I’m always torn when the summer solstice arrives. Litha celebrates the brilliance of that longest day, that peak of power and light even as the days after are just a little shorter one by one. So I think we have to appreciate what the full-on summer and that light offer while we have them.

A lot of that, for me, comes from the garden. I spend some time every day I can in that light, with the flowers whether it’s working with them or just admiring.

This past week was–happily–butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard. A brief detour to the dentist for the permanent crown to replace the one that cracked. I had an 8:20 am appointment, got there at 8:15, and was back in my car heading home at 8:35.

You don’t get better than that.

Every day last week after work and workout, I chose a snack out of proteinpromos massive list of ideas high in protein and then took a little walk around with the dogs. Sunshine and flowers–add a glass of wine on the walk, dogs trotting along and that’s a perfect end of the work day for me.

This week, if nothing gets in the way, looks to offer the same.

Ah, summertime.

Yesterday, no work but workout, then gardening gloves and pruners.

Here’s what I saw along the way.

Purple cone flowers starting to pop among the green, green, green.

Begonias flourishing–and what’s left of some nasturtium after cabbage loopers attacked making a gradual comeback.

Monarda, vivid and feathery.

Thriving pots–even most of the ones you see Parker (and it turns out it is primarily Parker) digs in.

Whiskey barrel of coleus and sweet potato plants.

Mystery perennial. Bookstore Janeen gave me a pot of ONE of these from her yard last summer, and didn’t know the name. These sunny pretties have spread like mad. Anybody know what they are?

Snapdragons, lobelia, nasturtiums, basil, lavender, with cardinal flowers and Black-Eyes Susans almost ready to bloom.

My happy little faerie garden, or most of it. Some Solomon Seal and a bleeding heart already bloomed off, ageratum, mini fuchsia, dragon wing begonia. The sweet alyssum in the front doesn’t seem to love it there. I’ll try something else next year.

But a very happy barrel of impatiens.

One of my gardening companions.

More thriving pots on the lower patio.

And tomatoes on the vine, with pepper plants coming right along.

I didn’t think to take a picture of the hydrangeas, but since I didn’t walk back in empty handed, we have a pretty little harvest in the very cool vase Laura gave me.

After my morning workout, I think I’ll grab some clippers and cut more flowers on my walk around with the dogs.

Flowers, inside and out, make summer for me as much as long, sunny days.

Enjoy the light.


38 thoughts on “Summer”

  1. Wow. I’m not really a garden person, but I would love to have such a place to walk around in. It truly seems like a sanctuary. And, not that I’m surprised, but I’m so impressed that you know all those names! Love the little glimpse of your gardening companion. I bet they are thrilled when you take a walk about. Thank you for the tour!

  2. Guess what it boils down to is that you, Nora, were “Born in the Light”. Beautiful flowers and gardens. Gotta love what keeps you sane!!

  3. Nora I know the contentment of walking among the flowers and light. I so miss my gardens and since we live on the shady side of our apartment building I only get a dappling of sunlight early morning. I do have a few blooming beauties but wish for more and more.

    Have a great Summer. Looks like your already very happy with the start of it… Beth

  4. I have no idea what your mystery perennial is, but I would love to have that in my garden and hope someone can identify it. Love yellow flowers which brighten up a garden. And a perennial is that much better. I’ve given up on annuals and opted to invest in flowers that only require one planting.

    I have phlox, coneflower, dianthus, assorted varieties of lilies, lilacs, assorted colors of butterfly bush, rose of Sharon, purple sage, gladiola, columbine (wish someone had told me the purple was dominant and would convert the other colors), fern leaf bleeding heart, various types of primrose, a myriad of daylilies, viburnum, roses, heliopsis, encore azaleas which bloom sporadically after the full first bloom, along with all the spring bulb flowers (tulips, daffodils, iris, crocus, hyacinth). My monarda (bee balm) apparently didn’t like the location and did not survive. Oh, and raspberry and blackberry bushes which are beginning to produce fruit. I hope I can beat the birds to the harvest.

