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

 

Wine and Roses

They are not long, the days of wine and roses
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
~Ernest Dowson, from “Vitae Summa Brevis” (1896)

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‘Rose de Rescht’

As I walk down the steps into the lower garden, the air is adrift with the scent of roses in the sun. The heady fragrance of the old fashioned ‘Rose de Rescht’ lining the deck garden perfumes the air around it. The lighter notes of English rose ‘Tamora’ greet me as I turn to the peach and blue area of the garden. ‘Winter Sunset’ displays its classic tea rose form but is a hardy soul, bred for Iowa winters by Griffith Buck. Lilies are beginning to bloom too and they add their scented song to the mix. A cascade of single white flowers covers the fence where hybrid musk rose ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ reigns beneath the shadow of a mulberry tree, intertwined with the purple and white blossoms of Clematis vit. ‘Venosa Violacea’, the perfect companion for roses. Tiny sweet clusters of plum purple flowers cover ‘Sweet Chariot’ rose, backed by the stars of Clematis ‘Margo Koster’ weaving through the arms of eastern ninebark ‘Diablo’ (Physocarpus opulifolius). The Carpet roses are putting on a show – Rainbow, Coral, Pink – and what they lack in scent, they make up for in extravagance of bloom.rosy_hillside

This is the most romantic time in the garden, some areas featuring a Valentine of pinks and reds and whites and in others, spouting a fruity concoction of “pink with attitude” – coral, peach, and apricot mixed with purples and blues. Roses scramble over fences and through arbors, intertwined with clematis and surrounded by lilies. The days of roses may not be long, but they are lovely to the eye and fragrant to the nose. Though fleeting, their presence in the garden is a treasure long remembered. Enjoy viewing some of the blooms of mid-June, click on any photo to see a full size image. (All photos ©2016 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

It is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, sponsored by May Dreams Gardens.  Take a peek at some other gardens around the world to see what is blooming in June.

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. ~ Maud Hart Lovelace

A little music while you view? Peggy Lee sings “Days of Wine and Roses” 

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 Wood Thrush Sings

“This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.” ~Henry David Thoreau

This year, a wood thrush has come to live in our woods. I knew its song immediately, the distinctive two part harmony it sings through its Y-shaped syrinx (voice box). It is an elusive woodland bird that is related to the robin (and sometimes called a wood robin), but seldom seen – I have yet to spot him. His song goes on each day from pre-dawn to early evening and accompanies my every move in the garden, a lovely soundtrack to my days. Here is a clip of his song that I captured a few mornings ago. 

Mulberry tree

Mulberry tree

June is the month of roses and clematis, bringing a new set of colors to the garden. The mulberry tree that hangs over the garden fence is overflowing with berries, a feast attracting the birds and littering the gravel paths. A giant kousa dogwood at the driveway entrance has been spectacular, a long column of white blossoms that is only now beginning to fade to green. Once again our temperatures vary drastically from cool to hot and back again, punctuated by wild thunderstorms, unusual weather for June.  But the garden is lush and full from the heat and rain; here are a few images of June’s bloom. Click on any photo to start the slide viewer – enjoy!  (All photos ©2015 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

It is the perfection of music when heard in its place and season… the note of the wood-robin is the spontaneous voice of Nature, devoid of artifice, clear as a bell.” ~T. Chalkley Palmer

To learn more about the wood thrush, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology or Friends of Glen Providence Park.

Except My Roses

You steal my roses, the things I love most in all the world. . . You could have taken anything – except my roses. ~ from Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast

A perfect first day of summer, the solstice, the longest day of the year. The roses are celebrating, having a raucous party in the garden while they soak up the sun and feed the bees. The height of rose bloom always brings to mind one of my favorite movies, Jean Cocteau’s 1946 masterpiece “Beauty and the Beast” (La Belle et la Bête). In a magical film that still delights and intrigues me with its whimsical imagery and cinematic beauty, the scene that comes to mind is when Beauty’s hapless father plucks a rose from the Beast’s garden as a gift for his daughter and is immediately confronted for his crime.

How ironic that I moved here twelve years ago so that I would have more gardening space for roses, and all of the roses I planted the first year died over the winter. The daylilies that I brought thrived in the heavy clay soil and shrugged off deer and rabbit attacks. Not so the lovely English roses, who were far too genteel to survive this robust and challenging garden microclimate. To be without roses was unthinkable, so I began a long experimentation with roses safely ensconced behind garden walls – who was sassy enough to survive in an organic garden with no spraying and no artificial fertilizer?

Old roses, a few of the hardier English roses on their own roots, stalwart Griffith Buck roses, a few Canadian and shrub roses – all became part of the garden landscape, surrounded by geraniums, lambs ear, and other gentle plant companions.  The summer sun triggers the rose perfume; each morning begins with thousands of petals of color, heady fragrance, and the songs of bees nestling in for a little more pollen. You could take anything from me- except my roses.

All images ©2013 by Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved.

Remastered and released by Criterion, La Belle et La Bête is now available on DVD and Blueray. (B&W, in French with English subtitles)  A film treasure.

I buy most of my “own root” roses from Roses Unlimited, they are shipped in pots in beautiful condition. Wonderful source!