December 31, 2017

Twelve of My Favorite Things (2017)

This year flew by so fast! It was challenging for all of us but, as always, there were so many things to be thankful for, and so many things to happily anticipate in the year ahead.

For the past several years, I've created lists of my favorite garden and nature "things" to celebrate as one year passes to the next. They help me appreciate each moment and each season in its time.

Thomas More wisely said, "The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul." I certainly find an indication of paradise in the garden and in nature. In that spirit, I contemplated simple gardening and nature joys of this year that I look forward to in the months ahead.

1 January

In January, while much of the landscape will be dormant and covered with snow, the mosses will continue to fascinate--especially the ones that grow on the sides of the rock wall.

2 February

The days lengthen in February, and if I'm lucky I'll catch a few stunning sunsets down by the lake and elsewhere.

3 March

The first sturdy spring-flowering bulbs will poke through the leaf mulch sometime in March.

4 April

In April, the crabapple blossoms will explode with heavenly scents and delightful beauty.

5 May

May is the month of the woodland ephemerals, including the tiny pink-pollened Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica).

6 June

Early in June, I'm likely to see the first Monarch butterflies of the season!

7 July

What could be sweeter than a July day filled with Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) and bumblebees?

8 August

Sometime in August, the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) plants will reach their peak bloom--filling the air with the scent of vanilla and attracting more bees and butterflies.

9 September

In September, the side garden will burst with late-summer blooms.

10 October

October will be bright with blooms and fiery foliage.

11 November

In November, my garden will move indoors, but the little joys will continue as long as there are plants to tend.

12 December

As December ends the year, tiny buds of promise on Clematis 'Nelly Moser' will offer hope for the next season.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When I think of these simple pleasures, and many more, the year ahead looks brighter. Each month carries its own unique, simple blessings.

My wish for you in the year ahead is that you'll find many "favorite things" and gifts that will bring you much joy.

Happy New Year!

58 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post on such a dreary cold winter day. I just love the color, blooms and bugs. Happy, healthy new year to you.

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    1. Hi Lisa: Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, we've had a few cold, dreary days lately here in the Midwest, haven't we? I find myself hoping the worst of it is over, but I have a feeling we have quite a few very cold and very snowy days ahead of us. Our memories of nicer seasons will help us make it through. Happy New Year!

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  2. Happy New Year
    looking forward to your 2018 simple pleasures that you share.
    xx oo
    Carla

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    1. Happy New Year, Carla! I will look forward to your posts for the new year, too. :)

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  3. I love this practice and I must remember to join in next year! Your garden wakens so much earlier than mine but then again 150-200 inches of snow melt does delay things a bit. Wishing you a peaceful New Year filled with memories of joyful favorite things!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I started this a few years ago because this time of year is the most difficult for me. Somehow, just thinking about these pleasant memories helps me make it through the winter. Yes, you get a lot more snow than we do. Our average is in the neighborhood of 45-50 inches for the entire season. I'm fine with that--actually, I'd rather have less, except that it helps protect the plants. Happy New Year, Donna!

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  4. Beautiful trip through 2017, Beth. All your photos are gorgeous but that sunset is amazing. Here's to another twelve months of blessings in the garden.

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    1. Hi Lynn: Thank you! The sunsets were really spectacular last year; or maybe I just happened to witness them more than in the past. The colors were incredible. Blessings to you and yours, too, in the year ahead!

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  5. Thinking of 2017 this way instantly turned it into a beautiful, memorable year. Thanks for this moment on such a cold night.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It helps a little, doesn't it? We live in a special place with four great seasons. I have a little trouble with winter, but I think I would miss it if I skipped it altogether. :)

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  6. So beautiful! Your garden is full of delightful pleasures through the year; I love your image of the monarch! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! I love this part of the world--a little too cold right now, but the other seasons are fabulous. Re: the monarch--it was one I raised from the egg stage. I had just released him, and he stuck around for a while so I was able to photograph him at some interesting angles. They are such beautiful butterflies, aren't they? :)

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  7. “Each month carries its own unique, simple blessings” is a great way to look at the year Beth. Happy 2018’s arrival!

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  8. Great post and idea! So glad you *only* had 12 things to choose. :) Happy 2018!

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    1. Thanks, Tina! I started doing it a few years ago to help enjoy each day and each season (even winter ;) ). And yes--it was hard to pick one thing from each month, but that helped to pare it down. Ha! Happy New Year!

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  9. Delightful...Happy Gardening in 2018. xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Gail. I hope you have a wonderful gardening year, too!

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  10. This is a very beautiful wrap up of the past year to get prepared for new surprises, because gardening is always about expecting the unexpected! Happy New Year Beth!

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    1. Thanks, Lula! That is so true--expecting the unexpected is what brings the most joy. Cheers!

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  11. Great pics, especially the Spring Beauty and the Monarch. You see your first Monarchs in June? I don't think we see them until July or August.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. Yes, I usually see the first Monarch sometime in June. This year, I saw one on June 5. Went out in the garden and found 12 eggs on the Milkweed, which I collected and raised to adult butterflies and then set them free. The butterfly in that photo was one of the ones I raised. That was earlier than usual, but I do usually see some at some point in June--whether in my garden or in the area. And then we have next generations through the beginning of October.

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  12. Refreshing . . .
    Thank you for the monthly flowering reminders . . .
    Happy NEW YEAR Beth . . .

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    1. Thank you, Lynne! Happy New Year! Thanks for your inspiration and friendly, hopeful posts on your blog. :)

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  13. Happy New Year Beth. Your blog is so inspirational. I love your style of writing. I need to do this as this bitter cold is getting to me...Thank you so much for linking into Nature Notes...Michelle

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. :) The bitter cold is getting to all of us, I think. You are welcome--I really enjoy your Nature Notes meme!

