June Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

The garden is in full swing now, even though the first week of June was cold and rainy.

Usually high temps in the first two weeks of June average 74-77 degrees F. For the first week of June, we ran 10-20 degrees F below those, with highs in the low 50s to high 60s and lots of rain. That was right after I planted my cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green bean, and herb seedlings, some annuals, and arugula, Swiss chard, and lettuce seedlings. Not a happy state of affairs for anyone except the arugula.

This last week, nature sought some sort of perverse balance, setting the solar death ray on stun. Highs ranged from 78 to 95F, which is almost 20 degrees F above average. Some years we don’t have temps in the mid-90s even in July or August. It’s been in the 80s and 90s since Saturday. This the veggies like better, but I had to mulch and water those that survived the first week to to protect them from climate whiplash. So far, I have replaced about half the cucumber plants.

Anyway, there is a lot to talk about now, and to show, including the veggies, but also the perennials, shrubs, trees, weeds/wildflowers, compost, insects, etc.

Bulbs: The only bulbs really happening at the moment are large purple alliums (shown with variegated Solomon’s Seal) …


… and scilla (aka wood hyacinth), which just seems to have sprung up in the front yard without my planting it.



So-called Weeds: Some of the prettiest flowers in the yard.

orange hawkweed
white violet
pink and purple ajuga flowers
blue violets with ‘Turkish Delight’ sedum
a veronica of some kind
large dock plant
lesser stitchwort flower (very tiny flower)


Perennials: Where to begin?

An all-time favourite of mine is Rodgersia, a plant that not only likes shade, hallelujah, but looks positively tropical. And the flower, which is about to bloom, smells heavenly. If you don’t have one, get one. Or six.



The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) is entirely kaput, but I like it that way.



Centaurea (perennial bachelor button) always looks fabulous, with a very photogenic deep blue and purple bloom.



The geraniums are starting to bloom like crazy; these were plant sale buys whose names are lost to history.



The hostas are happy campers, except that the deer keep eating them, especially Gold Standard and So Sweet. I’ve shaved some Irish Spring into their leaves, which has always nipped this nipping in the bud, so to speak. We’ll see. They’re not blooming yet, so just a couple of photos now, with more to come in later months.

pinkgeraniumSoSweethosta6June2017frontborder6June2017 Patriothostavariegatedleaves30May2017.JPG


Next, a couple of nice ground covers, Mother of Thyme, which spreads quickly, and yellow archangel, a false lamium that I’ve read can be very invasive but it certainly isn’t in my gardens in Maine and New Hampshire.

Mother of Thyme
Mother of Thyme, close
Lamiastrum galeobdolon (yellow archangel) and Japanese lantern in the shade gardens


Baptisia and amsonia are spring perennial mainstays in my area. This year, I was given some more yellow baptisia by a neighbour, what a gift. I transplanted them less than two weeks ago and they seem to have adapted:


I also have other yellow baptisia (not shown yet), and some of the more common blue variety as well, in four different parts of the yard.


I’ve got two kinds of amsonia, ‘Blue Ice,’ with dark blooms (the first three photos), and an Amsonia tabernaemontana, with a paler, more delicate bloom (the last photo), planted in three different spots in the garden. It’s just starting to bloom now.



Speaking of things blue, salvia


and lupine



And then there are pink things, are there not?

Like ‘Pink Profusion’ Bowman’s Root, another favourite.

pinkprofusionBowmansRootbloominganemonesylvestrissideyard13June2017 pinkprofusionBowmansRootflowerssideyard13June2017pinkprofusionBowmansRootflowersideyard12June2017

And comfrey, which is sort of pinkish purple. And it needs its first chop-and drop, for instant mulch, soon, before I have to stake it.


