Friday, August 29, 2014

Dew Drops, Bees and Pretty Flowers

Dewdrop covered hot pink rose: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" Today's post includes flower photos from two different sessions. One in the cool of the morning while the flowers were still drenched in dew and one in the heat of the afternoon with bright sun and buzzing bees.
Dewdrop covered evening primrose: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
It amazes me that the evening primroses do so well because my husband's always pulling them out but I'm glad they are tough because I enjoy their delicate pink and white flowers.
Bee on red coreopsis: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I loved how the bee tipped up the petal of this red coreopsis flower so we can see the pretty underside, which is more of a creamy yellow with red striping.
Bee on purple coneflower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
 And this bee enjoyed buzzing from coneflower to coneflower.
Artistic rose: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I thought this was my most artistic flower photo of the week but I'm not sure whether I like this super close up rose photo or the dewdrop rose photo better. Which do you prefer?

Praise the Lord for creating such beautiful flowers and creatures! May He bless and keep you!

Related posts:
Raindrops and roses:
Raindrops and flowers:
Shiny wet flowers:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hummingbird Photos By Anna Horner for Wild Wednesday

Hummingbird macro: Copyright © Anna Horner, 2014, used with permission
My dear cousin and friend Anna Horner kindly let me share her amazing hummingbird close up photos with you all. I find hummingbirds to be cute, adorable and encouraging. Thank you, Anna! 
Hummingbird feeding: Copyright © Anna Horner, 2014, used with permission
I love the little tiny hummingbird feet and the wing detail in this photo.
Hummingbird spread: Copyright © Anna Horner, 2014, used with permission
 This artistic shot gives a unique view of the hummingbird's fighting posture.
Hummingbird battle: Copyright © Anna Horner, 2014, used with permission
Here to hummingbirds prepare for battle. Anna's feeders are very popular. I hope you enjoyed Anna's beautiful photos. She's doing this out of the kindness of her heart so if you did like her photos please comment with an encouraging word and I'll be sure to pass it on to her.

Anna also gave me permission to share a little series on the hummingbird's nest with eggs and freshly hatched hummingbirds so be sure to check in for future wild Wednesday posts if you'd like to see them. Hearty thanks to Anna for sharing her photos and praise to the Lord for creating such beautiful little creatures! May God bless Anna, her family, and may He bless you too!

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Wet and wild birds:
Cardinal feeds baby bird:

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Simplifying Home Journey: Week 8, Day 7 (Wrap up)

Obedient plants abound: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Praise the Lord! I made it through Beginner Beans' eight-week Simplifying Home challenge. While I didn't get as much of the checklist done as I would have liked, by the grace of God, I did see some pleasant improvement in my home (despite weathering a series of health challenges).  I did a lot of clutter clearing and organizing and my targeted spaces are more functional and enjoyable.

One wonderful mental change is taking more time to appreciate my surroundings. This is a lovely time of the year in our Maryland garden. The obedient plants are in full bloom along the fence and bees, butterflies and hummingbirds all love their flowers. This week I was so filled with joy upon seeing a hummingbird flit from one flower to another I clapped my hands together like a little child. I stayed as still as I could (so as not to scare it) end enjoyed the beautiful hummingbird show.

Thank you for joining me and thank you to Trina of Beginner Beans for making her Simplifying Home challenge a free resource. May God bless you and Trina too! 

What makes your place feel like home? What one thing could you do this week to make your home more enjoyable, safe or friendly?

Related posts:
Week 1, day 1:
Week 2, day 7:
Week 3, day 3:

Week 3, day 7:   

Week 4, day 3:  

Week 4, day 7:

Week 5, day 7:

Week 6, day 7: 

Week 7, day 7:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Four Dahlias and a Dianthus for Floral Friday

Classic dahlia: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" Even though I crammed nine large dahlia plants into a four foot square space, they're producing an abundance of flowers (although I think five dinner plate dahlia plants in this area would be wiser in the future).
Cheerful dahlia: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I think this dahlia is my favorite flower of the week. I love the curly multicolored petals with cheerful pink and yellow petals.
Bright pink dianthus: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
This dianthus survived the winter, almost died from lack of water a few weeks ago and then bounced back to life this week. It's in a window box but I might transfer it to a perennial bed in hopes of it coming back next year. It's grown so much it needs more room to spread.
Bright red dahlia: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
All of the dahlias in today's post are growing in the same raised bed.  The red and purple are the only single color plants out of the nine in that bed.
Bicolor dahlia: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Even with my not getting to deadhead them in the past couple weeks the dahlias are producing an abundance of flowers. I think they're the most prolific bloomers when you consider the entire growing season. Every year I want to grow more and more dahlias. Maybe someday we'll have a dahlia farm.

