Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Before I get back to the business of talking about the garden, I would like to finally fulfill a promise made to a friend months ago, literally. Ruth Bavetta, who has been a guest here previously, has had some seriously awesome good fortune this Spring, with her artwork and poems popping up online and in print. She has been sending me links and I have been collecting them with the goal of posting them all in one place. I meant to do this so long ago, but then there was this biology class….so now, as promised, I submit my link collection;

1) Visual poetry…these are among my favorites.

2) Some artwork…I love the way she deals with light, and also there’s a great photo of Ruth’s beautiful smile🙂

3) Another gallery of art…”Sister Ann, Sister Ann” is my favorite!

4) Poetry at “The Barefoot Review”

5) Poet of the month – February 2012.

6) More of the visual poetry, and a great site for female artists.

7) “Let There Always Be”…I love this poem – one of my favorites!

Congratulations, Ruth, for the accolades! You deserve it, and I’m so very happy for you. If there are any pertinent links that I missed, please forward them to me and I’ll do a supplement post.


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Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen

Ophelia by John William Waterhouse

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Autumn by Alphonse Mucha

“What I really want from music. That it be cheerful and profound like an afternoon in October. That it be individual, frolicsome, tender, a sweet small woman full of beastliness and charm.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.

Flower Woman in Red Apron by Jean-Frederic Schall

Well, here we are together again and it’s October already. October has always been my favorite month. It means that I finally have what I want: for summer to be over. The shadows lengthen and there are more of them. There’s more darkness on the way and it no longer feels like I have nowhere to hide from the nosy probing sunlight and the false perkiness of forced national holidays. My energy levels go down in summer but the demands on my energy always go up.

Midsummer Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw

This year, summer was spent in school furiously trying to keep up with an intense algebra class and furiously trying to keep up with our business. “THE ECONOMY” as they call it, hit our business pretty hard and it needed lots of loving care. Nothing seemed to come easy and there wasn’t much time for anything else.

Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish

The minute the last class ended, I started the next one. This algebra class is much more fun and runs at a much easier pace, and I’m starting to ‘get it’. Finally, I’m going to catch up on so much that got lost in the maelstrom that was my summer. It was a productive maelstrom though: I learned, and I learned a LOT about EVERYTHING! My arsenal of knowledge is heftier in every area of my life and it feels really good. Tired, yes, deeply deeply exhausted – but I have a lot to show for it and the pressure seems to be off enough that I can clean up the mess and figure out where it all fits and what it all means. Suddenly, there seems to be some air to breathe. Air is very important stuff.

Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Hollman Hunt

The garden put out an amazing harvest this summer. My over-achieving planting habits in the spring really paid off in our ‘garden-to-kitchen’ department and Tom and I had fun cooking together. It was our main source of entertainment this summer and, although I don’t find cooking as relaxing as he does, it brought us closer together and really helped us through some demanding tough spots. It gave us back our sense of humor. We also have a freezer full of harvest things to play with through the fall and winter. There will plenty to post about as I organize and sift through the hundreds of photos I took. Since I didn’t have time to garden, everything went more than a little feral out there. The garden is full of “beastliness and charm” and I have never seen it this wild before. We like it. Although, I’m sure as the moon wanes I will be out there trimming things back for autumn, since my current urge to do so is becoming quite uncontrollable.

The Fruit Seller - Vincenzo Campi

For now, I’m not looking to plant a winter garden. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Depends on how I feel after I get some much needed rest. It’s time to clean out, clear out, air out and exhale. Time to collect seeds and inspiration and get back to basics and my inner voice. There has always been a compulsion for me to start something new all the time, like maybe I bore easily. But lately, my smarter quieter inner fish is telling the fickle fidgety fish to stop it for a while and fully digest what we’ve bitten off; to do less but do it better, to focus on health and hearth, to slow down just a bit and enjoy the journey more deeply. There is nothing I need to prove to myself that I didn’t thoroughly prove this summer. Now, I just need to lower my blood pressure!

