Books and Bouquets

Hello, my Dear Readers!

Life has been messily, exhaustingly, gloriously busy — and often fun. As a result, my house is messy, my body and mind have been weary, and I have seen many glimpses of the glory of God and His world.

Flowers, flowers, flowers! In my own garden I have sunflowers; in addition to the usual Delta species, I have “Autumn,” which seem very like in branching habit, but with more variety of color and shape of bloom. The tallest plant this year is an “Autumn.”

These shots from the front yard are just before we sheared the teucrium, so it was getting shaggy and with fewer and fewer flowers for the bees. Between the sunflowers and the asparagus let go, it’s a jungle out there for sure. Each successive summer the jungle is thicker, because the asparagus crowns deep under the soil are bigger. They send up more and fatter stalks every spring, which after two or three months of harvest I stop cutting as spears to cook and eat. They turn into  ferns, occasionally 5 feet high, and those green bushy parts carry on photosynthesis for months, growing the crowns even bigger.

There were plenty of flowers on the Feast of the Dormition yesterday, to celebrate Christ’s mother. We always have flowers, and extra for feasts, but the tradition is to have extra-extra for Mary:

I’ve been to the beach alone and with a friend; I’ve walked in the neighborhood, ferried friends all over two counties, and bought a new phone.

Our book group met yesterday, in a living room this time, because of heat and smoke; the smoke is still not from any wildfire nearby. We had lively discussion, mostly about A Long Walk with Mary, by Brandi Willis Schreiber, which I hadn’t read. The ways that the book had engaged such diverse women made me think I might like to read it myself in the future. We also talked a lot about what to read next, and we could not decide. No one wants a story so light as to be fluff, but they feel an avoidance for anything melancholic or gloomy right now.

One highlight of the book club event for me was afterward, when I got to visit the host’s garden for the second time. What a collection of flowers she has! I took a few pictures in the garden, and then she sent me home with a bouquet’s worth, plus several ripe tomatoes. My own tomato plants are puny and not very productive, and I have few flowers here that are good for cutting, so I was most grateful. She has two unusual and charming forms of zinnias that I would like to grow myself:

But I do have wisteria, at its most lush right now, making deep shade on the patio. Bees are happy in my garden, shown here on the apple mint that Mrs. Bread gave me, which has grown by leaps and bounds. The tomatoes below are the Atomic Grape variety, which are grape-shaped, but much bigger than any grape you ever saw. They are very tasty.

I’ve still been reading a lot. I abandoned a couple of books I’d started, and picked up new ones. Many times I have enough of my wits about me to read a book, but not enough to write about it. So I keep reading…. Lately the weather has been just the right amount of warm that it is the perfect thing to leave the too-cool house and carry my book and my lunch out to the garden. After a while I return to refill my big glass of iced something or other, and back out again to read a while longer. It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, it’s the perfect summer treat.

God bless you all and your own summer days.

14 thoughts on “Books and Bouquets

  1. You sound happily busy – that is the best. I love that you read outdoors too. At this time of the year our home is too-cool indoors, except for one chair in the lounge that catches the afternoon sun. It is my favourite winter reading spot.

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  2. I love you, GJ! I do love zinnias! Some of mine are small and delicate. “You are lovely!” I tell them!
    I am having breakfast on the patio and enjoying peaches! I picked from a friend’s peach tree yesterday afternoon. Peaches are so gorgeous. Peach trees will be even lovelier in Heaven! Rest and read, good friend!

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  3. Beautiful flowers. Everything is growing apace as if they know time is running out for them. I love your sunflowers.

    I used to grow apple mint. I wonder what happened to it. I need more mint plants because I like to bring some in almost daily to add flavour to the pitcher of water that I keep in the fridge.

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  4. Such happy and busy summer days are the order of the day here, too. The garden is overflowing with colour and I clip bouquets with abandon. Enjoy your reading, visiting, gardening, and resting.

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  5. Glorious indeed! Every year, I want to grow more zinnias. Sadly, this wishful thinking does not result in ground getting tilled, seeds planted, nor zinnias enjoyed. Thank you for sharing the lushness of your own garden blooms. So lovely.

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  6. Beautiful glimpses of your green and leafy garden. I love that back porch, arbor area with the vines (wisteria?) covering for shade. So pretty.

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  7. I like the idea of having a summer reading time in the garden. The humidity here is rather high so mornings are the best time for being out and I always seem to have so many other things to do in the mornings beside read. The mosquitoes will eat you alive in the evening so I must be content to read inside for the present.

    And I do appreciate your soothing wit.

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  8. This is the part of summer that I long to be gone — so very hot. No going outside for me, except to tend to chickens for a few minutes, or to hop into the car and turn the AC on. I’m longing for weather where it’s a delight to be outdoors working, chopping things and trimming things and enjoying the fresh air. Summer here is indoor weather.

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