Thursday, July 1, 2010

Garden Muse Day: Random Reflections

A Nation's Strength

What makes a nation's pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold.  Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword?  Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong:
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly . . .
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

-----Ralph Waldo Emerson

No big plans here for the Fourth of July, other than possibly taking in a local fireworks celebration, but I'm just happy to be healthy and somewhat energetic again.  I spent several days on the couch last weekend with a flu-like virus, too ill even to feel like sitting at the computer.  But worst of all, last Saturday was the annual Master Gardeners' Garden Walk, an event I've looked forward to for months.  Not only did I not get to tour the gardens, I also couldn't honor my commitment to volunteer as a guide for part of the day.  What a disappointment!

But I'm no longer sitting around feeling sorry for myself--my energy has slowly returned, and the weather has been absolutely glorious the past few days.  The rains have finally stopped, and the temperatures have dropped to the comfortable 70's with little humidity--perfect gardening weather.  After neglecting my own garden for more than a week,  I couldn't believe the changes in such a short time, especially in the vegetable garden.  The squash are sporting lots of blossoms as are the cucumbers which are threatening to take over the whole garden.  Green beans are ripe and have been enjoyed for two nights' dinner already.  The tomatoes, I swear, must have doubled in size in the past week and already have small green fruit visible.

All the daylilies have been blooming for the past week, including several new cultivars purchased last year.  A later post is planned to give them the attention they deserve.

The new drumstick alliums are also blooming in the new lily bed. I'm still not sure why their heads are rather conical shaped instead of round, but they're still eye-catching, and this blue beetle (name forgotten) finds them to his liking nonetheless.

Best of all, it is coneflower time!  Blooming a few weeks earlier than past years, they have attracted a host of butterflies and bees.  This solitary Red Admiral is just one of at least a dozen that flutter from bloom to bloom every morning and evening.  Purple coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea, have always been my first love; in fact, I once chose them as my signature plant.  Seeing them in bloom each summer is like meeting old friends once again.

Speaking of friends, I was sad when dear friend Cheryl decided to discontinue blogging due to time and family commitments.  This bee is for you, Cheryl.  But then again, she might just decide to post now and then . . .

I'm also a bit sad that I won't be seeing other blogging friends at Buffalo next week.  Ever since attending last year's Spring Fling in Chicago, I had fully intended on traveling to Buffalo for this year's Fling, Buffa10.  But several things that have come up in the last few months forced me to reconsider.   I hope that everyone who attends has a wonderful time!  Judging by the planned schedule as well as the article on the Buffalo Garden Walk in the summer issue of Horticulture, written by one of the Buffa10's hosts, Elizabeth Licata, I'm sure that all of you will no doubt thoroughly enjoy yourselves.  I have my fingers crossed that there will be another garden bloggers' gathering planned for next year so that I can attend.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!  And I encourage you to visit Carolyn Gail, our hostess each month for musings on this first day of July.

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."

--Erma Bombeck


  1. Hi Rose....thank you for the mention, and for the beautiful bee. They always manage to make me smile.

    Allium drumsticks are oval, at least mine always have been. You will find them covered in bees when they bloom, they absolutely love them.

    My coneflowers are so slow....they were gorgeous last year, I am a little disappointed. The garden is extremely dry......we have only had a few days rain in two months.
    Do they mind dry conditions???

    Strangely Rose, I have just posted on my new blog. I think 'sanctuary will stay closed for now'

    I hope you enjoy the 4th July..... I loved reading the poetry....I love poetry.

  2. So sad you missed the walk and were sick Rose. I'm glad you are better and enjoying your lovely flowers. I love that pink daylily. The pinks are next on my list. You can tell I'm kind of a bright and gaudy girl with colors so not too many pinks. I say that in fun.

    Blogging takes so much time. I wish Cheryl best of luck and what a nice thing to mention her.

    You take care and have a fabulous and safe weekend and get more energy. Gotta keep up with that puppy Sophie after all and the garden...

  3. Hi Rose, I'm sorry you've been ill, but glad you have such lovely flowers to help you feel better. Love that opening poem, and the Bombeck quote!

  4. I hate to hear that you have been feeling puny Rose. This lovely weather is enough to make you well. It is difficult to stay inside. The only drawback is that I can't pull weeds because it is so dry they just break off. We need rain. I think all the rain went north of us. Love the Bombeck quote as well as the poem. I can't believe that it is July already. They days are getting shorter.

