Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring Farm Tour--You Meet All Kinds!

Just finished up being one of the many venues on the Annual Loudoun County Spring Farm Tour.  We welcomed over one hundred and fifty visitors to Blooming Hill, this past weekend, in spite of the gloomy weather.  It just goes to prove that inquiring minds do want to know!  I've come to the conclusion that you meet all kinds of people at these types of public events, like the lady who announced as she walked past the sweetly fragrant Miss Kim Korean Lilac, in full bloom, that my backyard "Smelled just like a funeral parlor."  Of course, I know she meant it in only the nicest possible way.  

Then there was another lady I found meditating, with eyes closed, peacefully sitting crossed legged by the fountain and not wanting to be disturbed.  I know that because I offered her some lavender-blueberry ice cream and she glared at me in a sort of "Zen state."  And then there was the man who asked me, "What kind of a plant it was that he was looking at, in just about all of the garden beds?"  I calmly replied, "It's called lavender." Every last one of these visitors was an absolute delight to have as a guest here at Blooming Hill as they were polite and respectful and appreciated all of the beauty the gardens and flowers had to offer.

I served up countless samples of blueberry-lavender ice cream and people enjoyed lavender sugar cookies, lavender frosted cupcake truffles and all natural lavender soda.  It was a glorious weekend filled with welcoming new friends to Blooming Hill and trading gardening war stories, weather observations and, of course, adventures in growing lavender.

One of the most popular attractions on the property, to my surprise, was the lone Ponderosa lemon hanging from the small tree placed on the patio.  Just about everyone who passed it with a camera in hand, stopped and not only took a picture of it, but also had someone take their picture with it--it's the little things in life, you know.

Thankfully, the peonies made their spring debut, too, since the lavender isn't quite in season, just yet. It seemed that one pink variety, in particular caught everyone's eye.  It is an heirloom variety with a heavy sweet scent and a rich pink color.   Aside from that, I think our Farm Tour visitors were just out to enjoy the spring day and we were fortunate enough to be able to share it with them, right here at Blooming Hill.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Welcome, Fair Stranger

May is certainly a month to relish as the freshest shades of green surround a rainbow of pastel blossoms opening up and welcoming spring as I walk, each morning, along the country roads here in Western Loudoun County.  While the cherry blossoms have all but gone away and the dogwood trees begin to leaf out, even the lilacs are giving way to the blooms of warmer weather, the gently bowed heads of wisteria flowers reflect calm and balance to a world that seems to be hurrying along.  Front yards and roadsides are graced with the white, purple and pink chandelier earring-like blossoms decorating these elegant vines that, over time, can grow into frilly bushes and trees spilling over with lacy petals.

These enchanting blooms dangle effortlessly on seemingly never ending and always twisting vines.  They embody warmth and welcome and playfulness and in the language of flowers, wisteria symbolizes the beginning and beauty of spring--Welcome fair stranger!  Wisteria vines braid themselves up the sides of trees as well as attach to any willing trellis, pole or side of house in dramatic fashion and freely share their lovely fragrance with every passerby.

Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family (Fabaceae).   This woody climbing vine is  native not only to the Eastern United States, but also China, Korea and Japan and quite often depicted in Oriental art.  In Feng Shui, blue and purple wisteria flowers represent balance and calmness by creating harmony in mind, body and spirit.  So, even though their delicate beauty makes them appear fragile, they are a resilient flower that stands up against the unpredictable forces of springtime weather.

I am fortunate to have a pink wisteria growing on an arbor in the front of my home.  It has taken its own sweet time, over the years, to mature and bloom as it would stubbornly turn green without rewarding me with any flowers, almost as if to say, "Wait, the best is yet to come. Just wait."  This type of coy behavior can be very common as it is often that a wisteria can take years to produce its first blooms. In this case, it took over 12 years!   However, seeing the soft chains of pink petals poking and then cascading through tangle of leaves has now made waiting, all of those years, worth it as this fair flower, a herald of spring, announces its presence.