June 20, 2011


Henry James said "Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." I would like to add two others: June garden. This is the season of delicious scents carried through the air; stepping out of my studio there is the sweet smell of roses, in the backyard, the heady aroma of Korean lilac. And peonies...ahh the peonies: white and pink and red, single and extravagant double; the yellow of tree peony. Each has its own character, a giant sensuous ball of innumerable petals or flat petals surrounding a frothy center. And most have a rich perfume.

It is the time for roses, and the bees are deliriously busy gathering pollen; as I watch them, I can't help but think they behave as if drunk with pleasure, wallowing amid the pollen grains.

Irises of all colors and shapes are now in bloom, from the regal siberian purple to the yellows of water-loving flag irises, to the multi-hued bearded iris. I look out toward the pond and see the blues and yellows of irises around its edges. My flower garden is at its height in June, celebrating the summer solstice, this year arriving tomorrow, June 21st, at 1:16PM. Of course there is much yet to come – daylilies, sunflowers, daisies and monkshood – but these blooms are my favorites.

It's not only the cultivated flowers having their most exuberant moment, but also the small, brilliant wildflowers which transform a grassy field into a weaving of colors and light. I catch my breath with delighted surprise when I step into the orchard and see this wild party at my feet.


  1. beauty always gets us where it matters! even here in dirty old manhattan there's some tree blooming on the street whose scent is sensational - happens every year, I know, and it's always such a delicious surprise.

  2. rappel, those surprises are such a gift. Someone just posted a prayer from a Navajo Night Way Ceremony on facebook part of which goes: may I walk/with beauty/ may I walk/in old age/wandering on a trail of beauty, lively/may I walk...