1152. And she was as fair as is the rose in May. ~Geoffrey Chaucer

Which is the loveliest in a rose?
Its coy beauty when it’s budding,
or its splendour when it blows?
~George Barlow

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THE ROSE aloft in sunny air,
Beloved alike by bird and bee,
Takes for the dark Root little care
That toils below it ceaselessly.

I put my question to the flower:
“Pride of the Summer, garden queen,
Why livest thou thy little hour?”
And the Rose answered, “I am seen.”

I put my question to the Root.
“I mine the earth content,” it said,
“A hidden miner underfoot:
I know a Rose is overhead.”
~John James Platt

**Le Souvenir de la Malmaison is a bourbon rose that was created in 1843 by Lyon rose breeder Jean Béluze, who named it after the Château de Malmaison where Joséphine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, had created a magnificent rose garden. For a while I had a Souvenir de la Malmaison growing in my yard; sadly she perished in the garden for some reason, but this photo keeps her alive in my memory and in my heart.

May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to mankind. ~Psalm 115:15-16  ✝

1147. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. ~William Shakespeare

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.
~Excerpt from a poem
by Robert Louis Stevenson

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What’s in a flower’s name? Goodness knows!
Surely you all know some of them, I suppose.
I’ve heard some say a rose is a rose is a rose,
But is a lily a lily by any other name like the rose.
Some time ago I discovered that the answer is no,
For in my garden fair grow some that are not so.
There are daylilies and spider lilies and crinum lilies,
Basket lilies and blackberry lilies and asiatic lilies.
However, only one of those is true to its name.
Could you guess which one if this were a game?
Furthermore there’s even one “un-lily” that’s referred to by
Yet another name which is indeed just as false a lie.
Sometimes that particular one is called a Peruvian daffodil,
Like yellow “daffadowndillies” which define spring so well.
And then there is one more that’s not really a lily
Whose leafy spears resemble the iris; isn’t that just silly?
So though, by any other name they might “smell” as sweet,
Five of these names in the true lily family shall we not meet.
~Natalie Scarberry

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“…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” ~Excerpt from Luke 10:20  ✝

**Some images in the collages are mine; others were found on Pinterest. The groups of two in each category are of the same species and arranged in the order I mentioned them in my poem.

1138. What potent blood hath modest May. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? ~Richard P. Feynman

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Lively fiestas are going on outside my windows, and creatures, great and small, winged or afoot, are partaking of the flowering banquets. In fact the “beasties” have been so busy moving around and supping on May’s “potent blood” that lately I’ve been able to capture only a few images of them with my camera. But that’s okay because I wouldn’t slow them down a bit for a photo op, even if I could, for what they’re doing is sacred and greatly needed. For not only are they satisfying their divinely designed hunger but they are also guaranteeing that this time next year there will be more glory and bounty in earth’s growing spaces. Only God could devise such an amazing design whereby Creation’s continuance and sustenance belongs not in the hands of the biggest, the strongest, or the smartest but whereby mankind owes its provision of food and therefore existence to pollinators, small creatures whose lives span the briefest capsules of time. Given that, it’s regrettable that much of mankind nowadays lives in godless, sterile technological hubs where the sight of the miraculous in the workings of Creation is lost and the enormous power and goodness of the Lord and what He has granted goes unseen or unnoticed or unaccepted. They are totally unaware or disbelieve that their welfare could possibly be carried out, not by human hands, but instead by tiny wings and feet which they, of course, hold not in high regard or for that matter even acknowledge the possibility of  their vital importance.

I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. ~Psalm 50:11  ✝

**Images via Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

1128. One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

Gardeners are artists,
 their brushes a tiny seed,
an ever changing picture emerges from their deed.
~Author Unknown

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Watching hands transplanting,
Turning and tamping,
Lifting the young plants with two fingers,
Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,–
One swift movement,–
Then plumping in the bunched roots,
A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping and turning,
All in one, quick on the wooden bench,
A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,
Once, twice, and a faint third thump,–
Into the flat-box it goes,
Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:
The sun warming the fine loam,
The young horns winding and unwinding,
Creaking their thin spines,
The underleaves, the smallest buds
Breaking into nakedness,
The blossoms extending
Out into the sweet air,
The whole flower extending outward,
Stretching and reaching.
~Theodore Roethke

