Friday, October 2, 2015

Rain Drenched Chrysanthemum, Marigold, Echinacea and Zinnia Flowers

Glistening Chrysanthemums: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy October, happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" The golden chrysanthemums look nicer this week and seem to glisten in the rain and glow in the sun.
Bicolor French Marigold with raindrop: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The French marigolds grown from seed seem to be doing the best of all the marigolds we planted this year. I especially love the bicolor ones.
Wet white zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The white zinnias seem to be wrapping up so I was glad to get one last fresh photo for you.
Late blooming purple coneflower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
And I was pleasantly surprised to see a late blooming echinacea (aka purple coneflower). Most of the larger plants have already set seed. I like to leave the seeds up for the birds for winter feeding.
Cheery yellow zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The yellow zinnias are still going strong and I hope to see more fresh flowers through frost.

Thank you for joining me on this week's mini Maryland garden tour.  May the all powerful God who created us and every beautiful flower bless you, comfort all those who grieve, heal all who are sick, and encourage all who need it.

Related posts:
Cute critters and flowers:
Bees on blooms:
Butterflies and coneflowers:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sugar Free September: Days 18-30

Great orange tip butterfly: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy autumn and farewell to September! I chose the butterfly photo for this article as a salute to wild Wednesday and also because the whitish parts look kind of sugary in person. This reminds me that there are plenty of sweet things in life that are sugar free.

This month had a lot going on but the primary new habit I've been building is a low sugar lifestyle. With a few exceptions, I've stuck to my original plan. It wasn't always easy but the better I was about sticking to the plan, the fewer cravings I experienced and the easier it got. 

I had expected to lose some weight but that didn't turn out to be significant (I did lose a little but then went on a new medicine that caused me to gain some. Now I've lost most of that and am about back at where I started). However, there have been other benefits: a bit more energy, fewer cravings, the good feeling that comes from knowing I'm doing something good for my body and a little bit of money saved from not buying "treats". So I'm going to continue this lifestyle change indefinitely in hopes that I'll have even more energy increases (or at least maintain what I have now), better health and hopefully weight loss (once I get the rest of the suspect medicine out of my system).

Did you join me in this challenge? How did you do? What was hardest for you? How did you deal with that? What benefits did you see? I'd love to hear from you!

Related posts:
Sugar free post 1:
Sugar free post 2:
Sugar free post 3:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chrysanthemum, Zinnia, Tiny Marigold, Verbena and Flower Arrangement Photos

Golden Chrysanthemums: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" Fall has arrived and the chrysanthemums are starting to bloom. It's a beautiful season. Autumn blessings to you and yours!
Little floral arrangement: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Last week's post featured some of the flowers I entered in my local county fair.  I made this arrangement out of some of the survivors (they'd been cut for the fair over a week before I got them back so it's a blessing that any survived at all). I believe the little cup/vase contains: yellow, orange and pink zinnias; yellow chrysanthemums, Mexican bush sage and a caladium leaf.
Sun soaked zinnias: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The zinnias have been the star of our garden this year. Last year it was dahlias. Will be interesting to see what happens next year.
Teeny tiny orange marigold: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
These are the smallest marigolds I've ever grown. Most are under 1/2" in diameter. They didn't bloom until late in the summer but I'm glad they finally did. 
Violet verbena: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
I found this pretty bicolor verbena struggling under the giant red zinnias. I'm sharing the photo to remind myself to mark it so I don't plant zinnias all around it next year.

The garden is winding down but we still have one kind of chrysanthemum that hasn't bloomed yet so you'll get at least one more floral Friday/Maryland garden post this year. Then I hope to sprinkle in photos taken in other gardens this summer to brighten some of our winter Fridays.

Thank you for visiting! May God bless you!

Related posts:
Autumn flowers:
Multicolored chrysanthemums:
Yellow chrysanthemums & more:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monarch Butterflies from Brookside Gardens

Monarch on pretty foliage: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy wild Wednesday! This week I'm featuring beautiful monarch butterflies from Brookside Gardens' Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit. They have a nice butterfly garden in the exhibit with both local and exotic butterflies as well as gorgeous outside butterfly gardens with wild local butterflies.
Monarch butterfly on agastache: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
It's always a blessing to be able to visit a butterfly garden but I think this is my favorite.
Monarch butterfly on pink zinnia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The monarchs seemed most active on this visit and it was neat to catch them on so many different kinds of flowers and plants.
Monarch with shadow: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
 I believe this monarch butterfly is resting on a giant elephant's ear leaf.
Monarch butterfly on lantana: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
They clearly loved the lantanta flowers. The exhibit is staffed with many kind hearted volunteers so if you visit and want the name of a butterfly or plant, just ask and one of the volunteers probably knows or will find out for you.

Thank you for stopping by! May God bless you and all of His creatures!

Related posts:
Exotic butterflies:
Monarch butterflies on chrysanthemums:
Monarchs on tithonia:
Cute critters on flowers:

Note: I wasn't asked or paid to write this post and all opinions are my own. I just like butterflies and Brookside Gardens. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Blue Ribbon Flowers for Floral Friday

Little orange zinnia flower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Happy Floral Friday! This is a special edition of "this week in my Maryland garden" as all the flowers were grown in my garden but the photos were taken on location at the fair (several days after they'd been cut then judged and displayed). The flowers looked nicer the day I cut them but I wasn't able to get photos at that time.

I am amazed, honored and excited to have been awarded at least 21 blue ribbons in the flower department (I entered in 49 categories)! A large number of my entries were in the zinnia categories, such as the pretty little orange zinnia in the photo above.
Medium white zinnia flower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Until I'd entered in the fair for the first time I thought you could only enter one type of flower for the fair (for example, one rose, one zinnia, one marigold) but it turns out that my fair has many categories, mostly based on color and diameter/size (and they even get out their rulers when you submit to make sure you're entering in the right size category). I think I was able to enter three different white zinnias, in the "under 1 inch", "1-2 inch" and "2-4 inch" categories, and two, including the one above, won blue ribbons. Pretty neat! Especially since I grew these white zinnias from seed.
Giant red zinnia winner: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler
I was especially excited that my giant red zinnia, also grown from seed, won a blue ribbon. I thought I'd have giant orange, pink and purple to enter too but while they were close, none of the pretty ones were over the 4" in diameter required for the "large" zinnia category. Only the red had large enough blooms. Although, when I bought the seeds, they were all supposed to be red anyway. The giants of other colors were a surprise blessing.
Miniature bicolor dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
My dahlias have mostly petered out  but I was able to enter two in the miniature category and they both won blue ribbons. The bicolor one, pictured above and a burgundy one.
Red hybrid tea rose: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The roses are also producing fewer blooms now that autumn is approaching but this divine smelling red rose won a blue ribbon. My pink one won a lesser ribbon but the person who earned first place definitely deserved it.

Hearty thanks to my kind hearted husband who carried all my vases in for me and waited patiently while I entered everything! And for all the times he watered my flowers for me too! And congratulations to him on his photography ribbon!

Thank you for visiting! May God bless you!

If you'd like a vote in selecting this week's most popular flower photo, please let me know which photo you like best from today's post. Also, if you enter in your own county fair, I'd love to hear about it! And feel free to share any tips on entering fairs too. 

Related posts: 
2013 county fair flowers:
2012 county fair flowers:
County fair flower art:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sugar Free September: Days 9-17

White zinnia flower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
My Sugar Free September experiment is going very well. Very few cravings now, which is great. The weather has been cooler and I think being outside more helps reduce cravings; although it could just be that eating less sugar in general leads to fewer sugar cravings.

I started a new medicine and my weight has gone up (unfortunately) but I hope once my body adjusts that will be less of an issue (if not I'll ask to switch medicines). Until I started the new medicine I'd had three days in a row with greater than usual energy (a real plus!) and I suspect that was due to the reduced sugar consumption. I used some of that extra energy preparing for my county fair and, God willing, tomorrow's floral Friday post will feature some of my blue ribbon winning flowers. I think flowers are nicer than sugar.

Hearty thanks to all who are encouraging and helping me with this journey towards greater health and less sugar consumption! Kudos and strength to those of you joining me on the journey too! May God bless you and keep you all!

Related posts:
Sugar free post 1:
Sugar free post 2: 
2013 County Fair Flowers:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Red, White and Blue Flowers and Haiku Poem for 9/11

Giant red zinnia flower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
May God bless America and you too, dear friend.

It's September 11th and I don't feel right with my usual start to my floral Friday/this week in my Maryland garden post. But I do have a little haiku poem and some red, white and blue flower photos to share. Every day, I pray for our country and for God to thwart terrorists' plans. My heart aches for all those who lost loved ones in terrorist attacks. May God heal their hearts, comfort their pains and light their paths.
White zinnia in sunshine: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Haiku Poem for September 11th
Nine one one... somber
day of reflection, mourning,
remembrance, prayer.
Blue salvia flowers: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
As heavy as my heart is, I still love flowers. And I'm thankful to have these red, white and blue ones to share with you.
Red salvia flowers: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
The red salvia just started blooming this week. Perfect timing.
Blueish Mexican bush sage: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2015
Someone mentioned how they like these "blue" Mexican bush sage flowers so I thought I'd include them here. Their petals are super soft, like pussy willows. I've loved them for a long time but this is the first year I've grown them.

Whatever is happening in your heart, mind and soul today, I pray that God will give you just what you need and bless you, America, and comfort all those who mourn.

Related posts:
National day of prayer:
National Cathedral:
Isaiah 40:31 prayer: