Advent….a Study….Day 9


Mary creates a space for Us, where we can become children,  just as Jesus became a child. Mary desires for us to claim our childhood. Mary offers us a space where we can be reborn, just as Jesus was born. With her same heart that loved Jesus, she wants to love us. In her heart we will never wonder if we are truly loved. Mary offers her pure heart, so that we will always be able to seek peace there.

1 John 3:1-2

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.


Dear Lord….help us to become Mary’s children and yours, so that we have the complete confidence of being truly loved and cared for by you both. Make it possible for us to say “yes” to your invitations in our child-like innocence.


… and now we illuminate the “peace and hope” candles.


Gardening Ad for Jan/Feb/March, 2023

Today we transmitted our newest Gardening Ad to our community Newsletter editor for publishing in the Jan/Feb and March 2023 publication. It reads as follows:

THE GARDEN CONTESSA, former owner of Contessa’s in DelRay is offering “winter/clean up/tidy“ appointments for the months of Jan/Feb/March. As always our Fall/Winter  “bed cleanup” continues. And as long as temps remain favorable you can still be in touch with us to complete work for you now. Our late fall business was very robust, as more and more of you were planting new things this year. Which means we are getting more requests to help with “putting your beds and plants to bed” for our short Virginia winter period. We will garden, temps permitting, on our warmer sunny days. Please don’t hesitate to call us. We frankly never stop gardening. In March….we start early with your spring garden projects. Spring seems to come earlier every year. We offer (1) FREE 30 minute consult to all Parkfairfax residents. Txt – 703-548-1882 for an appointment. Gardening is our passion. We do it all, large or small. We have been in business since 2005, and as a Parkfairfax preferred vendor, our fairly large client base is friendly and generous, and they will be happy to provide referrals about us, and our variety of services. Contact us by email is you prefer at:
We want to also let you know that you can find us on our BLOG via: You will enjoy gardening tips and lots of information about plants and gardening, cooking, plant selection, nursery visits with us, and personal reflection and inspiration. And we feature BEFORE and  AFTER gardening projects right here in our community. Please do check out our blog at:

THANK YOU to all our clients for a wonderful 2022 gardening season.
CONTESSA” says….. it’s a very good thing!

Advent…a Study…SUN – Day 8


Compassion makes us “die” to others; to our neighbors and our brothers. No need to measure your compassion and kindness to others, just be compassionate and don’t worry about how much you give out.  Just give. Don’t judge or measure their worthiness.  You give by being compassionate. One might say, be willing to die to “self” for the sake of others.

• •••••••••• •

Luke 6:37-38


“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned, Forgive, and you will be forgiven, give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”


My compassionate and every loving Father in heaven….give us compassion, so that any harsh behaviors or feelings we might possess, will be overcome by the spirit of a giving heart. As we know you are present in every human being, so help deliver us from our own seeds of harsh judgement. We must not let this prevent us from being with “the other.” Grant to us…your compassionate spirit throughout all the days of our lives. In Jesus holy and previous name we pray.


….and now we illuminate the “peace and hope” candles.


Parkfairfax Holly Tree Lighting – Tonight


Our Annual Holiday Tree Lighting with the Alexandria Choral Society

Presented by the Parkfairfax Activities Committee

Day:  Sunday
Date:  December 4th 2022 6-7pm
Location: The Island

• Corner of Valley Dr and Preston Rd.
Join the Activities Committee as we host our Tree Lighting, featuring Pro Coro Alexandria singing a selection of a capella holiday carols. Pro Coro is a select group of singers drawn from the Alexandria Choral Society, which strives to enhance the cultural life of Alexandria and surrounding communities by presenting diverse and engaging musical programs at the highest artistic level.

See everyone this evening. Enjoy!

My Sabbath Day

Dec 4

Luke 2:7


“And she gave birth to her first born Son; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger…” 

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head…” It’s a warm, tender hymn that’s a favorite from our childhood. But we run into trouble when we try to keep Jesus in the manger. We can handle a Holy Infant that we celebrate a few weeks out of the year. After all, a baby makes no demands. But when Baby Jesus leaves the manger and becomes the “grown up” Jesus who wants to rule and reign in our hearts, we have trouble with that.

