Garden Visitor

“The kiss of the sun for pardon,

The songs of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God’s heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth.”

~ Dorothy Frances Gurney (1858-1932), “God’s Garden” lines 13–16, Poems, by Dorothy Frances Gurney
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A freshly emerged monarch butterfly flits about a garden in Duluth, Minnesota.

A lovely walkway…

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only tune in.”

~George Washington Carver (1860s-1943), American botanist and inventor

(Quote Source: smithsonianmag.com)

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A lovely walkway at Burwell Park in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Patience

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

~May Sarton (1912-1995), Poet

(Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/maysarton133734.html)

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Sunflowers reaching for the sky on a small Minnesota farm.

Into the Pollen

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’

~ Robin Williams, (1951-2014) American actor and comedian

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This yellow swallowtail butterfly did not seem to mind wading into the pollen of my Japanese Lilac tree.

Old Tree

“Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.”

~ Dr. Karen Shragg, Think Like a Tree 

(Quote Source: spiritoftrees.org)

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I have often wished that old trees could share their stories.

Please Don’t Pick the Trilliums

“God has sown his name on the heavens in glittering stars; but on earth he planteth His name by tender flowers.”

~ Jean Paul Richter, (1763-1825) German Romantic writer

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This lovely white flower with just three petals on a single stem is known as the Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum).  It can be found in the woodlands of Minnesota and I am lucky enough to have quite a few growing on my property.  Because picking even a part of the plant can kill the whole thing, trilliums are considered quite fragile.  In addition, this plant is slow to establish, taking years to flower.

Large-flowered trilliums are also sensitive to changes in their environment, so they can be good indicators of the health of a forest. Trillium populations have been on the decline, primarily because of soil disturbance, the loss of soil organic matter from non-native earthworms, buckthorn invasion, and overgrazing by deer.  Consequently, Minnesota and many other states have laws to restrict the collection of trilliums. In Minnesota it is illegal to remove trilliums from public land or another person’s property without the owner’s consent.

(Source: http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/news/webnews/may2014/5.pdf)

The White Lilacs

“Gardeners, like everyone else, live second by second and minute by minute.  What we see at one particular moment is then and there before us.  But there is a second way of seeing. Seeing with the eye of memory, not the eye of our anatomy, calls up days and seasons past and years gone by.”

~ Allen Lacy, The Gardener’s Eye, 1992, page 16

(Quotation source: gardendigest.com)IMG_9638-1-3

My mother planted white lilacs in the backyard of my childhood home. I loved them so much that I took a snippet of a bush and planted it in my own backyard some years ago. They are blooming right now and serve as a happy reminder of those carefree days that I enjoyed as a child.

Do any of you have plants that bring back happy memories?

The Old Crabapple Tree

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson, (1850-1894) Scottish writer

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There is an old crabapple tree in our yard.  I suspect it is at least 40 years old.  Each year we contemplate taking it down to avoid our yearly battle with apple scab.  And yet, every spring when this tree blossoms and plays host to its variety of birds we decide to keep it around for another year.  I simply refuse to remove a tree that continues to make me smile!

A Rhododendron for Minnesota

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”

~Jean Giradoux (1882-1944) French playwright, novelist, and diplomat

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The selection of perennial plants for a Minnesota garden can prove a challenge. Gardeners must always keep in mind that plants will have to survive the cold of our winters. Every spring when my P.J.M. Rhododendron blooms again my heart does a little dance. It is a welcome reminder of the warmer and more colorful days ahead.

What’s in a Smell?

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a midwestern town.  Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.  Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.  A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.”

~Diane Ackerman (1948- ), A Natural History of the Senses

(Quote via quoteland.com)

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A lovely cow sniffing the fresh blooms of spring.

Almost time for planting…

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

~  Edward Giobbi  (1926- ) American artist and cookbook author

(quote via egreenway.com)

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Farming equipment awaiting the return of warmer weather.