The year’s at the spring, And day’s at the morn; Morning’s at seven; The hill-side’s dew-pearled; The lark’s on the wing; The snail’s on the thorn; God’s in His heaven ~ All’s right with the world! ~ Robert Browning, Pippa Passes, 1841
Good Sunday morning, dear friends. Spring arrived yesterday in such a beautiful fashion. Bringing hope and beauty to our weary world. And, today is just as lovely, not a cloud in our magnificent blue sky.
Speaking of ‘hope to a weary world,’ does anything offer hope as much as a daffodil? I think not, especially after winter and COVID. Our King Alfreds are on center stage in our garden and many other varieties are beginning to show color. I stand in awe of these fabulous beauties as I think of such gorgeousness growing from a bulb in the cold ground. God’s handiwork.
Mike was cutting a rather lavish bouquet the other day and his hands became too full to finish his cutting. Looking around, he spotted the ‘V’ in our Japanese maple ~ Nature’s vase. We both thought it was a pretty photo. I love the daffodils with the hellebores.
Most of the vases I own have come from my antiquing adventures and they were never expensive. There are a few exceptions, most of which were gifts from my dear mom. However, the other day I was perusing a Ballard Design catalog, and look what I found. A cherry blossom tulipiere. I was immediately in love. They refer to it as a ‘floral frog.’ It was my splurge and I can just see it dripping with peonies.
I know you remember my dear and lifelong friend, Janet. She is the beautiful soul who creates and stitches stunning needlepoint designs, many of which grace our home. Oh, but talent and creativity do not rest. Janet is adding another skill to her resume, she is also becoming a gardener. Gardening really isn’t her passion, but she loves beautiful flowers and me. Therefore, when I sent her daffodil bulbs for her birthday, of course, she had to plant them. Above are her British Gamble and Fortissimo. I think I should add photography to her list of talents as well.
Many spring flowers, especially daffodils, are dancers. William Wordsworth thought so, along with Jessie Dysart. It is a special gift to enjoy them as they sway ever so gently and gracefully, dancing in a spring breeze. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear them giggling. They are ‘celebrating and dancing to the music.’
Dancing With Flowers ~ Jessie Dysart
Glimmering early morning light,
What will this day become?
I saunter to the garden,
Seeking the counsel of flowers,
With answers more than man,
The flowers began to sing to me,
Listen, they are singing for you too,
Spectrum of notes from all pigments,
Even the colors of woeful blue,
‘Cause sad flowers sing too,
Look at the flowers (swaying),
Gentle late morning breeze,
Flowers dancing with me,
Will you let them dance with you too?
“Next to the rose, whose divine right to monarchy cannot be questioned, the violet is the poet’s flower.” ~ Willis Boyd Allen
Today, was my dear mom’s birthday. She would have been ninety-nine years young. I say young because she was young until the very end. She could find joy everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. She was an extremely talented and strong woman. I am so grateful she was my mom and, oh, my goodness, the wonderful things she instilled in me.
One of my best memories of mom was venturing out with her on a chilly and sunny spring morning to gather violets for her violet jelly. We would go early, as it takes quite a while to gather enough violet blooms for jelly. And she always wanted to do two turns. One for us and another for special friends. It was a marvelous treat on toast or a biscuit, especially on a cold January morning.
I have included a recipe from “Taste of Home.” It looks much like what I remember mom making, should you want to go violet picking. Note: Be sure to read the editor’s notes.
Violet Jelly Ingredients
8 cups fresh violet blossoms
3-1/2 cups boiling water
1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups sugar
Rinse and drain blossoms; place in a large heat-resistant glass bowl. Pour boiling water over the blossoms and let stand for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain and reserve violet liquid, pressing with a spatula to extract all possible color. Mom’s was always a pale and pretty lavender. Discard blossoms.
Measure violet liquid; add enough water to measure 3-1/2 cups (liquid will be blue-green). Stir in pectin, lemon juice, and sugar (the liquid will turn a violet color).
Pour into a large stainless steel saucepan; bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.
Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Carefully ladle the hot liquid into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Editor’s Note: Only pick flowers from chemical-free woods or lawns. Also, be sure your blossoms come from the common wild violet, not the African violet houseplant, which is inedible. The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Add 1 minute to the processing time for every 1,000 feet of additional altitude.
Dear friends, I believe with all my heart our future looks much brighter than it did this time last year. Mike and I had our second COVID vaccination this past week and I am hearing many others have had theirs also. However, circumstances do not matter, spring never fails to arrive in all her glory providing enthralling beauty.
This year, may we enjoy every blossom, every bird, every luscious smell, every blue sky, every raindrop, every hour of the brilliant light and sunshine.
And. . .
May we be grateful for such lovely blessings, always.
Wishing you and yours a beautiful day. Stay well.
“Daughter of light! thy fairy step Steals softly over vale and plain, And with thy bright and joyous smile, Beauty and life awake again.” ~ Mary Ann H. Dodd Shutts
Photos: M.S. Lambiotte, Janet, tumblr, and S. Lambiotte
Recipe from: Taste of Home