Phloral Arrangement – Roses in Pinks

Pink roses are in abundance in my garden today. They look lovely in my grandmother’s Fenton coin-dot fluted vase. The roses within are Prosperity, a white rose that has one branch that occasionally blooms in a fluky bi-color. Fairy roses, Blue Lagoon a sweet lavender, a pink climber that is so old I don’t remember the name anymore, and the reliable pink Knockout.

My vased arrangement is part of IAVOM – In A Vase on Monday.

Prayer – National Day of Prayer

Sometimes I post reruns, especially if they are favorites of mine. I love these quotes by Oswald Chambers on prayer.

“Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work”

The Key of the Greater Work: Oswald Chambers

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~Ephesians 6:12

Phlowers – In a Vase on Monday (IAVOM)

Such a busy time of year. I’ve been lax with blogging, but I so love taking part in the IAVOM challenge, I scurried around the yard cutting stems today before I began planting out seedlings. The little goldfinch is a reminder of my first glimpse of brilliant yellow goldfinches this past week. I’m so happy to see them in their summer colors. The bouquet is created with Japanese Photinia, yellow tulips edged in pinks, and a stem of comfrey.

As it matured, the colors of this yellow tulip became even brighter. Lovely! I think this tulip is worthy to be a part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

The comfrey blooms once a year. I am going to save seeds to send to my sister who has begun a Flower Farm in North Carolina.

Not only is it an evergreen through the winter, it blooms in the spring. The new leaves are a gorgeous shade of blush pink/red. Japanese Photinia is a perfect choice for a garden tree/bush.

Project – What to do with the Broken Bits

What do you do with the broken bits in life? Sometimes you can make them into something beautiful.

In Jamaica, I found so many broken bits of shells. Not much in the way of intact seashells make it onto the beach in Montego Bay, but, being a bit of a scavenger, I had an idea. Why not fashion these bits of shell, many with a ready-made hole, into a necklace? A year or two ago I did just that!

Of course, when I returned to Jamaica in March of this year, I gathered even more. I will update when I decide what I make next.

Cee has the topic SMALL for her Fun Foto Challenge. I thought these bits and pieces fit right in.

Perspective & Plants – Updates

I’ve been in a bit of limbo for two months. We had more than half of the interior of the house painted. It began mid-February and ended last Thursday. TOO LONG! I will think very hard before I ever begin major home improvements again. No matter how nice a stranger is, they are a stranger, and I am ashamed to say even an attempt at chit-chat and pleasantries began to grate as the time began to drag on and on. I really began to feel a bit wacky due to my routines being disrupted for so long. The job was well done though, and the walls are bright and clean.

We had a break in the two months of painting and went on vacation in Jamaica. The weather was wonderful. We came home to very cold weather in New Jersey. Brrrr….better now though. It is very warm today.

The praying mantis pods I gathered a few months ago, after spending the winter on the porch, are now velcroed to my rose bushes. I am hoping they will keep the sawfly invasion down this year. I also bought some alyssum seeds to sow. Sixteen packs from the dollar store only cost $4.00. I read alyssum helps keep pests that rise from the ground at bay. I am hoping to have a carpet of alyssum beneath the roses this year. Of course, now that I am searching for a link, I can’t find it again. Bah!

Placing a plastic grid from an old market tray over my pots of bulbs worked great. Pots without the grid were dug through by squirrels all winter long. The grid was a perfect shield and easily removed when the bulbs had sprouted.

I started over 200 seeds indoors this Winter. I always start weeks earlier than the seed packets recommend. If grown with heat mats and under light, the plants do not get leggy, well at least most of them did not get leggy. My biggest surprise, the dahlias. They thrived under the indoor conditions.

I have managed to root the tips of geraniums that had become hopelessly overgrown. I was inspired to try this gain after watching Gardener’s World on Britbox. This has become a favorite and it kept me sane through the weeks of painting.

