ROSES AND OAK LEAVES – Marilyn Armstrong

Roses & Oak Leaves 


A few days ago, our entire property was completely covered by a full carpet of oak leaves. You couldn’t see anything but leaves and broken branches from the trees. The rain and wind have never quit for more than a day or two at a time.

The leaf vacuum crew came and cleaned us up yesterday and while we aren’t completely free of leaves … there are always more up there in the trees … we can see the deck and the driveway … and even the front lawn.

Late roses and oak leaves
Oak leaves in the ground cover

Of course, the rain and the wind are coming back. It’s going to be a bad week. Regardless, we’re going to be away in Connecticut for a few days, so the dogs and the weather are going to have to try and get along without us for a few days.

Leaves and the dog’s rope toy still wet from rain

The weather has gotten pretty weird. It’s hard to explain, but it doesn’t “feel” normal. The weather has always followed a pattern. Not the exact same pattern every year, but typically in late August, you’d see the first yellow leaves. Night time temperatures would begin to drop which triggered the leaf change.

Oak leaves

By mid-September, nights were chilly, even though the days were usually quite warm. By the end of September, at least half the trees had changed color and two or three weeks later, by mid-October, Autumn peaked. When we got lucky, it would linger a couple of extra weeks. If the winds didn’t rise and we didn’t get a lot of rain, you might still see quite a lot of fall right through November.

The last of the woods. Bare now

This year, spring never came. Summer started more than a month late and the flowers that bloom in May didn’t bloom until July. Some never bloomed at all. The dry days of summer never happened and the wind and the rain have continued undaunted and as far as I can tell, are not going to stop. Eventually, it will be cold enough that the wind and rain will become snow and rain.

We didn’t really have Autumn or spring. We’ve had a few days here and there, but mostly, it’s not the seasons. It’s just weather.

MEMORIES OF SUMMER – Marilyn Armstrong

Memories of Summer – FOTD – November 2, 2018


Suddenly, I realized that it is really getting to the end of the year and I don’t remember very much of it. One of my two (the small one) bird feeders arrived today. I have to dump the flowers to hand the feeders and I haven’t bought any feed yet. But I will. We get money on Thursday and bird feed is on my list. I have no idea how much to buy, either.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

One is designed mainly for bigger birds and holds sunflower seeds. The little one is for the little birds and holds “regular” birdseed.

I will work it out.

Bright lilies

Meanwhile, I thought I’d show off a few actual flowers.

Memories of summer, the daylilies, and roses

OVER? OR A FRESH START? Stark #writephoto – Marilyn Armstrong

Thursday photo prompt: Stark #writephoto


Often, through the endless winter, Maggie had been sure her garden would never bloom again. As the frozen ground showed no signs of softening in spring sunshine and clumps of dirty brown snow lay on the earth, she would look at the garden and think: “This year, it can’t bloom. Too cold for too long. Too much ice and snow. And I have not been able to work with it, either.”

The overgrown disorder of the last year’s growth was still thatched across the garden. It had rained so much last year they’d been unable to clear it, so it had stayed there, mulching its way through the winter as they mulched with it.

Despite this and her nearly terminal certainty of imminent doom and total destruction, the garden would suddenly return. Everything bloomed at once. Roses and rhododendrons and daylilies and even the daffodils and columbine.

Flowers suddenly bloomed. In some of the worst years when winter had lain on the ground through most of May, those awful, bitter winters? In those years, the garden would bloom all at once with a frantic and wild passion as if it making up for the lost weeks of normal growth, for the dead months when they had been unable to set a single bud.

One day, she would come downstairs and out the gate and gasp at the amazing colors, how the roses had covered the buses like blankets. That the holly was almost a full story tall and even the miniature lilac bushes and thrown a flower or two.

It gave her hope in a world where the sun rarely shined and she prayed only that the well would not be polluted from something poured into the ground, seeping slowly into that fragile layer of underground water.

Their source of life was down there. In her case more than 450 feet down there, one of the deepest wells in the area. Their water had always been clear and ice-cold after it rose from the underlying rocks.

Was this barrenness a forerunner to one more garden? One more summer when the heat didn’t burn the earth to cinders?

She could only watch and wait. Each year was different. One year, it never stopped raining and after a while, the ground felt like a giant sponge, soft and gooey. Then there would be years of drought, leaving all of them wondering if the underground miracle of water would survive.

It was the very early days of the first week in May. In normal years — sometimes called “the old days” — she’d have already seen her early flowers. The garden would have moved on from crocus to daffodil and would now be full of Columbine and the green shoots of daylilies. The old lilac outback would be about to bloom.

Wild garden

But maybe, one more year, the earth would catch its breath and everything would grow again. Maybe the rivers would fill up and somehow, as if they too were seeds waiting to be born, fish would be there and snapping turtle. The geese and the swans and the herons would fish and flocks of ducks would magically float down with the current.

All she could do was wait and never give up hope. the Earth would come back. After all, it always had.

THE VERY LAST ROSES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – The Very Last Roses

It’s actually cold (again) tonight but it didn’t rain today. It looked like rain, but although it got grey, we actually didn’t have any rain for one entire day. I got so excited, I went out and took some pictures. Because today, the trees were pretty bright.

The little tornado from yesterday basically lasted about 5 minutes and although it took down a lot of trees, didn’t do much other damage. We lost a lot of limbs, especially out back, but seem otherwise untouched.

The weather really is pretty strange. I am a bit dismayed that it got so cold so quickly, but it’s possible it’ll warm up next week and we’ll still get a couple of weeks of Indian Summer.

They are promising heavy rain and a lot of wind over the weekend which is why I figured I should shoot a few more foliage pictures. I have a feeling the wind and rain will strip the trees. However, these pictures are all about my roses which despite the weather and the cold, are blooming. Go figure.

Meanwhile, we are on game two of the World Series. It’s 47 degrees (8.3 Celsius) in Fenway Park, but no one is complaining. Game on!

Summer never wanted to end, but winter seems pretty eager to begin.

FLOWER OF THE DAY: ROSES IN OCTOBER – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – October 12, 2018


Just a few more flowers of summer as we head deep into autumn. Hard to believe flowers are still blooming!

More red roses on the big bush in the garden. I guess that heavy pruning worked out.

Red roses
More red roses

FLOWER OF THE DAY – ROSES IN THE AUTUMN – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – October 11, 2018


They are still blooming like crazy. The roses, that is. Usually, the roses throw a few blooms even late in the summer, but we have entire full branches of roses in both red and pink

And it’s almost the middle of October.

Late roses!

THE FLOWERS I’VE GROWN: CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things People Grow


I grow flowers. I don’t do it in any organized way, but somehow, they grow. I grow things in pots — inside and outside. I have a wild rose and daylily garden that suddenly has become a huge rhododendron garden and we have the biggest holly bush I’ve seen.

I’ve got some very old lilacs, a few very young lilacs, astilbe and goat’s beard, a few random daffodils, and crocus. There used to be others, but they didn’t survive. At one point, I had an amazing display of hollyhocks, but one year, they withered and died and I don’t have any idea why.

Pink roses
Spiderwort
Daylilies
Columbine
Wild strawberries
Crocus
Red Roses
Geranium
Daffodils
Red Begonia
Christmas cactus
Orchids
Solomon’s seal
Lilac