The sickly boxwoods by the church main entrance have been replaced. Happily our sprinkler system is working and the well is functioning too.
The evergreens will eventually completely hide the playground fence. The boxwoods near the entrance stairs were not doing well and have been removed. They will be replaced with a more hardy variety.
We'll take care to be sure these plants are watered thoroughly every day until established. Happily, the sprinklers are functioning well and should provide backup.
I missed the first Springtime blooms, but here are some early summer blooms which are still going strong. It is good to see many of the perennials planted in the new areas around the church take root and get going.
Just for a sense of scale, the fence is 4 feet high. This climber decided to hitch its star to the nearby holly tree and keep on climbing. It's on the rectory lawn, must be all the fresh sea air and sunshine!
2,000 blog post - a nice round number. Here are some blooms around the rectory garden. The prayer garden is a little immature, but the plants there are growing!
With the coming of good weather and on the threshold of the month of May, the memorial prayer pavers for our Marian garden will be installed this week.
Pavers are still available, of course. To save on shipping costs, we generally wait until we can place the order for at least ten.
Wow, last weekend was a powerhouse of the Holy Spirit at Holy Cross. Six baptisms, a marriage convalidation, the final Religious Education session for this year's confirmandi and of course, our weekend masses. We eagerly look forward to our First Eucharists and Confirmation.
Baptisms are joyful!
Some of the confirmandi and the retreat team teen leaders
Please join us for the blessing of our statue of Mary in the Prayer Garden following the Vigil Mass of the Immaculate Conception at 7 PM on Monday, December 7th.
The statue, as you know, missed our dedication so it is fitting that it be formally blessed, especially on a Solemnity of Mary.
and will be the Christmas tree we light this year (and hopefully for many years to come).
The yarrow is spreading and holds its own with weeds.
The ornamental grasses also survived and are spreading.
Primrose, blanket flowers, nepeta, lavender, Russian sage, verbascum, cosmos, cone flowers are in view.
The second year for the hops; they're more vigorous than last year.
Everywhere on the campus, our garden continues to grow. Francisco has transplanted many, many of the flowers, shrubs and bulbs that were growing around the church to the front of the school and the perimeter of the playground. They are doing remarkable well. Take some time to enjoy them. The plantings along the school and around the gymatorium have also prospered this year.
My own garden has its successes and failures. The hot, wet, cold weather has given all my tomato plants a bit of trouble, but they are keeping on and I've already enjoyed a small treat or two from the earliest ripening fruits. No wonder many gardeners advise to plant more than you think you will harvest.
I was able to photograph a black swallowtail caterpillar beginning to pupate today. I had planted fennel and dill in the garden to invite them and yesterday was delighted to see several of them on the plants. When I returned with camera today, I could find only one. With so many birds in and out of the yard, I'm sorry to think they became bird food.
In approximate order left to right, top to bottom:
Cherry tomatoes, a couple of beefsteak ripening, oregano plant, red runner bean blooms, corn stalk beginning, mullein, Meyer lemon, fennel with pupating swallowtail (find it!), indigo rose tomatoes, pulmonaria, onion crop, bedding plants along with Julia Child and John Paul II roses, pot watermelon, "fire" lettuce, cleome everywhere, New Dawn rose, pineapple sage, red poppies, three "Lazy Housewife" beans, Lemon marigolds and petunias, ? monarda, spaghetti squash vine, Shrimp plant, Elephant Ears, Love in a Mist, Hosta spikes, pupating Swallowtail, planter filled with three plants from the Holy Cross Plant Sale.
OK, so it's not a huge salad. The first ripe tomato of the season with a little fresh picked basil a dash of artisan extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Almost as good as ice cream!
It's starting to fade a bit, but this is probably the last of the John Paul II roses this blooming season. There are lots of new growth shoots on the two rose bushes named after JPII, so they appear to be much happier where they are now after this season's transplants.
They say you always keep a spot in your heart for the music and the garden flowers you grew up with. Some of grandfather's favorites are here: marigolds and petunias. These particular marigolds were moved from in front of the church earlier this year. They had been hardy self-sowers for three successive years. The petunias are "Laura Bush," a self-sowing variety back for the third year as well. Balsam, Black-Eyed Susan and Nepeta are some of the plants in the background. Portulaca, a dependable leftover from the Youth Group Plant Sale prospers in the foreground.
My tomato plants in Rumson have not fared well from year to year despite following all kinds of recommendations and tips for preventing diseases which they seem quite susceptible to. Buy the right kind, water more, water less, water consistently...you've heard all the well meaning advice. Every fall I decide they were too much trouble and too disappointing, only to be lured into trying again by all the tomato seedlings at the garden center and the beautiful pictures in catalogs. Add to that the tasteless condition of most of them available in the supermarket alongside the memories of what real tomatoes taste like and I guess it's no surprise that I'm suckered in every Spring.
This year for the first time it looks like I will have quite a few beefsteak (actually they are Mortgage Liters) tomatoes worthy of the name! My first one was so delicious, juicy, sweet and red that I had to share a picture. And I was so excited when I cut into it that I didn't go outside to cut any basil, just good, fresh extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of salt. Mmm.
More on the vine, but they're not yet quite ripe and I've learned the hard way to not count my tomatoes until they are cut up and in a salad!
What do you think about the possibility of an exterior statue/shrine of Jesus Calming the Storm at Sea? It could be located toward the East of the Prayer Garden Plaza and possibly face Ward Avenue and the Ocean!
They are not that common, at least images of them on the Internet aren't. A rather famous statue on Corpus Christi, Texas and another in a cemetery pond in Gainesville, GA are the only sizeable ones I can find. Likely it would need to be designed/commissioned.
With enough donor interest, I think it would contribute a wonderfully consoling message to the community and a needed spiritual note to the many rebuildng efforts already underway. Let us know what you think in the Parish Office or by email to the webmaster at Holy Cross' webpage.
What better way to inaugurate sacred music in the chapel than on a feast of Mary.
We also blessed some boxwood basil, rosemary and marigolds in honor of the Virgin Mary. There is also a tradition of blessing the sea and collecting some of its water for blessing the home or swimming in the blessed waters.
Tomorrow's mass is at 9 AM in the chapel. The solemnity is a holy day of obligation.