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Friday, July 3, 2015

Puppies and Plants in Dry Garden

We have been so busy with puppies that we barely had time to take pictures of plants. 
Here they are in the potager heading for the shed where the fertilizer is kept! You can tell we are not used to puppies!

Puppies in the Potager
Since it hasn't rained for months, we spend a lot of time watering as well.  As you can see the garden is way ahead of itself for this time of year.

Crocosmia Lucifer and butterfly in the Lavendula angustifolia
 Don't think we have ever had so many swallowtail butterflies.

Day lilies and butterfly
Day lily border with knifophia
  Most of the garden is a "dry" garden tolerating lack of water.

Calendua and Papaver somniferum in Potager

Yucca in blossom near cottage

Puppies in a cage under the cedar tree

As the drought continues we trust the Lord to give us wisdom and priorities in all things:
  • How to care for those we are in charge of, (puppies)
  • How to care for the garden when water becomes scarce
  • Our daily walk so that we might bear much fruit.  
“Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that send out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7,8

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cheer and Rambling Musk Rose

This rambling musk rose cheers my heart every year when it blooms. It spreads out over iron archways and up the old growth cedar tree. It doesn't take much care and doesn't seem to complain even when it gets very little water. The only stress it shows is black spot on some of the leaves. It thrives anyway and we are so grateful it does as it cheers everyone's heart that looks upon it.
Rosa "Paul's Himalayan Musk"

Rosa "Paul's Himalayan Musk" climbing up the old growth cedrus
Lately I realized that I am not cheering other's hearts. I have been praying quite a while for the fruit of the Spirit, Joy, and this week the Lord showed me it was because my face didn't show cheer.  I did not feel sad nor angry on the inside, but my mouth in particular did not show joy. I tried to get enough sleep at night thinking that was the problem, but the Lord showed me that people have been responding to me as if I was mad or upset by getting upset at me, and in my response to their misunderstanding me, I would get upset. It was a vicious cycle. It was not until yesterday that my prayers were answered.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 KJV  I had confessed my angry responses and asked for wisdom
While checking email the next day, I noticed a podcast entitled The Secret Power of Smiling  (listen to it here by clicking on the blue link and it will make your day or change your life as it did mine). It tells what a smile can do for you and others.

I grew up knowing that I needed to be myself and not force anything  trying to be someone else. Somehow, trying to smile was never taught so I thought that smiling should come naturally, not forced. My Dad would sometimes looked me in the face and placed his hand over his mouth, pulling his hand down to make a sad face, then he would pull his hand up over his mouth and make a smile.  I laughed but never knew what he was trying to do until yesterday.

Be sure to listen to the podcast for  the secret power of smiling which brings cheer all around us.
 As a result:
"1. I will resolve to get better
  2. I will recruit an accountability partner
  3. I will practice, practice. " Michel Hyatt  the practical way from The Secret Power of Smiling

And I can emulate the cheer that the rambling musk rose brings to others and hopefully bring cheer to other's hearts and not just once a year in June.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5:22."

Sunday, May 17, 2015


The Leaves of  Ranuculus repens  Creeping buttercup
For the past several years I've been fighting  this low growing perennial, Ranuculus repens , Creeping buttercup, "opportunistic colonizers" according to Wikipedia. Many years ago I found this inconspicuous plant, which is usually in the woods,  hiding near the foundation of the house, mostly out of sight and out of the way. I didn't know it's identity and tenacity until it bloomed.

Yellow flowers appear this month to herald the invasion
 It has invaded the long border that faces south and seems not the same diminutive plant I see in the woods outside the gates of our garden. I guess this is how it is "opportunistic".Next thing I knew, being away from the long border for a while due to illness, it took over all.
For several years, not liking to apply herbicides, I've tried to dig out the roots to exterminate it. But it seems that, much like the bindweed, one little piece of root will propagate many more plants.

So I decide to cut some flowers and bring them inside. I watch them for a few days. They don't wilt. Every night they close up their petals and every day they open them up again, looking as good as they were the day before.
There is a sort of luminosity to them and every day they glow in my face. I guess this is what we did with buttercups as a child. We picked them and placed it under a friend's chin to "See if they liked butter" by the yellow glow on their skin. The buttercups were not invasive then, or so it seemed. But times have changed.

Believing that God is sovereign in all life, I ask, "For what purpose are they taking over the garden beds and what am I to do about it?" 

