Category Archives: Flowers

To Love Beauty is to See Light, by Beverly Hick Burch

“To love beauty is to see light.” ~ Victor Hugo ~

Clematis A

They (just who is they anyway?) say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think anyone would be hard press to find this gorgeous blossom anything less than beautiful.

I was really excited to see my Arctic Queen Clematis bloom for the first time this year. There were three big glorious blossoms about the same time. I had nursed it along in the nursery pot until we could get it in the ground last year. I’m hoping this lovely vine is just getting a jump start for the season and I’ll be seeing more of these blooms throughout the summer since the clematis is known for a long flowering season.

I love the large, double white blossoms of the Arctic Queen. They remind me of the dahlias my sweet next door neighbor, Herman Lovelady use to grow. Mr. Lovelady and his wife Lola were like a surrogate grandparents. I really mourned their passing and miss them to this day. They added beauty and love to my life for many years.

I discovered a long time ago I am sensitive to the aesthetics around me. That could be why I was a horticulture student…I love the beauty found around us in Nature. It could also explain why I was, and still am a little OCD (disability is a really good cure for OCD!). There is nothing as demoralizing as a dump! But, again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and one man’s beauty may be another man’s eye sore. Not too long ago I was struck by the beauty of the architecture of some old European buildings and antiques. The beauty of certain pieces music can bring me to tears.

Whatever our personal standard of beauty is, I think there is beauty we can all agree upon…laughter of a child, love we receive from those we hold dear, heroism, Nature, kindness, a moonlit night…

We may hear a lot of bad news and it’s easy to be discouraged by that news and the cruelty we see in others, but, we don’t have to look far to find a single beautiful thing.

The other day, I only had to look as far as my backyard. And, to see that beauty and appreciate it and love it, well, it is like seeing light…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Artic Queen Clematis, Backyards, Flowers, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Vines

Earth Laughs in Flowers, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

blooming vinca

We’ve just passed the Easter season. I hope everyone had a blessed holiday and spent it in a treasured way…making memories.

Everyone has traditions. They vary from season to season, holiday to holiday, ethnic background to ethnic background and family to family.

I always like to recall the traditions of Christmas because it amazes me the varying traditions around the world. Of particular interest to me are the different foods of Christmas because I also write about and blog about food.

Here in the South the standard fare is turkey and/or ham, sweet potatoes and pecan pie. Then, the menu varies from there, BUT there is a variety of different menus even here in the South. In the Northeastern US it’s not uncommon to find someone’s momma’s lasagna recipe at the Christmas table and in the Southwest Tall & Handsome assures me Posole will be found on most holiday tables.

Easter traditions are much the same.

When my son was young, every year it was this momma’s goal to have the best Easter basket waiting on Easter morning. Then, of course there were always dyed eggs and the obligatory egg hunt (weather permitting of course, then if need be it moved indoors). For us, it also included Sunday morning worship service and gathering at the table making memories with the extended family.

It also usually signaled the official “I-can-take-a-deep-breath-and-smell-spring-in-the-air” time. Spring really was out of the starting gate come Easter.

And, that also meant the regrowth and budding of Nature. That glorious time of the year when everything awakens, puts on its best and presents a real Technicolor show to thrill our senses.

I absolutely love it!

Our spring the year has been, for lack of a better word retarded. No, I’m not being pejorative, but what I’m saying is that it has been slow and delayed in developing. Two weeks ago it appeared we were on the backstretch of winter headed for the sure thing…Spring was here!

But, then IT happened. The mother of all severe thunderstorms. I have lived through several tornadoes and even so, I have never seen anything like what hit us on the 18th. We were without power for almost 30 hours.

It was during that time as we stumbled through the house with flashlights and candles, I broke my big toe with a huge Maglite flashlight and the batteries on all our devices began to run down that I looked at T & H and said, “You know, electricity was a mighty and wonderful invention.”

We finally scavenged around, found the Uno cards and spent quite a bit of time playing Uno by candlelight…

After that the weather turned bitterly cold again. We even had a few snow flurries…yes, in March in the Deep South.

So, I was very concerned that all my freshly budding beauties that had awakened prior to the storm would be destroyed…my mint, my oregano and my lovelies with their gorgeous blooms.

Well, yesterday when we left to take the short drive to my folks’ house to break bread for Easter and make wonderful memories to recall in years to come, imagine my delight to see a kaleidoscope of color every where! Purple, pink, white…you pick the color. The air had that freshness to it, too.

