Close to Home

It’s a no-Mondate Monday since we just returned from vacation. My guy felt the need to work and I felt the need to stick close to home.

Stepping outside, the aromatic smell of lilacs and honeysuckle envelope me. It reminds me of my childhood home, where the lilacs grew outside the bedroom I shared with my sister. And that reminds me of Mom and Dad and the fact that it’s Memorial Day and we always went to the parade in town and sometimes we marched in it and other times we rode in the back of our neighbor’s car because she was the head of the VNA and the school nurse, and we always bought crepe paper poppies from the veterans to honor them and my father, grandfathers, uncles and cousins. Thank you to all who have and do serve.


We purchased our home 22 years ago. The previous owners had green thumbs and though the house had been empty for ten years before we bought it, their toil was still evident. I have a green pinky, so the gardens aren’t what they once were. I am excited, however, that some of the flowers they nurtured continue to thrive. Such is the case with this white lilac.

purple lilac

And the purple, that forms part of the windscreen on the edge of the yard.

The fragrance is mixed in with . . .


that of the honeysuckle. Both buzz with pollinators seeking their sweet nectar.

strawberry 2

Wild Strawberries are just that as they creep through the gardens and lawn.

Flowers and leaves grow separately on long, slender stalks.
With milk-white flowers, whence soon shall sweet
Rich fruitage, to the taste and smell
Pleasant alike, the Strawberry weaves
Its coronet of three-fold leaves,
In mazes through the sloping wood.


Another edible, the Highbush Blueberries.

Canada Mayflower

Atop one of the stone walls, at its base and below many trees, the Canada Mayflower blooms.

star flowers

A wildflower that some consider common is the Starflower. Look closely and you may see that there are seven stamen, seven petals and seven sepals. How common is that?

Interrupted 2

We have plenty of ferns throughout the yard and woods, but I like this one–the Interrupted Fern. It speaks its name.

Interrupted fern

On larger fronds, brown fertile pinnae or leaflets interrupt the green sterile leaflets.


And then there is that hitchhiker, the Lupine. Each year it moves to a different spot.

Lupine 2

I love to watch the flower open from the bottom up.

lady slipper

I saved the best for last. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve lived in this house for more than two decades and though I’ve seen Lady’s Slippers in other places, today I stumbled upon this one in our yard. A member of the Orchid family, it features the typical three petals in an atypical fashion. The pouch (or slipper or moccasin), called the labellum, is actually one petal–inflated and veined as you can see. The two remaining narrow petals twist and extend to the sides. Overall, it reminds me of a lady holding out her skirt as she curtsies.

Though bees help with pollination, they hardly reap the rewards of sweet nectar. It’s a symbiotic relationship with a fungi that helps the Lady’s Slipper germinate. And then, it still takes a few years for the germinated seed to produce leaves and about 3-5  years before it produces a flower. Once established, however, it may live for 20-30 years or more. So apparently this wildflower has been present for at least eight years, but I only discovered it today.

Staying close to home certainly offered sweet wonders.

2 thoughts on “Close to Home

  1. Thank you Leigh for “Close to Home”, I enjoyed reading it and could picture it very well. Our lilacs are in full bloom too now and the smell is incredible. – That certainly was a very special find, that moccasin-flower. It also was early to bloom, as they mostly bloom the last days of May or early June. We went to see the yellow lady’s slippers today, there were 4 flowers this year and all were perfect. So everybody, we were 5 of us, enjoyed seeing the flowers. Your friend Connie could not make it today, if you connect with her and want to take her to see the flowers that would be great. Ursula >

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  2. Hi Ursula. Thanks for taking the time to read. I didn’t realize it was early, but June is only a week away. And yes, I will certainly share the yellow Lady’s Slippers with Connie. It will give me an excuse to visit them again–not that I need an excuse. Leigh


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