Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hazel Blossoms

  The summer warmth has left the sky, 
The summer songs have died away; 
And, withered, in the footpaths lie 
The fallen leaves, but yesterday 
With ruby and with topaz gay.


  The grass is browning on the hills;
No pale, belated flowers recall
The astral fringes of the rills,
And drearily the dead vines fall,
Frost-blackened, from the roadside wall.     


Yet through the gray and sombre wood,
  Against the dusk of fir and pine,
Last of their floral sisterhood,
  The hazel’s yellow blossoms shine,
  The tawny gold of Afric’s mine!         
  

Small beauty hath my unsung flower,
  For spring to own or summer hail;
But, in the season’s saddest hour,
  To skies that weep and winds that wail,
Its glad surprisals never fail.

        
  O days grown cold! O life grown old!
  No rose of June may bloom again;
But, like the hazel’s twisted gold,
  Through early frost and latter rain
Shall hints of summer-time remain.
      
And as within the hazel’s bough
  A gift of mystic virtue dwells,
That points to golden ores below,
And in dry desert places tells
     Where flow unseen the cool, sweet wells,—         


   So, in the wise Diviner’s hand,
  Be mine the hazel’s grateful part
  To feel, beneath a thirsty land,
The living waters thrill and start,
            The beating of the rivulet’s heart!         


Sufficeth me the gift to light
With latest bloom the dark, cold days;
To call some hidden spring to sight
That, in these dry and dusty ways,
Shall sing its pleasant song of praise.  

     
O Love! the hazel-wand may fail,
But thou canst lend the surer spell,
That, passing over Baca’s vale,
Repeats the old-time miracle,
And makes the desert-land a well.
                                           ~John Greenleaf Whittier


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fading Autumn

Th' autumnal glories all have passed away;
  The forest-leaves no more in hectic red
Give glowing tokens of their brief decay,
  But scattered lie, or rustle at the tread,
  Like whispered warnings from the mouldering dead;  

       
The naked trees stretch out their arms all day,
  And each bald hill-top lifts its reverend head
As if for some new covering to pray.


  Come, WINTER, then, and spread thy robe of white
Above the desolation of this scene;         
  And when the sun with gems shall make it bright,
Or, when its snowy folds by midnight’s queen
  Are silvered o’er with a serener light,
We ’ll cease to sigh for summer’s living green.
                                                         ~Mrs. E. C. Kinney

Friday, October 18, 2019

Time for Another Morning Glory Update!

It may be almost winter here, but I'm still enjoying some flowers! So far, 'Star of India' is still my best flower producer. I actually wished I'd waited until later in the day to publish my last MG post, because this flower really started to do some wonderful things as the day progressed! 


It was a chilly, drizzly day, and by early afternoon I noticed that the flower was turning a bright pink where the raindrops landed! 


An hour or so later, it had changed color completely!

 

Since then I've had lots of beautiful surprises. Sometimes I've had as many as 10 flowers open in one morning! 




Every flower is unique...




 

The plants took up their permanent residence indoors a couple weeks ago. 



I am going to have to try growing Ipomoea pubescens again next summer. It doesn't seem to like being inside...despite having numerous buds, this was the only one to open, and it didn't even open fully! The rest of the buds have since dried up, although the plant still looks fairly healthy.  



Sadly, I don't have very good reports on most of the MG plants I started back in July. Many of them just seemed to sulk in the lower light conditions indoors and slowly faded away. But I don't regret the experiment because I've learned a lot and have a pretty good idea of what to do differently next time!  Perhaps, to thrive in low light conditions, the plants need to be grown that way from the start. 

I have had a few pretty flowers from 'Red Dragon Leaf' although I fear that today's is the last as Nastya has selected that particular pot to be her bed and the poor plant has really taken a beating! 


And who can get mad at her when she looks like this?? 😸


But I do have more good news! The second batch of MGs which I started in August, have been doing very well growing on a windowsill in another building, away from the pussies! So that's where they're going to stay, and most likely where I'll be raising my plants from now on, at least until (hopefully!) the Bengals settle down a bit!  These plants are less vigorous, having been grown mostly indoors, but the low light has already encouraged lots of budding! 


This morning I decided that 'Midnight Illusion' looked like a prime candidate for the Japanese pruning method, so I snipped back the vining stem. There are three buds left on the plant...I'm hoping they will all bloom at the same time, and be larger as a result of the pruning. Of course, after the bloom, I'll let the plant continue to grow and produce more buds! 


This has been a fun learning experience, and despite the disappointments, I feel like I'm making progress and hope to be enjoying these flowers all winter long!  😊

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

To a Pine Tree...

