Welcome to the Loveliness of Gardens Fair! I am so excited to be hosting this fair because, as many of you know, gardening a bit of an obsession for our entire family. This time of year in particular, our garden is our calendar, our school room, our family time, and our entertainment. I am filled with wonder every time I step outside and hear the birds sing, catch a glimpse of a swallowtail butterfly, or see an old friend peeking it's little head out from the soil. Our garden is far from perfect. There are plenty of weeds and bare spots in the lawn, reminders to me that for now that the children rank slightly higher on the priority list than the tomatoes. When my husbands glances uncomfortably at the drooping hydrangeas, I remind him that I kept the children watered all day.
Join me as we tour the gardens of many of our on line friends.
First we shall visit the garden of Melissa. Melissa began gardening with her husband as a way of "imparting to our children the joy of gardening, both through our vegetable garden and multiple flower gardens". Her garden has indeed flourished with beautiful salad green, lovely herbs, and gorgeous flowers. I pray that Melissa finds some peace and comfort in her garden during difficult times.
Celeste writes about finding the beauty in what she refers to as an "ordinary" garden. There is a wonder that comes from watching seeds sprout and flowers bloom that turns the ordinary into breathtaking if we only stop long enough to absorb it.
Leonie is participating in Tomatosphere - an exciting opportunity for budding scientists. I am so thankful we have Leonie to share her observations on this Canadian based project. This has already been placed on our to-do list for next year.
Rachel takes us on a tour of her gorgeous herb and vegetable garden. I love the square foot beds she has set up. Her delicious photos will have you craving a salad for dinner.
Suzanne treats us to a blend of beautiful photos and garden themed quotes sure to make you smile. My personal favorite Emerson quote is included.
Cheryl introduces us to her favorite gardener, her father, in a touching post (have tissue handy). Cheryl and her father are both remarkably talented and have found great outlets for their creativity, Cheryl, of course, through her sewing, and her father, through his bountiful garden. (I love the way he grows his strawberries- brilliant!)
Kristen invites us to join her on a spring time trip to the garden shop, showcasing lovely roses. I love the time of year when the spring flowers are just arriving at the nurseries and the air is scented with sweet alyssum and petunias. In her own garden are the promising beginnings of a delicious summer; peaches, plums, grapes, and herbs - what treats for her two darling girls!
Lorri's garden is filled with playfulness, pink blossoms, and memories. There are plenty of smiles to be found there.
Matilda describes the focus of her garden, a gorgeous statue of a lesser known Irish saint who has kept watch over her garden this spring. St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardens, certainly deserves a prominent spot in every garden.
The garden is simply full of life, from tiny ladybugs and tiny buds to sweetly singing birds. My favorite online bird enthusiast, Dawn shares a few dewy photos from last year's garden devoted to Mary. There are so many plants named for our Blessed Mother. Planting a Mary garden would be a perfect activity for May. A good starting point is the Mary's Garden website. Dawn also shares her plans for this year's garden as the spring is just now arriving in the northeast.
Alice tends more than flowers in her own garden. Using the beauty of the outdoors and an image of our Blessed Mother, she nurtures the growth of her children's spirituality throughout the year. I'm sure that these will be some of her children's most treasured memories. I must also include a link to my favorite Cottage Garden post from last year. I think it was that post that prompted me to "Bookmark" Alice on my computer.
Gardening is a wonderful activity for children. My children learn far more in the garden than they do around the table. Barbara writes about how her own children have benefited from what sounds like a marvelous woodland garden. Her post features some wonderfully green photography. I'm a little green with envy over her fire pit which I'm sure has been the setting for many happy family evenings.
"In the beginning God commanded the plants to bear fruit, each according to its kind; so in like manner, He commands all Christians, who are the living plants of his Church, to produce fruits of devotion, each one according to his position and devotion."
Margaret uses some vibrant garden imagery to remind us to tend to our soul's well being. She's also pretty funny. :)
Elena's delightful tale of gardening with her grandfather is a wonderful example of the many life lessons we can pass on to our children in the garden (and also has me craving fresh sweet peas!)
One of the nicest aspects of putting this fair together is seeing what people are planting around the country; from the northeast where they had a few too many late snow storms, to our own home garden, pounded by gusty winds and hail this spring (oh my sad cucumbers) to Divina's garden, lovingly tended by her husband. They are growing bananas, figs, and so many other treats. Divina thoughtfully included many photos of their many varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Speaking of different garden environments, the fascinating and adventurous Jennifer proves you can even garden on a sailboat. Despite the obvious challenges, Jennifer and her daughter have created a fragrant, welcoming "front porch" area on their boat that looks so inviting!
Purple is the subject of Ruth's post - a color featured heavily in my own garden. There are so many different shades of blues and purples found in flowers. We also get a peek at Ruth's Mary Garden which includes some lovely roses.
Elizabeth is putting down roots, happily waiting and watching her garden and her family grow. They added several new roses this past year - one particularly beautiful Rose with pink chubby cheeks and an adorable smiling face.
Speaking of roses, I must include one more passage written by St. Francis de Sales. I would have to chose him as my favorite saint because he brought me much closer to God through his writing. My favorite book, given to me by my sister, is Mystical Flora of St. Francis de Sales. The following quote is taken from this book:
The sun looks at a rose, along with a thousand millions of other flowers, just as much as if he looked at the rose alone. And God, though He loves a countless number of other souls, does not pour out his love upon one soul less than if He loved that soul alone, since the force of His love does not diminish according to the multitude of rays that it sends forth, but remains always full in its own immensity.
Our garden is such a large part of who we are that it is difficult for me to sum it all up in a paragraph here. My parents imparted to me a love of nature in a grand way, through national parks and camping trips. My grandfather and grandmother taught me the basics of flower and vegetable gardening. There really are fewer places I would rather be than in the backyard with my family. The garden displays for my children the amazing harmony with which God created this beautiful world.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the fair. It has been so enjoyable for me to read about your gardens. And if you didn't get around to writing in time but would still like to participate, leave a comment and I will periodically update the post.
- KC give us a peek into her mother's garden.
- Angela very appropriately compares gardening to homeschooling. Any of you doing both will instantly recognize the similarities.
(Just a quick footnote - I hope I included all the submissions. Some of the emails were inexplicably sent to my bulk folder along with the spam I usually delete. I think I got everyone, but let me know if you don't see your post)