Moon and Violet

Life, love and loveliness


June blooms…

Our garden has been understated this June, flowers-wise, but it is lush with greenery and fireflies and beautiful, messy, insatiable birds.

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And, of course, fairies.

Our earliest bloomers were vines of purple clematis, along with bright pink Knockout roses.

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I found some bitter nightshade twined with the clematis.

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We have a richness of lilies! To be honest, lilies have never been one of my favorites, but I’m learning to love them. At the very bottom of our garden is my own little “gothic” plot of purple, black, and white flowers, and I planted some “black” lilies there a couple of months ago. Here they are now:

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Deep purple-red rather than black, though they do look black from a distance.

More lilies…

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Our little vegetable patch is thriving. Soon we’re going to have dozens of tomatoes!

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The hostas are preparing to bloom.

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As are my moonflowers! I can’t wait to see their soft white glow. ❤

The most exciting garden moment for me this month was the day that my lavender rosebush opened its first bud. I never planted a rosebush before and wasn’t certain I would get any flowers, but then there they were–and they smell like pure rose perfume!

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We’ve been working hard over the past few weeks on landscaping our front yard–turning the lawn into a garden (no grass!) and will share pictures of that soon. We have planted hostas and lavender and astilbe, salvia and heuchera and peppermint. It’s so exciting, watching the space transform.

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View of the balcony.

All in all, June has been a stormy and stressful month–fraught with unexpected, unpleasant surprises (like a late-night animal attack on our dog Zelda that resulted in a trip to the emergency vet–she’s okay, luckily), but there were joys, too. Bridget just released a new novel! And Lion Hall is a constant haven. We couldn’t possibly love this house more.

We’re looking forward to experiencing all of what our city has to offer in July–which happens to be Bridget’s birthday month! ❤

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This is our kind of party!

~ Jenn


“All things seem possible in May.”

The rainy, cozy, flower-scented days of May are giving way to the hot, bright sunshine of summer. I’m sad to watch the bluebells fade but ecstatic every time a new peony unfurls its perfumey petals.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my favorite books of all time is The Secret Garden, and I’ve never felt more like Mary Lennox than lately, when I step into our garden and feel my frustrations and anxieties slough away.  It’s a kind of magic, and one that I’d never really experienced before.

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Bridget is the true gardener of our family, while I pore over botanical illustrations and flower language books and herbalist lore. My head is full of Latin names and plant mythology, and I feel endlessly curious about all of it. I’m hoping, in the months to come, to become more hands-on with the digging and planting and weeding and tending. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this excited about something–or this enchanted.

Below, a gallery of some new and old flower friends, along with a few captures of our beloved home. (Click for larger sizes/slideshow.)

~ Jenn

 

 


A fairy heart that’s guiding you home ♥

The Spoutwood May Day Fairie Festival happens every year on Beltane weekend (May Day), and during that three day festival on the charming, rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania, the portal between our world and the faerie realms open, and–just for those three days–you can enter a land of magick and myth unlike any you’ve ever seen. I speak of it with all the love in my heart, because that three day festival has been one of the most immovable touchstones of our year. Twelve years ago, I proposed to Jenn on those green, rolling hills, having just experienced with her the very first nonjudgmental, loving day we had ever had as a couple. We were both wearing wings, I knelt on that beautiful, grassy hill, and I told her how much I loved her, and how I wanted every moment of the rest of my life to be with her (spoiler alert–very tearily she said “yes.” ♥ ♥ ♥ ).

So, each year (except for a few impossible years) we’ve gone back to what is, for three days, Home.

Jenn and I had experienced a lot of homophobia in the first few months we’d been together, right before going to that very first (for us) Fairie Festival so many years ago. Her mail had been stolen (the police got involved, it was pretty terrible), hateful graffiti had been spray-painted on her parking spot at her apartment building, and we were genuinely afraid. We’d gotten screamed at for holding hands, JUST HOLDING HANDS, in public, and it seemed that the whole world hated us for being who we were. We were tired. We were heart-weary, but we were so deeply in love…

And then we came to the Fairie Festival.

That very first day, we held hands tightly, walking along the magickal fairie paths on that beautiful farm. I kissed her cheek, we danced together, and you know what happened?

People smiled at us. People cheered when they saw us dancing. A guy called out to us on the way out of the festival that night: “the fairies love it when you love each other!”

For the first time in our lives, we were accepted. We were loved. And, for the first time, I felt safe enough to do what I’d been wanting to do for months…

You can see why, that evening, at the Fairie Festival, I proposed to my wife. ♥

Being held and nurtured by that festival is the hallmark of what the Spoutwood Fairie Festival truly is. For those few days, you can be yourself, whoever you are. You know that you are wholly safe, that within the confines of the ribbon fences, there is magic all around you, and that you are not alone. That you are surrounded by fellow faeries who hold this space of nurturing acceptance for you, just as you hold it for them.