And dianthus, in the back and front borders.

bluesalviapinkdianthusblooming13June2017dianthussedumsunroomborder13June2017 pinkdianthussunroomborder12June2017


I should also mention the woodland plants, mostly in the rock wall, but some are tucked into other spots as well.

bunchberry (with hosta)
lily of the valley
Canada mayflower with white violet
Solomon’s Seal
pink-white columbine
pink-white columbine flower, close


A hodge-podge of a few other perennials coming to life now:

a variegated euphobia
sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata), from a friend
trollius blooms in the rain
anemone sylvestris flower
anemone sylvestris leaf
anemone sylvestris — It spreads
anemone sylvestris … It REALLY spreads … I transplanted a couple of plants here two years ago.
two lady’s mantle in the rock wall


Shrubs & Trees: I planted a new umbrella pine, weeping larch, and weeping white spruce this spring, and replaced a buddleia with a small nine bark (“Little Devil”) that I bought at a local plant sale. The umbrella pine and ninebark are shown below.



This is the time when the rhododendrons make their splash. I didn’t plant these but I have been hacking away at them for seven years; it only encourages them.

part of the rhodo show
red and purple rhodos
purple rhodo
red rhodo bloom
white-pink rhodo
purple irises (from neighbours) and red rhodos
blue baptisia and purple rhodos

I also didn’t plant these cream-orange and red azaleas, but I LOVE them, especially contrasted with the boulder and the Japanese maple tree.



Lilacs are about finished — here are Ludwig Spaeth, Beauty of Moscow, and Sensation before they lost their oomph —


but the little Miss Kim is going strong.



The pagoda dogwoods have flowers now.



The buddleia, which should reach about five feet in height, is off to a slow start, but it’s growing. The photo on the left was taken on 1 June, the one on the right on 14 June.


Food Crops: Not much happening yet, though most have been planted by now.

The peas are flowering:



And the peach trees have so many peaches on them that I will have to remove 5/6 of them to get a good crop of decent-sized sweet, juicy peaches. Apparently there should be one nub the size of a dime every 6-8 inches on a branch. It’s going to be farming torture to thin them next week.



Fungi: I don’t know who, but they’re growing in the rock wall.



Compost: I am actually using compost I have lovingly handcrafted from kitchen scraps, tossed cut flowers, leaves, some grass clippings, dirt, pruned shrubs and perennials that aren’t diseased, and whatever else finds its way into the bin. It’s dark and crumbly!



Animals: You know, insects, deer, fox, bears and cubs — the usual suburban garden fare. (Some photos courtesy the motion camera.)

lady bugs mating
bee or a mimic fly of some kind
red fox
deer at 11:30 a.m.
bear with two or more cubs


I’ll finish up with a few landscape shots.

part of the sunroom border
shade garden
shade garden with ‘Ivory Halo’ dogwood
front yard with rhodos, leucothoe, hostas, baptisia, etc.


Thanks for stopping by!


More GBBD, hosted at May Dreams Gardens:

… danger garden – always fun for me to see interesting spikey things that don’t grow here

… Late to the Garden Party  (south coastal California, so exotic!)

… Commonweeder in western Mass. is more my speed

Southern Meadows (northeast Georgia, zone 8a) has great insect shots

… Dirt Therapy in Vancouver, WA

Rogue Eggplant in Maryland

Wednesday Vignette: Magic




Vetch of some species, growing in a meadow in Sutton, NH. These buds are so delicate, so full of magic.

“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” — WB Yeats


(Wednesday vignette is brought to us by Flutter & Hum.)

Maui Buttercup, Black Brass Buttons, and Soaking Up Blood


My permaculture group visited Cider Hill Garden & Gallery in Windsor, VT, last October and again about ten days ago, in early June. It’s a small garden, owned by Sarah and Gary Milek, which sells mainly perennials and focuses on daylilies, peonies, hosta, and woodland plants.  It’s only about 2 miles outside the town of Windsor, but it feels remote; last fall, some of our group saw a bear and cubs on the road to the gardens as they were driving in. There’s also a small art gallery with really gorgeous paintings, mostly of plants, by Gary, and some metal sculptures.

The true definition of a perennial: Any plant which, had it lived, would have bloomed year after year. –Henry Beard

A note on their website says that Cider Hill, since 1983, has “practiced chemical-free, green gardening, as that is where our hearts and minds have always been. We use a custom-blended organically-based soil mix of compost, loam, leaf mold, peat, perlite, RootShield, and other organic amendments. Our young plants are also fed fish, kelp and bone meal, which they thrive on!”

