" Through the dancing poppies stole
A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul.
We have arrived on the last day of July, and what a beautiful week it has been. Lots of sunshine and even some hot days—even reaching, for us, a heady +30℃ (86℉)! We'd go out in the garden early in the mornings to tend to weeding, tying up loose vines and stems, as well as transplanting struggling annuals that needed a patch with more sunlight to properly flourish.
Sometimes when a person plants in the early spring, you just don't know exactly how tall a neighbouring plant will bloom or spread out, suddenly crowding or shading what had seemed the perfect spot for some sweet annual. And for some reason, I think because we're close to home this summer, I've been more aware of the needs of my little flowers. Some of them require more elbow room—a little social distancing of their own. And some really must have their day in the sunshine, although I don't have complete control over that, but I can give them room where, when the sun does shine, they'll be able to turn their faces upward and take it all in.
In the afternoons, we'd sit in the garden, reading, watching the squirrels (we see two now), listening to the birds vying for spots at the feeders. The season is already changing, the birds always give the cue. Their songs change, their busy nesting and feeding young shifts to training and teaching them to find their own food. We watched one young crow begging on the fence : But, Mom, it's so much easier if you just put it in my mouth. And, she says : the food is here in this tray, eat it! At least, that's what we imagined was said.
Last evening, the crows were gathering in flocks to roost for the night. That creates a slight shiver if I let myself think about what that means. In not too many weeks, they'll be heading southward. BUT, before we let ourselves go there, let's stay put right here in the deep of summer—it is still July for a few more hours and summer for a few more weeks.
Because the weather has been so lovely, yesterday I took a short trip to visit my mom and sister. We had a delightful social distance visit sitting in Sis's beautiful garden, which included seeing this amazing patch of poppies in the middle of her hubby's vegetable garden. I was smitten. She said, "All this gorgeous beauty for the cost of a couple of packets of seeds. The best $2.49 I ever spent." Should you be interested, the name of these poppy seeds are Falling in Love, and you can order them HERE.
" Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one. "
EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
" As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous
sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them,
both for their own sake, and for the sake of
old-fashioned folks, who used to love them. "
HENRY WARD BEECHER
" When in these fresh mornings I go into my garden before
any one is awake, I go for the time being into perfect happiness.
In this hour divinely fresh and still, the fair face of every
flowers salutes me with a silent joy that fills me
with infinite content ; each gives me its color, its grace, its perfume,
and enriches me with the consummation of its beauty.
All the cares, perplexities, and griefs of existence, all the burdens of life
slip from my shoulders and leave me with the heart of a little child
that asks nothing beyond its present moment of innocent bliss. "
American writer Celia Thaxter often mentions poppies in her charming classic An Island Garden. You may remember me writing about her book earlier in the spring - you'll find the post HERE. I think she especially loved the Poppy, sometimes even calling the white ones the Bride in the garden. Ms Thaxter often waxed eloquently about the flower's delicate beauty, mentioning how they require a certain soil and how they lift their heavy furry heads towards the sun when they are ready to open, how much care is needed in transplanting or when picking blossoms to bring indoors.
Here, listen to a couple of passages:
Then, with what fresh wealth of color and perfume the garden will meet the resplendent sunrise! Every moment it grows more and more beautiful. I think for wondrous variety, for certain picturesque qualities, for color and form and a subtle mystery of character, Poppies seem, on the whole, the most satisfactory flowers among the annuals. There is absolutely no limit to their variety of color. ...
On one low bookcase are Shirley Poppies in a roseate cloud. And here let me say that the secret of keeping Poppies in the house two whole days without fading is this : they must be gathered early, before the dew has dried, in the morning. I go forth between five and six o'clock to cut them while yet their gray-green leaves are hoary with dew, taking a tall slender pitcher or bottle of water with me into the garden, and as I cut each stem dropping the flower at once into it, so that the stem is covered nearly its whole length with water ; and so on till the pitcher is full. Gathered in this way, they have no opportunity to lose their freshness, indeed, the exquisite creatures hardly know they have been gathered at all.
* * *
(Contented sigh), what a lovely thing to read on this balmy last morning of July.
Now, I know it's odd to wrap up on a completely different note, but I had to share something else that is on my mind. We'll be attending my beautiful niece's wedding tomorrow, but rather than in person, due to Covid-19 protocols, we'll all be gathering via Zoom to witness the happy couple exchange their vows. We'll party together another time. Congratulations to you, Chiante and Dawson!💞🥂🎕We hope it will be a day filled with special moments for you both even though it's all upside down. We send our full heart of wishes for love and happiness today and always. The Lord bless you both. We love you so much! xoxox
Wishing you glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.