Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Not So Secret Garden

After a hard winter, and vexing spring, June has been a joy to the senses. Such a delight to dash outside any time the pure gold light beckons. I never know what I'll find to photograph, a new hobby for me. I'm using my cell phone, haven't advanced to an actual camera yet. The garden is alive with butterflies, bees, bumbles, birds, and fireflies (tough to capture pics of those tantalizing glimmers) in addition to the plants. Extra time in the garden is good for the spirit, so I'm out the door the instant it summons. 

The double apricot hollyhocks I photographed below are blooming on the only plant that survived the winter from the many seedlings I started last spring and nurtured all summer. Endless watering during the long dry spell...and all gone, but this one remaining hollyhock is glorious. I will save seed from it and try again for more. 

The poppies are exquisite, like butterflies fluttering in the breeze...their silken petals fabric for sumptuous gowns. If such whimsy were possible. Maybe for the fairies. 

The many pollinators visiting the garden also love poppies. 

"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides." ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

(Breadseed Poppies below. I got the seed for these at Monticello)

(Shirley Poppy and Miniature Hollyhocks)

Exquisite gossamer gown poppy. Actually, it's a rare colored Shirley poppy, the only one of its kind that I see blooming thus far.

Another thing about the garden, I think best there. Story ideas and scenes come to me. I've been advised to talk into a recorder so as not to lose these thought threads before jotting them down. I haven't yet done that, though. I'm already a neighborhood eccentric. Old Order neighbors have spotted me--gasp--in the garden on a Sunday more than once as they drive past in their buggies. Not done, you see. And they're not the only ones who disapprove. For those of you who do not live in a highly conservative area, you have no idea how wicked I am. I try to simply tour the grounds on the Sabbath and not do any actual frowned upon work. But a stray weed here and there temps me to a quick tug. And I've transplanted a geranium or two..three. I got caught arm deep in potting soil a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. Daughter Elise was with me then and said there was nothing for it but to wave as the buggy drove past. She did. I pretended not to notice.

(Red Admiral butterfly on cone flowers)

If possible, I hide from passersby, sink down behind the asters or dart around the sunflowers. I'd really like a secret garden. Speaking of which, I love The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Another lovely children's book, also wonderful for appreciative adults, is Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. She has some of the most beautiful garden imagery I've ever read.

“Nothing stands still, except in our memory.” 
― Philippa PearceTom's Midnight Garden

That quote is true of life, and certainly of the garden. Each day is different out there. If you stay away a whole week, the growth in summer is staggering. Two weeks, and it's a jungle.

(Evening Primroses bloom at dusk like time lapse photography. This pic was taken in the early morning while they are fresh and dewy.)

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

I believe the world would be a far far better place if more people had gardens. I'm all for community gardens, and getting children involved in growing things. Herein lies the key to world peace. Beth's shared wisdom. If only the world would listen.

(Poppies and larkspur)

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

"My garden is my favorite teacher." ~Betsy CaƱas Garmon,

(Abraham Darby, my favorite rose)

For more on me visit my blog

If anyone is interested, I wrote an herbal available in kindle and print at Amazon, also print at Barnes & Noble.  

An illustrated collection of plants that could have been grown in a Medieval Herb or Physic Garden in the British Isles. The major focus of this work is England and Scotland, but also touches on Ireland and Wales. Information is given as to the historic medicinal uses of these plants and the rich lore surrounding them. Journey back to the days when herbs figured into every facet of life, offering relief from the ills of this realm and protection from evil in all its guises.


  1. What a beautiful post! I loved all your photos, as well as the quotes you included. Your medieval herb garden book sounds fascinating.

  2. Beth, I had never seen (even via photos) a double hollyhock before. I love hollyhocks. Actually, I love all the flowers you've shared. I am so pleased with my copy of your herb and flower book!

    1. Thanks Caroline. Apparently, these double hollyhocks are rare jewels.

  3. Beth, you always have such beautiful flower photos. Love these.


Thank you for commenting on Smart Girls Read Romance. We love readers and love their comments. We apologize that due to a few unethical spammers we've had to institute comment moderation. Please be patient with us... we DO want your genuine comments!