I love the many varieties of hostas in the known universe — there are between 24-45 hosta species, more than 3,000 hosta cultivars registered with the American Hosta Society, and possibly that many more unregistered — so I enjoy browsing Cider Hill’s large and unusual selection.

MauiButtercuphostaCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017euphorbiaGreatExpectationshostaCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017hostasforsaletablesCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017plantsforsaleCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017columbinehostasCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017 shadehostagardenCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017 fernysedumplanterhostacontextCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017


It was peony week when we visited this time, but I didn’t get many shots of them; in fact, just one, of a flower gone-by. I’m sorry, peony lovers. (I will soon have lots of peony shots from my garden.)


Detach, detach, look away from the sun
Let your petals fall aimlessly

Don’t despair, little one, we are done

— from “Peony,” by Marilyn Chin

My attraction was more toward the woodlands plants, like yellow lady slipper, pink trillium, and a pink primula (primrose), though none of these particular species is native here.

yellowladyslippersCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017pinktrilliumCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017 magentaprimulaspiralflowerCiderHillWindsorVT2June2017


The selection of sedums is interesting, and they will dig up any you want to take home if they are growing in the ground.



I really love this little plant, the one in the front of the planter with hostas, which looks like a miniature Japanese painted fern. I thought it might be a species of sedum but research did not corroborate that theory. It turns out to be a fantastic ground cover for full sun to full shade, Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’ (aka Black Brass Buttons), said to be a “fast grower to 2″ tall” and 18″ wide.



This shrub was a mystery to me (to all of us) until someone in the Plant ID group on Facebook identified it as Sanguisorba canadensis (Canadian burnet) …


… which I should have known because I had had it identified last October from the exact same plant when it was in flower:


Although it was actually ID’d from this lower photo as Sanguisorba officianalis (Great burnet). Now I’m not sure which is correct (both can have pink flowers, though usually S. canadensis is white and S. officianalis is some shade of pink), but in any case, Sanguisorba is a name I need to remember for the next visit. (It means “soaking up blood,” because it was thought that the plant could stop bleeding by contracting blood vessels.)


We also didn’t recognise this plant:


It was ID’d as Persicaria polymorpha, or giant fleece plant, in the buckwheat family. The astilbe-like flower plumes are held about 6 feet above the ground. It’s quite a show-stopper even when not in bloom.


A magnolia shrub had lots of smallish flying insects on it. One of Facebook’s Bug ID groups came to the rescue with “March Fly.” They’re quite lovely, with a sort of black-and-white stained glass effect on the wings.



There are quite a few sculptures among the plants, including a dragonfly on a rock above the hostas, and a Buddha in a large shade garden.


In the same shade garden was a barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) ground cover, plus lots of euphorbia that I should have taken photos of.



These small mushrooms (maybe honey mushrooms?) grew near a small inset stone inscribed “Jeb,” which I imagine is a pet grave or memorial marker.


In another area are sculpted mushrooms — perhaps made using the hypertufa process (which one of our group had used and knew all about!): “Making hypertufa is easy, fun, and requires no special tools.  … [H]ypertufa is just a fancy name for a type of concrete that contains …[Portland cement, water, and] perlite or vermiculite (natural porous rock products) and plant fibers such as peat moss or coconut coir.” It’s much lighter than concrete made with sand and gravel, so it’s easier to move around the garden.

Or these may just be the usual, heavy kind of concrete sculpture. Note the Centaurea (perennial bachelor buttons) blooming blue.



A few pieces of Gary’s art that I especially liked:



I’ll end this post with a giant allium, one of my favourite spring-blooming garden plants, so cheerful, especially when massed; though at $9-10 per bulb — about the cheapest I found them online, even in bulk — most of us won’t be massing them.



Cider Hill is open from May through Sept. from 10-5 on Thursday thru Sunday, and in October and November on Fridays thru Sundays.

