Friday, January 22, 2010

Flowers in Winter


This is the season of the year when we long for winter to pass and for spring to break forth . . . only it will still be a while before that happens for most of us. There is the occasional break in weather, but if it fools the bulbs into poking their heads up through the snow, we worry! We know it's too early even though we wish it were not so. We sit hunkered down in our houses with this longing, but there are ways to bring spring in long before nature allows spring outdoors.


I think it's been true of every generation -- this longing for winter to pass and spring to bloom. In one of my favorite vintage books, Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them by Samuel Smiles (1889), there is a chapter devoted to "Common Enjoyments."  Mr. Smiles provides us with some simple ways to bring spring in:



"Have a flower in the room, by all means! It will cost only a trifle if your ambition is moderate, and the gratification it gives will be beyond price. If you can have a flower for your window, so much the better. What can be more delicious than the sun's light streaming through flowers -- through the midst of crimson fuchias or scarlet geraniums? To look out into the light through flowers -- is that not poetry? And to break the force of the sunbeams by the tender resistance of green leaves?


"A flower in the window sweetens the air, makes the room look graceful, gives the sun's light a new charm, rejoices the eye, and links nature with beauty. The flower is a companion that will never say a cross thing to any one, but will always look beautiful and smiling. Do not despise it because it is cheap, and because every body may have the luxury as well as yourself. Common things are cheap, but common things are invariably the most valuable. Could we have fresh air or sunshine by purchase, what luxuries they would be considered. But they are free to all, and we think little of their blessings.


"There is indeed much in nature that we do not yet half enjoy, because we shut our avenues of sensation and feeling. We are satisfied with the matter of fact, and look not for the spirit of fact which is above it. If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower."

"But why not, besides the beauty of nature, have a taste for the beauty of art? Why not hang up a picture in the room?  . . .Any picture, print, or engraving that represents a noble thought, that depicts a heroic act, or that brings a bit of nature from the fields or the streets into our room, is a teacher, a means of education, and a help to self culture.


"It serves to make the home more pleasant and attractive. It sweetens domestic life, and sheds a grace and beauty about it. It draws the gazer away from mere consideration of self, and increases his store of delightful association with the world without as well as with the world within.

"The art of living may be displayed in many ways. It may be summed up in the words, 'Make the best of everything.' Nothing is beneath its care, even common and little things it turns to account. It gives a brightness and grace to the home, and invests nature with new charms. Through it we enjoy the rich man's parks and woods, as if they were our own. We inhale the common air, and bask under the universal sunshine. We glory in the grass, the passing clouds, and the flowers."

I have a small potted amaryllis sitting on my desk as I write this post. The bud is almost to open. I can tell it will be a deep rich red bloom -- and it is my reminder to breathe and enjoy even winter while hoping for spring. With so many wonderful ways to brighten our homes and lives with amazing BBest Team art and ways to inspire our own creative meanderings, winter won't last long! There are way too many flowers in winter to keep it cold and foreboding for long!

14 comments:

jstinson said...

Nice job. Enjoyed!

maryeb said...

Lovely post. You've featured so many beautiful items.
I really need flowers this time of year. Especially with the gray, rainy, muddy mess of a January we've had. I just bought a pot of pink hyacinths in bud at the grocery. I'm really enjoying watching them bloom a little at at a time.

ZudaGay said...

How lovely and homey! It is the little things that bring pleasures. Thank you for your post, Judi!

Sixsisters said...

Judi I loved this post. Thank you.
I received amaryllis for Christmas and I am still
waiting for it to bloom. It is always the small things
I enjoy most. Thanks also for including my painting.sts

Dena said...

Wonderful post Judi... My African violets keep me smiling all winter. I have 6 and they are blooming like crazy in my kitchen windows now!

Julie G. said...

Very nice Judi...I am lucky b/c I have roses blooming right outside my window! Living in S.Tx. has it's benefits. :))

Chauncey said...

Oh yes, we all need to see some lovely flowers, especiaally in the middle of winter. Wonderful post, Judi.

Fused Glass said...

Beautiful work and love your write-up Judi! Thanks for including my work!

yankeegirl said...

Great feature, Judi!! My winter flower fix are the geraniums in my sunny bay window. Thankfully they bloom all winter long and bring a bit of summer to my home this time of year.

Thanks for including my rose photograph!

On a Whimsey said...

Lovely post Judi! I have a yellow orchid in the bathroom to cheer me up in the mornings :) Love the selections too.

The Filigree Garden said...

Flowers always bring joy to my heart. I can't wait for the garden to be in bloom again.

Tessa said...

Lovely post.
I have lovely scented and cheery yellow Hamamalis flowering in my January UK garden and a bunch of colourful exotic Strelitzias from Madeira.

SylvieL said...

Thank you so much Jodi, it is relaxing and inspiring to read your post.

Flowers said...

Awesome picture of flowers and lovely paintings made my day. Enjoyed your blog very much.