Monday, August 28, 2006

Garden Painting Day 14 : Coneflower Petals and Globe Thistle Blooms

Garden painting with coneflower complete with petals and globe thistle in bloomI had a chance to paint last week, and I just realized tonight I hadn't posted my progress yet. So here it is (photo left), with the petals on my purple coneflower, and the tiny blooms (look like little stars) on the globe thistle.

I love the globe thistle, when it bloomed, it was a favourite of honey bees (photo right).

My friend Andrea suggested that I add a cat to my painting, since they are fascinated by bird baths. I am not a cat person, but I have been intrigued by the idea, and think I will try. Here is a "paper prototype" (although I will paint the cat to a larger scale, and perhaps different colours).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Peculiar Person Picks Purple Peacock Pole Beans by Pale Moonlight

Purple Peacock pole beans closeupOkay, okay, I admit I am a bit peculiar, and it wasn't actually the light of the moon, it was the artificial moonlight cast by our 300 W halogen spotlight (which does a pretty fantastic job of lighting up our 140' back yard), but I did pick Purple Peacock Pole beans tonight, long after the sun had set. What a rush! There is something very wholesomely sensual and satisfying about rustling around in the leaves, seeing only the dark - very dark - silhouettes of the long dark purple beans, and feeling the cool, smooth beans among the rough tangle of leaves and vines.

I don't know what overcame me, on my way back from turning off the sprinkler, but it had been a couple days since I've picked my Purple Peacock Pole beans, and I suddenly found myself picking beans in the light of our halogen moon. I would recommend the experience (and the beans - see my posts on buying the beans, and picking my first crop) to anyone.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Favourites : "Purple Peacock" Pole Bean

Purple Peacock bean closeupPurple Peacock pole bean on the pole Last time I checked on my beans, which was maybe a week ago, there were a few tiny strings forming among the flowers. This morning I was overjoyed to pick about 2 pounds of spectacular deep purple beans. Scarlet Runner bean on the poleWow! ThPurple Peacock bean on the vineis is the first year I am growing the "Purple Peacock" pole bean, from Westcoast Seeds. As I had dreamed (see my posting about the Purple Peacock beans when I purchased the seeds), these are a real treat to the eye, as I hope some of the photos here will convey.

The leaves of the Purple Peacock are greePurple Peacock and one Scarlet Runnern, the flowers are light purple, and the stems and beans are a deep purple. The flowers are quite unnoticeable, not like the showy Scarlet Runner beans, whose red flowers (see photo) are worthy of growing for ornamental value. Although my beans had a very slow start this year (the slugs kept eating them back as they emerged from the soil), they show vigorous growth now, and look like they will be VERY productive. Unlike the Scarlet Runner (one shown on top of the Purple Peacock beans), whose beans are hairy and can get tough if allowed to mature, the Purple Peacock are long, slender, smooth and tender.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Garden Painting Day 13 : Coneflower Stems

garden painting with coneflower stems (no petals yet) This is a really good time of year to work on my garden painting. Most of the flowers which I have chosen for subjects are in bloom now, so it is great to be able to cut a few, and bring them inside for closer observation. I cut a purple coneflower (echinacea purpurea) a couple of weeks ago, as my model, and painted in the stems & flower centers. I intended to return to paint the petals, which is the fun part, but haven't gotten to it yet. So here is the coneflower, without petals, between the globe thistle, which is only in bud (I intend to make it bloom), and the red monarda.

purple coneflower with spider webThe next morning after I brought the coneflower inside, I noticed that a tiny spider had made its web in the leaves, as you may be able to see in the photo on the right. I don't know if it has caught much, being inside the house for almost two weeks now, but it is still in its web, still on that flower. When I finally throw the flower away (it has lasted a LONG time!), I'll drop the spider in the garden.

I may not have put much paint to canvas lately, but I did take advantage of the long stretch of dry weather for a different kind of painting. One night, my husband & I went out after dinner, and stained the shed, working into the darkness to finish the job. Another night I started trimming the window, door, and railings. I'm about half way through, with a few more corner trims and the fascia boards (which will require a ladder or stool) remaining. (For some reason I am not able to post the photo!) Actually, only one quarter, since I was only applying the white primer. I should return to apply one coat of white paint... I think that will be a difficult one to find the motivation, since it already looks so smart with just the primer.

Okay, I'm really tired, I'm rambling a bit. I should try for an early evening tonight, if I can.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Garden Glimpses : Early August

Here are some more recent photos from my garden (click any photo for slightly larger version). Sorry, can't seem to arrange them nice and square, the photo interface of Blogger is frustrating to use!

globe thistle (echinops) with beespurple sage
lily flowercrocosmia and stepslagarus ovatus (bunny tail grass)liatris undeplanting of persimmon tree
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