Perhaps they are a strange metaphor:
What creeps into our lives, unannounced and seems to take over without our even recognizing it until too late, starts to rule our lives and change it. Eradicating it seems hopeless. Can we ever bring something back to where it was or where we thought it was? I see this happening in all of life, our families, our community, our country, and even greater in the world. 
But by the grace of God:
  • Keep a watchful eye around you.
  • Be proactive.
  • Look to the world and anywhere in your country and life where harm is creeping in.
  • Pray fervently for grace, wisdom and eyes to be open for solutions, words and actions.

Where in your life can you ask for God's grace to redeem you so you can return to peace and His control which is the solution to tough problems?

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Jesus speaking to Paul
"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" Paul 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Day

We used to place flowers at neighbor's doors as a surprise for May Day.
 Here are the flowers I would have picked for the first of May from our garden for you.


Rosa Abraham Darby 

Lupines, Delphiniums and Pansies in the Potager

Clematis Montana over the garden gate
Enjoy the blessing and beauty of May

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Eyes to See

Box of Old Journals to Destroy
I've been getting rid of old journals that take up too much room but reading some of them first. 
This week I found this: "Trust me in times of trouble and in plenty", I hear God saying. "Pray not just in the morning but always. Ask, seek, knock. Do not depend on yourself for anything."

I respond,"I cannot really depend on anything but You Lord. Help me to turn to you in everything I do."

Looking back, after the eye operation for a new cornea, the Lord has been showing me and reminding me how to trust and turn to Him. Since December, I put drops in my eye four times a day every day and lay down and be still for two or more minutes each time. So now it is a habit as I wait, "Lord to open my eyes so I can see what You see and what you want me to see.". I pray for needs that He shows me.

I don't think you have to have an eye operation or drops in your eyes four times each day to stop and ask questions of the Lord and talk with him. All I know is that my eyes have been opened to see what I have been blinded to before. I am more aware of what is going on around me and how I need to respond.

The Lost:
He has shown me this last week to have a heart for the lost, More specifically to have a broken heart for the lost.  A few weeks ago I had a blood draw for a 6 month check up and the nurse could not find an adequate vessel and I ended up with a huge bruise.on my forearm. After a week, the bruise turned into a heart shape.

It seemed like it was a strange blessing from God. But sometimes it takes day or more to realize what God is telling me. So last Sunday a week after the picture above was taken, the second week after the blood draw, I noticed that the "heart" bruise on my arm now looked as though it was a broken heart. Not coincidentally, at church, the praise and worship video showed a bandaged heart and song about having a broken heart for the lost! I get the message Lord!

The Lost: (no answer to the meaning and purpose and reality in life and no distinctiveness of man)
It is then that I remember what I have been praying daily for years:
"Lord help me see the lost as you do. Help me to have a broken heart for them and great compassion. Help me think about their spiritual condition. Help them really matter to me. Lord give me a heart that beaks when I encounter non-Christians in a crowd. Give me new eyes to see them as they really are (lost, separated, distressed) and show me what to do for them. Give me words, wisdom and grace. "
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now an found, was blind but now I see." John Newton

So what are you trying to get rid of, so to make room for a new way of looking at what is around you?"
Are you trusting God to show up in unusual places?
How might you be lost?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April blossoms

Last week the cherry trees, plum, early apple and Asian pear were in bloom and I missed a picture, so here is a sample display of pink and white blossoms in our orchard this week to cheer you.

Granny Smith Apple blossom

Crab apple blossoms

Espalier apple just starting to blossom
 Purple and Pink Blooms in the Potager Garden

Pansies and lilies inn a pot

More pansies by the gate 

Tree peony and Clematis Montana at the gate.
 By the way, the bees are out and about!
"...The whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 6:3

Friday, April 3, 2015

Palm Sunday Leading to Easter

We prepared the week before last for special company, cleaning, cooking and decorating to make "fit for a king."  We also prepared for Palm Sunday,  to celebrate the entrance of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem, the King of Kings, riding on a donkey, with palm fronds waved by children.

The Chinese Windmill  palm  (Trachycarput fortunei) in the Hot border, the main palm died and this is the new life that came from it.

Another palm in the past was moved from the hot border to a pot and placed it near the rose arbor tucked away from winter winds when temperatures dropped.

"Open Palms" like a Prayer in Winter Snow (several years ago)

Palm Moved to the Front Deck
So we sacrificed  and clipped off the bottom fronds and a friend helped slice the barbs off the stems so children's hands would not be injured and on Palm Sunday the children of the church waved the palms and sang "Hosanna".

