Twilight in the Garden

After rain almost every day last week, and more thunderstorms moving in tomorrow, a window of opportunity presented itself today to do much needed work in the garden. I put in necessary time weeding and trimming and tidying up, while Greg mowed the yard and helped out where he was needed.

I motivated myself to keep going with the promise that I would enjoy the fruits of my labor by lighting a fire in the fire pit and scattering a few candles around the garden.

Twilight in the Garden

As the sun set behind a bank of gray clouds, I stretched my weary back and called it good. I have more to do, however I accomplished so much today. My backyard paradise resembles a garden again, a wild one after a week of rain, but a garden nonetheless. Tired, I almost passed on building a fire. A job well done brought me great satisfaction and for a moment I considered heading indoors and taking a much needed shower.

The beauty of the garden in summer, the peace and invitation to rest, won out.

Here are pics, from an evening in the garden.

Twilight in the Garden

The fairy garden is all filled in and makes me smile every time I look at it.

Twilight in the Garden

I continue to monitor the mystery plant, which is looking more and more like a cantaloupe after all.

Twilight in the Garden

I love candlelight in the garden! It’s important to use safe containers and keep flames away from grasses and plants or anything combustible. The metal lantern was a gift from my son and daughter-in-law. I have no idea what the metal cylinders are usually used for but they make interesting candle holders. I purchased these at a 2 Friends & Junk show. The rusty table was in Bob Moore’s backyard. I was happy to transfer it to mine, after he passed away.

Twilight in the Garden

More candles, with a backdrop of ornamental grasses that are beginning to tassel. The bistro table and chairs were another 2 Friends & Junk find several years ago.

Twilight in the Garden

This…this was the beauty that called to me. I’m so glad I listened. Greg and I carried out bowls of madras curried lentils that had been simmering all day in the slow cooker. (Recipe HERE) Night fell as we ate and candles flickered in the garden, their flames tiny echoes of the fire dancing in the fire pit.

And that small fire was perfect. I watched the leaping and twisting flames, mesmerized. John Geddes said “Light a campfire and everyone’s a storyteller.” We told stories tonight, primarily around work we’ve both been doing on our family trees at It was the fire though that was the main storyteller. It spoke of ancient quests and ever changing mysteries and the power of Light to illuminate the darkness.

I listened, with gratitude.

Twilight in the Garden

My Garden’s “Bermuda Triangle”

You’ve heard of the Bermuda Triangle. It’s that mysterious space in the western North Atlantic Ocean, between Florida, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, where things seems to appear and disappear. As I watered my garden tonight and checked plants, I decided my garden has a mysterious space like that too, an area where strange things happen that I did not plan.

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

My volunteer watermelon plant is not in the garden Bermuda Triangle. It’s thriving well over near the back porch and I understand how it got there. I spit watermelon seeds onto the ground, while enjoying a slice as I was seated on the back steps. One of those seeds has produced a monster watermelon vine. I had to bring in wooden pallets as trellises for the wayward vine.

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

The enchanted garden space is in my southern border, where I have a variety of perennials growing. Among the ornamental grasses, field phlox, brown eyed Susans and Shasta daisies mysterious plants appear and existing plants create unusual shapes.

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

I’ve had heart shapes and perfectly round living wreaths appear. Tomato plants have sprung up three years in a row. I allow them to remain and tend to them, as they begin producing tomatoes just as the plants in my veggie garden finish up.

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

One year a type of gooseberry plant sprouted in this area. And this year, I have a mystery plant vining through the brown eyed Susans and beyond. I thought the vine was a cantaloupe plant. The leaves are similar and the vine is producing yellow flowers. However one of the fruits has grown big enough to study…and I’m stumped. I don’t know if it’s a type of squash, or a pumpkin, or something else entirely.

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

The skin of the fruit or veggie is smooth, not textured like a cantaloupe. It reminds me most of a pumpkin, but the shape seems too oblong. If someone can identify this vining plant, please message me!

Just like in the Bermuda Triangle, the energy in this part of my garden is interesting, leading to unexpected results. Perhaps the southern border lies beneath a flight lane for birds. Perhaps garden fairies visit at night. Whatever the reason for the mysteries here, it reminds me daily that the world is full of fun surprises if I have the awareness to see and an open trusting heart.

