1365. When purple colored curtains mark the end of day, and heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time. ~Excerpted lines from a song written by Buck Ram, Morty Nevins, and Al Nevins

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Shadows creep stealthily across the lawn
Whilst night, unruffled, defies the dawn,
And the moon released from day’s embrace,
Smiling wakes up and shows his face
To this mystic world of the twilight hours.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by 
Ernestine Northover

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“Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come…” ~Exodus 30:7-8  ✝

**Clematis photos taken by Natalie

***Image of poem by Mary Schofield found on the Internet

1364. The force of Spring – mysterious, fecund, powerful beyond measure. ~Michael Garofalo

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This morning I used a quote that talked of magic, and I was quickly reminded that Scripture warns us about the guiles of the dark arts. But if one consults a dictionary, he/she will find the definition which was my intent in using the word: magic (n.) a mysterious quality of enchantment; (adj.) mysteriously enchanting. For you see, Creation and the mystery of its Maker, so often enchant me with a reverent sense of awe and wonder especially when as if by magic Spring brings amazing arrays of beauty and splendor out of what once appeared to be stark nothingness. Here are some samples of the wondrous “magic” I found in my yard on this first day of spring.

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The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!
~Robert Browning

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How can I stand on the ground
every day and not feel its power?
How can I live my life stepping
on this stuff and not wonder at it?
~William Bryant Logan

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A garden is the mirror of the mind.
It is a place of life, a mystery of green,
moving to the pulse of the year,
and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
~Henry Beston

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Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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O God, from your life the fire of the rising sun streams forth.
You are the life-flow of creation’s rivers,
the sap of blood in our veins,
earth’s fecundity, the fruiting of trees, creatures’ birthing,
the conception of new thought, desire’s origin.
All of these are of you, O God, and I am of you.
~J. Philip Newell

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:11-12   ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1213. May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with the fairies and talk to the moon. ~Morgan Bergeron

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardner’s shed and you just keep straight ahead —
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There’s a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn’t think they’d dare to come merrymaking there–
Well, they do.

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There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well, they can.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Rose Fyleman

And if ever there were a place on a summer night such as this to look for the fairies at the bottom of the garden, I’d start by peering up into this enchanting, blue clematis bloom.

Praise Him(God), sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:3  ✝

**Image of blue clematis taken in my garden by me

1125. Flowers heal me. Clematis make me happy. I keep myself surrounded by it… ~Edited excerpt by Rebecca Wells

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Natalie, Natalie, oh so merry
How does your garden grow?
With a vine here, and another one there,
Of pretty clematis climbing on high.

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Clematis vine boasts vibrant hue,
now seeks acclaim for ocean’s blue,
and strives to catch the morning dew.
~Cona Adams

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If I had grown up in that house
I couldn’t have loved it more,
couldn’t have been more familiar with
the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis
vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land
as it faded to gray on the horizon…The very
colors of the place had seeped into my blood.
~Donna Tartt

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On the warm stone walls, climbing roses
were just coming into bloom and
great twisted branches of honeysuckle and
clematis wrestled each other as they
tumbled up and over the top of the wall.
~Meg Rosoff

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Happiness is remembering my wild and lovely garden,
Arbors of white roses and purple clematis;
Pretty yellow daylilies and daffodils beside a rail fence,
Placing carefully flowers, I create a soul-soothing retreat.
In my beautiful garden all my old favorites grow,
No color does not have its place to welcome birds and butterflies;
Even wild flowers and vines, and kittens grow,
Seeding themselves the purple larkspur and rosy phlox;
Such beauty, O such beauty, had rested beneath the snow.
~Edited acrostic by Broken Wings

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Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4  ✝

1121. I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation. ~Phyllis Theroux

My extravagance is my garden –
it’s the first thing I look at
every morning when I wake up.
It gives me so much pleasure.
~Ina Garten

