Sunday Dinner: Transition

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“A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me

with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is

any more than he.”

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Walt Whitman

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“In all affairs

it’s a healthy thing now and then

to hang a question mark

on the things you have long taken for granted.”

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Bertrand Russell

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“In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.”

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Jeanette Winterson

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“Light precedes every transition.

Whether at the end of a tunnel,

through a crack in the door

or the flash of an idea,

it is always there,

heralding a new beginning.”

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Teresa Tsalaky

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“ ‘Siri, what is the meaning of life?’

She answers: ‘ To think about questions like this.’

Huh. Good one.”

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Kim Wright 

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

All photos at Jones Millpond from the Colonial Parkway in York County, Virginia

 

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday

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Photo by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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Blooming In November

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The garden still invites birds and pollinators, all sorts of hopping and buzzing insects, and even the occasional snail.

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We had night time temperatures dip into the upper 30’s over the weekend; but still no frost and certainly no deep freezes.  Our garden remains filled with flowers.

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The Salvias and Iris are especially nice this week.

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But so are the ginger lilies.  There is even a Canna blossom or two waving in the cooling breezes.

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We still have new roses opening daily.

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Some of the hardy Begonias remain in bloom.

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One special Clematis vine has bloomed non-stop since late March. It must be getting a bit tired, but it still sports a few dozen blue flowers today.

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Our two Bougainvillea vines have happily covered themselves in rose pink bracts framing their tiny white flowers.

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All of the Lantana continue pumping out prolific flowers, much appreciated by the few moths and butterflies still here.

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Their color just intensifies as temperatures cool.   Pentas and Geraniums also remain, and show their most concentrated color of the season.  Their vivid petals pop.

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Our garden remains a bright and happy place.

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A neighbor visited our garden this afternoon.  She hadn’t seen Iris which re-bloom in the autumn before.

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We wandered around talking about the plants, enjoying the scented herbs, and enjoying one another’s company.  I’m looking forward to her return visit when we can dig and divide a few things for her to transplant to her end of the street.

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It is always fun to share with other gardeners who will help spread the beauty around even further.

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The garden is surprisingly full of flowers for mid-November.  So many summer flowering plants are still going strong, even as our autumn flowers bloom.   And we are planting Violas and bulbs for winter and early spring.

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Novembers weather like this makes us very grateful to live in a spot where we have  long autumns to enjoy our garden before winter blows in.

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I am joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens to celebrate what is blooming in our garden this November.  Many of us are fortunate to have something in bloom every day of the year, with a bit of planning.  Finding such a variety of flowers still perfuming the garden this late in the season  brings tremendous joy as we watch it unfold anew each day.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

 

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Sunday Dinner: Peacemakers

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“-We need more love, to supersede hatred,

-We need more strength,  to resist our weaknesses,
-We need more inspiration, to lighten up our innermind. …

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“-We need more learning,  to erase our ignorance,
-We need more wisdom, to live longer and happier….

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“… -We need more truths, to suppress deceptions…

… We need more peace, to stay in harmony with our brethren…

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 …-We need more humility to be lifted up,
-We need more patience and not undue eagerness …

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“… -We need more sympathy, not apathy …

… -We need more focus, to avoid distraction …
 …-We need more optimism,  not pessimism …

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“-We need more peacemakers, not revolutionaries…

with these, we create an heaven on earth.”
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Michael Bassey Johnson

from, The Infinity Sign

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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Arum Unfolding

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Arum italicum is a new winter foliage plant for us.  We bought tubers and planted them in small pots last month.  Now, the first leaves have begun to unfold.

A native of the Mediterranean and parts of Europe, Arum thrives in partial shade in any average, moist soil in Zones 5-9.  It has naturalized in other areas, including parts of North and South America. Also known as ‘Italian Lords and Ladies,’ it eventually grow to about 18″ tall and wide.

