Archive for the ‘mandalas’ Category

Reed moon

Some interesting sunset shots the last couple of days.  This was yesterday, as the rain clouds were breaking up at the end of the day.


Today as I was walking Ruby, the light was interesting as it filtered through the woods.

The moon was coming up.

The sun gave it a passionate kiss good night.

Even the oaks seemed to be paying homage.

As promised, a couple of mandalas I came across as I walked this evening.   First, the seed head of a wild lettuce.

And the fall rosette of great mullein  (Verbascum thapsus)


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Autumn mandala

It was a rainy day here in the Ozarks, but not particularly cold or windy, so I took Ruby for her walk anyway.   We had a wonderful time.  Of course she found a stick, which I threw numerous times.

We saw large mixed flocks of sparrows and finches, who were enjoying the ripening grass heads in the field.  I saw song sparrows, white crowned sparrows, and white chinned sparrows.   I’m sure there were others out there too.   The gold finches were flying with them.  Around the house we have lots of juncos and chickadees.   This morning I saw a brown thrasher in the stroll garden, which surprised me.   I would have thought they had migrated south by now, but it hasn’t really been all that cold here.   There is no sense of urgency.

The oaks are turning their shades of red and orange, and the japanese maple by my pond is a wonderful scarlet right now.   I felt inspired to make an autumn mandala scan using these items plus some grass that was calling me.

The mood is somber out there, matching mine.   I’ve been thinking very deeply lately, motivated by my sessions with my therapist.  There is a lot to grieve for, and I have been journaling a lot.

My father fails daily, the weight of his years suddenly seems almost too much for him to carry any longer.   The family is gathering this weekend; we are throwing a dinner party for the whole group here since we are going to be gone over Thanksgiving.    I am glad we are going to have this opportunity to be together before we all fly to the four winds once again.

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Regular blog friends may be aware that I have been in a blogging funk.   I have been suffering from “too much to say” and “not knowing how to say it” or “how much to reveal.”   The other problem has been massive busy-ness, of which you will see evidence in the photos that follow.  Suffice it to say that my commitment to this meme has brought me out of hiding for at least today.

So, we are past the invernal equinox and invernal has definitely begun around here!  The leaves are changing and dropping, things evolve on a daily basis.  The perfect example of this changing autumn landscape can be found by the pond.   These two pictures were taken about a week apart.  The week in between was chilly and wet.   So far we have received over 7 inches of rain in the past week here at the Havens.



The Japanese maple (Acer palmatus) drew me in for a close up shot of how her leaves are painting themselves for the holidays.


I have been bemused by the assignment from Gardening Gone Wild for the “Picture This” photo contest this month.   The subject is “Abundant Harvest”.  I’m sorry to say I have been starting to wonder just who gets those fabulous photos of the baskets of pristine vegetables?   By the time I have dug, washed, and arranged the sweet potatoes, I don’t have time or energy left for arranging the tomatoes, carrots, black beans, and what not and then spending hours and hours deciding what angle to shoot at and how to light it and perhaps if I moved this background over here and photoshopped the results, the photo would become elevated to prize worthy status.  I mean, I have several dozen pictures of my sweet potato harvest, and I simply have no idea how to present it in such a light that I might merit more than a casual mention in the wrap-up of the contest.

I’m pretty sure this photo is not prize-worthy, even though it represents hours of work planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and drying of the bounty of black beans that are hidden within these pods:


Before I can show the bounty of the beautiful beans that are waiting to be released, I have to cut the pods off and shell them out.   I believe this deserves a prize, actually; and I anticipate receiving one.  I am looking forward to the black bean soups and refried beans I will eat, represented by this version of “Abundant Harvest”.

But there is more.   I already reported on the sweet potato situation here.  Since then I have harvested the rest of the crop from around the place, and we have lots of calories for the winter stored away in the back room, the food room, and the root cellar.  In addition, I finished pulling the tomato vines so the garlic patch will be ready to plant next week — that’s next for the rotation in this bed.  The carrots are in the freezer, and we will be cutting all the chard out there today or tomorrow because there is supposed to be a hard freeze Friday night.   So, like the pond area, the vegetable garden has gone through an evolution in the past couple of weeks.



I didn’t have the heart to pull out the eggplants, which you can see bravely silhouetted against the garden fence in the far back bed.  This is why:


Silly things.   They think they are going to get warm enough to actually make some eggplants with those flowers!   After the killing frost, I’ll pull them out.   They aren’t the only things around here who don’t think they are quite finished.   The sauna garden is still looking pretty spiffy, with the understory plants of marigolds and calendula filling out under the zinnias.


I haven’t pulled the zinnias even though they are rather moldy and deadish because the finches are enjoying the seeds and I am still getting watercolor zinnias to admire.




Out in front, I have autumn blooming irises and autumn crocuses.




There were colchicums a few days ago, but the rain beat them down.   They always seem to miss GBBD, so I’m putting them in here anyway.   These are the water lily variety in my herb garden — all gone now.


I recently posted about the showstoppers in my garden.   Now that aster no longer has visitors like this one:


That is because she has pretty much closed up shop for the season.


