Friday, August 31, 2018

Summer, Flowers, and Giveaway Winners

"What a splendid exercise it would be if people would only go round
their places and look for all the ugly corners
and just think how they might be made beautiful
by the use of free-growing roses."
~ Gertrude Jekyll, Roses

There's talk of autumn in the air already. Yes, the air is cooler, and we're on the last day of August, so I guess it's getting time to switch gears. But I'll have you know that I'm trying to hold onto the bit of summer we still have coming to us. Don't get me wrong, autumn has always been my favourite season, and when September arrives I'm usually excited about autumn leaves and pumpkin spice lattes, but didn't the lilacs and tulips just bloom the other week? 

The summer has really flown, and there are still so many plants in full bloom in my garden, no wonder I'm still thinking summer thoughts around here.  At last count, the Peace Rose (photo above) had 27 buds to open. Early in the spring we bought a big new pot for her to grow into, topped it with fresh new soil and rose feed, and she's been showing her gratitude ever since. Fingers crossed, everyone, that frost stays away for a few weeks yet. The other roses bushes are still blooming too.

We're going to do some more happy talk about flowers and share a few photos, but before we go on, I want to announce the WINNERS of the Blog-a-Versary Giveaway. Thank you so much to everyone who entered and shared such lovely comments. You know how to make a girl's day! And now, here are the winners:

Winner of the
$20 Amazon Gift Card

Winner of the book of essays
The flower can always be changing by Shawna Lemay

SUSAN (Writing Straight From the Heart)
Winner of my latest magazine (still in production)
Celebrate! Anniversary Edition

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Joe Pye Weed

When people talk about 'living in the moment’ what does that mean to you? For me, it's being present with my whole attention. I'm not zoned out, but I'm aware of what's going on around me and what I'm doing at the time. For me, the key to living in the moment is to come to it with my five senses, including my sense of wonder and curiosity, fully turned on. I have come to see that even if all I have is five seconds to fully give my attention to something, those few seconds become a shard of light, as someone called it, often causing the memory to stay with me for a very long time, sometimes for always.

One such moment was the other day as I watched the bees humming around the Joe Pye Weed plant. They took no account of me being in their space. They were quite focused and obviously living in their moment -- the day was mild, a little warmer than it had been, and the blooms were just coming into full blossom. 'Twas a moment sublime.

I don't know when I first became aware of the beauty of flowers. Maybe when I found the first yellow dandelion growing in the early Spring when I was two or three. Or, maybe it was elsewhere, for I do have one memory when I was about four or five, of the day I went with my mom to visit our neighbour across the road. We were outside in the yard, and Mrs. Liske might have invited me to smell the sweet peas she had growing against the old garage by the house. Never shall I forget that moment when I caught a whiff of their sweet, heavenly fragrance. My little girl heart was smitten, and I knew that one day when I grew up I would have those same pretty scented flowers in my garden. My dream came true!

Little brother, littlest sister, and me by Grandma's pink roses, circa 1970

My grandma loved flowers. She had flower beds all around her house, with a climbing pink rose on the south east corner. I remember pastel yellow and orange poppies escaping their beds and merrily growing in the middle of the lawn -- I thought that was so funny. And, I remember the year our little family visited Lake Louise near Banff, Canada, and lo and behold, they had the same poppies growing in their gardens as Grandma had growing in her lawn.

When we visited my grandma, if it was in the summertime, we loved to play outside. My little sister  (not in photo above) and I would go around and sample all the flowers, letting our tiny noses decide which ones smelled the best. We liked roses and lilacs, petunias and peonies and pansies, but for some reason neither of us liked the too-sweet fragrance of alyssums. Although we enjoyed looking at the flowers in all their crayon box array of colours -- declaring that the pinks and purples were our favourite -- it was their fragrance that made us decide which would be our ultimate favourites. And, of all the varieties growing in Grandma's garden, it was the spicy scent of cloves borne on the blooms of the sweet williams, stocks, and dianthus that became my favourite. From the first whiff, they had their place of honour in the budding garden of my heart. Today, they still are one of my top favourites.


Now, I cannot write this post and not talk about peonies. Like a pressed flower in a scrapbook, one special girlhood memory is set in time. Where I grew up, weddings were often held in the summertime. Flowers, abundant in people's gardens, were often used to decorate the tables at bridal showers. I would have been about nine or ten when Mom said that my sister and I could come with her to one of the upcoming bridal showers. We were enthralled.

On the specially designated bride's table sat huge blowsy bouquets of pink and white peonies, their heady fragrance adding to the ambience of the summer evening party. Sitting quietly like grown ups, we watched the bride-to-be open her gifts, and I secretly hoped one day it would be me being the guest of honour at a bridal shower, and it would be complete with summer bouquets of gorgeous peonies filling the air with fragrant, hopeful dreams.


Dahlias are always connected to the early days of school in the fall. They were amongst the flowers in my mom's garden of snapdragons, gladioli, asters, pansies, hollyhocks, and irises. I remember waiting for the bus, with a bouquet of dahlias in my hand. Proud was I to carry them into class and present them to my teacher. Although dahlias weren't big on fragrance, that picture of my mom getting that bouquet ready for me to take to school still lives large inside me.

