Summer has arrived as temperature in our neck of the woods is now climbing consistently into the 80’s Fahrenheit. Though the official start of summer, which is the summer’s solstice – the longest day of the year, is not until tomorrow. I am sure our mercury will rise above 90’s F (above 32 C) or even in the 100’s F (37.5 C and above) in the days to come.
Here are some of the summer colors I captured in the past week:
The first photo was taken in downtown Kansas City, when we made a stopover here on our way to visit our son who is working for two months in a summer camp in Missouri.
The next photo was taken in the downtown Botanical Garden here in Des Moines when we checked it out a few days ago.
My wife also got new planters and have started planting annual flowers that hopefully will not just last for the dog days of summer but late until the cold winter wind blows. Here are some flowers in our deck:
The photo below was taken two days ago when I drove down to southern Iowa for our outreach clinic. As you can see, even a summer’s day can become foggy, dull, and gloomy.
However. even if the day gets gray, there is still a possibility of beautiful colors shining through. And that is true in all aspects of our life. Photo below was taken from our front porch:
I am wishing you all a fun, delightful, and colorful summer.
This period is one of my favorite time of the year when it’s not too cold and not too hot either. Plus the flowers are blooming. Smelling flowers are much more enjoyable than shoveling snow, you know.
I would like to share some photos of what are blooming now in our garden, that have not been eaten yet by the deer or the wild rabbits.
Purple allium and white alliums:
By the way, Allium is the Latin word for garlic. As you can surmise these plants belongs to the family of onions, garlic and shallots. Since these blooms are in the family of onions, they have the trademark smell.
Peony is named after Paeon, the Greek god of medicine and healing. I don’t know if these flowers have curative properties. But one thing for sure, they are fragrant and maybe that’s healing enough.
These large flowers last about two weeks only, so might as well take the opportunity to gather them and display them inside as well.
Below are flowers not from our garden but from a grocery store. I included them here since I like my photo of it.
Despite allergies and all, there’s one unwritten rule in our household: No fake flowers allowed.
The last photo is the harvested peonies. And a selfie of course.
(*Credit to my wife, the master horticulturist; all photos taken with an iPhone)
I was going out for my morning run a few days ago and as I got out of the front door I noticed that our walkway was covered with flower petals.
Beautiful morning. Flower-strewn pathway. What else could I ask for?
Maybe our crabapple tree was treating me as royalty, shedding and laying its flowers on my path.
I remember an old movie “Coming to America,” where the character played by James Earl Jones, the king of Zamunda, a fictional wealthy African nation, visited the United States, New York City, to be exact. He was looking for his son, played by Eddie Murphy, who was the crowned prince of that said nation. In one scene, as the king steps out of his limousine, royal attendants strew flowers on the ground where he would walk on. I know, I am no royalty.
Come to think of it that is what flower girls in a wedding do too. These cute little girls would scatter flowers in the path where the bride would walk on. But I am no bride either.
By the way the tradition of flower girls scattering flower petals has its origin from the Greek and the Romans. The young girls walking before the bride in ancient practice, scatter herbs and grains to wish the bride fertility. But nowadays it is replaced by tossing flower petals as a wish for happiness for the bride. And maybe fertility too.
Our journey in this life though is not always filled with happiness or a flower-strewn pathway, so to speak. Or perhaps it is, as our path could be littered with roses but including its thorns. Maybe the flower vase is thrown in the path as well with its broken pieces of glass!
A poem by Annie Johnson Flint said this, “God hath not promise skies always blue, flower-strewn pathway all our lives through.”
The author of the poem, Annie, was only 3 years old when her mother died while giving birth to her baby sister. Her father who also had an incurable disease decided to give Annie for adoption as he couldn’t take care of her, and he died not long after that. Annie was sent to school by her adoptive parents and was able to finish her education and became a teacher. However she developed painful and debilitating arthritis at a young age which extremely limited her mobility. She was resigned to a wheelchair most of her life.
Yet she still penned this poem:
WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED
God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through; God hath not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God hath not promised we shall not know Toil and temptation, trouble and woe; He hath not told us we shall not bear many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide, Swift, easy travel, needing no guide; Never a mountain rocky and steep, Never a river turbid and deep
But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way, Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
What a great reminder for us indeed.
As for my morning run that day, it did start with a flower-strewn pathway though it got a little thorny especially on the last mile. But I did fine.
I am thankful for the promised strength for the day. And I don’t mean just for running.
