Serendipity, according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, is “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for;”

A better definition is unexpected delight.

We plan for success. When we want to make the sunny border pop, we choose classic, color combinations like purple and yellow, opposites on the color wheel. A ‘Little Rainbow’ daylily, and a ‘Carefree Sunshine’ rose planted in front of purple coneflowers, dwarf zebra grass, and ‘Mellow Yellow’ spirea is a wonderful combination. Add some trailing lilac verbena, and you’ve created some serious pizazz.

But, then there are moments . . . moments which take your breath away, and you finally understand why the Greeks believed their gods were jealous of men. You pause in the weeding, or mulching, or watering to sit for a moment and just gaze at beauty you never considered.

You look up to heaven and murmur a quiet “Thank You.”

This Rudbeckia. possibly a cousin of ‘Irish Eyes,’ seeded itself in front of Hemerocallis ‘Mexican Holiday.’ Note how the yellow petals pick up the golden edge of the dayliliy. Taller, behind these two, is another reddish orange daylily which is a favorite of mine, ‘Bricks Galore.’ It has a yellow throat which echoes the Rudbeckia. My combination, although pretty, is traditional; expected. This is bold.

Or, how about these apricot zinnias which reseeded last summer and pushed their way through dark purple verbena?

Color combinations that occur without our input. Beauty we never expected.


Or, is it Grace?

In the midst of heat and drought, garden surprises like these spur us onward.

“Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands

And the great world around me;
And with tomorrow begins another.

Why am I allowed two?”

– G.K. Chesterton

I first read this evening poem on the blog Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp, another unexpected delight. I hope she doesn’t mind that I reprinted it here.


  1. debra says:

    beautiful musings on grace and serendipity in the garden, dee. It is a pleasure to see your garden cloaked in such beautiful blooms. and also to be reminded that the best garden design is that which is unplanned.
    I’m also so incredibly pleased at your explosion of success in the blogosphere. You have a loyal, loving following, dee, and I’m really happy to be part of it!
    xoxo Debra

    Thanks Debra, if it weren’t for you and the others on the panel, I might never have tried.~~Dee

  2. Anna says:

    Hey Dee–stop by my blog;)

    Hi Anna, saw the award this morning. Thanks so much. I’m remiss on keeping us with my comments.~~Dee

  3. Anna says:

    I have something for you at my site: Vox hasn’t fix the open URL yet so I’ll come back here to see if you decide to keep it. Hugs my friend.

    Hugs back attcha. Thanks so much. I’ll write about it next week. Your words were like honey to my ears.~~Dee

  4. april says:

    I simply love this post!

    April, thank you. It is a favorite of mine too.~~Dee

  5. jeanette says:

    I love the combinations. Where do you buy the Mexican Holiday Daylily? I was wondering if that is found in the nursery or do you mail order?

    Jeanette, I bought mine from the Lily Auction. It is difficult to find the more unusual daylilies in the garden centers. If only I had a daylily farm nearby. The closest is Bob Scott’s.~~Dee

  6. Lucy Bloom says:

    Hi Dee, it’s always a delight to come a visit your beautiful garden. How’s the painting going – I love to find new uses for things, makes me feel I’ve got a bargain!
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Lucy x

    Hi Miss Lucy, I haven’t had time to work on the chairs yet. Will try for tomorrow. Helping HH clear brush from the trees.~~Dee

  7. Aiyana says:

    Lovely post. I love it when I’m surprised by happy accidents. The red and yellow are wonderful together. I had this same color combo this past spring with a yellow desert marigold that had self seeded behind a Claret Cup Hedgehog cactus. The color and texture combo made my day.

    Aiyana, “happy accidents” are what we all long for when we venture into this passion, don’t you think?~~Dee

  8. Cindy says:

    Those moments of unexpected beauty are all the more precious because it seems they so frequently come just when needed. Grace indeed.

    Hi Cindy, for your garden right now, rain would be unexpected beauty, wouldn’t it?~~Dee

  9. CurtissAnn says:

    Oh, Dee, just beautiful. =We plan for success=. Thank you for the reminder. It is, as Anna said above, one of your finest posts. It is for me grace.

    Love you,

    Thank you, Dear One.~~Dee

  10. Barbee' says:

    So true! Isn’t it wonderful when that happens. Lovely post.

