673. Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

There be delights that will fetch the day about
from sun to sun and rock the tedious year
as in a delightful dream …for a garden is Arcady
(a region of rural simplicity and contentment)
brought home.  It is man’s bit of gaudy
make-believe – his well-disguised fiction
of an unvexed Paradise – a world where
gayety knows no eclipse…
~Edited lines by John D. Sedding

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Shhhhhhh! Do you hear it? Okay, okay, try again. Listen carefully! Did you hear something this time? Did you? If not, did you see anything different? Surely with the vernal equinox only 4 days away, you’ve heard and seen the come-hither voice of springtime and the early signs of it that daily grow more visible and audible. In my yard and elsewhere birds are aflutter and atwitter as they bring nesting materials to birdhouses; colorful crocuses, upright and abloom, chant lovely, little ditties; green perennials whisper quiet anthems as they rise from wombs beneath the soil in search of light and warmth; iris spears that were cut back in the fall now stand tall again offering up gladsome refrains; busy, buzzing bees scurry about in search of nectar and pollen; swelling buds on cherry trees whisper pretty, pink ballads; and on and on go the sights and sounds that make the human heart leap as the faithful promise of Spring materializes once more.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Psalm 6:11   ✝

572. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the oak is felled
the whole forest echoes with its fall,
but a hundred acorns are sown
in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
~Thomas Carlyle

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A tiny acorn falls from a towering tree. An even tinier seed drops from a flowering plant. Deciduous trees and shrubs lose their sheltering leaves. Perennials die down to the shivering ground when the first hard freeze comes, and the flourishing grass withers and turns brown. At a glance there is no telling proof of life as the sun and moon pass over barren fields throughout the short, cold days and the long colder nights of late autumn and wintertime. Yet the world doesn’t pass into nothingness. What the Lord spoke into the void remains alive in dark, inner chambers where it lies in wait, waiting patiently with expectancy for moments in time when a spark will activate the memory of what Yahweh spoke, and once again life emerges from sacred, secret places. Then sunlight and rain, filled with the same kind of holiness, nurtures the new growth and urges it on to another round of completion. For in the faithful and ongoing rites of passage in springtime under the multitudinous orbs of heaven, life goes on directed by the ancient and engulfing rhyme and reason of the Maker of Heaven and Earth who is as omnipresent now as He has ever and always been.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:18   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

273. The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the whole world. ~Vita Sackville-West

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners
is that they are optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.
They always look forward to doing something better
than they have ever done before.
~Vita Sackville-West

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During World War I and World War II, victory gardens were planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.  Vegetables, fruits, and herbs were grown to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war efforts.  Not only did these gardens indirectly aid in the war efforts, but they were also considered civil “morale boosters.”  By planting them, gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce they grew.  As a result victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.

Amos Bronson Alcott said, “Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvests reaps.”  Can you imagine what it must have been like to stand in Eden? And to listen for the Lord as He walked in the cool of the day?  There are times when I’m in my garden that I get a sense of the incredible thrill that must have been.  The perennial pleasures of my garden plant a rightness in my days and a comfortable feeling of harmony in my spirit.  And the wholesome harvests I reap are not just the fruits, the flowers, and the beauty all around me but also the peace it brings and the times when the deep sanctity of it touches my soul where the Lord is planting and digging for harvests of His own.

There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.  ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-25  ✝

210. If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies…One will not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate. ~Fernand Lequenme

I love people,
I love my family,
my children…
but inside myself
is a place where I live all alone
and that’s where you
renew your springs
that never dry up.
~Pearl S. Buck

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Last week’s frigid winds and pelting sleet so punished the late blooming roses and perennials that their flowers, hips, and leaves were left hanging like the heads of mourners as they perished on nights too cold to sustain fragile life.  But usually when our area endures an arctic storm such as this one, it’s not too long before the temps warm back up enough to melt the snow and/or ice. This assault, however, lowered temperatures so far below the freezing mark and the cloud cover has stayed in place so long that it may be a week or more before the temps rise high enough to rid us of the treacherous frozen remains.  On those warmer days, whenever they do come, I’ll be chomping at the bit, as usual, to “draw close” to my beloved garden and dispose of the flowery carnage left in the storm’s wake.  I like to do that so that when next I’m in that place “where I live all alone” like Buck and am unable to get outside, I can look out the window at the garden’s “ball gown” without it looking quite so tattered and torn.

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs…strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  ~Isaiah 58:11

150. He made you a part of Creation, and you praise Him in glorious celebration. ~Katherine R. Lane

Bring to me then the plant
that points to those bright Lucidites
swirling up from the earth,
and life itself exhaling that central breath!
Bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of light.
~Eugenio Montale

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The Maximilian sunflowers in the photo are natives to Texas, but they extend north throughout the tall-grass prairies of the central plains where they were discovered in the 19th century by a German botanist named Prince Maxmilian Alexander Philip von-Wied-Neuwied, thus their rather lofty sounding name.  When I planted 2 of them several years ago, I knew that like their name, they would reach lofty heights before beginning to bloom in September, and that first summer they grew to about 7 feet.  However, by the second year these perennials herbs were reaching heights of 12-16 feet or more, and although I know people like to claim that things are always bigger in Texas, I’m not buying that.  So I did some research and come to find out the more one waters them the taller they grow.  Okay, so now what to do?  Well, before digging them up and moving them or admitting to my husband that I do, in fact, water too much, I’ve decided to give them one more year where they are and try a trick I recently read about; a plantsman in one article said if I pinch off the growing tips when the plants are 3-4 tall I will get shorter plants with more flowers.  More flowers, did he say more flowers?  Now that’s sweet music to my ears!

They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden. . .  ~Job 8:16  ✝