Finally the sun has deigned to grace us with his presence, his light, and his warmth down here in (normally!) sunny Florida. The biting cold, the frosts, and miserable grey are hopefully a thing of the past. And not a day too late; my garden Muse was absolutely itching to get to work because I had major projects to accomplish!
This year I decided to shake things up a little in my garden. The St. Francis flower bed, so named because his statue oversees this part of the garden, had developed a deep-rooted weed system which was hard to control. So I decided to dig deep, dig out as much as possible of the offending growth, and put in a fairly large (10’ x 6’) paved patio center-front of the bed to eliminate some of the back-breaking work of weeding. I have dressed up the patio with pots and urns of various sizes and colours which are planted up with bulbs, seeds and some partially developed plants.
The Quan Yin flower bed, obviously named because her statue reigns supreme here, is much the same as before. However I have decided to fill it with even more flowers this year. There are also hundreds of seeds lying just below the surface of the soil which hopefully will germinate and bloom as the year goes by. I also plan to add to the collection of brightly coloured chimes and wind twisters that hang from the wrought iron framework of the old gazebo that I moved to this bed when the lanai was built last year.
The front yard has undergone the biggest transformation: the side two of the three small flowerbeds have been eliminated and returned to sod, while the central flowerbed has been enlarged to four times its original size. I have walled it in with rustic stonework, elevating the back part to a higher terraced level. The front area has been filled to overflowing with brightly coloured spring flowers and hundreds of seeds are also germinating here for later in the season.
However, the central attraction of this new terraced bed is the weather-worn, trellis arch that originally sat just outside the screened-in back porch room. This arch, which was deeply rooted into the ground on each side with six years of steadily growing orange trumpet vine, was dug up and relocated to the center of the raised terrace part of the new bed out front. A couple of extra trellis panels have been added on each side of the arch to accommodate the copious trailing branches that grow from the vines, and I have planted several rose bushes in this elevated section too.
All of this was done with much help from my assistant gardener, Linda – a very dear friend without whose help I could not have achieved this major overhaul!! This morning, after many anxious days of waiting and watching, new green growth showed on the winter-hibernating vine that wraps itself intricately around the arch:-).
As I sit in the lanai writing, my heart is full of joy and my soul sings in gratitude as I survey the end result of much hard work. It continues to be a work in progress and God’s creation will become even more beautiful as seeds develop into plants and then bloom out in a riot of colour. And this joy and gratitude are magnified because I know that passers-by can feast their eyes and experience their own heart joy.
My happiness is complete as I watch the birds swarming at the feeders. Squirrels are scurrying in the grass and chasing each other up and over the back fence. Lizards and frogs are awakening from their winter lethargy and today I have seen at least a dozen butterflies.
Richard has taken some lovely photos of the garden today, some of them early this morning in the subdued sunrise light, and some of them around lunch time. Enjoy!!
You can see all 45 photos at the Spring Garden Update Photo Album.
My quiet time in the morning is totally sacred to me. I come out into my screened room with my books of reflective thoughts and I sit with God. This is the most important part of my day. It helps to set the tone of my heart, soul, and mind and prepares me for the day ahead.
When I am in my screened room I am surrounded by nature. There is my garden, which I tend to in the best fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants fashion, with its green grass and beds full of bright nodding flowers. The old WalMart gazebo wrought-iron frame sits over the central flower bed with hanging wind chimes and colorful hummingbird feeders as well as Confederate Jasmine and Trumpet Vine climbing up each corner post. And a statue of Quan (Kuan) Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassionate loving kindness nestles below at the base of a Magnolia shrub.
The large flower bed to the left is dedicated to many green plants and shrubs. A statue of St. Francis of Assisi peeks out from a widespread clump of tall Mexican Petunias. This bed also holds a beautiful Roserie de l’Hay, a rose bush that carries deep pink, almost purple blooms that my sister gave us because of the family name (Hay). There is also a small lemon tree that my son Marco gifted to us on a visit a few years ago.
The flower bed in the right hand corner of the garden has large prosperous Chinese Privets, a Cassis tree, and a Chaste tree. The highlight of this bed is a concrete circle that I have installed with a small bird bath in the centre. Surrounding the bird bath are many different shallow ceramic, pottery, and glass containers full of stones, crystals and shells from all over the world. Larger stones and small rocks stand freely between the containers. This is my way of bringing the world together in harmony.
Behind the back fence we are blessed with a small pine wood. This is a source of continuous delight for me. It is full of wild life. Squirrels play in the tree tops and we have an abundance of bird life: cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, blue birds, tit mice, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, kingbirds, wrens, vireos, warblers, sparrows, crows, and hawks. How can I not feel close to God in such surroundings? With such beauty all around me how can I not find inner peace and solace no matter what may be troubling my heart?
And so I come each morning to quiet my body and just sit still, to quiet my mind ridding it of all worldly pressures and stresses, and to quiet my heart and make any burden less important than God’s presence. If I can shake the noise of the world, the better I can hear God’s voice. If I can silence the busyness that the world creates for me then I stand a chance of creating an inner sanctuary where I find rest and restoration.
God is waiting for me to create this space so that He can enter in and bless me. It is In this silence, in this space of peace, that I can enter into intimacy with God and create and grow a wonderful relationship with Him. It is through this relationship that I can then bless all the other relationships in my life.
It has taken me many years to give this gift of quiet time to myself. For those of you who follow my writings you will remember “Sabbath With Georgina”. That is when and where I had my first real taste of “quiet time”. I have often struggled with the “demon voices” that told me “this is a waste of time”, “you need to get on with (whatever)”, “you have nothing to gain and life is passing you by”, “what’s the point? Who’s listening to you?”.
Today I allow nothing and no one to interfere with my precious quiet time. Whatever my first “outside” appointment of the day may be, I allow at least two hours prior to that for me and my God. This is how I feed my soul and develop my spiritual life. This is where I begin the joy that fills my day.