Sunday, May 27, 2012

Accidental Shellfish Art

Oysters. Do you ever even look twice at this common shell while walking the beach? In Connecticut where it is our State Shellfish with a very long commercial history we forget how beautiful it can be! Think pearls, think the supposed aphrodisiac qualities and the crushed shell driveways! (wait, those all are connected somehow?) Well, I want to give the oyster shell another clam to fame –
Accidental (but beautiful) Shell Sculpture 

Here we can see the jingle shell, the barnacle all nestled into a mass of oyster shells.

This was my first official beach walk find of the summer and my official summer shell to focus on in 2012!

This was a little beauty....clusters of small oysters on their hosting clam shell.

Garden beds, oyster beds.....they seem to compliment each other. I will bring my new found sculptures home and use them in the gardens where a splash of white is needed. By summer's end the annuals will have grown, pushing the shells aside but they will always have a home somewhere now that I have chosen them!

Happy Memorial Day and unofficial start of Summer, 2012.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Bleeding Heart

No other bloom in the early spring garden is as enchanting as the Bleeding Heart! The one specimen I have right now is an inherited one. The original from my own mother's garden disappeared at some point so I sought out another. Who to call but my Aunt Alice, a garden matriarch! She gladly gifted me another Bleeding Heart along with a few other shade friendly friends. Thank you Aunt Alice!

Falling in love with this plant each spring and then forgetting about it as the showier blossoms grow seems so sad. Now was my chance to capture and hold onto at least one heart. I took one little delicate droplet and brought it inside. First to photograph and then to press into another time and place.

 Such a unique, evocative blossom with a story! But first let me show you how I saved one. 

Pressing flowers has always been fun and a hobby that may surface its face again, hopefully. Apart from the bleeding heart, these are long ago pressed blossoms found in my Encyclopedia of Garden Plants from possibly 20 years ago! The bleeding heart was put under a press only 2 weeks ago. It is certainly a great flower to press...give it a try!

One more look at a branching stem of hearts....and then the "story" taken directly but lovingly from this site.

A Story Within The Bleeding Heart
The flowers also hold clues to a tragic tale of unrequited love.  
To begin narration of the story, hold a heart blossom in the palm of your hand.
Long ago there lived a noble prince who tried in vain to win the heart of a very beautiful princess. The prince had brought the princess wonderful gifts from his travels far and wide. Yet she had taken no notice of him. One day the prince returned from a long journey with very special gifts to surely win the love of the princess. First he presented her with two magical pink bunnies.  
Peel off the two outer petals and set them on their sides to display two little pink bunnies.
The princess only sighed and barely looked at the little bunnies. The hopeful prince had one more gift saved for last - he presented a pair of beautiful enchanted earrings.  
Remove the two long white petals and hold them next to your ears.
Again, the princess hardly noticed the prince's gift. Now the poor prince was utterly heartbroken. He could try no more to win the heart of the princess. He rose up, pulled a dagger from his sheath and stabbed himself in the heart. 
Remaining in the flower is a heart shape with the stamen, appearing as a dark green line down the center. Hold the heart up, carefully remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the dagger through the heart.
The princess was overcome by the dedication of the dying prince and his unending love for her. She realized too late that she loved him also. "Alas," she cried out. "I have done wrong, my own heart is broken also. I shall bleed for my prince forever more!" And her heart bleeds to this very day.
There are many blossoms on a Bleeding Heart in full bloom, so next time you pass such a delightful array, perhaps you'll have permission to pick a heart and discover the mysteries within.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fantastical Flowers

With more & more flowers in my gardens now willing to pose for close up and personal photo sessions, I have a case of macro fever. Once you see these "head shots" you will understand my enthusiasm and my renewed interest in a favorite, well known and admired artist.

My Poppy seems to be giving birth here....

and bursting with pride here! 

Orange is the color this spring and these two beauties are perfect examples.

White is always right. It will never go out of style! If you know me at all, you know that I have a white fetish...woodwork, couches, chairs, shirts and sweaters and of course flowers!

Purples and greens make a fantastic pair in any setting. A very soothing and complementary color combination.

Look closer at the magnificent shapes and textures in your garden and you will find some undiscovered and surprising young "models".

But PINK is my color. I feel good when I wear the color, I like splashes of it around my home and think all men should own a pink shirt or two. I even have a pink front door! My husband graciously allowed me paint it many years ago and it will most likely stay that color forever.

You can see the artist's influence here. Georgia O'Keefe could capture the beauty of a flower and paint it so perfectly. Why shouldn't we zoom in every day and see more than just an aging tulip? 

These colors, the natural composition and the textures are just fantastical to me. This close I feel I can almost be the bee whose job of pollination is so crucial or I can merely share the beauty I have found with all of you!

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for that moment. I want to give that world to someone else". – Georgia O'Keefe

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Growing Rains

Growing pains for my dry April gardens have been replaced with "Growing Rains"! We all knew this weather was desperately needed. The rains have finally arrived and the gardens are beginning to look lush now, ready to burst. Seedlings are opening, the newly planted grass is coming in nicely and forgotten flowers are raising their sleepy heads. Droplets from the thirst quenching rains sparkle even on this cloudy day!

On an early budding Columbine and a large almost "fabric like" Hosta leaf, the droplets are a welcome sight.

My Poppies and Iris that have lived in my garden long before I moved to this home (almost 33 years ago!) are short lived but amazing to watch unfold and do their best to stand tall.

Sparkling like jewels on the Solomon's Seal or hanging as a crystal earring on an Alberta Spruce the garden feels dressed up and ready for a sophisticated affair.

St Francis doesn't mind getting his feet wet or standing for hours holding his bird friend while the trees reflect in his rain filled bird bath! Garden pots filled with rusty beach treasures give an indication of just how much rain has fallen but soon must be emptied...nesting mosquitoes enjoy the water a bit too much!

 Bursting with beauty and looking for the sun now that the rains have done their magic the Camassia spires are still vibrant and clean after their spring shower! 

I hope the rains have made you as happy as my garden is. As for myself, I am starting a new job and am thankful for the feeling of a fresh start after a good Spring rain.