1401. Beauty…is the shadow of God on the universe. ~Gabriela Mistral

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health,
and quiet breathing.
~John Keats

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Yeh, yeh, I know it’s almost autumn, but I bought some more tulip bulbs to buy and plant this year. And I also bought a handy dandy little bulb bopper that’s driven by a drill to dig the holes for them. Not only that but it’s time to buy poppy seeds, larkspur, and holyhock seeds as fall is the time to sow them here in Texas. So in the next few weeks and months, I’ll be setting the stage, in my yard at least, for next year’s springtime. And my friends, that is such exciting stuff for this old girl. Despite all the rumors of Armageddon, the second coming of Christ and the rapture, and wars that will bring about the end of the world, I’m relying on God’s Word that says the end will come like a thief in the night and we will never know when that is. So life is yet for living joyfully and enjoying each and every day as the gifts they are instead of wringing our hands with worry and hanging our heads in despair. As they say here in Texas “it ain’t over til it’s over!”

God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly
as a balance for that kind of civilization that
would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want to be…
away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget
our cares and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. ~1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 ✝

**Mixed photos from my archives and Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

732. Poor dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprises! ~Wallace Stevens

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise; whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy, it will open a new place in our hearts… ~Henri Nouwen

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Some time back in March, I was standing in line at Lowe’s to check out when I looked over and saw a small packet of Peruvian Daffodil bulbs. Since I’d seen photos of these flowers before, I knew they were amazingly beautiful and was tempted to give them a try. However, never having had much luck with yellow daffodils, I wasn’t sure they would do any better with these especially as late as I was going to get them in the ground. But then I thought, as I often do these days, what the heck and bought them anyway. When I got home I had some Dahlias I was going try in pots and so I threw the Peruvian Daffodils in a pot too and set all 5 pots in places around the yard. After a couple of weeks, foliage began to appear. However, by that time it seems, I’d forgotten what was in that fifth pot. And then last week long stalks holding the blooms shot up from the strappy foliage, which I’d already been intrigued about making me even more curious about what in the world was growing in that pot. Curiouser and curiouser I grew, until…the lengthy “brain burp” ended, a vague memory of the incident at Lowe’s surfaced, and a bloom finally opened up. Oh, how I love surprises!!! And none better than exquisitely gorgeous ones in the garden! But now the surprise is raising conundrums.  For example, I’m wondering if they’ll make it in the pot through the long hot summer and on into autumn and winter? Or should I put them in the ground when they’re finished blooming? And if I do that, will they make it in the ground during summer, autumn, and winter? Or should I take the bulbs out of the pot when they’ve finished blooming, let them dry, and store them until next year when I can repot them? My oh my oh my, perhaps it’s time to look for the yellow brick road so I can go ask the Wizard of Oz or follow the white rabbit down the hole, like Alice did, and see if he has any answers or check to see if Einstein had any ideas about such things or should I just ask the Holy One whose hands made all there is? That’s it! That’s always a good idea, just like Paris is! Oh yes, my friends, our trip to Paris is getting closer and closer!

PS.  The little bug on one of the yellow anthers seems to like the surprise too!

He(God) will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21    ✝

603. January is the quietest month in the garden…but just because it looks quiet doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. ~Rosalie Muller Wright

Mother Nature sleeps now,
All the earth is bare;
Deep in the ground
She guards her treasures rare.
~Excerpt from poem
by Margaret Morgan

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My garden is all put to bed for the winter.
Faded and dead are its brightly-colored blossoms,
Its green leaves decayed and fell to the ground.
But deep in the dark soil the dry bulbs
And the delicate rootlets are sleeping;
While the leaves make a blanket above them.
They sleep and they wait for the spring’s
First call to awakening life.
Sometimes when dark days are burdened:
When my hands are wearied with working;
I wish that some kindly gardener
Would cover me warm and leave me to rest
Like the roots and bulbs in my garden–
To sleep and grow strong like the flowers
For another season of blooming.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Dorothy Whitehead Hough

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. ~Proverbs 24:3-5   ✝

** Images via Pinterest

401. Tough as a mule, big as imagination, pretty as a summer dress, eternal as the sky. ~Steve Bender

One little, two little, three little flowers
Four little, five little, six little flowers
Seven little, eight little, nine little flowers
Ten little blooming pinknesses!

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Bender’s words above describe crinum lilies, which he says are “also called hot country lilies.” In the article that Steve wrote about crinums, he went on to say that “forever Southerners have cultivated, swapped, and rhapsodized about these bulbs, according them nearly legendary status.” He, himself, remembers sitting on his grandmother’s porch with crinum clumps on either side, and as their fragrance enveloped him, he thought it was the most pleasant thing on earth.

