Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Maine Garden and Wildflowers

1.happy surprise: naturally reseeded pansies

It takes a lot of will power to keep working on my latest novel with everything blooming in my garden. I’ve drafted the first seven chapters of NOT CRICKET, and now I’m rewriting them from alternating points of view. The American girl voice has been there from the start. I’m enjoying the challenge of writing in a British boy voice. I’ve spent the past 22 years listening to one. My husband is English, and our kids are “bilingual” after a year’s sabbatical in Oxford. I’m feeling nostalgic…

2. Cherry and White Pine 

. . . and manic: yesterday I started writing at 7am and finished at 9pm with breaks to tend to household needs. It’s a busy time of year for my kids (piano concerts, dance performances, out of state crew races, exams) and my professor husband (last classes, grading, dinners, exams.) I’m the Cat in the Hat juggling car keys, bills, pots, a manuscript, a shedding dog and endless laundry.

I’ve been looking forward to my Wednesday blog day for an excuse to get outside with my camera and online to catch up with you. The bright sun melted the near frozen dew, and it’s going up to 60F with blue skies. I’m posting late so that I can share this glorious day with you. Next week I’ll be back to 7am postings.

3. Azalea

Late Happy Mother’s Day! These cyber flowers are for my mother who is traveling in Europe. The blooms are from my garden and woods, most are naturally reseeding wildflowers. Spring is three weeks early after a mild winter. The snow went south.

4. Hybrid Grape Lilacs

5. Wild Violets

6. Forget Me Nots

7. Wood Anemones

8. Star Flower in the woods

9. Barrenwort (thanks, Jan!)

10. Phlox (thanks, Jacoba!)

11. Salvia officinalis (thanks, Jacoba!)

12. wild geranium (thanks Tina and Bonnie!)

13. Lily of the Valley (thanks, Tina!)

Blog Watch: this post will be part of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on May 15. A Book A Week posted a literary tribute to her mother. Oasis Writing Link is back on line with a post in memory of her murdered mother.  Several garden bloggers helped me ID blooms.


Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Sarah, May I suggest that you number your photographs? That would make it much easier for those of us who know the names of some of them to identify them in our comments.

Sounds like a busy time for you. How nice that you take time to share your garden with us. Love the shot of the azalea!

I'll be back with some names later ... hopefully when numbering makes the task easier. :-)

tina said...

I know the last two-yippee me! The last one is Lily of the Valley and the one before is hardy geranium-probably geranium maculatum. I should know the others but wildflowers are a weak area for me. Thanks for sharing your day. And congrats on getting SO much done! I know how busy you must be-gotta hate them breaks from the garden don't we?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

This is such a beautiful post. I felt like I had the loveliest walk in your garden and woods. Thank you.

Sarah Laurence said...

Bonnie, thanks for the helpful suggestion! I have numbered the photos and republished the post. I am feeling refreshed after a morning in the garden.

Tina, thank you on the ID! I should have known the Lily of the Valley. I’ll label it. Interesting that the other is probably a geranium. I enjoyed your bloom day post too.

Tricia, thanks for joining me in the garden.

Bee said...

I don't know how you are getting ANY writing done at this time of year. Well-done, you. Mothers are definitely "giving trees," as you wrote to me.

I am so envious of your pink azaleas. We can't seem to grow acid-loving plants in our garden. I've planted rhododendrens, azaleas and camellias and none of them have thrived. I finally took the camellias out this week. I FORGOT how much work the garden is at this time of year. Much better to enjoy wild flowers . . . like the ones that you show here. The bluebells are out in abundance this year. I hope that I can get out and take some pictures of them.

Sarah Laurence said...

Bee, I get this surge of adrenaline to finish as much writing as I can before the kids are home for the summer. Sadly, what suffers is my garden. I love wildflowers and native shrubs that take care of themselves. Our white pines make the soil acidic. It’s good for the plants you listed but not for others that you grow. We are short on sun and warm days too. Love the English bluebell woods! I’m looking forward to your photos.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Hi Sarah - Tina is right. Number 12 is a form of geranium.

Interesting how all we bloggers love to rise to a challenge!!

Sarah Laurence said...

Bonnie, thanks for the confirmation! It’s funny: I don’t feel a need to know the names of plants unless they are living in my garden. I appreciate the wild geranium the more for knowing its cultivated relations.

Hana Njau-Okolo said...

What a wonderful groove you got into, writing from 7 am to 9 pm! I've taken days off my job to do just that, back to back days of just writing. I get totally drunk with it and wish I could just keep knocking back the days.

Beautiful, lovely, garden you have! And I learned a few names today.

Lifeofkaylen said...

I love the Lily of the Valley! And the Star Flower ones.
Great pics!

Jacoba said...