Yesterday morning we made the now mini-road trip (I CAN’T BELIEVE WE NOW LIVE IN THE SAME STATE AS THE FAIRIE FESTIVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! insert a million more exclamation marks here 🙂 ) from one end of Pennsylvania to another, and we drove up onto the beautiful hill, parking in the meadow alongside many other cars, full of smiling faces and about a metric ton of glitter (I’m fairly certain that if you added up the amount of glitter everyone wears to the Fairie Festival over those three days, it’d be way more than a metric ton!).

And, magically, we were in the place that I know best in the world that celebrates life and living and love and magick. And now it was time to enter the portal to the realm of Fairie.

But, this time, we made the trip to Fairie-land with Poesy!

We kept making the joke that this is where our fur-child was conceived. ;D NOT ACTUALLY TRUE. We brought Poesy because she LOVES PEOPLE and we thought she’d adore the festival, and since we were only going for one day this year, it seemed the perfect time. But, we were BLOWN AWAY by how much she loved it and everyone there. ♥ She had SO MUCH FUN, and had on her happy-Poesy-face allllllll daaaaaay. ♥ ♥ ♥

(This photo was taken by James! ♥ )

Every year, we plan our costumes for a VERY LONG TIME–it’s serious business to us! ♥ BUT, this year’s costume plans were completely derailed when Jenn came up with an AMAZING IDEA a few days before the festival! I scrapped what I was originally going to do, because it was SUCH A GOOD IDEA.

I have been writing about werewolves since I was a kid–their wildness and mythical nobility and courage mean quite a great deal to me, so the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood is one of my absolute favorites. Jenn thought it’d be a good idea if we did a recreation of that, and she even made me my headpiece/crown!

AND I LOVE HOW IT ALL TURNED OUT!!!!

The wolf has spotted Little Red! (Photo by Marian!)

Uh-oh…the wolf is ON THE HUNT.

I CAUGHT HER! (I love this picture SO DAMN MUCH.

A fairy tale family. ♥ (Photo by Marian!)

These photos by Marian. ♥ ♥ ♥

Jenn’s Little Red Riding Hood costume was such a dream. ♥ Her sister crocheted that cloak for her!

I love this woman so much!!!!!!!!!! ♥

My sister is AMAZING and got us some of the Space Paste glitter from Lemonhead Cosmetics! Jenn LITERALLY HAD STARS IN HER HAIR. ♥

I look this mischievous pretty much ALL THE TIME. ;D Photo by Jenn! ♥

Pure magic. ♥

We were SO HAPPY to meet up with Ruby and Marian minutes after arriving at the festival! We haven’t seen them in SO LONG and I cried because I’ve missed them so much. ♥ ♥ ♥ POESY MISSED HER AUNTS TREMENDOUSLY AS WELL. ♥

They are some of the best people in this whole universe. ♥

We love them so damn much. ♥ ♥ ♥ (Photo by James!)

AND THEN WE FOUND JAMES! Who is ALSO one of the best people in this whole damn universe. ♥ ♥ ♥ I love him so, so much–he’s an enormous part of our created family, and a fairy brother. ♥ ♥ ♥

This is what love looks like. ♥

It rained on and off throughout the day. The grounds were muddy. And yet, there was magic everywhere. ♥ (Photo by James!)

I love these people (and this pup) with my whole heart. ♥

The day was magic, and I’m so grateful for the happy memories to add to my treasure chest of happy moments in my storied life. ♥ Much love to each and every fairy who shared that space with us, who has in the past, who will in the future.

I leave you with a song I first heard at the festival, many years ago. It holds all the magic of that place for me, and I share it with you tonight, my heart heavy at the fact that the festival–for the first time in its 26 years (that I know of) has to be closed tomorrow, on its last day, due to the rain and mud making the grounds unsafe. My heart is full of love and gratitude and, at the same time, heartbroken for the vendors, for the festival itself, for everyone involved and everyone who won’t get to experience it tomorrow. My heart is there and with all my fellow fae. Much, much love. ♥

We weave a music curiously pure
A crystal song suspended
We fly on wings diaphanous as light
Dancing till the long night is ended

– Bridget


There are fairies at the bottom of our garden.

April rain has brought new–and unexpected–flowers to the gardens of Lion Hall.

Like this riot of buttercups!

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I’ve never seen buttercups growing in great big bushes like this! When I was a kid, I loved spotting the waxy little flowers in the lawn, but they grew barely one inch tall and were few and far between. Here we have hundreds on tall stalks, all around our pond.

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I know they’re typically considered to be weeds, but Bridget and I have too much fondness for them to consider pulling them out.

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The Buttercup Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker

Besides, they’re so pretty, especially next to these lavender bell-shaped flowers that have appeared overnight:

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They seem to be shooting up from a hosta-like plant, but the leaves don’t resemble hosta leaves–they’re thin and flattened. There are several of these plants throughout the backyard, and the tiny flowers, like dainty cups, are straight out of a fairy’s tea set!

