A Good Home, Faith, Family, Family Moments, Farm house, Flowering shrubs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardens, Gratitude, Home, Homes, Inspiration

Flowers, Memories, Diaries

Memory is the diary we all carry about with us, wrote Oscar Wilde.

But for me, diary is memory. Years of memories.

Family, home, garden, daily life.

Diaries played a small role in my overall life, but became a huge part of my post-accident experience. With little sense of time, and often no memory of events just minutes after they happened, I started writing in my journal again.

Little things. Big things. Write it down quickly. 

Blog Photo - Journals

A doctor played a key role.  She told me to record events as they happened, figuring I could share these entries with the  medical professionals I visited.  My memory and speech problems were so bad, she noted, that “No other specialist will take two hours to try to figure out what you are saying. Write.”

Of course, that’s not word-for-word. But I scribbled down her order.

I returned to keeping journals. Some of the entries were so painful, I vowed to never re-read them.

The best? Entries about time with family.

Blog Photo - Rainy Garden with Flowering shrubs

Next best: time in the garden.

I used to keep a journal to track my gardens’ progress. The major triumphs and minor tragedies, the plans carried out and those forgotten.

Now, no longer able to garden, I was reduced to observing.  But observing led to writing and writing led to “remembering”.

The first spring bulbs to bloom.

Blog Photo - Crocus in Spring

The first night-bloomer of the season.

Blog Photo - Nightbloomer1

The first time the fern-leaf peonies – presents from friends Les and Sandra – bloomed.

Blog Photo - Fernleaf Peonies

The hollyhock that bloomed in two colours.

Blog Photo - Daylily yellow

The mysterious flower that showed up one summer.

Blog Photo - Blue forget me not -- closer

Red currants, seeds planted by birds or breeze.

Blog - Red Currants

When your brain doesn’t work efficiently, you misplace things. When you’re in too much pain to move, you can’t go looking for things somewhere else.  So I learned to keep the garden journal on the verandah, and other journals in every room of the house.

Blog Photo - Verandah chairsAn onlooker, seeing me writing on that lovely verandah, might have thought: “What a charmed life.”

But as my mother always said : “Never envy others. No-one knows what troubles they have.” I was – quite literally — writing to save my life.

Looking back, I’m astonished at some of the lovely things that happened. Things to be grateful for. People to be grateful to.

I’m shocked at the development of this garden, as captured in my journals.

Grateful to my husband, for building arbours, dividing plants, maintaining the garden — in addition to everything else that landed on his plate.

Blog Photo - Garden Bridal wreath

Some of what I read evokes real memories. They bring tears, laughter, delight, wonder.

Some of it is not at all familiar. It’s like reading about someone else’s life, but knowing it’s yours.

Interesting, that.

Photos by Hamlin Grange

A Good Home, Decorating skills, Domestic Divas, Flower Arranging, Flowers, Gardening, Gardens, Interior Design

Inferior Design — A Natural Talent

If I call to invite close relatives to supper, their reply goes like this:

“Oh! How nice…”

Blog Photo - Hostas and Clematis

A long pause follows.

Blog Photo - flowers in glass vase mixed

Then:

“Er… Who’s cooking?”

So — naturally — I reply: You have nothing to fear. Husband is cooking.”

Joyful sounds erupt from the telephone.

Blog Photo - flowers in Brown Vase closer

Me, take offense? No way.

Blog Photo - Hostas and wieglia

I’m the untalented one in a family of creatively gifted domestic divas and I know it.

My mother, sisters, cousins and daughters  — all are fabulous cooks and bakers.

All were born knowing how to arrange a room artfully.

Clothes and hair? Fabulously stylish. Floral arrangements? To sigh for.

Blog Photo - Flowers in vase nice

And then there’s me. I have to work really, really hard at all these things – with surprisingly strange results.

An expert at inferior design, is what I am.

Blog Photo - flowers with alium closer

My greatest talent was in designing and planting our gardens.  Really nice gardens — if you like the lush, exuberant kind.  There, I seem to know instinctively what flowers and colours go together.

But, these days, I mostly pick the flowers, not plant them.

So — naturally — I recently decided to try floral arranging.

You may remember that I once ruined a very simple Christmas arrangement.

But hope springs eternal.

So — naturally — I decided to channel my inner Christiane, and Karen B. – two wonderfully creative, flower-loving women.  I love their blogs.

I stuck some flowers in a vase. Peonies and Solomon’s seal.

Blog Photo - Peonies and Solomon's Seal

“Beautiful”, said my sister.

Shocking.

