Deer-proof Shrubs

Russian Sage and Cherry Sage

The rains in the mountains have turned the grass to a lush green. The shrubs are doing well too. The deer leave the Sage and the Butterfly Bushes alone.

Butterfly Bush

The Trumpet Vine is doing well too. The deer went after the tender shoots when it was first planted, but now that it’s mature, they leave it alone. (Trumpet Vine develops a thick woody trunk, so it needs a strong support system.) As I was trying to get a good photo, a hummingbird flitted from one blossom to another. I asked him to stay in one place so I could take his picture. He obliged me by perching on a dead twig that jutted out from the base of the vine. Handsome fellow.

Just Green

Lacy Leaf

Back in the mountains at last. I saw a few wildflowers on my morning walk, but today the variety of greens in the forest undergrowth captured my imagination. I have rediscovered my childhood wonder at all things that appear out of the ground. I’m too lazy to research their official names, so I have given them names of my own. Pictured below from left to right: Faux 4-Leaf Clover, Sand Dollar Weed, and Carrot Tops.

Past, Present and Future

Last week I wrote about our white and lavender Crape Myrtle bushes that came into bloom after the monsoon rains began. This week the red variety has blossomed more profusely than it has in years, and the purple variety (pictured below) is just beginning to bloom.

I think the reason gardening is so good for the soul is that it’s mostly about the present and the future. The past is important, of course. It took eons for the soil to develop, and the nutrients from past fallen leaves have played their part. But when I’m in the garden, I don’t think about the past. That’s a good thing.

It’s the present blossoms that keep my attention, as well as the tender green shoots that promise future delight.

Lantana

Lantana Landmark Rose Glow

Here we are again in the dog days of summer. The soil in our neighborhood is sandy with a hardpan of clay beneath the surface — a real challenge for my gardening aspirations. However, over time I have learned that some plants do well and even thrive here. While other plants are looking a little sad, the potted Lantana (pictured above) is the star of our courtyard. When it goes dormant in winter, I will transplant it into the ground.

The varieties pictured below are gracing the front yards of our neighbors on the block.

After the Rain

In the garden, the Crape Myrtle bushes are in bloom. Prior to the monsoon rains, they bloomed sporadically and indifferently, but as soon as the rains began, they came into full flower. They prefer the rain from heaven to the water that comes from the faucet. Somehow they know the difference.

The days are a little cooler now. In the afternoons, great towers of cumulus clouds form in the sky, and if we are lucky, we get a good downpour during the night. I love the sound of the rain pattering on the skylights.

Last night at sunset there was no rain, but I caught a glimpse of something I hold dear but rarely actually see — the cloud with the silver lining. Yes, Virginia, it does exist.

Serenity

The Rio Grande with the Organ Mountains in the distance

The Rio Grande passes quietly through the valley where we live in Southern New Mexico.  In spite of the current, the surface of the river remains calm because the water flows over a smooth, sandy river bed. To cool off on hot summer weekends, families with children wade or sit in the shallow water near the banks. They stay close to the edges of the river. There can be quicksand near the center.

I’ve been thinking about serenity and peace lately.  If I wish to remain outwardly serene, I need to be at peace beneath the surface.

For the most part, I am at peace with myself.  Yet, from time to time I find a submerged rock or tree branch that disturbs the surface.  Then, there is turbulence for a while, until I figure out what to do with it.

God helps. The Holy Spirit is my solid ground.

Pandemic Blues

In the market today, I overheard a customer asking the clerk if people were honoring the face mask requirement. “Everyone is so done with face masks, and everyone is in a bad mood,” she replied. (In spite of her comments, everyone was wearing a mask, including the clerk.)

The face mask hadn’t bothered me, but I had been in a bad mood for a few days. Things that didn’t help:

  • Missing Mass
  • Binge watching murder mysteries
  • Staying indoors

Things that helped:

  • Prayer
  • My husband
  • Friends
  • Gardening
  • Exercise
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Music

Lost and found: Hope