I sincerely hope I don't get that song in your head, and if I did soon you'll be singing a different one if you read on. I guess I'm hung up on letters at the moment. I am having so much fun with #the100DayProject and my #100Bs that I am throwing in an A and a C! (If you by some fleeting chance have missed out on all the times I've mentioned my 100 day project of 100Bs, follow along on instagram where I post my daily small painting of something beginning with B. Make a request if you'd like!) Read along to see what ABCs are blooming right now in the Violet Fern garden.
ALLIUMS! I am so thrilled with all the Allium bulbs I planted last fall. They really add some pop to the garden at this time and while some are already fading, new varieties are just coming into bloom. They are such an architectural marvel in the garden.
Here, you can see the Allium bouys "floating" along my "river view" garden. I have yet to paint the fish that belong atop the rebar stakes but it is closer to the top of my list. I love sitting here on this patio in the Potager with this "river view" of blue bottles which cast a watery blue hue on the interesting network of plants on the sandy bottom mulched in with pea gravel. I just acquired Dianthus simulans to plant here, too — can't wait!
One of my favorite native plants is also now in bloom, Amsonia, commonly known as Bluestar. I have three different varieties planted together. After the bloom, the Fall show is almost just as stunning as its foliage turns a brilliant yellow. I love the ferny leaf on Amsonia hubrichtii.
Side note: I am not seeing as many bees and butterflies in the garden this year as usual. I am wondering if it has been our rather wet weather and Spring. What are you noticing in your own gardens? If I take a close look at the Ninebark and Cranberry Viburnum blooms, there are plenty of bees but usually more seem to fly around the whole garden. I do notice more mosquitos in the garden this year! Right now I am listening to a Cat Bird sing (not meow), right on time with the ripening of all my strawberries, the blackberries and soon to be blue berries and raspberries. Much more pleasant than the very hungry baby crow.
BAPTISIA never fails to disappoint! It has become very large and in charge in my garden. I think a yellow variety would be nice to fit in some where but I have to stop myself as I am transitioning my energies to the lake property and merely trying to gain a bit of control and order in the Violet Fern garden. This means no more purchases! (Except seeds for veggies). It means native plant purchases only for the lake property. I did plant out some of my volunteer Cranberry Viburnum and trumpet vine at the lake over the weekend. I will feature the lake in a post very soon. I look forward to the "non-gardens" there, meaning I will only be enhancing the landscape with native plants. There won't be any babying, mulching, mowing, weeding, edging, etc. I love its natural state and only seek to add more blooms with a grow-or-not attitude. I came across some white spruce saplings that I also planted with the hopes of attracting more birds and wildlife in the far future. There are many, many birds there but I can never see them through the canopy! That's where identifying bird calls comes in handy. There's certainly no mistaking the call of a loon or whip-poor-will but knowing warblers' by sight and sound can take a lifetime of learning!
I was so taken with the Baptisia blooms that I painted them as a "B."
Black Lace, Sambucus Nigra, is stately this year. The mild winter was kind to her. She is in full bloom now and stunning!
COLUMBINE TIME! I was so thrilled to happen upon our native Columbine right here in my own garden! Then, I remembered vaguely emptying a packet of seeds a year? two years ago? in that section of the garden. I am delighted that one took and will encourage this plant to spread itself around. It is so beautiful and bloomed earlier than my other columbines, early enough to welcome back our hummingbirds of which it is an important nectar source for them early in the season and red in color by divine design.
These frilly Columbines were here when we moved in but have relocated themselves everywhere and painted themselves in differing shades of pink.
This pretty blue/purple Columbine I believe I gleamed from the Clayton Garden Club. It has also moved itself around much to my delight.
Cranesbill geranium is just beginning to open. The bees love this plant. I have some that are more blue, others that are more pink and another with streaks of white in the bloom which I think must be a virus of some kind? If only I had pursued a degree in horticulture instead of the arts. You know, I googled that geranium streaking flower and it turns out it has a name! Splish Splash. I can assure you I have never planted Splish Splash but I have let my geraniums go to seed (their seeds resemble a crane's bill and thus their name), and I'm thinking that is how Splish Splash was born into my garden.
So there you have it, the ABCs of what's blooming. Sing Allium, Baptisia, Columbine!
