Tag Archives: gardening in the Shenandoah Valley

For the Loveliness of it All


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

Crocus Again

Why, some of you may ask, am I so drawn to gardening? Granted, toiling in the earth has its downsides, like the aching back I will soon be complaining of, the chewing bugs, and inevitable weather affronts, but nothing is more uplifting to the spirit than a fair day in and among growing things. The joyous sights of new life returning to our beautiful valley after a long winter, the delectable scents and sounds…the trill of a meadowlark, the song sparrow singing overhead as I plant seeds in the crumbly brown ground…the swoop and soaring of the first butterfly…the pussy willow bursting with fuzzy catkins…the glowing crocus. Snow still obscures the landscape and cold wind nips my face, but the forecast promises better days and I shall soon be out sniffing the air with profound appreciation. The barnyard geese are fussy. Egg laying shall commence.

Early spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

The delights of spring are almost upon us. There’s always a moment that catches and holds me transfixed, and in that moment, all is perfect. All is lovely. My piece of heaven on earth.~

***Images of crocus from last year and spring in the valley taken by my mom in past years.

In My Garden~


Evening primrose (4)In my garden(s), a sea of herbs and flowers continually change with the season.  Some perennials are lost each winter and new ones are planted by my daughter Elise and me, others by the birds. I’ve a wild aster covered with small white flowers that blooms from late spring into summer, very pretty re­ally. I like white flowers glowing at dusk while all else fades.

Several plants reign supreme because of Elise. ‘Magic flowers,’ yellow evening primrose, occupy a corner at the edge of the vegetable garden. She rushes me out at twilight to view the wonder as they pop open, charged with fragrance. Hummingbird moths swoop in like little fairies to feed on the blossoms.

iStock_000001550421XSmallElise doesn’t like the bats that also come. I love the nighthawks that swoop and call in the soft summer evening. Dill is another favorite because black swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on its leaves and hatch into little caterpillars which Elise watches closely, puts some into jars and feeds until they make a chrysalis, then one day they emerge with wet crumpled wings and she releases them to the sky. I feel a bit like those uncertain butterflies, taking those first tentative flights.

This is an excerpt from my non-fiction collection about country life entitled Shenandoah Watercolors.