“It’s the longest day of the year, one to bottle and take out when November is come and the day ends at 5:00. I will tip the bottle over and pour liquid sunlight all over the gray autumnal shadows as they seep over the hills and into the meadow…the scents too, new mown hay, lavender, attar of roses, and the gleeful chatter of birds.” ~ Beth Trissel, from my nonfiction book,  Shenandoah Watercolors
*While the light was pure this morning, my talented art major daughter took some pictures of the garden.  This is of our double-flowered apricot hollyhocks.
“This morning glows like a green-gold sun drop and every blade of grass glistens in the light. The newly washed spires of larkspur stand tall to greet the day. Fellows on every side, yellow lilies, bright-eyed pansies, lavender candytuft, crimson yarrow, and white asters all sit up straighter as if answering an unspoken summons and shine. Is it magic or June in the Valley? Is there a difference? ” ~ Shenandoah Watercolors

“Several plants reign supreme because of Elise. ‘Magic flowers,’ yellow evening primrose, have taken over a generous quadrant 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.
She doesn’t like the bats that also come. I love the nighthawks. Dill is also taking over because black swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on its leaves and hatch into little caterpillars which she 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 flight." ~Shenandoah Watercolors
“The best place to seek God is in a garden.  You can dig for him there.”  ~George Bernard Shaw
"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity."  ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

“Brilliant yellow gold finches streaked across the garden today and landed on the fence beside the hollyhocks. I love these birds, one of my absolute favorites. In midsummer, when the sunflowers bloom, they gather in chattering clusters to feed on the seeds. Their wings flash in the sun as they suspend on flower heads and peck away, and meticulously open each seed. I’ve never heard such euphoric birds, continually exclaiming over their finds. They have a lot to say and do not keep secrets well.
If I were to confide in birds, it would not be them, or to crows, loudly proclaiming the latest gossip. Warblers are fairy creatures, but not silent fairies. Possibly to wolves––no. They howl. Frogs croak and gribbit. Turtles are quiet. Tell all to turtles, then. Box or painted ones. Snappers are treacherous and would as soon bite you as listen.” ~Shenandoah Watercolors
"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."
  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse
“The larkspur is in full bloom, a sea of blue and pink spires rise above a mass of poppies.  Delphinium is a more glorious shade of blue but I lost so many blooms to gusting winds and winter cold that I finally became discouraged with cultivating those beauties. And so I content myself with larkspur, simpler but a survivor as are so many of the old heirloom flowers. Someday I will be an heirloom. Maybe I already am. But there are not many people in this world like me as there are seedlings of larkspur. ” ~Shenandoah Watercolors
*Note, I recently took the plunge and planted more delphinium seedlings, so we shall see.  One must try and nurture that which we love.
“I’ve enough spare flowers to fill a meadow and make butterflies and bees giddy with delight, but who would tend them? Only the most ‘satisfactory’ plants could compete with the grass and weeds that would choke them out. How do wild flowers survive? Queen Ann’s lace, tiny red poppies, and blue chicory run free along our unruly roadsides. Orange day lilies too, but they are tough with gnarly roots.”~Shenandoah Watercolors 
"It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought."~James Douglas,Down Shoe Lane

“A sea of herbs and flowers continually change with the season. Some perennials are lost each winter and new ones are planted by Elise and me, others by the birds. I’ve a wild aster that blooms in late spring, covered with small white flowers. It’s very pretty really, although hard to contain. I like white flowers. They glow at dusk while all else fades. ” ~Shenandoah Watercolors
“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I’m particularly drawn to the heirloom varieties and the English cottage garden look. Even with these fairly trouble free plants it still takes considerable effort to fight the weeds and curtail the extremely aggressive flowers.
Years ago, I met a gardener who referred to the varieties that take over the garden on their march to the sea as ‘highly successful.’  So are weeds. The beds I tend could never be called orderly and can best be described as a happy confusion of plants. And we’ve nothing to sit on outside, so one simply strolls about and then comes back indoors. And one works one’s tail off.”~ Shenandoah Watercolors
"Gardens are a form of autobiography."  ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993
“My job? To tend this bit of earth, but mostly to savor and learn.”~
Shenandoah Watercolors is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble~

*Roman chamomile and evening primrose above


  1. Maeve // July 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM  

    *happy sigh* What a relaxing post! Sustenance for the soul. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely world, Beth. In so doing, you've made MY world brighter. :-)

  2. Gerri Bowen // July 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM  

    So beautiful, Beth!

  3. Beth Trissel // July 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM  

    Thanks much guys.

  4. Lynne Marshall // July 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

    I love your garden! I especially love hollyhocks and sunflowers. How wonderful to see this everyday as long as it lasts.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Mary Ricksen // July 3, 2011 at 2:25 PM  

    Gosh I miss my garden! What a thrill Beth!!!

  6. Mona Risk // July 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

    Gorgeous flowers. Your garden reminds me of painter Monet's Giverny garden in France.

  7. Beth Trissel // July 3, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

    :) Thanks Lynne and Mary. My daughter will be pleased to hear that, Mona.

  8. Mary Marvella // July 3, 2011 at 10:16 PM  

    I LOVE the photos! Another lovely blog. Mama was a gardener, too!

  9. Beth Trissel // July 3, 2011 at 10:52 PM  

    Thanks MM!

  10. Tamara LeBlanc // July 4, 2011 at 9:29 AM  

    Gorgeous pictures and wonderful, evocative quotes! Loved the post:)
    Have a great Fourth!

  11. Beth Trissel // July 4, 2011 at 11:23 AM  

    Thanks Tamara. Happy 4th to all.

  12. Pamela Varnado // July 4, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

    Hi, Beth,
    I'm right in the middle of writing a scene that takes place in a winter snow storm, so your pictures warmed me up.

    I started my garden this year but it's nothing like yours. I can't wait until it reaches its peak.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.

  13. Judy // July 4, 2011 at 4:36 PM  

    Beth, As usual your pictures are stunning - even more so because they show your actual garden! How beautiful!!

  14. Beth Trissel // July 4, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

    Thanks. I'm delighted with how well the pics turned out.

  15. Josie // July 5, 2011 at 4:05 PM  

    I am truly humbled by your post. Your writing and pictures are beautiful.

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 5, 2011 at 8:43 PM  

    Thanks for sharing your lovely garden with the pink fuzzies. I can't wait until the new plants we put in this spring are full and vibrant like your garden.