Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Married to Amazement"











"When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement."
from Mary Oliver's
New and Selected Poems


What would I do without my daily doses of poetry? Ethel Pochocki, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, Wendell Berry, Robinson Jeffers,  Billy Collins, Theodore Roethke are just a few of the writers I turn to every morning. I guarantee that you'll find something, even if it is the tiniest constellation of words to help you through your day.

Pick up a book of poetry, take time to let the words soak into your soul, and I promise you will grow to love these spare, telling words more every day.

Yes, yes, I've been away. We've had surgeries in the family, caregiving, lots of guests, and lots of changes, but this afternoon I hope to share a short visit with you. And, stay tuned. I have an amazing give-away donated by Serenity Health & Home Decor to the lucky winner who is drawn from our latest posting.

The garden is bursting with life. Bees everywhere, birds everywhere, and blooms. Hurrah! Tall stands of hollyhocks sway in a slow garden waltz, hummingbirds empty feeders and visit blossoms until nightfall, and mamas and papas and baby birds now visit the birdbaths and fountains. I am in
paradise.

Please stay with me to the end of the posting and you'll see what a great give-away we have for you!

Glimpses of Paradise


My pomegranates are in bloom, and I've got my fingers crossed for fruit.


A favorite of the bumblebees. The backyard is literally a mini-forest of hollyhocks now.



A native Mimulus (monkey flower), which I grow in a huge pot.



The native Ceanothus attracts a host of beneficial insects.


This is the only violetta artichoke I grew because it has wicked bad barbs that always find their way into my hands and arms. But, the taste is incredibly good.


Many succulents are in bloom.


We always call this lavender Peter Rabbit.


Scented peppermint Pelargonium has huge, velvety leaves and tiny, tasty little white blooms.


One of my succulent mosaics. I just love these big pots of texture and form.


The hummingbirds are ALWAYS visiting the Cuphea for nectar. This is the busiest hummingbird plant in the garden–busier even than the Salvias.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's Tour


Maybe some of you don't realize the rich, complex offerings of a California spring. It is beyond belief and will touch your heart. This is one of my favorite places in the world, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, which is where I learned plant propagation from Dr. Dara Emery, one of the greatest teachers ever. When we were in Santa Barbara, we attended a garden tour of about 8 or 9 local homes.


On the garden tour, we saw this old, iron outdoor couch, which had fallen to wrack and ruin. A very special lady turned it from a disaster into a fairy-sized landscape for her grandchildren.

Running Out of Night Begins its Run


I hope to soon be doing even more school and library visits. This was my first group from a local school (Hawthorne) at the home of Liz and Dan Krieger,  and I got to read a few pages from my new book Running Out of Night. My book will not be released until November so I read to the kids from my advance reader copy, which is sent out to reviewers, etc. The kids were enthusiastic and filled with curiosity and appreciation. I love working with children...


...and I love watching children exercise their sense of wonder.

A Going Away Party for Dear Friends


Our dear friends Frank and Aline rented a fabulous cottage in the town of Old Edna, which is owned by our friend Pattea. We celebrated together on one of their last nights in California. Pattea set up this table in front of the cottage, and we shared tapas out in the company of flowers and owls. Oh, and don't you love the treehouse they built for their son? The old tree died a few years ago, but the treehouse lives on.


I took homemade bread and flower cheese,on a platter surrounded with edible flowers.


Pattea decorates her porch as amazingly as the insides of her cottages. Yep, that's me.


The Old Edna store in the background.


Pattea's office. Don't you love it?


Part of the table decor.


My girlfriends. Left is Debra Prinzing (Shed Style, The Fifty Mile Bouquet, Slow Flower movement and more), and Aline Cullen, who is one of the dearest people in the world.


Pattea's gypsy wagon where...


...all of us girls read stories and talked. Sorry, Frank, no boys allowed!

Ok, I know that I've wandered everywhere in this posting, but I had some catching up to do. Right?

Now I want to hear from YOU. And do you know how I am going to thank you? You'll have an opportunity to have your name drawn for the offering of this fantastic fire-pit. 




We love ours and think you'll love one too. All you need do is leave a comment on this posting. Sorry, out of country entrants excluded. It would cost a fortune to mail it out of the continental US. 

Love across the miles,

Sharon

p.s. Due to the large number of spam comments coming from "anonymous," all anonymous comments are set to be deleted automatically unless your comment begins with "Sharon."