At least in my garden’s Bermuda Triangle, unusual things only seem to appear. None of my cats, who dearly love exploring the garden, have disappeared yet into thin air. However I’m already wondering what will show up in this space next summer!

My Garden’s Bermuda Triangle

Something Old, Something New in the Garden

I anticipated working in the garden today. Partly cloudy skies and lower temperatures created the ideal conditions for such an endeavor. However, I was open to receiving the perfect creative activity, whether it was focused on gardening or one of the three remaining non-gardening actions.  

I reached into the glass pitcher and drew out a slip of paper with these words written on it: 

Buy/plant a flower I’ve never heard of. 

Yes! I was intending to go to the garden center this afternoon to pick up a few plants. This was, indeed, the perfect activity for today. Just as I arrived at Lowe’s Garden Shop, the dark clouds that had been piling up unburdened themselves…with great delight it seemed. I sat in the car, waiting for the torrential rain to spend itself. I felt like I was underwater, peering out through the window into a gray sea. 

In a few minutes the downpour became a gentle rain. The sun peeked out again, while I strolled around one of my happy places. So many vibrant plants grouped together have a strong, positive effect on me. I was smiling and humming as I searched for a plant that was new to me. This proved a bit more difficult than I thought it would. But at last, an unfamiliar flowering plant caught my eye. 

The Sparkler Cleome, pictured above on the left, is a fun flower! It has colorful clusters on a dense shrub like plant. As I picked up a few other plants, I noticed a subtle pleasant scent wafting from the plant. I liked this little beauty. 

At home I tucked my new flower into a vintage bucket, replacing spring annuals that were done for the season. The Sparkler Cleome is near a washtub full of baby Fireworks Flowers that I started from my own harvested seeds. It seems like the perfect pairing. 

Although not part of my creative action, I tucked portulaca into a rusty wheelbarrow that I salvaged from the Arkansas house. I love using these vintage pieces in my garden. This portulaca is a variety that has large blooms in neon pink, orange and yellow. I can’t wait to see them tomorrow after the blossoms open for the day. Best of all, I can wheel the plants around the yard, trying out different locations. 

I enjoyed my time in the garden. This space never fails to bring deep peace and joy to me. I am surrounded by beauty here. And today, I introduced a couple of fun fresh elements into my paradise. The garden is ever changing, growing and resting, surprising me with unexpected plants that pop up in new places. I learn so much about myself and my own journey out there. What an amazing classroom the garden is, in which to learn about life. 

Surrender 107: Feeding the Soul

I was excited today to have no appointments or commitments, freeing me to spend the day puttering in my backyard garden. Spring arrived early this year, and although I’ve spent an hour here and there pulling weeds, the flourishing garden needed a good deal more attention. I was happy to oblige. 


This is the third season for my personal paradise. It thrills me each spring to see the garden awaken, plants pushing through the mulch. It’s never quite the same garden, year after year. Plants spread, spaces fill in, surprise flowers pop up in unexpected places. That’s the joy of gardening, watching the way that nature shifts and evolves. 


Today I tidied up the southern border, removing weeds and inspecting new growth. Greg was a tremendous help, reattaching the vintage screen door that fell victim to high winds, chopping wood for the fire pit, mowing and weed eating, and joining me in removing the last of the weeds.  

The weeding finished, I turned my attention to one of my favorite activities…planting. I have a large assortment of metal containers dotting the brickio and backyard, including wash tubs, buckets, watering cans, boxes, minnow buckets and an old red toolbox. I vary the flowers and color themes each year, which is part of the fun! 


Because I harvested seed last fall, some of my containers received seeds today, rather than established plants. I’m looking forward to seeing if the calendula, firework flowers and coneflowers germinate and thrive. I also started lavender seeds in a large metal box. Other containers had young flowering plants tucked within them. 


The oval tub that belonged to my sweet Aunt Annie received special attention. My aunt, who left this earth last year, had a July 4th birthday. As I did last year, I planted red, white and blue flowers in the tub, to honor her life.  

