florals


We spent yesterday exploring the backroads and lakes of western Wisconsin.  It was a beautiful summer’s day and the countryside was verdantly green due to recent rains.  As we were traveling down a county road I saw a large field of yellow.  As I ventured out in the waist-tall grasses and flowers I realized the field was filled with wildflowers.  These prairie coneflowers were high above the others, and they swayed in the wind.  Scattered around them were ox-eye flowers and bee balm.  I was in the middle of a sea of color and beauty.  The bees were busy moving amongst the blossoms and the wind rustled the flowers enough to make they appear to be dancing across the field.  It was a true representation of summer in all her glory.

The heat of July has brought the summer flowers to bloom in our gardens.  The coneflowers, rudbeckia, and bee balm are filling the yard with color.  As I was watching the bees flit back and forth among the bee balm blossoms I looked more closely at the flower.  What I saw was a “Medusa” of flowers –  unkept and wild, throwing its scent into the air to attract the bees.  And yet, that wildness had a unique beauty all its own – nature in her glory, whether neat and tidy or unkept and original, all serving a purpose.

The first weekend of “official summer” brought a cold front with temps in the 60’s – hardly feeling like the summer we’ve been hoping for.  We were in Duluth to celebrate a friends’ return to Minnesota – a new home and wonderful people to welcome her back.  The roads and highways were lined with lupine, standing upright and in full bloom.  Colors ranging from deep purple, to lilac, to pink, to white – they were a welcome sight from the clouds and cooler temperatures.  But I was most enthralled by the lupines along the shoreline of Lake Superior.  With the huge lake in the background and the billowing clouds, the lupines stood tall against the wind and the weather blowing in from the lake.

On a brilliant summer’s day we took a drive west of the Twin Cities to Swenson Gardens in Howard Lake, Minnesota.  Their gardens were open for their annual Peony Field Days, and the timing was perfect.  With warmer temperatures and bright sunshine many of the peonies had come into full bloom.  It was a chance to wander and dream and plan for places in our own garden for more of these lovely plants.  I especially liked these America peonies –  their bright red was a wonderful contract to the green foliage and the blue sky with its puffy clouds.

All within a few days the clematis have burst forth.  A delicate pale yellow bloom with a yellow center, this lemon chiffon clematis has climbed up the trellis and  bloomed all at once.  The cooler temperatures and bright sunshine of the past week coaxed the buds to open in profusion.  Soon the other clematis will follow, but it will be hard to top the beauty and fullness of this one.

The lilac bushes has blossomed out, and their sweet smell lingers in the air.  We’re fortunate to have both white and purple lilacs.  Throughout the neighborhood there are lilac bushes and hedges, and some are over 10 feet tall.  Their colors and delicateness are noticeable.  After the heavy rain from a day ago, the alley was littered with white and purple petals scattered on the ground.  As short-lived as their blooming season is, it makes me appreciate their beauty and their scent even more.

Spring generally announces its arrival with the bright colors of tulips, crocus, and daffodils, and the greening of grass and trees leafing out.  And yet I’ve found a much softer and more delicate side to the season just out my front window.  We have a lovely magnolia tree that bursts forth into blossoms near the middle of April.  It’s bloom is much anticipated.  And unfortunately its bloom is also short-lived, with the flower petals giving way to the wind or rain, and quickly to the green leaves that burst forth afterward.  But as it becomes awash in white flowers it becomes magnificent.  The petals are thin and delicate with a soft tinge of pink.  To me it signals the whisper and call of a softer side to spring.

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