Sunday Dinner: Confidence

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“If ever there is tomorrow

when we’re not together…

there is something you must always remember.

You are braver than you believe,

stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think.

But the most important thing is,

even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

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A.A. Milne

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“Remember that wherever your heart is,

there you will find your treasure.”

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Paulo Coelho

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“You are the community now.

Be a lamp for yourselves.

Be your own refuge. Seek for no other.

All things must pass.

Strive on diligently.

Don’t give up.”

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Gautama Buddha

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“Human spirit is the ability to face

the uncertainty of the future

with curiosity and optimism.

It is the belief that problems can be solved,

differences resolved.

It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile.

It can be blackened by fear, and superstition.”

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Bernard Becket

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“Believe it can be done.

When you believe something can be done,

really believe,

your mind will find the ways to do it.

Believing a solution paves the way to solution.”

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David J. Schwartz

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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“Your greatness is revealed

not by the lights that shine upon you,

but by the light that shines

within you.”

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Ray A. Davis

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Love and Memory

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“We are all the pieces of what we remember.
We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears
of those who love us.
As long as there is love and memory,
there is no true loss.”
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Cassandra Clare
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“Give sorrow words;
the grief that does not speak
knits up the o-er wrought heart
and bids it break.”
.
William Shakespeare
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“His talent was as natural
as the pattern that was made by the dust
on a butterfly’s wings.
At one time he understood it no more
than the butterfly did,
and he did not know when it was brushed or marred.
Later he became conscious of his damaged wings
and of their construction
and he learned to think and could not fly any more
because the love of flight was gone
and he could only remember
when it had been effortless.”
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Ernest Hemingway
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“Letting go is the lesson.
Letting go is always the lesson.
Have you ever noticed
how much of our agony
is all tied up with craving and loss?”
.
Susan Gordon Lydon
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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“When those you love die,
the best you can do is honor their spirit
for as long as you live.
You make a commitment
that you’re going to take whatever lesson that person …
was trying to teach you,
and you make it true in your own life…
it’s a positive way
to keep their spirit alive in the world,
by keeping it alive in yourself.”
.
Patrick Swayze
~

 

 

 

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

 

Blossom XIV

August 26, 2016 spider 003

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“Patience is the calm acceptance

that things can happen in a different order

than the one you have in mind.”

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David G. Allen

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August 17, 2016 garden 004

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

 

Blossom I
Blossom II
Blossom III
Blossom IV
Blossom V
Blossom VI
Blossom VII
Blossom VIII
Blossom IX
Blossom X
Blossom XI
Blossom XII
Blossom XIV
Blossom V
BlossomVI
Blossom VII
Blossom VIII

Sunday Dinner: Giving

July 24, 2016 Hibiscus 014

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“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

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Kahlil Gibran

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July 24, 2016 Hibiscus 006

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“You often say ; I would give , but only to the deserving,

The trees in your orchard say not so,

nor the flocks in your pasture.

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and nights

is worthy of all else from you.

And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life

deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver ,

and an instrument of giving.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life-

while you , who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.”

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Kahlil Gibran

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July 24, 2016 Hibiscus 011

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“Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion.

Do not concern yourself with how much

you receive in return, just know in your heart

it will be returned.”

.

Steve Maraboli

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July 22, 2016 sunset 008

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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July 24, 2016 Hibiscus 010

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“Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity,

when I give I give myself.”


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Walt Whitman

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July 18, 2016 mugs 013

 

Blossom III

July 18, 2016 mugs 023

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“Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.”

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Claude Monet

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July 18, 2016 mugs 022

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“What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.”

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Claude Monet

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July 18, 2016 mugs 008

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“If you take a flower in your hand

and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.”

.

Georgia O’Keeffe

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July 18, 2016 mugs 024

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Details
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Blossom I
Blossom II
Blossom IV
Blossom V
Blossom VI
Blossom VII
Blossom VIII

Seeds to Share

This blue morning glory vine reseeds itself each season.  I have seeds to share.

This blue morning glory vine reseeds itself each season. I have seeds to share.

 

Sharing plants is one of the nicest things about gardening friendships. 

Several of us regularly share cuttings, seeds, and divisions within our own community.

These lovely Cannas were given by a friend last fall.

These lovely Cannas were given by a friend last fall.

