Haunting Forest Hills Cemetery with Photographer Liz Kelleher…

October 30th, 2009 § 5

Liz Forest Hills 'Meet Me at the Cemetery Gates'

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.      Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?”                                              – Edgar Allan Poe,  Premature Burial,  1844

Liz Forest Hills 'Double Cross'

In celebration of All Hallows’ Eve, The Gardener’s Eden proudly presents a ghostly photographic tour of the Forest Hills Cemetery through the eyes of artist Liz Kelleher. No Halloween ever feels complete without a twilight stroll through a shadowy, mysterious graveyard. And what better haunt than a lonely old cemetery in the heart of New England?

Welcome to Forest Hills Cemetery, located in a quiet corner of Boston, Massachusetts. This historic, Victorian-style landmark was designed in 1848. Planned and operated as a living-memorial, Forest Hills Cemetery is an active burial ground within a magnificent 275 acre landscape. Today this beautiful and haunting place serves many purposes. The cemetery includes an impressive arboretum, winding paths, modern and historic sculpture and a quiet body of water known as Lake Hibiscus. As an outdoor museum, the cemetery gives us a glimpse into another world – a time long gone. Perhaps overshadowed by the far more famous Mt. Auburn Cemetery in nearby Cambridge, this somewhat forgotten and always eerie ‘garden of memories’ is also the eternal home and final resting place of many historic Boston figures. These souls include activists, (such as William Lloyd Garrison and Lucy Stone), poets, playwrights, (including Anne Sexton, ee cummings, Eugene O’Neil and Martin Milmore), and other famous, late-citizens of New England…

Liz Forest Hills 'Red Death'

Liz K. Late Bloom Among the Late Citizens

So now… Take Liz’s hand as she drifts through the empty garden. Brush close against the cold tombs, like the ivy and hydrangea, which caress the solemn angels as they silently guard the spirits within the iron gate. What souls watch as we make our way past the towering celtic crosses, tiny headstones and lost lambs? Can you hear the long ago voices in the whispering wind and the callous croaking of the crow? Watch as ancient trees bow down; hovering above the chilly, stone-mourners as their shadows elongate; reaching toward the grand arch; grasping desperately at the last rays of light…

Liz Forest Hills Stone Flower

Liz Forest Hills 'Eroded Lily'

Liz Forest Hills 'Tree upon Tree'

Liz Forest Hills 'Mourn'

Liz Forest Hills 'Tiny Girl and Her Long Shadow'

Liz Forest Hills 'Sanders'

Liz Forest Hills 'Cornelia'

Liz Forest Hills 1

Liz Forest Hills 'Gleam'

Happy Haunting My Friends…

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All photography in this post is copyright Liz Kelleher, used here with permission, courtesy of the artist

View the complete photo set at Liz Kelleher’s Flickr Page by clicking here.

For more information about Liz and her work, please visit her blog  …….  Lizkdc Dislocation

Learn more about Forest Hills Cemetery and upcoming events by visiting ….  The Forest Hills Educational Trust here.

***

Article copyright 2009 Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced for any reason without written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

***

Bringing Nature’s Beauty Indoors: Dried Flowers and Grasses Catch Light and Play with Shadows…

October 30th, 2009 § 1

dried queen annes lace

Dried flower heads from a field of Queen Anne’s lace sparkle against frosted glass…

The last days of October have arrived and the natural world outside my door is slowly bleaching, bronzing and browning to a warm patina. Gorgeous distractions demand my attention at every corner. Still, there is much work to be done in the garden before winter arrives – so I wander about the flower beds daily, preparing for next season’s long slumber. As I gather up pots, toss spent annuals, and attend to various autumn gardening tasks, warm rays of sunlight illuminate ornamental grass and dried flowers, highlighting their texture and form. The stark and skeletal remains of Queen Anne’s Lace and the honey colored needles of Amsonia hubrichtii seem to call out for individual attention. As I work I often collect some of nature’s gifts for indoor display. Placed in delicate vases without water, these bits of frilly, feathery foliage will last for weeks on table and desk tops, where they sparkle in the late afternoon sun as I write. Larger souvenirs from my garden, (such as Hydrangea paniculata and Miscanthus sinensis), fill Aletha Soule’s vasesRichard Foye’s vessels and various old, terracotta urns placed near brightly lit windows and doors where they catch the long, golden light.

Now is the perfect time to collect ornamental grass and dried flowers by the armful. Gathered garden remnants can be hung upside down from attic beams and garage rafters to be used later for wreaths and table displays throughout the winter months…

Amsonia in Vase

Golden Amsonia hubrichtii sings in blue blown-glass…

Native Hair Grass

Deschampsia flexuosa, (Common hair grass), from the meadow catches light in my kitchen on a late afternoon. Raku vessel by Richard Foye.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in an Aletha Soule gunmetal glaze pitcher…

Miscanthus sinensis strictus (Porcupine grass)

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’, (Porcupine grass), in a urn by the studio door…

R Foye Urn in studio

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurascens’, (Flame grass), in a Richard Foye urn beside the patio door…

***

Article and photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without express written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

***

Art Inspired by Nature: The Astonishing Work of Sculptor Michelle Holzapfel…

October 28th, 2009 § 3

Michelle Holzapfel, Linfold Vase, Walnut Log, 2007

Michelle Holzapfel, Linfold Vase, 2007, carved from a single walnut log

Michelle Holzapfel, Black and White Bowl, 2003,Contemporary Museum HI

Michelle Holzapfel, Black and White Bowl, 2003, Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI

A couple of weekends ago, my new friends Michelle and David Holzapfel kindly accepted my request for an interview for The Gardener’s Eden, ‘Art Inspired by Nature’ series, and tour of their studio in southern Vermont. Although we have friends in common, and I have long admired their work, until a few short weeks ago I never had the opportunity to meet the Holzapfels in person. Sadly, this is often the case with artists. Constantly occupied with the creation of our own art and busy with the work of life and making a living, we can often be more separated by time than physical space. One of the great pleasures of this new weekly series, ‘Art Inspired by Nature‘, is the opportunity to meet other artists and make new friends. I hope that all of you are enjoying the scenic, natural art tour along the way. Although I originally intended to include the work of both Holzapfels in this week’s feature, it quickly became clear that this would not be fair to either artist. There is simply too much that I must share with you – and so, this installment will be revealed over the course of two weeks.

