Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something about September

In these brilliant golden days with the light leaning sideways as it lists away, our inner selves seem to rise up to respond to the shifting of the earth. The natural world is very busy this time of year; birds are rising and flocking, squirrels are gathering and storing, and trees are changing colour. Profound changes; all necessary for survival.

September seems to urge us toward awareness of the changes we need to make in our own lives, whether it’s cleaning closets or calling that estranged family member, or picking up that camera, paint brush or pen. It’s a time to put our house in order and acknowledge and honour our own place in the world.

A blogger whose writing I so admire, Rilla, recently posted about September feeling very "poemy". I couldn't agree more. Her post got me to thinking about September and music.

What would be the perfect instrument to capture the spirit of September? For me, I realized, it is probably the flute. Played in the late afternoon and heard from a distance. Strange choice perhaps, but I find it carries a certain melancholy wistfulness apropos of saying good-bye to the festive nature of summer.

There is something about September and the creative spirit. I begin planning my concert and theatre-going season.

I get art framed that we have purchased over the last few months. I look for beautiful things, especially pottery, this time of year.

I crave big, fat books. I dig out my old Norton Anthologies and re-read poetry. I take my son to music lessons and bang the drums and dance with him.

I savour every last golden moment in the garden and plan for next year's. I fall in love with the scent of gingerbread again. And I walk in the woods and dream.

I found this video of a jazz flutist who captures that something about September perfectly with his rendition of Autumn in New York.

Here’s to a “poemy” September for you all. I hope September helps you find your muse. :-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nido de Amor

I think I first fell in love with the love. It wasn’t the house we eventually purchased that made me fall in love with our neighbourhood. It was the modest bungalow down the street.

When my son was about two months old I began attending a postnatal physiotherapy class for moms whose backs were still sore from childbirth. It was about then I was realizing my son came with loads of “stuff” and our cosy – and finally renovated to our taste! – house was too small for the three of us. After class, my son would fall asleep in the car and I began to take that opportunity to cruise neighbourhoods looking for a new home for my little family.

The bungalow was pale yellow, with a little tyndall stone around the front door. It was nestled in amongst mature shrubs and perennials. Not a house you would probably take notice of; there were plenty that style and this one had no added features, good or bad, to attract looks from the sidewalk. Except for that sign out front. Tucked in a rugosa rose that had long overtaken it, there was a hand carved sign that read “Nido de Amor”.

[This is Gryffindor, our front door lion who keeps us strong and brave]

That evening at home I asked my husband what that meant. He said it was probably something to do with “Love Nest”. Oh. How lovely. As a new mom, that went straight to my heart. I imagined the husband, thirty or forty years ago, carving that sign for his little family. I imagined the day he pounded the post in the ground, hung the sign and, together with his wife, planted the rose. So I went back the next week after physio and drove by it again. Then I began exploring the neighbourhood and was smitten.

My requirements were pretty specific. I wanted a two storey home, the master bedroom facing the back garden, a family room on the main floor, a powder room on the main floor, interior walls (I like actual rooms), and a good-sized back garden with mature trees. I also wanted to be near a large natural wooded area with trails I could wander and dream. A river or creek would be nice, too.

I found my house. It came up for sale about six doors down from the yellow bungalow. It was in dire need of renovations, the gardens were a wreck, the fence was fallen, but the bones were good and the inspection proved the house was sound. Best of all, the back garden was a tabula rasa with a stand of large trees at the back casting dappled light over the garden in the evening.

We have been here three years now and are gradually working on the house and garden while raising our little son. I have never been happier.

The little yellow bungalow is for sale now. A few days after the For Sale sign went up the Nido de Amor sign came down. I hope they are taking it with them to wherever their next stop is. It some ways, I feel the sign is still here and that they have passed it on to us. Thank you, little bungalow, for sharing the love.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

White After Labour Day?

It's enough to make a proper flower blush!

My Morden Snowbeauty is in week two of its second flush. I couldn't be more pleased with this lovely beauty.

The pale pink buds are opening this time a little pinker than the first pure white flush and it is really rather enchanting.

My annual pelargoniums will bloom right into the fall if last year is any indication.

And are a welcome counterpoint to all the rosy complexions out there.

My delightful little fairy bells are in full bloom again. This is my first year with them and I hope they make it through the winter as I am rather charmed with their tiny dancing when a breeze blows over them.

My Little Lamb hydrangea has put out it biggest blooms ever, after a harsh winter that took it down to its base.

I wonder if the seven flower heads on it are so big because my toddler cut the others off when they were just getting started? Hmmm...maybe he is a gardener in the making. :)

These creamy little sprays are not a part of the garden.

They are a present from hubby for my birthday. It appears he knows how to make me blush after Labour Day as well. :)
Hope you are enjoying the beauty of your late summer gardens!

One of the most attractive things about the flowers is their beautiful reserve.
~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Nose is Sleepy and other stories of the late summer garden

“Your eyes are sleepy, beautiful boy. It’s time to close them and go to sleep.”

“No, Mommy, my nose is sleepy. It goes up and my eyes go down.”

~ conversation at bedtime with my little son earlier this week.

Late summer and my nodding Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle') adds a dreamy element to the garden. We tucked it in close to the Holmstrup cedar (Thuja occidentalis 'Holmstrup) by the back door and just in front of a new Dart’s Gold ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Dart's Gold').

It seems to have made this spot its own, hanging over some silvery Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'. My hubby brought this hydrangea home after admiring it in many of our neighbour’s gardens. Normally he leaves the garden purchases to me, but since he offered that we might find some place for it, and he knew I liked hydrangeas, we made it a home. This is only our first season with it so I don’t know how it will overwinter. However, given that so many are thriving in our area, I am hopeful.

As for the nodding off that it tends to do, I have heard that they straighten up a little after a few years of good pruning. But I do understand if it gets a sleepy nose this time of year. I know we all do.