Phloral – IAVOM – Daffodils in Victorian Vase

Daffodils are my entry for the In A Vase On Monday Challenge, hosted by Ramblings in the Garden. The yellow and orange variety is displayed within a Victorian Milk Glass Hand Posy Vase. A sprig of evergreen Japanese Photinia helps to keep the stems in place. My outdoor gardens are coming back to life with Spring bulbs appearing in every bed, making it easier to once again take part in this challenge.

I drape beaded garlands from small hooks beneath the mantel and hang simple cardstock Easter bunnies on the length. A cottonball is glued on for the fluffy tail. I keep Christmas tree hooks at the ready all year long. They come in handy for projects and decorations; I even use them in the gardens.

These perky daffodils are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlower – First Periwinkle

I looked for a periwinkle a few days ago, and found nothing. I didn’t know it was hiding out within the mass of ivy beneath the pines. I love these small flowers. Now I know for sure Spring is on the way in South Jersey. It’s really cold and windy today, but this tender little blossom gives me hope. My periwinkle is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Photo Challenges – Cosmic Photo Challenge: Straight Lines

This is the first time I have come across this great challenge. So happy to take part today after going on a bit of a nature walkabout with my camera. Cosmic Photo Challenge: Straight Lines; come along and walk with me…

The woods nearby yielded some interesting textures and lines. Weathered and worn, with straight lines engraved by years of lying on the woodland floor.

Cross the bridge with me, the straight lines of the planks support your steps, but add a bit of bounce and sway too as they carry you over a shallow gully.

A straight line of lichen grows within the confines of the tree bark. The beautiful greens match the color of my kitchen walls.

In the straight lines between the brick steps on my back porch the Creeping Jenny is showing signs of greening up into her Springtime chartreuse.

In the front garden beds, cress is beautifully unfurled between the straight lines of driveway and brick. This is one of my favorite plants for foliage pressings. More on that later on in the week.

Phloral – IAVOM – Hyacinths and Ivy

Hyacinths and Ivy in a green Mason jar, surrounded by a sprinkling of sea glass. I brought a few in to have an up close and personal encounter with not only the gorgeous lavender blooms, but also to enjoy the strong fragrance that fills the kitchen as they mature. I hope they will keep on blooming all through the week.

My vase is part of IAVOM/In a Vase on Monday.

Phlowers – Yellow Tulips

I could interpret last week’s sixty-degree temperatures as a sign Spring is on the way, but I have lived through many seasonal changeovers, and I know that even though twilight is coming later every day, the hope of Spring arriving early is just folly and there are still weeks of Winter to live through.

Tulips are my Flower of the Day, part of Cee’s Daily Flower Challenge.

I have grown the yellow tulips from bulbs I purchased in Autumn. Past attempts at forcing them have been mixed. I have kept them bare and in a cold place, forcing them in water. This year I planted thickly in terracotta pots, about six bulbs per pot, and left them outdoors on the porch for several months. I wasn’t sure when I should bring them in, but the tulips themselves told me by thrusting leaves above the surface. I bring one in each week, and this pot is my first success. It is a bit leggy, but grand just the same. I support the overgrown stems with small twigs in the soil. I like the seasonal look they give, and even though thin, they support the leaves and stems perfectly well.

Photograph – Oh Bee-aby!

There are loves throughout my life that have been questionable: people, habits, places, some friends. But my love of nature and the pollen-gathering creatures God has made is not a choice I feel will diminish or ever be deemed debatable. I don’t remember the exact moment in time I took this photo, but when I came across it today, it immediately brought back the spring/summer rush I feel when I grab my camera and run straight for the garden bed and insects gathered there.

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.
Elizabeth Lawrence

There is nothing motley about the pollen sprinkled across the bumblebees, in fact it seems ethereal, dusting the bumblebee’s fur/pile with magic.

Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair called ‘pile’, making them appear and feel fuzzy.