I could go on and on, tell you about the thyme walk with all the little sprouts from the sweet autumn clematis that are coming on, or the veronica path, how much work I got done in the day lily bed and how much there is left to do, but actually I think I need to wrap this up because I have a massage client coming very soon now, and I’m sure I won’t get back to this again today.

So, for some farewell to fall beauty shots, I will close with the dahlia mandala I caught today (grown from my Valentine’s Day present), the essence of Thyme (now blooming in my kitchen herb garden), and a macro shot of moss and lichen on one of the Japanese Rock Garden rocks (all juicy from the cool rainy week).




Sayonara for now.  Visit the creator and mediator and hostess of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, Carol, at May Dreams Gardens, for more October garden tours.

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It is Independence Day.   I put the flag out this morning.

I never get through this day without thinking about the firebrands meeting in the Boston taverns, drinking their ale and bitching about the heavy hand of the British overlords.   I can imagine Sam Adams and Paul Revere clutching their mugs and declaiming in inebriated fervor.   Somehow that all got organized to the point that the traitorous dogs managed to get a whole bunch of other disaffected colonists together to actually fight and die for the cause.

Ultimately there were fighting words spoken, written, signed, sealed and delivered to the Crown, and the rest, as they say, is history.  It is why we celebrate this day, and an episode in history that politicians have been referring to ever since.

By the accident of birth and the diligence of my late Aunt Maurine, I know that I share blood with that history.   I have at least one Revolutionary Ancestor.   I’m sure that there are probably others, but the young man we can trace our roots back to and prove our lineage from was one Joel Gibson, a private in the 1st North Carolina Regiment.   We know he survived the war because he received a pension for his service.  But the fact remains that he was willing to put his life on the line and allow his farm to be neglected in his absence in order for the brand new United States of America to be birthed.

I’m rather proud of my lineage, actually.

We also know that one of our maternal ancestors was a full blooded Mohawk  Indian.  She was one of numerous Indian children separated from their tribes, “adopted” and raised by a white family.   In addition to our Revolutionary ancestors, we also have traced our lineage back to the Mayflower; we are some of the numerous Doty descendants.  We had ancestors on both sides of the Civil War, and one roamer with a dedicated wanderlust who happened to serve during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Perhaps that explains my occasional need to go off on solo road trips on occasion.   It satisfies some deep need within me to get away from all the normal routines of my life and “explore” new territory.

I love my familiar territory, though.   Yesterday I was moved to take some photographs (yeah, I know — big surprise) of the Petite Prairie.  I got the plants I purchased at Cottage Garden planted, and as I was preparing to do the job I started thinking about the bed, its contents, and the nature of the planting.   I decided that since I am referring to the bed as the “Smallest Prairie in the Universe” perhaps I should re-evaluate the things I have chosen to plant there.   I decided that cultivars of actual native plants were acceptable, but aliens should perhaps be located elsewhere.  So I removed the Miscanthus sinensis and the Japanese blood grass.  This not only “purifies” the prairie, but it provides room for the newer flowering plants I just purchased.   It also means that in a few years I will not be tearing my hair out as I tear out the extremely invasive blood grass and fountain grass from the planting.

It looks like this right now.


The Knockout Rose is engaging in a new wave of bloom.   It is such a hot color, it glows in the evening light.   I called this shot “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” since it has the dead bloom of the day before, the burgeoning glowing daily flower and the bud that will bloom tomorrow.


Moving around to the Hosta Dell, I found that the microphylla thyme on the Thyme Walk has started blooming.   It is so cute, but you almost need a magnifying glass to see it.   For scale, bear in mind that the pebbles in the following picture are about the size of my little fingernail.


Then I noticed that the gravel in the Japanese Rock Garden was sporting a halo of weeds, so I put on my Zen face and proceeded to traverse the area and remove all the “volunteers.”   It was while I was doing this chore that I found evidence that the ecosystem at The Havens is  healthy enough to support a variety of wildlife, including the predators at the top of the food chain.   Apparently, life is so good that my resident Western Ribbon snake grew out of her skin and had to shed it.   She availed herself of the rough rocks making the ridgeline of the Rock Garden to slip out of the old, too-small skin.   I got a shot of it in situ, and it wasn’t until I was cropping the image that I noticed the feather nestled in there as well.   The birds sit up on the den tree above the Rock Garden and preen, so I imagine this is the result of that activity.   There have been a lot of fledglings around lately, getting their feathers in and arranged properly.


After I acquired a few images of the skin in place, I carefully removed it from where she had discarded it.   I felt quite elated as I inspected the snake skin, it isn’t often that you find one that is completely intact.  She slithered out of it, starting from her head, and the whole thing just slipped off so neatly.   Of course, it is inside out.   You can see the spot where her eyes were, and the thin part of her lower jaw is even there.


I shall leave you with a couple of  images of the center of an infant sunflower the blue jays kindly planted for me.   It won’t be long before the finches discover it and open up the Sunflower Cafe.



