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Flowers 60th

Flowers from our friends of 56 years – Janet, Pam, Deb, and Scott – Thank you!

It was a very good year.

It was when I met Bill.

I told my Mom I had finally met a real “man” because Bill was all of 21.

My Dad didn’t like him.

We were married anyway, three years later.

Today is another anniversary.

Today we have been married 60 years!

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Rhody in Bloom 2 Window

Thirty years ago we planted a baby Rhododendron at our new home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.   It was a house warming gift from our friends, Terry and Barbara.  Barbie did all the work too and she has a magic touch in the garden because our Rhody grew and grew, and her saucer sized flowers stunned all visitors.

Note:  I did prune her once and as if in protest there were no flowers for several years.  

But she grew and grew and grew some more.

And this year she bloomed again foor the first time in a long time (see photo above)!

But Rhody was suddenly enormous!

She reached the roof of the house and spread out to cover two windows.

That was when Bill said, “She needs to be pruned.”  “No,” I cried, “She will not flower again for years.”  Then Bill left it to me, but the seeds of doubt were planted.

I literally lost sleep over the decision but finally got enough courage to begin to cut.  “Just a little here and there,” I thought.

I think I cut too much.

I am so sad and so sorry.

Do you think I killed Rhody?

Rhody Pruned

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There is a tree I love.

Most of the year it is a little spindly tree,  hardly recognizable and often mistaken for a common weed.

Then Spring arrives and the flowers of this tree are like decorative trimming on a fantastical wedding cake.

The metamorphasis happens right after Forsythia blooms here in Virginia.  A cloud of pink begins to line the roadsides.  And suddenly there are sparkling pathways of brilliant pink for miles around.

I think this is a special time when nature is transformational and with its magic wand,  even a frog can become a prince.

Beauty and the Beast

Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Copious clusters of fabulous pink to fuchsia flowers hug bare branches in early spring giving way to heart-shaped leaves. This Pea family member often grows as an understory tree in mixed forests in the Mid-Atlantic Region* from southern Pennsylvania through Virginia. The Virginia Native Plant Society named Eastern Redbud as Wildflower of the Year for 2013.

Print Version: Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud

 

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Receiving flowers from a friend’s garden.

Thank you Amy!

Zinnias from Amy

Entertaining the perfect guest.

Pichu stayed with us for four whole days!

Pichu 2

Finding a pony at Herman’s Produce.

Was he in a parade?

Horse of Hay

 

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Pyracantha ViewI like to think my garden is charmed.  Some things actually grow and flourish in spite of harsh sun, drought, flooding rains and winds, all encompassing weeds, and benign neglect.

Our  Pyracantha, alias Firethorn,  is a prime example.

There are actually two of these standing near to each other but one has never bloomed.

I am assuming the boring one is the female (who is no doubt working too hard to be bothered with beauty).

After all, only the male of any species is stunningly adorned, right?

Anyway, the Magnificent Male bush next to its unattractive female companion is sometimes striking for its rusty red berries.  Perhaps that is its only job – to look good.  But in all these years we have never seen such magnificent white blossoms in Spring.

I am convinced this is the male version of plant attraction.

What do you think?

Pretty Pyracantha 1

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Sadly neglected irises are the flowers we count on to return to our trial-and-error Virginia garden year after year.  I bought the bulbs nearly 20 years ago, planted them in a line and left the bed virtually untended forever after.  Ignored and all but forgotten over each winter, the brilliantly purple blooms unfailingly return and return again in the Spring – more beautiful than ever.

Iris Line

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cropped-home-fires-burning-2.jpgIt’s Valentine’s Day!

Again.

Bill told me when we married he did not believe in Valentine’s Day.

Still, after so many years, I wake up hoping.

And on this day, once again, there is no card, no candy and no flowers.

Bill claims it is  a “Hallmark Holiday”, and also a Catholic holiday (Saint Valentine you know).

And he is not Catholic.

Please – no pity – I find other diversions when my friends tell me about their tokens of love on this special day.

I am very good at convincing myself that when Bill builds a warm cozy fire in our wood stove, it is a testament to his love and commitment.

Or when he puts all the dishes away before I can get to them, it is  better than flowers.

Or when he keeps asking how my BigFoot is doing and gently touches to see if it is still swollen, that is sweeter than candy.

And when he invites me out to dinner to a special place – even on this Catholic holiday – it is a finer tribute than a Hallmark card.

We are dining tonight with friends at Virginia’s  Natural Bridge Hotel Dining Room  where there is – guess what –

A Valentine’s Day Special!

I can’t wait to dress up tonight and wear my heart on my sleeve for my non-Catholic boy who doesn’t believe in Valentines Day.  A diamond would be nice though. Hmmmm!  I wonder if he thought of that.

natural-bridge-hotel

Natural Bridge Hotel Dining Room. Image from tripadvisor.com

Natural Bridge Hotel

A Storied Place. The Natural Bridge Park Historic Hotel

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