 

Most of our early spring flowers have begun to fade. The daffodils are wide and ruffly, and the tulip petals are falling. When I checked on our Summer Snowflakes, I found a hungry little bee inside.

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We’ve planted five dwarf lilac shrubs–we really, really love lilacs!–and a few of them have already started to flower. Nothing suggests spring to me more than the scent of lilacs.021

One of our most exciting surprises: bleeding hearts!

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We bought some of our own bleeding hearts to plant, since Bridget loves them so much, and were then elated to find out that the previous owners had planted some, too! Dozens of little pink hearts, nestled in our upper garden.

On the subject of pink…

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I didn’t edit that photo at all. Or this one:

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A very large azalea shrub in our backyard has burst into hot-pink flame! The color is unreal… Even at night, it glows.

026 We’ve crossed our fingers and planted two rose bushes, one lavender and one pink. The pink ones are Knockout Roses, so hopefully they’ll thrive no matter what.

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Someday roses.

Precious little wild things:

Every day, I check on our peony buds… I can’t wait to see these flowers!

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Moving out of the backyard, there’s a lot of fairy activity to document on the balcony…

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Because she knows how much I love violets, Bridget dug some of the wild violets out of the front lawn (saving them from the mower) and replanted them for me!

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These flowers, called lemon slices, remind me of striped candy.

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Bridget and I have been building fairy gardens for years and are so happy to have so much space for displaying them. The ones below are only the beginning… *slightly sinister laugh*

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Rescued this bunny-and-kalanchoe from the after-Easter sale (eighty-eight cents!).

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The past couple of weeks have been hard for me, battling depression, but whenever I sit outside–watch the birds and squirrels, and smell the flowers–I feel so much better. I think this year–our first year living in “Penn’s Woods” together–will be a very healing, and outdoorsy, one for us!

(Here’s a fairy song to wing you away:)

~ Jenn

 


Where love grows free and wild.

Welcome to our garden! It brings us so much joy. One of my favorite books of all time is The Secret Garden, and now we have a secret garden of our very own, complete with walls and robins and that magical, anything-is-possible feeling. We are still planning and planting–Bridget has hundreds of seedlings bursting to life–and I can’t wait to see what our bit of earth becomes in the months–and years!–to come.

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Today we planted five lilac shrubs. Tomorrow, roses! And we clipped daffodils and hyacinths and apple blossoms for bouquets…

Moving indoors, here are some of the green folks who share our home:

We sat outside tonight and watched the white flickering shadows of the goldfish in our pond and the joyful fluttering bats in the sky. We’re looking forward to learning more about the woods and wilds of our area now that spring has arrived!

~ Jenn


“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

The past several weeks have been all about flowers. ❤

After a shockingly mild winter (we moved to Pittsburgh from Buffalo, so we were expecting less snow, sure, but not seventy-degree weather in February!), our garden is waking up—and sprouting with surprises. The previous owners lovingly tended what is now our backyard, so we’re finding their flowers and plants peeking through the soil, along with the bulbs that we planted in the fall. Bridget is growing a big batch of seedlings beneath a grow light, and we have new lilac shrubs and peonies and so many other pretty things to plant. Honestly, our garden is our primary topic of conversation! We love every single bud and leaf that we spot outdoors–along with the many, many houseplants we’ve brought into our home.

I haven’t photographed our own plant friends yet, but I plan to soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures I took at Phipps Conservatory’s Enchanted Forest spring show, which Bridget and I experienced on Saturday. It was like stepping into a (sweetly scented) fairy tale.

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I’ve been going to Phipps ever since I was a little girl, and the place has always held a particular perfume in my memory… I assumed it was a combination of floral scents, but several years ago, I realized that it was just one scent in particular: hyacinths! They smell like heaven to me, and in the spring show, they are especially noticeable.

We have a lot of hyacinths in our own garden, but we’re hoping to find some of those peach-colored hyacinths from the show (called “Gipsy Queen”) for fall planting.

~ Jenn


Tree Hearts

I had the best day adventuring with my wife yesterday. ♥ She makes every single day extraordinary. ♥ ♥ ♥ (Jenn already posted about it, but I’ll tell the story again, just because it’s a good one. ♥)

My intrepid photographer. ♥

We found an abandoned stone building. The doors were locked, but the windows were broken, and from inside we heard a hundred birds sing. ♥

The leaves fell into the forest pool, reflections of perfect sky peeking out from the still water. ♥

My favorite flowers are asters. ♥ When I see asters growing, I know it’s almost Michaelmas, and almost our wedding anniversary. My heart is still an autumn bride. ♥

We found the remains of an old fireplace out in the woods: a stone ghost remembering its house while squirrels nested in its mouth. ♥

Even though autumn just began, there was already a thick carpet of fallen leaves on the forest floor today. Perfect crunches underfoot. ♥

Welcome, beloved fall. ♥

~ Moon