W is for Wonderstruck: A Gardener’s Alphabet Part Two

Gardener's Alphabet

Wonderstruck is defined as suddenly being filled with wonder and delight. Looking at something so beautiful that you are left in awe. I often feel this way when I experience the presence of something bigger than myself. Nature in all of its splendor- autumn leaves, a starry sky, a summer garden in full bloom. The way a flower petal opens or seeing an iridescent humming bird in flight. The colors, the petals and the small creatures are what make gardening a sometimes spiritual experience.

I am an accidental gardener. I have always loved flowers and photography, but it wasn’t until I moved to Chicago that I really thought about gardening . After a long first winter I watched in wonder as suddenly everything began to wake from its snow covered slumber. The brilliant green buds and all the bulbs blooming. Everywhere I looked there were cheerful snowdrops and daffodils and lawns blanketed in blue glory of the snow. I watched in amazement as the symphony of spring color played before me.

One Chicago spring and I was smitten I had to find a way to plant my own spectacular garden. So after studying the flowers at the botanical gardens and in every beautiful yard I saw, I began to dream and plan. The next year I planted 150 bulbs mostly muscari and tulips but over the years that number has grown. Then came the dahlias, zinnias, hollyhocks and the vegetable garden. This year between my home and my daughters’ school I planted nearly 800 springs bulbs because I love the thrill of creating something beautiful.

As naturalist and botanist John Muir once said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” This year I have been especially grateful for the gift of gardening and its power to lift my spirits. So here’s to the gardens and moments in nature that connect us, take our breath away and leave us wonderstruck.

N is for the Norway Maple Tree whose chameleon like color change brightens the cool crisp days of fall.

O is for Orchids and their outrageously beautiful flowers.

P is for the Peony whose alluring perfume and glamourous ruffled petals are some of the gardens most beguiling blooms.

Q is for the Quarantine Vegetable Gardens that sustain and feed our soul.

R is for Roses that crown a garden with their regal beauty.

This picture is from a small castle garden that I visited in Ireland. The rolling green hills and the summer flowers were so breathtakingly beautiful.

S is for the delicate Snowflake flowers that bloom each spring.

And for the tall Sunflowers that revel in the summer sun.

T is for Tulips because the anticipation of their spring color brings such joy on a cold winter day.

Tulips are one of my very favorite flowers. Every year I find myself planting more bulbs and different varieties. One the the things I love about gardens is that each season offers a different view.

U is for the Urns and unique stone statues that grace a stately garden.

This cherub adorned a staircase entrance in a beautiful garden I visited in Vienna.

V is for Violas who seem to laugh with color as they spill out of pots and garden beds.

W is for water lilies whose reflections and color dance across the pond.

X is for xerophyte plants. The succulents, cacti and in my alphabet gorgeous glass yucca plants that take little water to thrive.

Y is for Yew and the evergreen bushes and topiaries that create the architecture of a garden.

Z is for Zinnias whose blooms explode with color like little summer fireworks.

Their bold blossoms invite the happiest garden visitors: humming birds, bees and butterflies. They all come to delight and share in their dazzling beauty.

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