1356. The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within. ~William C. Bryant

yellow jasmine and
daffodils too have I seen
springtime harbingers

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poppy progeny
grows where seeds fell from dried pods
as summer drew nigh

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tulip foliage
as well as anemones
break ground ‘neath the oak

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new leaves appear on
roses that survived the first
hard, too early freeze

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This is what the Lord says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat…” ~Excerpted passage from Isaiah 18:4  ✝

**All but two images taken by Natalie; collages created by Natalie; haikus written by Natalie

875. The foliage began losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. ~Adapted quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Lord, it is time.
Summer has been very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full;
give them only a few more southerly days,
~Adapted quote by Rainer Maria Rilke

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September days have the warmth of summer in their briefer hours but in their lengthening evenings a prophetic breath of autumn.  The cricket chirps in the noontide, making the most of what remains of his brief life.  The bumblebee is busy among the blossoms of the aftermath, and their shrill and dreamy hum hold the outdoor world above the voices of the songbirds, now silent or departed. ~Rowland E. Robinson

Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. ~Song of Songs 4:16  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

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    ✝

482. Spring flowers are long since gone. Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace. ~Louise Seymour Jones


On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
~Eleanor Myers Jewett

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Wait, wait, wait! What did I just hear? I think it was about something coming this way. Shhhhh! Did you hear it? Okay, okay, listen again! There it is! Did you hear it this time? All right, if the voices are yet imperceptible, perhaps the eye can see what the ear cannot hear. Let’s see! Berries are turning orange, red, or purple, spent perennial flowers are being replaced by seed pods, ornamental grasses are sending up pretty seed heads, the spider and oxblood lilies are in bloom, monarch butterflies are reappearing in the garden, the sun is moving southward, days are shortening, and rain paid us a visit last Saturday. Now do you know what I’m hearing? Well, if not, I’ll be happy to tell you what nature’s voices are saying! “Signs on every hand” are declaring that the heat beast is dying and that autumn is, slowly but surely, coming this way!

Lord it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows
let the winds go loose.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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What a feast for the senses autumn is! Before long dying leaves will be filled with stunning colors and golden light so that their last days will thrill the eye. When the brightly colored foliage begins to fall from its branches, the leaves will swirl about like colorful party confetti in chilly autumnal winds. After they litter the ground, the crunch under our feet will charm the ear, and bright orange pumpkins prepared in scrumptious fare will gladden the taste buds. And if that’s not enough, there are migrating birds and butterflies, sparkling patches of frost on the ground, and clouds bearing blessed rain that will also add to autumn’s thrilling drama. Oh come sweet autumn, come!

He (God) makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. ~Psalm 135:7 ✝

480. Live in 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

Seasons knocking on the door
Each one with its unique lore

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Springtime fingerpaints the earth
Spreading its immeasurable mirth

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Summer’s heat bursts upon the scene
And each day the sun reigns as queen

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Autumn casts a cloak of burnished hues
With copper tinged foliage as its muse

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Winter’s kingdom wears robes of pristine white
While snowflakes whispered dance is quite the sight

Seasons stand side by side, natural neighbors
Observing each other’s seasonal labors.
~Edited poem by Kristen A.

He (G0d) made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. ~Psalm 104:19   ✝

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.

395. A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the lover of the gift. ~Thomas à Kempis

God waits to win back his own flowers
as gifts from man’s hands.
~Rabindranath Tagore

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It was late summer when she, my neighbor down the street, called to ask if I wanted a Crinum Lily. She said she had planted one in her yard but that it was in too much shade to bloom. Up front let me just tell you that only because I’d wanted a pink Crinum for years and had not been able to acquire one that I would have even considered saying yes at that time of year, trudge on down to her house on foot with shovel in tow, and dig the thing up out of heavy clay soil under the scorching heat of the Texas sun. However after having been captivated by this lily years before, I endured the blistering heat, dug the bulb up, and brought it back down to my garden. And as soon as I recovered from my near heat stroke, I cut all the long, heat-beleaguered strappy foliage down to almost nothing, found a spot in my garden where I thought it would thrive, and put it in the ground. Soon my prized acquisition began to show new growth, and I was thrilled. Then in early December we had one of the worst ice storms I’ve ever seen here and for days the frozen remains blanketed the ground. During that time I kept hoping against hope that when I could get out to check on it, the new “baby” would have survived the ice-bound onslaught. But sadly what I found days later was foliage that had turned to brown mush. Since it had been so newly planted before the early, brute force of the icy assault, I gave up hope that it would make a come back. But sure enough after the start of the new year, it did, and again I was thrilled. Then in early March we had the hardest, late freeze on record, and again in the aftermath I found nothing but a stub of brown mush where my hope had so recently be restored. Surely I thought to myself, it won’t make it back this time, but as spring warmed the land, I started seeing new growth where twice my hope had been dashed, and I was thrilled. At long last June came, and I had lots of lovely green foliage. As late as it was, however, I put away hope for flowers this time around thinking that it had suffered too much, too soon to bloom. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I went out two days ago to find a tall stalk with buds on it had shot up almost overnight. Despite recent rains, I have been able, however, to capture the beauty of that which had previously been only a memory of something incredibly lovely I’d stumbled upon long ago in another’s garden. Isn’t it amazingly loving how without asking the Lord often grants us a thing of our heart’s desire out of the blue! I am thrilled. I am blessed. I am grateful.

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A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. ~Proverbs 18:16  ✝

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.