So, let me first introduce sculptor Michelle Holzapfel – this week’s featured artist inspired by nature. Michelle’s amazing artwork may be found in public collections including the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY; and many more public and private collections throughout the world. In addition, this month and throughout the coming weeks of November, Michelle Holzapfel’s work is on display in Los Angeles, California in a solo show at the del Mano Gallery. ‘Lost and Found‘ will be on view at the gallery from October 24 – November 21, 2009. If you are in the LA area, please stop by the del Mano Gallery to see Michelle’s incredible artwork. However, should you find yourself wandering the scenic roads of New England, a visit to the Applewoods Studio, (the Holzapfel’s personal gallery), for a look at both their work and process, is highly recommended…

Holzapfel studio forest birch trees

The paper birch grove in the forest beyond the Applewoods Studio

Michelle Holzapfel, Natural Pilgrim, 1991, Birch Burl

Michelle Holzapfel, Natural Pilgrim, 1991, Birch Burl

Many artists are inspired by nature, but for Michelle Holzapfel, nature is truly an inseparable part of her creative process. During my dialogue with the artist, I discovered that there are two distinct ways in which she works with her natural material of choice – wood. Sometimes Michelle will use softwood, (usually the woodcarver’s traditional basswood), to impose her own will upon the material. On these occasions, Michelle has a great deal of freedom to manipulate the wood according to her own plan, (and the end results often bear little resemblance to the original material itself). Other times, Michelle works with hardwood burls. This process is quite different, as hardwood burls are very dense and carry a will all their own. Finally in some of her more fascinating pieces, Michelle combines both types of material and processes to create modern masterpieces inspired not only by nature, but human struggles and triumphs as well.

For Michelle Holzapfel, the act of physically creating art always begins with natural materials. A great many of Michelle’s pieces, particularly her vessels, are made from hardwood burls. The burls Michelle uses come from trees native to the Northeastern United States; in fact most are harvested locally in Vermont. Perhaps you have noticed bulging areas on forest tree-trunks, when walking through the woods in autumn and winter, (see second photo below). These bulges, or burls as they are commonly called, are caused by a virus. As a tree develops, these wart-like growths, and the resulting fiber adaptations in the trunk or branch, form unusual patterns – beautiful, swirling lines in the wood. Michelle’s burls are collected, (often discovered by local woodsmen working in the forest), and air dried for years in a storage shed, until inspiration strikes and she brings them into her studio shop to begin  work…

Holzapfel studio burls

Michelle uses a chain saw to separate the burl from the log and to rough cut the form she envisions from the wood. If she is creating a bowl or vessel, Michelle works a hollow in the wood using a lathe. However, Michelle does not use a traditional wood-turners lathe – instead the tool she uses was actually intended for metalwork, and was built by her artisan father, Jean Baptiste Ovila Chasse…

chainsawlathe

Michelle’s chain saw and lathe, photo, © David Holzapfel, courtesy Applewoods Studio

From this point on, Michelle’s work may proceed in many directions, as vision and inspiration guide her. Her themes vary from the modern domestic to the roots of western civilization and Greek myth. Some of her pieces require the use of power tools including saws, grinders and/or traditional hand-carving tools, (see photos of her studio table below). Some works marry hardwood vessels with soft, intricately carved basswood components to form complex, richly textured sculpture. Other pieces incorporate sewing, pyrography, (‘tattooing’ or burning of the wood), bleaching, polishing, staining and/or painting, oiling, and even the inclusion of objects, such as the padlock worked into ‘Lockhart’, featured in the third photo below…

Michelle Holzapfel work studio

Holzapfel studio, Michelle's work room

Michelle Holzapfel, Lockhart, 2002, maple burl

Michelle Holzapfel, Lockhart, 2002, Maple Burl

As I walked through Michelle’s workspace, and the Applewoods Studio gallery room, I needed to constantly remind myself – “this is not paper, not fabric, not wicker, not yarn –  this is wood “. My inexperienced eyes were easily betrayed by the exquisitely manipulated objects set before me. Michelle is a rare artist. She is an accomplished, visionary sculptor with a unique, personal language, and a highly skilled master craftsperson. In today’s art world, this combination is near extinct. The time, discipline and dedication required to reach Michelle Holzapfel’s level of technical mastery is uncommon – and breathtaking to encounter. More than thirty years of self guided study and studio experience has given Michelle the skill and versatility to express her artistic vision in pieces that are both technically remarkable and freely, often playfully, executed…

Michelle Holzapfel, Aegina Bowl, 1993, Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Michelle Holzapfel, Aegina Bowl, 1993, Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Michelle Holzapfel, Four Panel Tatoo Vessel, 2007, Basswood, Pyrography, Gilding, Stiched with Waxed Linen Thread

Michelle Holzapfel, Four-Panel Tattoo Vessel, 2007, Basswood, Pyrography, Gilding, and Waxed Linen Thread

