Pressed Flower Beauty

My husband recently received a thank-you card decorated with pressed flower art. I liked it so much that I cut out the flower arrangement and pasted it to a piece of card stock to make a bookmark. Then I thought, ah ha! Everything is coming into bloom in the garden. What a perfect time to take up a new hobby! I can save my cherished blossoms to enjoy when spring has passed and make home-made note cards. So I ordered a flower press and bought a how-to book. Pressed Flower Art by W. Eugene Burkhart Jr. was extremely helpful. It was a little pricey, but well worth it. The book included an abundance of colored photos and detailed instructions on everything I needed to know to learn this charming art form.

Yesterday, I filled my new flower press with blossoms, leaves, and stems. Today, I am going to press some blossoms and herbs into an old phone book. Now, all I have to do is wait for them to dry.

That may be the hardest part.

Why Did the Elk Cross the Road?

Spring comes late in the mountains where I spent the weekend. I took my camera wherever I went, but nothing was blooming. However, the Ponderosa Pines satisfied my desire for natural beauty, as they always do.

As I was leaving town, the local herd of elk were gathered along Hull Road. Very polite. They paused from time to time to let the cars go by. Many more were grazing along both sides of the road as I carefully continued on my way. There must have been 60 or 70 of them altogether.

Back home in the Rio Grande Valley, the violas and lobelia were in full bloom. Thank God for spring!

Signs of Life

Lantana montevidensis (purple)

Green is appearing at the base of last summer’s dead Lantana branches. First buds are opening on the Flowering Plum tree. Soon the tree will be covered with a veil of pink and white blossoms.

I need these signs of life.

November Surprises

Scabiosa

Just when I thought my perennials were going dormant for the winter, the warm afternoons breathed new life into them. The Scabiosa is putting out blossoms, and the Cherry Sage is covered with new color.

Cherry Sage

The Violets and Vinca are raring to go too, although they won’t bloom until spring.

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.

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.

Awe and Wonder

I read somewhere that people who garden do so because they love being in the garden. The labor is an excuse to spend time in the midst of beauty.

We never completely tame the garden, although we try. Weeds and slugs battle against our efforts. Sun scorches, wind tangles, drought dries, and deluge drowns. Still, we always come back for more.

I like what I become in the garden. I rediscover awe and wonder at the sight of mysterious growth and new blossoms. I feel close to God in the garden.

I think most gardeners are unconsciously searching for a glimpse of Eden. The curious thing is that, for a moment we actually find it.

June Garden

Desert Bird of Paradise

The showy blooms of spring have passed, and the garden is settling down for the long hot summer. However, there is still some color to delight me, especially in the Desert Bird of Paradise shrubs.

In the courtyard, I planted some different annuals this year, since many of my usual choices were not available. The Zinnias began to look shabby as the days grew hotter, but they are doing better now under the Vitex tree. In this climate, many plants that like full sun actually do better in filtered shade. The Moss Roses, however, seem to be natural sun-bathers, even in Southern New Mexico.

Indoors, my plant nursery from cuttings is showing mixed results. Again, the dry heat seems to be a problem. The Mint, Rose Geranium, and Citronella are promising. Not so sure about the Salvia and Lantana. All of the cuttings seem to do better in water than in soil, but it takes longer for the roots to form.

On the back patio, my herb garden seems to do well in the morning sun.

If all else fails, I will still have my triennial Petunia to comfort me. It grows so fast and so profusely that I will have to cut it back several times this summer.

The Noble Weed

This morning as I walked in the mountains, I was enjoying the scent of the pines and the cool morning breeze. It took awhile before I began to notice the blossoming weeds that periodically graced the edges of the path. How often do I miss the small treasures in life because I am focused on the big picture? I have a feeling that each little blossom is as cherished by God as the towering Ponderosa.