Whether by bike, or foot, or even car, when I reach the low country marsh,  I have come to the right space for nourishment.  Nourishing the soul, quieting the pace, this is my mindful place.IMG_5721


Happy to link with Soul food Friday.

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Taos Blooms

A few months ago, our son was married just outside of  Taos.  I mentioned in a previous post, our task – to bring blooms to a field in El Prado for the celebration.  El Prado is a beautiful spot, high in the mountains, IMG_4995

thousands and thousands of feet about sea level.  (I live barely above sea level, thousands of miles away. Was it the altitude that made me dizzy or the prospect of arranging all these flowers?)  The beautiful bride chose the colors and types of flowers , and Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe produced the order,  4 shopping carts of blooms for us!

After the long, anxious drive back,


the flowers were unloaded and the fragrance and charm of the flowers cast their magic.


We spent the morning and better part of the day surrounded by the love our family had for the groom, the bride and each other.  My Mother, sister and daughter all joined in for the task at hand.

El Prado NM

El Prado NM


Starting with simple Mason jars that I had encircled with burlap and lace,

we began arranging each of the centerpieces.

We also made smaller arrangements to hang from each of the aisle chairs for the outdoor ceremony.

We were asked to make the bride’s bouquet which my sister lovingly produced.  The groom and the fathers were not forgotten; my sister made magic for them as well.   This photo was taken the day after, only slightly wilted.

I now know why all of the books and articles you will read, tell you not to take on the task of producing the wedding flowers yourself – it is super time consuming.

But we were strangers in a strange land, and this day of making flowers sing for the wedding  will be a memory to last forever.  Maybe we ordered too many flowers.

We had many extras that we placed in French market containers

and they adorned the front porch of their new home and the wedding tent.  The bride and her friend used blue tinted Mason jars filled with sand and lights and hung them from the apple tree and other low limbs near the wedding tent.   White lights twinkled on a bike which was propped against the fence which separates them from the fields where cattle and horses graze and run, stretching  to the sky.  The simplicity and honesty of the surroundings

and the event made it a day in our lives to treasure.  While some wedding parties are treated to a breakfast  the day after the wedding, this was a very active group, so they headed for the Rio Grande River


where the groom guided them on a rafting trip.  So much fun!

I hope that the joy of that week-end will follow them through their lives.  The waters can be rough or still, exciting or calm.  Whatever they encounter, I wish them a love that grows as high as those mountains and as wide as that river.

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Nantucket is an Island like no other.  IMG_5535With a rich maritime history and a population committed to her conservation, she manages to use tourism to her advantage while still maintaining her integrity.

For years we visit her shores in either June or September.  The crowds arrive in July and stay until labor Day.  This year we went a bit early and the crowds were still there.  Children are back to school so the beaches were tame.  The shop keepers were still displaying their wares with great style. IMG_5572 IMG_5571 IMG_5506 IMG_5504 IMG_5491 IMG_5492 IMG_5493 IMG_5503 The lines were long at the Juice bar.  But the quiet of a gallery IMG_5574or a solitary walk could be found.  IMG_5513It is much easier to get there by jet, but we still drive and take the slow ferry.   Each year, I say good bye and wonder if I will be drawn back again.

Nantucket beach

Nantucket beach

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Could there be two places more different?   Taos, NM and Nantucket, MA?  Thankfully I am back in Savannah, GA to make the adjustment.  I am not sure I am ready to leave the peace and flavor of Taos that still lingers, but I am drawing on my Nantucket memories of the last 30 years or so to help me prepare.DSC_3792

The New York Times featured a spread yesterday on suggestions for a long week-end in Nantucket.  I was looking forward to a peaceful quiet week in Nantucket, which you can expect in September.  But the article may encourage New Yorkers to jet up there for a last grab at the Summer.  

Oh well, it just means I won’t get reservations at the trendy restaurants.  And truthfully, I am just as happy to visit the fish market or the Bartlett Farm

Bartlett Farm

Bartlett Farm

to prepare our own dinner in a relaxed way.   Sipping wine on the front porch while we enjoy the sounds of the harbor and not rushing to make the reservation on time, is bliss.


Is there a bad time to visit Nantucket?  I don’t think so…



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Play the music for a country song.

New Mexico, the wild West for an Easterner like me.  …Heaven feels near in Taos.  If you don’t believe in heaven, you will believe in SOMETHING bigger than yourself when the place seeps under your skin.  The smell of sage lifted and swirled by winds and the skies glowing, make you feel small and lost in the universe.  Happily lost and open to finding yourself anew.IMG_4990


Our son’s wedding brought us to Taos NM for the month of July.  The rehearsal dinner was held in the wonderful El Monte Sagrado.  I gave my toast, quite tearfully, if I am honest, but I noticed other eyes welling besides my own.  I quoted portions of a beautiful poem, and one that fit the occasion and the setting.  ‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

I was asked to do the wedding flowers.  Ok!  said the one who is always saying, “I am here to help!  How can I help?  What can I do?”  Driving to Santa Fe from El Prado where the wedding was to be held, at daybreak,  to pick up floral order at Trader Joes, I was speechless when they wheeled out 4 grocery carts of flowers!

Trader Joe's flowers

Trader Joe’s flowers

Now it became real.  The colors the bride chose were perfect – the colors of Taos.


My Mother, sister, daughter and I spent the day arranging flowers for the tables, for the chairs at the ceremony, bridal bouquet and boutonnieres!  Now I see why almost every thing you read tells you not  to do the wedding flowers yourself!!


It was stressful, but in the end, I am so glad we did it.


The tent went up, the people arrived, the ceremony was touching and  beautiful …outdoors in this remarkable place.  Their 15 week old black lab puppy stole the show along with the flower girl and ring bearer. …. Until the bride arrived…… and she was glorious, and so at home – yes, it was at their home – and the groom had eyes only for her.

There was a question about the Brunch to be held the day after the wedding as some weddings offer, but this couple had other plans for their guests.  DSC_4487Whatever floats your boat!

We remained in Taos and El Prado for a few more weeks where the sky was our nightly entertainment.  IMG_5025This place, Taos, draws artists and poets and I know they can bring Taos alive for you better than I.  To acquaint yourself with Taos, and get a flavor for the landscape, I recommend you read John Nichol’s “The Milagro Beanfield War.”  Visit the web site of the Millicent Rogers Museum or the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.


A beautiful place to be married, and a beautiful place to escape to, if you have the chance!  For my son and his new wife, it is a beautiful place to live and love.





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Wildflower Ways

Behind our son and daughter-in-law’s new home in Taos, a wildflower meadow imagewas in full imagebloom, bordering a pasture and adjacent to the artist’s studio.  When they departed on a well deserved holiday, we came to stay to watch over their canine family.  No small task, as that encompassed an elderly golden with medical needs, a lovely wandering hound, and a brand new Labrador retriever puppy.  Somehow during “puppy naps”, we wandered around the wildflowers, and discovered paths that the wildflowers paid no heed to while carrying on in their wild ways!  So we have been clearing no tidying – but only as much as a wildflower meadow would want.  New Mexixo is truly an enchanted land!

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Way laid back in Taos NM

We are in Taos NM, where my former image of laid back has taken on new meaning.  The excitement of our son’s wedding to an extraordinary woman made for a very exciting and emotional week-end.  Amidst the natural beauty of the Taos landscape, my Mother, sister, my daughterimage and I immersed ourselves in flowers.  Four shopping carts of blooms from Trader Joes in Santa Fe NM filled the kitchen, hall and foyer of the house. We spent 6 hours making table center pieces, boutonnières, bridal bouquet and hanging seat arrangements.  We never expected to spend so much time playing with the flowers.  Our hopes for some afternoon sight-seeing disappeared.  But with the mountains in full view from the kitchen window, and a house full of love, what more does life offer?  I am blessed.

When we return to Savannah, I hope to share more of the sights from this incredible Land of Enchantment!

