Category Archives: My greenish thumb

Flowers of the fairest

For the past eight years, my Mary statue has been on our old, cracked patio. I would make up for the icky concrete by putting flowerpots at her feet; it looked nice when they were in bloom.

But our backyard recently underwent a major and much-needed overhaul. Goodbye, old ratty concrete and ugly podicarpus and oversized palm tree that always had me worried it would collapse on our neighbor’s house in a storm; hello, new lawns and curved flowerbeds and the chance to create an entirely new garden layout from scratch.  And there was one feature that was a very, very high priority for me.

“I’m going to give the Mary statue a special corner in the new yard,” I told my husband.

“Nobody puts Mary in a corner,” he said.

But I did, and earlier this week I planted all kinds of flowers around her.   I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

 

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There’s actually a long, long history of Mary gardens in European countries. Often you find in them flowers which were named after Mary herself (including marigolds, or “Mary’s Gold”).  I included several of those, bright and sunny.

I also found a bleeding heart at a nursery and had to put it in, too (that’s another flower traditionally associated with Mary, for obvious iconographic reasons).

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Mostly, though, I went for colors I like and flowers that  I thought would do well in our corner.  It’ll need a little time to fill in; I’m counting on time and Miracle-Gro to help with that.

But it’s a lovely new little space, the focal point of our new yard. And I think Mary is pretty happy in her own little corner.

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A rose is a rose is a rose …

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Sometimes I wonder which phrases my kids will associate with me in years to come.  Which sayings do I repeat over and over?  I’d guess “Be careful!” and “Did you remember to flush?” are two of the most common ones.  I hope, though, that “Look at those roses!” is right behind.

I’m a rose junkie.  An entire chapter of Taste and See is devoted to them, not just because they offer such beautiful sensory experiences but because they invite me to think about how humans can co-create beauty with God. (We humans are the ones who have hybridized and come up with all these different marvelously colorful varieties, tapping into the Creator’s artistic genius.) So now that it’s summer and rose season is in full bloom, I thought I’d share a little visual complement to that chapter and share some of the glorious beauties I’ve come across lately.  (No, these aren’t from my yard – though I wish they were!).

Let’s start with red:

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Pink more your speed?  There are no lack of those, either.

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I know the Yellow Rose of Texas has its own song, but the Yellow Roses of California are pretty nice, too:

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Purple isn’t the color I naturally associate with roses, but they are striking as well.

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White has its own purity and grace:

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And I love this one, too — sort of peach, sort of yellow:

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Where are you seeing beauty lately?

The first bloom is the loveliest

Edited

I love my little prayer desk every time of year, but especially in spring.  It is so nice to take a pause in the company of these beauties.

My younger son, on the other hand, seemed to think that my prayer experience was missing something.  I came home from my brief weekend trip to find that my little sanctuary was now an airport.

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I’ll admire his aircraft if he’ll admire my roses. Win-win.

Mad with joy

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I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog lately.  It’s not by choice; I’m back in the busy-ness of teaching, which has swallowed up my attention and energy, and  I’ve also been finishing up a big-and-fun writing project (you’ll hear more on that soon).  I hope normal blogging will resume shortly.

But for now, I offer you some pretty pictures of flowers.  Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, and don’t forget to pause and smell the roses.

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People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
 
– Iris Murdoch 

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Garden glories

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I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace.

– Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden

 

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