Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Beautiful LILIES in our Yard --2019 (Part I)

Montenegro Lilies,  6/03/19
Dear Friends,  As most of you know,  we have a "Deer Eating Our Flowers"  problem at times.  As George always says (and I agree):  "I love seeing the deer as long as they are NOT in our yard".... Last year,  they loved munching on our LILIES  (one of my favorite plants).... And once they eat the lily buds/blooms --that plant is finished for the season. (At least the Roses will come back --after being munched on.)

SO during the Fall,  George dug up ten of my favorite lilies planted in the front yard,  and replanted them in containers --which we put on the deck.  This year,  I/we enjoyed watching those beautiful Lilies bloom...  I could even enjoy them, and smell their wonderful fragrance,  from inside our home --since some of them are close to one of our Sliding Glass doors... Moving the plants to the deck worked well--and I was/am a "happy girl".... Thanks, George!!!!

I have two blog posts showing our LILIES... They bloomed off and on from the middle of May   to the second week of July.  We had 12 different types of Lilies to bloom this year --and,  since the deer stayed away from our entire yard MOST of the time,  we not only had them blooming on the deck --but also in the front yard...   It has been a good year for the LILIES....  (And with the rainy winter and spring,  the deer had plenty to eat elsewhere this year..)

Hope you enjoy today's pictures.... You'll have to pick out a favorite (or two or three)....

Some of our Lilies on the deck,   6/9/19

Pink Lemonade Lilies after a rain,  6/18/19

Orange Electric Lilies,  6/8/19

This Lily, Pink Perfection,  just kept GROWING....  Not sure how tall it was,  but probably about 7+ feet.   George is 6'2" --so you decide!!!!!! ha....,  6/19/19  (NOW--see picture below!)

Pink Perfection Lilies,  6/19/19  (Thank Goodness for the zoom lens on my Canon;  otherwise it would have been hard to capture this huge Lily.)

A favorite of mine,  Muscadet Lilies, 7/3/19;  These beauties bloomed both in the front yard and on the deck.

Always a favorite,  Rosella's Dream Lilies,  6/8/19

An old-time favorite of many folks:  Stargazer Lilies,  7/6/19   (Those are Muscadet Lilies to the right.)

Golden Splendor Lilies, 6/19/19;   We were blessed to have these Lilies blooming both in the front yard and on the deck.

Purple Prince Lilies,  6/25/19

One of my favorite Lilies,  Lombardia Lily,  7/1/19;   This one's color is so amazing;  Looks like it could glow in the dark!!!!
Lilies are interesting to study... There are about 8 (or more) varieties.... Since making a 'combo' lily OR hybrid lily has become popular,  there are and will be even more varieties...

Two things come to mind of most people when thinking about Lilies... First are EASTER LILIES...  I always thought they were a Trumpet Lily --but they are in their own category,  Longiflorium Lilies...    The second thing which usually comes to mind are the DITCH LILIES.... Those are the orange lilies which grow along ditches or used as ground cover (since they are invasive and will spread)..  What you may not know is that the Ditch Lilies are actually Day Lilies --since the blooms only last a day..  BUT---since there are usually SO many blooms,  most people don't even realize that each bloom only lasts a day.

We grow Day Lilies also ---and ours get prettier every year --since the plants get bigger and stronger --and give us many more blooms per plant.....

Here's a webpage if you are interested in learning more about the VARIETIES of LILIES. Click HERE.  Two of our Asiatic Lilies in today's post are Montenegro  and Rosella's Dream.   Two of our Trumpet Lilies are Golden Splendor and Pink Perfection.  Two of our Oriental Lilies are Stargazer and Muscadet.    AND one of our Orienpet Lilies is Purple Prince.   The Orienpet Lilies are a cross between an Oriental Lily and a Trumpet Lily.  We used to have the Turk's Cap Lilies (which I always called Tiger Lilies).  We no longer have that variety.

As I have said,  Lilies are interesting --and so much fun to watch them grow and bloom.  Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our beautiful Lilies.... There's more to come soon!!!!!

