Tag: gardens

Take a Canopy Break


Forget the news, forget your work, forget your aches and pains, forget your revved-up mind chewing over every little thing. Take a canopy break. Find a relaxing place to sit, look at each canopy below, take a few minutes each and imagine slowly walking through or sitting under each canopy. Let the joy of creation wash out all the anxiety and restore harmony.

Music That Makes Me Think of My Parents’ Garden


My father grew up in what was then Pennsylvania farm country, and my mother grew up in a family of serious gardeners. So, we grew up with gardens large and small, depending on our abode. I have been enjoying and sharing Xuefei Yang’s series of recordings from her backyard over the past two months. The setting makes me think of my parents’ back yard, which is mostly garden.

The mugs hanging in the kitchen read “Head Gardener” and “Undergardener.” Mom is the head gardener, and Dad has enjoyed decades of assisting her and getting satisfaction from the results of their labors. From the early days with a two-wheeled Gravely tractor busting sod in a big back yard for our first big vegetable garden, to today when he still wrangles bags of composted steer manure into long-established plant beds, Dad is the brawn to Mom’s gardening brains. That has been part of his life-long example to us of loving and honoring his wife. We kid him about wearing shorts year-round, but his life-long discipline shows in cannon-ball calves as he progresses through his eighth decade.

Member Post


Animals are infuriating photography subjects. They dart away at the slightest noise or movement. They move constantly or at the very moment you take the picture. Even familiar animals in the wild look at you as if all your previous encounters were just patient preparation for finally eating them. (Which farm animal ratted me out?)  […]

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Ever-Blooming Garden Ideas


My maternal grandfather started his garden every year in the basement with grow lamps. When the Farmers Almanac said the time was right, the plants went into well-prepared soil. Weeds dared not grow there.

My mother inherited the green thumb. My father, who grew up in the country, before it was swallowed by suburbs, is not so much of a gardener but very handy with the tools needed to garden. So, between them, their home has always been alive with all manner of plants.

Every year there are catalog orders and visits to plant nurseries. For some years, they even made an annual road trip to visit the family boy, me, and a series of their favorite gardens along the way. The homeward leg always included a stop at a particularly good nursery in northern California.

The Language of Flowers: Status-Signaling, Virtue-Signaling, Etc


Tulip by Quartl, Wikimedia Commons, Cropped

Anyone imagining that just any sort of flowers can be presented in the front of a house without status jeopardy would be wrong. Upper-middle-class flowers are rhododendrons, tiger lilies, amaryllis, columbine, clematis, and roses, except for bright-red ones. One way to learn which flowers are vulgar is to notice the varieties favored on Sunday-morning TV religious programs like Rex Humbard’s or Robert Schuller’s. There you will see primarily geraniums (red are lower than pink), poinsettias, and chrysanthemums, and you will know instantly, without even attending to the quality of the discourse, that you are looking at a high-prole setup. Other prole flowers include anything too vividly red, like red tulips. Declassed also are phlox, zinnias, salvia, gladioli, begonias, dahlias, fuchsias, and petunias. Members of the middle class will sometimes hope to mitigate the vulgarity of bright-red flowers by planting them in a rotting wheelbarrow or rowboat displayed on the front lawn, but seldom with success.