Beautifully marked winter leaves will fuel creamy white spring flowers.

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But then showy red seeds will develop by late summer, which last for an extended period.  Evergreen south of Zone 6, this perennial will have an attractive presence through all four seasons in our garden.

The seeds are fertile and tasty to wild things.  They often sprout in other areas of the garden to increase the display.

Since I’ve not yet grown this Arum out, there aren’t many photos for you.  We have it in a pot and two separate beds so far, so we’ll see how it does for us.  This is supposed to be a deer resistant and somewhat poisonous plant.

Have you grown Arum italicum?  Do you have any words of advice for how to grow it to best advantage?

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Arum here with hardy Geranium, Lycoris foliage, Viola, and our first Colchicum 'Waterlily' to bloom.

Arum here with hardy Geranium leaves, Vinca minor, Lycoris foliage, Viola, and our first Colchicum ‘Waterlily’ to bloom.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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Woody Vines

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Strong, woody vines take hold easily and grow quickly, clambering up trees in the wild.  Without a vigilant gardener recognizing and removing these vines, they grow enthusiastically; reaching for the greater light high up in a tree’s canopy.

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Tiny airborne seeds, blown on the wind or left by birds, soon sprout and begin the climb.  The Virginia woods are interwoven with these familiar vines:  Trumpet Vine, Poison Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Honeysuckle, native grapes, Wisteria, Clematis, Kudzu and Ivy.

While some are native, others were imported from other parts of the planet as ornamentals…. and escaped.

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These vines need the support of shrubs and trees to grow.  Once they scamper up the trunk, they begin weaving through the branches.  Some  form aerial roots to support themselves, and perhaps draw moisture from a tree’s bark.  They aren’t true parasites because all have green leaves for synthesizing their nutrition from sunlight.

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But they can weight a tree down; create shade and sap its strength.

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Some vines, like this poison ivy, eventually grow massive trunks of their own.  These huge old vines hang from the branches in heavily wooded areas looking like great ropes for swinging.

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Most of these vines prove useful in some way.  Native grapes can be gathered.  Most are tasty if they last long enough on the vines to ripen.  But I’ve also harvested grapevines over many autumns to craft wreathes and for holiday decorations.  These vines grow quickly, and respond well to pruning.

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Others, like Honeysuckle, Clematis, Wisteria and Trumpet vine offer up nectar in summer and provide seeds in winter.  Even Poison Ivy makes berries enjoyed by birds in the winter months.

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Most of these vines crop up in our garden.  Even those which aren’t native have naturalized.  Once invited or allowed, they become fixtures.

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So it is good to recognize them when young, and understand their potential if left to grow.  Poison Ivy is easy:  eradicate it on sight.

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"Leaves of three, let it be". Poison Ivy growing in the edge of my garden.

“Leaves of three, let it be”. Poison Ivy growing in the edge of our garden.

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But I’m more tolerant of Virginia Creeper, which turns brilliant scarlet in autumn.

I let it grow in a few locations, but remove it where it could choke out younger shrubs and perennials.   But  ‘pruning back’ doesn’t eliminate vines like these.  Their extensive roots are tenacious, too, and simply send up new shoots.  To remove one of these vines, one must get the roots, as well.

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Honeysuckle vines tend to twine around trunks and branches, entangling themselves in the thickest part of a shrub.  I remove these in most parts of the garden, tolerating them only along one tall hedge for their sweet perfume in early summer.

A friend has offered me some Sweet Autumn Clematis from her garden, and I’m considering accepting the offer.

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Sweet Autumn Clematis

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I planted some in my last garden to soften a tall wooden fence.  It is appreciated by pollinators, and looks pretty when in bloom.  Sited carefully, it is a wonderful addition to the Autumn garden.  Because it self seeds, you have to remain vigilant or find your garden eventually sporting new vines everywhere.

Our long, moist, warm growing season favors abundant growth from vines.  They are just a part of our landscape. 