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  14. That's a wonderful list and a beautiful series of photographs, Beth! Your garden year may start slower than ours (which has no real beginning or end) but I'd love to have the range of early spring bulbs and woodland ephemerals you enjoy. Rain is still MIA here so I'm beginning to wonder what spring will look like this year.

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    1. Thank you, Kris! I'm not a fan of winter, but it does make the other seasons more precious. And, yes, the spring bulbs and ephemerals are very special! Gosh, I hope you'll get some rain soon!

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  15. Beth - I am new to your blog - coming over from Nature Notes - and I will be back. If this is just 12 of your favorites, I can't wait to see more. I was especially struck by your comment about days lengthening in February - I am already longing for that! Happy New Year to you!

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    1. Hi Angie: Glad to meet you! I will now head on over to your blog, too. :) Thank you for your kind comments. The short days are tough, aren't they? Hang in there! Happy New Year!

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  16. Hi Beth, I will follow the invitation of your post to savor the moment and appreciate the good things in my (gardening)life. One is that I have a garden!
    To be honest, the drastic climate changes that we are experiencing here in Southern California (so far we didn't have any winter rains so to speak of) have put quite a damper to my enthusiasm for my garden, since it becomes harder and harder to grow the plants that I love (yes, I am talking roses), but even more so I should appreciate what I is still growing today and maybe this spring. And if I eventually have to give up "my type of gardening", so be it. I know, that to be happy I have to go with the change not against it.
    Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
    Christina

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    1. Oh, that would be so frustrating, Christina! But after visiting your area a couple of years ago, I can see that the climate allows many amazing plants that I can't grow here. As you say, however, we all need to go with what we can grow and not against it. Happy New Year!

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  17. I love your chosen 12. I'd never be able to narrow it down like that!

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    1. Thanks! It's always tough to pick them. LOL. Because basically every plant (except for the invasive ones) is my favorite one. ;-) I just go through the seasons of photos and make quick decisions.

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  18. wonderful sentiments, Beth, all about slowing down and noticing and appreciating the joys of nature. Happy new year to you. That Monarch looks as if it's looking straight at the camera, posing, and showing us the flower it had found.

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    1. Happy New Year! Thanks! The monarch was one I had "rescued" as an egg from the garden and raised to adulthood. I think he wasn't quite ready to fly off, so he posed for me on his perch. Later, I saw him fly off to a higher resting place to dry his wings before moving along. :)

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  19. Lovely post, Beth. I always say, it's the little things in life that really give it meaning & joy. It's so important to stop and smell the roses, so to speak ;) I hope you had a wonderful New Year and here's to many new garden adventures this year, both big and small!

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! Yes, it's the little things, indeed! I'm looking forward to many garden adventures, as you say. Best wishes for your gardening year ahead, too!

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  20. I look forward to your milkweed and butterflies.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I try not to live in the future too much, but Midwest winters--for gardeners--require a lot of dreaming, remembering, and planning. ;-)

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  21. What a wonderful way to mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next!
    May many blessings be yours in 2018!

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    1. Thanks, Lea! It helps with the winter outlook. ;-) Blessings to you, as well!

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  22. This trip through the garden calendar was sheer joy Beth - harking back to bumblebees and coneflowers - made for a poem! Guess you are in the deep mid-winter snows now - the US is being hit by the cold but here in London we complain of the slightest drop to near freezing on dry, blue sky days with an east wind. All the best for 2018

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip through the garden year. Yes, we just got through a couple of weeks of brutal cold. Fortunately and unfortunately (for the plants), we haven't had to deal with much snow. Now we're having weather more common to London--cool, cloudy, foggy, but comfortable. Best wishes to you, too.

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  23. What a great post. I am going to do my own 12 Favorite Things. Thank you!

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    1. Great! I'll look forward to your post. :) Thank you, Pat!

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  24. Love this posting, Beth. A fellow blogger in England, Jo from Through the Keyhole, did a 'Favorite Things' post recently. Jo's was not just about gardening. I thought then that I would do something similar, and you have reinforced the notion. Although my pictures will never look as professional as yours. P. x

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    1. Oh Pam, you are too kind. I think your photos are wonderful, too! It is a pleasant exercise to count one's blessings, isn't it? :)

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    2. Yes, it is good to count your blessings, Beth. I just finished my 'favorite things' posting. I linked to your blog. P. x

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  25. What a great post! These simple pleasures do indeed bring joy and are present for all of us if we just take the time to look for them. Wishing you all the best in this New Year, Beth!

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    1. Happy New Year, Rose! Thank you! Cliche, but true: Simple pleasures are the best, aren't they?

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  26. Your year makes me realise how long spring is and how short summer.

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    1. Hi Lucy: How interesting that you say it. Our springs and autumns seem short and our summers longer. Winter is the longest month here--about four full months. But other places have longer winters, so I try to appreciate the fact that we have four distinct, beautiful seasons.

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  27. Beth, your year-end review was eloquent. Lovely photos and thoughts. Here's to another wonderful gardening year!

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    1. Thank you. :) Cheers for a great gardening year for all of us!

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  28. Love the picture of your September border, it's beautiful. Stellar pictures of the Monarch and the spring beauty too!

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    1. Thanks! The side garden is the sunniest place on the property, and it brings me much joy. So many things to look forward to in each season. :)

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  29. Happy New Year Beth! The delight of having different plants every month is not experienced here. Our only 2 seasons, dry and wet only give us a few changes in vegetation, we have many perennials. I post monthly changes by way of the position of sunset in the horizon.

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