|From Neddy’s The Plains Album|
“Hollyhocks! Stiff as starch!
Oh, fix your bayonets!
Flower fads come and go, but to old timers like me, Summer means hollyhocks. In long ago England the Crusaders returned from the Middle East bearing mallow plants which became “holy hocks”, because “hock” meant “mallow” in English. The bright flowers were a hit in the dark and drab Middle Ages.
In America, the common hollyhock arrived with the colonists. Thomas Jefferson grew them at Monticello. In the late 19th century the plants were beautifully cultivated on Appledore Island, off the New Hampshire coast, where they were immortalized by the American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam.
Dogwood blossoms on a dogwood tree that I planted about three years ago. It gets more beautiful with each season. Dogwood is both the state flower and state tree of Virginia, although it is the white wild dogwood. There are natural wild dogwoods here that are pink too, however they are a much lighter colored pink and not seen as frequently as are the white dogwoods
There is a lovely legend associated with the dogwood tree. The dogwood’s blossoms are in the form of a cross — two long petals and two short petals. At the outer edge of each petal there are rust-stained and blood-stained nail prints and in the center of each blossom is a crown of thorns. This came about at the dogwood tree’s great grief and distress at being used to make the timbers of Christ’s cross. Thenceforth, in the Springtime, it reminds all who see this to remember
In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong & firm it’s branches interwoven
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so
Slender & twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected this tree shall be
A reminder to all of my agony.” ~~Anonymous
These are actually broken stems that I gathered from my woodland garden after a windstorm. The wounded blossoms resulted in a cheerful display.
once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower.
Nikki Giovanni is a celebrated poet who has been a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech since 1987. She is a dynamic speaker and it was she who delivered the powerful and passionate memorial ceremony’s closing speech. The above poem by Giovanni is entitled “Winter Poem.”
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“Lord Illingworth told me this morning that there was an orchid there as beautiful as the seven deadly sins.” ~~”A Woman of No Importance” by Oscar Wilde.
Lady Slipper in the Orchid Pavillion, Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
I purchased this terracotta frog ornament when I was living in Seoul, South Korea in the mid 1970s and he has decorated my gardens thence forth wherever in the world I have settled. He is one hardy soul as both his hands have suffered amputations at the hands of various less-than-caring maintenance people. Each morning he sits greeting Neddy’s world with a smile on his face. No more faithful service could be expected from anyone, much less a clay froggy.
From “My August Garden” album
Revelation from on High, “God put a rainbow in the sky..”
The Light’s beams shining down from Heaven are unseen to the human eye. The rainbow essence was captured by the unbiased eye of the camera and revealed as the Light’s presence shone upon the lighthouse of the lantern at Pohick Church, all on a bright sunshine day. At times we know too much, not recognizing such scenes as the visions they really are.
Pohick Church was the parish church of Revolutionary War patriots George Washington and George Mason. It is located at the intersection of Colchester Road and Richmond Highway, Lorton, Virginia.
Pohick Church (1768-1774) was built as a brick replacement of Lewis Chapel, formerly located a few miles to the south. Its burying grounds contain interesting markers, including WILLIAM HARRIS, died 1698, the oldest surviving gravestone in Fairfax County. ALL of the gravestones before 1870, according to historian Brian Conley, were moved here from other local graveyards. This church and its grounds suffered serious neglect and abuse after the American Revolution’s disestablishment of the Anglican church, and later during the Civil War.
Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Holland, April 2006