Spring in southern Indiana is a cacophony of overload for the senses. As an artist, I’m naturally attracted to the visual of the changing season. From the pale greens of new shoots and leaves to the endless variety of flowers. Something new is blooming every week. And sounds add to the wallpaper of the experience as I presented the cheerful house wren in a recent post.
One thing that I haven’t touched on are the beautiful scents that waft through the air. Yes, there are plenty of floral perfumes from cultivated plants, but today I want to show you three wildflowers with really strong scents.
Multi-flora roses, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle
The first is the multi flora rose. First introduced from Asia as a soil erosion remedy, it quickly got out of hand and is truly a noxious weed. So difficult to get rid of. However, for a…
Diane St. Clair is a dairy farmer and artisan maker of butter so good that she supplies it to the legendary French Laundry restaurant, among others. She is also now an artisan perfumer, having launched her first three scents earlier this year under the name St. Clair Scents. I’ve already written about Gardener’s Glove; today, I’ll take a look (or sniff!) at First Cut.
The name refers to the first mowing of a hayfield, in late summer. This is an important time at a dairy farm, as the mown hay will provide fodder for the cows during the winter. Here is the description of First Cut from St. Clair Scents’ website:
The hay harvest is the focus of every dairy farmer’s summer, keeping the fields regenerating and providing hay for the cows in winter.
The mowing and drying of native grasses, clovers, wild flowers, and legumes takes…
Almost a perfect mirror, crossing by Teddington Lock this morning. Had to stop and take a picture though Important Business going on at Petersham Nurseries with the arrival of the Christmas trees. They were packed up for us in Warwickshire at about 5am to get to us in time for opening. Busy Busy.
But first I had to have a look around the nurseries as frost rimed many of the plants, so delicately, and the first rays of the morning sun soon cleared away the spectacle.
But to business with the trees ….
Beautiful Nordmann Firs, from little ‘uns through to 2.25m beauties. I had thought not to have a Christmas tree this year (I have a suspended holly bush in my mind for the conservatory) but I’m sure once I have sorted through this selection tomorrow, well I might have to reserve on before they are all taken.
Continuing on with my recent overseas trip, this week I would love to share with you a rare and wonderful opportunity that presented itself on a stopver in Paris, on our return trip to Cape Town from Italy.
The botanical paintings of the artist Pierre Joseph Redoute have always held a fascination for me and unbelievably, for the first time in France, Musée de la Vie Romantique (the Museum of Romantics) and the Museum of Natural History were holding an exhibition of 250 of his rare, original, watercolours. I was beyond excited!
Pierre-Joseph Redouté, (1759 – 1840) was a painter and botanist from Belgium, known for his watercolours of…
We love succulents, and we love tiny things. So we’re not suprised that these veritable mini garden manicures are growing (heh) super popular on Instagram. Australian botanical artist Roz Borg normally uses succulents to create stunning bouquets, terrariums, and jewelry, but recently started turning the tiny living plants into nail art. “I had been making […]
This is WONDERFUL! Can’t say I would do this myself, but how lovely that someone else has thought this up and done it. I rarely get manicures — hello, I garden, often without gloves — but this really tickled my fancy. Do you have favorite succulents? Likes or dislikes?
I haven’t posted here in a while because I have been traveling in the UK with my family. We visited many beautiful gardens, but one of my favorites was The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Heligan is an old estate that once had hundreds of acres of formal, informal and tropical gardens, maintained by a staff of twenty-two. After World War I, when many of the workers did not return from the war, the estate slowly declined. The gardens were abandoned by the 1970s, while the main house was sold and divided into private apartments.
In 1990, a man named Tim Smit (who later created the Eden Project) was shown the property by one of its owners, a descendant of the Tremayne family that had owned Heligan for 400 years. The property was held in a trust for him and his sister. They hacked their way through brambles and old hedges to find the remaining original garden structures and landscaping. The work they did over decades to restore the gardens, install sculptures and make Heligan a unique destination for visitors is described in Tim Smit’s book, The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This week’s Saturday Snippet is taken from that book:
We had cut our way through dense clumps of invasive bamboo, drawn towards a perfectly formed palm that stood sentinel at the entrance to what was obviously a walled garden. John Nelson and I were on another of our explorations, venturing deeper into the gardens each time. Today we were excited; somehow we knew it was going to be a special day. You can feel these things.
Once inside, we paused for a moment. There was a sense that we were trespassing, that we had come upon a secret shrine. In the gloaming we could see dozens of trees growing thickly together, woven into a solid mass by an extremely vigorous climbing plant that covered everything like a furry blanket. We had never seen anything like this before. Under the trees we could make out shapes at once familiar and other-worldly. This was clearly the area of the garden where the real work had taken place.
I don’t own the book pictured but I plan to engage in a lot of “garden tourism” soon. We will be traveling to Devon, Cornwall and Ireland this summer! I am so excited to see these beautiful parts of the world for the first time. We will actually start in Glastonbury then work our way down the coast counterclockwise, ending up near Torquay for a family wedding. What gardens in the Southwest of England are not to be missed, in your opinion?
After the wedding, we will go to Northern Ireland and Dublin for a few days. I am excited to see the Giants’ Causeway and Trinity College, which my grandmother attended briefly many years ago. I know there will be many beautiful gardens to see in Ireland — which would you recommend? Thanks!
GRACE KELLY, PARIS IN THE SPRING TIME AND THE “WORST OF ALL DELICIOUS” WEEDS
Convallaria majalis var. rosea after the rain
On the wooden table outside our kitchen door I have a terracotta pot of the most elegant pink lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis var. rosea. The pot was given to me as a precious container of newly planted bulbs by my friend the painter, Charlotte Verity . The gift was important as it was a memento of an extraordinary year Charlotte spent as Artist in Residence at The Garden Museum in London in 2010. Here in the shadow of the ruddy castellated walls of neighbouring Lambeth Palace, Charlotte spent a year painting in Tradescant’s Garden – the knot garden created in 1981 by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury around the important tomb of the Seventeenth Century plant hunters.
Calensariel at Impromptu Promptlings posted recently about poet W.S. Merwin and encouraged readers to share a favorite. Here’s another, suitable for reading this week especially after all the warm rain we have had lately:
The poet, translator, and environmental activist W. S. Merwin has become one of the most honored and widely read poets in America and was appointed United States poet laureate in 2010. Today, he lives, writes and gardens in Hawaii, on Maui. His poem “January” evokes a cold wintry night. — Poetry Foundation
By W. S. Merwin
So after weeks of rain
at night the winter stars
that much farther in heaven
without our having seen them
in far light are still forming
the heavy elements
that when the stars are gone
fly up as dust finer
by many times than a hair
and recognize each other
in the dark traveling
at great speed and becoming
our bodies in our time
looking up after rain
in the cold night together