Holzapfel, Michelle detail of work

Detail of sewing on Michelle’s four-panel tattoo vessel

Michelle Holzapfel, Fibonacci Vase, 1991, Maple

Michelle Holzapfel, Fibonacci Vase, 1991, Maple

Michelle Holzapfel, Autumn, 2003, Walnut and Basswood

Michelle Holzapfel, Autumn, 2003, Walnut and Basswood

Michelle Holzapfel, Knitting Basket, 1993, Native Hardwoods and Ebony

Michelle Holzapfel, Knitting Basket, 1993, Native Hardwoods and Ebony

A visit to the Applewoods Studio is a delightful experience. Located on scenic Route 9 in Marlboro, Vermont, the artistic haven of Michelle and David Holzapfel is surrounded by natural beauty. The gardens and forest beyond their workspace also reflect this couple’s deep respect for the natural world and all of its beauty. A handmade gate swings open a wooden screen dividing public and private space – leading down a quiet corridor to a garden filled with perennials, sculpture and walls built by fellow-artist Dan Snow. A surprised and delighted expression on one of the backyard trees mirrored my own response when I spotted the glorious stand of paper birch lighting the Holzapfel’s meadow with amber colored foliage…

Holzapfel studio garden

Holzapfel garden

Holzapfel tree face

Holzapfel long birches

The Holzapfels introduced me to their work in an unhurried half-day filled with tea, homemade muffins and a garden walk. Sadly, I can not possibly do justice to Michelle’s talents, let alone cover the work of both artists, in this brief post, (I did quite a bit of whittling myself to edit this story down!). Michelle’s husband, David Holzapfel is also a remarkable artist and craftsperson – I will be sharing a bit about his creative process, along with photographs of his work in an upcoming post. Occasionally, these two artists create remarkable collaborative works. These pieces include stunning vessels, such as the two pictured below, (photographed by David in their beautiful birch stand). These one-of-a-kind pieces may hold autumn leaves, hydrangea, pussy willows, berry clad branches and other dried ornaments. The Holzapfels work may be seen and/or purchased at Applewoods Studio, open to visitors during studio hours listed on their website, and by appointment…

Vessel, Red Maple Burl, 10"h x 11 x 3"

Michelle and David Holzapfel vessel, red maple burl, 10″ x 11″ x 3″

David:Michelle Holzapfel vessel, spalted yellow birch, 14" x 8 x 4

Michelle and David Holzapfel vessel, spalted yellow birch, 14″ x 8″ x 4″

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For further information about Michelle Hozapfel’s work and her process, or to inquire about purchasing or commissioning a work of art, please visit:

Michelle Holzapfel: Applewoods Studio

All photographs of Michelle Holzapfel’s work, and the collaborative piece, featured here were provided by Applewoods Studio, © David Holzapfel, and may not be used or reproduced without permission of Applewoods Studio, (see contact above).

Thank you Michelle and David for your kind and generous hospitality and new friendship.

All other photographs are copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission.

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the sole property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without permission. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

***

Late Autumn Texture Studies, Part One: Plants Sparkling with Sugary Frost…

October 26th, 2009 § 4

Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ – Sweet Treat of the Sugar Plum Fairy…

Jack Frost and the Sugar Plum Fairy had a party in my garden the other night.     I wasn’t invited. But my naughty guests did leave behind plenty of outrageous evidence and a few party favors. In the morning I awoke to find powdered-sugar puffs, candied flower petals, jimmie-sprinkled leaves, fruity rock candy and other champagne-sprayed remnants from their chilly midnight ball. It seems that I missed quite the soiree. Everywhere, just everywhere – glittery bits of lace and satin laid strewn about the walkways and flower beds. As I wandered through the empty garden rooms, scantily-clad branches shamelessly greeted sunrise – all flaunting sheer, sparkling robes. Why, even the walls and cars were dotted by crystal-confetti and draped with jewel-encrusted sashes.

Shocked? You shouldn’t be. This happens every year – sometimes without warning. I’m sure Mr. Frost and and his cool band of gypsies have traipsed through your neighborhood at one time or another. Jack and his lady-friend Sugar really get around, especially at this time of year. While it’s true that I once despised these uninvited hedonists, (blind, all I could see was the mess and the waste), I slowly came to my senses. Who am I to spoil the fun? So I casually began to set the stage for their late-night romp and revelry, waiting for a response. I filled my garden with soft pillows of downy foliage and feathery decorations, paying close attention to texture and detail. Jack is fond of lace and velvet, and Sugar seems to have a thing for candy colored decor. I noticed by the first autumn that they were paying attention to my newfound efforts. My late-night guests left me a beautiful thank you note in a sparkling envelope of glitter.

Jack Frost and the Sugar Plum Fairy have really grown on me. These days I find myself anticipating their arrival. Although I have never seen their chilly white fingers and toes as they dance about caressing my garden, evidence of their gratitude grows each year. Living vicariously through abandoned voile and tulle, I edge my pathways with velveteen lambs ears and lady’s mantle, taking care to carpet the garden floor with wooly thyme and delicate moss. Screens of ornamental grass seem particularly popular during these freezing midnight balls, as do the dried-flower arrangements I always leave standing as a welcome. I have noticed that Sugar is especially fond of plum colored sedum, purply coral bells and richly colored berries. Of course Jack Frost charms all the ladies in my garden, both the smooth and the more rough-around the edges. But he seems to spend most of his time with the the fashionistas – The Bells of Ireland, Liatris, Black-eyed Susan, and of course Queen Anne and her lace.