This weekend, Easter, we prepare for the "King of Kings" Jesus. Preparation, not outward cleaning or movements to better spaces but coming clean inside to make us fit so we can open our hearts to receive all that Jesus did for us. He left heaven as the three in one Godhead, took on human form, born of a virgin, lived a life of dependence on the Holy Spirit with all the temptations of humanity but without sin, became the sacrificial lamb of God to take away the sins of the world and all who believe in Him, and sent His Holy Spirit to live in those who believe, so we could be set free from the power and penalty of sin and have access to the same Holy Spirit for every part of our redeemed life. If you have not asked Jesus into your life, do it this Easter. Don't just prepare outwardly but your heart inwardly knowing He has rescued us, setting us apart so we can receive Him. He is risen! He is Alive!

How are you preparing for Easter? Is it just outward preparation or is it the most important preparation you can ever do, that of opening your heart so the King of Kings to come into your life so  Jesus can live through you.   Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Hellebore “Lenten Rose” blooms every year around Easter

Lent and time for the Spirit's leading us to repent
My Hellebore reminder.
(not that I confess only seasonally)

I'm not one to follow lent in terms of giving up things I might love. I believe in doing this occasionally when I am called to pray and fast for deeper prayer connection with God and to intercede  for others to receive the peace and wisdom needed in difficult situations .  

But I do believe in preparation for Easter.  It is not just a day filled with flowers and family and food, although these are still important. Preparation enhances the reality of what Jesus did for us so we can celebrate new life in an even greater way, not just in the Spring garden.

 I could not find the potted Hellebore in the garden yesterday. It was a mystery, but I got involved in making a St Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage and forgot about it and listened to Celtic songs “You Raise Me Up” (fast forward video to 2 minutes)
 I sing this as a prayer to God.

This morning after praying for what I should write, the image of a half-dead hellebore in a dark car trunk popped into my head. I forgot! Four days ago I put it in the back of the minivan to bring it to church. It was used as an altar flower during lent in previous years, and I brought it just in case someone forgot to tell me they needed flowers.  But I was the one who forgot, and found it in the back of the minivan on its side.

My husband mentioned that he heard something rolling around, but didn't pay attention to what it was. I had not used the car since Sunday.
Hellebore message

As I pray for wisdom for myself and you, a message seems clear: often things happen so we might look at ourselves more clearly. We can blame someone else for the bigger problems or we can distract ourselves so we don’t think about it, but the sight of the Hellebore lying on its side, dirt scattered about, broken leaves and blossoms gives a message about the reality of what is not right in our lives. 

  • ·     Whether you believe in sin or not, God wants us to see our lives as He does. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
  • ·     Realize the chasm between us and God. Romans 1:18-32
  •    "The path to healing requires repentance, and repentance requires conviction of sin, and conviction of sin requires clear exposition of the Word of God, even when it is uncomfortable.” John Piper p. 44 World Jan 23, 2014
  •  "From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Matthew 4:17  
  •  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus, John 10:10
  •  “Receive the Holy Spirit, repent and be baptized.” Acts 2:31-38
  •  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” Jesus Revelation 3:20

How might you prepare for Easter? May you sense the Holy Spirit's leading.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Meyer Lemon Tree

A year ago February at the NW Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, we bought a Meyer Lemon tree.
When our daughter lived in California, they had one in their back yard, we admired it and thought we would try one for ourselves.

Meyer Lemon in a pot with fruit
So we bought and brought home the almost two foot tall blossom filled plant with hopes of it bearing fruit. I hand pollinated it with a brush over the open white flowers and kept it inside our sun room until all danger of frost passed and put it outside in the sun through the summer and fall. Fruit was slowly developing and I kept asking my daughter if it was ready yet. She said that it should be orange-yellow. So yesterday, I went to pick the fruit and it fell into my hands upon touch.

Meyer Lemon Tart with garnish of Lemon Verbena leaves
Today I found a great recipe that used the three lemons. It was just ripe in time for a Memorial and potluck dessert for Howard, a wonderful and missed member of our Shaw Island Fellowship and community.  So hopefully the tree will continue to flower and bear and I will remember Howard each year when it does and also be thankful for our daughter's introduction to the fresh winter fruit.

May we all bear fruit such as Howard did.
"May you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God..." Colossians 1:9-10

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February garden flowers

Although most of the East and Midwest are under blankets of snow, we have had unusually mild weather for this time of year. 
Here are some photos of outside wintered over plants from our garden to brighten your day.

One day where there was bare ground,  the sun comes out and then they appear.

I love the late winter in the Pacific Northwest and the plants have responded to the warmth by putting out new growth and some fresh flowers.