Thank you for joining me on this week's floral photo tour of my Maryland garden! May God bless and encourage you!

Related posts:
Cat smelling dahlia:
Dahlia macros:
Spring dahlias:
Dahlias and day lilies:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lion Cubs Stretch, Play and Nurse

Cute lion cubs playing: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Happy wild Wednesday! A few weeks ago I promised the big cat lovers some more cute lion cub photos and here they are. The baby lions are from two litters and their moms are sisters. I believe the first litter was born two months earlier than the second and those two cubs are much bigger than their four cousins. Can you pick out which lion cubs are from which litter?
Cute lion cub swats mom: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
They love to play on their giant log structures in their habitat. This brave cub is about to swat his mom's head.
Cute lion cub stretches: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
And when they take a play break they sometimes rub their faces or chew on the ends of the logs.
Cute lion cubs: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
 They run around and enjoy the grassy areas too.
Lion cubs nurse and lounge: Copyright © by Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
And once in a great while, they stop and nurse from their mom. Here one cub is nursing and the others are resting. They grow up fast so if you live near the National Zoo it's worth going to see them while they're still small.

May God bless this precious lion family, their keepers and may He bless you too!

Related posts:
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Clouded leopard photos:
Little lion cubs:
Lion cub train: 
Six lion cubs:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Smile for Love

Image by Skysthelimit
"Smile at each other; smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, 
smile at each other – it doesn’t matter who it is – and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other." ~ Mother Teresa

Smile for love! Some of my favorite quotes are by Mother Teresa and this was a new one for me so I had to share it with you. Smiling is something easy to do and it communicates love, acceptance, happiness and so much more. You can increase love in our world simply by smiling. I encourage you to smile at everyone you see today!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Simplifying Home Journey: Week 7, Day 7

Yellow zinnia about to open: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Seven weeks seem to have flown by. This was my least productive week so far in the simplifying home challenge. I'm embarrassed to say, unless you count keeping the area from getting worse, I made no progress in the office/computer room, this week's designated area. Because I have nothing to show you in that area I'll share some before and after pictures from a different space that I didn't get to cover in last week's post (because I try to keep it to five photos or less per post so the posts load quickly for you).
Hamper nook "before": Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
This is what I think of as my hamper nook. In the "before" picture above, the hamper is the wicker thing on the left. Then, going clockwise, there's a pile of clutter, a tote filled with old clothes that I need to try on, a pretty box filled with accessories, and two baskets.

The tote has been there for quite a while. So long that I threw a pillow on top of it and turned it into a cat bed (they love it because they can see down the hallway into the kitchen from that spot). One basket is supposed to be for new clothes that need to be washed before I wear them (I'm allergic to a lot of chemicals) and the other for a beautiful afghan hand made for me by a dear friend (the cats had been happy pawing it to death so I am giving it a breather but still want it handy).  
Hamper nook "after": Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
The first step was moving everything out of the area. Next was clutter clearing. This included trying on all those clothes that were in the tote (most are going to charity) and moving the afghan closer to where I use it. It also involved getting rid of the empty shoe box and two loose boards that had been to the left of the tote. They'd been there for a long time too... so long I'd stopped noticing them.

After clearing the clutter and vacuuming I decided that I like having a cat bed under the window but don't like the plastic look of the tub. So I went to Goodwill, found a brown sheet, washed it and draped it over the tote. The tote now holds useful extra blankets and throw pillows.

When walking into the room and facing it straight on, the tote/cat bed looks decent; however, it doesn't look nice from the sides. Eventually I plan to sew a cover for the tote (or get a proper little storage bench) so the area looks better. This is the first thing I notice when walking into the master bedroom so I might sew a big red heart in the front center of the tote cover.

Baby cat ignoring the camera: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I love my "Baby" cat. She's not much into being photographed but she brings me a lot of joy. She's feral born so tends to hide from anyone but me but she follows me around like a dog, greets me at the door and sleeps either on my lap or at my feet when I settle down to read for a while. She's definitely part of what makes our abode a home.

Thank you for joining me and thank you to Trina of Beginner Beans for making her Simplifying Home challenge a free resource. May God bless you and Trina too!

What makes your place feel like home? How do you organize your dirty laundry?

