When June comes dancing

When June comes dancing o’er the death of May,
With scarlet roses tinting her green breast,
And mating thrushes ushering in her day,
And Earth on tiptoe for her golden guest.
~ Claude Mckay, A Memory of June

The last days of May and the first days of June have been dance worthy. Days of warm sunshine alternating with days of cool rain have triggered lush growth and spectacular bloom. Early summer was ushered in by peonies, alliums, and viburnum (click on any photo to see a full size image)

while the banner of bloom was then carried on by irises of every type, size and color. The bearded iris (Iris germanica) were first to bloom, with ‘Tiger Eyes’ and ‘Beverly Sills’ creating a river of color up the stone steps of the hillside.

Close on the heels of the bearded iris were the Siberian iris (Iris siberica) in a whole new color palette. The brilliant blue of ‘River Dance’ pulsed in contrast to the peachy pink of ‘Beverly Sills’ while ‘Reprise’ bloomed in a soft shades of moody blue.

I have a fondness for peach and caramel colors and was delighted when Siberian Iris ‘Buttescotch Fizz’ bloomed so freely this year, set off by the foliage of Heuchera ‘Caramel’ beside and behind it under the Japanese maple ‘Garnet’.

Native iris were the last to come into bloom with the sky blue flowers of Iris virginica and the purple violet blooms of Iris versicolor ‘John Wood’.

And then the roses came.

On this June day the buds in my garden are almost as enchanting as the open flowers. Things in bud bring, in the heat of a June noontide, the recollection of the loveliest days of the year – those days of May when all is suggested, nothing yet fulfilled. ~Francis King

From the tiny polyantha rose ‘Margo’s Sister’ to the lush old rose ‘Rose de Rescht’ surrounded by geraniums and penstemons, June arrived in earnest.

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.  ~ Gertrude Jekyll

Rose ‘Complicata’ is one of my favorite roses. Almost thornless, it covers the arbor leading into the lower garden and is one of the first to bloom. The huge single flowers are sweetly scented and visited by bumblebees throughout the day.

A single peony in the same color combination blooms at its feet, clothing the arbor from top to bottom with pink and yellow flowers.I suspected last year that there would come a day in the garden when the loss of Angel Eyes would strike me suddenly. It happened while I was photographing this arbor of roses – I have many years of photos of Angel standing under the arbor – she loved the scent of the roses and always paused here to smell them. Suddenly the arbor was empty without her  with only fallen petals to mark her favorite spot on the path. I had to put my camera away for the day but the next morning, Pixie insisted on staying near me, “helping” me to pot up flowers on the deck and making me laugh again.

Later that day, Pixie went to a different rose covered arbor, thick with the scent of white rose ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ and turned to look at me, as if to say “I’m here with you, Mom, no worries.” What a gift she is.

The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction.
~Dan Simmons, Drood

I wish you all a beautiful June full of dancing, staggering beauty and joy. May you recognize and treasure each gift that comes your way.

All photos and text ©2022 by Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved except where noted.

Angel in the garden

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. ~Mark Twain

Angel Eyes and I went out early one morning a few weeks ago and the light was extraordinary. The slanted rays of the October sun rimmed everything it touched with a halo and Angel, being the angel that she is, seemed to glow. It was one of those timeless moments not easily forgotten, when the light was just right, the birds were singing, the air was cool and fresh and Angel was by my side. Angel in light

Those of you who have visited these pages in the past have often seen Angel as she accompanied me in the garden, my constant companion.

She loved exploring her world, sniffing flowers, watching insects, tracking down the scents of the creatures who shared the garden with her. (click on any photo in the mosaic to see full size images)

It wasn’t just the garden in bloom, she loved winter too, romping in the snow with her ball or her cousin Charlie Brown.

Angel came to us as a four month old puppy – as soon as she arrived and jumped out of the car, she ran to Bill and immediately became Daddy’s girl, remaining his lap dog forever.

Bill posed her in his studio one day and dubbed her “Sound Dog” because she would lay under his mixing board for hours while he worked. She once ran over to greet a friend of ours she had never met because she recognized his speaking voice – she had listened to his singing voice while Bill was editing his CD and made the connection! She loved music and often went to outdoor concerts with us, barking with joy every time the audience applauded the musicians.

If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them. ~Pam Brown

A few years ago, dear friend and gifted photographer Mary Pegher put together a wonderful photo book of dogs who graced our local park. Angel had a grand time at her photo shoot, leaping and chasing her favorite pink ball while Mary worked her magic with the camera. When the book arrived, we were delighted to find that Angel was featured in her own two page spread – many friends and relatives got a copy of that book for Christmas that year!

I had sensed this spring that this might be Angel’s last year in the garden. She struggled to move at times but still looked forward to our mornings walking the paths together, however slowly we might move. Although she was 90 in human years, she was still beautiful and sweet and joyful. You may have guessed by now that Angel is no longer with us. She passed away peacefully in our arms, in her favorite spot on the sofa, and surrounded by those who loved her so much. 

I still expect to see her face at the door when I come up the driveway and I continue to reach out to pet her before I remember that she’s not there. I think it will be the hardest next spring when I look up the stone steps and she isn’t standing there at the top, waiting for me to put my camera away and join her exploring the garden in the morning light.

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Khalil Gibran