Fine Art Note Cards: The Orchard by Elizabeth Adela Forbes


Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side;
our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.
Ally Condie, Matched

Painting by Elizabeth Adela Forbes (1859 - 1912) titled "The Orchard." I found the original file on Wikimedia here but you can also download my colour-edited version (6" x 6" @ 300 ppi JPEG) without a watermark here. This image is considered public domain; great as a cover for a journal or greeting card but you can also print it out for a DIY wall art project.

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Colour-enhanced reproductions of public domain fine art are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source if using this digital file and/or provide a link back to this page where possible.

Places to Walk: Day Trip to Rouge Park

Having been so busy with work, school and camp these last few weeks, we haven't had much time to go for long family walks like we usually do. Last Sunday being the one day in a long while since we had nothing pressing on the agenda, we decided to head to Rouge Park for some hiking. Rouge Park is considered one of Toronto's best-kept secrets; located just twenty minutes (on a good day) from the downtown core, this green space provides kids and grown-ups with plenty of opportunities to enjoy myriad outdoor activities in its more than 40 square kilometres. This area was recently declared a national urban park, the first of its kind in Canada. This means that it will receive funding from the federal government, thus helping to ensure the longevity and sustainability of a much-needed bastion against urban sprawl.

We're the most familiar with the Glen Rouge Trailhead entrance, which is also the site of the Glen Rouge Campground, located at 7450 Kingston Road in the GTA's extreme east end, near the Scarborough-Pickering border. You can find some trail maps here. The park also offers guided nature hikes, which is great if you're a new visitor, and unsure of where to explore first.

Once we were parked, my daughter was raring to go despite the sweltering heat (oh, to be three again). We managed to slow her down long enough to slather on the requisite sunscreen and insect repellent. It was during this process that we noticed a "cute" caterpillar, looking pathetically lost (and hot) on top of a metal recycling receptacle. Being a veteran animal rescuer (too many Dora and Diego DVDs; if you're a parent, you'll know what I mean), my daughter immediately wanted to help it find its way back home to a nice tree.


We didn't realize until later that this was the caterpillar of the white-marked tussock moth, and that the hairs/bristles could cause an allergic reaction in some people. My husband and daughter didn't experience any adverse effects from handling it but I don't think we'll be taking any more chances on "rescuing" wildlife that we don't recognize!

This portion of Rouge Park seems particularly popular with pole trekkers so you'll see large groups of them moving at a brisk pace with their hiking poles, awash in gregarious camaraderie. They are very friendly and never fail to shower you with cheerful "Hellos" and "Good mornings" as you pass; their joy is slightly surreal but highly infectious, and leaves us with smiles on our faces.

The terrain gets quite hilly in a couple of places but most of the time, the slopes are gentle enough for a three year-old and a forty-something with creaky knees to handle. Here and there, you can see the results of erosion - trees with twisted and gnarled roots perch precariously atop ground that has washed away.





Once you've climbed past the hilly parts, the forest does offer up long stretches of even, meandering paths where three year-olds can run, hop, jump and skip to their heart's content while her parents enjoy relatively uninterrupted moments of civilized conversation. The day we were there, sudden but brief summer cloudbursts had amplified the smell of rotting vegetation, and the aroma of wild mushrooms punctuate the air with pithy pungency. There are lots of fallen logs for my daughter to clamber over, to use as balance beams, and irresistibly, as pirate gangplanks (there are also stumps of varying heights that make for great lookout points). We always stay on the path; I've had one run-in with poison ivy when I got a little carried away with trying to take a picture of a chipmunk and have no intention of repeating that painful episode!

After an hour or so on the trail, we decide to turn around. Although it has been fairly cool under the trees, the humidity is getting to us, and we're ready for refreshments. About a fifteen minute drive away from the Glen Rouge Campground is MacMillan Orchards, located at 733 Kingston Road East in the neighboring municipality of Ajax, Ontario (not to be confused with another MacMillan Orchards in Acton, Ontario). We're in the mood for some frozen yogurt, which MacMillan makes in-house. They are quite generous with the frozen fruit that you can add to your icy treat and the result is a rich, creamy, not-too-sweet thirst-quencher that is supremely satisfying!



MacMillan also sells a variety of frozen pies, vegetables and meat. We pick up a sugar-free cherry pie for my husband while my daughter selects a rhubarb and Saskatoon berry pie, and some baby-sized red velvet cupcakes (I let her get away with it since she did have quite the workout). We leave the country store happy and satisfied with the morning outing, knowing we still have goodies to look forward to that night as well as a couple of days to come! Don't you just love long, drawn-out happiness? :)




(This post originally published July 2012.)

© 2019 FieldandGarden.com. All rights reserved.

