Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer in Spring

We discovered a possible tragedy in the garden yesterday. I mentioned that many perennials that had emerged too early had been damaged by last weeks frosts.
We have a beautiful red Japanese maple right behind the house in front of the garden. It is a lovely litle tree that my husband has lightly pruned to a bonsai shape, though much larger.
But all of the foliage is dead, another victim of the early warm spring and later frosts. The tree is alive and we are crossing our fingers that it will recover. The loss of this tree would be devasting.
Meanwhile the peonies, iris and poppies are beginning to bloom, again at least a week early. The bloom will be brief if we get the record heat predicted for mid week. I'm planning to cut them quickly for big bouquets to photograph.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spring Hazards

I think all gardeners enjoy complaining about the weather but this spring has been particularly difficult. Here in Northern New England we generally have a spring that lasts from five minutes to a few days between the long winter and summer. But this year the spring came very early and it has lasted for months. This should be a joy but there is always a price. The warm weather brought early and lush growth. Then last week we had night after night of killing frost and many of my perennials were hit hard. Hostas, Japanese anemones, some of the heucheras normally don't emerge til late in the season and grow slowly in our cool springs. But this year they came up weeks early and grew fast.
My anemones, a favorite and very special Autumn treat were killed to the ground though there are a few new shoots which should save the plants. I am not going to have much of a show this fall however. The hostas are a mess, big soggy piles of dying flesh. I will cut then back when all danger of frost has passed.
Now we are back to hot weather with even hotter predicted for later in the week. Global warming or merely New England weather?

Meanwhile I am scanning flowers as they open. Here is the iris cristata again. I love the way it looks like it has been x-rayed. And a double tulip scanned front and back.

I call this mohair scarf Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. It is like wispy gossamer lace, soft shades of grey and gold. I am offering it for sale on Beadedwire though it will be hard to part with it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring flowers

Iris cristata is a favorite spring flower. It is a tiny iris, only a few inches tall with a fleeting bloom but it spreads prolifically even in shade. And the flowers are so beautiful. It is also a trouble free ground cover.
In the evening I have been beading rings. I use Delica beads in a simple peyote stitch and then embellish with larger seed beads, triangle beads and crystals.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gold Leafed Bleeding Heart

I searched for the gold leafed bleeding heart for several years and finally found one last summer. I am a sucker for gold and chartreuse foliage and this plant lives up to my expectations. The gold foliage looks fresh and pretty, perfect for spring and a lovely foil for the blooms.
The top picture is not a photograph, I scanned the flowers directly into the computer on my scanner for a sheer almost x-ray effect.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anemone nemorosa

Despite the very early spring and unseasonable warmth the daffodils and forysthia are still blooming stongly.
On the other end of the scale from these vibrant, flashy spring stars are a great favorite of mine, Anemone nemorosa. The tiny flowers are only about an inch across and a few inches tall. But their beauty and elegance belies their size. Plus they grow into nice sized patches. Though they take a while to establish and need some protection from aggressive neighbors when small they are easy to grow in light shade.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Polaroid Manipulation

I bought an old Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera about 10 years ago. The SX-70s were produced in the 1970s. They use a film called Time Zero film because it was developed by Dr. Land to remedy the problem of Polaroid film that took almost a week to completely "set" or dry. Thus the name Time Zero, because the film was supposed to dry in no time.

Fortunately for fine art photographers, this instant dry film did not live up to the claim.

Time Zero film does not completely set for a day or two and in the meantime the surface can be moved around, manipulated by hand.

I used knitting needles and crochet hooks to manipulate these two photographs. I like the dreamy, painterly quality in the images.

Unfortunately, a few years ago Polaroid was sold and the new company discontinued production of this wonderful film.

Like many others I immediately began to buy and hoard film and still have a stash in my refrigerator. But last week on my trip to Daffodil Hill I found that my packet of Time Zero film was bad; no image produced at all just a brown mess. I tried another packet when I got home and it was usable but now I am worried that this film may not last. When it is gone, it is gone and with it this lovely art form.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rain Days

I have been so spoiled by this incredible spring, perhaps the most beautiful spring I can remember. Warm, clear sunny days. All of the flowers coming early.
Aren't the forsythia gorgeous against the turquoise sky?
It began to rain last night and the forecast is for days of rain ahead.
But my friend Elaine is right, this spring is coming too quickly, some cold rainly days will help to slow it down to a more normal pace.
And then the tulips will begin to open.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Flowers in Spring

Daffodil Hill was gorgeous last weekend. The carpet of yellow was overhung by soft white and pink magnolia.

Here at home I don't have early azalea or other early flowering shrubs so there is not a lot of color to offset the daffodils, forsythia, and primroses. But I do love the little blue flowers that add their soft hues to the brilliant yellows . The pushkinia and chiondoxa are first, then the scilla and muscari.

The muscari, or grape hyacinth, were one of my mother's favorites: there are dozens of varieties available from pale to deep, almost black versions.

The scilla in the second picture are scilla hispanica or Hyacintoides hispanica. Botanists or horticulturalists always seem to be reclassifying and renaming my favorite plants. But these little blue bells are lovely despite the cumbersome names. The blue version is the most common but I also like the soft purply pinks.

