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.