Sunday Dinner: Golden

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

~

“I did not know that mankind were suffering

for want of gold. I have seen a little of it.

I know that it is very malleable,

but not so malleable as wit.

A grain of gold will gild a great surface,

but not so much as a grain of wisdom.”

.

Henry David Thoreau

~

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“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

.

J.R.R. Tolkien

~

Helleborus

Helleborus orientalis

~

“But Nature granted to gold and silver

no function with which we cannot easily dispense.

Human folly has made them precious

because they are rare.

In contrast, Nature, like a most indulgent mother,

has placed her best gifts out in the open,

like air, water and the earth itself;

vain and unprofitable things

she has hidden away in remote places.”

.

Thomas More

~

Mahonia aquifolium

Mahonia aquifolium

~

“Ô, Sunlight!

The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”


.

Roman Payne

~

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~

“Very soon nations will understand

that in reality water is the most expensive

natural resource for their survivals.

Not Middle East oil neither African gold.”

.

M.F. Moonzajer

~

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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~

“Times of adversity are golden moments.”

.

Lailah Akita

~

Magnolia stellata buds

Magnolia stellata buds

~

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Wednesday Vignettes: Winter Beginnings

Helleborus argutifolius 'Snow Fever' offering its first flowers of the season.

Helleborus argutifolius ‘Snow Fever’ offering its first flowers of the season.

~

“Those who love much, do much

and accomplish much,

and whatever is done with love is done well….

~

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~

“… Love is the best and noblest thing

in the human heart, especially

when it is tested by life

as gold is tested by fire. …

~

Magnolia stellata in bud

Magnolia stellata in bud

~

“… Happy is he who has loved much,

and although he may have wavered and doubted,

he has kept that divine spark alive

and returned to what

was in the beginning and ever shall be….

~

Mahonia aquifolia

Mahonia aquifolium coming into bloom with Magnolia liliiflora in bud

~

“… If only one keeps loving faithfully

what is truly worth loving

and does not squander one’s love

on trivial and insignificant and meaningless things

then one will gradually

obtain more light and grow stronger.”

.

Vincent Van Gogh

~

Helleborus

Helleborus

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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Cercis canadensis seedpod left by the wind

Cercis canadensis seedpod left by the wind

~

“Go out in the woods, go out.

If  you don’t go out in the woods

nothing will ever happen

and your life will never begin.”

.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

~

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“Imagination makes the world
and all the wonders in it.
The seed of every dream unfurls
as you with love begin it!”

.

Eric Micha’el Leventhal

~

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Winter Solstice: “Let There Be Light!”

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“Namaste.

It was a Nepalese greeting.

It meant: The light within me bows to the light within you.”

.

Jennifer Donnelly

~

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~

 

“Find the light. Reach for it.

Live for it. Pull yourself up by it.

Gratitude always makes for straighter, taller trees.”

.

Al  Young

~

december-21-2016-winter-solstice-002

~

“It may be that you are not yourself luminous,

but that you are a conductor of light.

Some people without possessing genius

have a remarkable power of stimulating it.”

.

Arthur Conan Doyle

~

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“Gardens are made of darkness and light entwined.”

.

F.T. McKinstry

~

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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“May every sunrise hold more promise

and every sunset hold more peace…”

.

Umair Siddiqui

~

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~

Merry Yule!

Happy Solstice! 

And the Blessings of Yalda to you and yours!

 

A Breath of Spring

January 7, 2015 winter flowers 004

  ~

“We may not know whether our understanding is correct,

or whether our sentiments are noble,

but the air of the day surrounds us  like spring

which spreads over the land

without our aid or notice.”

.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

We’ve not yet had a proper winter; and here is the first snowdrop.  It caught me by surprise.  I noticed it earlier, as I headed  inside laden with groceries.  There nodded a perfect white flower, harbinger of spring, on this January day.

Thus far we’ve imbibed real winter only from the Weather Channel.  Our cold has come in short two or three day bursts, interspersed with days which leave us wondering whether it is November or May.

We did have two hard freezes earlier this week.  The stalwart Geraniums, left behind near the backdoor when their cousins came inside, finally succumbed; or almost.  “….. Not dead yet!”  Damaged leaves cloak still living stems and roots.

But the bulbs are awakening.  Tentative green leaves have shown themselves in all parts of the garden now; just as the last of this year’s lot were buried in the still  malleable soil.

~

January 7, 2015 winter flowers 005

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And the Hellebores!  Like precocious schoolgirls, they are flirting with the sun as though it were March already.

It’s January, but we haven’t seen a flake of snow.  The front lawn has sparkled with frost a time or two, so pretty in the morning sun.  But who can argue with spring?  No matter how late or how early, swelling buds and fresh green leaves never fail to make me smile.

~

Looks a little like a Marigold or Dahlia, doesn't it? Can you name this winter 'flower?"

Looks a little like a Marigold or a Dahlia, doesn’t it? Can you name this winter ‘flower?”

Solstice in Blossoms

Daffodils blooming here on December 20....

Daffodils blooming here on December 20….

~

Happy Winter Solstice to you!