So — naturally — the next arrangement was — hmmm…..

Blog Photo - Peonies in tall vase

Friends Lydia and her daughter Sarah kindly gave me a book on floral arranging.

The designs seemed so simple that only an idiot could fail to grasp them.

So — naturally — I failed to grasp them.

I’ve been hiding from Lydia and Sarah ever since.

Blog Photo - flowers white daisies in vase

Along comes my daughter, to shore up my confidence.

I’ll cut the flowers, we agree.  She’ll take the lead on arranging them in vases.

They were all very pretty.

So — naturally —  I went and stuck allium heads into one of them and ruined her creation. (See the sixth photo from the top.)

But all she said was: Nice, Mom.

Encouraged, I stuck another allium head  into a few flowers in a thin vase.

Blog Photo - Hostas in tall vase

And all of that explains why this post is full of flowers in vases.

The nice ones are my daughter’s.

In case you were wondering.

**

Dedicated to my creative relatives, and Lydia and Sarah. And to creative divas Christiane and Karen B.

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, Aggie and Lou, Environment-friendly, Farming, Farms, Flowers, Gardens, Living sustainably, Organic Farming, Organic Food, Peonies, Spring garden, Stewards of the land, Texas, The environment, Vegetables

Blooms for Aggie (and Lou)

Aggie asked me to publish blooms of peonies from my garden.

Blog Photo - Peonies almost open Light pink

I promised I would.

Blog Photo - Peony and bee

Who is Aggie, you may ask?

Blog Photo - Peony Rust

Aggie and husband Lou run Isis Farms near Avery, Texas. They call what they do “beyond organic”.

“We want to grow and supply ‘real’ food, for ourselves, and as many people as possible. We think that good, whole food is a key to health.”

They describe themselves as stewards of their 30-acre land.

“As stewards of this land, we want to nurture a healthy ecosystem, maintaining the forest, reintroducing native grasses, and keeping the chemicals out.”

Blog Photo - Peonies in Bloom

Aggie and Lou believe the planet cannot possibly sustain the average American’s lifestyle. So they are doing their part to reduce their impact on the earth.

“For example, we are planning for solar power, and rainwater collection and drip irrigation to minimize water usage. Our home is small, and we heat with wood, which creates no additional greenhouse gases, and is freely available in our forest. We purchase used items when practical.”

Aggie and Lou have been working very hard to realize their ideals. And they continue to do so, through what seems to be every single day. This kind of work and vision take commitment, but they seem to have it in spades.

Blog Photo - Peony and weigela

So these blooms are a tribute to Aggie and Lou and Isis Farms.

And because Aggie asked to see them.

Blog Photo - Peony deep pink single

This post is dedicated to Aggie, Lou, and all who are doing something to “reduce their impact” on the earth.

*The second and third images above are by my wonderful photographer Hamlin Grange. (The rest are by that awful photo-taker who shall not be named.)

A Good Home, Flowers, Garden, Gardening, Home, Life in canada

Bloomin’ Stuff

Stuff is blooming in my garden.

Blog Photo - Columbines

Pink Stuff – some that were expected to be pink, and some that came up in a different colour scheme. It’s very pretty, this pink and white columbine. But where did it come from?

Blog Photo - columbines pink and white

The grace of the garden: you get more than you planted.

The surplus, Canadians call it.

Brawta, Jamaicans call it.

Blog Photo - Phlox wild pink

I just call it grace.  And when I think about it, my whole garden this spring is an illustration of grace. The harsh winter killed off very little. The starving rabbits chomped off all our clematis vines and tender shrubs right down to the ground, but most are returning. And I’m able to walk around the garden each morning and evening, and enjoy the miracle called Spring.

Blog Photo - Bachelors Button 2

The Purple-y-Blue Stuff — like this bachelor’s button — returned looking dapper.

Blog Photo - Bachelors Button 3

Yellow Stuff like these day lilies bloomed early for our region.

Blog Photo - Lilies yellow

And then there is Stuff that’s making me wait. Like the peonies and the poppies.

Blog Photo - Peony Buds Closer

Anticipation. Aspiration. Expectation. These things build character. Don’t they?

Blog Photo - Poppy buds

Perhaps it is time for some meditation.

Whether you garden or not, I hope your spring is going well.

By the way, these photos are entirely amateur, and I won’t identify the inept photo-taker (I simply can’t call her a ‘photographer’) in order to protect the guilty.  My wonderful photographer is busy with other things right now, but he will return.

**

Dedicated to the memory of Donald Moore, one of the most patient and expert gardeners I’ve ever known.