Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Get Out of the Comfy Chair...

A few weeks ago at our Garden Gathering, our friend Sue spoke on approaching your garden with an open mind and artistic eye.  Sue is a longtime greenhouse helper, an former art teacher, an artist, a traveler, and so, so much more!  I always appreciate her perspective and found her part of  "The Talk" at this year's Garden Gathering quite inspiring.  It's something that we all need to hear every now and again... enjoy!

-Anna Mary    


Out of the Comfy Chair to See with New Eyes

As an artist (just happens to be my occupation but applies for any field) I have found that if I keep doing the same creative process over and over the life in my artwork diminishes. I may create a series of paintings in order to work out an idea but, once the idea has been developed several different ways then I need to move on. In other words if I become too comfortable with my art procedure, the metaphoric comfy chair, literally I stop seeing and creating new art. So I am always looking for innovative ways to communicate an idea and find new mark-making techniques in order to keep my work alive. This way my art and my mind continue to grow and evolve.

This notion of trying new things so to see with new eyes, I apply also to my backyard. My garden and containers are another creative process every season, I am always trying new things. Some work some don't. But with each failure and each success I learn more about plants. I learn more about sun and shade and wet and dry. I learn more. And in the end I have a living painting in which I find tranquility, and beauty. I love to just sit and observe the garden just like a painting. And it is wonderful to share with others.

A long time artist at this point I have studied and applied the Elements and Principles of Design over and over. ( I also enjoy going outside the rules too.) When painting or gardening I think about these compositional standards such as: repetition, visual movement, line, color, and contrast. Contrast and repetition may be my favorite Principles. I enjoy contrasting color, shape and line. And repeating a certain color across your yard, will draw the eye along the color path. Just some things to think about.  More on the E&P of design here.

This metaphor for the comfy chair and seeing with new eyes I also apply to my life. From paintings, to gardening, to living, I want to experience as much as I am able. From small feats to big feats I like to try things differently than my normal procedure. I want to have my coffee as you do, or as the nomads in Tunisia do, or as the Turks in Cappadocia do, or as the indigenous people of Northern Thailand do.....see my point? And in the end I have tasted coffee a hundred different ways. What fun is that!

Life is our greatest creation. It is up to each of us how we choose to plant our gardens. I encourage you to get out of the Comfy Chair. And do not worry about failures, that is the only way we can keep our eyes open. And I don't know about you but, I don't want to miss a thing.



For more about Susan Gottlieb & her art:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lil' Georgie

Meet "Lil' Georgie"!  Isn't he sweet?  This tiny guy is a micro-mini... in other words, he's pretty much full-grown.  Amazing!  

Our friend, Gary Hunter, of Gary's Specialty Plants (formerly Hunter's Greenhouse in Drumore) has made Lil' Georgie his pet project.  It's easy to see why!  This dear little plant is a micro-mini sinningia.  It's the perfect addition to a miniature fairy garden, or as a specimen plant.  Quite the conversation piece, don't you think?  For specifics on care (and more!) from the real expert, check out Gary's blog here. 

Just adorable!

-Anna Mary

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gotta "Dig" These!

The perennial question... "What's new this year?!".  This spring, like most, there are just oodles of new plants out!  We're always on the lookout for updated versions of old favorites and plants that we have simply never seen before.  Here's some of the plants we're extra excited about this season:

Glamouflage Grape

A really great twist on the classic petunia from Hort Couture!  This petunia is the perfect combination of flower and foliage.  As soon as we saw the variegated foliage, we were sold!  We tried out Glamouflage Grape last spring in a limited quantity and were absolutely thrilled with it's color, habit and performance.  Unique and attention-grabbing foliage allows the bright purple blooms to really pop.  What's not to like?

Platinum Blonde English Lavender

Speaking of variegated foliage, Platinum Blonde lavender is a great option for your perennial collection.  There's nothing better than a plant that doesn't need to bloom to be beautiful!  Just like traditional lavender, it's perfect for full sun.  Another great update to an old favorite.  It even has it's own facebook page!  

The Whirlpool Coleus

The Whirlpool comes to us compliments of the folks at Proven Winners.  The past few seasons we've come to love the chartreuse color of  the Wasabi coleus from Ball Seed, and now there's PW's The Whirlpool.  It's always good to have options!  One of our unspoken "rules" is that most planters look even better with a pop of that bright green color.  We're excited to give The Whirlpool a go this spring!

Pink Zazzle- Hybrid Gomphrena

If there were no other new plants this year, Pink Zazzle would be more than enough to keep us happy!  After seeing it, reading about it, and getting wrapped up in all the hype surrounding it, we are beyond excited about Pink Zazzle!  This plant is a hybrid gomphrena- think the traditional cut flower on steroids.  Just like gomphrena, Pink Zazzle likes it hot and dry (this point alone seals the deal!).  But to top it off, the flowers are unlike anything we've ever seen before.  Hot magenta flowers that are at least the size of a golf ball- some sources claim it will get up to three inches across.  This would make a great specimen plant, or group it with portulaca, sedum lemon coral or another rugged sun-lover.  Irresistible!

Four of our favorites!  (But there's plenty more...)  Do you "dig"?

-Anna Mary