I continue to paint: Bs, a couple paintings started in Cedar Key that I hope to finish — one that's been on my list awhile, the orchid house in Puerto Vallarta botanical garden, and a colorful and large Grouper — the wooden fish (for the garden). I continue to tend to the garden which translates to ripping out Bindweed daily. My June mantra is weed, weed, weed. My basil and cilantro have refused to germinate thus far but I'm hoping for some results with this warmer weather and a bit of sun. I am able to harvest lettuce, spinach, arugula and strawberries right now among the perennial herbs such as thyme, oregano and mint. The garlic is tall and (knock on wood) so far clear of leek moth which invaded me last year, (of course, planting more alliums adds to the attraction). I do so love to eat fresh from the garden. I planted some Supertunias in the wine barrel this year at the base of morning glories and their wonderful perfume drifts into the house. Summer seems to be settling in. Life is good.
It's close to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day which happens on the 15th of each month, and in which I used to participate religiously but honestly, I am so not a scheduled person. Sure, I like to plan and have a loose set of goals because how else does one get things done? But tell me I have to be somewhere at a certain time and immediately the anxiety level rises. Maybe it's PTSD from working in a cube for so many years? I just don't like to be boxed in. I work along these lines: I need this and this done by this date. Okay! Anyway, I got the urge to capture Spring. There's much happening in the garden in spite of the cold and rain and yes, even snow these past few days. Then I thought, why wait for GBBD? Why not just capture what's blooming in the garden when I feel like it? So, here you have it, what's blooming in the Violet Fern Garden right now.
I have many, many daffodils mostly because nothing eats daffodils. I add some every year and I apologize but I don't keep track of what kind they are, or the names of them, as long as they "naturalize" they are in my shopping cart. I am surprised this year to discover I have some really pretty varieties!
Lungwort or Pulmonaria always pleases. It is one of the first to bloom in Spring and she has been spreading itself around. She's welcome wherever she goes.
Bergenia is blooming! I have been trying her out in different spots because I love this early blooming perennial with its large, lush leaves that also put on a Fall show. She likes this spot if she's blooming for me, yay!
I seem to have lost one of my Hellebores (so now I will need to get another one!), such a shame, but this one is doing well and is still blooming! I finally got around to cutting back her old leaves so now she really is a looker!
The only thing to rival that gorgeous burgundy color on Miss Hellebore would be Miss Pasque Flower. She is moping from all the rain we had but I'm sure she will hold her head up high soon.
Little, polite Lady Jane is also in bloom. One of the few tulip varieties I have that big, fat rabbit doesn't seem to like.
I've been trying to incorporate more native Spring ephemerals into the Violet Fern Garden. Some Dutchman's Breeches from the lake driveway has come back (jump for joy!) but isn't blooming just yet. Shooting star is up but isn't quite blooming yet, either. My mom gave me this beautiful Trillium (along with some Bloodroot which has finished blooming) and it IS blooming! Aren't Mom's awesome? Happy Mother's Day Mom! Can't wait to see you.
There's nothing like blue in the garden to set off those yellow (white, peach, orange) daffodils! And I got it! Brunnera is the bluest of them all. Forget-me-nots are never forgotten and are always enchanting with their tiny, dancing blooms. I love when the bumble bees land on them and sway to the ground.
Virginia Bluebells, a native spring ephemeral, has my heart right now. I planted two plants last year with the hope of having a large drift of them someday and they're both up and looking slightly different from one another. One seems to have lighter green leaves and paler blooms while the other has a little pink in the blooms and deeper green leaves and seems more robust. I have to research and figure that out unless you can provide some insight?
I am reveling in the glory of Spring, grateful to be working in my own garden getting to know her again. The Serviceberry was a show stopper this year but sadly her show does not last very long until the berries. Next, the Dogwoods and Crabapples will be in bloom most likely in time for the Memorial Day Artists' Studio Tour. I hope you'll stop by.
