Wednesday Vignettes: Transformation

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“Sorrow prepares you for joy.

It violently sweeps everything out of your house,

so that new joy can find space to enter.

It shakes the yellow leaves

from the bough of your heart,

so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.

It pulls up the rotten roots,

so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.

Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart,

far better things will take their place.”

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Jalaluddin Rumi

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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“When you become the image of your own imagination,
it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”
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RuPaul
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WPC: Mirror

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“It is when you lose sight of yourself, that you lose your way.
To keep your truth in sight
you must keep yourself in sight
and the world to you should be a mirror to reflect to you your image;
the world should be a mirror that you reflect upon.”
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C. JoyBell C.

 

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Mirror

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

In A Vase On Monday: Good Enough to Eat….

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August feels like a very ‘green’ month; especially here in coastal Virginia where we are totally surrounded by green trees, vines, lush green lawns, billowing green Crepe Myrtles and other rampant growth.

From Lamas in early August, to Labor Day weekend in early September, our world remains vibrant and green!

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Sunset, yesterday, from the Colonial Parkway.

Early evening, yesterday, from the Colonial Parkway.

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You can watch some plants literally grow hour to hour and day to day, given enough water.   If you ever wondered what it would feel like to live in a hot-house or conservatory, welcome to a Virginia August!   This is the time of year when we seek the cool, green shade of large trees and vine covered trellises to help us through the relentless heat.

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Herbs in our August garden.

Herbs in our August garden.  Our swallowtail butterflies love the chive flowers.  This clump remains one of their favorite stops to feed.

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And so it feels appropriate to cut cool green stems from the garden today.  I’ve cut an assortment of herbs for their fragrant leaves.  The burgundy basil flowers and white garlic chives serve only as grace notes to the beautifully shaped, textured and frosted leaves.

Much of this arrangement is edible.

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Except for the ivy vines, a little Artemesia and a stem of Coleus; you could brew some lovely herbal tea or garnish a plate from the rest of our vase today.  There are two different scented Pelargoniums here, including P. ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’,  and African Blue Basil.

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To make this arrangement feel even cooler, it sits in a cobalt blue vase from our local Shelton glass works on a sea-green glass tray.  A moonstone frog rests nearby.

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The vase was made locally by John Shelton of Shelton Glass Works here in Williamsburg.

The vase was made locally by John Shelton of Shelton Glass Works here in Williamsburg.

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Today’s vase is so fragrant that my partner commented as soon as the stems came into the room.  It is a spicy blend of rose scented Geraniums and sharp Basil, with an undertone of garlic from the chive flowers.  It makes puts me in the mood to mix up a little ‘Boursin Cheese’ with fresh herbs from the garden, and serve it garnished with a few chive blossoms!

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Appreciation, always, to Cathy of ‘Rambling In the Garden”  for hosting ‘In A Vase On Monday’ each week.  I admire the dedication of flower gardeners all over the world who faithfully clip, arrange, and photograph their garden’s bounty each Monday.  Cathy is in the pink again today, with some beautiful lilies she has grown this summer.

I hope you will click through to Cathy’s post and follow some of the links to enjoy today’s beautiful arrangements.

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 Woodland Gnome 2016

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Near Yorktown on the Parkway, just before sunset last night; the inspiration for today's vase....

Near Yorktown on the Parkway, just before sunset last night; the inspiration for today’s vase….

 

The Gathering

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Golden sun sinks below the treeline

As  shadows gather and gel into darkness.

The air smells green and damp.

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Silvery mist glides across the water;

Softly blurring land and lake,

Lake and sky,

Twilight and night.

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A heron waits,

Still and silent,

For the gathering.

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Grey on green, green on grey,

Sky on water, night on day;

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Boundaries blur and fade

As emerald August evening

Pauses, lingers, but still slowly

Melts  away.

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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WPC: Fray

A white egret wades in a pond along the Colonial Parkway this afternoon.

