petworth gardens

All Second Growth.

*Image above via House & Garden showcasing the astounding Petworth Gardens in West Sussex, England.

A couple of lovely lines about spring that struck a chord with me at the dawn of this season of incipience and seedling:

“The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.”

– Amy Lowell, “Spring Day” (1916). “Fresh-washed and fair” — the alliteration, yes, but something about the recurring sibilance of “fresh” and “wash” anoint, and then there is the unexpected meter of that four-word chain, whose shape balloons into spring-like auspiciousness (is “fresh-washed and” a dactyl?) and ends in the breathy though reassuring stressed syllable “fair.”

“I feel the spring far off, far off,
    The faint, far scent of bud and leaf—
Oh, how can spring take heart to come
    To a world in grief,
    Deep grief?”

— Sarah Teasdale, “Spring in War-Time” (1917). Lines (an entire poem, in fact) that feel oddly prescient in the shadow of COVID. I wrote more about this general sentiment in my most recent weekend musings.

“What is all this juice and all this joy?         
   A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning”

— Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring” (1877). Hopkins was known for his — at the time — unconventional use of sprung rhythm, which many believe more closely approximates spoken English, and which spurns the more traditional use of marching iambic pentameter and other repeating rhyme schemes. Hopkins wrote directly about this matter in the preface to one of his books of poetry, where he stated that “verse written strictly in these [conventional] feet and by these [conventional] principles will become same and tame.” There is something particularly powerful, then, about the use of sprung rhythm in this poem, shown to great effect in “all this juice” and “all this joy,” a line of virtually all-stressed feet, where we feel the full and unbridled force of spring defying that which would “tame.”

“Viewing the logged hill I see the forest,     
   All second growth, but powerful with shade.”

–Maura Stanton, “Spring” (1985). A reminder that though spring can read fragile, there is strength in rebirth.


+Adore blue Liberty-esque florals, including these floral pajamas and this gorgeous maxi.

+This pale blue tulipiere! Added to my list of potential gifts for my mother/mother-in-law. So elegant and unexpected.

+I ordered this dress the minute I saw it.

+Speaking of LWDs, this ultra-popular under-$50 dress is now available in white, and this white eyelet statement is spectacular.

+These double-scalloped embroidered sheets have the look of a high-end bedding designer, but ring in at under $100.

+Still, this is my favorite part of my bed as is now available in the prettiest blush hue.

+These sweet hooded baby towels!

+Prettiest sarong for $50. Would make a great gift — I also like this sort of thing to throw over my shoulders when wearing all white everything.

+I have seen a number of beautifully-appointed ladies sporting Alessandra Rich’s gingham knit dresses this season. This cropped cardigan nails the look for under $100 and would look amazing paired with a white blouse and white denim.

+Another great Gap steal.

+In love with these personalized stripe notepads.

+Speaking of pretty paper, bought these petite note cards at the last second for my Easter table (loads of spring tabletop decor ideas here), but will eagerly use the leftovers to tuck in with gifts or drop under the door of a neighbor.

+More lovely stationery and paper ideas from this Etsy seller.

+Pretty scalloped linen napkins.

+How amazing are these $17 little boy traditional summer pajamas?! With the stripes?! So good!

+Another great swimsuit in classic black or on-trend celadon green. More swim for this season here!

+Swim for littles here.

+Such a pretty headband.

+Three more promising activities to keep on hand for bored little hands on long weekend afternoons: wipe clean activity booklet, bug sticker book, and pom pom craft set.

+More ideas for sensory play and car rides (many of these would also be great at Church or in restaurants).

+More musings on poetry.


  1. These snippets are all so beautiful! I love your musings here … thank you for sharing them. 🙂

    P.S. Firm agree on the blue-hued Liberty florals — I wore a blue Liberty-print dress yesterday and it was such a mood-booster!


  2. What lovely springtime snippets – especially relevant as DC keeps vacillating between clear blue sky 70 degree days & dreary damp 40 degree ones (today). Also brought back fond (“fond”, only because of time elapsed – quite frustrating/draining/impossible/etc. at the time) memories of years of Latin classes and scanning hundreds of poems throughout middle and high school. I can still recite the Latin/English translations of especially dramatic parts of Daedalus and Icarus, the Aeneid, various Catullus, etc. What a chore then, what a delight now!

    1. I love this, Erica! What a great thing to be able to carry with you. I can remember a handful of poems from high school nearly verbatim, too — Tennyson’s “The Eagle” (any other Visitation Mrs. Mattingly girls reading this? I know you know…) and “Allons Voir Si La Rose” in French stand out with particular clarity. And then of course tons of prayers and parts of the Mass. Funny how vibrant parts of my high school life are in my memory.


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