I never realized until I was older how needful flowers really are to the well-being of our souls. Who was it who said, "If a man finds himself with bread in both hands, he should exchange one loaf for some flowers of the narcissus, because the loaf feeds the body, but the flower feeds the soul." Yes, even the souls of dreamy little girls.

Echinacea flower

"(When) I took the time to look into the heart of a flower,
it opened up a whole new world--a world where every country walk
would be an adventure, where every garden would become an
enchanted one, where one could never be lonely, bored, or indifferent.
It was as if a window had been opened to let in the sun.
My eyes were waking up ... seeing the unbelievable beauty of nature..."

~ Princess Grace of Monaco and Gwen Robyns, My Book of Flowers

There's a post about the book HERE.

Garden Poses

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly.
"One must have sunshine, freedom, and
a little flower."

~ Hans Christian Anderson

Enjoying the cool of the day

"There is more to life than
increasing its speed."

~ Gandhi


mind be filled with many
beautiful pictures..."

~ William Lyon Phelps

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On that happy note, I'm wishing you a beautiful weekend.
To the winners, I'll be in touch with you shortly.



  1. Congratulations to the winners.
    Flowers have always played a big part in my life - gardening for the therapeutic benefits and cut flowers indoors for their beauty and the joy they bring.

  2. What a wonderful post. I love flowers of all kinds.

  3. Congratulations to the winners. We're all winners here, Bren, reading your lovely words. They evoke wonderful memories for me, of fragrant apple blossom and wild roses, of roadside blue chicory, and of the pink roses that continue to be my mother's favourite flower.

  4. Flowers feed the true that is Brenda. Even a tiny posy will make a difference to a room, and to the feelings evoked. A lovely post as always.

  5. Lovely pictures, lovely quotes, lovely memories! A favorite quote of mine about flowers, "Where flowers bloom, so does hope" -Lady Bird Johnson. Congrats to your giveaway winners!

  6. That bee is so cute!! She's different from the ones in my garden and neighborhood. Thank you for the pictures of a new bee and also a flowering plant I wasn't familiar with. :-)

  7. Absolutely beautiful, Bren. Love every photo and every word! Some are going into my little book of special things. You and I should probably trade those little books sometime.

    Enjoy these final summer days!

  8. Brenda dear your photos and memories of the flowers was wonderful. My grandma and yours must have gardened alike...pinks and purples were my favorite colors too. Grandma was great with delphiniums and roses. She would gather bouquets and take them all over town to the sick and shutins. Well hope you have a delightful weekend. Lets make a pack to enjoy each moment that remains of summer. That way we won't be sad when fall arrives! Hugs

  9. lovely thoughts, i like flowers feed the soul....

  10. Beautiful words!I love all your memories of grandma's flowers. Thank You!

  11. Flowers do indeed feed the soul. I have been a flower lover for as long as I can remember. I planted my garden so there would be something in bloom from spring to the first frost, and that includes plants with heady smells, like my climbing jasmine vine and gardenias. I believe a flower garden should delight as many senses as possible. :)

  12. I'm so happy that I won, as there are some books I've wanting for awhile now, and now I can have them! :D Congratulations to the other winners, too!

    Brenda, I love your posts like this, all flowery and pretty, in word and photos.


  13. Congratulations to the winners. I feel like I am always a winner, when I read your blog.Flowers are like sunshine to me.I have loved them since I was a little girl and still love them.Thanks for sharing your memories and beautiful flowers.

  14. Ohhh, what a beautiful post. Gardening is such a joy, and always brings me closer to God.

  15. Delicious! I may have to make a cup of tea and read it again.

  16. Lovely flowers, Brenda. YEAHHHHHHH. I was thrilled I was one of the winners. How cool is that? I cannot get your email as I don't do Google Plus. Can you email me at So happy! Thanks! Susan

  17. Congratulations on the winners!

    I've gained a better appreciation for flowers after joining Blogland and seeing all the pretty floral images by other bloggers.

  18. I missed your beautiful posts, dear Brenda. I've been on a summer break so have missed a few. I love autumn as well, my favorite season, and flowers, of course. It touched me when you mentioned your grandmother because mine loved flowers as well. She lived in a flat, no garden, but would always have fresh flowers around the house, flowery patterns on her sheets and china, and always smelled so nice with a fresh flowery scent. Your post brought it all back.

  19. Well done to the winners. Your flowers are looking fantastic. I couldn't be without flowers. If ever I am having a bad day, I go out into the garden. Even in winter there is usually something to cheer me up.

  20. How sweet to be invited into your floral memories and meanderings! I have missed my visits here this summer . . . The Summer of the Ailing Laptop. But I have a new laptop and I'm back in business!

    May you continue to soak up the warmth of these late summer days!

  21. Great article..I am looking so forward to your blogcomment and
    I love your page on your post.. That is so pretty..


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo