Friday, May 31, 2013

Mary's Amazing Garden Retreat

Mary's hosta garden
Mary, my kind and talented neighbor, has an amazing garden retreat in her Maryland back yard that she graciously allowed me to tour and photograph today. She has a story behind each plant and an amazing green thumb. She's got a stunning variety of plants in her suburban garden and the many paths she's managed to fit make it seem as though she has four times her lot size.

Cascading creeping jenny
I loved this blooming creeping jenny raised up on a pedestal and surrounded by spider wort, hosta, a white blooming rhododentron and many other plants in another corner of Mary's garden. I'd never seen a creeping jenny bloom before today.

Rose propagated from a rootless boutonniere
Mary grew this giant climbing rose bush from her son's senior prom boutonniere! She has a real gift for plant propagation and I'm going to try to follow in her footsteps with some rose propagation this fall.

Bee on vibrant red rose
Here's a close up of some of the senior prom boutonniere rose blooms. They're so healthy the bees flock to them.  Mary has quite a few climbing roses growing up arbors and trellises and even cascading over a wall on her back patio.

Mary's unique iris
This iris has a unique shape and I love the coloring. Mary has a wide variety of irises in her garden, including yellow water irises, bluish purple irises and more.

Post-bloom clematis
This clematis had white blooms that had already passed before our tour but I thought these neat spirals were just as pretty as the flowers. Mary also has some beautiful purple clematis flowers in her garden. I had a great time touring Mary's garden with her today.

Thank you, Mary for the wonderful tour and tips!

May God bless Mary and may He bless you, too!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Evening Primroses, Verbena and Strawberries and Cream Roses: This Week in my Maryland Garden

Evening Primroses: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013
I love spring! God has certainly blessed us with an amazing abundance of flowers and greenery here in Maryland. The evening primroses (above) are flourishing, even though I thought they were weeds and pulled at least half of them out earlier in the spring. I left a few, just in case they weren't weeds and those have spread like wildfire. They surround our strawberries and cream rose bush (below) and our reblooming dwarf lilac bushes.

Fancy Verbena: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013
I love this fancy verbena. I think it's called lollipop verbena but I'm not sure because it came in a mixed pot without a tag. I'm going to have to learn to propagate verbena just so I can have more of these lovely plants next year.

Here's one of our strawberries and cream roses. The lighting was poor but I wanted to include a picture of it in this post so I'm not copyrighting the photo but do ask that if you use it anywhere that you give me the credit and link back to my blog (

What's growing in your area now? What are your favorite spring blooms?

May God bless and keep you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My First Beaded Wire Ornament!

I've just finished my first beaded wire ornament. The kit was given to me by a local Freecycle member (thank you!) so it was a great, budget friendly way to try a new craft. My friend Janet does amazing beaded crafts and seeing her finished work was what first piqued my interest in the craft. The directions made it seem really easy but it was actually quite challenging.

My ornament doesn't look exactly like the box's sample but I had to use my hands (if I make any more of these I'll be buying wire jewelry pliers, for sure!) and found that if I didn't make extra twists in the wires the beads would just keep slipping off. So I improvised and, while my design isn't as tight, I still like it. Have you tried a new craft or hobby lately? I'd love to hear about it!

May God bless and keep you!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas" Book Review

I just finished reading Julia Romp's The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas, a wonderful book about a rescued cat named Ben (and also called Baboo) who positively changes the life of a boy with autism. It was illuminating to see the challenges raising a child who has autism and heart warming to see what a difference an animal companion can make.

My husband's name is Ben and Mom has a cat named "Ben" so that probably made it extra special for me but I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about autism or loves cats.

Although Julia probably meant to focus the story on George (her son) and Ben's relationship, Julia's dedication as a mother was clear throughout the book. I love this quote from page ten: "I loved George from the moment I saw him and wanted to do my best for him. He was my baby, a tiny, defenseless creature I had created and would be responsible for forever; a part of me that I would do anything to love and protect."

Julia's dedication to George's well being didn't waver, even when he was incapable of expressing any love or thankfulness for her mothering. Ben made such a difference in George's life that Julia did some really far out things to try to find Ben when he was lost. I don't know that every mother would be willing to sacrifice so much for her children but I do believe that a mother's love is one of the strongest forces for good in our world and I applaud Julia and salute all the good parents out there!

May God bless you and your family!

Disclaimer: This review is my own unsolicited opinion and I am not affiliated with Julia Romp, the publisher or receiving any financial gain for the review.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Secret Gazebo Photos & Haikus (Short Poems)

Secret Gazebo: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013
Secret Gazebo Haiku Poem
 Secret gazebo
Hidden in the pine forest
Nestled in spring blooms

There's a secret gazebo nestled in the midst of the National Arboretum's Conifer Garden. I love visiting it with my husband and taking in the fresh air and quiet surroundings. It's especially beautiful in spring with azaleas and other flowers blooming nearby.

Gazebo Window: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013
 Spring Happiness Haiku
 Hiking through the pines
Enjoying fresh spring air and
time with my husband. 
Inside Gazebo: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013
Sometime I'd like to visit the arboretum with a friend who likes to read so we could just hang out in this gazebo and enjoy reading in the fresh air together.

Gazebo View: Copyright © by Ben Wheeler, May 2013, used with permission
My dear husband took the photo above and he kindly consented to let me share it with you. May God bless you, dear friends!

Related posts:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

"On this Mother's Day eve I'm wishing abundant joy to every mother in the world and especially to my own dear Mom, Grandmother, Mother in Law, Sisters in Law and the motherly friends in my life (you know who you are and I love you)! May your Mother's Day be filled with blessings and may your children rise up and call you blessed. May you see the love you've showered upon your children reflected in their eyes and actions and may God bless your parenting today and always.
Tonight and tomorrow I'll also be praying for all of you for whom Mother's day is painful, whether you have suffered from infertility, death of a child, mother, someone else dear to you or some other personal pain. May the God of all peace be with you and comfort you in this difficult time" (Note: I'm quoting from last year's post because my sentiments remain the same.)

May God bless you and those you love!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Poem Inspired by "Story of A Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux"

In the middle of reading Story of A Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux, I was inspired to write this little poem. The book is very good, although it's taking me quite a long time to read it. I borrowed it from my local library (using inter-library loan) but have since learned that it's available for free download on multiple websites too, should you desire to read it for yourself.

The Little Flower Still Blesses

Oh, to love with such pureness of heart
To see our precious Lord Jesus so clearly
To forgive so thoroughly
To trust so fully
To be content as a little flower
in God's great garden of souls
To be one with the Holy Spirit
and truly walk by faith.
I thank God for your example,
Saint Therese of Lisieux.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rest in Peace, Snowball (Haiku Poem / Short Tribute)

Snowball: Photo by Carla Wheeler
Rest in Peace Snowball (Haiku)

Snowball, we'll miss you,
your fluffy white fur, happy
barks and friendly smile.

Cute little Snowball brightened the lives of my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law for fourteen years. He was an important part of their family and even joined in on "signing" holiday cards throughout the years. He was joyful, loving presence and will be sorely missed. I haven't seen Snowball in years but I remember him fondly and hope he's enjoying heaven (I personally believe that pets go to heaven). May God comfort and bless my in laws as they grieve Snowballs passing and may He bless you too.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Day of Prayer Haikus (Short Poems)

Jefferson Memorial Cherry Blossoms: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, April 2013
Today is the National Day of Prayer and my writing for the challenge resulted in two linked haikus related to the event. It was really neat to watch the activities broadcast live on the internet. Please join me in praying for our nation, leaders, military service members, veterans, families, the homeless, jobless, suffering and whatever else God lays on your heart.

National Day of Prayer Haikus

Praising God today
Lifting up America
in prayer for healing

For peace and kindness
For living the golden rule
For revival now.

May God bless America and may He bless you too!  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Challenge: Write Every Day in May! & Cherry Blossom Joy Haiku Poem and Sketches

Cherry Blossom Joy Art & Poem:
Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013
In April I accepted a challenge to write every day in May. I remembered this challenge just before bed last night and wrote two haikus (short poems with 5-7-5 syllable format). So I'm backdating this post to last night (because that's when I wrote the poem I'm sharing; the other one's for my hubby) and issuing my own challenge to all who love to write. Let's write something every day this month! We don't have to post it or share it - just write it and feel good about doing so. However, if you do post some of your writings feel free to comment below with the link and I'll check it out.

In case my handwriting is hard to read, here's a typed version of my poem:

Cherry Blossom Joy Haiku
 Pink petals delight
Soft, sweet temporal beauty
Cherry blossom joy. 

May's kind of busy for me but I hope to look into doing a link party or prize drawing later this month so keep your eyes open for those posts.

May God bless you and may your writing be fruitful!

Fruitful Pear:
Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, May 2013