I like muddling things up; and if a herb looks nice in a border, then why not grow it there? Why not grow anything anywhere so long as it looks right where it is? That is, surely, the art of gardening. — Vita Sackville-West

Is It Only What’s Visible That’s Knowable

Go ahead and ask : what principle
animates the natural : owl pink Lady’s Slipper
orchid white-tailed deer woodchuck :
is it only what’s visible that’s knowable
— from “Long After Hopkins” by Brian Teare

On the first day of June — a day among a stretch of about a dozen or fifty when it rained, often all day long — we got out on the Clark Pond Trails in New London, NH in just the slightest intermittent sprinkling, motivated to see what we knew from past experience would be dozens or even hundreds of pink lady’s slippers (Cypripedium acaule) blooming.

And we were not disappointed.



I especially like the pale yellows of the some of them, and the light shining through others, and the really dark, rich pinks. There must be more than a hundred just in one intersection of the Allen and Norman trails. And then there are maybe a hundred more scattered hither and thither along those trails and the Dancy trail.

They’re pollinated pretty much only by bumblebees, which is fortunate for them this year because until yesterday, our high temps have been in the 50Fs, when most bees aren’t active, but bumblebees can become active at temps as low as 40F (honeybees not until temps reach at least 60).

There were still a few painted (and red) trilliums around, and a couple of Jack-in-the-Pulpits.



Just starting to bloom in abundance are the Clintonia borealis (blue-bead lily), with a sort of waxy yellow flower.


This one has a white-striped black moth (Trichodezia albovittata) on it, and a fly of some kind:



The Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) is starting to become more obvious in the woodland understory and to get buds. One was quite tall, about 2.5 feet.



Bunchberry (Chamaepericlymenum canadense, formerly Cornus canadense) is also making itself seen, with some of the flowers looking more pale green than bright white. Plants with six (sometimes seven) leaves flower; plants with four leaves usually don’t.



The starflower (Lysimachia borealis) is also blooming now.



Around the streams and brooks there are colonies of false hellebore (Veratrum viride), which, as Go Botany notes, is a plant “composed of eastern North American populations that are widely separated from western North American populations.” It’s mostly coastal, found as far west as Tennessee and Ohio and then as far east as California, Idaho, and Montana; there are none in the middle of the continent: “It is hypothesized that continental glaciation produced this distribution.”



Tiarella cordifolia (foam-flower), a garden favourite of mine, is also blooming now in the woods.



Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) has finished blooming here but an attractive flower head remains.



Besides the white-striped black moth, shown earlier, I also came across this dragonfly, Leucorrhinia, maybe hudsonica (Hudsonian Whiteface) …


… and this duskywing (Erynnis; possibly a dreamy duskywing, Erynnis icelus) butterfly, a kind of skipper.



I especially like the mosses (including club moss, or lycopodium spp., which are not true mosses), lichens, and fungi on these trails.


This is a Lycopodium clavatum, also called common, staghorn, and running clubmoss, and here it is, running: prostrateclubmossCPT1June2017


This yellow-needled white pine tree …


… and these sturdy striped maples (Acer pensylvanicum) are favourites.



You can see how much water there is, in brooks that are high and flowing, in water pooled on the trails.




Happy trails to you, until we meet again.



The moments when we choose to play

I’ve posted three previous field trips to Bedrock Gardens in Lee, NH, a playful place that’s art gallery and collector garden combined —  The Most EphemeralJuly 2015; 31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Day 18Oct. 2015; 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds :: Day 25Oct. 2016 — so I’m not going to go into the history and organising structure of the gardens again.  Check out my past posts or the Bedrock Gardens website if you want more info.

One new thing: They have hired John Forti as their first executive director. Forti was for many years the chief curator of historic gardens and landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, and since 2014 has been director of horticulture and education at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley, MA (I saw him in that capacity at the Boston Flower Show in March). They day I visited Bedrock Gardens last month, Forti was on our small 3-hour garden tour led by volunteer Hobson Jandebeur.


I saw some new plants:

Narcissus bulbocodium (Golden Bells)
Arisaema sikokianum (Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit)
closer view of the Arisaema sikokianum (Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit)
Saruma henryi (upright wild ginger) …. See how Saruma is an anagram of Asarum, the genus for European and Canadian gingers?
Podophyllum versipelle (Spotty Dotty may apple) foliage
a pink trillium
the black flowers of Asarum maximum (pansy-faced ginger)
a spikey sort of epimedium (maybe Epimedium wushanense?)
Glaucidium palmatum (Japanese wood poppy)
I think this is Schizocodon soldanelloides (reminiscent of a Soldanella sp., a snowbell) or a Soldanella alpina
Xanthorhiza simplicissima (yellow root plant) – the only member of its genus


And some plants I’ve met before but don’t see often:

skunk cabbagebywoodspondBedrockGardensNH20May2017
skunk cabbage
I have not noticed this flower bud (seed pod?) before on skunk cabbage; I’m used to seeing a dark red sort of growth.
a lovely river birch
Stewartia tree with camo bark, against tiles
paw paw flowers (Asimina triloba)
May apple plant with flower
May apple flower
bamboo resprouting
Erigeron (fleabane)
closer view of Erigeron (fleabane) flower


Some creatures:

three tadpoles
moth cocoon in a sweet gum tree
large tadpole face
killdeer (bird) in the grass
green frog
five guinea fowl
dragon or lizard sculpture
heron or stork sculptures
another green frog



woodland path
Wiggle Waggle, Garish Garden, arborvitae hedge
view from Parterre Garden to goddess sculpture
Swaleway view
Swaleway garden
large pond
axis view from large pond to acrobat sculpture
Petit Pond garden
people strolling
Pate hedge and Coneland trees
woman and girl in Grass Acre
metal sculpture by large pond
hedge with sculptures and ball
bee banner in the Swaleway breeze
another view of the Petit Pond area
four elements totem pole
acrobats sculpture and rhodos


Things I just liked:

white tiarella
rhodos and a goddess sculpture
reliquary with urchin
red rhodos and colour columns
spruce cones
purple peony bud
prayer house
pink and white rhododendron
lichen bench and insulator
labyrinth and ventilators
gnome house in the woods
chairs near large pond


Bob & Jill’s heart sculpture
bee banner and sculpture
blue globe view (“things as they are are changed upon the blue guitar”)

And one of the things I love the most of all, ginkgos:

Ginkgo tree leaves


It was a great day, with an in-depth, plant-geek tour of the gardens, followed by a fun lunch at The Holy Grail in Epping, NH.


The post title — “The moments when we choose to play / The imagined pine, the imagined jay” — is from a Wallace Stevens’ poem, “The Man with the Blue Guitar,” which I also quoted above in a caption (“Things as they are / are changed upon the blue guitar”).

Discovery: Ordered Tumult

DISCOVERY by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1991)

translated by Richard Zenith (original here)
Green-muscled ocean
Idol of many arms like an octopus
Convulsive incorruptible chaos
Ordered tumult
Contorted dancer
Surrounding the taut ships
We traversed row on row of horses
Shaking their manes in the trade winds
The sea turned suddenly very young and very old
Revealing beaches
And a people
Of just-created men still the colour of clay
Still naked still in awe


We almost literally stumbled upon the Portuguese Discovery Monument on Ocean Avenue in Newport, RI, after driving through a flooded roadway on a chilly, windy evening,


and finding ourselves suddenly confronted by a park, by sculpture, by a strange and wild geometry on the edge of this glitzy and most civilised town.


We had no idea what this was, but we parked in the large lot and, fighting the springtime gale and sprinkling rain in this very exposed part of the world — “where land, sea, and sky meet” — we tried to fathom it.


It turns out we were in Brenton Point State Park, on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island — the Atlantic Ocean steps away, the Newport downtown and mansions a few miles away — where this stark, modern, otherworldly Portuguese Discovery Monument is sited. The location was chosen in part because of its similarity to Sagres, in southern Portugal, where Prince Henry the Navigator’s nautical school, founded in 1419, was said to be located (though there is debate over whether there was a school as such at all: “It is traditionally suggested that Henry gathered at his villa on the Sagres peninsula a school of navigators and map-makers. However modern historians hold this to be a misconception. He did employ some cartographers to chart the coast of Mauritania after the voyages he sent there, but there was no center of navigation science or observatory in the modern sense of the word, nor was there an organized navigational center.” Source: Wikipedia, reference cited there) . In any case, those who learned cartography, navigation, astronomy, and other maritime skills there were the legendary Portuguese explorers who discovered and mapped the coasts of Africa, Asia, and South America, and who also “discovered and perfected the North Atlantic Volta do Mar (the “turn of the sea” or “return from the sea”), [which was] a major step in the history of navigation, when an understanding of oceanic wind patterns was crucial to Atlantic navigation.”

