Illuminating. The dictionary tells me that this has to do with supplying or brightening with light, making understandable, enlightening. What I have learned in the past year is that there are so many bloggers out there who do the same for me – and to whom I continually return to for illumination.
One of these bloggers is Helene, of Graphicality UK, who nominated this site for the Illuminating Blogger Award. It’s not enough to say that I’m honored or humbled. The fact that this came from Helene means so much more, because I would use the same word to define her. She is absolutely illuminating.
As you know, there are rules to rewards, and the rules here are a little different than other awards.
- 1. The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment that they have been nominated and by whom. (They keep a blogroll of winners, so this is a very important step.) This will be a check as soon as I click “publish,” I promise.
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It seems that quite suddenly, summer has brought the entire world into bloom — and that means hosting a whole bunch of guests to a bloomin’ banquet. There’s plenty to eat and drink — so, bring a chair, sit back, and relax.
First up: butterflies. I’m not sure what type of butterfly this is, but the garden is full of them. They really don’t socialize with the other guests, and can often be found in pairs, fluttering about in mid-air and playing among the lavender.
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Surprises are all around us – like the Petunia above. It appeared in a flowerpot that holds a Gerbera Daisy. You see, I didn’t plant this petunia – at least not this year. If my memory is correct, that color palette was planted a year or so ago – which means that a seed from that planting remained viable for that length of time, and now – surprise!
That feeling – that thrill of receiving something so unexpected – is what it was like when I was contacted by Sara from Real Life Project to let me know she had nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Making this nomination extra-special is the fact that Sara is not a garden blogger. Instead she covers all topics important to new moms, from parenting to crafts, from wellness to recipes. And no matter what she addresses, Sara’s goal is to share her life and her process of achieving balance – a very impressive task that is handled with great care, humor, and grace.
Since I have previously addressed the Very Inspiring Blogger Award in a previous post, I am going to concentrate on One Lovely Blog.
- Thank the nominator and link to his/her site. Check.
- Share seven things about myself. Give me a few moments to get my randomness in order, please.
- Nominate 10 other bloggers, let them know, and then link to their site from your own. All in good time, since I have an idea on how to address this one.
Seven random things about myself:
- I’ve recently learned that I have titanium in my head. About 15 years ago, I was in a car accident in which my only injury was a fractured skull (that could explain a lot). I had two surgeries to alleviate pressure, but it never occurred to me that my skull would have to be held in place with some hardware. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I started getting sharp pains along the surgery site. A CAT scan revealed the metal plates and screws. The doctor says not to worry, but I have diagnosed myself. Ladies and gentlemen, this may not be a surprise to you (and it certainly wasn’t to Joe), but I have a screw loose.
- 2. I have a rotating list of celebrities who I would like to invite over for dinner. Some past guests have been Madonna (but I have too many of those loathsome hydrangeas in my yard), Oprah (I worried that she would monopolize the conversation), and President and Mrs. Obama (but they never responded to my invitation). My newest dinner guest would have to be Adele.
- 3. I am addicted to my iPad, especially the game “Farm Up.” Trust me: taking care of a virtual farm is hard work.
- 4. I cannot solve the Rubik’s Cube, which really has nothing to do with the previously mentioned head injury.
- 5. My all-time favorite board game is Risk. The problem is no one else liked or likes to play that game. The charm of playing all six colors has worn off over the years.
- My favorite Broadway show is Les Miserables – and to say that I am anxiously awaiting the December release of the film would be an understatement. If they have one of those midnight showings like they’ve done for the Twilight series and Harry Potter, I am so there – wearing a beret, of course.
- 7. An ideal Saturday for me when I was younger was watching television. “Land of the Lost” to start the day. Then “Soul Train” and “American Bandstand” by lunch time, followed by a mid-afternoon sci-fi classic like The Day of the Triffids. And to end the night, a “Star Trek” rerun and “Space 1999.” Is that the Geek Police knocking at my door?
Now for my nominations. Since the nomination came from a non-gardening blog, I thought I would nominate non-garden as well as garden blogs. Here are my ten lovely blog nominees:
- Photography by Joylene – I know this is a blog promoting a “business,” but when I visit it, it’s more like a blog promoting a life that is filled with talent, sensitivity, passion, and creativity.
- Vickie Szumigala Photo Blog – When I started this garden blog, it opened up a world of other blogging genres – especially photography blogs. And this site is one of the best – and there are lots of amazing photos of flowers, which I personally think make the best subjects.
- Breathe Lighter – The title alone is something we all need to learn to do. Read each of Debra’s post, and you will be greeted with warmth and a hug.
- Cathyann’s Studio – I had the pleasure of “meeting” Cathyann when she asked to paint my dog Murphy for a benefit. Her site offers so much of her work and talent – and I am impressed when anyone can take some tubes of color and freely create with some strokes.
- Outtakes on the Outskirts – Join Julie as she adjusts to rural life. Each post is filled with humor and honesty about her successes and fails – and always with a smile on her face.
- Gardenhood – Somehow, Cheryl is able to translate her sense of peace and tranquility into words and photos on her blog. It’s the perfect ending to a stress-filled day.