I know the month of May is on its way out, but I don’t think it’s too late to post photos of what this month is usually known for. Flowers.
Here are different variety of peonies in our yard. Peonies are perennials, that means they come back every year. But after their flowers bloom, which in our area is usually in May, then they go into hibernation.
I like peonies because their flowers are beautiful and large. They also produce a lot of blooms.
Some of the bushes are so burdened with their flowers that they bow so low with their flowers kissing the earth.
Sadly to say these flowers last only 7 -10 days. Like everything else in this life, they are temporary and fleeting.
We’ll just enjoy their beauty before the flowers eventually fall to the ground. Until they come back again next year.
After being away for a few weeks, we came home and was pleasantly surprised that our garden was still in full bloom. We had lots of rain this summer, plus we asked our friend to water our plants if needed, while we were gone.
Not just the flowers, but the vegetables as well were blossoming, like the tomatoes and the pepper.
But besides the flowers and vegetables, the weeds have also grown tall. There are areas that the weeds are crowding the other plants, that it even started to look like a weed garden. No, I’m not talking about the illegal “weed.”
When we looked closely to a patch of our garden with overgrown weeds, a peculiar plant was among them. We thought it was just a tall weed, but it wasn’t.
It was corn!
It’s kind of puzzling how those corn plants got there, for we definitely did not plant them.
We know that a corn field is not too far away, could the wind blew some seeds when the farmers were planting their crop? Or maybe a bird drop a corn kennel there? Or maybe the chipmunks? Or could it be the leprechaun that planted them? Who knows?
After clearing the weeds, we decided to keep the corn and not pull them out. After all, they have ears of corn on them already.
Maybe next year, we’ll plant corn in our garden on purpose. This is Iowa anyway, the corn center of the entire USA, and perhaps the whole world.
Not too long from now, we’ll be harvesting our own corn. Unless the leprechaun (lepre-corn?) get to them first.
You may have heard before, the saying “April showers, bring May flowers.” I can say that we did have a lot of April showers this year, and it even continued through May. But it surely brought in the flowers.
Yet it take more than just April showers to grow these flowers. To this I add, the labor of a very competent and diligent gardener. Here is my wife weeding and preparing a patch of soil back in April.
And here’s that same patch today.
Here is the master gardener again, down on her knees at work. Of course I helped. Is taking photos counts?
Look at the picture below. Can you spot the small rabbit? So even the bunny is admiring the flowers. Or maybe, the bunny is just eyeing what’s for breakfast, much to the dismay of my wife.
But as the month of May is about to end, these May flowers, especially the peonies, are drooping and about to bow out.
So the master gardener, harvested them before they fade out completely into the summer’s night.
She placed them in a pitcher, so for a moment, we can admire them for a little longer. Here it is, her labor of love.
Now that I have posted them here in my blog, they surely will last far beyond the month of May.
Today is my daughter’s 12th birthday. And this is her first birthday to be away from home and from us, as she is currently with my relatives in California for a short vacation. Besides greeting her over the phone, I also did send her flowers.
It just seems yesterday that my little girl was just playing in the dirt and picking wild flowers and dandelions in our yard. She will collect the dandelions and put them in a cup with water, and then she will give them to mom.
I think it is interesting that she finds beauty in the dandelions while I find them a nuisance weed that needs to be killed at all cost, even if I use enough herbicide to poison a whole town. That just prove that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Now, my little girl is not little anymore as I want to believe. Where did time go?
I know not very long from now, boys will be giving her flowers for her birthday, for Valentine’s, and for no occasion at all. I just want to be the first one to do so. And when that day (that every father dreads) comes, when she will walk down the aisle with a bouquet of flowers in her hands, I hope she remembers who gave her, her first flowers.
If you do the math, then you’ll deduce how old my daughter is now. Time really flies. I still have a hard time believing this too.
In a few months she will be off to college and will be leaving home. There will be one empty room in our home. No one in that room that I would nudge out of bed if she won’t get up even after her two alarm clocks went off. No one to gently remind to hurry up if she’s taking her sweet time in the shower. No one to holler to to get out of her room and come down for dinner. No one in that room that I would say good night to. And no one from that room that would answer back “Good night Dad.” No one to……..
Sorry. Maybe I’m just over reacting. Or maybe I’m a hopeless sentimental fool. Is it full moon?
But even if she’s away and not home anymore, I still can send her flowers, right? Just like before, when she turned 12.