The flowery gifts of August.

Nodding Violet

Right in the middle of a very busy week my oldest daughter Pearl and her youngest Maggie came to visit, and that gave me a lovely and relaxing day. They had been camping for four nights from Wisconsin to here, on their way taking Maggie back to college in the southern reaches of California. It had been a long time since I’d had some focused time with this grandchild; we did a lot of catching up on face-to-face time and hugging.

And she suggested baking cookies together, and even suggested which kind of cookies. She would like the chocolate macaroons I make at Christmas; it just so happened that for some reason I’d bought almond paste last week, not really knowing why. So we made those marzipaney treats that I’ve never before made at any other time of the year.

The recipe calls for egg whites but not yolks. So we made Key Lime Cookies to use up the yolks, and to use a few of the big bag of limes I’d bought recently, I also can’t remember why. I sent Maggie on her way with most of the cookies this morning.

We three made a feast of a dinner together and Maggie went out to gather flowers for the table. 🙂

As for tomatoes, an unrepeatable sort of agricultural science experiment has been going on here. I have a few plants in the back yard that I intentionally planted and fed and have been watering…. I staked them and have so far picked about fifteen delicious Sungold cherry tomatoes off of one spindly vine.

By contrast, growing out of a crack in the sidewalk in front is a Green Doctor cherry tomato plant, looking hale and hearty, on which are growing bunches of tasty fat fruits. That plant is living proof of what I have known for a long time, that in our climate at least, tomatoes love heat more than they love water. The only water the sidewalk tomato received was one light rain in July. But its roots, wherever they are, are kept warm all night by the concrete that soaked up the full sun during the day. I’m thinking about scattering more seeds in that crack next spring.

I need to divide my Dutch Iris this fall, so I had my helper Alejandro remove most of them, and here they wait, on the side of the driveway:

Today a cord of firewood was delivered right next to them; the arranging of that was one of the many business calls I made this week. I’m amazed at how many tasks were completed (trash removed, garage door serviced, Household Hazardous Waste disposed of) or projects started.

I was waiting in a lab and saw these signs on the wall. This way of using the word love is a pet peeve of mine, which I began to acquire in the days of the toy named Care Bear, about whom it was said, “Care Bear loves you.” Ugh. I don’t like to trivialize love by lying to a child about what a toy can do, but I also find the use of the passive-voice “You are loved” to be false.

True love is not something that just happens; even falling in love requires something human from us. Who is that unnamed somebody who loves me, that the sign seems to know about? Of course it’s all too inane. Let’s look at flowers instead. Try not to look too long at the distracting hose in the next picture. Here you can see the sneezeweed starting to bloom behind the zinnias.

My vegetable garden is quite skimpy this summer, but I am thankful to have zinnias everywhere; I will plant some greens again next month, and take my joy from the flowery gifts of August.

 

10 thoughts on “The flowery gifts of August.

  1. This is a beautiful – and loving – post! I agree with you about those inane signs, yet can sense the love between you and your family. As for the ‘garden report’, I love seeing parts of your garden and how the flowers and tomatoes keep giving pleasure.

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  2. When I see a sign that says You are loved I think of my heavenly Father and His great love.

    I have the loveliest Nicotiana growing out of a crack in the concrete. I can’t remember when I last grew any Nicotiana! Volunteer plants seem to thrive more than the fussed-over ones.

    When I saw your sneezeweed I thought that it looked just like my Fall Helenium so I looked it up and found out the common name for this pretty plant.

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  3. What a lovely time to spend with your daughter and granddaughter. Lots of love there with the three of you.
    We came home from our trip with many flowers awaiting us in the garden, and they are such welcome gifts. I’ve clipped sweet peas (the last), and dahlias, and zinnias. The last two are such prolific givers, until the first frost, which hopefully won’t come for a couple of months.

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  4. Your garden is rocking it — so beautiful. Love that first violet. And I’m so glad you got to see Maggie and have some special time with her. I especially love that you sent her off to college with two kinds of cookies. She will be VERY popular!

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  5. How nice to have your daughter and granddaughter for a visit! There’s nothing like baking cookies together to create lifetime memories. I know I remember helping Grandma make her sugar cookies that she always seemed to have on hand for visiting grandchildren. She made them with lard back in those early days and I smile to know that cooks are now going back to lard as healthier than crisco. I love your zinnias, a favorite of mine!

    I always love reading about the things you and your family do when they visit, even printed out one a few years ago from a Christmas visit that I put in my Christmas notebook to remind me of things a multi-generational family could do then.

    We sure do love volunteer plants, don’t we? I think we could skip planting little tomatoes one year and just eat the volunteers. But that lush one of yours growing out of a crack in the concrete is a delight.

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  6. Gorgeous tomatoes coming out of that crack!
    I always think “you are loved,” means God loves you for those who may not be able to have any religious words…

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    1. My negative thoughts are not toward love itself, of course. God is Love, and His Love is our very life.
      It’s the use of the word as a bumper sticker or slogan, etc. out of any context referring back to its source and true nature, which sorrows me.
      As some have said here, they who know the Source can receive these “messages” as reminders of our Heavenly Father’s love; I was looking at the fact that in the waiting room of a giant corporation whose goal is to make money off me they were a cheap substitute for art, bandying about words that when used in that way are divorced from meaning.
      Your chosen word is not anything like that!

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  7. I had to chuckle about the signs in the office and the reference to Care Bears! They were so bossy, those Care Bears, staring at people to make sure they know it’s important to care!
    Love this newsy post about family visits and garden successes. I am excited to report that my tomatoes have a new lease on life after recent rains. The heat was killing them here, but it was probably quite a bit hotter. Same with the zinnias – I planted 3 packets of seeds, some in pots, and I only have 5 successful plants that haven’t yet bloomed – just have grown leggy. They need more sun, I suppose. I am still learning what flourishes in this new place. Lantana! Penta! Portulaca! All heat lovers with fiery blooms. Hope the recent heat wave in CA hasn’t sapped any life from your garden.

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