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Once again, it is the middle of the month.   It’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day time!   This is a meme that was begun by Carol over at May Dreams Gardens, and what a fun meme it is.   If you go over to her place and follow links at her comments section, you will be guided to many wonderful and beautiful gardens all over the world.

I decided to begin my post with the most stunning picture I captured on my trip around the yard.   This was a butterfly weed (Aesclepius tuberosa, one of the milkweed family) going to seed.  It was not until I had it up on the computer that I realized that the strands of thistledown in the seeds had refracted the light and made rainbows.   I just love this image.

Another flower that caught my eye was a chicory that was blooming out by the sauna.   It said “I am another one of Nature’s mandalas!  Try to capture me.”  So I did.  Take a moment to admire the details of this common roadside weed.

Another flower that is finally blooming nicely is my moonflower vine.  You have no idea how many truly awful shots I have of this flower and its amazing spiral buds.  Getting them in focus and exposed right when they happen to bloom at dusk as the sun is setting and then wilt promptly at dawn is a challenge.  They are so white that photography with a flash just washes them out.   This morning it was so chilly they hadn’t had a chance to fade, and so I was able to finally catch a good image.

I have moonflowers planted in one of my whiskey barrel planters out on the south side of the pergola, purple hyacinth beans in the other.  They have finally grown up and across the trellising there and have co-mingled.

Out in my front garden, the asters have started really going to town.   But what truly amazes me out there is the reblooming iris I bought three years ago.   I thought I had been gypped the first year when it didn’t rebloom, but it was only trying to get established.   Once it had that first year of quiet, it has faithfully rewarded me with irises in August/September as well as many blooms in the spring.   I may need to buy some more of these lovelies — in different colors, of course!   No “One Color Gardens” for The Havens!   I’m way too gemini for that kind of commitment!

Behind it you can see the garden phlox still going strong.  The butterflies and bumblebees love it.   Another plant that has caught my imagination lately is my celosia (coxcomb) flower.   The form of this flower continues to amaze me.   I spent a lot of time last year trying to capture the vividness of it, the amazing coral like formation.    Then this year I stood back, and these plants look for all the world like wonderful crinoline ball gowns from the Civil War era.   Can you see it?

My autumn sedums are blooming, and they are so popular with all the insects I can be guaranteed a wonderful “Party Picture” every time I go out there.   Sedums are another flower that I have literally hundreds of shots of in my computer.   I am a sick person, I know.

I would be interested to know just exactly what sort of compound these flowers exude.   Often times I can go out early in the morning and find a bumble bee lolling in the middle of the flower head, obviously drunk on something.

Now, I shall take you on a short walk around the yard so you can see for yourselves how the gardens are doing after this wonderfully rainy and cool summer we have enjoyed at The Havens.   First, the front yard.

Walking to the east across the driveway, we come to the vineyard and the espaliered apple trees.  I posted about the espalier a while ago.   Look how this apple has responded to the pruning.   Notice how full the grape vines are in the background.   We harvested over 200 pounds of grapes and have 20 gallons of wine in the root cellar, maturing.

Walk along past the vineyard, and you come to the sauna garden.  This was newly established this spring, and I think it has turned out quite well.   This is the place to come watch butterflies and hummingbirds and bees when you are in the mood.  This is also where I took the autumn sedum picture above.

You can see the vegetable garden fence back there.   Lets walk over there and peek through the gate, shall we?   The beans are pretty much done, the tomatoes are winding down.   In the back, the corn is merely ornamental at this point in time.  I dug my sweet potatoes and got about 20 pounds from my 8 little plants.   I think I may be planting those again.  Just look at that swiss chard!

Turn slightly left and you will see the pond/wild bird habitat.   I promise, there is a pond back there behind the goldenrod and tiny white aster bushes.  Really!

We are quite gratified because we have had leopard frogs move onto the place this year.   If you build it, they will come! (to cop a phrase)

Now, turn left again and walk past my clothes line and through the gate in the privacy fence.   The group of peace lilies in pots by the back door is looking splendid.  They love their time outside during the summer, but the night-time temperatures are dropping and we’ll be moving them into the living room for the winter today.   Notice the autumn blooming hostas putting on a huge display in front of them.   There are just a few balloon flowers still blooming — they are nearly done, though.

Make a 180° turn and walk along the gravel path, and soon you will arrive at the Hosta Dell in the stroll garden.   It is looking quite splendid right now.   The shade arbor that Jim built for it has made all the difference during the heat of August.  Usually at this time everything is so burned, but no longer.

I just posted about the development of the new Japanese rock garden we did a couple of days ago.   So, we back off and take a look at how the Stroll Garden project has progressed so far.   It almost seems impossible that we have accomplished all this in only one year.  The only thing that was there last September was the planting of hostas in the corner.

I am liking the rock group we call The Dragon’s Teeth in the rain garden more and more.

I shall leave you with a collection of images of the clematis that are blooming in the stroll garden right now.   Such lovely flowers, and so wonderful of them to bloom and rebloom all summer.

Next month, who knows what will be going on?   You can always stop by in between Garden Bloggers Bloom Days; I am posting pictures of the place all the time.

But I love my seasonal visitors, thanks for stopping by.

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