No, I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, although there are some who believe I am from another planet. It's just that we have officially entered "Mayhem." I have actually been in mayhem mode since April, however. It was a mad, mad dash to leave "paradise" literally mopping the floors on our way out the door so that hopefully, vacationing folks, would enter and stay in a clean and comfortable place. It was no small feat to purchase a house and have it turn key ready in three months. Most of the walls were freshly painted, walls came down, bamboo flooring went in, furniture was shuffled out of one place into storage and then finally shuffled into our place. Artwork was sorted, selected, framed, hung. Some landscaping was attempted, irrigation systems installed. I am flattered when I run into someone here up North and they say I look well rested. I have to chuckle.
And so I am home again, sort of. Unpacking, laundering, cleaning, wondering why we haven't finished the billion projects on this house in ten years as the faucet handle falls off into the kitchen sink, again which I fondly remember my husband exclaiming when we moved in that it would be the first thing to go and be replaced. I have to chuckle.
I can also explain. Projects like the lake and the Florida cracker house were opportunistic, so we had to "jump" on them and seize the opportunity. Both opportunities were like jumping aboard a speeding train and pushing our way to the locomotive to finally take control and slow it down.
The kitchen sink, well ... why replace just the faucet? We should get a new sink, too. Why put in a new sink without changing the countertop? Why change the countertop on these cabinets? On and on and so, a simple new faucet might turn into a full blown kitchen remodel which is why it never was replaced.
And so now is the time we finally focus on our "house" and begin finishing all those projects that fell off the train. The Board Room will finally be sided inside and out and floored (since we're such experts now — chuckle some more), the exposed junction boxes will house lighting, the carpet will be ripped out downstairs, the roof will have to be replaced, the garage roof also and resided, and something must happen to the kitchen ... this house is a LOT of projects as most houses are. We, however, have come to realize that two can live comfortably in a tiny, simple space. You might even go so far as to say we are on board the tiny house train. The tracks have shifted yet again. I am all for tiny house, big land!
And land ho, I am back in the garden with mixed emotion and as typical, the weather is being completely uncooperative. This year I finally timed my return just right, the daffodils were up to greet me but I caught the bloodroot, trilliums (blooming now) and Virginia bluebells! The garden needs so much work due to my negligence over the past three years but it is wonderful to be bringing her back into her glory! (In between rains that is.) And wow, all those alliums I forgot I planted last Fall, are up and coming. They're going to be beautiful, I hope. And wow, am I sick of weeding out grass. And wow, how can have so many rudbeckia laciniata plants when I removed a wheel barrow full last fall??? I will say however, that rudbeckia laciniata is on Xerces list of good pollinator plants for our region so I will not have any qualms about selling my extra stock. I am also helping to create a pollinator pathway garden in front of the Cornell extension of Jefferson County with the master gardeners so I have some great plants to donate to that project. So I wait for the latest deluge of rain to stop, and wait, and wait ... this is getting old.
Daffodils in all their glory in the Bird & Butterfly Garden in a rare hour of sunshine.
Bloodroot (finally!) blooming in the Woodland Edge.
In spite of any weather setbacks, I feel a groove dancing to this new venture of mine, art studio and garden. I love the focus. I look forward to getting out of bed, planning my day. The garden is there beckoning me. The studio is there beckoning me. I undertook The 100 Day Project again this year. Last year, 100 Leaves. This year, 100Bs. Surprisingly I am having much fun with the 100Bs. Surprisingly, I look forward to my drawing table and paints and the next "B." I am also looking forward to, and preparing for, the Memorial Day Studio Tour Saturday May 27 and Sunday May 28. Maybe, just maybe, this year I will truly be prepared with all the items on my list checked off.
A sampling of some of the "Bs" from The 100 Day Project now available in the gallery.
Seeds started for the garden and possibly for sale by the Memorial Day Studio Tour.
I also have a new painting in the works for the TI Arts Center "Along the River's Edge" upcoming show — a painting that I am actually excited about, enjoying the process of, and not slapping together at the last minute. I may just keep it secret until the show, that is if it is accepted. This new breath of life allows me to plan ahead, and paint, and garden all in the same day! This is revolutionary for me. I am no longer drawn and quartered. Suddenly, I do not want to see anyone, go anywhere, share any part of myself with anything — I just want to stay in this groove. I want to keep digging, weeding, planting, painting, creating, evolving ... it is wonderful to be focused.
Author Kathy Sturr
In this blog I may write about the garden, flowers, plants, and the garden ... mostly the garden, but also new art and inspiration.