As our tropical heat arrives earlier each day in this late spring season, I make my way outside at 5:15am each morning to water the garden, do a bit of weeding, mulch where there is a need, and generally try to keep things flourishing for as long as possible.
I was surprised in the pre-dawn this morning to see that a sprinkle of rain had fallen - not enough to nourish roots, but certainly enough to provide a pretty raindrop display on the roses.
This is my Black Madonna, a long stemmed red rose which I cut for display inside the house. When left too long outside the delicate petals burn to a crisp under our scorching tropical sun, so I always have one, two, or even three small vases of blooms inside.
The past few days I've been gently tending a huge sunflower which has been withering badly. It grew near the bird feeder, and as we feed the cockatoos a healthy diet of sunflower seeds each day it was no surprise to see a few of these gorgeous yellow blooms begin to sprout in the ground below, however, they never grow more than two feet high.
This one is over five feet and simply stunning, but last week if fell over in the night (or a critter knocked it over) and when I walked out back in the morning it's root ball was fully exposed and it lay horizontal on the ground. Upset, I showed hubby and he quickly replanted it, warning me that he did not think it would survive.
I prayed - and yes, it may seem silly to pray for a flower, but flowers are a gift from God and they bring me a very deep sense of calm and happiness. They are one of the things I have come to identify as nourishing to my soul, which is why the garden in bloom brings me delight and great satisfaction.
Well, it looked pretty bad the next day, but I watered it, added some worm castings, and prayed again. The next day it had perked up but later that afternoon, after another scorching day, it was limp again. The flower head was closed tight and hubby reminded me again that things looked grim. But still I prayed and watered and watched.
This morning, a small miracle...
If you could have seen me jumping for joy, praising God and shouting hallelujah at 5:15 this morning you would have wondered what on earth was going on...I'm sure that's what the neighbours thought!
But there was a lesson in this. Don't give up, don't lose hope. I'd invested my time and prayers, kept a watchful eye on how this fallen sunflower was recuperating after replanting, and sought to improve the soil around it's root system - hopeful that it would revive and strengthen.
That's what God wants me to do with the people and situations in my life which have fallen over or are struggling - HOPE, PRAY, and be ready to do practical things if there's a greater need.
God always has a lesson to share, even when it's just a flower struggling in the garden. With Him, nothing we learn is wasted.
Also in the garden, the 1 year old elder trees are flowering again. I am hopeful they bear some berries this time around...
...because their first flush of flowers turned black and dry very fast, with no berries at all. I'm thinking it's from our heat, or the sun really - I can't tell you how fierce the scorch is from the sun where I live.
Actually, it was nice to get photos this morning before the sun came over the mountain.
Our lemon tree is heavy with fruit...
...and the shrubs and trees are blooming too.
Zinnias are self seeding everywhere, which is a real blessing because I won't need to plant them again, but so funny to see them popping up in pots and garden beds all over the yard. This one came up beside a bed of spring (green) onions.
The marigolds have self seeded as well, right beside one of our many clumps of aloe, and boy are they pretty! That's another sunflower beside them...
Hubby planted a blackberry bush a few months back, one which apparently does well in the tropics, and after a slow start it's really taken off this past month so we've put an old clothes drying rack over it as a frame to grow across.
That pink flower behind the blackberry frame is a gorgeous desert rose. It was a gift from our neighbour when we lived closer to the city, and she'd raised it from seed. When she gave it me I think it may have been just 1" high.
My neighbour was a French marine biologist named Veronique, and when we planted it in our garden (just after we bought the house at the end of 2018) I named it after her. Let me introduce you to Veronique, the desert rose...
Elsewhere, here's a few things which are still doing well (with lots of water and care).
Thai basil (which the blue-banded bees adore)...
Birds Eye Chillies
Lobelia, still flourishing in a shaded spot.
More zinnias, but these were planted as seedlings between the Hyssop and the Tarragon.
Strawberries, still (very) surprisingly bringing forth fruit!
Last Friday I had Blossom and the children come spend the day and Cully May requested "Could you make blueberry and raspberry muffins please, Nana?"
The girls LOVE raspberries and will eat a punnet each within seconds of arrival, or should I say they inhale them within seconds? If you've watched a teenage boy eat, you'll understand what I'm talking about! I scattered white choc chips on top because Blossom loves them, so everyone's taste buds and tummies were very content, and I only needed one punnet of raspberries.
On Saturday morning I had to pick up my new computer/reading glasses. I don't usually go anywhere on Saturday but this was the only appointment I could get to have them checked and adjusted.
These are my new Cath Kidston spotty specs...aren't they lovely?
On Sunday I finished the UFO which featured in my little hanging tabs tutorial (HERE
). Those tabs came in handy as a cushion closure for the back, and just so you can see how I did that here's a few photos.
Next time I'll increase the overlap of these two sections for the cushion back, but I was making this up as I went along and that's usually when you learn a few things which could be changed next time.
Still, I do love the way this looked and will definitely repeat the idea in my next cushion project.
Here's the completed cushion, and if you like the embroidery used for the front it's HERE
The cushion is small (9.5" x 12") because I needed a new one for my hands to rest on as I do hand embroidery. You see I don't use a hoop, but rest my hands on a soft cushion instead, and this gives me more control in how I stitch - it's also how I'm able to do such tiny backstitch.
I'm really happy with how this turned out, so that's one UFO complete and now I can't wait to begin my next UFO project.
As I mentioned in October, my plan is to complete (at least) one UFO project every month, from now until the end of 2022, and I invited all of you to join me. Have you been looking through your UFOs and put some aside to finish in the coming months/year?
I'll have some tutorials to share in the months ahead which may help with orphan stitcheries, but I'll also show you some of my larger projects which have lingered far too long, hidden away in darkness where it's easy to avoid them. Let me know what you're planning to work on first, okay?
Now I'd best sign off for today and go put that chicken in the oven or it won't roast itself, and I have a pile of vegetables to prepare too - parsnip, potato, pumpkin, red onions, beetroot, asparagus and broccoli. Gosh I love my veggies, especially roasted parsnip, though my dear husband believes it would be best mashed and used as cement. Sigh.
Bless you dear friends; and thank you for dropping by, reading, and leaving comments to share your own thoughts, because YOU are very interesting and I love to hear about your own plans and ideas.
Drop by again on Wednesday as I'm sharing a gorgeous free pattern, plus you'll see my November UFO project.