Tag Archives: May in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

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

Gardening and Country Life in the Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel


lilacs blooming in mid May

This has been a challenging week in the garden weather wise–a hard freeze Monday night took a punishing toll and then the temps soared Wednesday and hot winds blew. My poor plants. The past few days have been blessedly mild and I’ve done as much damage control as I can. Fortunately much of what I grow is tough, plus I’m planting out new seedlings I grew in my greenhouse. This is one weary gardener with much left to do. On a brighter note, daughter Elise got our her camera and took some lovely and endearing shots that remind me why I bother. For better or worse, this is my life and I wouldn’t trade it. There’s nothing like living in the country, especially the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. But I’m praying for rain. A light mist is falling now. More, please, but not a flood. You have to be very specific with your weather prayers. Onward ho.

(Very hardy late season lilac with the sweetest blooms)

mama goose and goslings

***Mama Goose taking our latest goslings on an amble.

Eons ago husband Dennis bought two pair of barnyard geese because I was into decoupaging eggs. That hobby has long since passed, but the geese have thrived. They eat grass, peck corn that spills from cow feed, and swim on the pond. We have a cantankerous gaggle that are part of the farm and always will be.

Below is a pic of our two bantam roosters, buddies and brothers, who have the run of the place and roost on the rafters in the barn at night, which keeps them safe. My daughter in law, who has chickens, gave us this pair. The few times she’s tried to add a hen it becomes a quick snack for some predator or other. Everything eats chickens. I’d like to have hens that can free range like these roosters but they’d have to be big and strapping, and learn to roost at night like the boys. The barn kitties get along with the roosters and the geese. An odd mix but they sort it out.

barn cat and roosters

Come Into The Garden–Beth Trissel


To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.  ~Beverly Nichols

iris_2 smaller

The lighting this morning was exquisite and Elise took some pics of the garden. Now it’s pouring rain again and thundering, but for a time, it was heavenly. So join me for a tour of my lovely May Garden. I think May is the most exquisite time of year. Balm for the soul.

“I hope some day to meet God, because I want to thank Him for the flowers.” ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets

(***A shorter form of iris)

No two gardens are the same.  No two days are the same in one garden.  ~Hugh Johnson

wood hyacinths from Uncle Houston

***Wood hyacinths given to me by my late Great Uncle Houston, like fairy bells.

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman

From an aunt, long ago:  “Death has come for me many times but finds me always in my lovely garden and leaves me there, I think, as an excuse to return.”  ~Robert Brault

tulip_pink and white stripedMany things grow in the garden that were never sown there.  ~Thomas Fuller,Gnomologia, 1732

My garden is my favorite teacher.  ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,www.wildthymecreative.com

Shall we compare our hearts to a garden —
with beautiful blooms, straggling weeds,
swooping birds and sunshine, rain —
and most importantly, seeds.
~Terri Guillemets

(Late season multi-colored Tulips)

I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself.  And I find sufficient purpose for my day.  ~Robert Brault

tulips late seasonThe kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, “Garden Thoughts”

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

Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.
~Albert Laighton

(Late season tulips that are just gorgeous)

That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it.
~Winifred Mary Letts

tulips against the barnAnd Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast rose from the dreams of its wintry rest. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant

Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.  ~Ellis Peters
Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men.  ~Chinese Proverb
(***Tulips with our old red barn in the background)

The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

poppy_ lovelyI think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?  ~Edward Giobbi

Spring has returned.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

(Heirloom orange-red poppies that have bloomed every May here forever)

The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

Images from my May garden by daughter Elise