Nature – Check out this article for amazing facts about bumblebees!

The sweet bumbler hangs on and collects pollen from lavender bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), a dependable perennial in my summer garden. Bee Balm blossoms are my Flower of the Day.

Photo Challenges – LAPC #235

At least 65 years plus in age, my birdbath still holds water for my backyard birds. It mimics the full moon that has been gracing February’s cold night skies. It first belonged to my maternal grandmother. I remember being nose-high to its edge, peering over the rim at the silvery reflections. It resembles a crystal ball. Strange, I am considered a reasonable person, but I have no desire to know the future, near or far. I gaze into it to remember the joys of the past.

Today’s post is part of Lens Artist Photo Challenge #235: Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome. Thank you to both the hosts and the participants in this challenge.

The reflected sky is part of Skywatch Friday. Water, Water, Everywhere can even be found in a backyard birdbath, thanks to Jez for hosting.

Plants – Things People Grow/Sea Beans

There is nothing fancy about the Sea Grape. I love the plant/bush because it reminds me of the first time I vacationed in Jamaica. We traveled there with my son and daughter-in-law, her parents and sister, and it was there we first heard the news that a new grandchild was on the way. Sea Grapes bordered the walkways of the Runaway Bay Club Caribbean. They grow wild all over the island nation. I fell in love with them at first sight. Thick leaves, with red veins intersecting the two halves; I began to dream of how to grow one at home. Unfortunately, transporting seeds/plants from one country to another is prohibited. I was out of luck. Eventually, I did order some seeds online from Florida, but they never sprouted.

Flash forward to Sanibel Island, Autumn 2021. I once again found several sea beans on the beach. I soaked them, planted several, and a few grew for me. Oh, Happy Day, it turned out one of those sprouts was a Sea Grape.

Sea Bean – Drift seed, a seed of any of a number of tropical plants growing in coastal areas, the seeds of which are found floating upon ocean currents, by means of which the seeds are dispersed.

WordFinder

The Sea Grape has thrived, although it grows slowly. The newest leaf it developed is the largest so far. Sitting beside the plant is a teacup of shells also found on the Sanibel Island beaches. We were horrified by the hurricane that slammed into this area in October 2022. We keep track of the progress being made in rebuilding, and we will certainly visit again and support the community as soon as possible.

I subscribe to this wonderful shell seekers YouTube channel. This video shows both South West Florida beachcombing, and some of the devastation on Fort Myers Beach. If you miss summertime, and are in a state of winter-induced torpor, this video is a good way to dream of warmer days.

Pheathers – Winter Robins

The woods that border my neighborhood is a cherished retreat for me in all seasons. Of course, today’s first frosting of snowfall prompted me to grab my camera and head outdoors. I managed to zoom in and get a close-up for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge.

On the path before me a robin rustled among the leaves for insects. As I captured his image, I realized the woods was alive with a large flock of robins.

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The robins are drawn to our woods by the native holly trees growing tall beneath the canopy of larger oaks, tulip trees, and sweetgums. I stood for quite a while, taking photos, an easier task than usual as there were dozens of birds all around. I stayed in one spot, and they soon perceived I was no threat. One few so close overhead, I was sure his wing must have grazed me as he swooped by.

It was a curious morning; the wintry frosting of snow belied the springtime sparkle of the sun. Half of the surrounding view shouted, ‘Spring,’ but the cold air and flurries adorning the foliage sagely disagreed and whispered, ‘Winter.” I felt myself in a natural sanctuary, blessed by the song of the birds, the brilliance of the sun. The atmosphere around me was aglow with one of my favorite colors, a light-infused ethereal green. I added my voice to the praise and thanksgiving, “Thank you Lord, this is one of my best days.”

A few of the friendly flock of robins. Amazing to see so many on the first day of February, 2023.

Though my orientation hadn’t changed, my feet exactly on the same stretch of ground from where I photographed the robins, I somehow captured the image of a new bird with my lens. This photo is part of Skywatch.

