Tag Archives: cone flowers

Summer Inspiration From Our Farm in the Shenandoah Valley


Summer days on the farm sail by like clouds in the blue. Each morning brings a fresh look to our familiar  scenery. The sights that greet us have comforting continuity and yet are ever-changing.  No two days in the country are identical.

Breaking dawn and soon after is the best time of day. Nightly slumber renews the garden, beading every leaf and blossom with dew. Cows amble in the sparkling meadow, and the pond swims with waterfowl… It’s the garden of Eden time.

(Lilies with the barn in back.)

Pastoral beauty and flowery nooks beckon and I get out my camera phone. Suspicious geese flee the crazy lady unless I sneak up on them. Fussy bunch. Summer sounds create a symphony while I dart around picture-taking. Birds sing, roosters crow, cows bawl, geese fuss… The cooing of mourning doves is a continual background note, and we have an insane mockingbird who runs through every tune he knows. Repeatedly. The trill of meadowlarks is heavenly. Finches and robins have the happiest song. Red-winged blackbirds sound their classic wetland call  at the pond. Ducks converse amiably, unlike the squawky geese.. There is much life here.

I love the music of the garden. Bees hum, crickets chirp, fairies sing…

(Phlox and more phlox)

(Zinnias and cosmos from seed I saved and sowed in May, also pictured below)

(Wild Bee balm and coreopsis tinctoria)

Hazy, hot, and humid stretches of summer do not inspire me. Pics are dulled when the air hangs like a warm wet blanket. My spirits soar in the ‘Reaching to heaven blue sky days’ and these are the best for image taking. But I also love the mist. Mist lends itself well to mystery. You can hardly say mystery without it.

Magic returns again in the long summer evenings. We’re blessed with a spectacular view of sunsets over the meadow, the pond, and hills with the Allegheny Mountains rolling beyond them. Once again, the geese may enter into these images. It depends on how sneaky I am and how fast they are. The host of lightning bugs blinking in the garden and meadows are impossible to capture on film.  Cicadas serenade us from the trees. Earthy farm smells are not for everyone but you have to love the scenery.

(Our pond at dusk)

(Our barn at sunset with sunflowers)

(Phlox at dusk)

I’ve captured glimpses of midsummer in ‘The Shire’ as I term our little patch of earth and hope you enjoy my sharing.

(The geese running toward the meadow-away from me)

(The geese watching the sunset)

(Cows in pasture beneath the setting sun)

‘The summer night is like a perfection of thought.’ ~Wallace Stevens

‘In summer, the song sings itself.’ ~William Carlos Williams

‘Each fairy breath of summer, as it blows with loveliness, inspires the blushing rose.’ ~Author Unknown

(Cone flowers)

‘Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year — it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.’ ~Author Unknown

‘Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.’
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee –’
~Emily Dickinson, c.1879

‘I drifted into a summer-nap under the hot shade of July, serenaded by a cicada lullaby, to drowsy-warm dreams of distant thunder.’ ~Terri Guillemets

‘One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.’ ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

(Gaillardia)

***In addition to the farm and garden, I’m an author. I write historical, time travel, and paranormal romance. Also young adult. Plus nonfiction about gardening and country life. For more on my books, visit my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B002BLLAJ6/

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


Double apricot hollyhocks

I’m taking delight in dashing out to the garden anytime the light beckons. I never know what I’ll find to photograph. Extra time in the garden is always good for the spirit. I hope you enjoy my discoveries. The double apricot hollyhocks above are on the only plant that survived the winter from the many seedlings I started the spring before and nurtured last summer. This one remaining flower is glorious, and I will save seed from it and try again for more.

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

a medley of flowers

(Bachelor’s buttons, calendula, poppies, phacelia, )

I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden. ~John Erskine

Everything, from kings to cabbages, needs a root in the soil somewhere. ~Woods Hutchinson, A.M., M.D. (1862–1930)

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author unknown

Red Admirel butterfly on cone flowers

(Red Admiral butterfly on cone flowers)

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

I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must not write outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849–1924), In the Garden, published posthumously, 1925

Can plants be happy? If they get what they need, they thrive — that’s what I know. ~Terri Guillemets, “Lessons from Nature to the Human Heart”

Blacl-eyed susan and larkspur

In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener. ~Robert Rodale (1930–1990)

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

I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error. ~Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988

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

Shirley poppy and minature hollyhocks

(Shirley Poppy and Miniature Hollyhocks)

Yes, I am positive that one of the great curatives of our evils, our maladies, social, moral, and intellectual, would be a return to the soil, a rehabilitation of the work of the fields. ~Charles Wagner

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw. ~Henry David Thoreau

lily and larkspur(Larkspur and evening primrose)

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

I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error. ~Sara Stein, My Weeds, 1988

daylilies and white asters