Public Domain Nature Poem for Card Making or Junk Journaling: In Daisy Days by Mary Elizabeth Blake

Picking Daisies, 1905 (sometimes also referred to as "Picking Wildflowers")
by German artist Hermann Seeger (1857 - 1945)

Below is a poem called "In Daisy Days," written by Mary Elizabeth Blake. Mrs. Blake's admirers included Theodore Roosevelt and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the latter of whom wrote of her: "You are one of the birds that must sing." "In Daisy Days" was published June 1902 and goes like this:

Suns that sparkle and birds that sing,
Brooks in the meadow rippling over,
Butterflies rising on golden wing
Through the blue air and deep-red clover,
Flower-bells full of sweet anthems rung
Out on the wind in lone woodland ways --
Oh, but the world is fair and young
In daisy days!

Lusty trumpets of burly bees
Full and clear on the sweet air blowing;
Gnarled boughs of the orchard trees
Hidden from sight by young leaves growing.
Scars of the winter hide their pain
Under the grasses' tangled maze,
And youth of the world springs fresh again
In daisy days.

Down in the valley and up the slope
Starry blooms in the wind are bending;
Glad eyes shine like the light of hope,
Comfort and cheer to the dark earth lending.
Buoyant with life they spring and soar
Like the lark that carols his matin lays,
Climbing to gates of heaven once more
In daisy days.

Creative Commons Licence
From my personal collection. All digitized poems by FieldandGarden.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source when sharing or publishing.

Spot that Plant: As Maples Bloom


The maple trees are in full flower in Toronto, lighting up the surroundings with their sunny blooms. Individually, these flowers are small, barely even covering the palm of my 3 year-old daughter's hand. Collectively, they shroud each maple tree in a cloud of golden yellow and can be extremely striking from a distance. These flowers mature into maple "keys" which soar easily when the winds blow them helter-skelter, and are great fun for kids as they fling these "helicopters" and watch them spin through the air. Probably not as much fun for an ardent gardener as these keys take root very easily wherever they land!


I really liked the Rainer Maria Rilke quote that I used in the second picture, and tried to find the poem where it was supposed to have been taken. After scouring the Internet, I discovered that he never actually wrote those exact lines! The closest version I could find was a translation by Robert Temple of the following stanza from "The Sonnets to Orpheus":
Spring has come again.
The Earth is like a child that has learned to recite a poem;
No, - many, many.
And for the difficulty
Of learning them now, the prize is bestowed.

It was quite disconcerting, in a way, and I wondered if I should use the more accurate translation. In the end, I decided to leave the quote as-is since it appears quite frequently in popular quotation databases, and I felt that the sentiment suited the image nicely! Let's just chalk it up to poetic licence! :)

© 2019 FieldandGarden.com. All rights reserved. (Originally published 2012.)

Spot that Plant: Paeonia lactiflora 'Lady Alexandra Duff'


I took a close-up photo of this beautiful cottage garden peony during the Peony Festival, held yearly in the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens.

This fully double, pale pink beauty is the Paeonia lactiflora 'Lady Alexandra Duff.' 'Lady Alexandra Duff' is an heirloom variety that dates back to 1902, having been bred by Kelway and Son, once the largest nursery in the world. It takes its name from Lady, later Princess, Alexandra Duff (1891 - 1959), the daughter of Princess Louise of Wales and Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife. You can find more information about the plant here.

Do you have this attractive shrub growing in your garden or do you know someone who has? Share a picture and let us know how it's doing in the comments section. Below is a photo of the peony in full bloom (photo credit follows).

Paeonia lactiflora 'Lady Alexandra Duff' in springtime
by Andrey Korzun on Wikimedia Commons

© 2019 FieldandGarden.com. All rights reserved.

Poetry for Kids: Mother by M.M.D. (Public Domain Children's Poem)


A poem simply entitled "Mother" by M.M.D. (I suspect it is Mary Mapes Dodge), published in October 1877. This is how it goes:

Early one summer morning,
I saw two children pass:
Their footsteps, slow yet lightsome,
Scarce bent the tender grass.

One, lately out of babyhood,
Looked up with eager eyes;
The other watched her wistfully,
Oppressed with smothered sighs.

"See, mother!" cried the little one,
"I gathered them for you?
The sweetest flowers and lilies,
And Mabel has some too."

"Hush, Nelly!" whispered Mabel,
"We have not reached it yet.
Wait till we get there, darling,
It isn't far, my pet."

"Get where?" asked Nelly. "Tell me."
"To the church-yard," Mabel said.
"No! no!" cried little Nelly,
And shook her sunny head.

Still Mabel whispered sadly,
"We must take them to the grave.
Come, darling?" and the childish voice
Tried to be clear and brave.

But Nelly still kept calling
Far up into the blue;
"See, mother, see, how pretty
We gathered them for you."

And when her sister pleaded,
She cried -- and would not go: --
"Angels don't live in church-yards,
My mother don't, I know."

Then Mabel bent and kissed her.
"So be it, dear," she said;
"We'll take them to the arbor
And lay them there instead."

"For mother loved it dearly,
It was the sweetest place!"
And the joy that came to Nelly
Shone up in Mabel's face.