If it grows for one of us, chances are very good that it will grow in our friends’ gardens, too!

Our visits nearly always end up with a gift of something which will grow.

A friend pulled this division of Sedum from her own pots one day over tea.  Now I must share it with the deer....

A friend pulled this division of Sedum from her own pots one day over tea. Now I must share it with the deer….

 

And our gardens grow as constant reminders of our friendships.

 

Blogging friend Michael, of Michael's Woodcraft, send these divisions of Lemon Lime Hosta earlier this summer.  All of his divisions are growing well!

Blogging friend Michael, of Michael’s Woodcraft, send these divisions of Lemon Lime Hosta earlier this summer. All of his divisions are growing well!

 

I’ve exchanged seeds, cuttings, and divisions with a few blogging friends this summer, too.

 

Barbara, from Silver In the Barn brought this lovely clump of Iris.  I am so looking forward to seeing them bloom next May!

Barbara, from Silver In the Barn brought this lovely clump of Iris when she came to visit.   I am so looking forward to seeing them bloom next May!

 

What a joy to share our gardens and love of plants with one another!

 

Rose of Sharon seeds are ripening now, and may be collected for anyone who wants them.  These small trees bloom after three or four years of growth.

Rose of Sharon seeds are ripening now, and may be collected for anyone who wants them. These small trees bloom after three or four years of growth.

 

I have gathered seeds this autumn from our beautiful blue morning glory vine and from our native Hibiscus moscheutos, and will be happy to share.

 

Native Hibiscus moschuetos.  I have seeds of red, pink, and this lovely white variety.

Native Hibiscus moscheutos. I have seeds of red, pink, and this lovely white variety to share.

 

I sent a packet off to a blogging friend in today’s mail, and have plenty left to share with others who may be interested.

The morning glory is an annual and reseeds itself each year.

 

August 3, 2014 butterflies 015

 

It should grow anywhere the growing season is at least two to three months long.

The Hibiscus is a perennial in Zones 5-10.

 

Native Hibiscus blooming in our garden this morning.

Native Hibiscus blooming in our garden this summer.

 

It will take a few years for the plant to bloom, but it is stunning and gives more than a month of blooms once it does.

Please leave me a comment if you would like seeds from either of these beautiful plants.

 

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

This is my favorite Begonia to share.  I've given cuttings to many friends.  They root very easily.

This is my favorite Begonia to share. I’ve given cuttings to many friends. They root very easily.

River Beach, July Morning

Beach along the James River

Beach along the James River

We awoke to a morning cool and bright, with a steady breeze energizing the garden, and us.

Every leaf and vine sparkled with raindrops left from the storms which blew through all day yesterday, and late into the evening.

July 24, 2014 hummingbird 051

With the garden already rain soaked, we felt free to take off this morning for a rare visit to the beach.

We wanted to enjoy the early morning quiet, bury our feet in the sand, and enjoy the cool winds  blowing in across the river.

july 25, 2014 beach 031

 

Most Virginia beaches are  river beaches. 

 

A Bald Cypress grows here along the beach.

A Bald Cypress grows here along the beach.

 

The Chesapeake Bay begins just north of Virginia Beach, and is fed with a succession of rivers which drain thousands of miles of land from the Allegheny mountains to the coast.

The Eastern Shore, as we call it in Virginia, forms a narrow, sandy buffer between the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.

 

Osprey eagles have claimed this hunting blind in the middle of the James River.

Osprey eagles have claimed this hunting blind in the middle of the James River.

Our James River begins far to our west across the mountains, at the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers.

It meanders across the state, accepting water brought to it from many other small rivers along the way, through Richmond, until it empties into the Atlantic just to the south of the mouth of the Bay.

 

A Great Blue Heron lands on the opposite shore, at the mouth of College Creek.  The Spanish landed here in 1570, and traveled northwards towards the York River, where they attempted to plant a colony.  It was attacked by the Native American nation living here at the time.

A Great Blue Heron lands on the opposite shore, at the mouth of College Creek. The Spanish landed here in 1570, and traveled northwards towards the York River, where they attempted to plant a colony.  It was attacked by the Native American nation living here at the time, and the Spanish focused their energy elsewhere.

 

The York River, a few miles to our north, is the southernmost Virginia river to empty into the Chesapeake Bay.