Related posts:
Week 1, day 1:
Week 2, day 7:
Week 3, day 3:

Week 3, day 7:   

Week 4, day 3:  

Week 4, day 7:

Week 5, day 7:

Week 6, day 7: 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chrysanthemum, Obedient Plant, Tithonia, Dahlia and Bachelor Button Bloom Photos

Raindrops on yellow chrysanthemum: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" Our first chrysanthemum flowers of the year appeared this week. I love this sunny yellow color.
Bee on obedient plant: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
The obedient plants line our side yard and are attracting many bees. Usually they are also covered in butterflies but this year we haven't seen as many butterflies as usual.
Orange tithonia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
This week also saw our first and second tithonia blooms. These are plants we start from seed every year and we got a late start so it's no surprise that they're late in blooming but the flowers are welcome. Usually they attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
Rain drenched dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I took this photo after a heavy rain and the beautiful dahlia was soaked. I love the varied colors in the dahlia and different shapes of the raindrops.
Bachelor's button with raindrops: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Last week I showed you our miraculous first bachelor button flower but it wasn't the healthiest looking thing so here's a nicer photo. They're small, delicate flowers. 

I hope you enjoyed this week's mini photo tour of my Maryland garden! May God bless you!

Which is your favorite photo from this post? Do you grow any of these flowers? Do you save seeds or have any seed saving tips?

Related posts:
Bees on flowers:
Sunflowers, dahlias and more:
Dahlia macro photos:
Cat enjoys dinner plate dahlia: 

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Simplifying Home 8 Week Journey: Week 6, Day 7

Irish blessings and succulent flower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Week six of my Simplifying Home challenge comes to a close today. The focus was supposed to be on "storage and organization" areas but the kitchen table had become a dumping ground. It really bothered me so I rationalized that it was a form of storage and made it my priority for this week.
"Before" organizing: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
This before photo shows how one area, left unattended, can quickly become a giant hot spot in need of clutter busting. Unlike most areas, I didn't clear the whole thing off and start from scratch. I took one item at a time and dealt with it until only the things I wanted to stay remained. Then, because I was sneezing excessively my kindhearted husband actually washed the table and dusted the remaining items.
"After" organizing: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I breathe a little easier with our freshly organized, clean table. The things that remain are a dynamic arrangement. The plants rotate in and out as does the little display in the white tray. 

The organizer on the far right corner of the table should just be there through September (it's holding some of my most used craft items and the county fair season is approaching which is when I tend to complete the bulk of my crafting so once I'm done that will go away until I set up my Christmas card and wrapping stations and then go away again until next summer). When not needed for crafting, I usually have a little waterfall or some starter plants in that corner.

Thank you for joining me and thank you to Trina of Beginner Beans for making her Simplifying Home challenge a free resource. May God bless you and Trina too! 

How do you deal with clearing clutter hot spots? Do you have a great clutter clearing story or organizing tip to share? I'd love to hear it!

Related posts:
Week 1, day 1:
Week 2, day 7:
Week 3, day 3:

Week 3, day 7:   

Week 4, day 3:  

Week 4, day 7:

Week 5, day 7:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sunflower, Dahlia, Marigold, Gladiola and Bachelor Button Flowers From My Garden

Cheerful sunflower: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
Happy floral Friday and welcome to "this week in my Maryland garden!" Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers to see. They're just so cheerful. I use them as a decor feature inside too.
Red, yellow and white dahlia: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
As much as I love sunflowers, I think dahlias are my favorite flowers to grow. You get so many, they keep blooming strongly through frost, and you get some surprises along the way. This is the only dahlia bloom we've had this year with such a flame like center, white tips and pale yellow base petals. Definitely a nice surprise.
Bee on yellow marigold: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
 The marigolds are still going strong and the bees appreciate them.
First gladiola: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
I think this is my first gladiola bloom of all time and now we have two plants in bloom. I'm not sure if the third bulb I planted in spring is going to bloom but I hope it does.
First bachelor button: Copyright © Phyllis Wheeler, 2014
The poor bachelor button plants... I started them from seed last year. About seven made it through the hot summer. Then we had a (diseased) giant tree cut down this spring and parts of it landed on them. I thought they were all dead but three managed to spring back to life... only to be eaten all the way to the ground by a mystery animal just when they were in bud (before they bloomed). Finally, this week two of the plants had flowers! I feel like it's a miracle.

Our obedient plants started blooming after I took the photos for this week's post so hopefully next week I'll have a photo of one for you with a lovely butterfly on it. 

I hope you enjoyed this week's mini photo tour of my Maryland garden! May God bless you!

Do you have any miracle plants or flowers? I'd love to hear the story behind them!

Related posts:
Teddy bear sunflower:
Sunflower garden room:
Dramatic sunflower:
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