Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Dream of What’s Real

It was about 40 years ago I had a dream that I know was from God. I don’t remember any since then about which I felt such assurance. Many dreams I have are mild nightmares of household disasters, though I have also experienced dreadful nightmares that left a cloud over the first hours of the day.

This dream was of a garden. I was walking in a lush and green garden, where birds were singing and flowers were blooming. Cool lawns stretched between all the most fitting tall trees and flower beds, everything breathing with new life. The air was warm and balmy — it was obviously Spring or early Summer. As I followed the paths and took in the beauty I felt very happy and peaceful, but I didn’t think of taking a nap on the grass, because the atmosphere of the place made me feel too alive and awake. Then, the words were spoken, “This is your heart.” And I woke up.

I can well recall the sweetness that filled me as I lay in bed in those few minutes after waking, knowing that God had given me a taste of His presence. That lovely feeling stayed with me all day. I told a few people about the dream, and was often encouraged by it in a vague way. There was no clear doctrine to hold to; it was more like a promise.

This morning when I woke I got to thinking about that garden, and how it might still have something to teach me about prayer. It is possible, the fathers teach us, to always live in the garden of the heart, where God and His love are constantly available to us, even when our minds are required by the everyday cares of life to be busy elsewhere. We can live in that garden even when our earthly houses and treasures are in ruin from earthquake, or when we walk in the front door to find that thieves have stolen us blind. The Life that we absorb through our pores in that place can energize us to do the necessary work of repair and healing.

In the last week I’ve been hearing a bird song in the backyard in the mornings, but it was not my robin whom I wrote about before, a messenger of comfort from just a few years ago. I strained to hear that robin’s chirp that means so much to me now, but he was not on the airwaves. Lo! this morning before I got out of bed there he was, and he started in. God sends birds like angels.

“The kingdom of God is within you,”  said our Lord. The robins and other angels are there, nearby where He makes us to lie down in green pastures under heavens that declare His glory, and where nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

Chartwell, Kent

Brilliant but not blotchy helianthemum.

My heart was set on a Chocolate Blotch — it is a variety of the little shrub helianthemum. After browsing nurseries both local and online, I became 95% sure that the one I have growing at church is that type, not that the name made any sense.

These plants are a genus in in the family Cistaceae, as is the cistus, which I’m also fond of. They are both called rockrose, but that confuses me, so this is one case where I think I’ll stick to the botanical name.

Whatever its name, I couldn’t find one to buy. And I love the way it trails over the side of the half barrel as in this photo where it is way in the background behind the poppies and everything. I wanted one for my garden at home, but my hope dwindled and I cultivated contentment instead of a shrub.

Then when I was fussing over these church plantings recently I noticed that the plant with deep orange flowers was trying to take over the container, not just spreading its branches but sending down lots of new roots, so why not cut it in half and take some home?

I did that just before I got sick, and the clumps of roots sat in a bucket on my patio for several days. I knew they had to be planted before I went to Monterey, so on the eve of my departure I went crazy with pots and trowels and Supersoil.

There are two colors of flowers that cause pain to my sensibilities when they are planted near each other: orangey-red and fuschia. My backyard rhododendron is fuschia, but it is in a corner with only blues close by.

The deep clear orange of this shrub seemed to me just what I need to bring balance to the many places crowded with blues and lavenders, and it won’t confuse things by adding any red tones.

My color ideas are no doubt strange; my husband says that all the colors in nature go together. But one year I had some red-orange bulbs blooming next to the yellow climbing rose and when I looked out the window it seemed to me that the two plants were spoiling each other’s beauty. So I dug up the bulbs.

I trimmed the divisions of my helianthemum prize back quite a bit, and planted one clump in the middle of the lambs’ ears and pincushion flowers, next to the lavender and the oregano. Four Oriental lilies have now pushed up in the back of that bed, where it seemed a few weeks ago only one would grow; I had thought that I planted my big bag of bulbs from Costco so late that most of them must have rotted.

I wasn’t in too big a rush that I missed noticing that nasturtiums are coming up here and there, glory to God! Last year I tried various colors of many varieties, plants and seeds, hoping that some would naturalize.

As I was writing this post I looked some more for photos of “my” rockrose, and this time I found many more and helpful photos, broadening the possibilities to include Welsh Flame and Henfield Brilliant. A good photo explains why the name C. Blotch, and makes it clear that I don’t have that. After clicking back and forth among pictures and sites, I’m now 95% sure I have a Henfield Brilliant. This garden detective work is my kind of fun!

Cherries the birds didn’t get

Thanks to blogging friends, I was prompted to take notice and learn about my food today. Strawberry Lady suggested we eat cherries, so naturally I took a picture first. The Rainier cherries I bought at a roadside stand this week in the land where we also grow asparagus, artichokes — and yes, strawberries! — were selling for $6 for a large basket, the same as Bings.

But in Japan, they have been known to pay for Rainiers (gulp) $5 per cherry…? And birds eat as much as a third of the crop before it’s picked, so they also must think they are pretty special.

Now I’m glad I bought the Rainiers and got such a good deal. The small hut with the big signs was just off a four-lane highway, and the trucks carrying all our luscious California produce were speeding by. As the wind blew me across the dirt toward the fruit it took all of one second for my hair to become a tangled web across my face, but I found my mouth and sampled both cherries — and that’s how it all happened.

I bought strawberries, too, Mags, but in this case,

They can’t compare
To the Rainier rare.