Yes, Earth was laughing with flowers…everywhere and telling Old Man Winter, “so long, pal”…at least for a season…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Birmingham AL, Easter, Flowers, Holidays, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Spring, Springville AL

Ageratum, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Blue Flower B

Blue Flower C

I love blue flowers, but they are not the most abundant flower to find in the grander scheme of gardening.

Years ago when I established some landscape design for my home I did quite a bit of research. I used my background as a horticulture student to do my digging and lead me where I wanted to go.

I was gardening for some definite purposes:

That was the foundation for my design and purpose and because of my health I usually have to depend on others to implement my plans. Tall & Handsome’s saying is, “Honey, you be the brains and I’ll be the brawn.”

Well, before we moved out of state for T & H’s work, the yard had a very good head start on a good landscape design. And, of course, I’ve shared the horrors of Big Jim the Terrible Tenant who had a six year reign of terror at the house.

To say the yard was grossly neglected is an understatement. At one time we counted almost 10 to 12 random vehicles parked in the yard Sanford and Son style…and this is not the type of neighborhood you do that in.

But, even in the “ashes” of ruin you can find surprises and renewal. Today’s pictures are an example of that. When we moved in 2004, these delicate little blue blossoms were not growing anywhere in my yard. Now? Well, there is an abundant little colony raising their cheerful little heads in the front and they have made their way into some of my pots.

Ageratum are generally considered annuals but a few are perennials. They tend to reseed themselves very well, profusely in fact, so you might have some to spread around and even share. In some places they can become invasive and may be considered a weed. I like to think of them as a wildflower. They are native to Central and South America and Mexico, but there are four that are native to the US.

They are known by the common names flossflower, bluemink, blueweed and Mexican paintbrush. They tolerate sun to part sun. Some of the more domesticated varieties may only grow to about 6 – 8 inches, the others vary in height from 12 inches up to 30 inches.

You can see by my photos that the two I have are very different. One looks more delicate, a lighter powdery blue with only green foliage. The other one is a deeper, purpley-red color. The stems and leaves have a red vein running through them and the flowers themselves seems surrounded by red calyx.

I’m just delighted that out of ashes of destruction something that appears so delicate rose like a Phoenix to surprise me with the unexpected.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu ~

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Filed under Ageratum, Alabama, Blueweed, Flossflower, Flowers, Gardening, Horticulture, Mexican Paintbrush, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Tall & Handsome

Red Hibiscus, by Beverly Hicks Burch

red hibiscus B

I love Hibiscus, especially red hibiscus. For some reason they remind me of Hawaii.

These were growing at the base of the Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island. As we sat in rocking chairs and gazed out at the marina the nearby café just happened to have live outdoor music. Guitar Man struck up a decent rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama”, a cool breeze was blowing and the whole scene was framed in red hibiscus.

Can you say heaven?

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Flowers, Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hibiscus, Hilton Head Island, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, South Carolina, The Masters, Travel

Pink Oleander, by Beverly Hicks Burch

pink olender B

I love Oleander, although it is poisonous if ingested. So, I certainly don’t plan on creating a meal using oleander. It’s purely a feast for the eyes.

This lovely pink oleander is found growing on Tybee Island, GA.

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


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Filed under Flowers, Georgia, Horticulture, Oleander, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Tybee Island GA

Firecracker Red, by Beverly Hicks Burch

mom's geranium c

Mom's geranium b

I could think of nothing better to start the holiday off than my Mom’s firecracker red geraniums. They are exceptional this year and just the right color for the 4th of July.

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under "4th of July", Alabama, Flowers, geraniums, Holidays, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants

Keepers of the Garden, by Beverly Hicks Burch

First, let me begin this by saying, “I am NOT a hoarder!”

But, I do have little eclectic collections of things I like to gather. Lately it’s been items to add whimsy and fun to the garden, decks and outdoors.

The first one is dedicated to someone I call my littlest angel. This young man (Tyler Clark) use to come with his Momma to my house when we had big quilting get togethers. The group surprised me with an angel quilt one Christmas (angels are another collectible of mine) and Tyler’s momma had made a block for him and incorporated it into the quilt.

