Category Archives: spring

Nothing is more completely the child of Art than a Garden. ~Walter Scott


I am giddy in May with the abundance of new life surrounding me in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. My garden(s) burst forth and I plant and weed like mad.  Everything grows so fast, there’s never enough time for all the tasks that need doing. I remind myself to stop and look at the glistening beauty, inhale the scents, hear the birds. It’s impossible to remain indoors for long in May.  Tender greens, asparagus, and rhubarb are ready to be harvested. And onward ho.  The garden waits for no one. I must run to catch up, but I can also just let it be for a while and savor.

(Nook in the back garden with columbine. A dandelion going to seed at far bottom right. 🙂 Much mint mixes with the flowers back here.)

Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.
~A. Bronson Alcott, “The Garden,” Tablets, 1868

Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise. ~Michael P. Garofalo (Always, and with a lot of freedom here.)

I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes (The knees of my gardening pant’s are green or dirt colored this time of year)

(Dame’s Rocket in back garden)

The garden is the poor man’s apothecary. ~German Proverb (Perhaps it should be everyone’s.)

No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson (This is so true.)
The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. ~Elizabeth Lawrence (I have a wealth of plants for bees and butterflies, and seeded yet more.)

My garden is my favorite teacher. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com (Yes, and I am learning everyday.)

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show (I rush outdoors each day.)

(Violas beside currently unoccupied toad house)

My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings. The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com

Life begins the day you start a garden. ~Chinese Proverb

As a gardener, I’m among those who believe that much of the evidence of God’s existence has been planted. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

Learn to be an observer in all seasons. Every single day, your garden has something new and wonderful to show you. ~Author Unknown

Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com

(Old-time poppy that has been here forever. Blooms each May.)

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a gardener is to think you’re in charge. ~Janet Gillespie

An optimistic gardener is one who believes that whatever goes down must come up. ~Leslie Hall

I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation. ~Phyllis Theroux (Maybe so.)

(My mom took this iris pic from her yard)

One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

‘The Darling Buds of May’


2Flowering Crab

As a child growing up during the 19th century, or so it sometimes seems, I remember placing baskets of flowers as a surprise on friend’s doorstep early on a lovely May Day morn. Also, dancing around the May Poll festivities in which, not I, but my younger brother and sister both participated. The little girls with garlands in their hair, decked out in pretty spring dresses. Mom made my sister’s. One year the wind toppled the May Poll and then there’s the time the children got all wound up in the ribbons and over it went.  Humiliating for my young brother who’d practiced so hard and tried to no avail to instruct his fellow dancers to wind them properly. I never did trust that May Poll thing to go as planned and hoped to be crowned May Queen, surrounded by a glad assembly of courtiers. No such luck. But May Day was special and has strong flowery associations in my memory. And wind. It never entered anyone’s mind that this revelry had possible pagan connotations. May Day festivities were simply a spring rite and good fun. (*Flowering crab apple tree in our yard)

How about the rest of you? Any May Queens among us?


“May 1st, often called May Day, just might have more holidays than any other day of the year. It’s a celebration of Spring. It’s a day of political protests. It’s a neopagan festival, a saint’s feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday. (Royalty free image of birch tree)

Beltane

Celtic calendar feast ushering in the start of summer. (It also went by a variety of other spellings and names in assorted dialects of Gaelic.)

Bonfires, often created by rubbing sticks together, were common features of Beltane celebrations. Related rituals included driving cattle between two fires, dancing around the fires, and burning witches in effigy. Another tradition was Beltane cakes, which would be broken into several pieces, one of which was blackened. They would be drawn by celebrants at random; the person getting the unlucky blackened piece would face a mock execution.

In recent years, Beltaine has been adopted or revived by neopagan groups as a major seasonal festival.

Bringing in the May: *This is more what I remember.  🙂

In medieval England, people celebrated the start of spring by going out to the country or woods “going a-maying” and gathering greenery and flowers, or “bringing in the may.” This was described in “The Court of Love” (often attributed to Chaucer, but not actually written by him) in 1561. Totally irrelevant, but I am a direct descendant of Chaucer on my father’s side.

