Clematis, Jello Mold Farm

Clematis, Jello Mold Farm

“The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.  The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.  In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold purple stars.  But we never get back our youth.”
— Oscar Wilde, from “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

IMG_8343

IMG_8345

Clematis seed case

Clematis seed case

IMG_8340

 

Imprecision’s Virtues

October 9, 2015

“You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft: a certain free margin and even vagueness — ignorance, credulity — helps your enjoyment of these things.”
— Walt Whitman, Specimen Days

Clematis seedhead

Clematis seedhead

I certainly fit Whitman’s description of someone who appreciates the aesthetics of things without understanding their scientific workings or names.  When I go out into the world, my eye seeks beautiful and interesting shapes and patterns, and I often don’t know what exactly I am looking at.

I remember the first time I photographed a clematis seedhead.  I sent the photo to the Plant Answer Line at the Elisabeth C. Miller horticultural library, and they identified it for me.  I don’t always take the time for this type of research, but I do appreciate how the internet connects me so easily with experts who are willing to share their knowledge with a stranger.  We live in a marvelous world!

I am drawn to the clematis seedheads because they make me smile.  Their swirly, feathered tails are like looking into a miniature whirlpool.  There is something funny about their fluffy, ball shape — kind of like waking up to a bad hair day.  At other times, I love the grace of their calligraphic lines.

Here are some clematis in the early October gardens of Jello Mold Farm:

IMG_3885

IMG_3887

IMG_3883

IMG_3889

 

IMG_2154

IMG_1914

IMG_2076

IMG_2155

IMG_2070

IMG_2158

IMG_2160

IMG_2165

IMG_2199

IMG_2207

IMG_2182

IMG_2293

Zinnia, J Foss Garden Flowers

Zinnia, J Foss Garden Flowers

I took advantage of the lingering sunny summer weather to take a drive south to J Foss Garden Flowers of Chehalis.  I met Janet a couple of years ago and had dreamed of someday wandering her flower fields with camera in hand.  This has been an unusually dry summer, and that presented challenges this year for flower growers.  But farming is like that.  I saw much beauty in the flower beds on Janet’s farm.  I think you will agree.

Delphiniums in the greenhouse

Delphiniums in the greenhouse

Delphinium shadows

Delphinium shadows

Clear blue delphinium

Clear blue delphinium

Zinnia bed

Zinnia bed

Zinnea

Zinnea

IMAGE_6917

IMAGE_6918

Limonium latifolium hybrid

Limonium latifolium hybrid

Clematis

Clematis

Clematis

Clematis

Clematis

Clematis

Celosia cristata 'Cockscomb'

Celosia cristata ‘Cockscomb’

Brain-like cockscomb

Brain-like cockscomb

Boltonia 'Lime Dot'

Boltonia ‘Lime Dot’

Foxglove

Foxglove

Foxglove

Foxglove

Cosmos

Cosmos

Achillea millefolium terracotta

Achillea millefolium terracotta

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums

J Foss Garden Flowers

J Foss Garden Flowers

Van loaded with cut flowers, ready for the market

Van loaded with cut flowers, ready for the market

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Breath of Kindness

August 7, 2014

Clematis blooms

Clematis blooms

“Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person:  having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them out.  Just as they are — chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping,and then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
— Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik, 1826 – 1887.  This is the epigraph to Jan Karon’s Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

I just finished an advance reader copy of Jan Karon’s newest book in the Mitford series, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.  It was like meeting up with old friends after long absence.  What joy to pick up the characters’ stories from where they left off.  Two years now since he retired, Father Tim is still trying to find a meaningful way to spend his days.  There are plenty of occasions for Esther’s famous Orange Marmalade Cake (see my earlier post about that at this link.)  And it does seem like Karon is passing the baton to Dooley at the end of the book, so I’m hoping that this means more Mitford books will be forthcoming.

Like me, Karon seems to enjoy incorporating good quotes into her story.  Here are two more favorites from this newest book:

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness.”

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions — the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasure and genial feelings.”
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

 

Blue hydrangea petals

Blue hydrangea petals

I set out on a recent neighborhood walk to photograph a color wheel in the hues of a Seattle summer day.

Green acorns amidst green oak leaves

Green acorns amidst green oak leaves

Yellow -- floral suns in a blue sky

Yellow — floral suns in a blue sky

Orange signals summer road construction projects

Orange signals summer road construction projects

Red flowers in a hanging basket in the shade of a porch

Red flowers in a hanging basket in the shade of a porch

Violet clematis

Violet clematis

And back to blue -- the cloudless skies of a midsummer day

And back to blue — the cloudless skies of a midsummer day

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to the misfits, the renegades, the nonconformists . . . those who stand out in the crowd!!  (I’ve deliberately left out mavericks — this noun is forever tainted for me because of past associations with she-who-will-not-be-named.)

One white clematis blossom among its purple neighbors

One white clematis blossom among its purple neighbors

IMG_3748

IMG_3751

And to those who prefer to remain hidden among the crowd and behind the scenes.

Purple clematis blossoms

Purple clematis blossoms

IMG_3750