May: Flowers and Birds: Photos

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From my garden. This lilac tree is one of the best things about my house, and probably counts in the top five reasons we bought it. This year’s blooms are so much more than the past several years: they really are extraordinary. A silver lining, or purple if you will, to this last year and more of political and ethical strife.

Mid-morning sunshine through the lilacs and pines. (c)2018


Buds are still formng! (c)2018


Close-up. (c)2018


Close-up. (c)2018

17/52 – May

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​May.

May Day, my mother’s birthday, Mother’s Day, visits to Grandma’s, Cinco de Mayo, Free Comic Book Day, my name saint’s feast day, retreats and writing, and the April showers have brought the May flowers.

As I get ready in the mornings, I look out the window. I like to check the sky and the breeze, and smell the fresh spring air. On many of these mornings, I’m reminded of one of the reasons that we bought our house, and that I do love many parts of it despite our buying and maintaining experience.

The beautiful garden.

Parts of it really come alive in May. May is when we looked at the house, before the lies and the problems that lie ahead. Our first view was of the forsythia trees in front of the house, the bread and butter hostas, the lilac tree in the expansive back yard. The smell of spring was everywhere. All the natural aspects of the house, the ones you can’t fake, you can’t improve other than weeding, what will remain indefinitely after the sellers leave and we stay in our new home.

The row of forsythia trees that line one side of our property in particular. The bloom opposite the pine trees on the street border. Along the upper garden are three other forsythia trees, not to mention the four in the front of the house. I call it the upper garden because it is a two tiered planting space that comes alive every year, hiding the broken pots and decaying fall leaves. We always mean to get rid of them, but fall turns into late fall, and the first snow envelops them in a pile of white fluff. The garden is separated by a small stone and slate boundary wall making it one of the more unusual gardens in our neighborhood.

We really do have a beautiful backyard.

The forsythias are blooming their bright yellow petals, and shine in the sunlight.

Adjacent to one of them is a lilac tree. It may be a bush, but it seems too tall to be a bush, and so I call it a tree.

At the moment, it is barely budding; the green poking out of the bare sticks of branches that will soon be weighed down heavily with the purple petals that gather themselves into natural bouquets.

It is the one time a year that I grab my chair and sit out in the backyard, close enough to smell the fragrance that is overpowering in its appeal.

I would estimate the purple, lilac color to begin in about two weeks.

May is most colorful and bright.

It will fill out the tree, and brighten the yard, but unfortunately will only be present for the month of May, maybe the first week of June.

I’ll go out with my camera, and post to Facebook and Instagram. I’ll look out of the window and smile every time my eye catches the hint of lilac color, and even though I’m far away from the tree itself, I can almost smell it.

So many senses alive, and to think it’s one little tree at the top of a two tier garden.

But it’s also May.

50-36 – Memorial Cardinal

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​My mother-in-law loved her backyard. She worked harder than anyone I know on her flowers. No special mixes or soil. Her fertilizer was some compost – egg shells and fruit peels. Every spring, bags and bags of dirt, but as I said, nothing special. 

The front of the house looked nice, and inside she had a Christmas cactus that was pretty for the one week it bloomed, but the backyard was her special place. Gorgeous giant sunflowers grew along the back fence. She couldn’t wait to get rid of the mulberry tree that ruined everything around it. There was a crabapple tree that she hung windchimes and the occasional birdhouse on. It looked like a fairy playland.

When we visited in the spring, usually around Easter, we drove her to Home Depot for dirt. Pounds and pounds of dirt, and before we knew it, it was gone and she needed more, so off we’d go for a second trip to Home Depot. She didn’t drive, and she couldn’t carry that much on the bus.

She grew herbs and tomatoes, and we were sent home with dozens of them every spring.

After a while, the full garden became too much, and she began container gardening. It was unbelievable how nice the containers flourished. I’ve never seen containers grow so well. She had a green thumb, and passed it on to my husband who’s really great in our garden. He grew two pumpkins or gourds and we were all excited when we brought them into the house.

When we were visiting in June, she asked about her garden, so I took some pictures on my cell phone and brought them into the hospital to show her. She still hadn’t gotten the hang of any kind of technology; she got an air conditioner for the first summer in 2014 or ’15, but she was excited to see the pictures of the bright yellows and purples of her perennials that never disappointed her.

She died unexpectedly a few days later.

We drove down the following weekend for the memorial service. We had planned to take a few of the roots to bring some of her garden home with us. We’ll have to wait for spring to see how they’re doing. We might have to go back and retrieve a few more roots in the spring.

While I was in the bathroom getting ready for the service I noticed a bright, red bird through the window, outside in the backyard. A cardinal. He sat there long enough for me to get my cell phone and take a bunch of pictures including one that was mid-flight when it took off.

it seemed like an odd time for a single bird to show up.

Cardinals were my mother-in-law’s favorite bird.

The Spring Garden

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One of the things I love about my house is the backyard. I don’t get out there much because of my reaction to the sun due to one of my medications, but we have a really lovely backyard. My husband takes very good care of it. He gets his green thumb from his mother. I did well when we had an apartment and we had only containers to garden in. Those were beautiful. Gardening is hard work though.

One of the things I love about our yard is the lilac tree. Some years it blooms better than others, but every year I wait and I wait, and when it comes that is usually my first foray into the back. I love to smell them, and touch them, and of course, photograph them. They have different colors depending on how the light hits the petals.

When I went out this past week it was nice and shady by the lilacs so I got to spend a bit more time with them. There were many clusters that gave me some good pictures. I also watched some bees doing their thing and I think I caught some of them in the act.

The second Instagram set is some of the highlights that I discovered on that recent visit outside. While my kids are too big for those toys, they still made me feel like a parent of kids. It wasn’t a nostalgic feeling as much as content. I hadn’t noticed that my husband hung the windchimes in the back porch. After taking a couple of pictures, I pushed on them and listened to their perfect harmony. Some advice for buying windchimes: When you find one that you like, listen to it. They all have their own sound, so find one that you can listen to for the rest of your life.