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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Plums to Hydrangeas

Since my last post, we’ve transitioned from the season of flowering plums:

flowering plum

… to brilliant roses glowing in the sun:

rose

… and hydrangeas in hues like watercolors:

hydrangeas

hydrangeas

Sleep is elusive in our new life with a baby with a million-watt smile who would rather drink in the world than close his eyes for a nap. We are on a fast-paced journey during which the seasons change from plums to hydrangeas almost before we realize it. Breathe. Luxuriate in each moment. Even on the tough days after long, sleepless nights. That’s what I keep telling myself. I want to be awake, to be present every moment of the journey.

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It was one year ago that I started writing this blog. We had just moved into our new home and planted flowers in the garden. Here’s what some of them look like now:

Hydrangea:
hydrangea

A patio pot of pink flowers:
pink

Lily of the Nile:
lily of the nile

Much has happened in this one year of blogging–life events like our ten-year anniversary, the 8th grade graduation of a niece I’ve known and loved from the beginning, the adventure of new friendships and the deepening of old ones, losses, and journeys both internal and external. A full set of seasons passed by, documented sporadically and inadequately on this blog. What has made this experience extra rewarding is the connection with you, Blissful reader–whether I’ve known you for years, or whether we’ve only met through our blogs.

A good friend said so very generously that this is the “most beautiful blog on the net.” I know he’s totally exaggerating, but it pleases me nevertheless because this blog is about taking note of blessings and seeking to live life fully. For me, that entails recognizing and cherishing beauty.

In this season–the same one in which I started this blog a year ago–I often find myself looking out through the windows into the light and color in our garden. Outside, a few fruits are ripening on the dwarf lemon tree. The Japanese maples are flourishing. The hydrangea, alyssum, and lobelia are in full bloom. As the garden matures outdoors, so I hope that Blissful Begonia’s roots will grow deeper and that it will bloom as I continue to blog.

Thank you for a Blissful year of blogging! Let’s hope for many more. 🙂

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Japanese maple

In The Man Who Planted Trees, a solitary shepherd brings life and hope to a desolate region by planting a hundred acorns a day for thirty years. This beautiful, inspiring short film is available online, and I invite you to take half an hour to watch it.

It may inspire you to plant a tree yourself in some corner of the world:

– In the Atlantic Forest of South America, through the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign

– Or in Kenya and throughout Africa, through Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai’s organization, The Green Belt Movement

The Greenbelt Movement

– Or in urban Los Angeles, CA, through the TreePeople‘s effort to plant a million trees.

TreePeople

Or you may want to reduce your paper usage by opting out of unwanted catalogs. I recommend Catalog Choice’s free service, which allows you to choose specific catalogs you want to decline. You know the ones you didn’t even sign up for but somehow receive? The ones you never look at anyway? It only takes a minute or two to decline them and save printing, shipping, and disposal costs.

Catalog Choice

Check out what others are doing, and consider sharing your own Earth Day story on Google’s Earth Day map.

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Sometimes flickers of it are in your own backyard:

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

We shall find peace. We shall hear angels. We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.
– Anton Chekov

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Good Ideas

A Catnap

cat nap

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.
– Robert Fulgham

Afternoon Tea
tea

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
-Thich Nat Hahn

Cultivating

Japanese maple

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
– Mohandas K. Ghandi

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I’m not feeling very chatty right now, so I hope you’ll put up with some recent photos.

At a garden shop:
Garden pots

Garden pots

Japanese Maple

At home:
Japanese Maple

Bougainvillea

Pink Flowers

Easter Lily & Oriental Poppy

The weather forecast is for more rain and cold weather, so for now we’re soaking up the sun. Don’t stay away for long, beautiful weather!

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Although my favorite season of all doesn’t officially begin until next week, it’s already unfolding in its luxurious colors, at least in our neighborhood. On this Wednesday, here’s a little bliss from my corner of the world.

Pale yellow roses from my dear husband:
Roses

Tissue-thin petals of the Spanish lavender:
Spanish Lavender

A row of flowering plum trees on the way to the mailboxes.
Flowering Plum

The sharp crimson bark of the new addition to our backyard, an Acer palmatum “Fjellheim” Japanese Maple:
Japanese Maple

Our kitties, caught here in a nose-kiss, relishing the warmer weather:
Kiss-kiss

Have a blissful rest of the week, dear readers!

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Grow, salad, grow!

This weekend, the warm sunlight lured me outdoors to garden. In a three-tier planter, I’m growing a salad. 🙂

Herb & Salad Garden

Top tier: purple and sweet basil

Middle tier: fennel, sage, oregano, and rosemary

Bottom tier: red-leaf lettuce and chard

The “salad bowl” planter is right outside our patio door, so we’ll be able to just step outside and clip a few greens for a salad. Around the corner of the house are pepper (sweet red, green, and yellow), zucchini, squash, and more chard plants.

Grow, yummy veggies, grow!

This is only my second year of vegetable gardening, and I’m hooked. What about you? Do you garden? What are you growing this season?

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Roses

Happy Valentine’s Day, Blissful readers!

Today, I want to share with you a few blogs I’m loving right now:

Nordljus
Keiko’s stunning photography captures the beauty of food, destinations, and everyday objects. I can only dream of taking photos like these. (Be sure to click on the thumbnails on the left sidebar on Keiko’s blog to see more photos.)

My Inner Edge
I discovered this blog just recently. With a photo and a daily offering from poets like Galway Kinnell and Mary Oliver or, alternately, a meditative quote, My Inner Edge soothes and nourishes my soul.

Colors of the Garden
For me, visiting Kerri’s blog is like an armchair excursion to the countryside via photos of a lush garden and adorable kitties.

The Artful Parent
The idea of family life that celebrates art is so inspiring to me. The Artful Parent reminds me that creating art is a simple, natural, and joyful act.

The Style Files
I’m interested in living spaces that are both functional and artful, and this Netherlands-based blog is a collection of charming ideas for interiors.

Enjoy!

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Are you on your way?

spring comes early

We’ve planted a few early signs of spring.

early buds

Around our neighborhood, the trees are budding.

still hibernating

Even so, some of us are still hibernating.

Season of warm breezes, flowers, and short-sleeved blouses, are you on your way?

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