We Must Be Mad With Joy

 “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ~Iris Murdoch, Irish author

Garden after rain

Garden after rain

The thunderstorms passed by quickly, leaving a few large drops of rain in their wake and some empty threats of weather violence.  We have fared far better than our neighbors in the American West, those unfortunate victims of extreme tornados who still struggle to recover their lives. Even as I grieve for them, I celebrate my own small corner of land in the foothills of western Pennsylvania.

Tonight, the garden in twilight is luxuriating in its richness of leaf and flower and I cannot end my stroll. It is bewitching. Leaves of every shape and form spring out and blend – all of the plants in my garden touch and jostle each other – no Puritan “touch me not” unplanted spaces here! Oh, this is an excess of green and growing that sings a great chorus in the dusk of a warm early summer day.  Yes, many plants bloom in May – the insignia of iris, the globes of allium, the stars of clematis, the blooms of columbine, lilac and others.  But May is feckless in its headlong plunge into green growth from the carpet beneath one’s feet to the canopy among the trees. May is fragrant and headstrong, the vibrant green path leading and spilling us into June.

Lamb's ear rising up to bloom

Lamb’s ear rising up to bloom

The silver lamb’s ear have risen to a foot high impossibility in the past few days, ready to bloom and nourish the bees –their bright foliage outlines the beds in the garden. The swords of daylily leaves create circular swirls of green blades, predicting their July bloom – a  promise of color and form to come. Beauty bush and lilac burst with thousands of tiny flowers, mounds of color and scent that greet the morning and bless the warmth of the evening, alive with the buzzing of bees seeking nectar. And so it goes. May is so full of voluptuous beauty and scented flowers that it sends the senses reeling with the experience of it, making us mad with joy.

Wild black cherry (Prunus serotina)

Wild black cherry (Prunus serotina)

The surrounding woods are filled with the blooms of native black cherry, dangling white racemes that scent the air with their sweetness. Every day, a dozen new flowers awake and open and bring a new shape and scent to the bounty of the garden. I can hardly keep up; I mulch and trim and plant seedlings but it is as if I were on the end of the “crack the whip” game – I can only hold on tight and try my best to serve the beauty of the garden as I am flung and swung through its spurt of green growth and scented flowering. Here are a few images captured that may share some small part of this beauty; click on the first image to open the gallery. (All photographs ©2013 Lynn Emberg Purse)

It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

To see more photos and read more about the fragrant wild black cherry that is native to the eastern US, see Bernadette’s post Wild Black Cherry.

Beauty for a Day

Hemerocallis or daylily – from the Greek “hemera” (day) and “kalos” (beautiful) translated as “beauty for a day” –  a hardy perennial native to China, Japan, and Korea whose flowers last for only one day

Although I have been deep in multiple projects for the past two weeks, I found time the past few mornings to grab a few photos from the garden.  The intense heat has driven garden bloom from rose season into daylily season.

I love daylilies for their huge variety of color, shape, size and durability. If you are only familiar with the orange roadside dayilies, you may be surprised to find that there are literally thousands of modern hybrids to choose from, often with fanciful names and exotic shapes and patterns.  I love coordinating daylily bloom colors with other flowers and foliage. One of my favorite color beds in the garden is the “grape and lemonade” bed – cool lemons and deep purples, a color scheme inspired by daylily ‘Etched Eyes’ hybridized by Matthew Kaskel.

Here are a few portraits of the early season bloomers. For more information on the wonderful world of daylilies, visit the American Hemerocallis Society.

All images ©2012 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

Fibonacci, What a Notion!

Fibonacci, what a notion of the motion of the world. . .

Fibonacci, What a Notion! was originally commissioned by the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh. Written for children’s choir and jazz ensemble Catch 22, the piece is about the Fibonacci number series and also uses Fibonacci numbers in its construction.  I’ve been writing and recording for the past few weeks and am in the process of reworking this piece for myself as well as for my ensemble. Here’s the first verse of the original piece. 

Fibonacci, what a notion of the motion of the world! One, one, two, three, five, and eight, Add each one accumulate the number called the Golden Section. How to measure such perfection? One, one, two, three, five, and eight, Fibonacci, what a notion of the motion of the world! (lyrics ©2009 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

If you haven’t heard of the Fibonacci number series, perhaps you are familiar with Continue reading

Misty Mysterious Morning

This morning, heavy mist lay across the garden.  Beautiful, mysterious, quiet . . .

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All photos ©2011 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved
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