These delicate spring blooms are the only Columbine native to Illinois: Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). These blooms were prolific today in Lincoln Park’s best kept secret, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond.
For some this seems very hoaky I’m sure. But yesterday I spent six and a half hours at the Bonnet House’s lovely enclosed courtyard working on my second painting. I chose, as my subject, a photograph I took a few years back of one of my garden Japanese Anemones. I can easily say I was exhausted when I got home; my brain was worn out.
I literally spent the day thinking, studying this tiny flower. Every petal, every shadow, every curve and curl was studied and mentally dissected for detail. The leaves in the background were studied just as intently for color and light/shadow. My teacher showed me how to make the other buds and blooms fade out of focus. Hours were spent on each petals. The flower showed pollen spilling onto the pedals; it would soon be time for it to enter it’s next stage of life as a seedhead.
As I spent this time I appreciated the beauty, the gracefulness of this creation. It is one of the last of season’s blooms in Chicago along with the Asters. The Japanese Anemone is an agressive plant requiring me to tame it’s appearance in my garden to places of my design. Over the years I removed many “volunteers” that tried entering other areas of the garden. But the quiet beauty, the graceful elegance of the flowers always overcame any bad aspects of the plants.
I no longer have a private garden; we downsized to a lovely condominium. Fortunately Chicago’s Lincoln Park includes Japanese Anemone in it’s mix of perennials.
While I sit here in Florida gazing at this Japanese Anemone I still a drawn to it’s subtle, simple, design. Evidence of one more miracle. The painting has elements of being done by a beginner. For me the joy was the process of creation, trying to capture it’s natural beauty and specialness.
A blessed Passover and Easter to all.
Soft red, fuzzy Chenille Plant (Plumbago auriculata) blooms are all male. The female blooms are inconspicuous. Perhaps more interesting, the male blooms have no petals! So to be pollinated the plant uses male attractiveness to spread pollen while the female does the work of seed production. This seems more like birds and other animal kingdom members than plants’ design.
Chenille is a favorite material for warm winter robes and these plants’ blooms do resemble it’s namesake.
My southern sisters are proud of their Naked Ladies (Amaryllis Belladonna), while here in Chicago the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) is our “Naked Lady”. Both gained their nickname because when the flowers are in bloom their leaves already have become dormant, so are no longer present. These bulb beauties were at Lincoln Park Zoo several weeks ago and drew attention from the Lion Den.
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) began its long bloom period a little early this summer in St. Louis. Actually, it began blooming in early June, at the end of springtime. This allowed me to create these images in a garden I passed during a morning walk. Such walks and encounters dispel anxieties and remind me of their triviality. Daisys also remind me of my mother; they were her favorite flowers. So many emotions worked through me during this particular walk; therapeutic reflections of life as I admired these mid-life blooms.
Earlier in the month Spiderworts (Tradescantia) were in bloom. They are perennials that tolerate both mesic and “wet feet” (to be in damp soil), so it was appropriate for them to be found near Lake Michigan’s shoreline. The leaves can be 12 inches or longer which, in this case, gently hide its opening buds. What a pleasant find during my morning adventure on the pebbly path.
My favorite Hydrangea is the “snow ball”, it brings out the kid in me. But these are wonderful too: Oak Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). Multi-blossom flowers in one bloom are one of God’s awesome miracles; layers and layers of exquisiteness.