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Now that many leaves have fallen, Ivy covered trees along the side of the road shine in the sunlight.  They add interest, along with the native Holly trees in the understory and the Cedars and Pines along the edges of the woods.

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Along the path from the parking area to the boat ramp and docks.

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And the woody trunks of mature vines climb and twist through the stark silhouettes of our newly bare trees.  We see them now in all of their architectural splendor.

Majestic in their own right, they sometimes add to the beauty of our trees.

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They remain an important part of the forest community as well, helping feed small mammals and birds through the winter months ahead.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

More detailed information on these vines can be had here.

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“The Ancient Law of Life”

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“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.

I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.

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“In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.

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“Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.

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“When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

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“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

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“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life.

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“The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

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“A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me.

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“I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else.

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“I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy.

Out of this trust I live.”

Hermann Hesse

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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Layers

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Color lies in layers,

like a living, moving quilt

blanketing the garden,

 preparing for winter slumber.

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Soak  in every vibrant tint and hue

While one may;

While life vibrates

From petal and leaf, berry and seed.

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What more can one do

than wrap oneself, too, in such beauty?

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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Heads Up!

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Camellia shrubs eventually grow into small trees.

These beautifully neat, evergreen creatures hold their own in the border all year.  And then, when the days grow short, and every other tree is dropping its summer foliage, Camellias break out into hundreds of crisp, bright flowers.  Every opening bud makes us smile.

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And they invite us to look up to enjoy their particular beauty.  Even against a heavy grey sky; even against the living sculpture of bare limbs; Camellia flowers offer an optimistic greeting.

Old Camellias poke out over garden walls in historic Virginia neighborhoods.  They stand alongside Azaleas in our parks and botanical gardens.  They grow in churchyards and hug front porches, stalwart in their faithfulness from year to year.  Their woody limbs grow symmetrically, with strength and vigor.  Their romantic flowers can be found in many sizes and forms, but mostly in shades of pink, white, and red.

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A potted Camellia shrub is one of the best investments a gardener in our region can make.  For under $15.00, one can buy a lifetime of amazing beauty.  These Camellias were planted by the first owner of our garden, about 40 years ago.  And they bring us such pleasure all these years later.  Four different varieties grow side by side, and they bloom, one after another, from October until spring.

Like most woody shrubs, they are pretty self-sufficient once established.  These grow in the shade of tall deciduous trees, among a few Dogwoods, Azaleas, and a Gardenia shrub. Nothing fancy, but what a beautiful combination of congenial friends sharing this narrow strip between two driveways.  Our neighbor recently added a few Rhododendrons to the mix on his side.  So we enjoy nearly continuous blooms from October until June along our shared border.

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Heads up!  If you have a shady bit of land with average moisture, and you garden in Zone 7, 8, or 9; you, too, can grow Camellias.  Buy Camellia sasanqua in bloom from September through December.  Camellia japonica will come on the market, in bloom, next spring.  They require very little of the gardener, but give so much, year after year.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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Sunday Dinner: Community

November 6, 2015 Parkway 101

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“Everybody is a story.

When I was a child, people sat around kitchen tables

and told their stories. We don’t do that so much anymore.

Sitting around the table telling stories

is not just a way of passing time.

It is the way the wisdom gets passed along.

The stuff that helps us to live a life worth remembering.”


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Rachel Naomi Remen

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“I alone cannot change the world,

but I can cast a stone across the waters

to create many ripples.”


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Mother Teresa

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“One of the marvelous things about community

is that it enables us to welcome and help people

in a way we couldn’t as individuals.

When we pool our strength

and share the work and responsibility,

we can welcome many people,

even those in deep distress,

and perhaps help them find

self-confidence and inner healing.”


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Jean Vanier

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“The world is so empty if one thinks only

of mountains, rivers & cities;

but to know someone who thinks & feels with us,

and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit,

this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”


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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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