Have an awesome day --and remember to contact those you love.  My sons have no idea how wonderful it is to hear from them.... I SMILE really big when I get those phone calls...


Monday, August 19, 2019

More Beauty from Skyland and Skyline Drive, Virginia

Yellow Wildflowers Blooming most everywhere we went that week;  This batch was taken on our walk around the Skyland Resort area where we stayed.
Dear Friends,   I have so many pictures from our latest trip to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia...  SO-today,  I  will share some from only one of our days there,   August 7, 2019...  Hope you enjoy seeing this beauty!!!!!!!

There are two groupings:  1.  around the Skyland Resort where we stayed;  2.  Overlooks along Skyline Drive (between Skyland Resort  and Front Royal, Virginia).

Our view of the Shenandoah Valley looking from the balcony of our room at Skyland Resort

As we walked to dinner one evening through the resort,  I just had to take a picture of a beautiful Butterly enjoying the Thistle Bloom.

On that same walk,  we saw more pictures of the Shenandoah Valley below.

I'm always impressed by the HUGE Fir Trees on our walk at Skyland Resort.   This picture doesn't really show the overall vastness of that tree.   Amazing!

More yellow wildflowers along one of the maintenance roads at Skyland;

In last week's Blog Post,   I talked about the hike we took UP UP UP to Little Stony Man overlook, and the gorgeous views we had up there... This picture, which was taken on the opposite side  of the mountain from where we hiked,  shows another part of the Stony Man overlooks.... Maybe the next time we are there,  I can hike to this part of the mountain.  However,  it is a much longer and harder hike....Bet it's even more beautiful up there though than where we were at Little Stony Man!!!!

Since last week's blog post was ALL about ME --and my BIRTHDAY,   I must show some pictures of my Sweetheart,  who made this trip possible for me.   George is standing at one of the overlooks along Skyline Drive.

I loved seeing all of the cloud formations.... We had a beautiful day to visit that area.

Every Overlook gives us different views;  I loved seeing the shadows in this picture.

More beautiful mountains and pretty puffy clouds

More shadows --and a different look as the sun plays Peak-A-Boo with the clouds

This is my favorite picture from the overlooks...  I loved the clouds,  the shadows and the sun peaking through.... 

Anyone who visits the overlooks on Skyline Drive ALWAYS has to stop  (us included) and take pictures from the rocks... Who is that handsome man climbing up on those rocks to get more pictures???
WELL---that's enough for today....  I have one more  August 7th post from our hike on the Limberlost Trail --but that will come later!!!!!!

Hope you had a great week...  We certainly did!!!  After getting home from our big trip on August 10,   we had three very special get-togethers  with family/friends this past week... On August 13,  we met good friends, Judy and Charlie,  at Cades Cove in the Smokies  for lunch and a visit.   Then in late afternoon that day,  we met two of our sons  (Bert and Mark) in Townsend for dinner at the Trailhead Restaurant...  Then,  on Saturday, August 17,  the other son,  Jeff and his wife, Dawn,  came to see us here at home.....  SO--as you can imagine,  it was a terrific week!!!!

Have a good one,  and remember to get some exercise and stay hydrated!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Follow Me on a GREAT Birthday Trip!!!!!!

Along Skyline Drive at the Timber Hollow overlook on 8/8/19
Dear Friends,   We are home after an awesome trip to Virginia..... I have a 'gazillion' pictures to go through ---but spent Monday just picking out pictures of me taken this past week ---so that I could take you on my journey today...   Prepare yourself for some EXERCISE --and be sure to take your water!!!!!!!   Here we go........

Our first stop on my Birthday (8/5):    We stopped for one night at the PEAKS of OTTER  Resort on the Blue Ridge  Parkway near Buchanan, VA.   We love that place ---and had time for two walks around the lake  (one before dinner and one after dinner at sunset).    