Phlowers – Longwood Conservatory Winter/Part 2

The Longwood Gardens Conservatory boasts a gorgeous display of orchids. Not only can you view hundreds of varieties, you can also gaze out upon the ongoing construction of Longwood Reimagined in the Orchid room. There are many signs on the grounds, and articles available on the web, that apprise visitors of the future gardens and buildings. It’s quite exciting to imagine myself walking in these structures in the future.

The orchids in today’s post are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

While the sun glare, magnified through the window, can make it difficult to take a larger photo, a close-up of these beautiful blooms in the orchid room is enhanced by the back-lighting.

There is no one dominant species of orchid in the display, but I am always drawn to the faces of the Paphiopedilums. Just like pansy blossoms, they seem to have a perky personality.

This lovely orchid almost seems artificial. The inner recesses of the labellum are sunrose yellow, the January 30th color for City Sonnet’s January Colors and Letters.

Postcards – Throwback Thursday/1903

North British Station Hotel, Scotland – Opened in 1902, it is now known as the Balmoral Hotel.

It’s been a long time since I have posted one of my vintage postcards. This one has entranced me for a week or two. I found it in a local Antique Conglomerate, in a box with many others, marked at just fifty cents. Oh my! What a bargain. It is postmarked September 1903, with the image of Edward VII on the half penny stamp. The ephemera I hold in my hand is just a few months shy of being 120 years old.

The age alone makes it a worthy treasure, but for me, it is always the written message, the address, the speculation over the person who picked out, wrote a message, and sent the card, Then, of course, next is wondering over what the person who received it thought of the correspondence. If you are like me, perhaps you too would come up with a whole story around the short message and names.

The postcard is in great shape. I tried to square it up for a photograph, and realized it wasn’t going to happen; the bottom is two to three millimeters less in width than the top. Comparing the date with the opening of the hotel I see it was probably one of the first images taken and sold as a postcard of the location.

Now for the fun part: the messages. The writer of the card had a lot to say in a small space and also used the front. I love the mention of the canaries. I wonder what the L stood for in the name. Was L a man, or a woman? I also wonder what the first name of Miss Young might be…

Eyemouth is a beautiful coastal town about fifty miles from Edinburgh. The word ‘Fruiterer’ means just what it sounds like, a seller of fruit. The recipient might have had a grocery shop, or small stand on High Street. ‘It’s a nicht one,’ is Scottish for night.

This postcard was very clear and easy to read. Other postcards I have are sometimes near illegible. At those times I take a photo of the postcard and magnify it on my computer, creating larger optics to better read the message.

My take on the messages:

Edinburgh 16/9/03
Front:
Dear Miss Young
I have just found
time to send off the P.C.
you requested me to forward.
Hope it will find a
space in your album.
L. Tait
Along the side:
___own Production” Could
you sell any
Back:
I send this just
for a “Lark” and hope
your Canaries are getting
on, & that you don’t miss
the one I took home.
Its a grand whistler.
“Its a nicht one”
Address:
Miss Young
Fruiterer
High Street
Eyemouth
Postmark:
Edinburgh
10:30 AM
SP 13
03

Vintage postcards are a great way to break up the tedium of winter weather and staying indoors.

Photograph – Midweek Monochrome #120

Mid-Week Monochrome #120 – My mode of transportation yesterday, out in the woods, searching for robins. I am hoping to combine several of my photos into a watercolor painting. Recently, I captured a few moments on video of this happy robin bathing in a swamp. There was a sweet magic in the moment.

My creative side has been recharged in the pursuit of the perfect composition. I’ll keep a blog record of my progress on this watercolor on my Snippets Art Blog. With all the water included in the video and photograph below, I will also include this in the Water, Water, Everywhere Challenge from Photos by Jez.

Skunk Cabbage beginning to emerge in January.