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According to Margaret Atwood, “Gardening is not a rational act.” And though I like to think of myself as a fairly rational person most of the time, I’m given from time to time, like most folks, to a little irrationality especially in the garden. So here goes today’s saga about my most recent fall from rational grace, as it were. The only thing I needed at the nursery was a bag of planting mix, but as always I wanted to stroll up and down the rows and rows of flowers before making my purchase. The first thing that caught my eye was this amazing white clematis with its chocolate colored anthers. As I stood admiring it, I kept saying to myself, “No, Natalie, you do NOT need to buy another plant.” So even though I’ve grown very fond of clematis, I walked away with great resolve to resist the urge to buy anything and went on down the way to look at the roses. Of course there were some gorgeous varieties of those too, but I told myself that I didn’t need those either and then headed back to the front to check out. On the way, as chance would have it, I heard someone call my name and when I turned to see who it was, my next door neighbor was standing right next to the pots of those white clematis. Nevertheless, I went ahead and walked on over to chat with her for a few minutes, and then I turned resolvedly to walk away. That was when I could swear I heard the white clematis speaking to me and saying, “you’ll regret it if you don’t come back and take me home.” And darn it, I knew I would. So I walked back one more time to see how much it was and read the information about it hoping that either or both would deter me. Despite the fact that it was a little pricey however, how could anyone walk away from anything described with the word chocolate for heaven’s sake. Okay! Okay! I’ll admit it! I’m a bonafide, pocketbook-carrying, irrational flower “junkie!” So shoot me! But I’m really not extravagant about anything except my garden-not jewelry, not clothes, not shoes, not cars, nothing but my pretty flowers. And ya know, I don’t regret it for one second. I worked hard and for long hours for nearly 40 years; I’m in my 70’s, I’ve survived a stroke; so I guess I can live with an occasional lack of restraint. With what years I have left, I think I deserve my one and only extravagance perhaps because it is as Theroux said, “it is the closest I’ll ever come to being present at creation.” And oh how I would have loved to have been there and witnessed that!

The human soul is hungry for beauty;
we seek it everywhere – in landscape,
music, art, clothes, furniture,
gardening, companionship, love,
religion, and in ourselves.
When we experience the beautiful,
there is a sense of homecoming.
~John O’Donohue

The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the juniper equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches—no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. ~Ezekiel 8-9  ✝

816. There is no spot of ground, however bare and ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight. ~Gertrude Jekyll

Eeny meeny miny moe
which roses now do I grow…
There are red ones, pink ones,
very, very bright yellow ones,
spotted ones, striped ones,
and 
even two-toned ones.
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Then there are the apricot
colored ones, and the purplish ones,
the small ones and the big ones,
the old ones and the new ones,
and so, my oh my, how will I ever
choose the ones I want to plant
this time around?
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A tree had to be felled along our north fence last fall, and as a result what used to be a relatively shady, and somewhat overgrown and unruly area, is now getting lots and lots of sunshine, so much so in fact that the white azaleas that were planted along there decades ago have all but died now. As sad as they may be it grants me the fun of new ground to be “tamed.” Thus, despite the dreadful heat I’ve been working early in the morning and/or at dusk doing as much as the “taming” as I can do. Now it’s time to call in the strong, younger guys with the big, powerful “taming” devices to do the rest. Then after they come and get their part done, I shall cover the ground with landscaping fabric and in the fall peruse my catalogs to choose what new roses and clematis I want to plant in the new spot of “tamed” ground. Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching is all old James thinks of when I go a’ tamin’ but he sure enjoys his braggin’ rights when people come in our yard. And who am I to deny him such pleasure?! Hee hee!
**Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. ~Hosea 10:12  ✝
**Some images via Pinterest and some from my archives

327. I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. ~Wendell Berry

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Not undelightful, friend, our rustic ease
To grateful hearts; for by especial hap,
Deep nested in the hill’s enormous lap,
With its own ring of walls and grove of trees,
Sits, in deep shelter, our small cottage – nor
Far-off is seen, rose carpeted and hung
With clematis, the quarry whence she sprung,
O mater pulchra filia pulchrior,
(What a beautiful mother and beautiful daughter,)
Whither in early spring, unharnessed folk,
We join the pairing swallows, glad to stay
Where, loosened in the hills, remote, unseen,
From its tall trees, it breathes a slender smoke
To heaven, and in the noon of sultry day
Stands, coolly buried, to the neck in green.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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“I (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be more fruitful.” ~John 15:1-2 ✝

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!

**Photos are of blossoms on my new Clematis vine…