We must never forget that the manger sits in the shadow of the cross. Yes, there’s a time to celebrate the Babe of Bethlehem, but we must let Jesus outgrow the manger and become the Savior on Mt. Calvary. So I ask you – Where is Jesus today? Is He “away in a manger,” or is He alive in your heart?

My Sabbath Prayer

Dear Jesus, I accept thee into my heart, my soul and into my whole being this Sabbath morning. My heart is full of You. Thank you for my long life, my many blessings and my relationship with you. Amen

Advent….a Study…Day 7


Anger and Greed are the two main enemies of our spiritual life. These temptations of behavior are rooted in our secular world. We can have anger if we feel like we have been deprived of things. We feel greed when our desires get frustrated. How difficult it can be to shrug off the yearnings of our world. All Christian’s and even the church have difficulty escaping the temptations of our world. We are all vulnerable to these social failings because we live in an unredeemed world…..

Romans 12:1-2

Transformation in Christ

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.


My Lord and my God, renew my soul. Bring me to be “still.”Open my eyes and my soul to be open and see the beyond the lure of this world. Help me to find my “true self” in in the protection and shelter of your wings. Amen


…our candle of “peace” is illuminated now.


Beautiful & Useful Craft Fair
this Sunday!

Don’t miss our annual Craft Fair this weekend if you’ve got some Christmas shopping to do: we’re filling the museum with some of our favourite designer-makers so you can support small businesses and gift your loved ones something special handmade by artisans this Christmas. We’ll have ceramics, textiles, knitwear, jewellery, prints, candles, leather goods and lots more.

Tickets include entry to the museum, with an optional ticket upgrade available on site if you’d like to see the exhibition Lucian Freud: Plant Portraits.

Sun 4 December, 10.30am – 5pm
£7 Standard, £6 Young Fronds, Free for Friends

Book tickets

The Garden Museum granted National Portfolio Organisation status

We are over the moon to announce that the Garden Museum was recently successful in our application to Arts Council England to become a National Portfolio Organisation! This funding will allow us to develop three areas of work: our activities for families, free events bringing our Nave space to life, and festivals and fairs including the return of our Festival of Fairytales and a new Winter Flowers Week.

We are hugely grateful to Arts Council England and DCMS for their funding to help us achieve our vision for the future of the museum 2023-2026.

Lucian Freud Exhibition Catalogue out now!

Our new catalogue accompanying the exhibition Lucian Freud: Plant Portraits is beautifully illustrated with examples of Freud’s plant paintings and etchings, with an introduction by Garden Museum curator Emma House and an essay by guest curator Giovanni Aloi, as well as interviews with Freud’s longtime studio assistant David Dawson, and daughter Annie Freud. To celebrate its release, we’re sharing an extract from the conversation between Giovanni Aloi and David Dawson:

David: Has Annie [Freud] told you about the zimmerlinde?

Giovanni: Yes, she did. I found the whole story very fascinating. Do you recall anything interesting about Lucian’s relationship with plants in his studio?

David: Yes, my impression is that Lucian painted plants when life tended to become tumultuous and his relationships with other people were strained. Or when he simply could not find a model to paint.

Giovanni: That’s interesting. It also appears clear, looking at Freud’s body of work, that he painted the same plant multiple times. Am I right? Are these the same plants in each work?

David: Yes, they are, and I still have some of them in my garden. I still keep them here—the zimmerlinde in Large Interior Paddington (1969) sits outside in its large pot. The aspidistra Lucian painted in Two Plants (1980) is out there too. He painted it again in a work with me and Eli laying on the bed (David and Eli, 2003). Aspidistra is called the “cast iron plant” for a reason. It is indestructible! There was also the imposing pelargonium behind the sofa in Large Interior (After Watteau) 1981. The plants tend to live their own lives in the studio and he let them do their thing. The way he dealt with plants was very much in line with how he led his life…

Keep reading

Christmas at the Garden Café

Host your Christmas party at the Garden Café! We’re taking bookings for groups of eight or more on our Christmas menu throughout December, available for lunch every day, as well as Tuesday and Friday evenings up until our last service of the year, lunch on Friday 23 December.

