Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The snowdrops are just glorious these days. I was finally successful in capturing a shot of them today. It feels like 60 outside in the sun today. The bees were out in force buzzing around the snowdrops completely ignoring my presence, as if after a long winter they have much better things to attend to. If you look carefully in both of the snowdrop pictures you can see bees at work.
Clumps of snowdrops are now visible all over the yard. I have always loved them more than crocus and the owners of this property prior to us put in scads of them. I also have daffodils which I am sure are up, but they are in the most boggy places in my yard. We have just had a week of rain, which followed a week of snow showers. Needless to say, I need a good pair of garden rubbers before I venture to all of the gardens.
I just love looking closely at the ground in spring. So much is going on and you can see every little thing, pebbles to sprouts to bugs. Above is my 'silver mound' sprouting it's first spring leaves. They are such an interesting shape. Fun for drawing especially if you are looking to draw graphic representations of nature. My favorite model for such drawing is Jane Sassaman.
A flock of titmice are chitting just above where I shot this photo. This is a shot of one of my strongest foxglove perennials. There are several planted in the half moon garden in the shadier areas under the dogwood and close to the stone wall. As they start shooting up and blooming they create a beautiful vignette in peach and yellow from the other side of the wall.
And with any luck, the giant alliums which are companion planted with the foxglove will be blooming at about the same time bringing a touch of purple to the garden. I peeked under the large foxglove leaves to find allium shoots beneath. Yay!
I have a couple of these 'coral bells' planted in the half moon garden too, along the wall. 'coral bells' have the sweetest spikes of tiny flowers but it is the shade of these leaves that I love the most about these plants. They stay a reddish, pinky shade all summer and fall.
My garden walk ended today on my deck, as I took stock of winter's harsh weather. My poor cactus does this each year during the winter months. It looks like someone has sucked all the water out of it, as if it were half dead. As the weather warms, it's arms will start to plump up and rise to it's usual shape and with any luck by May I will be seeing the most beautiful yellow flowers. It has grown in the past three years to a decent sized plant and is living in a large pot in a protected and sunny spot on the deck. I hope I never have to repot it as it's tiny cactus needles are nasty. I decided that as it is not a native plant it had to be planted high in a pot to keep native animals away from it's nasty thorns. I'm sure the chipmunks and mice will be all the happier without noses full of thorns.

I have been steadily working on 'Peter's World' bit by bit, hand-stitching one piece at a time. It's going slow. But I am determined to finish it this year! It is my #1 priority and thus everything else has stopped but it in the studio. I must remain focused and this is why you haven't seen any artwork. By April I hope to have all the stitching done on Peter so I can start on the wicker settee.

So I'll just keep stitching and writing here about my garden until I get it finished and can move on to other things in the studio which I can share in pictures......

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This sunbather is our dog, Tiger, as he looks longingly out the back sliders, wishing he could race around in the muddy woods chasing squirrels and chipmunks. I'm with him on that one. We both have spring fever, but spring is long in coming in New England, as has been proved by a week of snowy days. Thankfully the snow melts almost as soon as it hits the ground these days.

I have been a bit remiss in posting lately, however, life has been changing as it usually does. I am feeling better than in January, due to some diet changes and a cholesterol med which is slowly but decidedly taking my high number down. Days in the studio have been few, unfortunately, due to a promotion at work which has taken me up to 32hrs each week. It is good for our growing bills, but not very fulfilling for me, and those 32 hours are not the 'sittin' at the desk' type of hours. I have been exhausted.

I am hoping that as I settle into this new position, I will get more used to the flow of it and able to find more time in the studio.
Soon it will be time to get outside and into the gardens to prepare for the growing season. The shot above is of my 'butterfly garden', a woods to yard transition garden, heavily planted with perennials which attract butterflies. My euphorbia in the foreground is sprouting spring leaves already, but the general condition of the garden is still very boggy from melting snow and there is not much happening in the way of growth yet.
The 'Half-moon' garden is sprouting my favorite 'snow drops'. I tried to get a close-up shot of them poking through the leaves, but the camera kept focusing on the leaves. They are planted in large groupings under the dogwood and all around the half moon stone wall. As they start blooming I will attempt another photo session.
I am always amazed that sedum is one of the first garden perennials to sprout green leaves and one of the last to mature their flowers in the growing season. I have them everywhere as I love their display in the fall.
My last shot is of my poor allium bulbs. Seems they have wiggled their way up to the surface of the garden bed. They are the giant kind which sprout a head full of flower that is 4-5 inches in diameter. I guess I need to leave them alone until they have bloomed and then transplant them deeper. For now I am just happy to see them sprouting.

Well, it is 50 degrees today and sunny, so I think I will go back out and rake up some of the hundreds of twigs that have fallen this winter from our River Birch trees. They are messy trees! Wishing all my readers a happy spring, as I am sure some of you may be seeing more spring than I am up here in the NE. Later this evening we are celebrating an early St. Patty's Day with some Irish stew, colcannon, soda bread and Guiness. We can't afford to travel lately, so we are doing so in our cuisine. Have to go make Tiger a green bandana. Bye for now. N