Clematis a-bloomin’

I promised a blogger-friend that I’d post pictures of clematis in bloom.

But the gosh-darn rabbits ate almost every clematis right down to the ground last winter and spring, so I didn’t know what would come back and what was a goner.

Blog Photo - Clems doubles

Blog Photo - Blue clematis2

We had a few casualties, indeed. We lost the gorgeous white clematis.

Blog Photo - Clematis white

And the beautiful pink one that graces the arbour on the cover of my book, A Good Home. 

Blog Photo - Pink Clematis

But there’s much to be thankful for.

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

Blog Photo - Garden rain pink and lavender clems

Blog Photo - Blue Clematis single

Blog Photo - Garden rain Clematis dark blue

Now, it’s not all smooth sailing. A few are really struggling, and insects have also attacked them.Blog Photo - Clems Light pink

Blog Photo - Clem Pink and white

But the point is that they returned. And others came back in full force.

Blog Photo - Clems - Burgundy

Blog Photo - Blue clems atop Pinks

This shy little red clematis decided to spread its wings — er, vines.

Blog Photo - Red clems on Trellis

This one below escaped the rabbits and is full of blooms now.

Blog Photo - Clem Purple

Now, don’t go asking me all their names.  Some days, I don’t even remember my own…..

But I hope you are suitably impressed – I know I am! Several of these vines were bought for a few bucks at end of gardening seasons in years past, and planted by my Better Half.

I’m especially impressed with this bloom – usually the first to flower, this clematis missed its moment because the rabbits ate the whole vine and it had to start up again from its roots underground. But now it’s sent out a single bloom!

Blog Photo - clem single pink


Dedicated to late bloomers and other survivors.


Filed under A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Clematis, Flowers, Gardening

Beauty In All Things


It was the winter when I found myself in bed with a dead poet. 

And found myself thinking about life and beauty.

And about making one’s mark on the world.


Spring Garden - Yellow Iris

 “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”


When you’re ill for a long time, you can slide into feeling very sorry for yourself and forget what a blessed life you’ve had. That even to have lived this long is a blessing.

One day it occurred to me that I’d already lived a lot longer than poet-singer Bob Marley, whose songs I could still hear in my head, decades after his death: Redemption Time; No Woman, No Cry.

Google Images

Google Images

Longer than American civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, who both died at age 39.

Longer than poet Emily Dickinson and singer-poet Karen Carpenter.

Longer, even, than my own grandfather, a brilliant wordsmith and inventor who never became world- famous, but whose legend lives on in our family.

And way longer than John Keats, the English poet who wrote such marvelous lines as “A thing of beauty is a joy forever....” (from “Endymion”) and “Thou was not born for death, immortal bird!” (from “Ode to a Nightingale”).

It was during our tough, difficult winter — when I found it difficult to stand, walk, sleep and even breathe – that I rediscovered the tender, beautiful poetry of John Keats.

And the winter when I got to know John Keats. 


Blog Photo - John Keats

Some poets had privileged lives.

Not John Keats. His father died when the children were young. His mother remarried. Her husband abused her, took the family’s money then disappeared.

John later spent years caring for his brother Tom — who had tuberculosis — knowing he’d become infected too.

John loved his neighbour Frances, and she loved him back. But he couldn’t marry her.  He couldn’t even touch her – he’d contracted tuberculosis by then.

One autumn day in 1819, John took a walk near Winchester, England. He came home and wrote “Ode to Autumn“. Photo by Hamlin Grange

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,         

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;    

Conspiring with him how to load and bless        

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run…”

John died two years later, aged 25, thinking himself a complete failure. He asked that no name be put on his tombstone.

“I have left no immortal works behind me, nothing to make my friends proud of my memory but I have loved the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remembered.”

Ode to Autumn became one of the best-loved poems in the English language, and John Keats  became world-famous – more than a century after he died.


How truly wonderful, I thought as I read Keats’ poems.

To be so talented. To be able to see beauty “in all things”.

And how truly awful, I thought as I read his story.

To die so young. To die believing you’d accomplished nothing of worth.

John Keats’ poems gave me a much needed boost that week.

But for a little while, I also felt like weeping — for a man I’d never met.


Dedicated to the lesser-known poets among us.



Filed under A Good Home, Blessings, Bob Marley, Faith, Inspiration, Keats, Poetry, Writers