petals to cushion the hard places

Today I am sharing a post from one of my most loved blogs: My Path with Stars Bestrewn written by Amy.
Amy and I have much in common: she was a teacher, she has a collection of cherished children’s books and she sees beauty in all of nature.
xxoo

My Path with Stars Bestrewn

Those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time know that nature is my primary focus. The flora and fauna that inhabit my gardens and populate nearby fields, woods, and waterways are not only the focal point of my lens, they are also my teachers. I absorb many spiritual lessons while observing the quiet examples nature unfurls before me.

Some people claim to have a spirit animal – a creature who, for them, embodies certain inspirational qualities or characteristics. I don’t have a spirit animal, but I do have a few spirit flowers. And one of my special favorites is sweet alyssum. I’ve long identified sweet alyssum as the poster child (as it were) for resilience. Each year, when autumn’s first frost descends, it lays waste the garden – impatiens and begonias crumple, other fair blossoms faint dead away. But not sweet alyssum. While the…

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Half and Half

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It was fun looking through my photos for this week’s Photo Challenge which focuses on Half and Half. I chose photos with a contrasting background.

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Plumes of white flowers on an astilbe plant, against part of a stone wall, is an example of a background with color and none.

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I like the contrast of the textured stucco wall and the chartreuse background behind the flowers.

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It’s easy to see why this plant is called: Gooseneck Loosestrife. The tiny white flowers which form the head and beak are in sharp focus on a background of light and dark.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!

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My father was an artist. In one corner of our basement stood his wooden easel, and his upholstered chair where he would sit when he studied his paintings; a table held jars of various sized brushes, tubes of paint in primary colors, and stacks of hardcover art books. He taught me how to mix primary colors to get other colors and how to blend in white to soften the hue. He taught me how to clean the brushes and stand them upright in the jars so the brush end would dry. And he taught me how to see beauty all around me. His favorite subject to paint: trees, flowers and skies.

Today is Father’s Day and this Week’s Photo Challenge is ROY G. BiV- the colors of the rainbow.

I chose photographs that remind me of my father’s beautiful paintings.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!

xxoo

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Danielle’s Art

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In this week’s photo challenge Lignum Draco inspires us to respond to the theme, “vivid”.

Usually I share photos of my gardens and flowers, but this time my photo is one of my daughter, Danielle’s, paintings.

Sunset 12x36 Acrylic paint and paint marker on canvas

Sunset
2014 12″x36″
Acrylic paint and paint marker on canvas

Click on image to enlarge.

I love the vivid colors in her painting: Sunset.

Danielle’s art is influenced by the Arizona desert, where sunsets paint the sky with brilliant shades of orange, red, purple and green and are the color of hope. She expresses herself through shapes, forms and vibrant colors; each stroke of paint radiating joy.

If you study the painting you will see different images: in this painting I see a bird, a flower, a sun and a turtle.

When Danielle begins to work on a painting she doesn’t know what the end result will be; all the designs flow from her imagination onto her canvas.

I am blessed to have Danielle as my daughter, several of her beautiful paintings grace the walls of our home. Her art makes me happy every time I look at it.

Danielle graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, in 2002.
More of her paintings can be viewed at: danielleart.tumblr.com

 

 

The May Garden

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This morning I took an early morning stroll through my garden. Please come with me and enjoy the highlights of the garden in May.

Years ago we transplanted this Doublefile Viburnum  to the front yard. Each May it is abundant with beautiful white flowers.

Years ago we transplanted this Doublefile Viburnum to the front yard. Each May it is abundant with beautiful white flowers.

Globes of Purple Sensation Allium never fail to delight.

The globes of Purple Sensation Allium never fail to delight.

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Tulip Maureen is late blooming; I love the fresh contrast of white against green.

English Bluebells accentuate the bed  behind the urn.

English Bluebells accentuate the bed behind the urn.

The scarlet blooms of the Tree Peony  are a lovely contrast to a Doublefile Viburnum.

The scarlet blooms of the Tree Peony are a lovely contrast to a Doublefile Viburnum.

 Corydalis, with fern-like foliage and dainty yellow flowers along with Japanese Forest Grass soften the stone steps.

Corydalis, with fern-like foliage and dainty yellow flowers along with the golden hue of Japanese Forest Grass soften the stone steps.

Each new gardening season brings the delight of anticipating garden gifts:

  Corydalis reseeded itself in the stone walls.

