Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay, New York

I like every season for different reasons. One of my favorite things about spring and summer is the abundance of gorgeous gardens. I’ve been stopping to smell the roses…and the lilacs and lilies and hyacinths and hydrangeas. This past Mother’s Day was spent at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, New York which is on Long Island. After that, we stopped at a nursery to buy flowers. Outside on a sunny day absorbing vivid colors and sweet scents? Lovely!

Bright Blooms and Poem for Peace

Morning walks are my meditation; sweet scents my solace.

A year ago, we were frozen in place. When the pandemic shut our world down, my family asked, “How long will this last?” “Surely, a few weeks.” “Surely, not past July 4th.” As the months dragged on, and everyday was the same as the last, several walks a day was our way to break the monotony. And guess what, hon? Senses heightened. Flowers were more vivid than ever. Garden scents filled the air. Songbirds were distinguishable. And the antics of our sweet furry angels, Lucy and Midnight, entertained us. I’m still walking, discovering wonders everyday. And everyday, those wonders bring me bits of peace.

Click here to learn more about Maya Angelou.

Spring Tulips & Shel Silverstein

After a The Max Challenge Zoom workout, the trainer read Shel Silverstein’s poem “The Voice.” The poem spoke to me on several fronts: trying to get through quarantine with a hopeful outlook, helping others with my particular skills, and focusing energy on long-term goals which seem, during this strange and unsettling time, to be floating on waves washing out to sea.

Wishing you a peaceful day filled with beauty in small moments, like noticing how droplets cling to tulip petals.

The Voice
by Shel Silverstein

Flower Photography, Sunshine Petals

Sunflowers

Sharing more blooms. Sunshine Petals!

Cactus Flowers

Official State Flower of Maryland

Maryland designated black-eyed Susan as the official state floral emblem in 1918. All State Flowers

Black-eyed Susans are common in Maryland fields and roadsides, and the black and gold colors match the state bird, state insect, and even the state cat.

Black-eyed Susan Facts

The black-eyed Susan is a daisy-like wildflower with yellow petals and a dark brown center that grows in dry places. A member of the sunflower family and native to the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, .

Black-eyed Susan plants reach 2 to 3 feet in height, blooming between May and August. The flower heads measure 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The scientific name for the black-eyed Susan is Rudbeckia hirta; “hirta” is Latin for “rough hairy” (as the prominent center of the flower is).

The root of the black-eyed Susan is used in traditional and folk remedies to treat colds.   State Symbols USA

Black-Eyed Susans

Flower Photography

One of the many things I love about summer are the hot colors.

Every morning when I walk Lucy, I never know what I’ll see. I might come across wild turkeys strutting, tiny chipmunks scurrying, squawking bluejays chasing, circling hawks diving, hungry bunnies nibbling, or busy bees buzzing. All of these alive things are framed by greenery and gardens. The vivid purple coneflowers below, also known as Echinacea, attract butterflies, songbirds, and busy bees buzzing. Lovely!

Spring Bouquets

Who doesn’t love a bouquet?

We were at an event where every table had a different bouquet and, of course, I had to absorb the colors and combinations. The two arrangements below are nestled in DIY Woodsy Centerpieces. Bendable twigs, vines and branches are wrapped around glass vases. The branches-wrapped-vases sit on thick slabs of wood. Simple. Woodsy. Pretty.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

The Top Ten Coolest Things I Saw In California

Wedding decor handcrafted by the bride.
Wedding decor handcrafted by the bride.

California Dreaming

 I went to California for the weekend.  Hubby and I were guests at our dear friends’ son’s wedding.  It was outdoors.  It was beautiful.  I danced my dessert off.

Before this trip, I had only been to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The wedding was in San Luis Obispo, which is about halfway between LA and SF.  We drove up the coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Hon, I’m already (California) dreaming of a trip back to the West Coast.

Here are the Top Ten Coolest Things I saw In California this weekend.  

Driving up the coast with mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
Driving up the coast with mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Do you see the tiny line in the mountain? That's the road we drove on. Yikes!
The tiny line carved out of the mountain is the road we drove on.  Yikes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 1. I’m combining these two photos to make up #1. Driving on the edge of mountains–cliffs, really–is a bit harrowing, but pretty cool. Hubby rented a convertible (picture me in an Audrey Hepburn-style scarf) so guess what I did?  Turned around and took pics of the views behind us!

Cows, cows and more cows.
Cows, cows and more cows.

2. Everywhere we drove, cattle were grazing. Cows with calves and steer with horns were wandering over hills, sitting in the shade, and chewing their cud. Moo!

Aoudads on San Simeon
Aoudads on San Simeon

3. These Aoudads, a kind of Barbary sheep, were hanging out on the road to the Hearst Castle. Apparently, William Hearst had a large menagerie back in the day. At one point, he owned 250,000 acres of land and brought all kinds of animals to his ranch.

Woman and cockatiel.
Woman and cockatiel.

 

4. Many marble statues adorn the Hearst Castle. I really liked this one.

Wineries are everywhere.
Tuscany or California?

5. The countryside is dotted with wineries. Vineyards carpet the hills and Mediterranean architecture adds European flavor.  Salute!

West Coast succelents.
West Coast succelents.

6. Hon, you know how I love texture and color?  This garden has both.  I love the contrast between the colors and the grey rocks.  I have no idea what these plants are called, so if you do, would you please let me know and I’ll add the info?

Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle.
Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle.

7. This indoor pool is enchanting. Maybe it was the millions of tiny blue mosaics or the lighting or the smaller pool room, but standing at water’s edge I felt a romance or drama or mystery coming on.

Hummingbird in flight.
Hummingbird in flight.

8. I can’t believe I got this photo. Have you ever tried to photograph a hummingbird? Enough said!

Elephant Seals on Elephant Seal Beach, Big Sur, CA
Elephant Seals on Elephant Seal Beach, Big Sur, CA

9. What could be cooler than watching young, male Elephant Seals swim, snooze, spar, snort and scratch?  I guess they get itchy, too!

Galerie Rue Royale, artist: Devon,
Artist DeVon featured at Galerie Rue Royale, Carmel-by-the-Sea

10. Energy! Powerful! Superhero! Wow!

Pink Flower Power

Ranunculus
Ranunculus

Plum tree
Plum Tree

Hyacinth
Hyacinth

Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Heart  plant

Move over butterflies…I’m obsessed with photographing flowers.  I love the layered petals of the Ranunculus, the contrast of the Plum Tree’s pink blooms with the blue sky, the Hyacinth’s candy-striped petals and how daintily each Bleeding Heart flower hangs from the stem.

Tomorrow, I’ll be planting my flower boxes. Happy gardening, hon.