A Season of Blooms

In this season of blooms,
The hard work
Of birthing, growing, transformation,
Forgotten in the moment of metamorphosis.

God’s miracle of creation
Illustrated in color,
In delicate arrangement
Of petal, pistil, stamen,
Proclaiming life.

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One who created me,
Who shaped me before I was born,
Be in my heart, my mind,
Be in my voice, my hands,
As I step into this new job.
I am yours.

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This week I began a new position at The Upper Room: Director of Prayer and Upper Room Worship Life. I continue to mourn the loss of Weavings and Alive Now, but I remain grateful for the ways these publications shaped me and live on in the person I have become.

A Clematis Love Story

  
For ten years
I had broadcast love
To the purple clematis
Climbing the mailbox
At Ace, the bird dog’s house.

I watched for it to sprout,
To grow, to bloom.
I took pictures of its beauty.

Then I realized
That I could plant my own.

The first plant
Went in the ground
Late in the year
And was overmulched
The next spring.

The second plant
Never got put into the ground
And died in its pot
Over the winter.

And now, finally,
There is a beautiful, purple clematis
In my garden
To which I can broadcast love,
And tend and watch,
Photograph and share.

Clematis mystery,
Clematis beauty,
Clematis love.

Grandpa’s Peonies — 2011

I wrote about Grandpa’s peonies a couple of years ago, so this year, I thought I’d document their growth. They bloom early in spring before much else has started blooming (even the other peonies) and every time they bloom, they bring me delight. This year’s spring was cool, so it took over a month between when the plants started coming up until when they bloomed. These photos span from around March 17th through April 23rd.

I call these “Grandpa’s peonies” because they came from Grandpa Tom’s yard in Norman, Oklahoma. After his funeral, I dug up a little clump, put them in a grocery bag, and brought them home to my front flower garden in Tennessee. When they bloom, Grandpa and Grandma Wilson are right here with me.

Here they are after the peonies started coming out of the ground. (You can see all the things they hide during the summer — the hose, down spout, etc.)

Getting taller and greener. I like how the stalks are red.

Now they’re all leafed out — and hiding the ugly stuff. Behind the peonies, the lilies are starting. And in the lower right part of the photo, you see the Lamb’s Ears. (I love to rub those leaves!)

Finally, a little peony bud — and some ants. The ants love the nectar produced with the budding of the peonies.

And, finally, this little triangle of color. I like that little shape that you see before the peony opens up. (And more ants.)

The buds on a rainy morning …

And . . . the first bloom. These are the old-fashioned, single-bloom peonies. I love the little yellow things in the middle of the flowers. The colors are so intense this time of year.

A riot of blooms on Easter weekend. Thank’s Grandpa and Grandma!

 

Marty’s African Violet

African VioletsMy mom (Marty) and grandma both raised African Violets. I particularly remember the little plant stand in the east window of Grandma Ida Mae’s house in Ada, Oklahoma. The stand had shelves of african violets which she fed, watered, and turned with care. When Grandma died in 1981, I took a pink violet home with me. Then, when my mom passed away in 1983, I took home one of her purple violets.

I’ve kept these plants going through the years, starting new plants from the old ones. After a move a couple of years ago, the plants got some kind of fungus and I thought I had lost all the plants from Mom’s violet. But recently, a young plant bloomed and I realized that my “Marty” violet was still alive.

These plants are special — so much more than houseplants — they’re a little bit of presence of Ida Mae and Marty … women who helped make me who I am. I’m grateful for their presence, still with me after all these years.

Do you have heirloom plants in your life?

JoAnn’s Spring Wildflower Tour

One morning in the early spring, my phone rang. My friend, JoAnn Miller, asked, “Do you have your camera today? The wildflowers are in bloom.” That afternoon, she drove me on a special tour of the wildflowers along highways of middle Tennessee. JoAnn took us through parks and clear into the next county to find the wildflowers.

As we drove through the rain that day, she said to me, “Now, around the next curve, you’ll see a whole hillside of Dutchman’s Breeches.” Or “Up here on the right is a bright red flower called Fire Pink.”  Or “Later in the spring, the Bluebells will cover the sides of this river bank.”

I was amazed at her knowledge of these tiny, delicate gifts from the creator. We drove over 50 miles, and JoAnn knew which roadside to watch for the Trout Lily and which hillside to see the Shooting Star just coming into their peak. She showed me a glimpse into her world, where her open eyes and years of patient watching have led to a gifted knowledge of springtime beauty.

How many worlds do we miss because we don’t take the time to pause, look, and learn about the immense creation around us? Praise God for the lowly wildflower and for those, like JoAnn, who really see them.

Grandpa’s Peonies

Grandpa's Peony
Grandpa's Peony

Grandpa’s peonies started blooming yesterday. My Grandpa Wilson was a gardener. His entire back yard in Norman, OK was dedicated to a garden that he started harvesting in February (potatoes) and finished harvesting in late fall (turnips). He rotated crops, planting and harvesting three vegetables per season in the same rows. His compost pile, at times, was so tall that he had to walk up on top of it — about 5 feet in the air — to dump his compost bucket.

Grandpa was born in the early 1900s in Kennelworth South Africa. His parents nearly starved during the siege of Kimberly in the Second Boer War. The story is that they were starving, but Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma had planted a garden and knew there was food to be had. Great-Grandpa took a sack and snuck through the enemy lines one night to get to their garden. Though overgrown over with weeds, the plot was full of vegetables. Great-Grandpa filled up his sack and brought the food back through the siege lines.

Grandpa Tom didn’t have a lot of use for flowers (“You can’t eat them”), but there were a peonies planted in the back yard. After his funeral, I dug up a clump, put them in a grocery sack, and brought them back home to Tennessee. Early in the spring, they bloom, bringing alive memories of my Grandpa Tom. I’m blessed.