I saw them turn, and follow
A path with blossoms bright,
Until the nodding branches
Concealed them from my sight;

But still like sweetest music
The words came ringing through;
"See, mother, see, how pretty
We gathered them for you."

Creative Commons Licence
From my personal collection. All digitized poems by FieldandGarden.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source when sharing or publishing.

Fine Art Note Cards: Pelicans on the River Bank by Hugo Charlemont


Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?
That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth,
at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains,
everywhere and that the present only exists for it,
not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Landscape painting by Hugo Charlemont (1850 – 1939) titled "Pelicans on the River Bank." I found the original file on Wikimedia here but you can also download my colour-enhanced version (14" x 9.75" @ 300 ppi JPEG) without a watermark here. Great as a cover for a nature journal but you could also use it as a greeting card or frame as wall art.

Creative Commons Licence
Colour-enhanced reproductions of public domain fine art are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source if using this digital file and/or provide a link back to this page where possible.

Public Domain Victorian Poem: Primrose Sweet by Samuel S. McCurry

Photo credit: Ella8 from Pixabay

Here is a public domain Victorian poem by Samuel S. McCurry entitled "Primrose Sweet," originally published in March of 1893. This is how it goes:

O Primrose Sweet! Of sun and shower
The offspring fair. Of glade and bower
We watch thy dainty leaves unfold
In fairy clouds of clustered gold,
When wintry skies no longer lower.

The earnest, thou, of Spring's bright dower;
For thee we longed the dreary hour,
When wailed the winds across the world,
O Primrose Sweet!

We hail thy coming, gentle flower!
And, yielding to the majestic power,
Love, Love, that erst was doubting, cold,
Shall pipe to thee a paean bold,
And Faith revived shall cease to cower,
Primrose Sweet!

Creative Commons Licence
All digitized poems by FieldandGarden.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.

Public Domain Poetry: The Birds by Pierre-Jean de Béranger

The Bird Charmer, 1873
by Léon Bazille Perrault (1832 – 1908)

Happy who for a season may
Absent themselves on buoyant wing!
The birds that Winter drives away
Will surely come again with Spring.
They of our ills will mindful be,
And when at length the storm has passed,
They will return to this same tree
Which has so often felt the blast.
Then to our fertile vale will they
A more auspicious presage bring!
The birds that Winter drives away
Will surely come again with Spring.
Pierre-Jean de Béranger, The Birds (translated from the French by Percy Reeve)

Fine Art Note Cards: Woodland Still Life with a Mouse, Goldfinch and Salamander by Matthias Withoos


There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters
into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.
Washington Irving

A ready-to-print fine art note card featuring a landscape painting by Dutch painter Matthias Withoos (1627 - 1703), titled "Woodland Still Life with a Mouse, Goldfinch and Salamander." You can download the high-res 4" x 6" @ 300 ppi JPEG without a watermark here.

For personal use only, not meant for mass distribution. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source where possible.

Fine Art Note Cards: Landscape with Cranes at the Water's Edge by Bruno Liljefors


If you want to be happy,
do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future,
focus on living fully in the present.
Roy T. Bennett

A ready-to-print fine art note card featuring a landscape painting by Swedish artist Bruno Liljefors (1860 - 1939), titled "Landscape with Cranes at the Water's Edge" painted in 1924. You can download the high-res 7" x 5" @ 300 ppi JPEG without the words here.

For personal use only, not meant for mass distribution. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source where possible.

Public Domain Victorian Poem: Spring Song by S. F. Flin

Windflowers, 1903 (sometimes also referred to as "Windswept")
by John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

Below is a Victorian poem by S.F. Flin called "Spring Song" that was originally published in the April 1860 issue of Godey's. I thought it seemed to fit well with the image above.

The Spring is drowsy and numb with cold,
Her hair is sodden and dank with rain,
Her garments are faded and tattered and old,
She never will dance and laugh again.

The robin is trying to make her smile
Sometimes, with a flutter and timid shout;
And there seems a gleam on her cheek awhile,
When through trailing vapor the sun peers out.

But she only opens a dull, blue eye,
And giveth a shuddering sigh of pain;
She has only wakened, alas, to die!
She never will dance and laugh again.

Behold! thou prophet, false and fond --
Who is it tripping adown the dale?
Who is it has sprinkled the hill beyond
With tufts of the liverwort blossom pale?

She has planted cowslips along the brook,
Has wandered the thickets of hazel through,
And into each sly and sunlit nook
She has flung a cluster of violets blue.

She has hung the willow with tassels fine,
She has painted the buds of the hickory,
And the robin is drunk with the draught divine
Of her breath in the blossomy cherry-tree.

Ha! ha! 'tis she, with her sweet, old smile,
Her tresses tossed by the breezy South;
One rosy, silk, soft hand, the while,
Scaring the bees from her honeyed mouth.

Dancing her chaplet above her eyes,
Laughing over the emerald plain --
Ha! ha! I knew she would waken and rise,
Laughing and dancing and singing again.

Creative Commons Licence
All digitized poems by FieldandGarden.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.