Working northwards, there is the Piankatank River, the Rappahannock River,  the Wicomoco River, and finally the Potomac River; whose bank forms Virginia’s northern boundary near the coast.

If these names sound a bit strange to your tongue, it is because they reflect the language of the Native Americans who loved this land before the English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Polish, German, and Africans came to claim it from them.

Looking across the James towards Surry County..  New contruction will begin soon on the point of land to the left.

Looking across the James towards Surry County.   New residential  construction will begin soon on the point of land to the left.

Many of my friends, when I was growing up, spent weekends and summers “at The River.”

Only they spoke it, “At The Rivah.”

Since I grew up near the James and the Dan rivers, this was always a bit of a mystery to me.

The Marina of a large neighboring community

The Marina of a large neighboring community

 

Years later, living along the Rappahannock,  in that secretive and enchanted part of the state known to us as, “The Northern Neck;”  I finally understood them.

Miles and miles of sandy beaches line these narrow fingers of land outstretched into the salty Bay.

 

Beaches just like this one line miles and miles of Virginia's rivers as they near the Chesapeake Bay.

Beaches just like this one line miles and miles of Virginia’s rivers as they near the Chesapeake Bay.

 

This once was the land of oysters and Blue Crabs, fishing boats, thousands of wild shore birds, camp grounds, artists’ colonies, and tiny coastal towns.

It is a slow, clannish, rural way of life lived along country roads lined with wildflowers and farms.

Life has changed, even there, as pollution washing into the Bay kills the sea life which once fueled the local economies.

 

july 25, 2014 beach 052

Still, it is a different world from the land of “Virginia Beach,” tucked into the southeastern most corner of Virginia.

Gateway to the Outer Banks  of North Carolina, and the miles of sandy Atlantic Ocean beaches to our south, the “resort strip” of hotel lined, manufactured beaches and beach cottage rental neighborhoods; the resort city is a place apart from the rest of the state.

It has taken on an urban feel.  Bulldozers rake the beaches each night, and dredges re-build them periodically with sand from the shipping channels.

Container ships and Naval vessels pass just offshore.

 

july 25, 2014 beach 046

While our Atlantic beaches are mostly dead now, with little sea life left for miles offshore; our river beaches teem with life.

Grasses and trees grow right down to the water, sinking their roots into sand, soil, and stone.

Fish jump and birds swim.

Bald eagles converse during their morning hunt.

Bald eagles converse during their morning hunt.

 

Eagles and herons converse during the morning hunt; while cardinals, goldfinches, and red winged blackbirds glide from tree to tree in the thickets.

Dragonflies form thick clouds over the grasslands and marshes.

Empty shells wash up on the beach, evidence that clams and other shellfish can still live here.

 

july 25, 2014 beach 029

The pollution washing into the James from every farm and town it touches along the way has not completely overwhelmed it yet.

This is one of the most “alive” areas along the Virginia coast now.

We never fail to find nesting eagles along the banks of the James.  They are a harbinger of the river’s health and vitality.

 

july 25, 2014 beach 035

While we can never restore a natural environment to its state at some arbitrary point in the past; we can preserve, and sometimes even improve, the environment as we find it.

This has happened here. 

The early colonists clear cut much of this area; overpopulated it;  polluted it;  and planted crops, such as tobacco, which depleted the soil.

 

Native Black Locust trees, full of seedpods, grow along the beach.

Native Black Locust trees, full of seedpods, grow along the beach.

 

Since this strip of land was converted to a National Park early in the 20th Century, and since Federal law limited the most harmful chemicals which destroy bird populations, there has been a resurgence of life along this stretch of the river.

Native species of trees have grown back, grasses have covered the fields, marshes have evolved into their current state of beauty.

 

july 25, 2014 beach 051

Deer populations are stronger now than they were in the 17th century, largely because they are unchallenged by predators and are rarely hunted.

Nature never finds itself completely in balance.  Things are always shifting.

july 25, 2014 beach 047

James City County recently approved construction of a new section of a  neighborhood which fronts this river.  It  will have its own devastating impact on the beaches and wildlife  for years to come.

But for this moment, this morning, the James River beach near us was mostly a place of beauty. 

We hope it will remain a cradle for wildlife, loved and protected, for all those generations yet to come.

Bald Eagle, resting along the river's bank this morning.

