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the cardinal outside my window

screams sweet songs of spring

the sound calming my soul

sunlight in my face

nature on my mind

branches tangled in the woods

the sweet songs of spring lingering in my senses

my eyes, my mind, my soul

cut forsythia on the table

sweet yellow color of spring

bringing me peace

serenity, calmness, love

the cardinal in my window

screams sweet songs of spring

renewal has come

this moment so meaningful….so simple

and so so so sweet….

Written by Michelle Madonna

Breathing

I breathe deeply, that salt water air

makes me feel whole again

my hands touch the water

the water to my face,

my lips, my mind

that salt water air rushes to me

makes me feel whole again

my feet touch the sand,

the sand to my toes

my ankles, my mind

makes me feel whole again

I breathe deeply, that salt water air

and never feel down again

There is nothing like seeing the days grow longer.  The air is still cool yet the daffodils and forsythia are blooming.  The yellow lights up the space around, bringing a joyful color to the lingering winter that is still with us.  Seeing the first buds sprouting green, leaves me with a sense of anticipation.  Those first small leaves, tiny, delicate, the most amazing green ever.  I anticipate warmth.  I anticipate sunnier days, longer days.  The sun has a sweet effect on me, always has…always will.  The sun warms me.  You know, I always thought  I had that seasonal affective disorder as I always feel perfect when the days are longest.  It is as if nothing can come my way, no worries, no problems.  I can conquer anything, do anything, be anything.  That is the sweet effect of the days getting longer, minute by minute, day by day….

It is interesting to think of how days can affect us as humans, just as they affect animals and plants.  We are all in this thing together, this cycle of life, of seasons.  A grand metaphor for living.  A way to simplify the complex. 
You see sometimes in life if you just simplify, you can open your eyes to acceptance, to the true meaning of life.  This is how I get through difficult times.  It is when I break down the difficult thoughts, break them down into something so simple.  Like the beauty of a spring flower, the beauty of those first green leaves of spring.  My connection to nature has truly helped me become the person I am.   I can appreciate nature as an integral part of my life, my being, my soul.  It helps me deal.  It gives me reason.   And it always has this sweet effect….

Magnolia

The magnolia blooms in my window
If only you knew how i love them
My eyes are bright, green as an emerald
I see my reflection and know myself deeply
The magnolia blooms and my mind is still
To awaken, to awaken, to awaken
Sense overcomes me again

Copyright. 2009.  Michelle Madonna

Plants always have a way of bringing me inspiration, especially during the transition from the end of winter to the beginning of spring.  The first day of spring is this Friday, which brings me great joy!  I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that the days are getting longer and the warm weather is soon to arrive. 

I look forward to the daffodils and tulips that will soon bloom.  Today in the garden at work, these amazing yellowish hellebores were planted with purple pansies and tulips.  Hellebores are absolutely one of my favorite flowers.  They are unique, especially because they bloom at the end of winter, early spring.  Their flowers can really vary, the colors, the mottled spots on the petals, the way they hang from the stem.  Some hang down with the face of the flower not noticed unless you pick it up. Others bloom upright and stare you in the face.  They hold a special place in my heart as they signify the transition from winter to spring, a time of renewal, a time of change. 

Hellebores are amazing in the ground, in a partially shaded environment with moist, organic soil.  They are also amazing in containers.  Buy them in a nursery in late winter, early spring and plant them in containers on your patio as a stand alone plant and you will get the most dramatic effect. 

There are hundreds of hellebore hybrids, colors ranging from plums to whites to yellows to purples.  There are hellebores with spots on them and even with ruffled petals, as you can see from the picture below.  Mixed together, hellebores create a beautiful display.  They are certainly a special flower and have even inspired me to paint. 

wwwuploadwikimediaorghelleboreflower

photo cited:  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Hellebore_flowers.jpg

I ordered some Hellebores for my new garden and am excited to plant them next week.  They are a must-have in every garden.  I urge you to buy some for your garden. They will surely bring inspiration to you as well.  Maybe they will inspire you to start a garden or maybe they will inspire you to paint.  Or maybe they will inspire you to take a moment to appreciate their beauty, the beauty of nature, the beauty in a flower.  The simple things in life always seem to inspire me.  Simple things teach me beautiful life lessons.  And plants continue to inspire me, as they always have….and they always will………

Staring into my dendrobium orchid, I immediately feel at ease.  Flowers always have a way of doing that to me.  What can I say?  I love them.  They can make me calm in the midst of a storm.  I can be in the middle of a hurricane and I take one look at that flower, and peace just comes my way.  Which is just one of the reasons why I have a sick passion for orchids. 