I was just glancing through the index to a book of James Russell Lowell's poems recently and came across the title "To a Pine Tree". Of course, it grabbed my attention so I looked it up and was delightfully surprised that the poem was about a Pine tree on Maine's highest mountain! (I just love the great "Fireside Poets" and their descriptions of scenes that are so familiar to me...perhaps a topic for a future post? 😉) Anyway, I've been wanting to share it but didn't really have suitable pictures to go along with it. However, it has been going through my head all day after seeing Mt. Katahdin this morning, so I just decided to do my best with what I have! I'm still hopeful that I'll get to climb it one day soon and capture some scenes that would illustrate this beautiful poem more fully! But for now, enjoy! 😊


Far up on Katahdin thou towerest,
  Purple-blue with the distance and vast;
Like a cloud o’er the lowlands thou lowerest,
  That hangs poised on a lull in the blast,
      To its fall leaning awful.        


In the storm, like a prophet o’ermaddened,
  Thou singest and tossest thy branches;
Thy heart with the terror is gladdened,
  Thou forebodest the dread avalanches,
           When whole mountains swoop valeward.  

      
In the calm thou o’erstretchest the valleys
  With thine arms, as if blessings imploring,
Like an old king led forth from his palace,
  When his people to battle are pouring
      From the city beneath him.         


To the slumberer asleep ’neath thy glooming
  Thou dost sing of wild billows in motion,
Till he longs to be swung mid their booming
  In the tents of the Arabs of ocean,
      Whose finned isles are their cattle.  



For the gale snatches thee for his lyre,
  With mad hand crashing melody frantic,
While he pours forth his mighty desire
  To leap down on the eager Atlantic,
      Whose arms stretch to his playmate.         


The wild storm makes his lair in thy branches,
  Preying thence on the continent under;
Like a lion, crouched close on his haunches,
  There awaiteth his leap the fierce thunder,
      Growling low with impatience.         


Spite of winter, thou keep’st thy green glory,
  Lusty father of Titans past number!
The snow-flakes alone make thee hoary,
  Nestling close to thy branches in slumber,
      And thee mantling with silence.         


Thou alone know’st the splendor of winter,
  Mid thy snow-silvered, hushed precipices,
Hearing crags of green ice groan and splinter,
  And then plunge down the muffled abysses
      In the quiet of midnight.         


Thou alone know’st the glory of summer,
  Gazing down on thy broad seas of forest,
On thy subjects that send a proud murmur
  Up to thee, to their sachem, who towerest
      From thy bleak throne to heaven.      
                                             ~James Russell Lowell 
 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Contentment

"Then ask not why to these bleak hills
I cling, as clings the tufted moss,
To bear the winter's lingering chills,
The mocking spring's perpetual loss.
I dream of lands where summer smiles,
And soft winds blow from spicy isles,
But scarce would Ceylon's breath of flowers be sweet,
Could I not feel thy soil, New England, at my feet!"
                                                        ~John Greenleaf Whittier


   Just a quick note to let everyone know I'm still here! Life has been pretty busy and I feel like my posts have become somewhat irregular lately. We are having the loveliest Fall and I've been enjoying every moment! This picture was actually taken across the border in New Brunswick, but Maine doesn't look much different right now. More later! 😊

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Autumn Woods

Ere, in the northern gale,
The summer tresses of the trees are gone,
The woods of Autumn, all around our vale,
Have put their glory on.



The mountains that infold,
In their wide sweep, the coloured landscape round,
Seem groups of giant kings, in purple and gold,
That guard the enchanted ground.


I roam the woods that crown
The upland, where the mingled splendours glow,
Where the gay company of trees look down
On the green fields below.


My steps are not alone
In these bright walks; the sweet south-west, at play,
Flies, rustling, where the painted leaves are strown
Along the winding way.


And far in heaven, the while,
The sun, that sends that gale to wander here,
Pours out on the fair earth his quiet smile,--
The sweetest of the year.



Where now the solemn shade,
Verdure and gloom where many branches meet;
So grateful, when the noon of summer made
The valleys sick with heat?



Let in through all the trees
Come the strange rays; the forest depths are bright;
Their sunny-coloured foliage, in the breeze,
Twinkles, like beams of light.



The rivulet, late unseen,
Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,
Shines with the image of its golden screen,
And glimmerings of the sun.


But 'neath yon crimson tree,
Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,
Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,
Her blush of maiden shame.


Oh, Autumn! why so soon
Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,
And leave thee wild and sad!



Ah! 'twere a lot too blessed
For ever in thy coloured shades to stray;
Amid the kisses of the soft south-west
To rove and dream for aye;



And leave the vain low strife
That makes men mad--the tug for wealth and power,
The passions and the cares that wither life,
And waste its little hour.
                                             ~William Cullen Bryant