All of these little bulbs are easy to grow. You just plant them in the fall when you are planting daffodils and tulips. They are cheap, so plant a lot to make a statement.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lady Bugs and Wasps

Wasps overwintered somewhere in the house walls and many are having a hard time finding their way out. So we are killing a dozen or so a day. The house is also full of lady bugs who also overwinter with us and I have become fascinated watching them devour the dead wasps. Who knew? They burrow inside the carcasses and leave only bits of their shells. They work industriously without conflict or quarrels.
The forsythia are blooming early. When winters are cold the buds are not hardy here and we only get bloom below the snow line. But this year after our mild winter they are gorgeous. The star magnolias have also begun to bloom. The photograph was taken "through the viewfinder" of my old Kodak Duoflex Camera.
I am going to Daffodil Hill in Chesterfield tomorrow rain or shine. The daffodils are planted over with magnolias; the bloom is fleeting and I don't want to miss it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Earliest Spring

Whether it is global warming or just typical unpredictable New England weather, this is earliest, warmest spring I can remember. Record warmth and more coming. It has stopped raining so I've been in the garden every day. The vinca is blooming. It can be an invasive pest but it is a nice ground cover in the right spot and the flowers are lovely in early spring. Unfortunately at my last home it had invaded a beautiful hillside that was covered in blood root flowers in early spring. I hope the vinca has not destroyed them.

The daffodils are opening very early and very quickly. I have very early and very late bloomers so the daffodil season usually spans most of April and May. I'm worried that this year the bloom will be compressed into a few weeks because of the warm weather.
Truly a wonderful carefree flower, queen of its season. The daffodil here is from my series Watergardens, flowers photographed underwater.

Our cooperative gallery, the Walpole Artisans Cooperative is hosting a cupcake social for moms on the Saturday before Mother's Day. My friend Loribeth made these incredible cupcakes for the event. She uses old sweaters which she felts and adorns beautifully. You can visit Loribeth on her blog maminkagirl.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Its Still Raining

An early spring, but it has been very cold the last few nights and it is raining again today. It looks like it will rain all week. So there is little chance that the garden will dry out and be workable this week.
I am enjoying last summers blooms . This is Chrysanthemum koreana Sheffield. There is some confusion about its classification, I think it is now actually classified as Dendranthema rubellum .
This is an old fasioned chrysanthemum very hardy and easy to grow. It has a tall open growth pattern much more graceful and elegant than the little stiff mounds they sell at the grocery in the fall. These should be planted now if you want these graceful daisies next fall. Clara Curtis is another old fashioned bloomer, taller and later with a cooler toned flower. They take no care and seem to live on forever.
I have just listed the photographs on etsy as a set for a special sale price.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dreaming of Lilacs

Although spring is early and mild it is also windy and wet. All of my crocus are beaten down by rain and wind. A sad sight. But the daffodils have big swollen buds. Everything is early this year, my mums will be opening in June at this rate.
But I am having trouble waiting for the garden. Last night was cold and the garden is very wet so working there will have to wait at least a few days.
Meanwhile I am dreaming of lilacs, looking through last years photographs. These three capture the mood of spring, soft and dreamy.
They are also offered on Etsy at a special price as a set.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Star Magnolia

Magnolias will probably not be blooming in New Hampshire for at least another month. But I have been sorting through photographs from last season. These four are all Star Magnolia ( Magnolia stellata) an early blooming variety with flowers that are smaller than its lush sisters. It is very hardy and easy to grow and the blooms are exquisite in their simple way. These were photographed on Daffodil Hill in Chesterfield NH. The magnolias bloom with the daffodils creating a magical scene. Unfortunately they bloom at the height of black fly season so nets and bug spray are necessary gear.
These four photographs are offered on Etsy as a set for a special sale price of 4/$40.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Spring has come early this year. And for those of us in northern New England it was an easy winter with few storms or cold weather.
But spring is always welcome here however fleeting.
My snow crocuses and hellebores are in full bloom and the coltsfoot blooms along the road.
Coltsfoot can be a nasty weed spreading fiercely. The flowers and seed heads look like dandelions but it blooms much earlier when any color is welcome. Not a plant I would want in the garden but pleasant along our country road.
I have been making mosaics from last summers blooms, delicate ethereal images. They are available on Etsy as mosaics or individual photographs.
Too wet to work in the garden so I continue to knit and have some new cotton scarves for spring and summer.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crocus Impatiently Waiting

Wednesday the first crocus opened in my front lawn. Always a banner day in my garden. But it has been dank and dark with sleet this morning so no more crocus. The little snow crocus are so small they would have little impact in the garden later in the season but they are such a joy in dreary March where there is nothing else to see but mud and old snow.
They are miracles of hardiness and bloom through late snowfalls, ice, wind.
They are easy to grow and cheap to buy. I like to plant a few hundred each fall. I just make holes with a gardening knife and toss in the little corms. They are food for squirrels and other critters but they have a harder time finding them in the lawn than in soft garden soil.
While I wait for more flowers I am knitting and crocheting. I love the my new triple ruffle cowl, available on Etsy.