Thursday, March 29, 2012


In New Hampshire the forsythia are just beginning to bloom, and it is early this year since we had such a long run of warm weather.
Forsythia are ubiquitous in New England but the masses of bright yellow bloom are a wonderful splash of color after the long winter. And they are lovely with the early daffodils and little blue scilla and chionodoxa.
I don't know that there is any trick to growing these flowers, they seem to flourish left to their own devices in an open field.
I only have two complaints with this flower. The first is when they are pruned to square hedges or round balls. The nature of these shrubs is to grow to large graceful masses and the pruning makes them unnatural and ugly.
Forsythia bloom on old wood so although the plants are perfectly hardy here in Northern New England the blossoms are often killed off in a hard winter. It is not uncommon to see a forsythia bare with a little skirt of flowers along the bottom where the branches were protected below the snow line.
I am curious to see how the forsythia fair this spring. We had a mild winter with little snow but there was one week of extreme cold.
New hybrids of forsythia are being developed with hardier flowers, one is called New Hampshire. So perhaps we will see more of these sunny blooms here in the north.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Alliums

I am very fond of alliums and am a great fan of the huge spring varieties especially Globemaster.
But the allium season isn't limited to spring, there are also varieties for summer and fall.
One of my favorites is allium tanguticum. The flowers are small but the blooms are abundant.
Unlike the spring blooms that grow from bulbs these alliums grow from tuberose roots and their foliage stays green and healthy all season so the plants are never an eyesore in the garden.
Here I have photographed them in soft focus to accent the airy, ethereal quality of the bloom.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Achillea Ptarmica

Achillea ptarmica or Pearl Achillea is a late summer favorite.
The little white blooms remind me of a baby's breath but a little more substantial. It is a great garden filler adding airiness to the border.
Plus it is very easy to grow, a good spreader but not invasive and drought tolerant.
What more can you ask?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Dahlias are the last great blooms of the summer, as beautiful as peonies and iris. I appreciate having these spectacular flowers as summer wanes.
Here is New Hampshire dahlias are not hardy. I start them in early may in trays of loose potting soil, just early enough to have a little sprout of foliage. I have had trouble starting them directly in our cold, wet spring soil.
To hold them over they have to be dug up in the autumn and stored over the winter. I use vermiculite which needs to be a little damp. I must admit I often lose my dahlias over the winter, they sometimes shrivel, sometimes rot. But they are beautiful so I keep buying new roots each spring.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Feverfew, a Summer Delight

I love all the white daisies of summer, the simple flowers of the fields.
Feverfew are one of my favorites with their tiny flowers and yellow centers. They self seed all over the garden but their airy blooms don't seem to interfere with other flowers.
A handful make a beautiful bouquet.

Even as the flowers bloom I am preparing for fall in my Beadedwire shop. I am very pleased with this mohair scarf with its big flower pin.
A froth of lace and flower.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Approaching a Gallery with Your Art Work

It is almost the end of peony season, my favorite time of year in the garden - the peonies, herbaceous poppies, iris are over for another year. I know there are wonderful flowers to come, the daylilies and phlox and daisies and of course the dahlias but I am always sad when the great June flowers are finished. And we have passed the summer solstice so days are now going to grow shorter
But the garden is reliable, it will bloom again next year. And my peonies bloom on in my photographs.

I wanted to talk about bringing work to galleries for review or jurying. I am on the jury committee of the Walpole Cooperative Gallery and see so many artists who hurt their chances of acceptance by their presentations. So I thought I would share a few tips:
1. Check out the gallery or shop well. Does your work fit with the work shown? Is is redundant with a lot of the work there. You need a space with a similar esthetic to yours but a space where your work will be unique and add to the blend. Find out the gallerie's polieies both for submitting work and for commission. Is the commission so high that it would make your work too expensive to sell?
If there is a process for submitting work follow it carefully.
2. Be confident and proud of your work. I have had artists come in and ask ME which things I thought were good, even criticisizing their own work. This is NOT the time for a critique. I am not going to want your work if you don't even like it.
3. Bring in a current, cohesive body of work. I want to know what you are doing now, I am not looking for a hodgepodge of work you've done over the past twenty years. Show me one or two strong series.
4. Presentation is very important. At our gallery we want to see the art ready for sale, framed, on jewelry displays, tagged and priced. We recently had an artist come in with necklaces in plastic baggies, expensive necklaces she was asking $600 and more for. We were really shocked that she brought them in in baggies. She was not caring for or respecting her work.
Some galleries and shops initially prefer a book of photographs - it should be beautiful and elegant. If the gallery want a disc of work provide that but also some hard copies to wet their appetitite. If they ask for an artist statement and/or resume provide these. Even if you have little to add to a resume prepare something that shows your history with the medium.
5. Be polite of course and don't call and ask for updates, the process can be slow.
If you are not accepted don't make a fuss or argues about it. We have accepted people who have applied a second time but those who were hard to deal with are remembered, we know we don't want to work with them!
I hope this helps! Applying to a gallery can be scary, everyone gets rejected at times. But a local gallery can be a great source of income and artistic support.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Walker Farm

Just a few years ago gardeners had few choices when shopping for annuals - petunias and marigolds and bright red salvias filled the garden centers.
If you wanted interesting annuals you had to grow your own from seed.
But now nurseries have sprung up offering extraordinary diversity in both perennial and annual plants.
My favorite is Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. (By the way Johnny Depp has a home in Dummerston so the possibility of a sighting is also a draw).
They have a wide selection of perennials, arranged by flower color, shrubs, herbs and heirloom vegetables. Table after table of annuals. But my favoirite is their greenhouse filled with exotic annuals, hanging baskets and potted delights.
I visited yesterday - having little money I bought only some cosmos to fill in bare spots in the garden - but had a wonderful time with my camera. It was like visiting a museum or gallery, a feast for the eyes.