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2  ✝

1124. I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace… ~Excerpted line by Elizabeth von Arnim

 Guarded within the old red wall’s embrace,
Marshaled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed.
~Excerpt from
a poem by Amy Lowell

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Sooooo, every week when we go to the grocery story, I buy one of those little bunches of cut flowers to set on the shelf near my computer. But this last week they had a pot of tulips on sale for $5.00 and they looked like they might be very pretty ones when they fully opened up. So I saved myself some money and brought the bargain, potted tulips home. And every day I have watched as they slowly but surely opened up into a very pretty species indeed. And here’s the thing, since I’ve tried and tried planting tulip bulbs in the ground with little to no luck at all, (actually this year I did get one to come up and bloom. It wasn’t very big but it was pretty) now I’m wondering, if I planted these that are already in soil in the pot instead of more bulbs in the fall, that they might actually come up next year and bloom for me. Okay, okay, before any of you gardening gurus out there have reasons to shoot holes in my theory, just let them lie and allow me to find out the folly of it for myself. That way I’ll have a whole year to look forward to their coming before my hopes are dashed again and I am once again “tulipless.” Also should any of you feel compelled to ask why I don’t just go out and cut flowers from my garden instead of buying ones each week, let me just say that I’m greedy and can’t stand for any of my babies to be “murdered.” And yes, I am also aware that the ones I buy have been “murdered,” but hey, that was someone else’s bad choice not mine.

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Flowers heal me. Tulips make me happy. I keep myself surrounded by them… ~Excerpt from a line by Rebecca Wells

…the cheerful heart has a continual feast. ~Excerpt from Proverbs 17:22   ✝

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  ✝

1118. I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. ~Edward Everett Hale

The Power of One
One song can spark a moment.
One flower can begin a garden.
One tree can start a forest.
One bird can herald spring.
One smile can begin a friendships.
One hand clasp can lift the soul.
One sunbeam can light a room.
One candle can wipe out darkness.
One laugh can conquer gloom.
One hope can raise the spirit.
One touch can show we care.
~Author Unknown

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An elderly man was walking along the beach one morning after a storm. And in the in the distance he could see someone moving along like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman who was not dancing but was reaching down and picking up starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean. As he drew closer still, he called out, “Good morning, young lady! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young woman paused, looked up, and replied, “The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw the starfish back into the sea, they will die.” The old man smiled, and said, “But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference!” The young woman listened politely then she bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the water and said, “It made a difference for that one.” ~A parable, original author unknown

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

1045. No matter how much we try to run away from this thirst for the answer to life, for the meaning of life, the intensity only gets stronger and stronger. We cannot escape these spiritual hungers. ~Ravi Zacharias

Imagine, for example, birds.
When they look out at the world,
they have a sense that they are alive.
If they are in pain, they can do something about it.
If they have hunger or thirst, they can satisfy that.
It’s this basic feeling that there is
life ticking away inside of you.
~Antonio Damasio,
Professor of Neuroscience at UCLA

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I had such a longing for virtue, for company.
I wanted Christ to be as close as the cross I wear.
I wanted to read and serve, to touch the altar linen.
Instead I went back to the woods where
not a single tree turns its face away.

Instead I prayed, oh Lord, let me be
something useful and unpretentious.
Even the chimney swift sings.
Even the cobblestones have a task to do, and do it well.
Lord, let me be a flower, even a tare; or a sparrow.
Or the smallest bright stone in a ring worn by someone
brave and kind, whose name I will never know.
~Mary Oliver

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ~Matthew 5:6  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1001. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. ~D. H. Lawrence

I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird,
or the rising of the sun on a misty morning.
There they are, and they are beautiful.
~Pete Hamill

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As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of the ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.
~John O’Donohue

Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~2 Corinthians 3:17  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

955. My sun sets to rise again. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The sun does not shine for a few trees and
flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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Have you ever seen anything
in your life more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening, relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea, and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness, every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower streaming upward
on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early light,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt
for anything such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere,
in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure that fills you,
as the sun reaches out,
as it warms you as you stand there,
empty-handed–or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too gone crazy
for power, for things?
~Mary Oliver

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. ~Deuteronomy 4:19  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie