What I Do When I Have a STUPID Day. . .

what else, instead of hiding under the covers and praying for a quick end to the day, but to go for a walk in the woods! And that’s just what I did. After a stupid day at work. Stupid stupid stupid. Stupid. Stupid. There, now on to my walk. I went to 1000 Acre Swamp. I’ll be searching out other woods, because swamp = mosquitoes, and how the heck am I supposed to get decent photos with them sucking my very life’s blood out of my body.

Anyway, I came home from stupid (yes I really do appreciate having a job) and ate an early, quick dinner, and headed out to the swamp/woods. I felt an instant serge of peace and energy flow through me as I walked down this path to the swamp / woods.

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I saw buttercups, and columbine. This one was being shy, but I love the purple.

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And fleabane, which looks white in this photo, but it’s actually a very light purple:

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As I started walking on the boardwalk,

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I heard the frogs rebel and hop into the water. Someone’s looking at you!

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I love these cinnamon ferns on this log in the middle of the swamp:

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and this little island with the reflection of the blue sky on the water, and the sunlight:

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Christmas Fern:

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I love this photo of the boardwalk. I set the camera darker than it really was. Don’t know why I did that, I just felt like it.

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There was a bird here, a lifer too, one beautiful bird. I sooo need a quicker camera.

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And a fern I didn’t id:

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Lots of fungus on a log:

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I saw a jack-in-the-pulpit. Sorry, I wasn’t in the mood to get down in the mud to photograph “Jack.”

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Another fern I didn’t id:

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It was at this point that I started seeing leaves of three all over the place. Nooooo, I won’t be taking any more walks in this swamp for now. I am not going to get poison ivy again this summer if I can help it.

And then I saw the partly fallen tree that goes over the path I had to walk on. I forgot about that, too. It makes me VERY uncomfortable to walk under it. All I need is to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak.

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Ohhh, rocks, but nothing like what I saw at ASP last Saturday.

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Okay, so I’ve been waiting very patiently to show you this. Remember the tree on Trillium Trail that looks like it’s running away from its issues?

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It.

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Has.

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Leaves!! And it’s a maple.

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How awesome is that!

All in all, what a peaceful end to a, ummm, what kind of day was that again?

This Week in Bloom

Well, now wouldn’t you know I forgot my camera when I went to my Mom’s house this week – but, never fear I did capture photos. But, they’re sitting on her computer. So I’ll get them next time I go there and post them for you. For now, here’s a couple of random flower photos for you. My chives are in blossom now, so they basically end up in anything I cook from now until they’re gone, mmmm. And they are extra zingy this year. Little did I know until I blew this photo up that chive flowers are so interesting:

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And from my shade garden, Bleeding Heart (Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’). This was blowing in the breeze so it was hard to get a clear photo:

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And some rock soapwort flowers, which look really boring in this photo, but they’re in a large clump that drapes along the edge of the garden.
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On another topic, I did scan in my Dad’s Navy photos, and the following photo is an example of the type of stuff I wanted to ask him about. Okay, when a plane obviously doesn’t make the flight deck to land, or for some reason doesn’t take off and it lands upside-down in the water like this, were the people okay? Is the plane still usable? And how do they get the plane back onto the aircraft carrier? Bummer Dad, I have questions you needed to answer!

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The Birthplace of Memorial Day

The birthplace of Memorial Day occurred in nearby Waterloo, NY. There is a large NY State marker located on Routes 5 and 20, West Main Street at the southwest corner of Lafayette Park, in Waterloo with the following words:

MEMORIAL DAY

On May 5, 1866, the residents of Waterloo held the first complete, community-wide observance of Memorial Day. They dedicated the entire day to honoring the Civil War dead in a solemn and patriotic manner. Throughout the village, flags, draped in mourning, flew at half mast. Ladies prepared wreathes and bouquets for each veteran’s grave. Businesses closed, and veterans, civic organizations and townspeople marched to the strains of martial music to the village cemeteries. There, with reverent prayers and patriotic ceremonies, the tradition of Memorial Day was born.

Henry C. Welles, a prominent citizen, first proposed the idea for a day completely devoted to honoring the Civil War dead. General John B. Murray, the Seneca County Clerk, who had commanded the 148th New York Infantry Regiment in the war, quickly advanced the thought and marshalled community support. Since that year, Waterloo has annually observed Memorial Day. New York, in 1873, became the first state to proclaim Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was originally called, a public holiday.

In May 1966, a Joint resolution by the United States Congress and a proclamation by President Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

While Memorial Day has always been an important day for me to honor the many dead soldiers in my past, this Memorial Day is extra special (and tough) because my Dad is now on the list of people I am honoring today. I would fly my flag at half-mast for my Dad if my flag pole allowed that, but I am still flying it for him.

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My Dad on the 1943 WWII U.S.S. Monterey aircraft carrier as an electrician during the Korean War.

P.S. I used to wear those wool pants he has on in this photo in the wintertime when I was a teenager – they were the most comfortable pants! Except if you had to go the bathroom bad, all of those buttons. . .

A 65,000 Acre Backyard

What does one do with a 65,000 acre backyard? Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Mon@rch (Tom) and experiencing first-hand some of what he does in his *huge* backyard! We hiked to many very interesting places. First we went to an old growth forest, where he taught me so much more about old growth forests, so now I hopefully can spot one when I’m in one! One of the many signs are the mounds created from fallen trees. Saplings grow on this rich soil, eventually this soil is washed away, and this is an example of what is left:

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And this:

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You will also see buttress roots on the older trees, like this:

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Another sign is when you look up a tree there are no branches down low. You have to look up at the canopy to see the leaves of the trees, like this:

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The old trees will be nice and straight, like the one above and this one:

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(are you getting than I’m in heaven here with all of these trees and learning!)

You’ll see newly fallen over trees, which leave a huge hole in the canopy. The saplings that have been waiting for this opportunity start growing, and eventually the strongest sapling(s) win.

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You see a variety of trees in the area. One of the trees that I was really surprised to see (and I didn’t capture a photo of) is a HUGE cucumber magnolia tree!

On the way down and back up the old ski slope we saw lots of interrupted fern:

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And Mayapple:

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along with a large variety of other vegetation, including club moss, that I didn’t capture (I know, well, I’ll just have to go back, won’t I?)

Next, Mon@rch took me to see a 200 year old Sugar Maple tree. Mon@rch showed you his up-tree photo, so I’ll show you other views:

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Check out these buttress roots. Aren’t they gorgeous!

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I love the rocks laying all over the place. Makes it hard to walk through a field of rocks like this, but I still think they’re wonderful:

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Next we saw Bridal Veil Falls, but it was raining so we didn’t bring the cameras there. Hopefully I can take photos another time!

Next stop was at Thunder Rocks. Are you getting the theme, I love trees, flowers and rocks, and of course, birds! Rock polypody grows on these boulders, along with moss, lichens, trees, etc.:

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And a tree that looks like it’s sitting up down on this boulder:

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Next we went to France Brook and saw a beaver:

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And when it got scared it disappeared under the water and didn’t show up again. We also saw a pair of grackles removing fecal sacks from the cavity of a dead tree. Here’s a beaver dam in a pond down further:

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While Mon@rch was talking on his cell ordering us some food, I took photos of the Administration Building:

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And the bridge at Red House lake:

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Then we went up to Stone Tower:

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This is the view from the top looking north:

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There is an arrow in the stones pointing to (magnetic?) north:

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And here’s the view looking southwest:

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If the trees weren’t there we could have seen Red House lake!

We stopped to see a ton of Blue Cohosh, a favorite herb of mine!