Temperance by Piero del Pollaiuolo

So, please tune back in over the coming weeks to see what came out of the garden over the summer. I’m quite proud of it and can’t wait to share. In the meantime, sit back with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and look around you. Nature is changing before your eyes. A shiny new season has begun, full of color and life, magic and transformation. The sky is bluer, the air is sweeter and there is nothing our Mother Earth wants more than that you stop and take notice.

Reveries by Maxfield Parrish

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One of my new garden friends, Diana from Porterville, Western Cape, South Africa, has asked me to blog post about my header. I though it would be the perfect post for one of those nights when I’m pooped and headed for bed early or unable to focus on more. Tonight is definitely that night. So:

A couple years ago, I was hanging out with my friend Andrea. Andrea is a kindred garden spirit, so we were probably wandering aimlessly around a nursery and we were talking about all the stuff she had accumulated in her garage. There’s an annual yard sale in her neighborhood and she mentioned something about pulling some old sash windows from the back of her garage to sell. My ears perked up and I laid claim on three of them right then and there. There was no plan for what to do with them, but the juices were flowing and, well, I just had to have them.

I ended up painting them with glass paint and hanging them on the back fence, gallery style. Not a perfect job, but my favorite of the three are the mermaids. Since I’m a Pisces, I figured I would go with whatever lore was there as inspiration. Two fish, swimming in opposite directions, finally at peace in the garden – it became a self portrait of sorts. They also have red hair and are more than mildly top heavy and have big rear ends. I suppose I took creative license with the long tail fins but hey, whatcha gonna do!?

she sells seashells by the seashore

I glued shells and “jewels” on the bottom of the sill and hung them on the fence with a planter underneath.

dill and feverfew seaweed

Eventually the plants filled in and the mermaids appeared to be swimming through seaweed.

Happy Cats

The other two are a kitty with Moon painting on black background so it has a mirror effect and one with an Aristotle quote: “In all of nature there is something of the marvelous”

the backyard gallery

They’re great because they keep the eye from wandering over the back fence into the neighbor’s back yard which is full of some very strange ugliness indeed. An old RV that doesn’t run, a blue water tank wrapped in insulation that blows in the wind, some lean-to’s that are more “lean” than “to”, and they spruce up the huge expanse of plain brown fence too. They’re easily changed when I get bored – just scrape with razor blade and wait for ideas. (I’ve never been happy with the Aristotle one so I’ll re-do it soon) Plus, they make me think of Andrea and all the fun we have combing through nurseries in the spring. Thanks, Andrea – and thank you, Diana from South Africa!

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“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.” ~ Mary Kay Ash

the fabulous Mary Kay Ash

As I searched for a good quote about Bumble Bees, I ran across Mary Kay Ash. Remembering all the Mary Kay and Avon makeup the stifled women in my family constantly nattered over made me chuckle. Then I read her bio. Make fun of the pink Cadillac and big hair all you want, Mary Kay kicked some ass and was an inspiration for women everywhere to get out there and keep trying and to help other women – no excuses – no whining! Back in the ‘old days’, when a woman would never have even dreamed of complaining about getting paid less than a man, Mary Kay Ash turned a few bucks into one of the most recognizable international brand names in history – giving a lot of women an opportunity to get out and DO something instead of whatever they were told to do. In my mind I turn back the clock about 50 years or 100 and then quietly thank the universe my particular egg waited a few decades to come into the world.

Another kick-ass woman I discovered while hunting Bumble Bees: Artist Lisa Falzon. Her art is that mix of enchanting and sinister that I love. She has an Etsy store and a gallery. Thank you, Lisa, for letting me use the picture!