Yes it’s true – I am still just the party planner. No one has requested my RSVP. Jack and Sugar seem more than content with our anonymous arrangements. But how can I complain? For now I drift to sleep on frigid autumn nights, snug with sweet dreams of their wild comings and goings –  fantasizing about what I will find with the sunrise…

Below you may find some inspiration for your own late-night party decor – and there’s plenty more to come…

Alchemilla mollis, (Lady’s mantle), is always a hit with Jack and Sugar

Heuchera micrantha var. diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’  looks a bit like a sugar plum herself

Rudbeckia hirta obviously did some dancing at the late night hoar frost this October

Alchemilla mollis – Lady’s mantle leaf-edge, here enhanced with cold crystals

Heuchera ‘Green Spice’, kissed by the Sugar Plum Fairy

Ajuga reptans ‘Brocade’ with a smattering of sugar jimmies

Acer griseum – Paperbark maple leaf with delicate ice crystals

Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’, (Japanese dwarf garden juniper), lured Jack in with her texture

A warm honey Beech leaf glistens in early light on the morning after the first hard freeze

In the soft morning light, Lupine seedlings shine like misplaced rhinestone pins

Rudbeckia hirta after a late-night rendezvous with Mr. Frost

Allegheny spurge leaves, (Pachysandra procumbens), glisten like salted caramels after the party

Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’  – Sage with an icy crust

Thymus pseudolanuginosus –  a carpet of wooly thyme, sugared with sweetness

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Article & Photographs ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Great! Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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Autumn Brilliance Part Three: Plant Partners for the Late Show and Early Winter Marquee…

October 23rd, 2009 Comments Off

Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’ in late October

By late October, much of the foliage in the forest surrounding my garden has passed its peak. Although the woods are still basking in the glow of golden birch and poplar, lemony striped maple, rusty red oak and amber colored beech –  the vibrant orange and red maple leaves are now carpeting the woodland paths, where they rustle in the wind and crunch beneath my feet. Walks through the forest in late autumn are a fragrant affair; scented with musky dampness and memories. There is a beautiful sadness in the woods at this time of year – a melancholy enhanced by frequently-foggy mornings and low-lit afternoons…

Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’ foliage in late October

In my garden, most flowers vanished with the recent hard frost – but the ornamental fruit and foliage, stars of autumn’s late-show, are still going strong. Now through mid November, the leading role belongs to my favorite tree, Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’. This Japanese maple, commonly known as ‘The Blue-Green Dragon’, (currently the only upright dissected-leaf cultivar), is planted at the bottom edge of a slope near my studio where it arches over the Secret Garden door. The Blue-Green Dragon is prized for its lacy, delicately cut foliage and its late season color. A true chameleon, this dragon changes from sea-green to golden chartreuse before lighting a brilliant blaze of orange. Finally, in mid November, the dragon’s heat simmers down to a coppery hue as her leaves slowly drop to the hidden walkway below. Nearby, Daphne x burkwoodii, ‘Carol Mackie’, has begun her own transformation; morphing from variegated green and white to a citrusy blend of lemon yellow, sweet orange and sour lime. The contrast between these two plants is particularly stunning in the last week of October and the first few days of November. Closer to ground-level, Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, planted at the foot of the entry wall to the Secret Garden, shines like a candy apple. Glossy green and elegant during the summer months, by late autumn Bergenia’s foliage has shifted hues from green to orange to cherry red – until finally settling on the ruby-wine color she will hold throughout the early winter months….

Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’

Secret Garden door in October

Further along the garden path, nestled into the nooks and crannies between ledgy outcrops bordering the main garden entrance, Calluna and Erica have begun to turn up their heat just as temperatures here dip below freezing. Calluna vulgaris ‘Multicolor’ has shifted to a shocking shade of vermillion, emphasized by the contrasting blue-tinted foliage of nearby Calluna vulgaris ‘Silver Knight’ and Juniperous horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’. Tiny lavender blossoms continue to flush the tips of the ‘Silver Knight’ heather, in spite of the cold – I gather them up in tiny bouquets for my kitchen table.

Ground covering woody plants, such as Calluna, Erica, Stephanadra, and Cotoneaster, offer vibrant late season color that combines well with with a wide variety of evergreens. Some of my favorites include juniper, (of all sizes and habits), Siberian cypress, (Microbiota), hemlock, (Tsuga), spruce, (Abies) and yew (Taxus). Blue-green masses of foliage and bronzing needle tips provide a soothing foreground or lush, calm backdrop for the more intense, late -autumnal hues in perennial and shrub borders…

Calluna vulgaris ‘Multicolor’ and ‘Silver Knight’, planted with Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’, (Blue rug), along the ledgy walkway at Ferncliff…

Calluna vulgaris ‘Multicolor’, forms a blazing carpet against the gray ledge in late October…

Juniperus squamata ‘Holger’, along the Secret Garden steps in October

Stephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’ glows golden-orange against the gray stone wall steps in late October

Stephanandra incisa and Juniperus Pfitzeriana ‘Aurea’ make a beautiful autumn pairing…

Of course fruiting shrubs and trees play an important role in my garden at this time of year and throughout the winter months. Yes, I fully admit to an obsession with colored berries. I collect and treasure fruiting shrubs for their shimmering, confetti-dot effect. While these plants are a feast for the eyes as winter draws near and color grows scarce, more importantly, their berries provide natural food for birds including the finch, cedar wax wings, cardinals and many others. As mentioned in my previous posts, (Autumn Brilliance Part One and also Autumn Brilliance Part Two), Callicarpa dichotoma and Viburnum, including the black-fruited V. carlesii, (Korean spice viburnum), provide berries for many of my feathered friends. As late fall shifts to early winter, other fruiting plants, such as Cotoneaster, begin to stand out in the garden. Ground-hugging Cotoneaster is a great partner for stonewalls, particularly in late autumn, when the bright red fruit and rusty foliage radiates in vibrant contrast to the rock’s cool, gray surface. I like to combine horizontal juniper cultivars with Cotoneaster, allowing both to trail down the side of retaining walls. Bright blue juniper berries sparkle on frosty mornings until they are devoured by hungry chipmunks and song sparrows. Ilex verticillata ‘Red sprite, a long-standing winter favorite, is just beginning its show-stopping performance. This mass of winterberry in my entry garden never fails to lift my spirits during the cold, raw days of late November. In the foreground, blue-tinted Juniperus chinensis ‘Sargentii’ enhances the orange-red brilliance of the berries and the beautiful gray-tones of Dan Snow’s stone wall rise up from behind. When snow finally dusts the winterberry branches, the red fruits float like cherries in a bowl of cream…