77 comments:

Yarrow said...

Your garden is so beautiful. I have loved your books for many years, and was delighted to find your blog and become a facebook friend. I would adore this fire pit, thanks for the opportunity to win it. Blessings.

Gail Rose said...

Sometimes love is hidden in the garden and we have to look closer to find it. I am off to a wedding to celebrate love. ♡

Linda Lehmusvirta said...

Your whole life is a poem and you are the supreme poet who writes it! What a lovely tour from home and friends to food, plants, and I can't resist, Peter Rabbit lavender. My life is charmed thanks to you.

Diana Schmied said...

Aaack -- the first to comment!! Does #1 EVER get picked to win by the random picker thingie? Oh well -- regardless, all your pictures are magical and it was a pleasure to come on your meandering tour :-)

Happy@Home said...

It was so nice to get caught up with you, Sharon. I so enjoyed seeing what all is blooming in your garden. That artichoke does look a bit intimidating :).
I also wanted to mention that I was paying close attention to the little blue pieces in your walkway. What a pretty addition they make.
We are currently in the process of picking new materials for our patio. I had thought I might want a built in fire pit, but it was suggested to me by one of the contractors to go with a portable one instead. This is a very generous giveaway you are offering and I'd love to have my name thrown in the hat.

La Table De Nana said...

I live in Canada.still want to say thank you for a wonderful post! Top to bottom..love the gentleman shot too!

The detailing in all the homes outdoors..and you look great!
In QC we are far behind for vegetation..scillas now..that's it..

Martha Ellen said...

I love visiting with you Sharon. I so enjoy all the posts on facebook and am happy to see all the goings on in your world. Thank you for sharing your magnificent garden! A feast for the eyes. Have a lovely weekend! ♥

Julie Marie said...

Hello dear Sharon... love that you start your day out with poetry... so calming and relaxing... your gardens truly do look like Paradise... love those Hollyhocks!... and your Peter Rabbit lavender!... what a darling name for it... the fairy garden on the home tour is delightful... would love one just like that!... Loved seeing you reading Running Out of Night to all the children... I am sure they were mesmerized by you and your story... cannot wait to get my own copy come November... Hello little Luke out at the fountain... so happy he is loving being outdoors too... the party for your friends looks so fun... the bread and cheese platter looks delish, and my, that gypsy wagon!... I want one!... oooh, and Pattea's office... I want one of those too!... so many happy things in this post!... please do not enter me in your giveaway dear Sharon... good luck to the winner!... sending much love, xoxo Cousin Julie Marie

Sharon Calvert said...

Sharon, good to hear from you again. Very enjoyable post with lovely photos; the kid in me particularly was drawn to the fairy village, treehouse, and gypsy caravan! Thank you for hosting the generous giveaway; would be great here along Alabama's Gulf coast!

Kate said...

Saw your blog for the first time off a link from Two Men and a Little Farm. Here in North Carolina we have just decided to get on about spring - amazing to see the full bloom in SoCal !

Larkrise garden girl said...

What a wonderful life you lead. Your pictures of plants are amazing.That fire pit looks so nice. The way you explain about anything from books to poetry plants and friendship you are a wonderful teacher of the simple joys of your amazing life. Thank you for letting us all see what is around us daily with just a little bit of dirt under our nails we can enjoy our gardens and our life and maybe for me rediscover poetry! Hugs cheri

taylorsoutback said...

A genuine treat to read your posting - your garden images are a true blessing - snow and ice have just left this past week here in the northwoods and we have a long ways to go before seeing anything in bloom .. But looking up and feeling sun instead of snow flakes in a taste of heaven.

Laurie M said...

I'm so sorry to hear theer have been some challenges for you and your family but it sounds like things are well and you are happy, your photos are amazing, oh my gosh, to my snow weary eyes this is such an inspiration, beautiful beautiful photos, take care, I will keep you and your family in my prayers an send all the positive thoughts I am able,

Blondie's Journal said...

It was wonderful catching up with you, Sharon! Your garden is doing just fantastic, I could wander through it all day! So much color. And critter activity!

I'm so glad to hear you are still doing the library readings. A treat for you and the children. They look so attentive!! :)

The days are getting longer here in the upper Midwest but still too chilly to plant anything. I do have my spring bulbs and I'm babying the lawn which will then be neglected for several months! lol!

Thank you for having such a great and generous giveaway, Those fire pits are so cool!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

XO,
Jane

Anonymous said...

