For this musing, let me share with you some of the beauty I see in my neighborhood. Once upon a time I was a gardener, and so I have always appreciated the talents and efforts of our neighbors, but seen it most often through a car window. At sidewalk level, that general sense of beauty becomes more concentrated on pinpoints of loveliness.
Some garden highlights:
There is a phenomenal gardener in our neighborhood known “the rose lady.” Every year since we moved in 21 years ago she has created a beautiful bed of different varieties of roses. On a walk, it is possible to admire her roses close up.
When we lived in our old house, I found a neighbor collecting seeds from some extraordinary looking flowers. She explained to me that if she wanted these plants next year, she needed to have the seeds to plant. Thus, I came to know the cleome or spider flower.
When I was editing the sequel to Megan’s Christmas Knight last week, I was trying to find a way to describe the color of Nick’s eyes without using a cliché–you know, sapphire blue, midnight blue, sky blue, ocean blue, etc.–and one thing that came up when I googled “blue” was blue hydrangeas. This intrigued me because these blue flowers have an interesting base of green. I’m still considering how to work the description into the story, but in the meantime, here is the color I’m talking about.
One thing that always gives me pause is a well-established magnolia tree. I love everything about it: the shape of the tree, the broad leaves, the beautiful plate-sized white blossoms, and the pine-cone like seeds. It makes beautiful decorations for Christmas, or really any time when you are looking for big, showy, white flowers.
I must say that I have a particular fondness for maple trees because they have such wonderful seasonal changes. This beautiful tree is now on my radar, and I can’t wait to see its spectacular color this fall.
Finally, I cannot finish this post without mentioning the butterflies. When I gardened I endeavored to create a butterfly garden complete with butterfly bushes and coneflowers. My days for that are long gone, but I still love seeing a beautiful butterfly sitting in the middle of a riot of summer color