Ilex verticillata, and Juniper Sargent in October

Ilex verticillata ‘Red sprite’ with Juniperus chinensis ‘Sargentii’ in late October

Ilex verticillata 'Red sprite' close-up

Ilex verticillata ‘Red sprite’ with Juniperus chinensis ‘Sargentti’ in late October

Juniperus squamata ‘Holger’ and Thymus

Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Eichholz’s, leaves turn burgundy red after the hard frost in October

This Juniperus horizontalis provides blue berries in addition to sea green foliage

Viburnum carlesii, (Korean Spice Viburnum), provides late autumn foliage and black fruit. A small sized shrub, (3′ x 3′), Korean Spice Viburnum is generous with her fragrant flowers in spring…

Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’, shown in an earlier post with golden foliage, is pictured after the hard frost in late October- looking even more magical than before…

Rich brown and subtle bronze tones also begin to appear in the late season, creating opportunities for harmonious pairings with brightly colored foliage and fruit. The cobalt violet hue of Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’ berries, (above), seems even brighter once the shrub’s foliage turns a warm copper brown. Likewise, Microbiota decussata, (Siberian cypress), slowly burnishes from forest green to warm bronze as temperatures dip, playing beautifully against the orange-chartreuse tones of nearby moss and the pyrotechnic-color display of Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Red Bells’, planted at the corner of the walkway…

Microbiota, Thyme, Moss, Path to Northwest meadow in autumn

Microbiota decussata, (Siberian cypress), with Thyme and Moss on the path to the Northwest meadow in October…

Enkianthus companulatus ‘Red Bells’, in October

Microbiota decussata, autumn color close-up

Northwest path to the meadow with a view of amber colored beech in the distance

Although most of the flowers in my garden have faded away, some, such as Geranium ‘Brookside’, continue to surprise me past the first few frosts. When a fuchsia veined, blue-violet bloom appears amid the bright orange and yellow leaves of this gorgeous cranesbill, it can light up a gray October day almost as brightly as the sun. Placed near the golden autumn foliage of Amsonia illustris‘, this plant can easily stop me in my tracks with or without her stunning flowers. The dark hues of Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ foliage, (or P. opulifolius ‘Summer wine’, or ‘Coppertinia’), pair nicely with these brighter plants, as do many ornamental grasses, dark violet colored sedum and verdigris tinted juniper…

Geranium ‘Brookside’ foliage turns brilliant orange and scarlet. and continues to produce violet blue blossoms with fuscia veins well past the hard frost…

Amsonia illustris, in the entry walk – golden autumn color enhanced by the late frost and nearby orange-hued ornamental grasses in October

Physocarpus 'Diablo' color variation 2

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ foliage color, varies from deep oxblood red…

Physocarpus 'Diablo' color variation

to burnished amber…

May the colors of late autumn lift your spirits and encourage you to venture out into the garden with an eye toward extending the season. With a bit of effort and planning, almost any patch of earth can provide a season-spanning garden, filled with color and texture throughout the year. I will meet you back here in just a bit, with more design inspiration for the coming months…

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Article and photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the sole property of The Gardner’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without express, written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

***

Art Inspired by Nature: The Multitalented Amy McCoy…

October 21st, 2009 Comments Off

LaForestaPiccola1ALM

Photograph copyright Amy McCoy

Most people consider themselves lucky if they discover one hidden, creative talent in a lifetime. But for some fortunate individuals, creativity and artistic expression seem to flow effortlessly from a bottomless well. Rhode Island based photographer, author and cook, Amy McCoy is just such a creative force. Although we have yet to meet in person, (a rendezvous is in the works for later this year), I am wowed by Amy’s many artistic talents and inspired by her ability to lead a rich, creative life on a shoe-string budget. If you have been following this blog for awhile, you might remember my post, “Stop! Put Down That Hoe, Let’s Eat”, written shortly after I discovered Amy’s food blog, ‘Poor Girl Gourmet. The delightful combination of beautiful photography, entertaining prose and delicious-yet-inexpensive recipes makes Amy’s blog an irresistibly sweet mix. And just to add a bit of icing to that cake, Amy recently completed her first, soon-to-be released cookbook -and I for one can’t wait to savor my copy, hot-off-the-press.

For this week’s installment of ‘Art Inspired Nature’ on The Gardener’s Eden, Amy McCoy generously offered to share her gorgeous polaroid transfers- this selection inspired by the Italian landscape, (La Foresta Piccola, and Orvieto). Amy shoots her photographs in 35mm slide format and then has her images developed to polaroid film. This film is peeled-apart to create her beautiful polaroid transfer prints. For further information about Amy, her work, and her artistic process, please visit her Etsy Shop linked here and below, or her blog linked above.

Enjoy the artwork! Thank you for sharing your many talents Amy…

SunflowerOrvieto1ALM

Photograph copyright Amy McCoy

LaForestaPiccola2ALM

Photograph copyright Amy McCoy

OrvietoViaCivitaALM

Photograph copyright Amy McCoy

ViaDiValdorciaALM

Photograph copyright Amy McCoy

SunflowerOrvieto2ALM

Photograph copyright Amy McCoy

Amy McCoy’s framed polaroid transfers are available at her Etsy shop, where a much wider selection of her beautiful artwork may be found:          Phototransfers by Amy McCoy on Etsy, click here!