Years ago, my husband, daughter, and I enjoyed meeting you in your lovely garden in Cambria during a Rosemary Festival, later at a Flower Fairy Festival, and then at a Waldorf Kindergarten Teachers' Forum in the garden of Betty Peck in Saratoga, California. Sunflower Houses and your other books were my mainstay in raising my daughter and in teaching my first grade students about the wonders of nature. Just now, after meditating and then reading an article in Organic Gardening about Elizabeth Murray's new book, you came to my mind, and I found you, again, online. I loved reading your blog and will continue to do so. Thank you for your inspiration and beauty over these many years. - Kathy

Sue said...

Loved the tour of your garden specialties. I take stock every so often of the new happenings in my 'rustic' yard and patio garden as well. It teaches me patience and to slow down my wandering thoughts.

As a widow, my thoughts can get morose and cynical sometimes, but my garden teaches joy and wonder. I'm so thankful for this!

Thea said...

Happy Spring, Sharon! Sure looks like your garden is bursting. I love it when you share all your friends. Such interesting people you know. I love this fire pit. I've never had one. Btw I don't think I've ever seen an artichoke plant. They certainly thrive kn your California garden. Xo thea

Emily R. said...

I love your Peter Rabbit lavender! I don't suppose you could tell me the variety? It probably won't grow here, but it is so cute!!

Hindsfeet said...

I loved this, Sharon, --> "a constellation of words"

yes yes yes!

my go to Poet is Rumi right now, anything you open to is magic....also dipping a bit into some of Paulo Coelho work....beautiful inspirations.....

happy weekend my dear,
Liz ~*

joanna taylor said...

I enjoy reading your blog and seeing photos of your gardens.
Thank you, Joanna

Anonymous said...

Thank you for catching us up, Sharon! A(nother!) beautiful and inspiring post filled with amazing photos! Thank you, too, for a chance to win the lovely firepit. Adore your blog!

Vee said...

Yes, you wandered all over and it was a delightful meandering. You and your friends are a creative group of gals. I enjoyed the party...oh to have a vardo...and the treehouse and the meal and the flowers in your garden and the exquisite scenes. Loved it all. (Sorry to read that there have been some downs to your ups and pray that all is well now.)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi all,

The lavender is Lavandula stoechas. Even if you live in a cold, cold zone, you can plant it as an annual, or overwinter it inside your home or a greenhouse.

I grew these in a teaching garden for children and they're the ones who named it the Peter Rabbit plant.

S

Pom Pom said...

Hi Sharon! Yikes! How can you leave that gorgeous garden and go to Maine? Oh I know, because it's MAINE, right?
I love that fairy garden.
Cool fire pit cooker, too!
Happy SPRING!

Judi Young said...

What a delightful combination of sentiments and images in this post. Thank you for the magic and wonder and splendor you share. Judi

Pondside said...

How nice to read one of your posts again. This is just the sort I like - a real catch-up with lots of news, ideas and great photos. The pretty office of your friend, Pattea, and the gypsy wagon have me thinking..........

pbshrigley said...

Hi Sharon! I just started reading your book Trowel & Error and wanted to put a face to your name. I'm happy to see you have a blog and it was wonderful to see all your beautiful garden pictures. Thanks so much for sharing!! I'm a newbie to garden, so hoping for the best here in North Carolina for a successful Spring!

Patti said...

I always enjoy the photos of your flowers and gardens. The fire pit is such a wonderful giveaway!

BTW, did you draw winners for the 2 books from the previous post? Just wondering.

Dee Dee Osborne said...

Sharon, Hope there was nothing serious in the "family surgeries". Thanks for the beautiful pictures in this post. Is that your adorable youngest grandson in the garden? I had fun at our local nursery yesterday and now have quite a few plants to plant this afternoon. I keep trying to capture the wonderful spirit of your garden! Love, Dee Dee Osborne

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Patti,

Yes, Barbara Stillman of Georgia won three books from the drawing, but of course Running Out of Night will not be out until November. She commented anonymously, but contacted us immediately after the drawing.

Best,

Sharon

torchy said...

A gypsy wagon! That's a memory maker, for certain. Thanks for sharing this post of medleys.

Lesa Smith said...

So nice to catch up with you! Your garden and studio are beautiful. The fire pit is fabulous, thanks for the chance on it.

peacework projects said...

I am so thankful to have found this post today!!!! I have truly been inspired. Thank you.

