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Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Every year I watch for my first sight of redbud trees beginning to bloom.  Along with fruit trees like peach and pear that blossom early,  and narcissus spears pushing up to sport their fragrant white blooms plus bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers, these heralds of the coming of Spring precede the calendar date in our area and bring a smile to my face and gladden my heart. In the woods of Northeast Texas where Joe and I grew up, dogwood spreads its blooms in dark piney woods also.  I do not see dogwoods here in South Texas, but I always include them when I think about this season,. Long before Easter eggs and pastel Spring clothing, these flag my attention and lift my spirits, particularly this year when Easter comes in mid-April.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Promise of Spring

Last week I found Forsythia branches at my grocery store!  I like to stroll through the flower offerings although I seldom buy flowers for myself.  But I love bringing forsythia and plum and pussy willow to bloom inside when the outside is still bleak and cold.  These branches responded promptly, beginning to flower the very next day, and continuing to delight us every day since.  Spring started on my kitchen counter!  So I am browsing the seed catalogs and beginning garden plans while smiling everytime I see these yellow blossoms.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


When the Magnolias bloom again each year, I reach to pull a creamy cup down and inhale its sweetness. I may cut a few to bring inside and float in bowls, but they brown and wither soon.  They show off best in their  boughs of waxy green leaves.  They remind me of the trees that lined the edge of my elementary school yard, which happened to be adjacent to my own yard.  We often played in the shade of the trees, loving the spectacle of their blooms.  When the petals dropped, leaving cones with scarlet seeds, we played with those, creating, imagining, giggling.

In 1963, a bank of magnolia leaves was the only floral decoration at our December wedding. Many years and many places later, I stood by a Magnolia tree in the gardens of a sultan's palace in Bogor, Indonesia, and wondered if its twisted trunk and sprawling branches flowered.  Now, once again, my yard fills with the fragrance of Magnolias in Spring.  They seem to grow sweeter each year.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

All the Easter Dresses

One of the many things I love about this time leading up to Easter is the re-emergence of color as seeds sprout and flowers return to bloom.  When I was growing up in East Texas, the dark wintertime evergreen woods began to dot with dogwood and redbud trees. Daffodils and narcissus and azaleas drifted across front yards. And little girls and their mothers planned Easter dresses!  I am not sure the above photo was the Easter dress the year I was three, but it might have been.  And it would most certainly have been made by my mother on her Singer sewing machine although I suspect the crocheted lace on that collar would have been crocheted by my grandmother.

Stitches in Time

at Christmastime I hang a wreath, braided circle of  cloth
 made almost half a century ago from scraps found in my fabric stash
one strand of the braid is green velvet
bits left from creating a dress
with beaded cummerbund that circled my then tiny waist
a second strand cut from scraps of snow white brocaded cotton
my high school graduation dress
woven  with the green and white is red corduroy,
my first maternity dress
there would have been nothing left to make the wreath if not for first
the sewing
and the clothes.

I remember sundresses, circle skirts with petticoats, pleated skirts,
tucked blouses, mandarin jackets, peter pan collars,
puffed sleeves, vests, and weskits
a squaw dress and a poodle skirt
all made after I helped pick a pattern
Simplicity, McCall's, Vogue
you even collected last year's pattern books
from fabric shops where we bought
yards of gingham, calico, organdy, dotted swiss,
eyelet, dimity, poplin, corduroy, worsted and flannel

I remember plaids, checks, polka dots and stripes
pin-wale, herringbone, and tweed
one of a kind made just for me
a red checked dress for a play
always a new dress for first day of school
pink eyelet with ruffles for my piano recital
black suit with red velvet bow for my ride
 in the parade as a duchess
school dresses and play clothes
Sunday clothes, Easter outfits, nightgowns

I remember prom dresses -
clouds of billowing scarlet chiffon,
net the color of hyacinths, shiny satin
pale pink organza, and creamy peau de soie
bolts of rustling taffeta and black velvet
sacks of heavy ribbon and lace
measured with a yardstick on a cutting table
in a shop that was more fun than a candy store
by then I could sketch my dress and it happened!

I remember hours you spent preparing cloth, spreading it
with tissue patterns, cutting with pinking shears
the love that bent you over the humming Singer
with its one tiny bright light
when you said “let's try this on” and tucked
at my waist or lengthened a hem
I don't remember smiling and saying “thank you”
I hope that I did
 I did learn to sew

 I remember when I designed and made my wedding dress
you were proud to help me sew on pearls
I remember writing letters to tell you how my 3 little boys
played when I tried to sew
one standing behind me with his arms
around my neck

And when my granddaughter wanted a princess gown
we picked out a pattern and she helped me cut and sew
I remembered how you made me feel like a princess.
Sad only because you could no longer remember any of it.

Mary Ann Teal Parker  March 23, 2013
Written for my mother, Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal
who suffered from Alzheimer's the last years of her life,
 and died in 2006, one month short of her 93rd birthday

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm Here!!

