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Guest column

Garden meditation for July

July 20, 2011 - It's been light for an hour or two. Before the day heats up, I take a meditative walk through the garden. As I walk out the front door, I take a deep breath and exhale. I walk slowly and notice the newly built spider web on the front porch. I could spend the rest of the morning sitting in my Adirondack chair studying the spider's web—so strong yet fragile; beautiful yet deadly. I notice the water jewel-like droplets on the draping strands. No meal as of yet for this spider. He's welcome to a housefly, or two.

The sweet, heavy smell of the oriental lilies greets me as I make my way along the front walk. I stop and study an Annabelle hydrangea. Each white flower head is made up of many delicate, beautiful white flowers. Each flower is as perfect as a rose. One hydrangea flower head really is a bouquet.

The hostas provide waves of green, chartreuse, blue, and yellow in the dappled shade. A house sparrow chirps his annoyance from the nearby crabapple tree. A female cardinal, silent in the winter, sings a sweet song. I hear the baritone note of a bullfrog and a splash. Bumblebees and honey bees are busy in the zinnias. I find their soft hum soothing, like a ceiling fan over your bed at night.

The white Shasta daisies dance with the yellow Achillea while the hardy Russian Sage, with its delicate blue flowers, feathery leaves, and curved branches adds softness a perennial border along with subtle scent. Joe-Pye Weed provides breakfast for a Monarch butterfly.

The vegetable garden is preparing its bounty. The tomato plants are filling in their allotted space and holding on to their still-green fruits. I rub a basil leaf between my palms. My hands smell like summer.

The rugosa roses are at their prickly best. I planted these because they remind me of beach vacations out east. The spruce trees smell of Northern Michigan and the leaves of the quaking aspens bordering the wetland provide the only movement on this hot, still day.

This is what is happening in my garden this summer morning. Tomorrow, I'm sure, will provide a different story.

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