Blooming Thursday: Gardens Throughout My Day

It’s so easy to get caught up in our day, isn’t it?  Everyone’s busy.  We rush from here to there, and back again if you have kids.  Who has time to slow down?

In truth, we all do.  Everyone gets 24 hours in a day.  It’s up to us to spend them wisely.  When my mom was in hospice at the end of her life, I read some interesting comments from a hospice nurse.  Most of her end-of-life patients regretted the things they didn’t do.  I try to remember that.

Yesterday, though I had plenty to do, I consciously slowed down.  I attend a fitness camp three morning a week at a local middle school.  We complete our drills in the interior quad, working hard for 50 minutes.  Then we all race to our cars and continue on with our hectic days.  I took a moment to return back to the quad, to admire and photograph this beautiful rose.

Rose at John Muir School

Blushing Rose at Fitness Camp

After driving my older son to school, I lurked in the parking lot till the coast was clear, then walked around to the front of the school and snapped a few shots. They have a lovely garden  just outside the office, with bright red geraniums, bushy ferns and a stand of magnificent trees. I never noticed the trees before yesterday. One of the small benefits of slowing down.

Red Geranium

Branham Geranium

Branham Office Garden

Branham Office Garden

On my drive home, I pulled over to admire the sunflowers growing a few blocks over. Kelly at Boomdeeada suggested I scout the neighborhood for similar flowers, since I seem to be growing a variety I didn’t plant. She might be on to something! It was a good excuse to finally get out of the car and see them up close.

Neighboring Yellow Sunflowers with Palm Tree

Down the block, our neighbor Robert plants a colorful selection of annuals along the border of his white picket fence. He suffered a stroke a few years ago, and had a long trip back to wellness. I enjoy driving by his house and seeing his flowers in bloom. If he’s  sunning himself in the driveway, I’ll wave. I realize as I write this that he has no idea how much I enjoy those flowers. I plan to share that with him today.

flowers at picket fence

Robert’s Summer Display

My own welcoming committee is a pleasure to behold: a wall of sunflowers just outside the kitchen window, and my recently planted fairy garden. The purples and yellows are vibrant and fresh, as if to say “summer will never end.” Sure, I know better, but I still enjoy the charade.

Sunflowers: The Sunny Dozen

Sunflowers: The Sunny Dozen
Photographed in order on deck

Wednesday is early out day in our school district so the boys return home in the early afternoon. My last stop was Office Max, for yet another round of school supplies. They have enormous clay pots planted in front of the store, brimming with colorful flowers. It’s challenging taking photographs under the mid day sun, but I still enjoyed the view. I appreciate strip malls that make the effort to bring beautiful gardens to an otherwise drab exterior.

Office Max Flowering Pots

Office Max Flowering Pots

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

Office Max Gernaiums

Cascading Geraniums

Guess what? I still accomplished what I planned for the day, climbed out from under a writers slump, made phone calls, booked a client and nurtured my husband, two boys and four cats.

I encourage you to take five minutes for yourself today. Look at something familiar with beginners eyes. Taste. Smell. Marvel. Rather than imagining you are the center of the universe, try to be centered in the universe. You’ll be a happier person for it.

Blooming Thursday: Random Gifts and Neighborhood Rifts

For all the time I spend in the garden, complete surprises are rare.  With my nose down close to the dirt, or my camera directed at flowers and trees, it feels as comfortable and familiar as a good marriage.

That said, my husband still surprises me with flowers “just because” and this week my garden did the same.  After an hour of planting and the requisite cleanup, I turned to go inside and spotted something flowering behind our fruit tree.  I climbed over the rock wall and shrubs, rounded the tree, and there it was!  The flowering bulb has roots under the fence line, so perhaps the bulb divided from the neighbor’s side.

It would be nice to think of the flower as a gift, or more appropriately a peace-offering, for in this community of otherwise incredible neighbors, this unhappy soul stands out.  He once trapped my cat and dropped him off at the Humane Society without a word.  He calls the authorities when someone’s dog barks.  He asked us to lie when our shared fence fell down and had to be replaced. We declined.

Perhaps this random gift is not the flower, but the opportunity to let go of the angst I feel when I pass his house.  All these years later the anger and hurt are gone, but the angst lingers on.

Spring Bulbs

Any guesses on the name of this flowering bulb?