The Hive and the Bumble Bee

and now, back to the point of all the bee references:

As much time as I spend in gardens, one would think I run into Bumble Bees all the time. In fact, I’ve only seen one in my own garden – ever! It was a week or so ago and I was out taking photos of the Foxgloves. It was early in the morning and I had my nose and camera almost inside the bloom when a Bumble Bee flew right in. It just brushed my cheek trying to get past me. This is one of those moments with nature that really make my day and they are always the last thing I expect. After I got my photo, the Bee came out of the flower and headed for my t-shirt, which was the same color as the Foxglove – I got out of the way and thus concluded my one and only encounter with a fabulous Bumble Bee.

Bumble Bee in Foxglove - May 2010

On Bumble Bees

* there are more than 200 different kinds of Bumble Bees in the world

* each one has a unique preference when it comes to nectar and flowers

* they are very fuzzy and have black and yellow striped body hairs

* they do not have ears

* they are endangered by pesticides and harm to their habitat – so basically “humans”

* the buzzing sound comes from their vibrating flight muscles and not the action of their wings

* unlike Honey Bees, Bumble Bees only produce enough honey to feed their own young

* they are much slower and gentler than their honey making cousins but are kick-ass pollinators

So: go fearlessly out into the world despite what you think are inadequate wings, gather and pollinate, support businesses run by women/queen bees, help others and nature, don’t wait for permission – just go get your flower, be creative, respect your big hair and your favorite color and your sisters. Also, pink is not a good color to wear whilst photographing bees.

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The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies.
– Gertrude Jekyll

our gnome who sits under the fig tree

That quote was chosen because this is the time to plant seeds! Also, her name is Gertrude, one of my favorite of the “vintage” names. One of my grandmothers was named Gertrude and it always upset me that they called her “Gertie” so I swore I would name my daughter Gertrude and never allow anyone to “Gertie” her. I was six and very silly, but I still love the name.

Well, the Moon is waning in Sagittarius and my almanac says it’s time for “planting and sowing all fruit and all vegetables that grow tall (runner beans, hops etc.)” Hops? Well, I’m not growing hops, but today I’m going to put my beans in seed starting mix and get them started. It will be raining by this afternoon when I’m done in the office, so I’ll be able to work in the garage or potting shed. Shouldn’t take long if I can keep myself to planting ONLY THE BEANS and not get distracted with a bunch of other things in the potting shed….like I always do.

Jack and the Beanstalk by Scott Gustafson

“Ah! you don’t know what these beans are,” said the man; “if you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky.”

“Really?” says Jack; “you don’t say so.”

“Yes, that is so, and if it doesn’t turn out to be true you can have your cow back.”

Also “favorable” under this moon; “pruning fruit trees and bushes, putting down fertilizer, combating above ground pests.” Unfavorable; “hoeing and harrowing (weeds tend to grow in abundance afterward) and planting lettuce (tends to bolt)”

(info taken from Johanna Paungger’s “Guided by the Moon”, which is my most favoritest book EVER and I never garden without checking it first)

Edgar in the Sun - June 2009

Yesterday I planted:

*Cypress Vine – Funny Valentine Blend – Ipomoea quamoclit

*Hyssop – Hyssopus officinalis
“Used as early as the 7th century to improve the smell of kitchens and hospitals. Hyssop leaves are used to flavor salads, soups, liqueurs and stews. Essential oil used in perfumes. Attracts bees, buterflies and hummingbirds. Plants grow 18-24″. Perennial in zones 4-9.” (according to the back of the Seed Savers Exchange packet)

*Magnus Lovage – Levisticum officinale
“The leaves, stems and seeds of the lovage plant all taste like celery. Still used extensively in preparing soups and salads. Perennial in zones 2-8”

*Night-Scented Tobacco Nicotania sylvestris
“Flowers open in the evening releasing an extremely sweet, intoxicating fragrance. Tender annual.” (this one’s getting planted under my bedroom window!)