Tyler just graduated from high school and is bound for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa this fall. RTR!! (For all you non-Alabama folk, that’s Roll Tide Roll!!) So, Tyler will understand the significance of this garden keeper Smile I’m proud of you Tyler!!

Keeper of the Impatients

Keeper of the Impatients

As for the selection of my next keeper, it’s quite obvious, a Miniature Schnauzer to represent our wonderful little boy and resident rascal, Watson the Wonderkin.

Keeper of the Tomatoes

Keeper of the Tomatoes

I certainly prefer these guys to scarecrows any day! And, hand to God…all the other tomatoes not being minded by this little fellow have been nibbled on by some interloper! My yard may soon look like that ancient Chinese tomb they dug up a few years ago that was full of clay Chinese warriors.

If it worked for them, it’s gotta work for me…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Elephants, Flowers, Gardening, Keepers of the Garden, Miniature Schnauzer, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Tomatoes, Tyler Clark, University of Alabama, Watson

Momma’s Day Lily Seen Through Daddy’s Lens, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Day Lilly of 06 06 2012

I’m a few minutes late, but in honor of Father’s Day I wanted to post a picture of one of Momma’s day lilies…

Huh, I know you’re asking? In honor of Father’s Day?


As I explained a couple of weeks ago Mom’s been under the weather and in the hospital so Daddy and I have been doing “garden” duty for Momma.

Keep in mind Daddy was a mechanical engineer/project manager who retired and became a pastor, then retired again and now does freelance engineering from his home office so this gardening thing hasn’t always been at the top of his list. He’s like the Engergizer bunny despite having bypass surgery, a pacemaker, knee surgery…oh, and like his oldest daughter (yours truly) he’s a cancer survivor. (I’m not going to tell his age, because like me he’s very young for his age Winking smile)

We grow us mountain folk tough and resilient in East Tennessee, back where we come from…

So, now Daddy is also doing some Ansel Adams tinkering around the place  and cooking…and as I took a stroll around the yard with him today I could tell he was enjoying the finer details of the green and growing…it’s kinda like engineering from the dirt up, just with different dynamics…

I think they call that being a Renaissance Man…

A few days ago when Daddy was out in the yard, he took some pictures of Mom’s day lilies and he captured this gorgeous blossom at its peak. It’s just too pretty not to share

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy…I love you…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


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Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Daddy, Day Lilies, Father's Day, Fathers, Flowers, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants

A What?! Yes, a Balloon Plant, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Balloon Flower

Blue is one of my favorite colors and it just so happens to also be one of T & H’s favorite colors, too. We’re simpatico like that Smile.

It’s not always easy finding a blue flower for the garden and try finding a blue flower that just might draw hummingbirds or butterflies. Well, several years ago I happened upon a little perennial that seemed to cover all those bases. It is called a Balloon Plant.

I know you’re asking how can this lovely blue blossom that’s shaped more like a five point star be called a Balloon Plant. Well, simple…

Balloon plant and how it gets its name

You see before the bloom opens up the bud looks like a little hot air balloon!

This little plant is hardy and survives quite well with little attention. Case in point…I have several that survived the reign of terror of James the Terrible, tenant horriblus that occupied our home for six years while we were out of state. The pictures above were taken of such hardy little survivors!

Another plus to this wonderful little flower is a long blooming season from early summer to late summer and a prolific reseeding ability. I’ve already started spreading the love in places in the backyard.

Wonder how many of these I need in the yard to float the whole thing away on a wonderful Cloud Nine…?

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Backyards, Balloon Plant, Flowers, Horticulture, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants

Gerber Daisy, by Beverly Hicks Burch

gerber daisy

While my little Momma has been sick and in the hospital Daddy and I have had tending and watering duty for Mom’s various green thumb projects. She’s been sick for some time now, so there’s not quite as many as there normally would be. Tall & Handsome and I made sure she had a few herbs for the deck nearest to the upstairs kitchen. So, we brought her mint and basil.

Daddy has shuttled back and forth from the house and hospital until Mom could come home.

The Gerber Daisy was looking sort of puny with a lot of dead leaves, but I promised Daddy if we kept it watered it would perk up. Sure enough in a few days there were new green leaves and beautiful, happy, bright red blossoms.

They were also shouting, “Shoot me! I’m beautiful!”

So, I obliged…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Backyards, Daddy, Family, Flowers, Gerber Daisy, Horticulture, Momma, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Tall & Handsome