I am constantly buying orchids.  I am constantly buying plants.  Am I a plant fanatic?  Yes!!!  I freaking LOVE them!!  There is something amazing about orchids.  I have always been obsessed with them.  I dream of having an orchid nursery one day, a huge greenhouse full of orchids. I dream of the smell of the greenhouse, that earthy soil smell, the humid air, the flowers dancing from the breeze of the fans.  That greenhouse smell is one of a kind.  I will have this one day.  I know I will.  It is my destiny. 

One of the most beautiful things in this world are orchids.  There are so many species, so many cultivars.  Their diversity is certainly one to appreciate.  There are chocolate orchids, terrestrial orchids, epiphytic orchids (grow on tree branches and bark of trees-very cool stuff indeed), native orchids, dendrobiums, paphiopedilums, cattleyas-the most amazingly fragrant of all orchids, miltonias, phalaenopsis, and the list could really go on and on. 

I have an amazing appreciation for every orchid out there, especially the ones that are difficult to get to re-bloom.  Some require certain temperatures and exact environmental conditions.  Some of these orchids are tropical or native orchids.  These types can only re-bloom in greenhouses under certain conditions.  But there are species which you can get to re-bloom in your own home. 

This leads me to the second reason I have this sick passion for orchids.  Getting them to re-bloom can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences EVER.   Phalaenopsis are probably one of the easiest to re-bloom indoors.  Usually, it can take up to a year to get a new flower spike after the orchid has already flowered.  Most people never have the patience to wait and end up throwing them away, which actually makes me sad.  Please people, if you are going to throw away an orchid, please, call me.  I will save it!!!  I have actually thought of starting a business that recycles orchids that people throw away.  That would be a viable business idea.  Perhaps I will embark on that adventure in the future.  So many plants to save, so little time!! 

My passion for orchids runs deep.  Orchids have always intrigued me, wrapped around my mind, embraced my spirit.  They have taught me patience.  My passion for orchids exists now.  My dream of having a greenhouse filled with orchids will come to fruition.  I see it in my future.  I dream of it today, as I stare at my orchid.  I dream of it as I smell its’ sweet fragrance.  I dream of it as I close my eyes and awaken to my passion, the passion which lies inside my heart, my head….

Garden Ideas

Creation comes from within the mind.  My garden is the beginning of something good, something real, something amazing.   It will be created by me, with all of my little horticultral brain cells running rampant in my mind.  Brainstorming sessions have begun.  My sketching pencils have touched the paper.  Creative mind be free, no limits, no fears….

Clematis and pink climbing rose will grow up the railing of the deck.  I definitely need some peonies for they are one of my most cherished flower.  They remind me of my mother when she was young, beautiful and healthy.  You see, for me, flowers carry memories, they carry time.  They mean something to me.  Perhaps this is how I connected with the world of plants at a very young age.  I used to pick black-eyed susans with my grandmother when I was a child.  I remember admiring those linear yellow petals with the brown eye.  I remember being intrigued by the small grains of pollen.  I remember the bees, the sunshine and the wind in my hair as I touched the flower.  To this very day, 20 years later, I am still intrigued. 

The future rock garden in front of my deck will be mottled with boulders, sedums, creeping thyme, pulsatilla, and small rock garden plants.  There is something special about a rock garden, that coarse texture of the rock against the smoothness of the vegetation. The Yin and the Yang. 

And of course, I need an herb garden.  Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil.  The four herbs I cannot live without.  There is nothing like the freshness of an herb, especially when using for cooking.  Sprinkle some rosemary on a roasted chicken  and it is so yummy.  Make some pesto sauce with basil. I do this every year.  I always seem to have SO MUCH basil at the end of the season.  So, I always make a nice pesto sauce.  Yum.  Yum. 

Garden ideas.  They come to me in the morning when I awake.  They come to me during my daydreaming sessions in the late afternoon.  They come to me at night.  My mind is always thinking and creating.  My mind is always connecting the creative dots.  My horticultural brain cells are always moving. If you are a passionate gardener/designer, you will know exactly how I feel.

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