Jane E D said...

Sharon, I always learn something new on your Blog. I am looking forward to reading your new book. I salute your creativity and ingenuity. Your yard is lovely. Your Grandmother would be proud.

Lori said...

Hello Sharon! So good to see your blog and it was well worth the wait. Your photos are amazing and so are you. Thank you!

Vickie Getty said...

Thank you for the beauty. Needed it - have too been dealing with family illness, death, and moving to a "new"(old) home. Stressful times and I sure needed to read this today!

Darla said...

Dear Sharon,
I always enjoy your "ketchup" postings and beautiful pictures. What a spectacular give-away. Our family would love such a wonderful fire pit in our SW Ohio backyard. Since we have a wooded lot, we have ample fuel for the fire. Good to see little Luke outdoors. Hoping to see you again on book tour. Several great venues here in Cincinnati for you to stop in and see us, as well as share your latest book. Best wishes to all,
Darla

Carol Smithback said...

Really enjoyed the pictures of your garden!

Kristina said...

The images of blooming flowers and sunshine give me hope as spring slowly awakens here in Nebraska. What a lovely little party you attended. I'm so ready to entertain on my patio amongst the geraniums, roses, and petunias!
Kristina

Farmgrammy said...

Thank you for sharing beauty and loveliness through your words, photos, and illustrations. Your blog is a joy to read.
Thank you for entering my name in the fire pit giveaway.
Cathy

Cathy said...

What beautiful pictures! I've only experienced Calif once in the spring, up in your neck of the woods, and it was memorable. Sure wish I could sneak away in the gypsy wagon with you all! I just purchased your "first birdhouse" for my three year old grand-daughter -- I know we'll have tons of fun with it.
Happy Spring from northern Indiana!

Lisavi said...

What a lovely post! I love hollyhocks but haven't had much luck here. The "Peter Rabbit" lavendar is adorable. I have always wanted a firepit so thank you for this chance to win one.

Melissa said...

Hello Sharon,
The pictures are wonderful...I assume the very first one is at your house also? A fun give - away, but is eastern Pennsylvania even a bit far to ship? Thanks for your blog.

Mary Ellen said...

Hello Sharon, I am spending my evening reading Roots, Shoots buckets and Boots. Big plans for the summer!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Melissa dear,

The fire pit will be shipped ANYWHERE in the continental US. Promise.

Sharon

Lorrie said...

Lovely to catch up with your comings and goings along with all the interesting plants in your garden. Love the idea of reading stories in the gypsy wagon with the girl friends.

(another Canadian here - don't enter me in the draw)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Mary Ellen,

I am so glad you're reading Roots Shoots Buckets and Boots. Hope you get some fun ideas for planting this season.

Love,
S

Cathy G said...

Hi Sharon, I just discovered your blog. What fun. I enjoyed reading the conversation on gardening in a nightgown on a friend's FB page...

Sunita Mohan said...

Such a lovely post, Sharon! I thoroughly enjoyed it. That quote by Mary Oliver is one of my favourites too.
It is summer in my garden and my birdbath is drawing all the birds in the neighborhood. Such an unending source of wonder and entertainment!

Catherine Love said...

Beautiful photos!
I always enjoy your posts and find something to inspire me here, thank you :) .
Lovely fire pit.

Many Blessings,
Catherine

Lydia said...

Peter Rabbit, what a PERFECT name for the lavender! From now on, I'll check mine for "ears"):-

Lydia said...

What a beautiful post. I shall be looking for a new kind of bunny in the lavender.

Vicki Boster said...

Sharon- it's always so special when you share your "little bit of heaven" with us all. Such gorgeous photos of your gardens and blooms. I could be happy in a garden all day long-- you are SO blessed.

Oh my-- I loved the old couch turned into a fairy garden:)

Wonderful photos of good times spent with friends-- precious times for sure--

I'm so excited for your "already" successes of your new book. So well deserved- I love that children are so enthusiastic about the book!

Your giveaway is more than generous-- I'm sure your gift will thrill someone so very much!

Sending you my love-
Vicki

Nan said...

I so loved all the pictures and stories. The treehouse and wagon are amazing. And no Japanese beetles out there to eat those hollyhocks. Paradise indeed!

GRACE PETERSON said...

Sharon, You have been such a busy lady. I'm glad you're doing well and living life married to amazement. :)

Your plants are lovely. That hollyhock, wowzers. I sure wish mine looked that nice. The re-purposed wire frame sofa is too cool. I love it.