All photographs in this post are the sole property of Amy McCoy and may not be used or reproduced without written consent

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without express written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

Are you an artist inspired by nature, or do you know one? If you would like your work considered for inclusion in this series, please email your information, attention ‘Michaela’, (see ‘Contact’, page right).  Weekly features include painters, photographers, sculptors, fiber artists and more…

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A Thousand Mothers Set into the Earth: It’s Garlic Planting Season…

October 17th, 2009 § 3

‘German Red ‘ garlic bulb from Wild Shepherd Farm, Athens, Vermont

The ancient Greeks and Romans often called garlic the ‘stinking rose’, and in eastern Europe it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Russian penicillin’. Allium sativium has been praised for it’s worth by many as ‘better than a thousand mothers‘; blamed for bad breath, gas and indigestion, and hailed as a cure for a wide variety of ailments from warts and blood clots to bacterial infections and even cancer. Steeped dramatic folklore, garlic frequently makes an appearance in campy old vampire films as repellent for various creatures of the night, including Count Dracula himself. I sort of like that bit – maybe I will hang a braid on my door for Halloween. But beyond its fantastic ability to ward off the un-dead, for most of us, garlic is simply a delicious culinary staple we can not do without…

Music garlic in bin at festivalAllium sativum, ‘Music’ spills from a harvest basket in Simple Gifts Farm booth        The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival

Two weeks ago I drove to western Massachusetts and spent Sunday, October 4th tasting and buying garlic, talking with local farmers, and rubbing elbows with the talented artisans at The North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival – or as the locals prefer to call it, ‘The festival that stinks’. The Garlic and Arts festival began in 1999 at the Seeds of Solidarity Farm, and is now an annual event held at Forsters Farm field every October in Orange, Massachusetts. This entertaining agricultural, food and craft fair has grown in size and scope over the past decade to become one of the most popular harvest festivals in western New England. Although I originally planned to spend both Saturday and Sunday at the event, October 3rd was something of a wash-out, so my time was somewhat limited. Next year I hope to spend two full days at the festival in order to enjoy it more fully. This year I focused mainly on the agricultural booths selling gourmet garlic, but I did connect with several New England artisans I plan to feature here in the coming months.

Autumn is garlic planting season, and I decided to plant some gourmet cultivars in my potager this fall. While at the North Quabbin festival, I spoke with two garlic growers and sampled the tasty cloves offered to visitors in their stands. My first stop was the, (North Amherst, Massachusetts based), Simple Gifts Farm booth, where the garlic was displayed in overflowing harvest baskets alongside beautiful, organically grown produce. I sidled up to the ‘Music’ garlic plate and read the informational tag:  “Music – Strong producer. Robust, minty flavor”. Mmmmm. The fragrance was pungent and indeed, the taste was slightly minty as I let the clove linger on my palate. This was described as a hardy, soft-neck garlic, (the hardneck varieties have stiff, prominent stems). I put a few bulbs in a bag and moved around the stand looking for the farmer. When I spotted him, he was busy with another customer, so I continued to sample. A jolly, conversational fellow asked if I had seen any ‘German Red’, “It’s the best” he said, “but I don’t see it here“. When the curious shopper noticed my notes, I explained my mission and he suggested I try the ‘Doc’s German’. What a find! The taste of this stiff-neck cultivar is delightfully mild and nutty, and the cloves displayed were large and golden colored. Into the bag with that tasty variety! My final purchase at the stand was recommended by the farmer, Jeremy. I asked if he had a smoky flavored garlic he could suggest for cooking. The variety I sampled, ‘Continental’, is known for retaining its true flavor in high heat. Indeed, the flavor was subtly smoky with a nice sharp finish. He did not have ‘German Red’, but suggested I check at the booth next door.

As it turned out, the next stand was occupied by Wild Shepherd Farm, based in my home state of Vermont. Athens, VT farmers Emily Amanna and David Hassan grow many gourmet varieties of garlic, but specialize in the hardy stiff-neck cultivars which they grow in their sustainable fields. I tasted many of the samples on display in their booth, including the delicious, elusive ‘German Red’ and the hardy ‘Spanish Roja’ varieties I chose to take home to my garden. ‘Spanish Roja’ is an excellent roasting garlic. Raw, the flavor is quite sharp and spicy, but once subjected to heat it mellows and deepens. I am looking forward to experimenting with it in my kitchen. ‘Spanish Roja’ also has a reputation for hardiness and good production – qualities I seek out in this cold climate and short growing season. The wildly popular, and elusive ‘German Red’ cultivar develops a rich, warm flavor when sauteed in olive oil or butter. Raw, the taste is spicy, almost on fire with classic garlic flavor. This variety has become very hard to find, and was sold out in most booths at the festival…

'Spanish Roja' Garlic‘Spanish Roja’ garlic bulb from Wild Shepherd Farm, Athens, Vermont

Continental Garlic‘Continental’ garlic bulb from Simple Gifts Farm, North Amherst, Massachusetts

German Red Garlic‘German Red’ garlic bulb from Wild Shepherd Farm, Athens, Vermont

Doc's German Garlic‘Doc’s German’ garlic bulb from Simple Gifts Farm, North Amherst, Massachusetts

Music Garlic‘Music’ garlic bulb from Simple Gifts Farm, North Amherst Massachusetts

Mid autumn is the best time to plant garlic in New England. I planted my bulbs this weekend. In warmer North American regions, garlic may be planted through early winter. Wherever you garden, it is essential to give garlic bulbs a month or two to establish before the ground freezes. Plant garlic in deep, well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic material. Garlic produces best in full sun but many varieties will tolerate light shade. If you live in a very cold climate, ask a local grower which varieties are performing best in your region. For this reason, I believe it is wise to purchase your garlic bulbs locally whenever possible. Supporting local farmers not only feels good, it supports your overall community and makes sense for you as a gardener. Produce grown locally has been tested by your neighbors and proven successful, so it’s a good investment.