Hi Sarah,
No. 10 is a Phlox!
I enjoy reading your blog, as I am fascinated about Maine. Never been there, but who knows?
And I see a Salvia officinalis.
Have a happy day!
Rainy here near Amsterdam.

A Cuban In London said...

Happy Mothers' Day to you, too! (belatedly, sorry). It's so interesting what you have to say about writing from the perspective of a boy. It is a challenge, isn't it? I think that female writers are better poised to write from both points of view (male and female) than male writers. I find the latter's attempts to write as women sometimes puerile and cliched. But that's just my opinionated opinion. :-)

And I can see why you have trouble concentrating with so much beauty around you. Over here we've had frost for the last five or six days.

Maybe it's nature reflecting the mood of the electorate after the political see-saw of the last week. :-)

Greetings from London.

Les said...

It sounds as if you and your family are staying plenty busy. I am glad you could stop to enjoy the blooms.

Sarah Laurence said...

Kaylen, those are both growing wild in my woods. I value the gifts of nature most of all.

Jacoba, it’s so nice to connect with you! I wish I could read Dutch. I would love to return to Amsterdam for another visit - such fabulous blooms, art and architecture. Thanks so much for the flower IDs. It’s so nice to be introduced to my flowers and my followers. Some people say Maine’s coast is a bit like Norway. I hope the rain clears for you soon.

ACIL, thank you! I know Mothering Sunday in England is on a different day. Of the books I’ve reviewed recently, Sarah Waters did a wonderful job in writing from the P.O.V. of a man in The Little Stranger, and Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl did a great job with their teen boy narrator in Beautiful Creatures. I’ve seen other authors, both male and female, struggle to do half as well with the opposite gender. My S.A.D. was written in the third person from multiple perspectives, including men and boys, although the protagonist was a woman. This is the first time I’ve narrated with a male voice. It helps having the female voice to balance it. I hope your weather and your politics improve soon. Even my tween daughter was shocked by the changing of the guard at #10.

Les, the blooms help me relax. If I had time, I’d plant more.

Elizabeth said...

What a lovely garden tour!
Such a delight. Yes, you seem astoundingly busy. Was talking about you with Bee whom I finally met.
AND I saw her garden and daughter gardening in said garden.
Like you, I'm a very split English/American person.
My last post on"World Examining" was of Wisley which I'm sure you know well....

p.s. I think #11 is commonly known as ajuga...but I may be wrong.
pps: I have about a gzillion flower pics from England so would love to join in the May flower posting thing.

Sarah Laurence said...

Mama Shujaa, sorry, I missed your comment. The downside of creative mania is not sleeping enough. I stayed up until 5am to write because I was on a roll, and today I’m completely useless on one hour of sleep. I’m going to read in the sunshine and catch up on neglected household chores. I’m extremely lucky not to juggle a “real job” along with everything else. My art and writing can bend to my whims. I admire you for doing it all.

Elizabeth, I hadn't realized this was your first time meeting Bee. How much fun that you two could connect in person. Thanks for the #11 plant ID and taking the time to stop by during your time abroad. At first I thought you were talking about #11 Downing Street!

Jan said...

#9 Looks like a variety of Barronwort, perhaps Epimedium x y. Niveum? I have some very similar here in my VA garden.

Kelly H-Y said...

As always ... your pictures are positively breathtaking, and your words are so relatable! Lovely post!

Alyson | New England Living said...

I love all the amazing wildflowers that grow here in New England. I grew up in a state where you had to work hard to make anything grow, including trees. So I appreciate it very much. Thanks for taking us on this on this tour!

So impressed by how much writing you did in a day! I can understand the urgency, though, with lazy summer on its way. It's so nice to have a season to relax and enjoy our kids being at home.

Booksnyc said...

The colors in your garden are so vibrant - it is good that you take the time to stop and enjoy the beautiful blooms. They are fleeting so it is definitely not something that you can put off!

Your book sounds very interesting - I like the idea that you are writing from both a girl and boy's points of view and also from both sides of the pond! Can't wait to hear more!

troutbirder said...

Beautiful flowers and garden Sarah. I do think spring and the spring wildflowers are very special here in our "frozen" northern tier of states. :)

Sarah Laurence said...

Jan, welcome to my blog and thank you for the plant ID!

Kelly, it helps to hear I’m not the only one.

Alyson, the diversity of this country is amazing. Relaxation and a drafted MS are on the horizon.

Booksnyc, yes, the azaleas are already gone. Your encouragement was a good motivator. I’ve had a productive writing week. I’m looking forward to the day that I can share the finished book.

Troutbirder, so true!

Larry said...

I really appreciated seeing the wild flowers... brings back memories of New England where I grew up! Larry

A Garden of Threads said...

