Tag Archives: William Carlos Williams

June in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia–Beth Trissel


*Lovely images by daughter Elise Trissel.

Abraham Darby

“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.”  ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams

“Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?”  ~Maurice Maeterlinck “Flowers really do intoxicate me.”  ~Vita Sackville-West

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals.  Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher, Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers

wild ox eye daisies“The poet’s darling.”  ~William Wordsworth, “To the Daisy”

“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms.  Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.”  ~Auguste Rodin

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”  ~John Muir, 1913, in L.M. Wolfe, ed., John Muir, John of the Mountains:  The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

poppies“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.”
~Francis Thompson, “The Poppy,” 1891

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.”  ~Standing Bear

“Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.”  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  ~e.e. cummings

wild wood's phlox“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  ~John Muir

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” ~Jane Austen

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.  This is not done by jostling in the street.”  ~William Blake


“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  ~William Shakespeare

Abraham Darby Roses, Ox Eye Daisies, Shirley Poppies,  wild Phlox

“But he who dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.” ~Anne Brontë


beautiful pink roses“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”

*Roses from my garden

“You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.  ~Emma Goldman

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

bright apricot roses“A single rose can be my garden…a single friend, my world.” ~Leo Buscaglia

“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”

~Heinrich HeineThe Hartz Journey

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

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” ~Claude Monet

rose“Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly-tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly?” ― Emily BrontëThe Complete Poems

“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.”  ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams

‘”People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ~Iris MurdochA Fairly Honourable Defeat

Abraham Darby Rose by David Austen“But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.”~Anne Bronte

“And she was fair as is the rose in May.” ~ Geoffrey Chaucer

“They are not long, the days of wine and roses. Out of a misty dream, our path emerges for a while, then closes, within a dream.”  ― Ernest DowsonThe Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson

How To Make Fragrant Potpourri–Beth Trissel


“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.” ~William Carlos Williams
For gift giving, fund-raising, or just plain fun, consider making fragrant potpourri. Begin in the spring or summer  by drying rose petals, an essential ingredient. Other flowers such as bachelor buttons, asters, straw flowers and statice add color. Any blossoms that dry well can be used. Mints, lavender, and lemongrass are excellent herbs for fragrance. Save the peelings from citrus fruit. Additional scent comes from manufacturers who sell potpourri supplies.

Order ground orris root, lavender, and essential oils. Sachet bags can be made from circular scraps of breathable fabric all tied up with ribbons. Decorative jars also make attractive holders. Baskets filled with fragrant sachets are an appealing presentation if fund-raising is your goal. Here are some potpourri making directions from my experience and the book, Potpourri, by Ann Tucker Fettner.

“When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy,there is always the garden.”—MINNIE AUMONIER

After you’ve collected and dried an ample quantity of blossoms and herbal leaves, mix in your other ingredients. Use a large bowl, not plastic, but ceramic or pottery. To hold the scent, you will need a fixative, often calamus or orris root. Generally, you use a tablespoon of a fixative for every quart of dried material. Add any spices you’ve chosen, cinnamon bark broken fine, rubbed mace, ground cardamom seeds, by sprinkling them over the petals and fixatives. If you like, add the crushed citrus peel, maybe some crumbled vanilla bean, and mix well with your hands.

The ingredients must be absolutely dry or the blend will molder. To all of this, add your favorite essential oils, rose, lavender, geranium, or tincture of musk or amber. Experiment with different blends. Don’t combine all the oils in the same batch. The possibilities are endless.

When you’re satisfied that the mixture is well blended, let it age in a crock for several weeks. Don’t have a crock? Brown paper grocery bags will do. Store the mixture out of sunlight in an airy corner or attic. Stir occasionally, then package prettily and enjoy.

“Flowers are love’s truest language.”

—PARK BENJAMIN

***Royalty free images

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.”~Anne Bronte


“The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.”

*Roses from my garden

“You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.  ~Emma Goldman

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

“A single rose can be my garden…a single friend, my world.”
“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”
 ~Heinrich HeineThe Hartz Journey
“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk
undisturbed.”
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.”  ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams
‘”People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”

One Fine Day


These pics are a photographic collage my daughter Elise took (and some by my husband) of her and my jaunt around the garden, across the meadow, past the pond, and up through the fields to the woods above our farm.~

Such an exquisitely beautiful spring day.  Pristine perfection.  Many colored tulips glow like jewels.  Virginia bluebells cover the ground in the dappled shade of the enormous maple tree.  The original plants were a gift from my late grandmother.

Lilacs and flowering crab apples scent the warm air.  Some of the lilacs have been here for half a century.  The jonquils smell wonderful.  Even the earthy fragrance of cows and hay appeals to me, an essential  part of my being.  Find your center place and you will discover what both grounds and inspires you.  For me, it’s the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains…our farm…the garden, the land.  Cherish the earth and it will richly reward you…restore your spirit.

The green meadow spreads, rippling, in the sun.  Elusive meadowlarks trill from the tall grass.  We try, but cannot find the secretive birds.  Their sweet trill beckons from here and then there, always further ahead, or then again from behind.  We are determined to find the singer but finally give up.

I once spied a meadowlark perched on a fence post, though not when I was looking for it.  That’s about as high as they fly.  The yellow on its breast was unmistakable.  What a thrill.  They are my favorite song birds.

I love the water birds too.  A type of sandpiper darts around the pond in the low muddy spots and then flies, sounding its funny cry.  There are  a number of them, and the purple martins are back.  Iridescent in the sun.  The swifts and swallows are yet to come, but the pond is glorious.   A frog plops in and we see a string of eggs in the grass at the edge.  Ducks and geese bob over the water glinting in the clear light.

Our farm is the headwaters of an unassuming little creek that flows on through other farms and past the neighboring town, and on, we suppose to the river.   It’s not a grand waterway, but how many of you can claim to live near the headwaters of anything?   So I mention it with some pride. 🙂

On we wander, back behind our farm, to the remains of an old homestead.  The house burned down years ago but a derelict outbuilding remains with a gnarled fruit tree, wild cherry I think, growing alongside it.  And an ancient barn.  There’s a grassy sort of clearing where the house and yard used to be set in amid lofty, seemingly random, trees.   A large red squirrel lives there now and a startled rabbit.  Lord only knows what else.  I suspect it’s eerie at night.  Maybe even haunted…though during the day everything appears utterly charming.

Then Elise spots the hawk we’ve been on the lookout for.  We are fortunate to photograph the majestic red-tailed bird soaring high overhead, and think he lives in the wooded hills up above the fields.  While he’s on his scouting expedition, the other creatures grow silent.  The wise ones, anyway.  I heard some foolish chatter.

The rose flush of new leaves co-mingle with the many shades of green in the trees.  So many birds call from their branches.   We seek the songsters, sometimes with luck, sometimes not, but rarely in time to snap their picture.  Red wing black birds call continuously and almost seem to accompany us from place to place.  I’ve never seen so many of them at once.  Must be a sort of bird festival.  They are quite special to me.   Song sparrows sing, a chatty mockingbird, cardinal, possibly horned larks…

Everywhere we gaze, the world is reborn.  Magical.  This is the time to savor the spirit-lifting sights, scents, and sounds.   And remember.

“I do not think I have ever seen anything more beautiful
than the bluebell I have been looking at. I know the beauty of our Lord by it.”
~ Gerald Manley Hopkins

“When bright flowers bloom
Parchment crumbles, my words fade
The pen has dropped …” ~Morpheus

“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.”
~William Carlos Williams

“In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d
palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich
green,
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I
love,
With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.”
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1865