  5. Sorry you have been ill Rose. Glad you are much better. Just the looks of your pretty blooms ought to cheer you up a lot. They did me. Your cone flowers are lovely.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Sorry to hear you were sick; the same thing happened to me last week. Glad to see that your garden is coming along so well! My squashes and cucumbers are also devouring the vegetable bed. I'm sad about missing Buffalo too...but I'm confident we'll get lots of great information and pictures from those attending! In the eternal words of you Cub fans, wait 'till next year!

  7. Rose, I know how disappointed you were at having to miss the garden walk.(me too) But I think we would have melted in the heat and humidity! Glad to hear you are doing better. The gardens are really doing well this year and I am amazed at how quickly they are changing. Can't wait to see all your new daylillies. Have a great 4th!

  8. This is a beautiful post, Rose. Wishing you a delightful summer. Coming and going, I might not be around much but it's always a delight to stop by and give you a 'garden lover' friend hug. Happy 4th :)

  9. Hello Rose,

    I am glad you are feeling better. I had the flu two weeks ago and I was surprised how it really knocked the wind out of me for almost a week. It was fun to see what my garden did while I was bedridden though. I am so sorry you missed your Master Gardener event. Next years will mean that much more to you I expect. I hope you have a wonderful Fourth :-)

  10. Hello Again,

    Rose, if you would like me to send you my applesauce spice cake recipe, could you please email your email address to me? You can use the email link on my sidebar :-)

  11. Oh Rose, I am so sorry you were under the weather and missed the big MG shindig. Glad though that you are now on the mend and enjoying the fruits of your labor, not to mention those fabulous coneflowers. We will miss seeing you in Buffalo and look forward to the 2012 meeting, wherever it may lead! :-)
    Erma Bombeck was my favorite author during my early motherhood years, her words still bring a smile and nod of agreement.

  12. Sorry to hear you were ill Rose. Looks like the garden has done well inspite of your absence. I saw a baby squash or two hiding in that mass of blooms & foliage. Oh and FYI the drumsticks are always more conical shaped, not round like most of the others. :)

  13. Well, dang, Rose, I was looking forward to seeing you again in Buffalo. I hope you're feeling much better by now and that the rest of the summer is only happily eventful!

  14. Hi Rose, my coneflowers are very early this year too. Everything is early. My asters are starting to bloom Do you suppose we will run out of flowers early and have nothing left in the autumn:)

    Love the pink daylily. Glad you are feeling a little better. Hope you have a nice 4th.

  15. Cheryl, Thanks for the info on the allium; I thought maybe something was wrong with mine. The coneflowers like "normal" conditions, in other words some regular rainfall. Sorry to hear yours aren't doing well. Yes, I found the new blog--I'm so glad!

    Tina, Sophie and I are back in the garden, thankfully. The pink daylily was supposed to be orange, actually.

    Cyndy, Thanks, I am feeling better and happy to be back enjoying the blooms.

    Lisa, This beautiful weather has really perked me up! A little--I said, little--rain would be nice.

    Susie, Thanks; the coneflowers always perk me up!

    Rose, Sorry to hear you were sick, too. I hate missing Buffalo, but maybe next year it will be a little closer...I hope.

    Beckie, I'm so sorry I cancelled your plans as well. We'll just have to do a garden walk of our own!

    Joey, Thanks for the hug! Enjoy the Fourth and the rest of your summer!

    Noelle, I wonder if we had the same thing--it sure wiped me out for awhile, too. Will definitely email you!

    Frances, I am so going to miss seeing you and other Chicago Flingers this year! Erma Bombeck's column used to appear in our Sunday paper, and I never missed it. I think she and I had a lot in common:)

    Racquel, Thanks for the info on the allium--the photos in the catalog show them rounded. Wonder why...

    Cindy, I was looking forward to seeing you again, too! Hopefully next year.

  16. Rose girl !
    I'm so sorry you have been so ill .. I know what that feels like after my 48 hour stint on the bathroom floor way back in the Spring. At some moments you think it might just be better if you left the planet ? LOL ..
    I love the new look to your blog it is gorgeous : ) bright and cheerfull and full of lovely pictures and quotes. Simply wonderful !
    Yes .. when I see the first echinacea blooming I have to say I think of you because they certainly are your signiture plant girl : )
    Your day lilies are so pretty ! .. and a BIG yes to these few days when it was cooler but sunny and dry and wonderful to garden in .. I am in total garden mode for tomorrow .. mostly weeding and tidy up but still loving every minute of being in the garden : )
    Take the time you need to get back the strength you lost from being ill .. we rush ourselves thinking maybe we are just a little lazy .. but that isn't true .. these new viruses really knock us back and we NEED to let ourselves truly rest and recuperate !
    Make a note to yourself to finally get helenium next Spring so you can see how gorgeous it will be in your garden by Fall !! Sahin's Early Flowerer !!
    Joy : )
    PS .. I am on husband's computer and I can't find spell check so you will have to turn a blind eye to this ? haha

