This post from Aug 9, 2013 is about a lush, rain filled summer. This 2016 summer is not. Drought and heat sum it up. What is the same is the insect explosion. 😉
—————————-What crazy weather this summer. We had record breaking rainfall in June and July and hot, hot, sticky days alternating with cold. These conditions have played havoc with the garden and the insect populations have exploded. This is good news for black flies, earwigs, cucumber beetles, potato bugs and snails. Sigh. It is also good news for birds and their numbers seem up.
I’ve painted more flowers than ever before and haven’t even scratched the surface of what I would like to achieve in that theme.
This week the weather has shifted. The nights are suddenly chilly and the warm daytime sun has allowed full outdoor activity again. Suddenly the vegetable garden is looking lush and strong. I see my favorite pumpkins starting to form – winter luxury pumpkins that taste out of this world as pies or as vegetables.
The green beans are flowering and the tomatoes are green and growing. Larry staked them this afternoon as you can see from the photo in the header. The potato plants are like bushes, in spite of those striped potato bugs that I flick into soapy water when I remember to!
The weather is still always the wild card and teaches both flexibility and acceptance to this gardener.
The rain has accelerated the growth and height of all the perennial flowers. Those tiny plants I put in 4 years ago are crowded now and exploded into bloom.
Perennials planted 4 years ago
Perennials – four years after planting
This is an exciting time for me to paint.
The summer has been filled with other important cultural details 😉 such as:
This summer I’ve worked hard at painting and I’ve been blogging that experience.My writing energy is there now…I guess because I am so involved with the act of painting. If you paint too or are interested in the process, please join me at http://floradoehler.ca
I’m excited to be heading back to this painter’s paradise tomorrow. It is an artist retreat on an island in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. You know. The place with the highest tides in the world.
The following post is from 2012 on my first trip to the island with a group of artists.
Eventually I painted over this canvas because I just couldn’t capture what I was seeing. As always, it was a thrill to sit on the ocean floor knowing that in a few hours, it would be flooded by the incoming tide.
A wonderful experience sitting in unfurling fern with my paint.
Boardwalks throughout the small island ensure that noone gets lost and helps to protect the vegetation.
When we arrived at Long Island in the Bay of Fundy for our Artist Retreat, it was an overcast and showery afternoon. The mist and fog shrouded this huge rock of an island that we could see from our cabin. It looked ancient and mysterious as it disappeared and reappeared in the mist and I was anxious to see it at sea level when the low tide allowed it.
There is a very special place that I go to when I need to be in nature, or when I need a quiet moment. Behind the vegetable garden we have about 1/2 an acre that we let grow wild and that contains our pond.
This piece of land has a few intentional plants like lilies, iris and about 7 willow trees. But the rest of it is a chaotic riot of tangled wild flowers (weeds really) that grow about 4 feet high.
We have a couple of paths cut through it and walking them is like being a child again in my grandmother’s garden. Hidden from view and right in the middle of the natural world. Frogs croak, seagulls and crows soar above. Bees buzz all over the flowers.
The pond itself has 8 large goldfish that wintered over. Animals wander through and drink from the pond. There are dragonflies, butterflies, birds and a host of insects. It’s a nice place to decompress and to marvel at the complex beauty of the natural world.
I planted the willows 4 years ago and they are already taller than me. In a few more years there will be a willow grove at the end of the pond providing magic for us and no doubt for the next caretakers of this land.
Not only do the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royalrecreate gardens from the past, they also give us a glimpse into the home lives of Acadians who lived here before the British arrived.
The first occupiers in this part of the world were the French in the 1600’s. Their settlers were innovative farmers who reclaimed salt marshland and transformed it into fertile growing lands. Their relationships with First Nation groups was more harmonious than the British would be. Eventually the British – French wars meant that Acadians were thrown off their lands by the British and shipped to various outposts including Louisiana where ‘Acadian’ became ‘Cajun’.
Many families were hidden by the Mi’kmaq and refused to leave their Nova Scotian homeland. Today there are still small communities of Acadians in Nova Scotia who work hard to keep their language and culture alive.
Here in the gardens, the tiny thatched house with hand-made glass windows is a visual reminder of some of that history.
Last week in the gardens I sat in front of the thatch-roofed cabin and sketched it, later adding watercolour paint at home.
I love the Victorian Garden in the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens with the sunny, happy flowers such as the zinnias. This garden Shangri-La doesn’t know that the rest of us have experienced killing frost in our beds.
I can’t resist setting up my paints near the salvias and zinnias during Paint the Town in August. At first glance, zinnias look so uncomplicated, but the photos I took yesterday show a tiny garden of lily-looking florets sprouting out of the middle of the flower.
Each bloom is a universe of colour.
I was travelling light today and brought just a sketchbook and a fat marker. I had no chair or support for my sketchbook and stood while drawing. It was a bit awkward, but gave me a good vantage point for eye-level flowers.
Later, at home, I added watercolour to my drawings.
Painting or drawing a flower helps me to get to know its uniqueness better. I learn more about the shape, the veins in the leaves, the petal details, the way the flower leans.
I enjoy capturing the movement and the joy of these outrageously colourful and happy flowers. I painted these Zinnias a month ago during Paint the Town. All were auctioned and are blooming on walls somewhere.