured in through the windows.

Today was the sort of day when I found myself standing near the sunniest of the windows looking out into the garden with longing, and pondering the tiniest bits of vibrant new growth on our many potted plants indoors.

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Rose of SHaron in its first blush of blooms last summer.

Rose of Sharon in its first blush of blooms last summer.

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Spring is definitely on its way.  I found two sprouted flower bulbs in a small sack on the kitchen counter.  They’ve been there for at least two months, waiting for action to break through procrastination to get them into a bit of soil.  Today was the day as I tucked them both into a 6″ pot and left it nestled among the hanging baskets growing through this very cold winter in the garage.

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Canna

Canna

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The stack of gardening catalogs grows on the living room table.  Our first order of seeds arrived in yesterday’s mail; a dozen packets of promise and hope.

I ventured out into the garden today, for the first time since gathering flowers on Monday, to walk the site where I’m dreaming of building a new raised bed.  This has been a bizarre cough syrup fueled week of recovery from a nasty bug picked up in early January.  Our efforts to stay warm, hydrated and medicated may or may not be paying off.

So I distract myself in those rare bursts of energy with reading gardening books and catalogs.  Today I sketched a first draft of a raised bed featuring herbs, flowers and a few perennial vegetables for our table.

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June 30, 2014 butterfly 009

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I was a little put-off by Amazon’s only listing for Egyptian Walking Onions.  Their one offering was listed at over $3000.00.  A misprint, I hope?  Let’s Not find out…. I found another site offering about eight varieties of Alium X Proliferum, the formal name for these self-replicating beauties, and a much better price.  Too bad all but one variety have already sold out for the season.  To order, or not?  That is tonight’s question.

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Calla

Calla

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And that is all given as a weak excuse for tonight’s post.  The best I’ve been able to muster today is a retrospective of photos taken in the garden at the end of last June, six months ago, today.  I hope you take as much pleasure in this brief remembrance of early summer as I have.

It reminds me that January is always balanced by June, and that our garden is already bursting with beauty whether that new dreamed of bed finds its way into back garden reality this spring, or not.

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Hibiscus

Hibiscus

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And the intense sunshine bathing our home in light today made us both a bit more energetic and optimistic.  It reminds us that although we still have a few months of winter ahead, we have definitely turned the corner towards spring and the promise of renewal and growth.

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June 30, 2014 butterfly 015

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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