My delicious Birthday Dinner that night at the Peaks of Otter Lodge Restaurant;   I had a salad,  green beans,  and one of the best Pork Chops I've eaten in a long time....YUM!!!  It was huge ---so a bunch of it went into our cooler to take home for another meal.    BUT---since it was my Birthday and since there are no calories on one's birthday,   I splurged and ate some Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert.... (It is a good thing that we walked for 2 miles  after eating that dessert... ha ha)

NO---I'm not burning up in the campfire (although it looks like it)..... We just enjoyed sitting around the campfire --after that big meal and walk!!!!!!

The next day (8/6) ---we were mostly 'on the road' ---but did manage to stop at some overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This picture was taken at the Onion Mountain Overlook.   We also took a short walk so that George could get some pictures of  the cascades at Falling Waters Cascade Overlook.

We made it to SKYLAND RESORT  (off of Skyline Drive) near Luray, VA about 3:30 pm...   This was the view we had of the Shenandoah Valley from our room at Skyland.   We enjoyed some hot tea and relaxed a bit before going to dinner.   Isn't this view GORGEOUS?

The next day (Aug 7) ---we took a 1.3 mile hike on the Limberlost Trail off of Skyline Drive not far from Skyland...  What a neat little trail in the woods..... The path was well-maintained,  smooth,  fairly flat,  and there were benches all along the way... 

Along the Limberlost Trail,   the vegetation was so rich and fertile...  Seeing all of the ferns made me think I was in Paradise!

We loved watching the sunsets all three nights we were there... This night (8/7) was definitely my favorite!!!!!   George snapped this picture of me sitting on the steps taking pictures and enjoying God's beauty.

This is what I was looking at in the picture above..... What a gorgeous sunset that evening (8/7),   as it gradually disappeared over the Shenandoah Valley.

On 8/8---we took a couple of hikes... This first one (my favorite hike of the entire week) was  to the summit at   Little Stony Man mountain.   The hike wasn't that long ---but it was UP UP UP.....  I hadn't done any elevation hiking since my Ablation (June 13)---and was so proud of myself for being able to do it... George took this picture of me while we were on the Appalachian Trail on that hike up the mountain.  

We made it to the summit  (Little Stony Man).    SO SO SO gorgeous up there --but VERY windy  (which really felt good after that hike UP)...Elevation here was 3642 feet.... The elevation climb was 450 feet.  I could have sat  up there FOREVER!!!!!!  

After hiking down the mountain  (much easier--ha),   we drove on Skyline Drive and stopped at some overlooks.   This picture was taken when we hiked a short distance and got to Crescent Rock.    (Seems like this ole' mountain gal loves gorgeous views while sitting/standing on some rock cliffs!!!!! ha)

On our 2nd hike of the day,  we went on the Millers Head Trail looking for another overlook.  George took my picture around the pretty yellow flowers   (which incidentally were blooming EVERYWHERE we stopped this week).  WELL--I didn't do as well on this one since the hike was DOWN first and then back UP.... I hike better when I can go UP first.... I was also HOT (afternoon heat) and I was getting tired.   This hike was hard!   

On the Millers Head hike,  We stopped so that I would rest... I sat on a rock with a big hole under my back-side.... I told George I was sitting on the potty.... ha ha ha

Us  at Little Stony Man Cliffs (8/8/19);   A nice young man who reminded me of my hiking son, Mark,  asked if he could take our picture... Of course,  we said YES.  It was so windy that my hair was sticking out all over... I posted a funnier picture showing my wind-blown hair on Facebook last week..... I don't have a lot of hair --but it looked hilarious!!!!
OKAY---enough for today!!!!!   Hope you enjoyed my week with me!!!!!!   There are still two more days before getting home on 8/10.... We drove to Asheville on the 9th,  spent the night in a motel,  and visited BILTMORE on the morning of the 10th before heading home....   As usual,  I  have some great pictures from Biltmore --but I'll show them in another post!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed my Birthday Trip....  Hope you have had a great week.... My advice to all who are trying to stay healthy:   Get out in nature and enjoy this beautiful world.