its ever-widening circle

Last week, a dear friend and I visited a charming garden center, tucked miles away on a winding county road deep in the midwestern heartland. We spent blissful hours together among the plants and flowers, loading carts with choice annuals and perennials. Knowing I couldn’t carry the entire garden center home with me, I walked around to snap photos of flowers I had to leave behind.

I’ve long admired verbena’s cascading blossoms but have had trouble keeping it happy in summer’s extreme heat. So, alas – whenever I spy an appealing display of verbena, I’ll smile, sigh, walk wistfully past.

But not so last week. As one who takes perpetual notice of hearts in nature, I was stopped in my tracks by this delicate face – Verbena, Lanai: Twister Pink.

With sweetest simplicity, this flower’s inner circlet of deep rose hearts forms an image of my ideal world, a place where hearts unite with shared joy, love, friendship, peace. This blossom’s simple eloquence reminded me of a quote I cherish.

I’ll just leave it here for you. . .

0161_the oasis, the little cell of joy

We can, to a certain extent, change the world;
we can work for the oasis,
the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world.
We can throw our pebble in the pond and be
confident that its ever-widening circle will
reach around the world.
We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love,
and, dear God, please
enlarge our hearts to love each other. . .

~Dorothy Day, (1897 – 1980)

12 thoughts on “its ever-widening circle

  1. so much yet to discover…that you look for and find hearts in nature. that dorothy day, patron saint of love and courage, speaks to you in these words worth inscribing on our hearts…..

    • These united hearts have a pebble-shaped center, which is what reminded me of Dorothy Day’s resonant words. I love the idea of doing what we can, of dropping a small pebble of love and kindness wherever we are, trusting the circle will widen. As to hearts in nature, never a need to look for them; she reveals them, according to her own quiet way. xoxo

  2. Dear Amy,
    I love verbena and grew it in my garden when we lived in Arizona. Twister Pink is new to me; I love the beautiful rose color of the sweet circlet of hearts. This post reminds me of my post: Kindness, that I wrote awhile ago. 🙂

    • Ellen, I wonder what your trick was, to be able to grow verbena in Arizona? I’d love to know!

      And yes, that sweet circlet of rose hearts turns me inside out. I had never seen Twister Pink before, either. What a charmer!

      I hadn’t realized it previously, but my post and yours, Kindness, could link arms and walk along together like sisters! Had you ever seen this quote by Dorothy Day? I’m glad you reminded me of your post, which I went back to read again. I collect children’s books, and although I haven’t read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, I’d like to add it to my collection. It’s an important book with a powerful message. Thank you for the reminder! Your young students were blessed to have you as their gentle guide.

      Happy gardening! xoxo

  3. Dear Amy, Thank-you for introducing me to Dorothy Day and her beautiful quote about love. I googled her and found out she started the Catholic movement; what an interesting life she had. I too collect children’s books; hoping some day to read them to my grandchildren. In Arizona, verbena grew as a ground cover and did better in winter and spring; it produced more flowers if I cut back the faded ones.

    • Yes, Dorothy Day was ahead of her time, a social activist, a great advocate for the poor.

      I continue to collect children’s books simply because I have a passion for the beautiful ones, the ones that impart gentle wisdom. Love that you’re collecting them, too!

      A dear friend in California just told me that verbena grows along the road in California. Hearing that you grew it as a ground cover in Arizona makes me wonder whether there’s a hardier western variety, perhaps. Here in my garden, I deadheaded my verbena, but its blooms decreased as the summer wore on. My guess is that verbena might do better with morning sun and afternoon shade. At any rate, I would have loved to have brought Twister Pink home with me to serve as a daily inspiration!

      Always a delight to visit with you, Ellen! Wishing you all the best~ xoxo

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