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 Sartor

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.

lateMayherbcircle

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

 

The Gift of Inspiration


Inspiration ~ from the Latin inspirare “inspire, inflame, blow into,” from in- “in” + spirare “to breathe.” By 1867, meaning “one who inspires others.” ~ Adapted from the Online Etymology Dictionary 

Until I researched the meaning of “inspiration” I had no idea that it came from the Latin word inspirare – to breathe, to blow into or to breathe in. From a physiological point of view, breathing consists of two phases, inspiration (breathing in) and expiration (breathing out.) One current meaning of inspiration is the  “arousal of the mind, feelings, etc. to special or unusual activity or creativity.” (Collins English Dictionary) A deeper look at this familiar word has a special and unexpected meaning to me, as I released a new composition a few months ago called “Breath” and have written about it in Breathe Out, Breathe In.

And so, I was deeply touched by Margie in Italy’s  nomination of my blog for “The Very Inspiring Blogger” award. Nothing could please me more than to think that what I post may inspire others, for I have also been deeply inspired by many blogs as well. I now have an opportunity to acknowledge and thank those bloggers who have touched my life and my view of the world. I must admit that for many years, I thought the blogging world was solely populated by the espousal of extreme opinions, whether political, social, or the merely petty.  While this certainly exists, what I have really found in the year that I have been blogging is a large diverse community of people who generously share their insights, their reflections and perceptions, their sense of humor, and their creative vision with others. I never could have imagined such a place, with friends the world over respecting and encouraging each other and each with a unique gift to share.  It continues to fascinate and inspire me.

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award asks me to thank my awarder, reveal seven facts about myself, and nominate seven others for the award. As you might guess, Margie has a deep abiding love for Italy along with family ties there and shares wonderful photos, stories, recipes, and ideas from her travels through that beautiful country. It is a wonderful blog for a personal take on Italy!

Seven facts about me:

  1. I also have a deep love for Italy – the land of sunset colored buildings, deep green trees, a profound cultural love of music and art, and some of the best coffee, wine, and food on the planet.  I spent two summers there while in college and have visited several times since. In addition to Margie’s blog, I follow Bagni di Lucca for my weekly Italy fix. Here’s a painting I made that was inspired by the house where I stayed in Barga many years ago.
  2. I drink hot coffee year round, even during the “dog days” of summer.
  3. Speaking of dog days, my standard poodle, Angel Eyes, picked me.  I went to the breeder intending to bring home her brother, but she danced around my chair until I fell in love with her on the spot.  Good choice!
  4. I love to dance, even when I’m cooking.
  5. My iPad is stocked with a wild mix of books, from classic fiction to quantum physics to biographies to sci fi/fantasy novels to cookbooks.  Lately, I’ve been working my way through Zane Grey novels, downloaded free through Project Gutenberg, including “Riders of the Purple Sage.”
  6. I miss the magic of the darkroom.  I love Photoshop but there was something special about swirling the paper in the tray and seeing an image emerge. Here’s a B&W photo I took in Spain which was featured in some photography shows and a few newspaper reviews.
  7. I’ve seen the movie “Avatar” four times, twice in iMax 3D. In an alternative universe, I would live in that glowing garden.

Here are four (sorry, couldn’t manage the seven) nominations for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” –

Catherine of The Daily Round writes one of the most thoughtful blogs I’ve ever read.  She reflects on life’s big questions as well as its little details and often includes photos of her garden and her four legged friends. I am always deeply touched and inspired by her wisdom and her reflective approach to life.

Tracy of Seasons Flow consistently amazes me with her deep knowledge of birds and wildflowers, which she shares through words and photos taken on her long walks through the Ohio countryside. It is always a fascinating journey to walk along with Tracy.

Ogee of Gardens for Goldens  has a unique site dedicated to the rescue of golden retriever dogs and a garden dedicated to them.  Stories of happy endings and garden photos – what could be better?

CheyAnne of New Mexico Mountain Girl is a gifted painter and photographer who shares her beautiful world in colorful images of horses, birds, and even old rusted pickup trucks in the New Mexico landscape. I’ve been following CheyAnne since I began blogging and even dream about her beautiful images sometimes.

In another week or so, I have another award to acknowledge, so I will save a few nominees for that post. Want to read more about inspiration? Visit Wikipedia on “Inspiration” with many interesting links.

One more award! Jean of Cycle Write Blog generously nominated me a while back for the Versatile Blogger award.  Jean has a wonderful blog about her cycling adventures around the city of Vancouver, often featuring fascinating neighborhood stores, eateries, art in the parks, and architectural standouts. If you’re a gardener, you might especially enjoy her post “Nurturing Life: In Praise of Gardeners, Keepers of the Earth.” Since I already received this award a while back, I will direct you to my response post “On Being Versatile” for a peek at my answers and the other blogs I nominated for the award.