  5. I love your garden! Thank you for sharing, it always brightens my week.

  6. I’m way behind you, since our last snow was only weeks ago, but I’m getting nice surprises too! My nasturtiums are only starting to bloom (mine are yellow) and they may have a chance this year. The neighborhood cats took to eating the blooms of those and my violas last year, so this year I created a “cat planter” of mint, rosemary, thyme, catgrass and catnip. No one was more surprised than I when it worked! They’ll shove their faces into the pot and just breathe, and stand back when I clip a leaf of the catnip and crush it on the patio for them! They’ll roll over it until there’s nothing left of the leaf, then leap up and act like a crazed kitten for a while. Too funny and a good laugh to go with the colors starting to show in my own garden. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

  7. I love your gardens. Magnificent! I miss my gardening days, when I’d plant my own roses. But you have such an array , that must take so much time and effort to maintain. I’m sure that you find the work a great stress reliever and joy. But i have a question, if you can find the time to answer. The fourth photo down, on the extreme right- has a pot of purple leaves with tiny white flowers. I’ve never seen those- what are they, please?

    1. Chevy, it looks like my oxalis, also called shamrock plant. Isn’t it gorgeous?

  8. This is indeed a beautiful start to a warmer climate and the blooming of God’s wondrous and colorful plants. I am thankful every year for the miracles we have been given.

    I wish you good health, dental and others. Happy writings.

  9. Beautiful! It is heavenly to have SO much light in the day, to work with and deadhead the flowers (one of my favorite hobbies!), and to be aware of the need to stop and savor, the awareness that this is a favorite but a fleeting season. I am appreciating summer, the beaming light, the balmy breezes, more with each passing year! ?

  10. Blessed Be the return of light! Thank you, Nora, for the tour if your beautiful garden!

  11. Beautiful garden , I love seeing it. I also have a flower garden and porch full of flowers, it’s the best time of the year !

  12. Oh I love deadheading & letting new shoots blossom. Bringing the outdoors in with vases dotted around the house. I have a lovely crop of Sweet Peas this year. 2 containers full!! Love the smell as they fill the room with the delightful smell. And enough to change every other day. White daisies, digitalis, wild poppies, snap dragons, roses, cornflowers,marigolds,poached eggs, etc etc. My pooch has no interest in helping. He’d rather sit & watch these days bless him.

  13. Perhaps the perrenial with yellow flowers is Carolina Jessamine? Just guessin’ ?

    1. Carolina Jessamine’s a vine, isn’t it? I think so. Anyway, these are uprights, though some have tipped over a bit (slim stalks), and might look more like a vine or creeper in the photo. I’ve actually staked some of them. It’s a tall, slim stalked perennial with an enthusiastic spread!

      The flowers, however, are really similar to CJ.

  14. Thanks for the garden tour, Nora! Always lovely to take a peek into other gardeners’ spaces. It’s winter here in south-east Queensland & boy I can’t wait to get back to the longer WARMER days. Funnily enough, my cone flowers & nasturtiums are flowering too … On the opposite side of the seasons. Gotta love garden magic. :0) Bear Hugs! KRIS xx

  15. I passed the picture of the mystery plant over to a co-worker & my sister, both very good gardeners. My sister thought maybe loosestrife, but we think the blooms are very wrong. Leaves are somewhat similar however. Do the blooms sit above/actually on the leaf joints on each stem, as clusters? That & we’re not familiar with loosestrife falling over like that, but if it’s wanting water, it might.

    Do love the walk thru your gardens, Nora, and the blooming pots. I have lots of pots, but mostly shade plants such as hostas & heucheras. And a large group of geraniums occupying the little sun available. But hey, I managed to avoid getting poison ivy this weekend while weeding, so that’s a positive!

    1. Bloom shoot right out of the leaf joints. I don’t think loosestrife. Definitetly not wanting water. We have a sprinkler system, and the beds are watered every day–during dog days we often set it twice a day.

