Nooks and Crannies …

It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. ~` K.T. Jong

lantern I wrote last month about my love affair with the out-of-the-way back corners of Ray’s Garden.  Well, it seems I am still finding little nooks and crannies – small, quiet places, tucked away — offering just a moment or two of grace in a normally busy phones-ringing, people-talking, radio-playing world. bunny This little guy is one of my favorite garden inhabitants.  He lives under a shrub, as befits a proper, quiet rabbit.  I believe he is meant to be depicted as eating something but, to me, he always looks as if he is holding his paws to his face saying, “Oh, my!”

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~~John Muir

2 cherubs It appears one of these cherubs has lost a wing – which is certainly sad, but they do seem to be entirely content to be earthbound in their little piece of garden.

It’s tucked away in a quiet corner, shadowed and obscured… It doesn’t advertise and it doesn’t care if you habitually pass by on the other side. It’s just there for when you need it. ~~ Simon R. Green, Agents of Light and Darkness

lantern 2 There are little patches of grace and beauty all around us — just waiting to be noticed.  I guess it is my job to open my eyes and actually see them … instead of simply rushing past with my eyes set on the screen of my cell phone.

Welcome, wild harbinger of spring! To this small nook of earth; Feeling and fancy fondly cling, Round thoughts which owe their birth, To thee, and to the humble spot, Where chance has fixed thy lowly lot. ~~ Bernard Barton

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Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall …

I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain; What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.  ~~ Arthur Freed

Into each life some rain must fall (at least according to Longfellow) but around here that has been a VERY little rain, lately — but we did get a nice shower a few  days ago.  It washed the leaves and cleaned the air.

full one

rain

Rain has been a largely absent commodity this year.  We’ve just left behind one of the driest winters I remember in awhile.  I fear it is going to be blisteringly hot this summer — the seasonal creeks that usually have water in them at least until July are already almost dry. That’s why it was so nice to spend some time in the rain-sweet garden –just breathing in the clean,sweet air.

When it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. ~~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

lilies in rain

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.   ~~ Langston Hughes

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This rose looked unearthly in the overcast light- an eerie beauty … and no, it’s not photo shopped.

rain rose

I don’t expect more rain for quite sometime, but — oh — it was a lovely gift while it lasted!

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It May Be Early — but it’s Spring! (Almost)

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”  ~~ Ruth Stout

We’ve had an extremely weird winter, so far.  We had pouring, drenching rain through much of December — and not much since — which does not bode well for the latter days of summer this year.  Then in late January we had a week or two of freezing cold, which was most unusual for our part of the world — and the rest of the winter we’ve rarely needed more than a light-weight jacket or sweatshirt.

I read other gardening blogs and it seems that most of the ones I follow are still posting photos of snow in their gardens.  Wherever they are it is definitely still winter.  But here, this is an in-between time – a liminal time of year.  Winter is gone — and spring is oh-so-near, but not entirely here just yet.  The flowering plums and pears are almost finished with blossoming out.  The daffodils are almost gone for the year.  This is the time for setting out bedding plants – very carefully.  We can still get caught by a late frost.

waiting 2

… primulas, peas, and parsley … there ought to be a nursery rhyme in there somewhere …

seedlings

Two of my favorite gardening quotes:

And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden…You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.  ~~Rudyard Kipling

Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!  ~~Robin Williams

The first acknowledges the plain hard-work that goes into spring — clearing out last year’s leftovers, turning the soil, mulching, planting and moving.  The second expresses so well the sheer joy that is spring — the happiness that comes with getting out there and getting your hands in the dirt, planning  new beds, finding new varieties to try.

Rosemary

Some plants just do their thing, winter or spring.  The six-foot tall rosemary  doesn’t care what the calendar says — and neither do the bees.  You can’t really see them here, but every day when the sun shines they’re out there — swarming all over the blue blossoms … busy, busy, busy 

Happy Spring everyone!

Dreaming of a White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten, and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow ~~ (with thanks to Irving Berlin)

We all know the words and we can all sing along with the movie,  but for most of us in the western part of California– that’s all it is — an image from a movie.  A “White Christmas” has a very different meaning here in Ray’s Garden.

