Tata was feeling very sad. She sat alone in the garden and a tear rolled down her cheek. She looked around at all the pretty flowers and sighed loudly.
“Why me?” she cried. “I have been such a good fairy. I did not pull the wings off the ladybugs. I gently brush the rose petals so they are velvety soft. I always help the baby birds who fall out of their nests.”
Earlier that day the Fairy Queen had given all the five-year old fairies their very own jobs. Now all the flowers and the trees, the birds and the insects, had a special fairy to take care of them. Tata had been named the Dandelion Fairy.
She was so upset that she did not see the Fairy Queen come into the garden. She sat on a little rock, her wings drooping, and sobbed loudly and deeply.
“Why Tata,” said the Fairy Queen softly, “what is the matter? Why are you crying so hard?” She sat down beside the little fairy and gently took her hand.
“Oh your majesty,” said Tata, feeling very unhappy. “Please do not be angry with me. I did so want to be a very special fairy with a very special job. I have worked very hard and I think I deserve to be the Rose Fairy or the Baby Bird Fairy. The Dandelion is just an ugly weed.”
The Fairy Queen looked very grave as she spoke to Tata. “My dear Tata, I think that you are indeed a very special fairy. In fact, I think you are the best five-year old fairy in my kingdom. That is why I have given you such an important job to do.”
Tata looked up at the Fairy Queen in great surprise. She did not understand. How could taking care of a silly weed be so important? She listened carefully as the Fairy Queen spoke again.
“You see Tata, the Dandelion may be just a weed, but it is also very important. It’s leaves are very good in salad, and there are many people who enjoy a hot drink made from them. But the best part is the fruit.”
Tata’s eyes opened wide. “I did not know the Dandelion had a fruit. Is it sweet?” she asked.
The Fairy Queen smiled. “No Tata, it is not sweet. You cannot even eat it, but it brings lots of joy. You see, when the flower dies a big ball of white fluff comes in its place. When boys and girls find these they have great fun blowing them into the air.
On the end of each strand of fluff is a tiny fruit, the seed, which then floats away on the wind. When they come down to the ground again they grow into more Dandelions. So you see Tata, even weeds are important. Now do you understand why I need you to take great care of the Dandelions?”
Tata smiled at the Fairy Queen. “Oh yes, your majesty. Thank you so much for choosing me for this job. I will be the best Dandelion Fairy that you ever had.”
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.
Sometimes, as I go waltzing lyrically, crashing blindly, or flying magically through my day, I come across little snippets of wisdom that grab my attention. I reach for a pen and a piece of paper, sometimes I actually find a notebook at hand. Other times, more often than not, I will use the back of a receipt or a parking ticket or some other scrap that finds its way into my purse or on the car floor. (I knew there was a real reason not to clean out my purse or the car too often!!)
And so I end up with lots of one-liners lurking in the corners of my life, and somehow when I come across one it always seems to be at the just when I need to hear that particular gem of wisdom. As I am recording these jewels for future reference, I occasionally remember to include the author’s name; more often than not I don’t.
Sometimes it is already an anonymous quotation and I wonder what circumstance prompted the writer to come up with that thought. But mostly I am simply grateful that all these people had these wonderful thoughts and chose to share them with the world at large. Here are just a few one-liners that I came across as I checked through one of my many boxes of “stuff to hang on to, in case”.
“Some people grumble because the roses have thorns instead of being grateful that the thorns have roses.” (Anon)
“Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it.” (Mother Teresa)
“The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.” (Anon)
“Winners – people who tell you what they did and not people who tell you what they think you ought to do.” (Anon)
“Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven’t tried before.” (Mae West) (I need humor in my life!)
“Don’t look down on another person unless you are leaning over to help them up.” (Anon)
“To accept the responsibility of being a child of God is to accept the best that life has to offer.” (Stella Terrill Mann)
“Saying ‘No’ can be the ultimate self-care.” (Claudia Black)
“If you want a thing well done, get a couple of old broads to do it!” (Bette Davis) (That humor again!)
“What a different world this would be if people would magnify their blessings the way they do their troubles.” (Anon)
“If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?” (Dolores Huerta)
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” (Madeleine L’Engle)
“We must learn from the mistakes of others because we won’t live long enough to make them all ourselves.” (Anon)
And just to finish with a final smile……………………….
“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing!!” (Phylliss Diller)