I am putting more plants in pots recently for ease of care and ability to move them around
to fill in bare spots and for best viewing
Galianthus (snowdrops) in a pot

Hellebores  wintered over outside
This pot comes to life each year and I occasionally bring it inside to brighten our home

Primula in a pot wintered over outside

There are many more plants to add for February and I will add them to this post soon.
Thank you for your interest.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January Blooms

We've learned to love January in the Pacific Northwest. Our eyes are opened to the winter blooms that cheer up the grey days. We even get a chance to plant this time of year in our southern exposure Mediterranean garden. Below are some of the lovely blooms. The first two are under our old huge cedar and the winter rains and the combination of low Southern light, brings forth leaves and blooms not seen since last winter.

This is not to discourage those who are in parts of the world where winter is harsh upon you. It is to share a bright day that brightened ours and  give hope of spring to come.

Cyclamen coum "silver fir tree" under our huge old cedar tree 
a new planting to join the others

Violets, protected under the cedar tree, peek their heads out mid January.

The rock wall , which we had Dave build several years ago, retains heat from the low winter sun. This usually dry, protected spot, loves the torrents of rain that arrive this time of year. This is when the cyclamen leaves start to appear under the cover of dropped brown cedar needles.

Lonicera x Purpusii  Honeysuckle by our garage with fragrance

Hellebores outside in a pot so we can move to show it off year round.

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent (the beauty in winter flowers) think about such things." Philippians 4:8 NIV

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winter Doldrums

I have found many unpublished drafts on this blog. Below is one from several years ago
Just as I have neglected this blog, I have neglected this garden.

A sunny day reveals the garden neglect

The January garden is not a pretty sight, bare, seemingly lifeless, dregs of moldy stems, seedpods and spent flowers hanging on. It brings no color, beauty nor joy, like my life lately with no seeming focus or purpose. The garden and I have the winter doldrums. I cling to whatever is left, no matter how ugly is the “chaff that the wind blows away” in my life.

“Blow it away, Lord,” I shout. “I need your grace and love and felt presence instead. It is lonely inside of me without you.”

When prayers seem useless and all seems crushed and lifeless, think on Me. I will not neglect nor forsake you.  Jesus

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us; but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8

The hope in the winter doldrums is the new life promised and hidden in me as in the garden reflects. Spring is yet to come!

We experience these things so we can help others through them. If you are feeling this way, have others pray for you, for this is how we help one another.

Sign up to receive a notice when a new blog is posted and you can always leave a comment or private message to me so I can pray for you..

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year Direction upon Reflection

"Daniel in the Lion's Den" by Briton Riviere 1892 (depicting Daniel 6:16-24)

This blog began  April 8, 2007, almost eight years ago, in preparation for a devotional. Every week there seemed to be lions in the midst, (discouragement, distractions, anxiety) never harming but causing me instead to trust in God not my own abilities.

I recently put my energies into another blog for a year.New plans for this blog include upgrading to fit the times, editing and completing many unpublished drafts and still trusting God, as Daniel, for peace, protection and wisdom.
Here are the most popular posts in those almost eight years.

  1. Happy Thanksgiving 11/26/09   
  2. Longest living Herb 5/14/10  
  3. Faith Like Potatoes 10/27/12  
  4. Happy Father's Day  6/20/10   
  5. Once Deleted Can't Undo 3/24/12   
  6. Five Displays of Spring Garden 3/26/10  
  7. Bitter Root Judgement  5/16/10   
  8. Lions in our Midst 1/9/10   
Which one is your favorite and what direction should I go?

I will be rewriting others as it fits the season.
 Here is the blog Early 1900s West Indies Travelogue, that has kept me busy.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Around to it

Found on the floor of the garage - a clear message

In this new year, the message is clear. It is time to get around to it. Not just the cleaning of the garage which I thought was a message for my husband, but the things that have been waiting for me and knocking at my door, so to speak.
  1. The Garden Devotional which I started 25 years ago: a publisher liked it and encouraged me, but later they decided not to pursue it when another publisher bought them out. I dropped the devotional too, and wrote infrequent Weekly Life Clip blog posts. Putting energy instead into another blog and a book proposal Early 1900s West Indies Travelogue about researching a great grandmother. A week or so ago I received a decline from the publisher regarding this, so I took the message from the garage floor to go back to my first love.
  2. Watercolor thumb nail sketches in place of photos will be included weekly. It has been a long time since I have picked up a brush and all this is calling me too.
  3. As I am letting go of the gardens I have loved so much, I will have the time to write and paint.. 

Pray that I get around to it!
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9