Waxing poetic

An Australian priest living in New Bedford, MA sent Blithewold’s executive director a poem and she encouraged me to share it. Deadheads taking out the zinniasFr. Sharbel said he was inspired to write this (as yet untitled) poem titled “Deight” after walking around Blithewold with a friend this summer:


Seeds planted long ago

Have now become a splendid show,

That bring delight to the heart

As each in order play their part.


Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)As one strolls beneath the trees

In summer’s air become a breeze,

One feels a calm and peace of soul

Our stories are in whispers told.

Each path is followed with delight

For at each turn is found a sight,

Of colors in their varied shades

New in light that grows and fades.

tulips placed in the Cutting BedHere we learn to take our time

And watch the years make better wine,

As from the beautiful, we here drink deep,

May we within thanksgiving keep.


-by Fr. Sharbel Francis Mary


Isn’t it lovely? I think he must have had a nice visit…

Yesterday, the Deadheads removed more of summer’s veneer in the Display Garden and started to *think spring* by planting tulips in the cutting beds. It seems like we gardeners spend a lot of time casting ahead to the future. We plan and scheme and envision seasons to come while being totally up to our elbows in the here and now. It’s no wonder we get exhausted. I love the digging, rearranging, tidying, and putting to bed of fall but have trouble switching gears to plan for the colors of spring! Spring is too soft and pastel for me now with fall in my face (sneeze-o-matic ragweed must be still blooming in the unseasonable warmth). Fall’s colors seem deeper, earthier, and maybe it’s the light but they seem more electric. Neon tree colors are driving me to distraction (and nearly off the road). A fungus amongus!  Stinkhorn fungus (Mutinus elegans) in the North GardenI love the rudeness of fall too – it’s like a little kid throwing blustery tantrums and telling really juvenile jokes. Working in the North Garden last week a peculiar odor reached for my nose and I found this shocking thing (right) the size of my pointer finger in the otherwise demur and still pretty garden. Stinkhorn fungi (Mutinus elegans) can be found in bark mulch or really rich soil.

I hope summer visitors like Fr. Sharbel come back to Blithewold to see the “splendid show” (and off-color comedy revue) of fall, all the “colors in their varied shades” of winter and “the beautiful” this coming spring. Meanwhile I’m going to take “each [season] in order” and even if I have to cast ahead a bit to another, I’ll remember to delight in (laugh at) the now.

Praying mantis on a Sheffield mum

4 thoughts on “Waxing poetic

  1. Kris, this is a such a thoughtful post about seasonal change and the nature of gardening. I really liked it. Your photos illustrate it well too. And what a nice tribute to the garden that someone was inspired to write a poem about it.

  2. What an honor for all of you who tend the gardens to have the priest write such a lovely poem about those gardens. Well done!

  3. Kris:

    That was a wonderful post! Yes, he must have enjoyed his visit to the point of poetic inspiration. Stinking fungi looks disgusting. I love the bulbs in the garden. What did you plant?

  4. Pam and Carol, Thank you!
    It is an honor and so nice of Fr. Sharbel to share what he wrote with us! It’s a rare opportunity to view the property through another’s eyes and I’m grateful for every glimpse.

    Layanee – we were commenting at the same moment, I think! The bulbs in the photo are tulips in the Cutting Garden. We planted ‘Angelique’, ‘Dordogne’, ‘Temple of Beauty’ and various and sundry others – some from last year and some mixes… Should be gorgeous, come spring! (But I’m still having trouble picturing it – or wanting to picture it – now!)

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