Each year, one of my favorite harbingers of Spring is the sudden appearance of Redbud blooms on the gray scraggly branches of what has been an almost unnoticed small tree in someone's backyard or the woods along the road.  In the Piney Woods of East Texas where my husband and I spent our growing up years, the first blooms seemed to signal to dozens of other early blooming trees that it was Spring again. The woods lining the highway between Jacksonville, Texas and my grandparent's smaller town of Bullard seemed to come alive in a patchwork of wild plum, dogwood, and various shades of purple from the Redbud trees. We see fewer here south of Houston, but the fact that they bloom even earlier in the slightly balmier climate makes them stand out even more.  The first blooms bring my biggest smile.  I like being reminded of the joy they brought me as a child.  And they bring fond memories of my mother and daddy and grandparents who first taught me to watch for them.

The Redbuds are blooming.  Easter is on the way.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Now You See Them, Now You Don't

Spring to Texans includes watching for the mounds of Bluebonnets which begin to beckon.  This year, the Bluebonnets have been both plentiful and beautiful, a result of the perfect combination of rain and temperature.  But they were 3 to 4 weeks  earlier than usual.  Before some folks  had made their way out the stretches of Texas road that are usually the best for photographing the spreading quilt of early wildflowers which include Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush, the showiest patches of them were already beginning to seed and fade. I have heard people say these lovely blooms, the Texas state flower, were the best this year they have ever seen.  The blanket of blue in this photograph was only a few miles away from my home, and just down the street from my son's house.  The developer of this neighborhood had the forethought and insight to sow bluebonnet seeds and avoid mowing them before they had a chance to bloom.  We might never have made it an hour's drive out to see the country bluebonnets, but these town flowers got the same result - Wow!

It is traditional to take pictures when the Bluebonnets are in full bloom.  Here are a few we took while Maddie and Jordann were visiting a couple of weeks ago!  The Bluebonnets are almost gone, but the little girls are coming back for Easter! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Glad to Be Here

Yesterday I returned some books to our newly opened library branch which is on the campus of the University of Houston at Sugar Land.  Since it is now the nearest public library to my home, I will be going there often.  It is a lovely, contemporary building with comfortable reading areas, access to the enitre county library catalog, as well as state of the art technology like self checkout.  I parked on the edge of the parking lot, which was adjacent to this field of wildflowers which stretches toward the horizon lined with bare trees which are on the banks of the Brazos River. 

I thought about how great it is to live where country road meets the freeway system.  Granted, I am not always exactly grateful for the freeway.  But it does give me access to this university,  art and theater,  good medical care, great places to buy healthy food, and more importantly my family, my church and my friends.  Most of the time I do have to drive at least a short distance on the freeway to go to those places.  But I am still on the edge of meadows and rivers.  I hear birdsong everyday. Most days I am just on the other side of a fence from cattle and horses.  I am a short drive away from picking strawberries this Spring, I have been seeing Red Buds on the roadside for weeks, and in my own garden I have "country" every day.  In our season of life, this is a good blend for me.  As I stood looking toward the river and photographed what many in our area call weeds, I am thankful for place. I am thankful for home.  I just wanted you to know.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Palette of Tomatoes

A favorite gardening project, growing tomatoes has taken wings the last couple of years.  Not only are we growing more tomatoes, but most of them are heirloom varieties.  I am intrigued with being part of  sharing history and story.  Heirloom vegetables are grown from seeds passed down by many generations in a family and shared.  Last year, our family voted one heirloom our all time favorite.  It is one of the very first known "black", or deep dusky rose colored tomatoes, and is called Cherokee Purple. It was named in 1990 by. Craig LeHoullier  , who received seeds of an unnamed cultivar in the mail from J. D. Green of Tennessee. Mr. Green indicated that the "purple" tomato  was given by the Cherokee Indians to his neighbor "100 years ago".

We love the color and taste of this tomato, and enjoy thinking about others who have liked it enough for over 100 years to share it with others and save the seeds.  We have at least 2 dozen tomato plants.  Some of the other heirlooms are named Black Plum, Brown Berry, and Purple Russian.  Did I hear you say you thought tomatoes were red?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Texas Bluebonnets

One of the most beloved gifts the month of March brings to Texans is the lavish spread of bluebonnets along the sides of highways and neighborhood roads. As historian Jack Maguire so aptly wrote, "It's not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat." He goes on to affirm that "The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland."

Although seeds have been taken to grow in other places, the two predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally only in Texas and at no other location in the world. When I was growing up in East Texas, we watched for the first bluebonnets, usually accompanied by other Texas wildflower color, especially the complimenting colors of Indian Paintbrush and Crimson Clover.

I don't have a Stetson, can't ride a horse, and cowboy boots make my feet hurt. But I am glad to be a Texan, and love bluebonnets as much as the lady bugs on these I photographed just down the road.