A white egret wades in a pond along the Colonial Parkway this afternoon.  A frayed fringe of grasses frames the pond.

 

“Frayed” is an excellent word to describe the end of August. 

After a long, hot, eventful summer, we may all feel a bit frayed around the edges.

 

Rose of Sharon flowers are still lovely, though the leaves are a bit frayed.

Rose of Sharon flowers are still lovely, though the leaves are a bit frayed.

 

The garden certainly looks a bit frayed after withstanding many weeks of heat and thunderstorms, hungry insects and hungry deer.

And the grasses blooming now along the roadsides offer a “frayed” fringe to all vistas.

 

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“Fray” itself is an interesting word.

Coming to us from middle English, it means that something is worn down, or worn out, to the point of beginning to come apart.

My jeans are nearly always frayed somewhere.

I was raised when it was fashionable to fray them in spots on purpose, which definitely frayed my mother’s nerves.

The first of the reblooming Iris sends up a bud against the old and frayed Comfrey foliage which has lasted the summer.

The first of the reblooming Iris sends up a bud against the old and frayed Comfrey foliage, which has lasted the summer.

 

But to become “frayed” implies that one has been in the thick of the action.

We might choose to “join the fray” as we add our voice to stand up for a good cause; or a bad one, as the case might be.

 

Losing the fray can mean ending up as someone else's dinner in the garden.

Losing the fray can mean ending up as someone else’s dinner in the garden.

 

In our garden, we are in the midst of an ongoing fray with hungry Bambis who steal in through the fences at night  to eat our “shrubberies.”

 

Frayed Oakleaf Hydrangea, grazed last night by the deer.

Frayed Oakleaf Hydrangea, grazed last night by the deer.

 

I found two “deer resistant” Oakleaf Hydrangeas “frayed” this morning; their beautiful leaves gone overnight into the maws of gourmet deer.

 

The other Hydrangea nibbled last night is also sadly frayed.

The other Hydrangea nibbled last night is also sadly frayed.

 

I’m often reminded that if I continue to plant, they will continue to come; which frays my expectations for a beautiful, lush garden.  But only a little…

 

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As we drove out to Jamestown this afternoon to visit our favorite vegetable stand for some of the last of this summer’s tomatoes, and some of the first of this year’s apple crop; we watched the frayed edges of storm clouds dip ever lower in the sky.

We waited, as for Gadot, for the promised thunderstorm which never came.

 

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But continuing on to the historic island itself, we noticed a creature running across the lawn near the causeway.

We had spotted it a few times before, always from a distance, and were happily surprised to find it out in the open today where we could photograph it.

 

The fox who came out near Jamestown  Island this afternoon.

The fox who came out near Jamestown Island this afternoon.

 

It was a fox.  A somewhat old and painfully thin fox, with a frayed tail and dull looking coat.

 

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And it had found something lying in the grass it  could eat.  It’s hunger must have fed its courage, and it stayed out in the open, despite our company and the passing traffic.

We are sorry to find the fox looking so thin with autumn coming quickly on.

 

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But that is the way of things in the wild.  Things remain a bit frayed around the edges year round, especially here at the last gasp of summer.

 

Osprey Eagle on the James River today.

Osprey Eagle on the James River today.

 

The elements of sun and wind, rain and lightening work their will on forest, field, and garden alike.

But what is frayed today, is often renewed with fresh growth of leaves and flowers soon enough.

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Whether its own new growth, or that of a conquering vine; it matters little.

Nature always wins, in the end.

 

Autumn Clematis scrambles over shrubs and trees on the river bank.  Its sweet fragrance fills the air with perfume.

Autumn Clematis scrambles over shrubs and trees on the river bank. Its sweet fragrance fills the air with perfume.

 

Getting “frayed” is only a stop along the path of re-newal. 

It is the way of things….

 

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Fray

 

With love, to a favorite aunt who let me know she cares enough to follow my ramblings here…..

