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.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

~Maya Angelou (1928-2014), American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement

(Quote Source: goodreads.com)

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An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoying the nectar of a zinnia in my backyard.

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.

Learning

“Face it. We’re all ignorant. But there’s a big difference between not knowing anything about, say, astrophysics, and not knowing anything about the natural world we inhabit. The sad fact is, when it comes to nature, the average American is clueless about some very basic stuff.

For example, a recent poll taken at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, revealed that over 75% of their visitors did not know the purpose of pollination.”

~ Andy Wasowski, Native Gardens for Dry Climates

(Quote Source: October 24, 1997 interview as posted on loe.org.  See link at:  http://loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=97-P13-00043&segmentID=6)

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(Honey bee on sedum plant)

I am grateful to people that blog.  I appreciate their courage and commitment to the sharing of ideas, experiences, creativity, research, and thoughts with the rest of the world.  I have learned so much in the last year.  Thank you!

 

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?

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.

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.

Fox in the Garden

“It’s not just in the air.  Spring is in the light.  There’s a different light in March and April. It’s in the grass, leaves and flowers.   It’s in the birdsong and the baaa of baby lambs.  Mostly though, spring blooms in my heart.”

~ Toni Sorenson, Author

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A young fox made an unexpected visit to my garden one lovely spring morning.

Culture and Words…

 

The Willow Cats

They call them pussy-willows,
But there’s no cat to see
Except the little furry toes
That stick out on the tree:
I think that very long ago,
When I was just born new,
There must have been whole pussy-cats
Where just the toes stick through–
And every Spring it worries me,
I cannot ever find
Those willow-cats that ran away
And left their toes behind!

~Margaret Widdemer

(published in 1928)

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The pussy willow plant is a fond memory from my childhood that I have always associated with Easter and spring.  I’m so disappointed that modern day language has turned this lovely plant into something to giggle about when mentioned. So, I’m going to take a risk and celebrate this sweet little poem and plant regardless of any snickering.

Happy spring!

Dancing with Light and the Weather

“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.”

~Annie Leibovitz (1949- ) American portrait photographer

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A juvenile Cooper’s hawk that visited my garden on a snowy day.

Black-capped Chickadee

“We learned to be patient observers like the owl.  We learned cleverness from the crow; and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But, above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.”

~Tom Brown, Jr. (1950- ) American naturalist, tracker, survivalist, and author

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Anyone who gardens around chickadees can tell you about the curiosity and the pluck of this little bird.  Whether I am digging in the dirt on my hands and knees, walking through the yard with a garden hose to water, or scrubbing out the bird bath with a wire brush I  will regularly witness a chickadee on a nearby branch peering at me in a quizzical manner.  They tilt their head and look at you with just one of their eyes as if to say, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”  I think of them as my little guardians of the garden and enjoy their antics immensely.

Stop and See the Flowers

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

~Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Anti-war activist and Indian nationalist

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Visiting a local conservatory can be a welcome and uplifting break from the days of winter that are cold and drab.  This was taken at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory located in Como Park of Saint Paul, Minnesota.