You are one busy gal, so Wednesday is a must to recharge the batteries in the garden. Lovely blooms, thanks for sharing.

Sarah Laurence said...

Larry and GT, welcome to my blog! I enjoyed your GBBD posts too.

Rose said...

It's good to see that spring has come to Maine! Your azalea is gorgeous, but I think the delicate beauty of all the wildflowers is the most special of all. I'm glad others identified them for you, because I'm not very good at naming wildflowers; I just enjoy them:)

Kathryn/ said...

Hi, Sarah! I can so relate. I just wrapped up my book once and for all and sent it to a typesetter and it was all I could do not to flee into the garden, that last week was so challenging! And, yes, in between was laundry, dogs, daughter, cooking (we have to eat!) and even mowing the lawn. Oh, yes, and a death in the family. But it's over now until the next wave. Fascinated to hear you are rewriting chapters from various voices. Wow. Have to pause to get my mind around that one. So not a novelist. :) Love the wild violets. So different from ours. And lily of the valley makes me nostalgic for Back East. Good luck with the writing!

cynthia newberry martin said...

What a lovely, meandering post through your thoughts and your garden! It's so ironic that I just replied to a comment of yours on my blog that I was not a nature woman and then come to your blog to see these stunning photos of your flowers, none of which do I know the names of--oh dear--but that doesn't prevent me from enjoying them. Happy Spring and a belated Mother's Day to you.

☆sapphire said...

Hi Sarah

Beautiful pictures! And really surprised to find that there are so many lovely blue flowers around you! Your Forget Me Nots are so adorable! By the way, do you like rewriting? Rewriting sometimes seems to be an endless journey, doesn't it?

Angie Muresan said...

Sarah, those are some lovely photos. I'm envious of everyone with a green thumb and space for gardening.

Sarah Laurence said...

Rose, the wildflowers are my favorite too. I’m learning how to identify them. Many people pull them up, thinking they are weeds. I’m into the natural garden partly because it’s green, and mostly because I don’t have the time to tend to needy plants.

Kathryn, congratulations on finishing your book! I’m sorry to hear about the death in your family. What a bittersweet month for you. Thanks, I just had a good writing day.

Cynthia, I’m learning the names from the garden bloggers myself. Spring is such a happy time of year after our long winter.

Sapphire, I love blue flowers especially, and I'm guessing you do too from your profile image. I enjoy everything about writing fiction. I find revision easier than drafting a new chapter, although discovery is fun. It’s rewarding to spend a day rewriting and make the story work. You are right about writing being a journey, and it’s only worth doing if you enjoy the voyage. I know I’ve reached my destination when I can only make a manuscript different, not better. My agent makes that final call.

Angie, these days my green thumbs spend more time on a keyboard than in the garden. My yard is mostly wild woods. I am lucky to live in a place of natural beauty that requires little effort on my behalf.

Jan said...

Hi again Sarah, when I was here before I'm sorry I didn't comment other than to give you a plant ID. Actually, I just learned about Barronwort myself, having planted it just last fall. Isn't the blogging world great? We all help each other. In fact, for my GBBD post, several readers just ID'd mystery plants for me, as well! So fun! I have ties to Maine, just wanted to mention that...I graduated from HS there (in Cape Elizabeth) and my husband grew up in Rockland. His whole family lives in Maine, and always has. Mine were there just 5 yrs, while I was in HS and part of college. But we go up every summer, and my 35th hs class reunion happens to be in July;-) Best wishes with your newest book!

Andrea said...

Hi Sarah, those are the blues we definitely miss in the tropics, the pansies plus the forget me nots, the grape hyacinth, etc, etc. It is the topic of my latest post, as i really love the blues. By the way, in my next lifetime i will be a photojournalist, hehe, i envy your work. How i wish there are also mags here where we can try our writing about plants, but this is not like the west.

TBM said...

Oh, isn't that the truth about being distracted by spring! But well done on getting so much writing done.

Hope you had a beautiful mother's day, Sarah.

Sarah Laurence said...

Jan, welcome back! Cape Elizabeth is not that far from us. It must have been a lovely place to grow up. I’ve been to Rockland for the museum. Have fun at your reunion! I have my 25th in NYC this June. Thanks, NOT CRICKET is coming along well.

Andrea, I didn’t realize that there were no blues in the tropics. I am lucky to do what I love but not rich. I have sold my watercolors and photos, but my agent has yet to sell one of my books. Fingers crossed!

JAPRA, today felt like summer. I wrote for most of the day and then took a book I’m reading for research out on our deck. Happy Mother’s Day to you too.

Sarah Laurence said...

If you came via the GBBD link from July, I accidentally posted this old link. Here's my :
July 2010 GBBD post.