The monument at Brenton Point — which was a strategic military defensive location during the Revolutionary War and World War II, designated a state park in 1976 — is a contemporary version of the compass rose located at Sagres. Originally conceived by Arthur Raposo of Middletown, RI, as a way to recognize Portuguese-American heritage and specifically, to pay homage to the lost-at-sea Portuguese navigator, Miguel Corte-Real, who may have come ashore in New England, the monument was dedicated in 1988 in memory of the Portuguese navigators and all those who assisted in the discovery of the maritime routes during Portugal’s Age of Discovery (1394 to 1524). Besides Prince Henry, the explorers honored included Vasco da Gama, discoverer of the sea route to India; Pedro Álvares Cabral, discoverer of Brazil; Ferdinand Magellan, first to circumnavigate the globe; Diogo Cão, first to arrive at the Congo River; João Vaz Corte-Real, who may have discovered Greenland and Newfoundland; Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to navigate around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, and others.


The original monument, made of up of 18 elements, was designed by sculptor João Charters de Almeida, who was born in Lisbon in 1935 (his Imaginary Village, consisting of five high white granite pillars, is installed on Île Sainte-Hélène in Montreal). The elements were 16 sandstone “thimbles,” as they were called, ranging from 5 to 8 feet tall, modelled on bollards found in Sagres; a central 20-foot-tall obelisk called a landmark, to represent the land-mark that navigators installed on the land they discovered, highly visible from the sea (in Portuguese, a padrão); and an 8-foot-diameter sandstone sphere, an abstraction of an armillary sphere (how it works: animation), a navigational instrument that’s one of Portugal’s most significant and enduring symbols (the sphere is included on the country’s flag). All these elements were carved out of a buff-colored sandstone quarried in Vila Vicosa, Portugal, and together weighed over 100 tons. They were arranged at Brenton Point in a three-quarter circle, symbolising the three-quarters of the world discovered by the Portuguese navigators in Age of Discovery, with the thimbles or bollards inclined at 15 degrees around the landmark, to suggest their upward-looking orientation to it.

The monument was not an immediate hit at its inauguration in June 1988. In 1989, Portuguese President Mario Soares squeezed in a trip to the monument for a second dedication ceremony, of its informational plaque, during a weeklong visit that included a meeting with President George H. W. Bush and a trip to Disneyland in California. His planned visit was reported in an archived UPI story, which added,

“The unfinished monument has caused a controversy among local residents who say it is ugly. ‘It was there to enhance the landscape but I don’t call that enhancement,’ said Agnes Curtis, co-chairwoman of the Brenton Point Association. ‘It’s ugly, ugly. That’s my way of looking at it.’ Others, including Rhode Island Gov. Edward DiPrete [who was instrumental in establishing the site], have said they do not understand the sculpture. The finished monument will have a plaque explaining the meaning of its huge, carved stones.”


Portuguese sandstone proved to be no match for wind, salt, and storms on the Rhode Island coast. In less than 10 years, by 1997, the Portuguese sandstone was crumbling, and by 2001 the entire monument was beginning to collapse. It was disassembled in 2002, and in 2007 most of it was demolished because of safety concerns. Apparently, when bobcat equipment pushed over the center column and the surrounding bollards, they “crumbled in a cloud of dust.”

And there is languished until about 2012, when a landscape architecture group was hired to reconstruct the monument and to “expand the interpretive aspects of the abstract sculpture.”  The new version, constructed and erected in three phases from 2012 to 2017,  was rededicated in Sept. 2014, and consists of 14 thimbles (not 16) set at cardinal points (or compass points) around the central landmark, all carved from North Jay White granite from Maine, laid out on less than an acre of grassy lawn reaching to the sea.


The sandstone globe did not crumble and was kept as part of the restored monument.



It includes interpretive panels and lines of the compass inset into the ground, as was originally planned for the earlier version but never happened.