We don’t have a lot of words today, just some pictures we hope you enjoy, all taken within the last week or so …

white Iris

Solanum

white rose

Dutch Iris

impatiens

And just ‘because’ — after all, most things look better with a little contrast thrown in …

red berries

To quote from the movie once more: “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it white.”   All of us here at The Office Spot wish you and yours all the blessings of the season.  Happy Holidays!

The Tree of Life

What is this contradiction called a pomegranate? The pomegranate is sweet, but the pomegranate is tart. The pomegranate is tough and wrinkled, but when cut open it glistens with ruby-like seeds.  In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld, yet in the Muslim Qu’uran it is called the fruit of paradise. ~ Diana Viola

There is a pomegranate tree in Ray’s Garden — not a big tree, almost more of a bushy shrub — but early  this past summer it became obvious that it was going to bear a very good crop this year if all went well.  Hard little green lumps at first, the fruits soon took on their traditional pomegranate shape.

  • Distribution: Native to Persia and the Himalayas in Northern India. It has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times, the drier parts of southeast Asia, the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona.

They began to turn pink, and then red …

They became a topic for conversation as the whole staff seemed to monitor their progress … “have you checked out the pomegranates lately?”

Not only were they growing redder, but the small tree was, by October, filled with dozens of very large fruit — ready to burst with ruby-colored goodness.

The Prince:  I do not like pomegranates.  Farah:  What is wrong with you?   The Prince:  They’re messy, impossible to eat with dignity. SO much work for a few small seeds.   Farah:  But isn’t it the effort that makes them that much sweeter?     ~ quoted from Prince of Persia

Eating a pomegranate is definitely a task that is better accomplished in the kitchen than at one’s desk.  They take work, but they are most certainly worth the effort. There are options:  We can return to our childhood and just dig in and enjoy, not minding that we become a mess in the process.  Or we can do all the work at once, near a sink, gathering an entire bowl-full of glistening red seeds to eat tidily with a spoon at our leisure.

Or — we could try something like this: www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/kiwi_salsa/  — that sure looks good to me!

The inner beauty of the pomegranate has inspired design since Biblical times, and there are some who believe it may be the fruit on the tree of life. ~ Anon.

After the Rain

“There’s naught as nice as th’ smell o’ good clean earth, except th’ smell o’ fresh growin’ things when th’ rain falls on ’em.”  ~~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

We had rain here last week.  Nothing like the rain the poor people back east have been through — no hurricanes, just a nice cleansing rain, washing off the accumulated dust of summer and early fall.  Right now everything smells like heaven must smell.  The colors are brighter and all the folks with allergies can breathe for a day or two.

There’s something about the look and feel of the world after an early autumn rain that seems less like the ending of things and more like the beginning.

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”  ~~ Henry David Thoreau

And speaking of new beginnings, there’s a new bed in Ray’s Garden  – winter vegetables — garlic and cauliflower and kale.  They don’t look like much right now …

…but there’s that whole ‘promise of things to come’ look about them.  With our mild winters here, these little babies should have plenty of time to mature and provide good tastes and nourishment on the table.  And small as they are, they too looked beautiful after the rain.  Just take a minute to drink in the incredible range of colors here — green and blue and purple — all sparkling with the left-behind rain-drops.

Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby.  ~Langston Hughes

Greening

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.
Rabindranath Tagore

Summer is definitely winding down, even here in California.  Before much longer, the leaves will be turning color and begin to fall.  Already the bright flower colors of the summer months are fading away.  Right now, though, there is still time to soak up the many delicious shades of green that fill our world.

Jade, Olive, Moss, Mantis, Laurel, Pine, Teal, Fern, Emerald, Celadon … even the names for green are delicious.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.  ~Minnie Aumonier

Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf. ~~ Albert Schweitzer

There has to be something in the very fact of “green” that touches something deep inside us — so much has been written about is.  Some association with hope, with newness …..

Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing. ~~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

So many shades of green.  So many forms …..

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.  ~~Martin Luther