"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
Thanks for taking me on a walk through your lovely garden. As you describe the scents, I can almost smell them, in my mind of course, as my nose couldn't smell them even if I was there.ReplyDelete
Your astilbe is glorious! Mine is pitiful. Thank you for sharing your garden.ReplyDelete
I do agree with Henry James, and your garden especially is easy to mistake for paradise! I know lots of hard work goes with the territory, but the reward is most certainly worth the effort!ReplyDelete
What a beautiful garden you have Brenda, with flowers and bushes appearing at unexpected turns. My hight scented stock, which I grow every year from seed, has let me down, sadly. I so love the scent in the evenings.ReplyDelete
Your flowers are gorgeous and I know you enjoy them in full bloom. Have a beautiful Sunday!ReplyDelete
I can see why you would want to be in the garden from dawn to dusk -- it is heavenly.ReplyDelete
OH MY Brenda!!!!! How can I begin to express again what a GIFT your words and photos are!!!!! I went to my phone this Monday morning, hoping that just maybe you had posted!!!!ReplyDelete
A friend had just told me last night that she had worked in her garden all weekend! I , of course, can’t wait to tell her to make sure she “goes to you” today!🌝
I am a “new gardener,” however , again, I am so inspired by the photos( new ideas of what I might want to plant ). I also LOVE summer evenings, particularly now as we inch into August! The air felt a little different to me in the past 2 evenings.
My friend was talking about the blooming of her English Honeysuckle and the LOVELY scent it gives off. Shakespeare referred to it as “luscious woodbine!”
So many thank yous for your BEAUTIFUL and enjoyable blog!!!!
Have a happy week ahead!!
Oh my!! this visit to your gardens was SO worth the wait!! (weekend full of commitments) Your flowers are stunning and your words as well. this is one of my fav's from your blog full of beauty! Thank-you for sharing your gift of words! SO many lovely lines I simply read, then instantly reread! That first paragraph every single line<3<3<3!! and the quotes, each one a treasure!ReplyDelete
How lovely, Brenda.ReplyDelete
I've never heard of night blooming stock! I do like to sit out in the evenings, though it doesn't happen very often. I'm going to try to make August more of a sitting out in the evenings kind of month! You've inspired me!
Happy First Day of August, Brenda! Your flowers are beautiful. I especially like purple flowers.ReplyDelete
Margie from Tea in the Valley
P.S. I've been having trouble leaving comments using my new laptop (maybe because of the security settings?), hence the "anonymous" post. Hopefully, I can resolve this issue soon. LOL.
Well, you have certainly introduced me to a whole bunch of new names of flowers. I had never heard of Evening Scented Stock before. But now I must find them and smell them some evening. They are all lovely. Thank you for all the pink. :) How you must love wandering through your garden, which, one has to admit, is made as lovely as it is by a hard working gardener(s) and so I must sing praises for him or her, whoever they may be. (wink)ReplyDelete
You have taken me to an enchanted place with your words! I am so happy that you are enjoying such magical evenings in your summer garden! (The summer air here does not feel like "silk on the skin." It is more like a hot, wet suffocating blanket. 😉)ReplyDelete
Everything looks so lovely, Brenda. This is Susan even though my comments now say Anonymous. Meant to tell you your header looks lovely, too. Do you have any mosquitoes there? They are the main reason I don't care about going outside in the evening too much. I am sure to be their supper. Lovely, Lovely plants and flowers you have. Susan from writingstraightfromtheheart.blogspot.comReplyDelete
Your words have me almost sensing the Evening Scented Stock wafting my way, although I have none in my garden. Isn't it lovely that we can't just sniff the scent at our own whim, but must wait for it to come to us.ReplyDelete