Summer has begun its wind-down. The daylight hours are dwindling, the sun is lower in the sky, the leaves are drying, and some of the birds have already begun their journeys elsewhere. Our colors are starting their change to the deep reds and oranges of fall. So I set out in search of a “last” color of summer and found these Lindley’s asters blooming with their final hurrah, valiantly reaching up to the sun’s warmth. With our lowering night-time temperatures they too will soon be fading into fall’s colors.
Here in the north we are still waiting for spring’s arrival. Our skies have been gray, our temperatures have been 10-20 degrees below normal, and we’ve even had continuing frosts and snow. It’s been hard to keep our spirits up thinking that spring will not arrive in April but is holding off until sometime in May.
But there’s a lovely “cure” at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park and it seems like everyone is making a mental-health trip to the conservatory. Spring is in bloom, with bright and lovely colors – reds, yellows, whites, pinks, and blues – and the scents of these blossoms float in the air. Everyone is smiling, taking photos of the colors with their phones, inhaling deeply, and spending time in the gardens trying to soak up the indoor promise of warmer weather.
Spring will come, although by now it may be fleeting. We may instead jump from winter to summer. But I’m sure we will all welcome the long-anticipated warmer weather and it’s accompanying blossoms and blooms.
It’s been peak bloom for peonies this past week. With our hot temperatures and gusty winds I can walk outside and immediately smell the scent of peonies in the air. It’s a short-lived bloom season, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons I savor every day. We’ve added additional peony bushes over the years, but I continue to favor the ones that I transplanted from my mother and father’s house in Kansas. These are the ones that were on the side of their house, sometimes neglected, but they continued to blossom. Each year my parents would gather and cut the blooms to take to the cemeteries on Memorial Day and lay on the graves of relatives. Fast forward to now, with both my parents having passed on, I’m filled with wonderful memories and see these Kansas peonies blooming in honor of my mom and dad.
We’re languishing still in winter – short days, colder than normal temperatures, gray skies, brown ground. This beautiful splash of purple iris caught my eye at the store last week. Flowers! Color! Spring! – all in one compact bouquet. It was an instant “shot” of what I needed. The promise of spring is still ahead; yes, there will be blue skies, sunshine, the scents of spring, and the colors of flowers – somewhere ahead of the snow expected later today.
In my longing for the colors of spring, I wandered into the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park. My spirits rose as I took in the colors and smells of our long-awaited season of spring – an array of lilies, tulips, ranunculus, and daffodils. Flowers the colors of the sun — the light of spring that we crave so much after the cold and white of winter. From underneath these tulips the light from above made them glow and shimmer – an ephemeral hint at their fragility and short-lived life in the transition between winter and summer.