This is my favorite window in our kitchen. It overlooks the rose garden and lemon tree, but best of all, it has a great view of one of our birdhouses. I’ve been spending a lot of time at this window lately, because a family of Carolina chickadees has been nesting in the birdhouse. They seem to have raised an “only child” this time around. When I saw him looking about for mom the other day, I just had to go outside for a picture.
Isn’t he cute? He didn’t even seem to mind my presence, although his mom in a nearby tree gave me quite a scolding. This tiny bird seemed eager to leave his house and explore the outside world….or maybe he was just hot. A few years ago, three baby bluebirds were born in this same birdhouse in June. The temperatures were in the 100’s during those weeks, and the poor little things hung their heads out of the “door” all day. They looked pretty miserable. They soon disappeared with their parents, so hopefully all went well.
The birds are such a precious reminder of God’s Beauty and Charm. I love watching how the parents take such excellent care of their babies…which appears to be very time-consuming. After the little guy above left a couple of days after I took this picture, I opened the birdhouse to view the perfect little nest, made of moss and so neatly packed into place. Most lovely of all was the soft, downy material carefully arranged like a cushion where the eggs had been laid. I’m always amazed at how clean the birds keep their little houses, removing waste and eggshells, etc. Soon I’ll be enjoying the “newbies” at the feeders, tottering on nearby tree branches and waiting for mom’s or dad’s “instructions.”
Here is a picture of the rose garden. You can see my kitchen window on the left, and the little birdhouse is on the far right. Since my husband installed the fountain a few years ago, the birdhouse has been full every spring. He says the birds like the “waterfront” property 🙂 They also love to perch on the top of the arbor…unseen because the photographer didn’t wear her glasses.
That bench is where I thought I would sit and read and pray and just enjoy God’s beautiful garden. But, I never do. I’m too busy inside with “stuff,” or in my car running errands somewhere. But walking about the garden taking these pictures, I made a promise to myself to truly “stop and smell the roses.” Nature so naturally lifts the mind and heart to God. I need to make time for the sights and sounds and smells of this beauty. It might be October before it’s cool enough to sit outside for very long again, but I’m trying to spend at least a little time each day playing with my cat on the patio, and noticing which new flowers are blooming.
I’m lucky there were some roses on the bushes to photograph that day! My husband, grower of all that survives in our yard, loves to cut his roses and put them indoors. Sometimes, the bushes are bare, but the vases inside the house are full! I keep telling him that a rosebush deserves to keep at least a few of its roses. We are fortunate that roses bloom in our climate about eight months of the year. They are most beautiful and prolific in spring and fall. They survive the scorching days of July and August, but the blooms are fewer and smaller and fade quickly.
These Easter lilies are in the front yard near the driveway. An Easter lily certainly has a big payoff! I think we started with two or three bulbs about ten years ago, and now each spring, we are rewarded with dozens of these beautiful white flowers. I only wish their blooms would last all summer! Like people, some flowers have short lives, while others bloom for many months. Often, we seem to value more the ones which soon fade. We excitedly await their first show of color. And, we notice them, while often taking for granted the hardly little vincas and marigolds who endure months of harsh weather.
These pink dianthus have been with us since we moved into this house 14 years ago. They were one of the first flowers we bought. They used to grow by the front steps, but it got too shady there. My husband has moved the survivors to a few other places, and now they are in the driveway garden. Soon they will succumb to the heat, but they will be back again in the fall.
Of course, St. Therese has to have a place in our yard. She who so loved flowers! Here she is among more Easter lilies, but I see that the gladiolas are getting “fat” with their lovely spikes of flowers which will be visible in a few weeks. Some faithful pink yarrow is also blooming in her garden, but you can’t see it in this picture.
This little tree rose grows right across from Therese, so I like to think it is her rosebush. It blooms generously, and the stems are too short for my husband to cut off all the flowers 🙂
Here is a backyard garden full of begonias. We tried at least a dozen different perennials and even more annuals, but nothing much lived except for the begonias. So, we’ve given in and let them have this space. They return year after year, and even bloom in winter if it’s not too cold. My husband planted all that border grass, while I begged for more flowers, but since I can’t get anything to grow, he won the space.
Actually I did get something to grow. I bought two “star flowers” our first spring here. I thought they were very special because they were perennials and cost $6.00 each. I now call them the alien pods, seeded in dark of night by unseen invaders from the sky. These things have multiplied into literally thousands of plants over the years. They are everywhere! We could not possibly eliminate them all, so my husband tries to corral most of them around the trees in the backyard. They don’t bloom until mid-summer, and have small star shaped flowers which are hidden, for the most part, by the long spidery green leaves. If we could pot them and sell them for $6.00 each, we would be very, very rich indeed. At the very least, I sense a plot for a good science fiction movie……Hmmm.
Ah, and here is Mother Mary, surrounded by a few Easter lilies, a few roses, a few daisies at the moment. I often wonder which of her Son’s flowers she loves most. Does she have a favorite? Surely, it’s not the dreadful star-flower!
This statue of Mary is cherished by our family, and I once wrote a post about it called Mary of the Morning Glories.
While touring our garden and taking these pictures, I thought of how God created the most beautiful garden to be a home for Adam and Eve, and of how God walked in that Garden in the cool of the day. (Genesis 3:8)
Surely God is still walking in the gardens of His creation, and is so delighted when we look for Him there. Adam and Eve shamefully hid from Him when He called to them in the Garden.. But, because of Jesus, we can run to meet Him, call Him Father, and tell Him how we have found Him in the beauty of a rose and the fragrance of a lily…in the adorable chickadees and their lovely little nests. He speaks to us in the miracle of a butterfly and in the mystery of nature renewing itself. The brilliance of the sun is a reminder of His Divinity and the earth sanctified by the feet of Jesus reassures us of His humanity.
Truly, all creation sings His praises….even my lowly starflower!
Awake, north wind,
come, wind of the south!
Breathe over my garden,
to spread its sweet smell around.
Let my love come into his garden,
let him taste its most exquisite fruits. Song of Songs 4:16 (NJB)