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Then we went up to the top of another hill with a restaurant on it and took some photos of the view:

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After that we headed for the store for (vegeterian – thanks Mon@rch) pizza, and met Grace who is the naturalist at Allegany State Park and does the ASP blog here.

If anyone wonders why I love New York State, this park is a fine example of why I think NYS is one of the most beautiful places to live! Many, many thanks to Mon@rch for the wonderful day of learning and hiking!

The 100 Books Meme

I saw this on xenogere.com and since this looked like a good book list I thought I’d post it here, even though it looks like I don’t read much! I do though. Most of the books I read aren’t on this list.

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If you want to participate, this is how it works. Look at the list of books below.

  • Bold the ones you’ve read.
  • Italicize the ones you want to read.
  • Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
  1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
  2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
  5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) – while all of my friends were reading this series in ninth grade, I was outside!
  6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
  8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
  9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SERIES TO EVERYONE!
  10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
  12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
  14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
  15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
  16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
  17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
  18. The Stand (Stephen King)
  19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
  20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
  21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
  22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
  23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
  25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
  26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
  27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
  28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
  29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
  30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
  31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
  32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
  33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
  34. 1984 (Orwell)
  35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
  36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) – ANOTHER BOOK I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
  37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
  38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
  39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
  40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
  41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) – still need to read the rest of this series.
  42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
  43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
  44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
  45. The Bible
  46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
  48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
  49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
  51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
  52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
  53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
  54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
  55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
  56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
  57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
  58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
  59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
  60. The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) – started this but couldn’t get into it.
  61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
  62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
  63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
  64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
  65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
  66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
  68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
  69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
  70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
  71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
  72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  73. Shogun (James Clavell)
  74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
  75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
  76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
  77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
  78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
  79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
  80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
  81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
  82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
  83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
  84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
  85. Emma (Jane Austen)
  86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
  87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
  88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
  89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
  90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
  91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
  92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
  93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
  94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
  95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) – and every other book by Robert Ludlum
  96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
  97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
  98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford) – am catching up on the other books written by her.
  99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
  100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

This Week’s Plants in Bloom

Mom and I were going to go to the Lilac Festival last week, but the day we picked to go it was all of 50 degrees, so we’ll go to the park this week or next to see what’s in bloom there. For now, here’s some more of what’s in bloom this week at my Mom’s gardens, starting with one of her lilac shrubs, which smells as good as it looks:

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Her little irises are in bloom and beautiful:

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Her one rhododendron is in full bloom:

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While another one is just starting to bloom:

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The quince tree is just starting to come into blossom, maybe this weekend they’ll be out in full force:

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It’s been fun watching the ferns unfurl over the last couple of weeks:

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Even though the sun wasn’t shining the day I took these photos (Sunday) it is today, and I also “wrote” another haiku in my sleep about my Dad:

Sunny skies
Beautiful days without you
Life goes on

Hmmm, that wasn’t it exactly, drats, you know, I need to write them down as soon as I think of them.  It is in the ballpark, though.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful week, wherever you are!

The Thinker

Thank you to Susan Gets Native for giving me the “Thinking Blogger award”

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This award was given because my blog posts make her think, which is a really nice thing for her to say, especially with what has been going on lately.

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Side note: If memory serves me correctly, there is one of these “The Thinker” statues located on the SU campus. I’ll have to check it out sometime and take a photo.

Sooo, I’ll play along, but first I want to tell you that I don’t read any blogs that don’t make me think because my time is really limited. So I really would like to give the thinking blogger award to all of my blogging friends! And in my selection (selecting is really tough to do) I’m not including the ones that have already won the award (to my knowledge, that is). Please note, these are not in any particular order.

a. Tom at Mon@rch’s Nature Blog: I love Tom’s enthusiasm and his willingness to teach and share through his blogs and Flickr and to answer all of the questions I ask him. He’s so smart yet down to earth and doesn’t ever make me feel stupid when I ask about birds or anything! And he loves history, too.