You should take me out of the running for the drawing since I have been the winner previously on your blog. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon! I enjoy your blog and have been a fan for a long time! My mom gave my sister and me your book, Sunflower Houses nearly 20 years ago and now I have a collection of your books!

SusLee

Susan said...

Oh Sharon, the garden is just amazing and so full of wonderment! You're such an inspiration with style, XOXO

Corrina said...

Sharon,

Your beautiful photos and writing are uplifting every day!
We enjoy your books so much in our home. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

That grill would look perfect in my back yard.

By the way, if you are ever interested I would love to review any of your books. I stopped reviewing for a couple years when requested but just started again.

Working on one now to review later this week. It just got out of hand so I had to take a rest. But I LOVE your books. ;)

Anonymous said...

Sharon, my favorite part of this lovely post is the photo of the child in the garden perfectly entitled "...and I love watching children exercise their sense of wonder." this smile should last for hours. Thank you.
Jennie Brooks

Pat said...

Would love to win . What fun. Love seeing you on Facebook haven't been to HSA meeting lately. Seen you there many times
Pat Beckman

M. Eaton said...

Sharon you are a joy and a delight. So liked being at Pattea's place through the pictures. Quite the touch she has! Glad we can stay connected this way and on FB. Someday tea, coffee, glass of wine? lunch? hugs and Love, M. Eaton

Tinker said...

Sharon, I haven't been able to comment on blogger posts for awhile, but I'm trying again in hopes the situation might have cured itself by now. I still visit often, even if I can't comment. Your garden - and your blog -- are so beautiful -- and you are always so generous! Thank you for the opportunity. Hope this comment 'takes.' Happy May!

amysue said...

What beautiful flowers, you have such fabulous options there!

dc said...

Wowser, we need one one these after losing two Chimeneas to cracking. Thanks for the generous giveaway and thanks for all the lovely pictures, that Violette artichoke is stunning!

Debra Howard said...

What beautiful lush gardens you have in California right now! Loved seeing the botanic gardens too...such gorgeous wildflowers.

Mim said...

Sharon - what a lovely beautiful post. And a gypsy wagon??? I am so jealous! enjoy the spring

peg said...

Oooo, Sharon! Your garden is lovely as always!!! Love the fire pit! It is a perfect size for backyard gatherings. Thanks for sharing your outdoor environment with us! Love it!

lisa said...

Hi Sharon! LOVE your garden, you are such an inspiration! Thank you for the amazing giveaway opportunity.

Mary Giambalvo said...

Sharon, I am not writing this for want or need of a fire pit, but my message is long overdue, and it is finally time. You have brought me joy for many years through knowing you, the gift of the "girls" from your worm nursery, your shop in Cambria, the Christmas gatherings in your home, your well-written and lovely books, your talks, and your endless kindnesses. You have been a treasure in this life, and I know you will continue to be such. Thank you.

Mary Giambalvo
Arroyo Grande

trisha cooper said...

I love your blog and books! Would love to win this fire pit :) You have a beautiful garden. I'm from so cal and miss all of the beautiful flowers.

Bill said...

Tht picture of the Santa Barbara Botanical garden is amazing. I love the wildflowers. What a beautiful setting. I want to go there!

Teri said...

You take the best photos Sharon. Each and every one of them is a joy to look at. And that yard of yours! I wish I lived closer, I would definitely attend one of your events some day. You are an inspiration to me and to so many others as well.

Teri said...

Sharon...I see that I needed to begin with that...I love your garden as always but the photos you take are breath-taking in themselves. Love coming to your blog and seeing what is new.

Teri

Sue said...

I miss those California poppies I remember from my childhood now that I'm living in the Midwest. I will put the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden on my list of gardens to visit.
I've never seen a "violetta artichoke" before-what a lovely addition it would make for an edible landscape.

Judi said...

What a delightful, enchanting and inspiring post. You live in a magical area for gardening - how perfect for you:) Hope daily times are easing for you.

What a magical friend you have in Pattea - the office - the treehouse - and lovely friends all around.

Found your trail from Susan Branch and love to check in on you now and then. ttfn judi

CHERI said...

I have just found your blog and also info about your books. How I hate that I haven't found you before! I am going to order your book for grandmothers after looking into it on Amazon. Your photos in the post are so very beautiful. I can't wait to check out the rest of your blog. Would love to win the fire pit too, of course:)