Each Year, I Reserve Some Garlic Bulbs from the Harvest to Replant in Autumn. I Also Add New, Tasty Varieties Found at the Garlic Festival.

Garlic bulbs should be  gently separated into cloves and planted approximately 2″ deep (that is, pointy end up, for you beginners), 6″ or so apart, and watered thoroughly. Good garlic growing companions include lettuce, herbs and beets. When planning your potager, if you practice companion planting methods, it is best to avoid positioning garlic near beans or peas. Crop rotation is always good agricultural practice, so avoid following onion crops with garlic in your vegetable plots.

Break Firm, Good Sized Garlic Bulbs into Cloves and Plant As Described Above with Pointy End Up!

Once planted, if you live in a climate with cold winters, it is very important to mulch your garlic bulbs with straw or ground leaves to protect them from cold. This mulch will be pulled back in early spring, (usually mid-April here), and replaced with a generous layer of compost. Garlic should not be over-watered, and weeding by hand is necessary to avoid damaging the shallow bulbs. Garlic scapes (the curly tips) are traditionally removed in summer to direct energy toward bulb production. Garlic scapes are a gourmet’s delight (read more about using scapes here). Garlic Harvest tends to coincide with the maturity of onion crops here, but in case there is any doubt, look for falling tops and yellowing of the lower leaves. Pull garlic bulbs up with a garden fork and cure them for about two weeks in the sun, (or in a dry protected space like a covered porch). The method is very similar to curing onions, (see my recent post on onions here). Once dry-cured, garlic will store very well in a cool, dark, dry place for up to six months, (depending upon the variety, hard-neck garlic tends to store better than soft-neck varieties).

Wild Shepherd Farmstand at the Garlic FestivalWild Shepherd Farm tasting booth at the Garlic and Arts Festival

Wild Shepherd Farm CardSupport your community farmers – Buy your garlic locally when possible !

Has all of this talk about garlic left you craving the rich, nutty flavor of this delicious herb? Well then, check out this fantastic recipe for Richard Olney’s Garlic Soup, originally from The French Menu Cookbook. I just recently found it on one of my favorite food-blogs, 101 Cookbooks, and it is delicious. What perfect timing! Many thanks to the talented Heidi Swanson for her fantastic food blog and her always perfect, vegetarian recipes.

Here’s to The Thousand Mothers ! Happy planting…

Article and photographs ⓒ 2009 Michaela at TGE

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Great! Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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Art Inspired by Nature – Bill Dwight Introducing the Poet with an iPhone… and ‘The Gardener’s Eden’ radio debut!

October 16th, 2009 § 2

Bill Dwight Autumn Rhapsody in Blue

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Whew, it’s been busy around here lately! ‘Art Inspired by Nature was a bit delayed this week by a rush to get things planted, mulched and finished up in my various garden projects before today’s snow began to fly. Plus, I have some exciting things going on, and some news to share with you. Recently, I was invited to read from The Gardener’s Eden on WHMP Radio, (Serving the Pioneer Valley and Northampton/Amherst five college area in Massachusetts), as part of their new program called ‘Valley Blogs‘. Over the past few weeks WHMP/WRSI, radio host, show producer and engineer extraordinaire, Jaz Tupelo welcomed me into her studio and graciously guided me through my first recording sessions. In spite of my knocking knees and chattering teeth, Jaz miraculously collected enough coherent words to string together a series of audio vignettes from this blog. These blog-clips have been running on the air at WHMP for a couple of weeks now. Soon there will be a link here on the site where you, dear readers, may download selected podcasts of my horticulturally- obsessed ramblings – ‘Art Inspired by Nature‘, so to speak, on the airwaves.

My friendship with Jaz Tupelo, and the debut of The Gardener’s Eden audio-posts on ‘Valley Blogs‘ at WHMP Radio, has connected me to many wonderful new things – one of the most delightful of them being my new friend Bill Dwight. You know how, sometimes when you meet someone, you immediately feel as if you have known them forever? For me, Bill Dwight is one of those people. I am sure many others feel this way about Bill – he’s just that kind of guy. My fondness for Bill actually began before I met him, when I saw some of the stunning photographic images he regularly posts on his Facebook profile. I was immediately smitten with his work. Looking at these spontaneous, gloriously beautiful images was one of those ‘Ah-Ha‘ moments for me. Although I am a painter, I think my work has much in common with Bill’s. I mentioned this perceived simpatico-vision, and my admiration of Bill’s photographs to my friend Jaz Tupelo, producer and “official side kick” of ‘The Bill Dwight Show’ on WHMP radio. After being introduced to Bill,(and his lovely wife Lida), he and I formed something of an artistic-mutual-admiration- society. Not long ago, Bill began using an iPhone photo-ap to capture the world as he sees it on the fly. His Facebook posts have become a virtual electronic art exhibit/visual online journal – and I am a complete groupie. In fact, I could go on and on here; paragraph upon paragraph, talking about Bill and his photos. But I think it is best to sum it up in one sentence: Bill is, quite simply, a poet with an iPhone. I love the way sees our world…

Bill Dwight Autumn Leaf Abstraction

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Bill Dwight leaves in blue

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Bill Dwight, blurred vertical

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Bill Dwight Blurred Autumn

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Bill Dwight Raindrops on Horizontal grass

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Bill Dwight Autumn Leaves and Metal

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

Bill Dwight - leaf and raindrops

Photograph © 2009 Bill Dwight

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The Bill Dwight Show on WHMP radio FM 96.9  AM 1400/1240 Northampton/Amherst Massachusetts

Become a Fan of The Bill Dwight Show Page on Facebook

All photographs featured in this post are the copyrighted property of Bill Dwight, and they may not be used or reproduced without his express permission.