  17. Glad you're feeling better and I hope you have a wonderful 4th July. Go for patriotism!!

  18. Such a shame you were ill and unable to take part in the event you had been so eagerly looking forward to Rose, what a disappointment for you! I am so glad you are feeling better than you were though and I'm sure that lovely weather will help.

    Your photos are beautiful and there is so much lovely light in them which emphasises the colour of the flowers and the pretty insects which have settled on them.

    My Coneflowers are still behind yours but as they are in pots it might help if I watered them more often :)

    I love the Erma Bombeck quote...I hope you have a wonderful July 4th Rose!

  19. We'll miss you & Becky in Buffalo! I'm really looking forward to enjoying the Fling again as a guest. I'm glad you named the butterfly, I've had a few of those hanging around my garden this week & I wondered what they were. I'm glad you're feeling better & able to enjoy these last few days without rain.

  20. Rose, I am so happy to know you are feeling better and ready for the weekend.

    Beautiful flowers: the daylily is stunning and the Echinacea make me weep. I don't know what happened this year as both the stream of Echinacea and the Rudbeckia in another part of the garden are gone... not a trace after all these years of blooming. The only thing I can surmise is the unusual and lengthy freeze we had. Oh well, life goes on... less flowers to deadhead. ;)

    Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend. I plan on rereading our Declaration of Independence.

  21. That Erma Bombeck quote is one of my favorites... I actually used it last year on my family blog.
    Very good photos of the coneflower, nice!

  22. Beautiful words, beautiful photos! Happy 4th!

  23. Dear Rose,
    I do understand how frustrating it is to be sick. Glad to know you have regained your energy. Having to change your plans is disappointing. Your flowers all look so very lovely! My coneflowers are just incredible this year. I think the rain in June made all the difference in the size of the plants. They are huge!
    Lovely to see your butterflies. I am enjoying them in my gardens too. The best part of July is the bugs.
    My husband and I made potato salad yesterday with garden tatters. My favorite way to celebrate the 4th is with a bowl of potato salad. A garden tomato would be nice!
    Have a safe 4th.

  24. Marnie, I hope all these early blooms don't mean that the garden will fizzle out by September:)

    Joy, Thanks for your concern. I really have been taking it rather easy this past week to recuperate, but the best part is being able to garden without coming in dripping with sweat afterwards. I'm a wilted rose in the heat:)

    Liz, Thanks! The fireworks are my favorite part of the Fourth.

    Songbird, I always manage to capture butterflies and bees when the coneflowers are in bloom--they are magnets for them.

    MMD, I'm really going to miss Buffalo, too. Hope you have a great time! I learned the name of the Red Admiral from blogging:) They are so prolific this year.

    Di, The funny thing is many of the coneflowers in my roadside garden disappeared this year, too. I wondered if they got too wet last fall when we had a month of rain. I transplanted a few more seedlings this spring, so I'm hoping by next year I'll have a bigger stand once again.

    Rosey, Erma was so funny but at the same time so wise, don't you think?

    Marie, Thank you, and thanks for dropping by!

    Sherry, Some of my coneflowers are so tall this year, too. I love potato salad!

  25. Hi Rose, I'm sorry to hear you missed the garden walk and being a volunteer guide... but sitting it out was probably for the best as it helped you get over the virus more quickly. I'm also not going to Buffalo, as a freelance project from my ex-employer is in full swing. Hope others have fun without us (is that even possible?! HA!!!) And I love Erma's quote about overeating being patriotic. Holla!

  26. Rose, Happy you're feeling better - you must be as your photos are so healthy looking! I have family here this weekend and we are enjoying the sunshine and togetherness. And potato salad is on my list for tomorrow along with barbeque London Broil and a big, big green salad,oh and corn on the cob. I must be hungry!

    Have a great 4th!

  27. So sorry that you were were poorly Rose and missed the garden walk - you must have really been under the weather. Glad that you are on the mend now. Looking forward to your daylily post. Hope that you are having a great 4th July :)

  28. Glad to hear you're recuperating, Rose. Lovely Coneflowers! Get well soon, for those Cucumbers are waiting for you :) Happy July 4th!


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