*Anise – Pimpinella anisum
“One of the oldest known spices in England, that first appeared in the Grocers’ Company of London. Added to bread and sausage in Italy for centuries. Wonderful strong licorice flavor. Very easy to grow, similar to dill in habit, harvest seeds when dry. Annual.”

*St. John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum
“Highly esteemed medicinal herb since ancient times. Currently in high demand for its antidepressant qualities. Shrubby plant with yellow flowers. Grows to 12-16″ tall and flowers early. Perennial in zones 4-8.”

*Hollyhock – Black Beauty
These were a special gift in the mail from Lucie. Thank you Dahhling!

*Love-Lies-Bleeding – Amaranthus caudatus
“Recorded in South America before the 16th century, often referred to as Inca Wheat. Grown for use as a cereal and in ancient religious ceremonies. Long rope-like red seed-bearing trusses give plants and ornamental and graceful appearance. Great for long-lasting displays. Tender annual, 3-4′ tall.”

*Himalayan Blue Poppy – Meconopsis betonicifolia (oh say it again, you know you want to!)
“Stunning blue flowers make this one of the most sought-after plants in the gardening world. Best suited for cooler climates, but success can be achieved almost anywhere with a little practice and patience. Acts as a biennial or short-lived perennial, 30-35″ tall.”

*Red Milkweed – Asclepias incarnata
“Preferred food source of Monarch caterpillars. The bright pink and red flowers appear in June and July. Grows 5′ tall on moist soils that dry out in the summer. No butterfly garden is complete without Red Milkweed.”

*Thyme – Thymus vulgaris
because I always need more of it!

*Radicchio – Palla Rossa Ashalim – Cichorium intybus

Most of the above seeds were ordered from Seed Savers Exchange and the comments from the back of the packets were included. It seems like I plant a lot of seeds, but I’ve only planted a few of each. It’s early in the year and I’m experimenting with what I can grow from seed this early, if at all. Most of the packets are still more than half full, so there’s plenty of room for experimentation, trial and error: my favorite way of learning.

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“Venus” by Jean Leon Gerome

I love the word “Friday” in the romance languages because you can actually hear the “dies Veneris” or “day of Venus” happening in the word. Say Vendredi (French) Venerdì (Italian) or Viernes (Spanish) and it’s a much more exotic day than “Friday”. Our way of saying it drums up images of cheap buffalo wings and $2 beer: TGIF-woo! (ugh) Not that I’m opposed to wings and beer (Stella please!) but I feel more like celebrating Venus these days, than picking chicken out of my teeth at Chili’s. Why not acknowledge that the days of the week were once dedicated to the old gods and open a bottle of champagne?

Friday’s are not my last working day of the week so I usually try to quit a little early. Working Saturdays isn’t bad if you don’t work late on Friday. (I know it’s all in my head but isn’t that where it counts?) Today, I’m getting my work done early and hopefully heading out in the garden to rub up against all the beauty out there. Yesterday, I noticed my tiny wisteria blooming. So far, I haven’t had time to really “see” it. So, in honor of the Day of Venus, I’m going to try my best to experience some beauty goddammit!

Also on the to-do list for the next few days: get my Itunes working again, get a couple more trash cans for rainwater at ACE hardware, pick up more seed starting mix, finish properly setting up and categorizing this blog thingy, get a manicure. There are more mundane and unpleasant tasks to be done, but why sully my blog with that stuff!? After all, Venus may have had to scoop the litter box, but she certainly never would have discussed it!

Oh! I almost forget to mention: yesterday, Tom and I went to a farmer’s market where we proceeded to spend $6 on two huge Brandywine heirloom tomatoes. Sheesh! I cannot wait until my garden gets under way again because that really chapped my ass. Not enough to make me buy those little anemic grocery store things, but still.

So, have a beautiful and happy Venus’ Day and I’ll probably see you on Sunday with some new photos of the garden in ‘almost spring’ to share.

Queen Anne's Lace - 2008

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