First there was one, and I was thrilled. Then there were two, and I was beyond thrilled. Now there are three and I am overwhelmed with gladness and gratitude for what has been born of faith, hope, and love.  So far my newly acquired crinum bulb that I wrote about last weekend has produced three large flower stalks from its strappy green foliage, and each stalk has produced at least ten showy pink blossoms. How much more blessed can one little gardener be!

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
~Lady Bird Johnson

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With a few flowers in my garden,
half a dozen picture and some books,
I live without envy.
~Lope de Vega

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Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. ~Psalm 25:5 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

371. With rake and seeds and sower, and hoe and line and reel, when meadows shrill with “peeping” and the old world wakes from sleeping, who wouldn’t be a grower that has a heart to feel? ~Frederick Frye Rockwell

It was the busy hour
When from the city hardware store
Emerged a gentleman, who bore
One hoe, one spade, one wheelbarrow.

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From there our hero promptly went
Into a seed establishment,
And for these things his money spent:
One peck of bulbs, one job-lot-shrub,
and one quart of assorted seeds.

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He has a garden under way
And if he’s fairly lucky, say,
He’ll have, about the end of May
One one squash vine, one eggplant, one budding flower.
~Author Unknown

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Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

 ** Images via Pinterest.

286. Where flowers bloom so does hope. ~Lady Bird Johnson

Live each season as it passes
breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself
to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau

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Smitten (v.) – affected suddenly and strongly with a specified feeling; affected mentally or morally with a sudden pang; impressed favorably; charmed; enamored.  I love the word smitten, I love being smitten, I look forward to being smitten, and on days like today I’m in desperate need of being smitten.  And what might the source of my “smittenness” be today?  It’s tulips and daffodils and hyacinths and crocus.  After years of planting bulbs in the ground to little or no avail, I’d resigned myself to being able to admire them until now only in books, magazines, and yards where others somehow have success with them.

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Nothing speaks of springtime louder or more clearly than flowering bulbs.  They are the epitome of spring’s opening opus, and now that my greenhouse is abloom with many of them, it feels like spring is close enough to reach out and touch.  Ah, spring, the season of increased sunlight, warmer temperatures, and the rebirth of fauna and flora, the season when the tilt of the earth relative to the sun is zero, the season which begins one month from today.

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For me drinking the drink, tasting the fruit, and resigning myself to the influence of each season as it passes is a way of life that inevitably brings me face to face with Yahweh and Son, the Holy One with whom I am beyond smitten.  Like Tennyson, I’m convinced that if one can understand what a flower is “root and all, and all in all, one should know what God and man is.”

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in Him.  ~Psalm 34:8   ✝

266. When hope is hungry, everything feeds it. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Though you lose all hope,
there is still hope,
and it loves to surprise.
~Robert Brault

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Goodbye January and hello February!  Whew, January is a long month, isn’t it?!  So much so that it makes my hope very hungry indeed.  Dada, dada da da da!  I said hello, February…well hello February…It’s so nice you’ve finally come around again.  You’re lookin’ swell, February…And time will tell February…That spring’s a comin’ February…  Okay, to appreciate my attempt here at “cleverosity” with the previous lines, you have to try to remember a song from a musical by the same name called HELLO DOLLY.  Okay, so maybe it was a lame attempt, but today is just that kind of day, one that puts a song in my heart.  Why?  Why you ask?  Well…

About the time the barrenness of winter starts putting asunder all hope of anything different, February saves the day by bringing forth visible signs of the new spring.  And so it did this year on its very first day.  After I’d watered and waited and watched the bulbs I’d started weeks ago in the greenhouse, I was rewarded today with several emerging buds.  The result: squeals of joy peeled forth inside its walls along with hallelujahs and praise for such glorious surprises amid winter’s gloomy, brown and beige drabness.  But they’re just flowers some might say, but pshaw!  They are pieces in the puzzle of Creation itself, blessed and holy and full of purpose.  They’ve been touched by the very hand of God and then ordained as part of the faithful and reoccurring provision not only for man’s needs but for his pleasure as well.  And if flowers are inconsequential why are so many poems and pieces of literature devoted to them, and why are they considered by many as desirable gifts, and why are their scents revered for use in perfumes, and why have they been worth at times more than gold?

“Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.  Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass us by.  Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither…”  ~Wisdom 2:6-8  ✝