The Corydalis reseeded itself in the stone walls.

Columbine plants growing in the garden below now grow on top of the stone patio.

Columbine plants growing in the garden below now grow on top of the stone patio.

Japanese Painted Fern: a beautiful contrast to the gray stone wall.

Japanese Painted Fern: a beautiful contrast to the gray stone wall.

A garden gift for you:
xxoo

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Spring in the Garden

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Chartreuse, emerald, jade, and lime are visible in the gardens now; the perennials are emerging. It always amazes me how sparse the landscape looks this time of year. Come June the borders will be overflowing with color.

The different shades of green in the front borders remind me of Ireland.

The different shades of green in the front borders remind me of Ireland.

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My favorite garden is my shade garden growing under our Oak tree.

The reason I love the shade garden is because I love the beauty of foliage. The varied sizes, shapes and colors of leaves are refreshing; some fern like, others broad and bold, fronds, blades, and needles all add interesting texture to the landscape. The saying goes: “opposites attract”. Placing plants with different foliage next to each other adds beauty to the garden.

Two favorite shade plants are: Japanese Forest Grass, a small grass that has yellow and green leaves, and Corydalis lutea; it has fern like foliage with tiny yellow flowers.

The Corydalis reseeded itself in the grass; the different foliage makes a lovely contrast.

The Corydalis reseeded itself in the Japanese Forest grass next to the heart shaped leaves of the Forget-me not plant. All three plants make a lovely contrast.

The before and after pictures of some beloved plants:

The before: This plant is Alchemilla Mollis. The common name is Catmint 'Walkers Low'.  The cupped leaves hold droplets of rain that shimmer like diamonds.

The before: This plant is Alchemilla Mollis. The common name is Lady’s Mantle. The cupped leaves hold droplets of rain that shimmer like diamonds.

The after: Lady's Mantle in June; covered with sprays of dainty yellow flowers.

The after: Lady’s Mantle in June; covered with sprays of dainty yellow flowers.

The before: This plant is called Nepeta 'Walker's Low'. The common name is Catmint.

The before: This plant is called Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’. The common name is Catmint.

The after: 'Walkers Low' Catmint covered with spikes of purplish blue flowers in June.

The after: ‘Walkers Low’ Catmint covered with spikes of purplish blue flowers in June.

And lastly:

The before: Buds of the Chinese Tree Peony.

The before: Buds of the Chinese Tree Peony.


The after: The Chinese Tree Peony blooms in May.

The after: The Chinese Tree Peony blooms in May.


A Tree Peony is not really a tree; it is a med-sized shrub. The beautiful large flowers are magenta and 8' across.

A Tree Peony is not really a tree; it is a mid-sized shrub. The beautiful large flowers are magenta and 8′ across.

Happy Spring!
xxoo

Snowdrops

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There’s a drift of snow at the back door, and snowdrops blooming at the front.

~ Tasha Tudor
Tasha Tudor’s Garden

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Snowdrops are the first flowers I see in spring. They reseed themselves; every year it is a joy to see the tiny white bells nodding in the breeze in different areas of the garden.

Happy Spring!
xxoo

Gardens with Personality

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Foliage is important, flowers are the spice, but statues add personality to your garden all through the seasons.

A few days ago, trudging through deep snow, I made my way to the potting shed, and peeked inside; my wicker chair was waiting for me; bright sun filled the space and I sat for a while enjoying the warmth. It felt good to be in the shed once again; our Connecticut winter was too long.

Everything was right where I left it: large and small clay pots, glazed green pots, old and new hoses, narrow rakes for getting in tight places and large leaf rakes, pointed and rounded shovels, an assortment of hand tools, and my favorite: statues.

In spring one of my pleasures is placing statues in the garden. The duck family and Peter Rabbit add whimsy to the kitchen garden. Others, like angels, are serene and bring peacefulness to flower beds. Garden walls and steps are ideal places for statues where they can be enjoyed while strolling or sitting.

Click on the first picture to scroll through the photos.

As you can see from the photographs, I change the location of some statues from year to year. This year I left the little girl standing spring, summer, fall and winter; she is made of cement and the harsh weather didn’t affect her.

Warmer temperatures are bringing rain to Connecticut today; I am hopeful it’s a sign. Soon a carpet of tiny, white bell flowers called snowdrops will cover the front borders welcoming spring.

xxoo