(Iris and poppies image by my mom)

“And furth goth all the Court, both most and lest,
To feche the floures fressh, and braunche and blome;
And namly, hawthorn brought both page and grome.
With fressh garlandes, partie blewe and whyte,
And thaim rejoysen in their greet delyt.”

Another English tradition is the maypole. Some towns had permanent maypoles that would stay up all year; others put up a new one each May. In any event, the pole would be hung with greenery and ribbons, brightly painted, and otherwise decorated, and served as a central point for the festivities.

May Day was also a time for morris dancing and other dances, often around the maypole. In the 19th century, people began to braid the maypole with ribbons by weaving in and out in the course of a dance. Other later traditions include making garlands for children and the crowning of the May Queen.”

From an interesting site: Herbal Musings

Beltain, Bealtaine, Beltine, May Day, Cetsamhain (‘first Samhain‘), Walpurgis Night (Beltane Eve), Celtic ‘Flower Festival’

Druidic Name: Beltane

archangel-michael, old stained glass windowChristian Equivalent

Roodmas, Rood Day, Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, Feast of Saint Walpurga

Beltane is the cross-quarter festival that marks the start of the summer quarter of the year and the end of the spring quarter. This is a time when nature blossoms and felicity and fertility return to the land. In times past, the livestock stockaded at Samhain was returned to summer pastures at Beltane.

…a joyful festival of growth and fecundity that heralds the arrival of summer. It is the festival of the ‘Good Fire’ or ‘Bel-fire’, named after the solar deity Bel. Bel was also known as Beli or Bile in Ireland, with Bile meaning ‘tree’, so Beltane may also mean ‘Tree-fire’. Beltane is the counterpart of Samhain (and is sometimes referred to as Cetsamhain, the ‘first Samhain’), and these two important festivals divide the year into summer and winter halves, just as the two equinoctial celebrations, Ostara and Mabon, divide the year into light and dark halves.

Lighting fires was customary at Beltane, and traditionally a Beltane fire was composed of the nine sacred woods of the Celts. All hearth fires were extinguished on Beltane Eve and then kindled again from the sacred “need fires” lit on Beltane. People would leap through the smoke and flames of Beltane fires and cattle were driven through them for purification, fertility, prosperity and protection.

AngelicaIt is a traditional time for Handfastings (marriages), and for couples to make love outside to bless the crops and the earth. Maypoles were often danced around at Beltane to bring fertility and good fortune. Beltane lore also includes washing in May-day dew for beauty and health, and scrying (peeping) in sacred waters, such as ponds or springs.

The festival is sometimes referred to as Roodmas, a name coined by the medieval Christian Church in an attempt to associate Beltane with the Cross (the Rood) rather than the life-giving symbol of the Maypole. Beltane was also appropriated by the Church as the Feast Day of Saint Walpurga, who was said to protect crops and was often represented with corn.”

(*Royalty free images of the Archangel Michael and the sacred herb Angelica)

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. ~S.D. Gordon


Easter Eggs Hidden in CrocusI’ve always loved Easter, a joyous season when the earth is reborn in a swell of new life washed with vibrant color, a time of spiritual and physical renewal. I can’t imagine Christ’s resurrection taking place at any other time of year. This is most fitting. As a six-year-old recently returned from an early childhood spent in Taiwan, I delighted in my first egg hunt in a neighbor’s yard filled with blooming crocus and daffodils. Tucked in the green grass and among those shining blossoms were the many-colored eggs, like hidden jewels. Magical. And chocolate rabbits. I was in awe of an American Easter.

Nostalgic Easter PhotographOf course, in those days little girls wore hats and gloves and crinolines under their Easter dresses. Yes, I was born in the 1800’s. I also received my first white Bible on Easter, which is still my favorite one. It had this new book smell and books were quite special back then because my father was an underpaid English professor and we were poor. I just liked smelling my new Bible, but did eventually read much of it. The names of my favorite Sunday School teachers are inked in the front under the section entitled Friends at Church. I must have been a real nerd not to have any children listed. Actually, I know I was.

Another early Easter memory is our family returning home from church and me climbing from the car to bury my face in a golden clump of daffodils by the back doorstep, beaded with rain. Their sweet scent said spring to me. And new life. I always imagined the tomb where Christ was buried and rose again surrounded by daffodils and crocus.

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.”  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

“It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls.”  ~Katherine Lee Bates