The renovated monument was funded with $500,000 from the state, with the Portuguese-American population of southern New England raising the remaining funds.


I’d like to revisit it sometime when the weather is warmer, but stumbling onto it on a stormy evening, with the sun setting over a rough and wind-blown sea, evoked something of the tumult of ocean sailing, even as the compass-ordered monument stood by — still, mute, both watchful and unseeing.






THE NAVIGATORS by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1991)
translated by Richard Zenith (original here)
Multiplicity makes us drunk
Astonishment leads us on
With daring and desire and calculated skill
We’ve broken the limits –
But the one God
Keeps us from straying
Which is why at each port we cover with gold
The sombre insides of our churches



Feast of Being

“If the garden of Eden really exists it does so moment by moment, fragmented and tough, cropping up like a fan of buddleia high up in the gutter of a deserted warehouse, or in a heap of frozen cabbages becoming luminous in the reflected light of roadside snow.” —  Helen Dumore, The Raw Garden


Photos of some perhaps ordinary, obscure, small, oft-overlooked and even maligned elements of the paradise that’s earth, this feast of being. (All photos taken in the last month, in New England, except for the final collage.)


I’ve been a little fascinated by dandelions lately.

And other so-called weeds. Like ajuga in the lawn, in shadow and light:


And ferns, coltsfoot, tall rockcress, and violets along the roadside.

fern spiral, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
curled fern, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) and shadows, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
rockcress of some kind, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
violet, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH


And grass.

grasses on pond, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
carex grass, garden


‘Never forget that every mind is shaped by the most ordinary experiences. To say that something is ordinary is to say that it is of the kind that has made the biggest contribution to the formation of your most basic ideas.’ — Paul Valéry


There are beautiful pests.

wasp on pea trellis, garden
stink bug on lilac, garden
March fly on magnolia leaf, Cider Hill Garden, Windsor VT


Spring ephemerals, woodland plants, sometimes nodding or lowly, both showy and unshowy, like trilliums (Kezar Lake, Cider Hill Gardens):

And Jack in the Pulpits (Bedrock Gardens, Clark Pond Trails):

And lady slippers (Clark Pond Trails):

And others.

Uvularia sessilifolia (aka sessile bellwort, wild oats), Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
white flower of Coptis trifolia (goldthread), Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
Clintonia borealis (blue-bead lily) blooms, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
Lysimachia borealis (starflower) blooms, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH


As well as flowers languishing.

magnolia flowers on ground, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
pink peony flower, Cider Hill Garden, Windsor, VT


And then there’s the infusion of sunlight, and raindrops, and both.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

tulip, garden
water drops in lupine leaves, garden
sunlight on boulder with ferns, moss, lichen, pine needles, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
nascent red oak leaves, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH
Ginkgo leaves and sky, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
Light on Stewartia tree against tiles, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH
white pine with rain, garden
frog on lily pad in sun, with leaf, Bedrock Garden, Lee, NH


Sometimes Eden is more drab than you might expect, and in that almost (never) monotone it sings its siren song, lures us closer:

bird nest that fell or blew from under a bridge, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
disused railroad tracks and ties in grass, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
A 3? A question mark? Infinity untwisted? Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH


Ocean Eden:

dead jelly fish, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, Bristol, RI
iridescent shell fragment, The Narrows, Narragansett, RI
beach with surf and sky meeting wall, The Narrows, Narragansett, RI
purple and orange rocks, The Narrows, Narragansett, RI
whelk egg case in parking lot, Easton’s Beach, Newport, RI


Eden by way of juxtaposed colour and texture:

yellow white pine needles, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
stiff club moss — white and green striped, Clark Pond Trails, New London, NH
pink cherry blossoms, pink paint-peeling building, brick, blue, Newport, RI
euphorbia and muscari with crabapple blossoms, garden
shimmering water, Horseshoe Pond, Northern Rail Trail, Andover, NH
contrail in blue sky, Kezar Lake, Sutton, NH


“It’s an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: “nothing special,” as Buddhists say, meaning “everything.” Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral.
“All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.” ― Mary Rose O’Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd

Yes, I used that quote before, in 31 Days of Kissing the Wounds – Day 31 – FEAST OF BEING.






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