I couldn’t sleep last night, so I turned on the TV and flipped through channel after channel until I came to a studio set decked out in Christmas trees, snowmen, multi-colored fairy lights, and poinsettia boughs. It was QVC, and two women were on the screen demonstrating how to use festive, Christmas-themed draw-string gift bags as an alternative to wrapping paper. As I watched, I actually began to feel a chill in the air. In the small, dark hours of the morning, and in that hazy state between sleep and full consciousness, I forgot for a moment that it was July, that I had been at the pool just hours earlier, and that oppressive, weighty heat and humidity had settled on Kansas City like a burden. QVC’s “Christmas in July” sale was in full swing, and the parade of products went on and on: tabletop angels, red and green mercury glass candle sticks, Lenox ornaments.
Before I came-to and remembered summer, I actually felt—what was it? Dread? Disappointment? Something blah. Don’t get me wrong—I love Christmas. But summer is my time to thrive, and I want to live it in full measure; I don’t want it curbed or rushed. I can’t get enough of the heat (well, I could do without the humidity). I can’t get enough of the hot, sharp colors of summer: limey green, sky blue, yellow. The dappled light on the floor of the pool. The cool, navy tones to be found in the shade of a tree. I can’t get enough of the sounds: the chirps of birds, the whoosh of a breeze through the leaves (close your eyes and it sounds like ocean waves), the sound of people mowing lawns in the distance, the gentle tinkle of ice cubes in a glass. I even like that obnoxious, pulsing, mechanical drone of the cicadas—simply because that’s summer . Winter is for nesting and snuggling up. Summer, though, is for hitting the road and exploring the world without wearing a jacket.
It’s my love of all things summer that attracts me to botanical gardens. I live on a golf course, and have very little yard of my own in which to plant things. I have plantings around my patio and in a pot by my front door, but that’s it. Oh, who am I kidding? I was never a great gardener, even when I did have a yard! But I love gardens. The bigger, the better, so I can lose myself in them. My imagination goes wild; I study the colors, I follow every winding path. It’s one of the ways I recharge. The best gardens also have events throughout the year, so a visit can yield unexpected adventures. Last year I was in Atlanta on business, for example, and on a free evening I went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where they had an illuminated exhibit of Chihuly glass sculptures throughout the park. What a treat!
Closer to home, the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha beckons. They, too, have events throughout the year, but even on a normal, ordinary day, the settings are spectacular. Omaha is about a three-hour drive from home, but, like the famous zoo only blocks away, Lauritzen Gardens is always worth the effort. I visited earlier this week, and while the weather was touch-and-go and kept me guessing all day, it was all lovely, as usual.
Lauritzen has two really awesome events coming up that I would love to attend. The first is “Leashes at Lauritzen,” August 7, September 4, and October 2, which is an opportunity for visitors to walk the grounds with their dogs and mingle with other dog/garden lovers. I would really like to take Olive, but she’s such a shy dog, I’m not sure she would be comfortable there with other dogs. The second—and I am absolutely sick that I am going to have to miss this—is their Antique and Garden Show, which is September 15-17. I have a conflict that week. I found out, though, that the Antique show is an annual event, and takes place every September. It’s already on my calendar for next year!
Summer is half over, and I want to hang on to every minute with an iron grip. Maybe QVC has a “Summer in January” event?…
Until next time…