An instrument of grace

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature is a help. Gardening is our instrument of grace.  ~May Sarton

Each morning this week began with a stroll through the garden. Under blue skies and surrounded by the peace of the green woods, there was so much to see. Time to put away the troubles of the world and enter the sanctuary of nature for a moment of grace. Won’t you join me on my walk this morning?

The upper garden is in its final moment of glory. Alliums, foxglove, iris and peonies create a spectacle of color and shape.


Peony ‘Krinkled White’ is always generous with her blooms and shrugs off the rains that drop other peonies to the ground. (Click on any photo in the mosaic to see a full-size image)

Allium christophii sparkles near the self-seeded ‘Foxy’ foxgloves. alliumfoxglove

If you long for a mind at rest and a heart that cannot harden, go find a gate that opens wide into a secret garden. ~Unknown

The garden gate beckons us to enter. gardengate

The warmth and rain of the last two weeks has triggered lush and abundant growth.

Summer has already come to the lower garden, peonies and iris giving way to roses and clematis. Hybrid musk rose ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ climbs the fence and creeps into the mulberry tree. Her simple white blossoms are sweetly fragrant, attracting pollinators and scenting the lower garden.

As I walk along the crunchy gravel paths, I see crowds of bumblebees visiting blooms, filling their pollen sacs with golden goodness.

The ninebark ‘Diablo’ in the Plum & Pewter bed is festooned with Clematis ‘Margo Koster’ and the patio rose ‘Sweet Charlotte’ has burst into bloom. A single five petal blossom adorns the species rose Rosa rubrifolia, treasured for its smoky foliage color.

The apricot roses are out in force, showing off with the purple fireworks of Allium christophii. A firefly rests on a silvery gray lamb’s ear stalk nearby, no doubt gathering energy for tonight’s show of lights.

Several bushes of ‘Rose de Rescht’ bloom along the curving path and fill the air with the intoxicating scent of old roses; many buds promise weeks of bloom.

As I approach the arbor that leads to the woods, I am stopped in my tracks by the profusion of rose ‘Complicata’ climbing its rungs. The clusters of large single blossoms carry a sweet light scent and will provide orange rose hips in the fall. When I turn around to view the garden through the arbor, I see that Angel has joined me on the garden stroll.

I hope you enjoyed walking with me through the garden, where each journey leads to new discoveries. May you savor the slow circles of nature and find grace therein.

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  ~John Muir


52 thoughts on “An instrument of grace

  1. Your June garden is a glorious space. I think my blood pressure dropped a few points just contemplating your photos. Much as I love my own garden, I’ve always been attracted to the sense of enclosure and peace a woodland garden provides.

    • Kris, what a delight to have you stop by – I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit here. I get the same feeling when I’m out in the garden, happy to share it 🙂 I enjoyed tracking you back to your garden, which is quite spectacular in both foliage and bloom. I look forward to meeting you at the Fling!

  2. Just beautiful! Your garden is really a delight at this time of year. I’m excited to see that you also grow ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. I have never heard it referred to as a hybrid musk rose. I always thought of it as a plain old rambler. I have it growing up an arch in the back garden. I like the simple flowers and the fragrance.

    • Jason, I remember you mentioning ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ on your blog. It is a wonderful rose, isn’t it? I also treasure it for the simple flowers and indeed the fragrance is lovely. I added a second one last year; it tolerates shade, which is another plus. This is a rose that belongs in every garden!

  3. Your garden is a riot of colour and I especially enjoyed the purples and magentas. I would find myself spending hours out there just pottering around. Thanks for the walk Lynn 🙂

  4. Thought of you while visiting a good friend in Michigan over the weekend. As we toured his garden, he stated that “A house should sit in the garden”. On the way home, your fantastic post appeared. I had already mentioned it to him so sent it along quickly. Thanks for a great ‘walk’. Enjoy your week.

