"The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth."
DOROTHY FRANCES GURNEY
Here where I live, I wait all year for July summer evenings, the kind we've had this past week. Where hot and sultry days melt into calm and balmy evenings. Where the air feels like silk on my skin. Where leaves rustle in the breeze like old-fashioned petticoats, and I hear the fluttering of birds settling in the shrubs for the night. As evening quietude settles over the neighbourhood, my own mind grows peaceful. Even my breath slows to match the mood. The sticky notes in my head loosen and I feel the frets of the day fall away.
Perfect summer evenings are precious for their rarity. Maybe you have more of them than we do, but idyllic summer evenings depends so much on weather, timing, plus our personal energy and frame of mind. All coming together to turn a few hours into rare jewels when that sense of peace and utter contentment fills us and rests around us. Surely this is a foretaste of paradise.
With the evening coolness, plants and trees begin to release their earthy, spicy scents. In the midst of it, I wait....nose in the air....to catch the elusive aroma of the Evening Scented Stock. Of all the lovely plants in our garden—roses, peonies, mock orange—this is the one I truly do wait for with eager anticipation. They're nothing much to look at during the day, tiny flowers tightly furled until evening when they open to hues of pale pink, lavender, and rose. It's their evening scent that's the real attraction. But that fragrance is elusive, and one cannot bend to sniff a flower as you would a rose or sweet pea. It doesn't release the fragrance that way. One must wait until the perfume wafts to you on the cool evening breeze. Patience is required. One whiff of it though makes it all worthwhile. It's described as resembling vanilla with rose and spice mixed in. Hmm, I don't know if that expresses it accurately, but my words are elusive too.
The other evening I caught the season's first hints of it. Such a treat. Not only had the night stock finally opened, blossoms all over the garden had burst out on this deep summer day. Surely it was a night perfect for flowers to dance (as Daniel Blajan once noted in his lovely book of essays Foxgloves & Hedgehogs). My stroll through the garden was magical. And in that state of bliss I came into the house and started my post for this weekend. Here are a few of my garden photos taken over the past few days. Hope you enjoy. Happy day!
evening scented stock
"Breathe in fragrant flower.
Let worries cease.
Embrace this garden hour."
High noon as I'm taking this photo.
purple salvia (annual)
"Half the interest of a garden is the
constant exercise of the imagination."
ALICE MORSE EARLE (1851 - 1911)
"Almost any garden, if you see it at just
the right moment, can be confused with paradise."
"Everything that slows us down and forces
patience, everything that sets us back into
the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace."
Calibrachoa (trailing petunia)
"The scents of plants are like unseen ghosts.
They sneak upon you as you round a turn in the garden,
before you see the plants from which they come."
Yellow Ligularia just starting to bloom with the spent
mock orange shrub behind it and a creamy Astilbe in front.
Little beauties that have self-seeded
all over the garden this summer.
Love these purple grasses mixing with the yellow Thunbergia
(black-eyed Susan vine).
"A flower blossoms for its own joy."
Wishing you a beautiful weekend,
Photos: courtesy of me and my iPhone camera