One of the pleasures of being back in Pennsylvania is the ability to visit my parents via a quick half hour drive on the freeway. I paid just such a visit last Monday.
As long as I can remember, my mother has always had a garden. Both the practical sort (vegetables – although I still can’t rationalize the choice of rhubarb); and the “pretty to look at” sort – flowers. In nearly all of her flower gardens she has raised Iris and Peonies. I enjoy both, but the Iris has been my favorite for a long time; even though their flowering season is brief, but glorious. Both of these gems were in their prime blooming period on Memorial Day.
More importantly, I have my mother to thank for teaching me to take to time to admire the small details in nature such as a slight coloration on a white petal or the shape of a bloom. Indeed this may have been my first introduction to the idea of slowing down and learning to be in the moment.
So take a few moments to slow down and enjoy some pictures of my recent visit to Phyllis’s flower garden.
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, my kind neighbors have invited me to use their yard for walking my cat; as this is a “week-end” home for them. In spite of the fact that they only make it to Bar Harbor about once every 4 or 5 weeks they have managed to create a lovely little yard filled with beautiful flowers. There always seems to be something new blooming.
When I was a homeowner, I did enjoy having my own garden. While vegetable gardening bringsits own very delicious rewards, flower gardening is really all about appearances. It is “beauty for beauty’s sake”.
Whenever I see a beautiful flower garden, I can’t help but wonder who created the first “flower garden”, and from there contemplate the long evolution of developing plants for flower gardens, creating “hybrids” and establishing floral traditions. Just imagine that many of the plants that we now take for granted as “regular garden flowers” began thousands of generations ago as a wildflower; very likely far removed from its present day appearance.
I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a home where gardening (both of vegetables and flowers) were a daily part of my life. I also remember both sets of my grandparents gardening – one for food, and one for the perfect rose.
What part of our DNA stimulates the desire to be surrounded by beauty? And when did that desire begin? (I assume it was once we mastered the art of survival and had energy to devote to such pursuits – research Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs to understand more). When there is so much ugliness in the world around us, how fortunate we are to be able to bring beauty into our lives through a simple flower.
So today, wherever you are, take time to: “appreciate beauty for beauty’s sake” After all, sometimes the only purpose a flower serves is to simply “look pretty”.
On a recent hike around Witch Hole Pond part of Acadia National Park, and a favorite hike of mine – I enjoy discovering the ever-changing plant life growing among and around the woods, marsh, and pond.
Waterlilies are in abundance here, and it amazing to see how this swampy pond has transformed from an icy mass of swamp grass in January into a verdant virtual “field” of waterlilies in June.
The otters love to munch on these waterlily leaves and we were lucky enough to spot two enjoying a late afternoon snack on this hike.
All along this walk there are small treasures to be found. Here, a tiny flower I’m told (by my sister who visited recently), blooms in sweet obscurity along the water’s edge.
My favorite flower, the iris, has passed its peak here in Maine, but I did manage to find one late bloom.
I actually found these buttercups on top of Cadillac Mountain, earlier that same day.
And, a hike around Witch Hole Pond would not be complete without including a photograph of the beautiful reflections to be found in the clear, calm water. I never get these tired of these photos, and I hope you don’t either!! 🙂
Well, as I hinted at a few posts back, Lupine, the beautiful late spring blooming wildflower here is making another appearance on my blog.
Thanks to a tip from one of my fellow bloggers and Acadia enthusiast (David Patterson, you know who you are), I headed down Beech Hill Road early this morning enroute to Southwest Harbor for an acupuncture appointment (for a nagging arm and shoulder problem I’ve been having). And indeed, there were several lovely meadows full of lupine, with wonderful views of the mountains in the distance.
After who knows how many days of rain and clouds (I stopped counting), the skies finally turned glorious blue with puffy, white clouds – giving a Maxfield Parrish kind of feel to landscape.
This place was a definite natural mood enhancer!!
A great vantage point from which to take in the views and breathe the fresh air.
I continue to be amazed at the beauty of this place. And a big shout out to Sarah Tewhey, a wonderfully skilled practicioner. So great to find competent alternative medical therapists here. I know after a treatment or two, my arm is going to feel much better! If you want to learn more about acupuncture, check out her website at: www.acadiaacupuncture.com it’s good medicine!
This time of year brings all sorts of floral “surprises” growing along the roadsides, in the meadows, and in the woods. What distinguishes a “weed” from a “wildflower”. I always thought that if it showed up in MY garden it was weed, if it was in someone else’s garden it must be a wildflower. Also, if it was in an area that I was unfamiliar with, SURELY it was a wildflower.
So in my first spring in Maine, I am enjoying the “wildflowers” along the way. And also, the deer! As I was hiking up the hill on “Kebo Street”, I passed this deer meandering through someone’s yard. I think she was attempting to disguise herself as a yard ornament!
And now, back to the wildflowers!
How sweet are these little flowers in the pic below? What I found most interesting was that they are some type of water or bog plant as they were growing profusely in the drainage ditch along the road. Apparently, they open pink and turn blue as they mature!
A few days ago driving past this location, I noticed the lupine was blooming. I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the lupine, as it is one of my favorite “wildflowers” of coastal Maine. Lupine thrives in cool, moist climates, and my attempts to grow it in hot and humid Pennsylvania (where I used to live), were doomed to fail.
The earliest I had ever been to Maine (before moving here), was about the third week in June, and by then the Lupine were beginning to fade. So when I spotted this meadow on the outskirts of town, I was excited to get out there with my zoom lens and see what I could capture.
This meadow is private property, and while it isn’t marked as “no trespassing”, I like to be respectful of privae landowners, so I didn’t want to intrude too much on their privacy. I did “step over the line” to capture these lupines in “close up”.
In this location, purple was the most prevelant color, but there were sprinklings of pink and white lupine as well. Aren’t they beautiful?!
The meadow is bordered by two roads, and as I hiked along the road opposite from where I started, I was happily surprised to see three deer grazing in the meadow among the lupine. A bonus to be sure, and made me REALLY glad I had my long lens mounted on the camera.
It is always a treat when you get to see wildlife while walking, so in spite of the clouds, I was really glad I took the chance to shoot photos today! The “lovely lupine” will likely last another couple of weeks, so this may not be the last you see of them on this blog!
As spring takes a little longer to materialize this far north, I thought the traditional “April showers bring May flowers” needed to be adapted to fit my current climate. That, and the month of April was relatively dry compared to (so far) this May.
The pleasant surprise of today was that the skies actually brightened this afternoon (proving yet again that weather forecasts for these parts really are useless). The sunshine was MOST welcome, and I took a quick walk up and down the block to capture these spring flowers enjoying the sun.
There are even “indoor” flowers blooming, as my landlord installed two panels of stained glass on either side of the french doors that serve as an entryway to our carriage house apartments. Thank you Richard and Karin!