b. Lynne at Hasty Brook: I fell in love with Lynne’s blog from day one because of her love of nature and her love of Hasty Brook. I’ve learned quite a bit from her blog, and I always look forward to learning more from Lynne’s posts.

c. Sandy at Gardenpath: Sandy, whether she knows it or not, has inspired me to write haiku by reading her blog. She also inspires me because she loves some of the same things I do, including nature, quilting, cooking, baking and gardening.

d. Jayne at Journey Through Grace: Jayne inspires me to be more graceful through her posts, and to continue decorating my home, and to try to achieve better photos, as all of my blogging friends do.

e. Jennifer at A Passion for Nature: Jennifer is a relatively new blogger and I have yet to comment on her blog because of my life’s events, but I have lurked, she’s got quite a bit to say, and I love her Flickr photostream.

Tom, Lynne, Sandy, Jayne and Jennifer: If you would like to participate in this meme, please choose five of the blogs that make you think, and please put the following participation rules in your post:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

What’s For Dinner?

Have you ever wondered what this vegetarian eats for dinner? Well, this isn’t my normal dinner fare, but I decided I was in the mood for a pizza yesterday, so I picked up an Amy’s Soy Cheese pizza at the store and embellished it with artichokes, spinach, mushrooms, basil and garlic, and, at the last minute decided I wanted more sauce. Mmmmm, it was yummy!

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And no, I didn’t eat the whole thing! I left some for lunch today!

And this next thing I made is Oatmeal Rhubarb Crumble which I got from a recent issue of Vegeterian Times that I copied to make for my Dad’s birthday since he loved rhubarb. I don’t normally make dessert for myself, but I saw the rhubarb in the store yesterday- mmmmm – and decided to make it. This was totally yummy! (I substituted olive oil for canola oil, arrowroot for cornstarch, and I use raw sugar instead of white sugar).

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I know my Dad would have loved it, too! He had rhubarb plants growing in my Mom’s gardens, and he called them his pie plants. Mmmm, I so love rhubarb, do you, too?

The Twilight Zone

I’ve been keeping my feelings at bay on my blog about how I feel right now because there’s so much beauty going on around us and the sun is shining brightly, etc., but I feel like I’m in the freakin’ Twilight Zone.

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I love watching this show, but I never dreamed I would be in it myself. I go through my days kind of emotionless. People could poke me with a thousand needles and I wouldn’t feel them. Some stupid second shift boys at work were having a huge fight right next to me and I didn’t give a crap at all. I am so tired of being this way, I just want to feel again. I need change now! I can see why people do drastic things when somebody very close to them dies. Not that I’m going to do anything drastic, I’m just saying I understand it! Life’s too short, and I want mine back! I’m here to tell you, this doesn’t get easier with time, it’s getting tougher, and my Mom and brothers concur. So those of you that are fortunate to have your Dad still, please go hug him so tight, never let him go, and smother him with kisses, and if he gets sick, MAKE him go to the doctor.

P.S. I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just telling it like it is. And I appreciate all of my friends’ beautiful blogs! It’s therapeutic to read your blogs and see your wonderful photos! Thank you so much! Now I’m off to try to gain some feeling back into myself.

Weekly Dose of Beauty

Yesterday for Mother’s Day my Mum wanted to work outside in her gardens – no problem! Anything to be outside. I took photos of this week’s flowers in blossom from her gardens for you to enjoy this week. Well, some have been around, I just didn’t get to them last week. First up, Red Bloom Bergenia:

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Flowering Plum. This tree is outdoing itself in blossoming this year:

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Korean Spicebush viburnum. Let me tell you, if you want viburnum, this one smells absolutely wonderful:

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Creeping Phlox, I think it’s candystripe:

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One of the many beautiful Anenomes in blossom right now:

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Foam Flower:

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And last, but certainly not least, Bleeding Heart:

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I love bleeding heart, but I also love all of these plants. Which one is your favorite?

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