Our morning was filled with bright sunshine and blue skies.  It has been unusually warm here today.   The clouds moved in this afternoon, but the nearly full moon rose early, and is shining brightly in a huge corona through the misty, drifting haze.

It was still in the mid-50s at 7 PM  here; a little above the usual mid-day high for us in December.  But the garden is loving it!

~

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Yesterday morning, my partner told me about an odd flower he had spotted.  He had picked it up where the rain had beaten it down into the lawn.  He said it looked a little like a Daffodil.  But isn’t it much too early for Daffodils in December?

And he was right; on both counts.  When I finally went out to look in the afternoon, the setting sun illuminated those yellow blossoms so sweetly.

~

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We had gone out to chase a few rogue deer who somehow snuck into the garden.  And rounding the corner, there were golden roses proudly blooming on a climber which normally blooms only in the spring.  It had re-awakened to share a few special winter blossoms with us.

~

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Even after a cold snap this weekend and frost on Saturday morning, the flowers keep coming all over the garden.  We have Camellias and Violas, Snaps and roses.  And now this golden Daffodil, too….

~

This Camellia normally blooms each spring. Do you see the open Forsythia blossom in the photo? If it is 80 here on Christmas Eve, as is forecast, I expect this shrub to begin leafing out by New Year's Day....

This Camellia normally blooms each spring.  Do you see the open Forsythia blossom in the photo? If it is 80 here on Christmas Eve, as is forecast, I expect this shrub to begin leafing out by New Year’s Day….

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Indoors, our Amaryllis has bloomed in record time.  And such blossoms! 

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This is the special, huge, bulb I brought home form The Great Big Greenhouse in Richmond.  What flowers!  Only the first stem has bloomed so far, so we have at least four more blossoms to open this week.

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It was fine, until I moved it for better photographs.  That upset the balance, and the stem and leaves were flopping over by early evening.  Hindsight, right…?

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But now I’ve staked it with a coil of copper wire and a green stake from a peony cage.   The flowers are standing up proudly again, so pretty in the morning sun.

~

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These final ‘blossoms’ are not flowers at all; they are our ornamental cabbages, with their outrageously ornate leaves.  They appear quite happy with our mild December weather.  They will hold up to snow, but too many bitterly cold nights will show up on the leaves.

~

December 21, 2015 flowers 021

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This afternoon, we  finally brought  our Christmas tree indoors, and its fresh aroma has begun to fill our home with that special fragrance of Christmas.  I hope to get lights on it later this evening.

But these last days before Christmas are full ones. 

The beauty of our Solstice blossoms invites us to slow down; to appreciate the beauty, and not get completely lost in the flurry of  endless tasks and errands.

~

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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Winter Rainbow

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Part of a “sun dog” rainbow in the afternoon sky over College Creek on New Year’s Day.

Winter’s palette turns to shades of grey, blue, green, brown and white; a much quieter, more restful world of color than what surrounds us the rest of the year.

The view from our deck this morning.  The temperature was up to about 15 F by the time we ventured out of doors.

The view from our deck this morning. The temperature was up to about 15 degrees by the time we ventured out of doors.

When the sun is shining from a brilliantly clear winter sky, everything is touched with gold and silver sparkles of light.  It is almost blinding reflected from ice and water.

Our Violas are solidly frozen this morning but will bounce back once they thaw out sometime tomorrow.

Our Violas are solidly frozen this morning, but will bounce back once they thaw out sometime tomorrow.

Although some areas remain blanketed in snow for much of winter, we never see it for more than a few days here and there- if at all.  “Snow day” is still synonymous with “holiday” in my mind, as it  has meant an unexpected day off to enjoy as I pleased for much of my life.

We wait for it, hope for it, and celebrate the snow if it comes.  Many winters we never see anything more than flurries.   And so color remains with us throughout winter.   Beauty is everywhere.

Birds, berries, and the occasional Camellia blossom add pops of red in our winter gardens.

The Swiss chard looked good enough to eat on New Year's Eve.

The Swiss chard looked good enough to eat on New Year’s Eve.

Violas, Mahonia, Helleborus, and Crocus offer blossoms in purples, oranges, yellows, pinks, white and red through the coldest winter days.  We can enjoy something blooming in the garden every single day of the year.

What delicious luxury.  We only have to look for it, and we are still surrounded by all of the colors of the rainbow.  The shades, tints, and hues have shifted subtly, winter paints in a different palette, but color never leaves us entirely.

American holly berries glow red in the winter sunshine. They will all be enjoyed by hungry birds and squirrels over the next few weeks.

American holly berries glow red in the winter sunshine. They will all be enjoyed by hungry birds and squirrels over the next few weeks.

So here is our winter rainbow from Williamsburg, Virginia.  I’ve stretched the rules a bit for Tuesday Snapshots today.  One photo was taken inside to capture the beautiful red of a bowl, and a few photos are a little more than a week old now, though they would look nearly the same if taken today.

I hope you are warm, and well, and able to enjoy this beautiful day.  It looks like a fine day to finish off the fruitcake left from Christmas, if there is any, and to settle in with a wonderful new novel penned by a friend.

All photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

ROY G. BIV (Forestgarden)

Tuesday Snapshots:

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