In Remembrance . . .

r. Queen Elizabeth, a grandiflora c. 1953
Rosemary offficinalis

“Rosemary for Remembrance”

Sprig of Myrtle

Ancient symbol of happy marriage

English Oak

Strength of love

These are among the foliage, herbs, and late summer flowers featured in the spray spread on top of the casket of Queen Elizabeth II, several of which had been cut from the gardens of the various royal residences.

Russian Sage Saturday

Russian Sage with Honey Bee

About the only flowering plant in my garden that survived this horrendous heat dome is Russian Sage. In fact, the large bushes have thrived, with little watering needed. How the bees do buzz among those four-foot tall branches by the front gate arbor. I try to avoid disturbing them at their work as I pass by on the way to the corner mailbox. They don’t seem to mind.

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a bushy, woody-based deciduous perennial with long terminal panicles of small, lavender-blue flowers, borne on thin chalky-white stems clad with aromatic grey or silvery leaves. Quite drought and heat tolerant, it is one of those garden perennials that require little to no fussing over.

Of course, if they grow “too big for their britches,” sprawling over the edges of paths, cutting them back one-third is all that’s needed to encourage more upright growth. In fact, the most common complaint with Russian sage is sprawling, floppy stems. With some varieties, this is almost unavoidable, requiring a hoop support or other means of staking to keep the plants more upright.

I like to leave mine in place for winter color and shape under snow cover. Only in spring do I cut them to the ground as tiny new growth appears. Throughout spring and summer, Russian Sage will grow up to three to five feet tall. There is a shorter variety, “Lacey Blue,” that reaches only two feet, but lacks the drama of the taller “Blue Spires,” especially when planted en masse in the garden border.

Russsian Sage “Blue Spires”

What has survived — if not thrived — in your garden during this hot summer?

Pages from my journal . . . .

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil . . .

who acquit the guilty for a bribe but deny justice for the innocent.” ~ Isaiah 5:20, 23

He crushed opposition with violence and projected an image of himself as a powerful, indispensable leader by fostering a cult of personality, celebrity, spectacle. That is, showmanship.

Sound like anyone you know? I’m talking about Mussolini. I’ve been thinking of him lately and the correlations between him and our current president’s immediate predecessor. Although the historical precedents and political circumstances differ, the comparisons in terms of character and style are downright scary.

Okay, enough talking in circles. Just as Mussolini took overtook the Fascist movement in Italy during the 1930s, Trump exploited the ultra-nationalist, alt-right movements in the United States in the 2010s.

Fascist regimes thrive on disorder and the chaos they foment, only to claim they are the only ones who can “fix it” ~ vis-a-vis both Trump and Mussolini. If things work out well, take all the credit. If things go badly, as they indeed did, blame everybody else.

Arrogant contempt, greed, hunger for power use deception to cause confusion and distrust. Trump exploited existing economic fears during the period leading up to the 2016 presidential election, just as Mussolini used prejudice against minority groups in Italy and sowed discontent among the populace to seize power.

Furthermore, both neutered institutions that challenged them. We have seen how Trump copied past ethnic-nationalistic movements in pre-WWII Europe, goading with “stand by” and “fight like hell” and shaking a fist at rally after rally, culminating in the insurrection in D.C. on 6 January 2021. Can you imagine where we would be today had he succeeded?

And he’s still fighting to regain control. Lord, have mercy.

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