Osprey  Eagle, resting along the river’s bank this morning.

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

A “Dirty Hands” Garden Club

Colocasia, "Blue Hawaii"

Colocasia, “Blue Hawaii”

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I would love to join  a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club;

One whose members know more about fertilizers

Than they do about wines…

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July 19, 2014 Container 044

A gift of Glads, from a sister gardener…

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I ‘d want our meetings spent wandering through nurseries,

Learning from  expert gardeners,

Or building community gardens…

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Bumblebee on Lantana

Bumblebee on Lantana

 

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Not frittered away in chit chat over hors d’oeuvres .

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Bumblebee on Basil

Bumblebee on Basil

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And all of us would be at least a little expert in something,

Glad to share what we’ve learned;

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Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

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And we all would love putting our hands in the dirt

To help something grow.

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Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

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My club would collect species, not dues;

Re-build ecosystems rather than plant Ivy and  Box.

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Blue dragonfly on Lantana

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

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We “dirty hands” gardeners can band together

In spirit, if not in four walls.

We can share plants and insights,

Instigate, propagate, and appreciate;

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Rooted Begonia cutting

Rooted Begonia cutting resting on a bowl of Pitcherplants

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Perhaps we can even help re-habilitate 

Some sterile lawn somewhere,

Into something which nurtures beauty

And feeds souls….

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A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

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Others can judge flowers,

Decorate homes at Christmas

And organize tours.

These things are needed, too.

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Native Hibiscus

Native Hibiscus

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(But I would rather be out in the garden;

Where cardinals preside over the morning meeting,

And  hummingbirds are our special guests for the day.

The daily agenda ranges from watering to transplanting;

From pruning to watching for turtles and dragonflies.)

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July 20, 2014 hummingbird 010

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We  wear our muddy shoes and well worn gloves with pride,

Our spades and pruners always close at hand.

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July 19, 2014 Container 051

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We converse with Nature,

And re-build the web strand by strand,

Plant by plant.

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July 20, 2014 butterflies 001

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If this invitation speaks to you,

Perhaps we can work together,

From wherever we might find ourselves

Around the globe.

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July 19, 2014 Container 023

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We can each put our hands in the dirt

and create a garden,

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July 19, 2014 Container 025

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Nurture Beauty,

And restore health and vitality to our Earth, together.

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July 19, 2014 Container 024

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Does a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club

Appeal to you?

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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Canna

Canna

Wild Hibiscus

Native Swamp Mallow, Hibiscus Muscheotos,, on Jamestown Island.

Native Swamp Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos,, on Jamestown Island.

Swamp Mallow, or Hibisucus moscheutos, earned its name honestly.

One of our most flamboyant native plants here in Virginia, this beautiful perennial loves to grow in swamps and  along ditches,  where it can get full to partial sun

I’ve been watching for it to bloom in the wild places where we’ve found it growing other summers.

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 022

Its exact date for blooming is a fine alchemy of temperature, moisture, sun, and wind.

But since it’s been flowering  in our garden for nearly a week, I knew it had to be in bloom somewhere near the river, in the swampy lowlands along its banks.

And yesterday we finally noticed the large white blossoms of our native Hibiscus peaking through the reeds on Jamestown Island.

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 024

This acreage floods and drains with the tides and weather.

The rich, moist soil supports hundreds of species of life, all coming and going in rhythm and harmony as the seasons unfold.

Ferns grow along the edge of the marsh where we found wild Hibiscus,

Native ferns grow along the edge of the marsh where we found wild Hibiscus,

From the Park Service’s single lane road, there is a narrow, banked  skirt of mown grasses leading to a shallow ditch, and then wet wildness beyond.

I would imagine the water has come up and covered the road from time to time in this low spot.

July 14, 2014 Jamestown Island 027

But out among all of the Pickerel Weed, Cattails, reeds, and grasses, we found Swamp Mallow reaching for the sky to open its beautiful blossoms to the sun.

High enough for butterflies and bees to find and pollinate, our Hibiscus has succeeded this year in its quest:  to open its blossoms so it has the opportunity to produce seeds, and extend its life ever outward and onwards.

 

The same Hibiscus Moscheutos growing in our garden.

The same Hibiscus moscheutos growing in our garden.

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Native ferns found near the wild Hibiscus.

Native ferns found near the wild Hibiscus.

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