It was a good day in the garden. I have more to do…more containers to plant, a whole section near the Peace Gate to redo, bare spots to fill in. And the north side of the yard will receive creative attention this summer. It’s a process, a journey, a surrender, to the desire to create living art. I anticipate many happy days ahead, spent puttering in my garden. 

Alfred Austin wrote, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” My soul was fed today. 


Surrender 73: Wakey, Wakey

It seemed appropriate, on this first day of Daylight Savings Time, to putter in the garden. The weather continues to be warm, and even with the threat of rain and thunderstorms, I surrendered to the call of the outdoors. 


This time of year, as spring nears, there is much tidying to do in the garden. As plants die back in late fall, I leave the dry, brown stalks and leaves in place, to mark the locations of plants. Today, armed with long bladed shears and a white utility bucket, I moved from clump to clump, cutting down last year’s remnants and dropping them into the bucket. 
 No need for a garden hat today! 

I love being in the garden. Today I was delighted to see more plants pushing through the ground, waking from their long winter’s sleep. I glanced around occasionally, to make sure the neighbors weren’t watching, as I crooned to each tiny plant, “Hello! You are awake.” I touched the plants, smoothed mulch around them, cleared away debris. I’m very sensitive…to energy, to scents. These little herb and flower plants responded, I’m sure, by releasing their delicate aromas into the still, humid air. 

This is bliss, that I’m willing to share. 

Come with me, on a walking tour of my awakening paradise…




 German Garlic

 Bee balm



There were many more plants stirring in the garden, than those pictured above. I’ve quit being concerned that spring has arrived too early. It has. I’m trusting these little beauties know what they are doing. Like children who sometimes pop out of bed earlier than expected, these plants are awake. I’ll take care of them, joyfully.  

Fat drops of rain plopped onto my head, signaling the end of my garden puttering. I was content with what I accomplished today. I snapped a last picture, of the pair of metal cranes near the meditation area. I love having the cranes in the garden. They are, unexpectedly, a connection to Thirlestane Castle, in Lauder, Scotland. The castle has a pair of cranes that grace either side of the massive front door. 

I suddenly realized that my cranes did not have names. What an oversight on my part. I decided to give them Scottish names. Calder is a Scottish word that means “stream”. That fits a crane well and ties in with my word for this year. And the other crane is now called Ainslie, which means “meadow”. That’s close enough to a garden! 

Calder and Ainslie, thus christened, stand watch over my garden. Cranes are symbolic of happiness. How perfect, as sentinels of this place. 


Journey 236: Lemon Balm Tea in the Garden

I have been drawn repeatedly into the garden today. Early this morning, I strolled through before heading out for the office and then to Mt. Vernon for a closing. I spied a praying mantis immediately, who turned his head to peer back at me. 


When I finished work late this afternoon, I returned to sit in the garden, surrounded by beauty and mild sunshine. I kicked off my shoes and settled back into a chair, watching bees and butterflies flitting from flower to flower. Life. Life filled my own little paradise, along with peace. 


After a quick summertime dinner, I returned to the herb garden to snip sprigs of fresh lemon balm and mint. The unusually cool temps we are experiencing remind me that fall is approaching. I wanted a cup of hot herbal  tea. 

I used my tea mug with the little mesh strainer to prepare the tea. Filling the mug with steaming water, I let the lemon balm and mint leaves steep, covered, for about 10 minutes. A delicate lemony aroma filled the air and I looked forward to sipping the herbal tea out by a cozy little fire in the fire pit. 

While I was waiting, I googled the health benefits of lemon balm tea. This member of the mint family is great for treating disorders of the digestive system and cleansing the liver. It has antioxidant properties as well. Lemon balm is most recognized for its calming effect, relieving stress and lowering anxiety. Although I wasn’t experiencing stress or anxiety, the light green tea was flavorful and soothing, and I felt very relaxed after drinkng a cup. 

I lingered in the garden long after the sun set, sipping my lemon balm mint tea, watching the little crackling fire, listening to the droning song of the cicadas. The cool air carried the scent of herbs as they stirred just beyond the flickering firelight. What bliss. It feels like summer is slipping away, the shorter days signaling the trees to begin changing the colors of their leaves. It won’t be long until this garden shifts in response, but there is beauty present at every stage, during every season. I’ll enjoy every moment.