  5. Gorgeous post! I will be re-visiting it several times to enjoy its atmosphere. I envy your horticultural skills and your poetic style. I love the woodland backgrounds to your photos. This is ‘music’ indeed, without the sound. My daughter is learning the cello. I look forward to hearing more about your new concerto.
    – Richard

    • Thanks for stopping by, Frank. That particular allium holds its florets on stems and creates a great geometrical shape – I’ve been known to dry and spray paint the heads for Christmas decorations.

  6. The best virtual stroll! And of course, you saved the best for last (Angel!). What peace and beauty you have created (and captured). Bravo!

  7. What a feast, Lynn, thank you. I always love Etoille Violette; the Margo Kostner rose is mouth-watering. The bumblebee at the Lamium is beautifully composed – and I know you can’t exactly tell them where to “stand.” I’m pretty sure I had Abraham Darby going in a rose bed I helped put in on the estate where I worked – it was all David Austin roses – this was back in the mid nineties. Your apricot group with the lightening bug at center is so pretty!
    I know you use geraniums to great effect, blending everything together – Biokova is so graceful and elegant. Lately I’ve been admiring our wild single pink roses – a paler version of your Complicata, and equally beautiful in the landscape. As is Angel!
    (And lest I forget – the white peony & white foxglove are fabulous mates.
    We’re very, very lush around here right now, too. Isn’t it the best!!

    • It is the best, Lynn! I love this time a year; all these photos were taken in the past 4 days and every day something new pops open. After a week of sun, we had rain all day today, so everything will grow huge again. I love the Austin English roses; I grow them as own-root roses since they can be a bit tender here. Abraham Darby has a wonderful fruity scent, one of my favorites. Margo Koster is a lovely little polyantha that only grows 20″ tall and reblooms well – perfect little blooms that remain cupped like an old rose. I’ve been considering adding the native rose here – I love the 5 petal single roses with their simplicity and symbolism.

      It’s always a pleasure to have you stop by, Lynn – enjoy the lush season of June!

    • Great question, colonialist! Actually, I am composing a cello concerto this summer while on break for the school year and will be pulling inspiration from the garden. Fortunately, teaching allows me time to do my two favorite things in the summer, composing and gardening. Stay tuned; I’ll be talking more about the concerto in a future post.

  8. Those early morning garden walks are so good for the soul, aren’t they? Such a beautiful post, Lynn, and with quotes from two of my favorite writers, Sarton and Muir!

    Glorious photos, as always; your gardens never cease to inspire me. Lots blossoming here, though I think we’re just a week or so behind you. My favorite peony has bloomed and was knocked to bits by a rainstorm last night …goodness, it all flows rather quickly this time of year. Poppies and irises are in their glory right now.

    Your climate must be just a wee bit more temperate. My Diablo didn’t make it through a winter a couple years ago and I was so sad to lose them: aren’t they beautiful? I could not get over the rich colors of those leaves…now I might just have to try again. 🙂

    Thank you for this wonderful, post, Lynn; as always, your words and images soothe my heart and delight my spirit. Gentle peace.

    • Kitty, you have even more to look forward to! My upper garden outside of the fence is a week or so later than the lower garden so it is probably in sync with your garden. The lower garden faces south and heats up much more quickly in the spring so it always blooms earlier. I’ve been lucky with Diablo – love the smoky dark foliage. On the other hand, I can’t grow poppies here in our heavy acidic clay soil – every place has its favorite plants.

      I will imagine you walking through your garden every morning, Kitty, as I walk through mine 🙂

      • You’re right…to each their blessings. I couldn’t garden happily without my poppies. I always create the architecture of each garden so carefully, and then I go and sprinkle and plant poppies everywhere…they’re my fairy dust, I guess. 🙂

  9. Sanctuary of Nature. Here in my kitchen I look out at my garden wild with color, critters and sustenance and am filled.
    Beautiful post Lynn. Inspires me to appreciate what I have.

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