My husband and older son are away on a camping trip this week and I am bathed in solitude, which is not somewhere I’d want to live but is a most luxurious place to visit. I cleared my schedule and, except for the purposes of this post, turned the computer off.

The spaciousness of prairie-like horizons of uninterrupted time to sit, to think, to do “nothing” has perhaps been the greatest luxury of all. And what better place to do that than in a place that inspires you?

Here are some of the sights that have inspired me this week.

Charming Surprises

A naturescape leaves room for surprises.

What I planted here: the bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii  – that’s the very fine-textured, feathery foliage), the original three golden alexander plants (the seedpod clusters), and the rose milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), which is inexplicably orange.

What nature planted here: the wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), which is a bee, butterfly, and hummingbird magnet, and the daisy fleabane (Erigeron spp.), with the tiny little white flowers.

Though I wouldn’t deliberately have placed orchid pink and orange in close proximity to one another, somehow it works. (Enough green to act as a moderating influence?) And, to my eye, the little shots of white add a charming grace note to the composition.

Though it doesn’t always, this is one of many times when my gardening spirit of, Let’s see what happens if, has paid dividends.

Friends on the Wing

We’ve had oodles of dragonflies this year.  I love seeing them for the color and life they bring to the garden as they swoop through the air, catching their prey on the wing. One of their main sources of food? Mosquitoes. A single dragonfly can eat anywhere from thirty to hundreds of mosquitoes a day. One more reason to love them!

Pink Loveliness

This pretty pink rose is growing in my bird hedge, so named because I designed it for the birds. (Surprise, right? 😉) It’s a great little climbing rose and I’m training it up into a hawthorn tree, inspired by images I love of English cottage gardens.

Rosa setigera isn’t quite native to my ecoregion, though scattered native populations show up close to the fringes. Wanting a climbing rose, though, I thought this was the best solution that was still in keeping with the ecologically-sensitive ethic I seek to embrace.

Color Echoes

Those are purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) in the foreground with wild bergamot behind and to the left.

As the sweet joe-pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) gets ready to bloom, the stems take on a purple tone that reaches out for a visual handshake with the purple coneflower petals. (The joe-pye weed is in the top left quadrant, above. Look for the orange arrow.) They’re subtle, but color echoes like this still add cohesiveness to a design.

A Summer Squall

Photos taken ten minutes apart, above and below. Look how much darker the sky got!

If it looks like the heavens were about to open up, that’s because they did. It was great fun to curl up on the couch in front of the big picture window and watch the lightning and sheets of rain.

Julian Fergus didn’t much like the rolling crashes of thunder, but I did, and Lily was happy to snuggle in next to me. (Julian sought respite for his nerves under a bed.)

All ended well, though, and soon my silly boy cat was enjoying the comfort of his Pink Blanket of Eternal Happiness once more.

Peach Perfection

Remember when I told you that I gave away most of my daylilies? These I simply had to keep a place for. How could I do anything but love that peach perfection?

At the Close of the Day

Two of my composting partners enjoying a sunset stroll on the lawn.

Soon to be succulent summer fruit. There’s a recipe for watermelon and blackberry soup in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (one of my favorite cookbooks, even though I’m not a vegetarian) that I must try this year! If it’s great, I’ll see if I can get permission to share the recipe with you.

Fruity goodness. Yum! ‘Nuff said.

What sights inspire your quiet hours?

2 Replies to “Staycationing in a Living Landscape

  1. This post was most satisfying to read as a peaceful stroll thru your day of solitude and self renewal. Flowers, dragonflies, cats and chickens….. what more could one ask for? Oh , yes ….. horses!

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