      Maybe I need to get a better photo.

      1. If you try a different photo, we’ll be happy to look at it again. I agree with the other gal; yellow always brightens the garden. Is it happiest in shade or sun?

  16. Thanks for the garden tour. Reminds me of the one my grandparents had before they passed . . . sweet little flowers with lovely stones and pots spilling out everywhere. So, thanks for that. Helps ease the still-sharp ache of their loss. And that Atticus! Dogs, gardens, wine and books . . . my idea of heaven. Yours too, I suspect. Have a happy week.

  17. I think your mystery perennial may be Jerusalem Sage, which spreads thickly but isn’t invasive.

    Your garden is lovely.

  18. I’ve enlarged the picture, too, trying to get an idea how the flowers cluster or not. Also what the leaves look like. I’ve looked a dozens and dozens of picture of yellow flowers, but none look like yours. It’s a great mystery for us, your fans, to try and solve. A larger, clearer picture, please?

  19. Now I plan to research purple shamrocks. They would look lovely and help to keep that favorite color through the season with my lavender, irises, and some newer additions I am planning. I am stopping short of eggplant. You all are founts of info here!

  20. I am happily ensconced in Westley and Buttercup reading this and smiling. It is so beautiful here. We came to celebrate our 40 th anniversary on Sunday and are loving it so much, we are going to stay an extra day albeit in another room tomorrow. You have a gorgeous, comfortable inn and the area is stunning. We came from Northern Ontario and have enjoyed the time immensely. Thank you.

    1. Isn’t it a treasure?! We have now stayed four times, in Wesley and Buttercup and in three other rooms. What a gift! Memories in such a special place are priceless! Just as in her books, Nora found another way to transport us to another world! We are SO grateful!

      1. I live west of the Rockies and am seriously contemplating a Civil War trip, along with a side-step to DC, in the next few months. For those of you who’ve actually stayed at the Inn, which rooms do YOU like the best? I’d like to try them all, but need some advice. Also, what is the best time of year to visit the area? Thanks.

        1. My favorite rooms that we stayed in were Jane and Rochester, which is a suite with a fireplace, a king-size four-poster bed, a fainting couch, a lovely secretary desk, and an amazing bathroom, with a deep copper tub AND stand up shower with jets. ALL the bathrooms are to die for! If I remember correctly, Wesley and Buttercup is very similar, with a grand king bed and a couch, just a floor above, with a copper mosaic tub and a multi-jet shower. Elizabeth and Darcy is a lovely room on the second floor with a king size bed, I think, and another breathtaking bathroom with a white claw foot tub. Marguerite and Percy is on the ground floor with two full-size beds, with cane headboards and a gorgeous crystal bowl vessel sink. I double-checked with the website to refresh my memory (it’s been years since I stayed at the first one!), and that is SO helpful, with photos, at I have seen the other rooms, and they are ALL gorgeous! We hope to stay in them all, over time! Have a phenomenal trip! The Inn staff is the kindest and friendliest staff I have encountered at a Bed and Breakfast, and that is saying something!

          1. Thanks, Evelyn! Appreciate the great detail. Definitely going to work my vacation around the Inn! Cheers!

  21. Cheers to you, too, Julie! I hope everything falls into place for you! Enjoy your trip! <3

  22. Could the mystery flower be yellow pimpernel? Looks like it from internet images…..maybe?

    1. I agree, Tami, the bloom looks like the British version of Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia Nemorum), but it’s described as a creeper: another common name is Creeping Yellow Loosetrife. The American version of Yellow Pimpernel is a member of the Carrot family, so the blooms look like Queen Anne’s Lace, etc.

      Thank heavens for the internet; I never had so much access to so much information about plants before!

    2. I agree. The leaves look correct, too. Yellow pimpernel. Good eye!

  23. Thanks kc and Diane…..I read they are native to Wales and Ireland. I think we have a winner!??

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