Like the First Morning

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. ~ Thoreau

sunnyhillsideWPEach morning this week began with a walk through an ever-changing garden. Spring is building up to an astonishing crescendo of color and texture and growth, all laid against a ground of fresh green. The early dawn chorus of birdsong masks the ordinary noises of  the world – robins, bluejays, cardinals, and red-tailed hawks zoom through the woods as they raise new families, argue over territory, and search for food. As I wander through the garden every day, the same song comes to mind. “Morning has broken like the first morning; blackbird has spoken like the first word.” Yes, each morning this week feels like the first morning, fresh, new, full of life.

On one particular morning, the garden sparkled in the morning sun from the previous night’s rain, and as I walked through the wet grass, more lyrics came to mind. “Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven, like the first dewfall on the first grass.”


Tulips are the rising stars. One of my favorites is ‘Shirley’, white with feathered purple edges and a stunning center of blue. White daffodils and wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) are fitting companions to its beauty. (Click on any photo in the mosaic to see a larger version)

Lilac ‘Beauty of Moscow’ is adding its sweet scented blooms to the mix as it cascades over the fence, while in the woodland, the trees and shrubs are still leafing out and shade loving peonies bloom quietly amid the emerging ferns and hostas.

Each day feels like a miracle, a new chance for new growth and life. I wish you all a beautiful morning walk in your daily life. “Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden . . .”

Here is the 1971 version of Morning has Broken that I hear in my head as I walk through the garden (original text by Eleanor Farjeon, 1931, set to a Scottish hymn tune).

41 thoughts on “Like the First Morning

  1. I just gave myself a Mother’s Day gift by playing “Morning Has Broken” while meditating on ALL your garden shots–starting with the winter scenes and moving up to the current spring shots. What a treat. Just when I think your garden can’t become more beautiful, you never fail to astonish me. Not to mention that your photography is just stellar. Bravo!

    • Eleanor, Happy Mother’s Day! I am honored that you treated yourself by visiting my virtual garden 🙂 I just finished the semester and am looking forward to spending most of each day in the garden; more photos to come.

  2. Hi Lynn – I attended your presentation about Garden Fit at the recent master gardeners meeting. As a result I purchased the Fiskars weed pulling tool and OH MY it is wonderful and actually fun to do! Thanks! I always love your photos.

  3. ok a really dumb question so i feel vulnerable about it, tulips ….
    when does one put in the bulbs? after they bloom all that space is wasted by green, do you cut them down to the ground so others fill in? or do you yank them out and then have to plant other things or must you plant new tulips every season you plant them

    • There are no dumb questions, Elisa! Some tulips like ‘Shirley’ are persistent, so I leave them in place and they rebloom each year. The one rule with all bulbs is that their foliage must die down before removing because it feeds the bulb for the following year. That said, I have some bulbs that I lift from the ground after flowering and allow them to “ripen” in the sun before replanting them in the fall. Also, I tend to plant all of my bulbs in and around other plants which makes the overall scene look nice and the growing plants hide the dying bulb foliage. I think of it as condo time sharing for the garden – each plant occupies a different part of the soil and has its own “starring” moment 🙂

    • Steve, I was in college when Cat Steven’s version was popular. Our choir sang the hymn at a local church service and our director had to warn us to sing it as written and not as popularized; I think we were all surprised to see it in the hymnal!

      The history of hymns is fascinating; yes,the tune to “Morning Has Broken” was originally sung as a Christmas hymn, as you pointed out. Hymns are always listed in the back of the hymnal by their hymn tune name and their metrical structure so that new texts can be written or other texts substituted. A great example is Hyfrydol, which is a well known tune with many different text versions. Then there are verses set to different hymn tunes – fascinating stuff.

  4. You’re in love! With Spring! And all the plants are rising stars in your garden…
    It was nice to hear the Cat Stevens song again, and interesting to read it was an older Scottish song, or lyric. But what about that line, “Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden”? I love that! And it’s highly appropriate where I live.

    • Lynn, yes, you are so right! I am in love with spring and the rising up of the garden to meet it. Glad you enjoyed the song – it does have an interesting history. Wet gardens, something gardeners love 🙂

  5. I enjoyed the photographs, and the Cat Stevens song (though didn’t he go a bit off the rails with religion later in life?). Your tulips are lovely, though my favorite tulips have strong, bright oranges, yellows, and reds. Love the picture of the blue phlox.

    • Thanks, Jason – I like the strong colors too and nothing carries them better than tulips! Do you grow the blue phlox? It is native, bees love it but so do the deer. The one featured is behind the fence, protected and thriving.

  6. One of my favourite songs – thank you. Spring has certainly exploded over here in the UK this year – the result of a very warm April – and how wonderful it is to see the greening-up of the countryside. Lovely gallery of images.

  7. “every day feels like a miracle…” so perfectly captures each new day in the garden in Spring. Thank you! If only I could smell those lilacs! Miss them so! 🙂

    • Carol, I’m glad the tulips spoke to your artistic soul. Morning Has Broken is in some of my hymnals too, but not as ornamented as the C.S. version – still lovely. Nature hymns have always been my favorites.

  8. You have such a lovely garden, it is a joy to visit it with you. And I love the Cat Stephens version of this song – beautiful images to accompany the song too. My garden is a fraction of the size of yours, but every day I have to go out and see what else is starting to grow. Spring is my favourite season though this year it is all happening so quickly!

    • Thank you, Jude. You are so right, spring does happen quickly, nothing ever looks the same two days in a row and it’s hard to keep up with the changes that need attention! Still, that is the fun of having a garden.

  9. Regarding spring this year: don’t blink or you’ll miss it. The redbud, for instance, is already leafing out in central Indiana (I’m not sure the blooms even lasted a full week). I return to northeast Illinois in two days and I wonder how things will look up there.

    Beautiful images, not incidentally.

  10. Spring has galloped into Maine with such a speed that it makes my head spin. Lovely pictures! And I was a huge Cat Stevens fan and couldn’t resist playing the song.

  11. Happy Earth Day, Lynn! It looks like you’re at least 2-3 weeks ahead of us…it all happens so quickly, the emergence, budding, and blooming, this time of year, doesn’t it? It feels like every day there are visible changes in the winter-to-spring flow.

    We’ve had so much rain that this will be our first entire gardening weekend…so much to do, but we’ll have to move mindfully and realistically, to best parcel out our energy. We always have to remind ourselves that we’re in the flow and it never ends. 🙂 Best to dip in and out of the “work” of gardening and, like you, step back and just be with the beauty of what is.

    Thank you for your beautiful images and words. You inspire me, as always.

    • Happy Earth Day, Kitty! I love our big blue marble, I hope we keep it in good health. Enjoy your day in the garden – no better way to spend it, in my humble opinion 🙂 Our spring is very early, by two weeks at least, but at least the temperature swings have seemed to settle down a bit. Enjoy the earth!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.