In the gardens of my friends

And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
— Isaiah 58:11

Earlier this summer, friends from North Carolina began posting pictures of their gardens on Facebook. Their posts reminded me of times we chatted about gardening or wandered through public gardens together or visited our favorite nursery for plants and lunch. (The best nurseries have cafes to encourage you to linger.)

Their photos stirred up a longing to visit with my North Carolina friends but also inspired me to reach out to California friends who have green thumbs. I asked if I could wander through their gardens and take some pictures. Most apologized for their garden’s appearance because of the drought, but I think you’ll see that, even in a dry land, beautiful gardens abound. (Sprinklers and less restrictive watering rules have helped this summer.)

August can be a tough time for gardeners. In the south, too much heat and humidity. In California’s Central Valley, too much heat and no rain since May. Whether your own garden looks a bit scraggly these days or is bursting with beauty, I hope you’ll enjoy touring these friend’s gardens with me over the next few weeks.

First up, the garden of a friend who welcomed me to California with the gift of a poinsettia the day after I arrived here. (A plant is a perfect housewarming gift, especially for someone who has moved cross-country and likely had to leave all the houseplants behind.)


My friend and her husband both work in the garden, and you can see their love of outdoors reflected in the flowers that fill every nook and cranny of their yard.Friendgardens20161_2FT Friendgardens20161_3FT Friendgardens20161_4FT


Another guest wandered into my friend’s garden during my visit.

I love the abundance of colorful roses reflected in the window as the hummingbird takes a deep drink of nectar.


Probably my favorite of my friend’s roses


Succulents are a cinch in this climate


Lavender grows happily here, too.

One of my friend’s sweet pups trotted around nearby, perhaps a little perplexed about what I was doing.


Posing in front of one of many places in this garden for friends to visit with one another

I was especially thrilled to see a whole bench full of red geraniums. (If you’ve followed this blog for a few years, you may remember red geraniums hold a special place in my heart.)


Because of the drought, I’ve been reluctant to plant much in my own yard, but so many flowers in my friend’s garden remind me of home, most of all the fragrant gardenia and even (surprise!) a Southern magnolia.

Friendgardens20161_13FT Friendgardens20161_14FT

A garden’s ability to transport you to another place or time is part of its magic, don’t you think? A bit of whimsy enhances the magic, too:


Not a bad way to spend a summer afternoon


A contagious smile

I hope you’ll join me next week to meander through another friend’s garden.

How’s your own garden faring these days? Do you have a favorite garden—a friend’s or a public garden—that always leaves you with a smile after you’ve visited?

3 thoughts on “In the gardens of my friends

  1. Pingback: In the gardens of my friends, week 2 | The Flourishing Tree

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