Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Garden

My garden has been blooming away steadily. We've gotten a lot of rain this spring, so everything is quite verdant. One of these days I need to fertilize the flowerbed, but I have to get some more weeds pulled, first. Here are a few pictures of what's been blooming, these past few weeks.This is a 'Lady Banks' rose. It's a thornless climber, and escaped from the garden a while back. It's currently up in a tree. The flowers are fragrant, and grow on long flexible branches that fling out from the main stem and drape themselves in picturesque curtains like something out of a fairy-tale.A neighbor gave me some periwinkle cuttings a while back, and the past couple years they've started to look really nice. Some are solid glossy green, and others are variegated, but the flowers on both are the same noncommittal jellybean purple. They're a hardy groundcover, but completely noninvasive-- the roots are shallow and nontenuous.Now for my actual flowerbed. A few years back, I was given some seeds for a columbine, and couldn't remember what I did with them. Apparently I planted them at some point, because it bloomed for the first time last year and is looking nice, now. I haven't found out what cultivar it is-- it's a single, almost black. Quite striking.Against all odds, my cranesbill plant has survived and is reaching a hearty size. It has had many near-death experiences, including being hacked off its parent plant and struggling for years to display two tiny little leaves like a pair of pleading hands. Once something else was planted on top of it, and it's been stepped on quite a few times. Now it's finally big enough to see. The pink flowers are dainty and crepe-like, almost like a primrose's but much longer-lasting, and the foliage turns crimson in the fall.My coreopsis is back. Seven years or so ago, we got a single coreopsis 'Nana' plant. It kept growing and growing, and when I divided it, each plantlet reached the size the whole thing had originally been by the end of the summer. My entire garden, at that time, was blazing orange from the coreopsis, and pale purple from a few other things I had. It was hideous. Finally, two summers ago, all the coreopsis died of brown spots, and last year my garden was all cool and pleasant colors. And this year-- the coreopsis is back; it had reseeded itself. There are only a couple little plants here and there, but by next year I might be ready to give some away, again.This burgundy bearded iris bloomed for the first time, this year. There's also a similar apricot-colored one, but it didn't bloom this year.This pale purple iris bloomed for the first time this year, too. I have a solid dark purple one, but it hasn't bloomed in a while.This white iris bloomed for the first time last year, and began blooming Holy Week of this year, but then it got all beaten down and bedraggled in the rain. This picture can't come close to showing how spotlessly white the petals are.These dwarf bearded irises are only about knee-high.I love everything about irises except their short bloom time. They smell wonderful, and are nice to touch (I have a need to touch flowers), and their varying textures make them look like silk and velvet.Here is my Spanish lavender plant! I love the way the flowers look-- I've heard them described as pineapples with bows on top. It doesn't smell the way English and French lavenders do; it's definitely a lavenderish smell, but it's actually closer to the culinary pine smell of rosemary. It's a fun plant to touch, because it's so soft and benevolent-looking. I'd tried to plant regular lavender before, but it rotted within a couple weeks, and I once had a Spanish lavender plant, too, but like almost everything else in my dorm room it died a long, drawn-out death. I did some research and found that it likes sandy soil, so I put this one in a pot with about three parts sand and two parts topsoil. See, all soil would be too rich and the plant would rot. So far it seems to be doing quite well, other than needing extra water because the sand drains it all out.The gigantic chives are blooming, too. These make really nice cut flowers, and keep their color when dried. They would also look pretty in a salad.

This is pretty much everything that's blooming, right now; I'll make a separate post for the rhododendrons and azaleas, since we have so many kinds. ^_^

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ah, Holy Jesus!

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hast in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied Thee:
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered,
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For man's atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

Text: Johann Heermann, 1585-1647; trans. by Robert S. Bridges, 1844-1930
Music: Johann Cruger, 1598-1662
Tune: HERZLIEBSTER JESU, Meter: 11 11 11.5

This is my favorite hymn for Passiontide. The tune is solemn and reverent, and the words are brutally honest. The second verse is so powerful that sometimes it's difficult for me to sing. The fact is, Christ died because of my sins, and because of yours-- there's no point in hedging around it, and there's only glorious gain in acknowledging it.

Please pray for me and all other church musicians as we begin celebrating the Triduum tomorrow! My prayers are with you all.