Of flowers and light

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” ~Theodore Roethke

As earth spirals towards the summer solstice, each day begins earlier and seems filled with more light. The growing crescendo of flowers opening in the garden somehow capture and reflect that light even more.

Allium 'Everest' against beauty bush

Each day brings new change as buds become flowers . . .

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and garden scenes shift their colors as new blooms open and others begin to fade.

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When I first began to study photography, I was deeply influenced by a line from the book The Art of Seeing – “Only light, not things, strike the retina.”  The objects we think we see are in reality spectrums of light reflected back to us. That realization changed the way I saw the world and the way that I tried to capture it with my camera. In the garden, light is everything. Plants respond to it, live by it, reach for it, and reflect it.

What we see as color is actually the reflection of a particular wavelength of light. Happily, color in nature is never just one shade or tone, but instead a complex reflection that challenges and seduces our eyes with both boldness and nuance.

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The garden unfolds in the growing light, rich and full of promise, and extends an invitation to step over the threshold and wander the paths.

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. ~William Wordsworth

hrbMayvert

Enjoy the loveliness of May and may you treasure the light that grows each day.

“I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.” ~Edward Steichen, photographer

Composing about light: The Four Elements: Light

A Visual Feast

It is always exciting to open the door and go out into the garden for the first time on any day.
- Marion Cran

In spite of chilly temperatures and a bout of sleet this morning, the garden is a visual feast of colors and texture. A thousand shades of green grace the trees as new leaves emerge each day while frequent rain has transformed the grass into an emerald carpet. Every day a new flower opens and lays its color and form against the growing tapestry of garden and woodland. Late spring, perhaps like no other season, is a study of contrasts in the garden.

Some plants are quiet and delicate, with color-kissed blossoms floating among clouds of feathery foliage.

Other plants are bold and vibrant, with strong shapes and colors in flower and leaf, or both, from the lollipops of Allium to the dangling hearts of Lamprocapnos spectabilis.

The elusive wood thrush has returned and begins each morning with its distinctive fluted song that continues from dawn to dusk. (You can listen to its song in The Woodthrush Sings). A pair of mourning doves has appropriated one of my deck planters as a nesting spot; Angel is gently but endlessly curious about them – I won’t plant there until the babies fledge.mourning dove nest My garden will be on a large garden tour this June, so I’ve been busy planting and pruning, creating a new pollinator garden (more about that in the next post) and enjoying every moment spent outdoors.

For the first time, I am joining in the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. It is a great place to visit the 15th of each month as garden bloggers post what’s blooming in their gardens. I hope all of you are enjoying the beauty of spring as it gracefully pirouettes into summer.  (All photos ©2016 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought. ~James Douglas

The Last Roses of Summer

Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone  ~Thomas Moore, Irish poet

webvertWPNovember and December have been very mild this year, encouraging me to work in the garden late into the season. But this morning brought both fog and a frost, turning the world into a frozen fairyland. The moisture from the fog that coated leaf, flower, twig, and spiderweb was transformed into a spectacular structure of glistening crystals. Sadly, the last lingering roses of summer have come to a sudden halt, now preserved in ice.

frozrosevertWPI have a few more shrubs to plant today once the temperatures rise but it is probably the last time I can play in the dirt. Dreams of next year’s garden are starting to stir as I begin a list of seeds and plants to be ordered in the dark days of winter. Enjoy the photos of the last blooms of summer, both in flower and frost, while you listen to Irish tenor John McDermott sing this wistful song (video at the bottom of the page).

Click on any photo to start the slideshow (all photos ©2015 by Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved).

Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them ~Moore

The Merry Month

The skies were bright,
Our hearts were light
in the merry merry month of May ~Stephen Foster

Circles in MayMay is coming to a close and the garden continues to change before my eyes. The spectacular bloom of spring has softened into lush green growth while clematis, iris, and peonies have taken the place of daffodils and tulips. Soft tones of blue, mauve, and peach dominate the color palette while the scent of honeysuckle and Viburnum fill the air. A few roses are beginning to open as the May bloom season dissolves into early summer.

In the coldframe, hundreds of plants are patiently awaiting their entrance into the earth and I wonder what I was thinking when I started so many flats of annuals deep in the winter. Planting seeds was a sure sign of longing for the promise of spring in a gray cold world, and now that world is merry again with color and scent! (All photos ©2015 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

Longing for spring and celebrating its arrival is an old tale. There are many versions of songs that celebrate the joys of May in the northern hemisphere; here are a few to entertain you as you view some scenes of the late May garden.

Stephen Foster’s “The Merry Merry Month of May” sung by Nelson Eddy

Henry Youell’s madrigal “In the Merry Month of May”

William Byrd’s “Sweet and Merry Month of May”

The Simpson’s version of “Merry Month of May”

The Flower Born Today

The flower that you hold in your hands was born today and already it is as old as you are. ~Antonio Porchia

Tulip 'Apricot Beauty'Each day as I walk through my garden, I see the culmination of work that I did last year, or ten years ago. I also see what is to come, tomorrow, next week, next month. Gardeners are time travelers of a sort. This spring, I am reaping the rewards of having the paths redone last summer. To tread on firm gravel instead of sinking up to my ankles in muck as I moved through the garden in April brought to mind the last year’s path project and my hopes for the garden this season. Every tulip and daffodil that bloomed this spring arose from the bending and digging last October when I planted a thousand bulbs – a vision of floral extravaganza played through in my mind as the autumn leaves fell golden to the ground. Now as I trim the fading blooms from each spring flower, I notice the burgeoning growth of  roses and daylilies to come, and anticipate the floral fireworks of June and July in my imagination.

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I stand in a river of time as the garden streams around me, a constant eddy and flow of events in the moment, yet each dependent on the imagination of the past and the hope of the future. This week, unseasonable heat brought the spring bulb season to a sudden close but also brought on the purple lollipops of Allium aflutanense and the brilliantly colored cloaks of Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Nature never stands still and the ever changing garden carries the gardener with it. Here are a few scenes from the passing spring and the approaching summer; click on any photo to enter the slide viewer. Enjoy! (All photos ©2015 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved).

There is no “End” to be written, neither can you, like an architect, engrave in stone the day the garden was finished. A painter can frame his picture, a composer can notate his coda, but a garden is always on the move. ~Mirabel Osler

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future. ~Steve Miller (Fly Like An Eagle)