Bookings by email only – contact

Christmas menu

Freud’s Fruit Cookery Workshop Series: Apples

This workshop series led by our Food Educator Ceri Jones is inspired by the fruits in Lucian Freud’s paintings. Each of the fruits we have chosen from his work take us seasonally through autumn to winter and are paired with complementary ingredients to create a two-course vegetarian lunch, which you will enjoy after a hands-on class learning how to cook. December’s class celebrates the apple!

Celeriac & apple soup with toasted hazelnuts
Cheese, apple, & thyme soda bread
Apple galette with vanilla crème fraiche

Thurs 8 December, 11am – 1pm

Book tickets

Object of the Week: ‘The Rites of Spring’
Procession Pamphlet

By Alice Ridgway, Archivist

Last week I was surprised to see a pamphlet announcing ‘Rites of Spring’ flash past as I leafed through some American field notes in the Joy Larkcom archive. A further glance informed me of a ritual pageant of giant puppets and mobile sculptures. In this pageant, Gaia, the earth goddess, is kidnapped by New York developers. Her release depends on the butterfly angel guide and its nature spirits…

The modest black-and-white programme clearly needed further investigation. Reading through, I found it to be packed full of information about ‘Rites of Spring’ the 6th annual celebratory procession to protect over 50 New York community gardens. It seemed to be an exciting event:


SUNDAY MAY 26, 1996



Keep reading
Images: Beautiful & Useful Craft Fair (c) Graham Lacdao; Festival of Fairytales (c) Francis Augusto; Still Life with Zimmerlinde, c.1950 Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) Credit: Private Collection. Photo © Christie’s Images/© The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022/Bridgeman Images; Cooking class at the Garden Museum (c) Graham Lacdao

Advent…a Study….Day 6


Jesus didn’t live alone. He had Peter and James and John, and all together with his other disciples, there were twelve. As people, we all need circles of intimacy, those who are close to us. We need people who will love us and care for us.

Where do you get your affection and touching from? Who is holding you? Who makes you feel alive? Who says “You are a beautiful person, you are beloved by God, and don’t ever forget it.”

Ephesians 4:1-6

A New Life….I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all.


My Lord, I humbly ask you to give me the discipline I so desperately need, to be a true member of a community. I wish to choose and to be chosen….to be God’s “beloved.”

• Amen •


….and we now light the “peace” candle!

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

Today we visited Dyke Tidal Marsh, of the National Park Service. We saw very few birds today but the waters edge were clear and showed only small amounts of debris. We were mostly interested in the older and very large trees today. We did spot a Barred Owl. Up way high to photograph.

We will attempt to attach a few photos we took while strolling along the waters edge, catching lovely sunshine today.

We were looking for open space, fresh crisp air, peace, tranquility and birds and waterfowl.

We photographed very large trees in their pre-winter condition.

We did not see a single soul. ….lots of parked cars, but where were the people? Undoubtedly looking for peace and tranquility just as we were doing.

The habitat is highly bird populated but we were present mid-morning so we perhaps missed them in the very early morning. Nevertheless, it was a lovely morning.

Birds and Blooms – Oct/Nov/Dec

We have copies available for “lend.” Just send us a txt or call us. We are happy to drop them by your location.

• October features the Barred Owl
• November, the white Breasted “Nuthatch”
• December, the Northern Cardinal 

These wonderful publications feature beauty in your backyard and beyond.

You can learn how to attract these birds, learn about their typical habitat and what you can do in the outdoors to find and photograph these wonderful native species.

We traditionally drop these copies off for one (1) weeks time….to your door,  and then we can pick them up to pass on to our next reader.

Contessa”’s a very good thing to do!