467. Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. ~Lindley Karstens

A Garden

Hollyhocks, showing off pink ruffled dresses,
Gossip together on tall, furry stalks,
Coyly ignoring the bachelor buttons
Peeping at them from behind the red phlox.

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Lilacs combine with the sweet white alyssum
To fill the warm air with their heady perfume,
And noisy bees gather the generous off’rings
Of all the fair flowers that come into bloom.

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And up in a treetop enjoying the garden,
And adding his part to the beauty below
,
A mockingbird sings with creative abandon
A love song to everything summer can grow.
~Linnea Bodman

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With rake and seeds and sower,
And hoe and line and reel,
When the meadows shrill with “peeping”
And the old world wakes from sleeping,
Who wouldn’t be a grower
That has any heart to feel?
~Frederick Frye Rockwell

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26   ✝

Word of God speak, pour down like rain, and let me rest in your holiness!

**Images via Pinterest

465. The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Jasmine blossoms round the arbour,
Elder spreads along the air,
Hollyhocks stand proudly tallest
In the fragrant thoroughfare.
~Excerpt from a poem by Dollie Radford

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Hollyhocks

Old-fashioned flowers! I love them all:
The morning-glories on the wall,
The pansies in their patch of shade,
The violets, stolen from a glade,
The bleeding hearts and columbine,
Have long been garden friends of mine;
But memory every summer flocks
About a clump of hollyhocks.

The mother loved them years ago;
Beside the fence they used to grow,
And though the garden changed each year
And certain blooms would disappear
To give their places in the ground
To something new that mother found,
Some pretty bloom or rosebush rare–
The hollyhocks were always there.

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It seems but yesterday to me
She led me down the yard to see
The first tall spires, with bloom aflame,
And taught me to pronounce their name.
And year by year I watched them grow,
The first flowers I had come to know.
And with the mother dear I’d yearn
To see the hollyhocks return.

The garden of my boyhood days
With hollyhocks was kept ablaze;
In all my recollections they
In friendly columns nod and sway;
And when to-day their blooms I see,
Always the mother smiles at me;
The mind’s bright chambers, life unlocks
Each summer with the hollyhocks.
~Edgar A. Guest

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I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. ~Ecclesiastes 3:12   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.

 

464. How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.
~Rumi

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Sometimes reaching a height of 9 feet they tower above all else in a garden, and wherever they grow, their flowers are a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. They are the lovely hollyhocks, flowering plants of such antiquity that they were found at a neanderthal burial site. Long after the neanderthal era the hollyhock was grown in religious gardens around churches and monasteries, and seeds of the hollyhock were included in the cargo on early ships to the Americas. Since then they have stood as silent sentries over many a garden fair, and their chalice-like blossoms, when facing upward, have captured and held countless dollops of daylight while captivating mortals with their winsome ways. Now the tall, showy hollyhock, born of the miraculous, is found in gardens all over the world. Miracles? Yes, the first miracle is that all the data needed to replicate this lovely giant and its flowers is stored in something as small as one of my freckles. The second miracle is that for thousands and thousands and thousands of years its small seeds have not perished nor failed in their purpose. The third miracle is that the Lord ordained pollinators along with the sun, soil, and water, to be faithful guarantors of the hollyhock’s lifeline. How could anything be more amazing than that God not only created all that is and devised ingenious ways for everything He made to be replenished, but that he also valued the importance of beauty as well as purpose.

Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. ~Luke 12:23    ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.

**Images via Pinterest

277. In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ~Albert Camus

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A warm and cheery fire roars merrily
And shadows dance about the darkened room.
Beside the hearth a gardener sits and dreams
Of sunny days, of flowers in full bloom.
Some hollyhocks should tower near the fence,
Bright red ones that the bees can’t help but find.
The trellis at the gate again must wear
Blue morning glories, or the rosy kind.
To lend a bit of distance to the scene,
Close to the rear I’ll plant in shades of blue:
The tall and stately larkspur, double ones­
Of course I’ll put in scabiosa, too.
I couldn’t do without a pansy bed­
Snapdragons make such beautiful bouquets­.
Frilled zinnias and yellow marigolds
Add just the proper touch to autumn days.
The flowers grow and bloom with loveliness
Until a sound destroys the fantasy­
A burning ember falls and I must leave
My garden and my charming reverie.
~Helen Bath Swanson

I will sing to my God a new song: O Lord, you are great and glorious, wonderful in strength, invincible.  ~Judith (Apocrypha) 16:13  ✝

135. As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them… ~Henry Ward Beecher

Eagle of flowers! I see thee stand
And on the sun’s noon-glory gaze;
With eye like his, thy lids expand,
And fringe their disk with golden rays:
Though fix’d on earth, in darkness rooted there
Light is thy element, thy dwelling air
Thy prospect heaven.
~The Sunflower by James Montgomery, British editor and poet

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The sunflower with its “gaudy crown of gold” courts the heavenly expanse in search of the sun.  But is that iconic golden spectacle seeking to be prospered by the sun a single flower?  No, each sunflower is actually a cluster of sometimes more than 2,000 small flowers all growing together to mimic the sun and harvest its light.  Amazingly, at maturity some flower heads of the sunflower measure 2 feet across while the plants that hold them up sometimes grow as high as 18 feet.  Henry Ward Beecher additionally said all flowers “have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals.  Some of them seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest, and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower. . .”  I agree and adore the plain honesty and uprightness of the sunflower, but in them I also see a touch of elegance in their statuesque stance in the landscape.

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 of harvest.”  ~Isaiah 18:4   ✝