    Thanks, Barbee.~~Dee

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Dee your garden looks so colorful right now. I just love color especially in the garden. It seems mine is in some sort of lull in the back. i will have to concentrate on getting more color for this time of year in the back garden.

    Lisa, it has lots of color in the middle of the season. The trick is to make it interesting in all seasons. Still working on that.~~Dee

  12. Anna says:

    I loved the comments to this post also. I think this is one of your finest post. It shows how beautifully you think and write. I read it to my husband to give him an example of what quality people you meet on these blogs.

    Sometimes the comments are better than the post itself.~~Dee

  13. linda says:

    lovely thoughts, and beautiful color combinations.

    Thanks, Linda, glad you enjoyed them.~~Dee

  14. This is the second time here, and I still love reading your wonderful writing. And the pictures of your flowers and garden’s a breathtaking. Have a great day.


    Hugs back to you, Alaura. So glad you stopped by.~~Dee

  15. linda says:

    serendipity is a lovely word….and so are your flowers!!! I am trying to see the serendipity in my lawn dying like that and I think it’s because it is #1-too big, #2-boring and #3-now I can do something more fun, like more flowers, more roses and patios and pots of flowers and and and…

    btw, don’t try my autoimmune system failure drug….it’s a killer! I am sorry to hear you have the intolerances and asthma to boot….sometimes life is a pain so maybe that’s why we garden and, in my case, paint once in awhile! I so enjoy your blog and am glad to see your comments on mine 🙂

    Hi Linda, remember it all takes lots of time to see results, but, it is all worth it. I’m sorry about your health problems, and I so understand.~~Dee

  16. Beautiful pictures, beautiful words. It reminds me that my favorite Rudbeckies are some that seeded themselves in my front garden, where I would have never thought to plant them, but they are a welcome greeter to everyone who comes up my sidewalk.

    We should indeed be thankful for the serendipity in our gardens and in our lives.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

    And the serendipity of finding blogging friends.~~Dee

  17. Dee,
    Ohhhh this is a beautiful post! Reading this just made my day. I love the rudbeckia (my favorite flower) with the red daylilies. And I am going to put the verse in my “little book.” In this crazy world–I find such peace among the flowers. Sounds like you must too!

    Hi Linda, I’m so glad my post touched your heart. I love Rudbeckia too.~~Dee

  18. Amy says:

    The Greatest Gardener of All always does a better job than we ever could 🙂 My own “serendipity” moment this spring was purple moss phox blooming in front of peachy irises. I didn’t know what colour the iris was when I divided and moved them, but I loved the combination.

    So true, Amy, so true.~~Dee

  19. We live for those moments, don’t we, Dee!

    Chesterton always brings to mind the Father Brown mysteries – but that lovely verse reminds me he was a poet, too.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Annie, you are a sister of my heart. I love the Father Brown mysteries. So good. Everyone would like them I think. Chesterton was just amazing in all of his writing.~~Dee

  20. Nancy Bond says:

    Serendipity indeed…that red-yellow combination is so striking!

    Hi Nancy,

    It’s definitely strong.~~Dee

  21. Dear Dee,

    Aisling sent me to you and I am SO happy to read your ramblings! I think I have a special connection to Oklahoma. I did a talk in Tulsa and I have NEVER had more fun and met more committed and loving gardeners and nature lovers (Spokane, Washington is great too).

    I will make this a regular stop on my blog journeys.

    Oh Dee, may I ask for your help? I am running a contest (started today) for creative ideas for nature and gardening with children. Please pass the word to other friends too. Check out for details. I feel as though I’ve made a new friend. Blessings, Sharon

    Hi Sharon, I’ve been a big fan of your books for years. I did as you asked and posted your contest on Plurk and Twitter. Hope it helps.~~Dee

  22. Sheila says:


    Thank you, Sheila.~~Dee

  23. Jean Ann says:

    Wonderful post! I almost used Serendipity in the title of my most recent post (, which, after reading your post, is serendipitous in an of itself!

    Hi Jean Ann, how cool that we almost used the same term. I’m sure your post would have been different than mine; one of the cool things about blogging.~~Dee

  24. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    Totally awesome! Maybe it is a sign of Grace, I don’t know as these kinds of happy surprises don’t seem to happen in my garden. I really like the poem. It calls for an appreciation of the gifts of each day.

    Thanks, MMD. Hope your garden is full of these too.~~Dee

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