- Canoe Corner – Marguerite’s blog is a journey where she documents her adventure as she builds a new life on Canada’s east coast. It’s mesmerizing to watch the process and the changes that her dedication brings.
- Graphicality UK—I adore this site for so many reasons: honesty, creativity, inspiration – and Helene, the woman who is responsible for all that is graphical.
- Cindyricksger — Here is the blog of a fascinating woman who lives on an island in northern Lake Michigan. There, she lives, works, writes, and creates — with passion and honesty.
- Our Garden Journal – Cathy and Steve, the couple behind this blog, fascinate me. I love their enthusiasm and passion for gardening, life, and people. Their warmth is evident in every single post.
- Joy in the Moments – The title says it all. Char is the voice behind the blog, and she sees and celebrates the smallest joys that life offers. A true treasure!
Now, I’m off to notify my nominees. In the meantime, I encourage you to click on the links and explore these wonderful sites – you just might be surprised, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I read somewhere – and I apologize to whoever said it because I cannot credit you – it’s a shame that so many gardeners keep their gardens locked up in their backyards. How nice it would be if the garden could be in the front yard for everyone and anyone to enjoy as they walk by.
That was my thought as Joe and I walked around the neighborhood on this first day of summer, strolling by our neighbors’ homes to get a peek and to be inspired by what was blooming. This is what we found.
To start the walk, we had to pass our Lace Cap Hydrangea. The flowers remind me of speckled Easter eggs.
This would be a close-up of the “lace” in the Lace Cap.
Across the street, we spotted a small bouquet of Dianthus.
Just up the street, another neighbor had Daylilies blooming everywhere.
Another neighbor had cluster upon cluster of Roses spilling over a rock retaining wall.
I couldn’t resist a closer look at the ruffled petals.
This Daylily seemed to scream, “Look into my eye.” So I did.
Around the corner, there were beds of Astilbe in full bloom.
Up close, the pink clouds reminded me of cotton candy.
Around another corner, we discovered a bed of Yarrow growing around a curbside mailbox.
Imagine our surprise when we spotted a bed of Cactus — in flower — a few houses away. The owner, Helen, came running out and offered us a clipping, and then showed us the rest of her front yard garden. We made a promise to return again for a tour of the backyard — a new neighborly friend.
When we returned home, there was time to stop and smell the Lavender.
It’s Father’s Day weekend here in the States, and I have daddy issues. You see, I do not have children of my own, so fatherhood and this holiday are like an exclusive country club from which I have been barred. This doesn’t go to say that I don’t know what it’s like to care for and nurture something, because I do. It’s just that my children aren’t – well, they’re not human.
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Have you ever caught yourself looking so ridiculous that you say to yourself, “I’m glad I’m not the subject of a hidden camera show.”
That is my thought each morning as I leave the house, walk to the car, and feel the silky threads of spider webs across my face. And this morning was no different, as I tried to balance my briefcase and tote bag while frantically wiping the sticky filaments away – only to feel them invisibly drag across my ears and into my hair.
When I remember to, I’ll leave the house empty handed – so I can walk to the car swinging my arms in front of me like a malfunctioning robot to knock down any webs that might be at face level. Then I’ll walk back to the house, grab the brief case and tote bag, and race back to the car before the little buggers have a chance to reload. (I suppose a broom handle could accomplish the same thing, but that would look odd — wouldn’t it?)
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I’ve always had a green thumb, and I’ve always wondered from where did it come? Is it something that sits quietly on a strand of DNA, inherited through the millennia courtesy of an ancestral gatherer, Neandernittygritty erectus? Or is it something learned, passed down through several generations – a horti-oral tradition, if you will? Or is it information picked up and shared along the gardening path? Is it perhaps a combination of all three theories?
These were the questions rolling around in my head when I was introduced to an amazing memoir, Mentors In The Garden Of Life, by Colleen Plimpton. In short, if I ever write a book, this is the book that I would love to write.
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It’s difficult for me to say at which point that I most enjoy Hydrangeas. Is it when they’re at their peak bloom time? Or as they fade into their antique colors? Or, perhaps, it’s now — when the first blush of color touches each petal?
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I love a good weed. It’s when I feel that I am most in my head, when I do my best thinking, when my imagination wanders up and down and sideways.
That’s the way it was this weekend when I knelt down to begin weeding the bed that’s wedged between a blue stone patio and a row of white pines growing in a bed of ivy behind a low stone wall. In truth, I began working on this bed weeks ago, when I cleaned it, weeded it, and planted the Gomphrena “Strawberry Fields” that I had started from seed.
And that’s where the work ended. Now all I see is the Gomphrena swallowed up by a new flush of weeds because I never had the chance or the time to place mulch. It’s uncanny how the driest stretch of my yard, heated by the surrounding stonework, is the perfect home for weeds.
As I pulled and yanked, my green world became black and white and I imagined myself in a 1940s film noir flick. In it, I’m in a chair, a beam of light aimed at me and throwing the far corners of the room into shadows. There’s a detective hovering above me, hair slicked back, hands on his waste so I can see his gun holstered under his jacket.
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