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I posted in April with a title “Canna Have Another”.  Here it is a short two months later, and I am singing, “Canna Believe IT!”  The Canna ‘Bengal Tiger” was planted in a large pot soon after purchase ,  and yesterday began to bloom.

Canna 'Bengal Tiger'

Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’

It is spectacular!  I have another growing in the ground in the front yard and it will be interesting to see which one is happier in the long run.  I am still fine tuning my gardening habits in this Zone 8 climate.  Will the heat of the Summer be easier on a potted plant or one in the ground?

The temperature will stray toward 90 today, but the humidity hasn’t even gotten started, so it was lovely to go to the Farm this morning to pick basil and cut dahliasIMG_4737 before the sun got too high.


In my Savannah garden, the angelonia and snapdragonsDSC_4282 laugh at the heat and humidity and the shrimp plant DSC_4383laughs too while enticing hummingbirds.   I hope they continue to laugh when I leave them on their own with an automatic sprinkler as their babysitter….I am headed back to New Mexico soon!

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I am at home in an old garden.  Sissinghurst is one of those gardens.  As Adam Nicholson says in his book, “Sissinghurst, An Unfinished History”:

“It is a place, like everywhere else around it, that is worn and used, as Edward Thomas once described a stretch of country he knew and loved, “like a schoolboy’s desk that has blunted a hundred ingenious knives.” ”

As gardeners, punctuating and blunting the Earth with our tools, we hope to make our portion of the Earth worn and used…well used.  But there is always a beginning to a garden, before it can become well-worn and used.  We visited the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens this past week-end to take in the newness of this place. IMG_4578 The “used” is the Historic Bamboo Farm, but to keep pace with the public’s thirst for a regional Botanical Garden, grounds have been broken and new gardens begun!  Besides the new Visitor’s Center, IMG_4576which was very welcoming, the plans are calling for a Formal Garden.  I love that they are using yaupon holly instead of the usual boxwood. IMG_4582 Natchez crape myrtle trees surround.  Also beginning anew is the replica of the Georgia Trustees garden, including plants that Georgia colonists once grew. IMG_4586

IMG_4591The Water garden is not new but we visited the shallow bog and deep pool.  This older garden exhibits wonderful ideas of what can be grown in the lowlands of Coastal Georgia. IMG_4607 CGBG was a wonderful place to visit, and will one day be worn and used in the most satisfying Savannah way!IMG_4614

In a few months time, the newer garden will start to take on a life of its own.  I can’t wait to return and to show you how it is “wearing, if not worn!”

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When we moved to Savannah last year – one year to the day! – I expected to downsize our belongings and upsize the laid-back posture of our lives.  But getting to know this town has taken every bit of energy we can muster.  There is SO MUCH to do!   People to meet, places to explore, even finding the quiet moments has taken planning and  discipline to make it happen.

Of late there have been house and garden tours.  Does everyone  have a free-standing tub?  How much tile am I willing to tear up to make room for this sublime bathing experience?IMG_4331

How about adding a resident swan to the pool?  I love house tours!

IMG_4295 IMG_4285

Dinners, parties, art exhibits (who knew that Winston Churchill’s paintings were so darn impressive!), bike rides, luncheons….. We gave a party earlier this month, called PWP.  A Party with a Purpose.  I love this idea.  We raised money for the American Cancer Society.  The Chairmen of the committee decided to go with the Cinco de Mayo theme.  Fun and festive.  I laughed and said, “but my house is more English tea party!” IMG_4375 No matter, it was great fun.  Just hang some Mexican flags, lanterns, put out the maracas and get your local florist to give your table some JAZZ!  The Blooming Idiot in Savannah, found some great, colorful flowers to make the table say MEXICO! IMG_4383 It took some bright flowers to take your eye away from 18th century painting and panettiere!  I hope it worked.  We were happy to welcome our neighbors to our down sized home for margaritas and Mexican food while raising funds and awareness.

Many activities that we have been involved with are drawing to a close as Summer begins early in Savannah.  I hope to have more unscheduled hours to follow the light with my camera, listen to some birdsong, play in the garden.  How about….read a book!  Are you planning your Summer yet?

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