White tree peony

White peony

Weeds and Peonies
by Donald Hall

Your peonies burst out, white as snow squalls,
with red flecks at their shaggy centers
in your border of prodigies by the porch.
I carry one magnanimous blossom indoors
and float it in a glass bowl, as you used to do.

Ordinary pleasures, contentment recollected,
blow like snow into the abandoned garden,
overcoming the daisies. Your blue coat
vanishes down Pond Road into imagined snowflakes
with Gus at your side, his great tail swinging,

but you will not reappear, tired and satisfied,
and grief’s repeated particles suffuse the air —
like the dog yipping through the entire night,
or the cat stretching awake, then curling
as if to dream of her mother’s milky nipples.

A raccoon dislodged a geranium from its pot.
Flowers, roots, and dirt lay upended
in the back garden where lilies begin
their daily excursions above stone walls
in the season of old roses. I pace beside weeds

and snowy peonies, staring at Mount Kearsarge
where you climbed wearing purple hiking boots.
“Hurry back. Be careful, climbing down.”
Your peonies lean their vast heads westward
as if they might topple. Some topple.

White Flowers

April 12, 2010

White daffodil

White daffodil

White tulips

White bleeding heart

White bleeding heart

White lily, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Detail, white lily

White rhododendron with a touch of pink

Star Magnolia

March 17, 2010

Star Magnolia

Until this spring, I don’t recall seeing this particular kind of magnolia blossom.  This year I am seeing them all over.  They are called Star Magnolia.  Aren’t they lovely?

White Camellia

March 14, 2010

White camellia

A neighbor's camellia bush in bloom

Cascading petals of a white camellia

“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.”
     — William Carlos Williams

The red camellia bush by our front door is in full bloom, but I really love these white camellias on a neighbor’s bush.  Georgia O’Keeffe must have been captivated by them, too, for she drew one early in her career.

Georgia O'Keeffe's White Camellia, 1938

Prophetic Snowdrops

February 4, 2010

First snowdrops

 The Wild Rose and the Snowdrop
by George Meredith

The snowdrop is the prophet of the flowers;
It lives and dies upon its bed of snows;
And like a thought of spring it comes and goes,
Hanging its head beside our leafless bowers.
The sun’s betrothing kiss it never knows,
Nor all the glowing joy of golden showers;
But ever in a placid, pure repose,
More like a spirit with its look serene,
Droops its pale cheek veined thro’ with infant green.

Chaste, virgin flower

“Chaste, virgin flower, first-born of Spring,
Thou purest, fairest, loveliest thing,
Herald of all the coming flowers
That star the meads and deck the bowers. . .”
     — Janet Hamilton, from “Lines on the Snowdrop”

Snowdrops

The Snowdrop
by Alfred, Lord Tenneyson

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid,
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February Fair-maid!

Snowdrops gleam in purest light

“A vestal in her garments white,
The snowdrop gleams in purest white. . .”
     — Margaret Elizabeth Sangster, from “Snowdrop and Crocus”

Hydrangea Color Palette

July 10, 2009

Hydrangea starting to blossom

Hydrangea starting to blossom

Green and white hydrangeas

Green and white hydrangeas

Blue hydrangeas with yellow tinges

Blue hydrangeas with yellow tinges

Blue hydrangea

Blue hydrangea

Purple hydrangea

Purple hydrangea

Pink hydrangeas

Pink hydrangeas

Isn’t this array of colors just amazing!

Red fabric

Red fabric

White fabric

White fabric

Blue fabric

Blue fabric

Red Mustang at Greenwood Car Show

Red Mustang at Greenwood Car Show

White hood ornament, Coupe de Ville

Hood ornament, white Coupe de Ville

Fin, blue Coupe de Ville

Fin, blue Coupe de Ville

Red poppy

Red poppy

White poppy

White poppy

Blue poppy

Blue poppy

My American Girl with Fourth-of-July cake, 1998

My American Girl with Fourth-of-July cake, 1998

Coming Up Daisies

July 2, 2009

Daisy in the morning light

Daisy in the morning light

Daisies

Daisies

Daisies

Daisies

Daisies seeking the sunlight

Daisies seeking the sunlight

“. . . At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their — if you don’t
mind my saying so — their hearts.  Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots.  What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example — I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch —
the suitability of the field for daisies, and the
daisies for the field.”
     — Mary Oliver, “Daisies”

Morning Glories

June 27, 2009

Morning glory trumpet in my garden

Morning glory trumpet in my garden

Detail of white morning glory

Detail of white morning glory

These white morning glories grow like weeds in my yard and garden.  I’ve never attempted to tame them onto an arbor or trellis, but I can imagine a lovely shady bower like the one Sharon Lovejoy describes in her book, Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots.

“All summer long,
We hid and played
In the sunflower house’s dappled shade.
A roof of morning glory vines
Twisted, tangled, intertwined.
And close beside us, rustling leaves
Had conversations with the breeze.”
     — Sharon Lovejoy

And since morning glories remind me of one of my favorite breakfast treats, I will copy for you this Morning Glory Muffin recipe from Whole Foods (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=1470):

Makes 16

Whole wheat pastry flour combines with apples, raisins, carrots, coconut and walnuts in these nutritious and satisfying muffins.

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed natural brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Fuji apple, cored, peeled and diced
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried flaked unsweetened coconut, divided

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; break up any brown sugar lumps with your fingers or a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla, then add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add apples, raisins, carrots, walnuts and 1/4 cup of the coconut and stir gently until well combined.

Spoon batter into 16 paper-lined muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Top evenly with remaining 4 teaspoons coconut and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Nutrition

Per serving (1 muffin/about 2oz/55g-wt.): 200 calories (110 from fat), 12g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 14g sugar), 3g protein

Calla Lilies

June 26, 2009

Georgia O'Keeffe's Calla Lilies, 1923

Georgia O'Keeffe's Calla Lilies, 1923

I admire Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings.  She certainly captures the minimalist elegance and grace of white calla lilies.  They have to be one of the most classically feminine flowers.  I love the simple sweeping curves of the calla lily’s elongated petals.

“The modest Rose puts forth a
          thorn,
The humble sheep a threat’ning
          horn;
While the Lily white shall in love
          delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her
          beauty bright.”
     — William Blake

Calla Lily silhouette

Calla Lily silhouette

Calla Lily

Calla Lily

Calla Lily

Calla Lily