 

Sweet Autumn Clematis, awash in sweet perfume.

Sweet Autumn Clematis, awash in sweet perfume.

The Beauties of the Earth

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                “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth

                 are never alone or weary of life.”

                       Rachel Carson

 

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              “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth

                find resources of strength

               that will endure as long as life lasts”

                      Rachel Carson

 

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            “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself,

              ‘What if I had never seen this before?

               What if I knew I would never see it again?’ “

                    Rachel Carson

 

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“It is a wholesome and necessary thing

for us to turn again to the earth

and in the contemplation of her beauties

to know the sense of wonder and humility. ”

Rachel Carson

 

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

Alliums grow wild along the Colonial Parkway near Yorktown.

Alliums  and native grasses grow wild along the Colonial Parkway near Yorktown.

Challenge is the operative word this week.

“Jennifer’s Weekly Photo Challenge”  inspires all sorts of weird and wonderful photos.  Everyone who participates may interpret it in their own way, and Jennifer is unfailing gracious to all of us who participate.

I was particularly touched by the lengths to which Jennifer herself went last week to create an interesting photo for Glow In The Dark.

Just a wonderful bit of photo-wizardry.  And I realized that she is putting tremendous effort into the little worlds she creates as her own entries.

Asclepias incarnata just coming into bloom.  Do you think the yellow orange on the bee might count as orange?

Asclepias syriaca just coming into bloom. Do you think the yellow orange on the bee might count as orange?

But I play by my own set of rules for this challenge. 

Since “Forest Garden” is about things green and growing, I prefer to meet Jennifer’s challenge with garden-themed photos.

Dandelions somehow seem a little to yellow to count for orange....

Dandelions somehow seem a little to yellow to count for orange….

And, I prefer to use fresh photos, taken within the last few days.  No stale photos here, thank you very much!

But  June is not a very good time of year for taking photos of  “orange” in the garden.

Had Jennifer offered up her “orange” challenge in October, it would have been simpler.

But here is “orange” in the first week of June, before we even have decent day lilies to photograph!

These wild daisies have "almost orange" centers....

These wild daisies have “almost orange” centers….

So my partner and I went in search of  “orange” this evening.

And we found such wildflowers as one dreams of in January- only in shades of plum and cream, yellow and pink.

White Achillea just coming into bloom among the daisies and purple milk vetch.

White Achillea just coming into bloom among the daisies and purple milk vetch.

I had hoped the Milkweed plants I had seen growing by the pond would be open in beautiful orange blossoms this evening.

But when we arrived, I realized the Asclepias was A. syriaca, not A. tuberosa as I had hoped.

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That means these lovely flowers were pink, not orange.

The Monarchs are happy with either plant.

And so the search continued up and down the Colonial Parkway, and finally into the village at Yorktown.

These lovely lilies grow in someone's yard in the historic area of Yorktown.  I hope they don't mind that I took photos with out first explaining our quest for orange....

These lovely lilies grow in someone’s yard in the historic area of Yorktown. I hope they don’t mind that I took photos with out first explaining our quest for orange….

He spotted the orange Oriental lilies growing in someone’s yard.  I realized that was the closest we would get, and quickly snapped the photo.

Still, it felt a bit like cheating…

On the way back we stopped by Indian Field Creek, where there is a safe place to park beside the York River.

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We had noticed Egrets there on the drive to Yorktown. 

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The Egrets have returned to Williamsburg, and we were delighted to spot several this evening, both flying and wading.

As I turned to leave, finally driven away from the beach by biting flies, there it was.

The perfect photo for Jennifer’s “Orange”  challenge.

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We had been spotting orange highway signs all evening.  And I had refused to photograph them because they aren’t anything to do with gardens or wildlife.

But somehow, this one seemed OK, rising majestically from a sea of lovely Alliums and native grasses, here beside the York River.

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All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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