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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Allium, Garden Onions

Alliums are a huge family - it includes table onions, chives and the gorgeous garden "onions".
The latter come in many varieties from the tiny yellow allium molly to the huge football sized allium christophii. I love them all. They are very easy to grow, the majority are bulbs that are planted in the fall just like daffodils and tulips.
Like tulips they are sometimes eaten by little animals - I would have thought the onion taste would deter them but apparently not. The most long lasting I have found is the huge and regal Allium Globemaster. They are expensive but just a few bulbs make a big show.
Coincidentally my John Scheepers bulb catalogue came in the mail today - I am going to try some new alliums for next summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Scent of Lilacs

Many people add music to their blogs. During lilac season I wish I could add scent.
There are few scents that compare to the old fashioned lilacs. I love the new hybrids, the blooms are big and voluptuous but to me the scents are not quite as beautiful.
I can't imagine a New England spring without lilacs, they only bloom for a week or two but what a glorious time.
And I love the big old bushes with their gnarled and twisted branches all year, especially in winter.
They need little care, an occasional sprinkle of lime and a little light pruning and they will grow for generations.
Entoxicating, heady, I love to get drunk on the smell of lilacs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yin and Yang

I have been impatiently waiting for my tulips since I planted them last autumn; their promise sustained me during this long difficult winter.
And I am not disappointed, they delight all my senses, bright, gorgeous color, heady fragrance, I even love the silky thick feel of their petals.
So I am in photography heaven.

We have difficulty growing tulips here, they are candy to all the little critters who live in the garden. This year I bought little plastic pots that are used for growing vegetables hydroponically, they were very cheap on Ebay. I planted each tulip in a tiny pot. Very successful, I don't think I lost more than a couple, so I will be using this planting method again.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking of my first photography love, black and white photography. I always loved the magic of watching pictures emerge in the darkroom. So I have started work on a new series of images printed in a vintage style in soft sepia. I call these two Rose Shadows.

But knitting brings me back to the brights, my newest listing in Beaded wire, a bright cherry red scarf.

Yin and yang, sunshine and shadow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Daffodil Hill

One of my favorite places is Daffodil Hill in Chesterfield, NH. A private garden which is open to the public but barely known, it is spectacular each spring.
Thousands of daffodils are planted here and overhung with star magnolia, creating a magical world.
Star magnolias are not as lush and fragrant as the southern magnolias, the flowers are thinner and more delicate. But they are hardy and very beautiful in shades of white and pink.
We finally had a few days of sunshine this weekend for gardening, a treat this cold, rainy spring. Back to rain this week though, I can even hear a little thunder as I write.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Showers

This has certainly been a dismal spring weatherwise, rain and clouds almost every day. But of course we are lucky here considering the terrible and deadly storms that have swept across so many parts of the country this month.
We are way behind, only the early daffodils are blooming and the grass is just beginning to turn green. I hope these April showers will bring the promised May flowers.
Meanwhile perhaps some bright orange will add a little cheer to the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daffodil Days

The little crocus have passed but the daffodils are coming into their glory. In my garden the daffodil season lasts through much of April and May - I have very early varieties, many midseason blooms and then the old daffodil poeticus and its hybrids for late in the season. I am particularly fond of the late flat cupped daffodils but love them all, the classic yellows, the split cups, the frilly doubles and all the little miniatures.
And of course I can't resist the jonquillas with their spicy aroma.
Unlike the fussy tulips, these are truly a full proof flower. They are poisonous so the little animals never eat them. Once planted they will come back year after year without any fuss or bother. The only trick to getting flowers every year is to leave the foliage to die off naturally. The foliage is necessary to feed the bulb to make next year's flower so if you cut it off you will get nothing but foliage the next spring. Once it begins to yellow you can cut it off to make the garden neater.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Big Skys

Early this week we learned that my friends little granddaughter, who just celebrated her first birthday, is dying of Tay-Sachs disease.
I have been paralyzed with anquish for the family and shocked by the unrelenting cruelty of the universe.
Perhaps it is simply the human condition to react more strongly to the close and personal than to the horror of earthquakes and tsunamis and war, far away and hence less real.
It is hard to find solace, hard to even imagine how the parents of this child can cope and survive the anguish they face.
I have no answers but look to the sky, nature may be cruel but she is also astonishingly beautiful

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Despite yesterdays snow, yes it did snow here yesterday, there are signs of spring. The lovely little crocus in the lawn are my favorite. Despite their tiny size they are probably the most welcome of all my flowers each year. I call this photograph Do You Believe in Magic?
But it is still too cold and wet to do much work in the garden and I am thrilled to have received a much anticipated shipment of Eco-tawashi yarn from Japan.
I ordered this yarn right at the time of the devasting earthquake and tsunami so had little hope that it would ever arrive. But my supplier was not injured and shipped the yarn as soon as she was able to return to Tokyo
This is a very special yarn unique to Japan and used to make traditional eco-tawashis, magic pot scrubbers. It is an abrasive acrylic yarn with deoderizing and anit-bacterical properties.
The Japanese crochet this yarn into lovely scrubbers in gorgeous pattterns.
They are called eco-tawashi because they are used to clean pots, casseroles, dishes glasses etc. without soaps or detergents so are great for the environment.
And they do work like magic. I gave the first tawashi I crocheted to my husband and he has been raving about it ever since. Our glass casseroles look like new and our glasses and pots shine.
I have crocheted them into flowers: roses and chrysanthemums, since tawashis must be beautiful and well as effective. They are available for purchase in my Beadedwire Etsy shop.