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~ Article copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden ~

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reproduced or used in any way without express written permission. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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Autumn Brilliance Part Two – Plants for Spectacular Fall Color…

October 13th, 2009 § 4

Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’ (Purple Beautyberry)

Could a gardener be diagnosed with OCD if she compulsively checks her ornamental shrubs for changing berry color? Can a collector’s passion for a particularly beautiful cultivar cross the line, where she becomes a stalker of plants? Sometimes I fear I’ve gone too far; slipped off the raft; teetered past the point-of-no-return. But I think you are with me, aren’t you? We can’t help ourselves. The itch simply must be scratched.

I am obsessed with Callicarpa dichotoma, (Purple Beautyberry). Truly, I am. And who wouldn’t be? Her fantastical berries are pure, poetic inspiration; begging to be written into myths and fairy tales. Just look at all that temptingly plump fruit, beckoning the unsuspecting in a glorious shade of shimmering purple. Why I can hear the old witch now… “Come sample the sweet violet berries my pretty.”  *POOF*  Deep sleep for decades. The gullible heroine slowly becomes enmeshed by lacy vines, lost in a trance, awaiting her handsome prince.

For years I have coveted the bright purple fruit of our native American Beautyberry, (Callicarpa americana), but this autumnal prize is hardy only to zone 6. In my desperation, I have killed several plants while attempting to over-winter them here at Ferncliff. Undaunted, I also tried my luck growing Japanese Beautyberry, (Callicarpa japonica), with similar, necrotic results. But last year, just south of here, I was visiting a nursery display-garden when I spotted something that stopped me dead in my tracks. Yellowing leaves, cobalt violet fruits – my heart raced as I rounded the corner and pushed past the browning hydrangea – could it be… ?

Indeed, it was the elusive Callicarpa. Only this time, the shrub I encountered was a hardier member of the family, Purple Beautyberry, (Callicarpa dichotoma). Graceful, arching, elegant in habit, the leaves of the Purple Beautyberry were just turning gold when I met her, highlighting the candy-like quality of her glossy, purple clusters of fruit. There are two excellent C. dichotoma cultivars, ‘Issai’ and ‘Early Amethyst’, both reliably hardy to zone 5. I have been warned to expect a bit of die-back; to be pruned in spring when I fertilize to encourage new growth. I snatched the last ‘Issai’ from my wholesaler’s lot, and placed it carefully in the garden, protected from wind by the American cranberrybush Viburnum, and alongside the blazing fall foliage of fragrant Abelia, (Abelia mosanensis). The color combination is delighting me this October. Will she survive the brutal winter? Only time will tell if Purple Beautyberry is a permanent addition to my garden. But for now, the fantasy is all mine.

So today I will leave you with images of some other bewitching favorites here in my autumn garden. I will elaborate on some of these woody plants over the coming weeks, as I continue to share my favorite design recipes for fall color …

Acer griseum  (Paper bark maple)

The Hay-scented fern, (Dennstaedtia puctilobula), after hard frost

Buddleia davidii, (Orange-Eye Butterfly bush), blooms past the first frost

Abelia mosanensis, (Fragrant abelia), autumn color

Cotinus coggygria, (Smokebush), with a rosy leaf-glow

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ (Peegee Hydrangea)

Hydrangea paniculata, ‘Limelight’, turns mauve-purple in cool weather

Hydrangea quercifolia, (Oakleaf hydrangea), foliage variation

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea), drying flowers

Oxydendrum arboreum, (Sourwood tree), a coveted autumn red hue

Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Seiryu’, (Blue Green Dragon), begins to color

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, all ablaze in backlit orange and scarlet

Vibrant Stewartia pseudocamellia with gilded Rodgersia aesculifolia

Stewartia pseudocamellia, (Japanese stewartia)

Article and Photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden 

All content on this site is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission. Inspired by what you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

Feeling Warm and Fuzzy on a Chilly October Day …

October 9th, 2009 § 3

Acronicta americana – American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Ctenucha virginica – Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Estigmene acrea – Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar

Brrrr. I think it’s officially time to pull out the woollies! There is a damp chill in the air on this gray October morning – it’s a good day to pull out a trusty old mohair sweater. As I stepped outside today, I happened to notice that I’m not the only one donning a few extra layers. On my early walks around the garden this week, I discovered dozens of warm, fuzzy insects dressed up in wooly costumes – all of them decked out in vibrant fall colors. If only I could knit! From spiky and eccentric to elegant and lacy, there is fashionable inspiration everywhere in the garden. Parisian designers – take note!

All of the furry creatures pictured above are moth caterpillars. Aren’t they beautiful? Look at those patterns and colors, (click any photo for a larger view). I am not an entomologist, nor was the study of insects my strongest subject in college, so I needed a bit of help in order to correctly identify each species pictured here. One of my more important gardening goals is to learn more about insects. Not only do I hope to review and enhance my understanding of the allies and enemies I commonly find in my potager, but I also want to better recognize butterfly and moth species by caterpillar – just for the fun of it. If you are looking to quickly identify insects online, a really good insect and spider database, (with useful field photographs), is available from from the University of Iowa Department of Entomology – it’s called Bug Guide . If you live in North America and enjoy butterflies, moths and caterpillars, (and want help learning to identify them specifically), you will also love these websites: Butterflies and Moths of North America and What’s This Caterpillar. There are other useful entomological resources listed on the blog roll at right, under the heading ‘Insects/Entomology’. I think these are great places to bookmark and explore – fun for kids of all ages.

The plant world is also decked out in some textural attire right now. Puffy, fuzzy inflorescences in the garden are all aglow in mauve, taupe and violet. These seductive, smokey hues and intricate details really shine in the early light of day – sparkling and shimmering with morning dew. On damp, rainy mornings I notice the delicate flora are all wearing drops of water like brilliant, crystal-encrusted gowns…

Cotinus coggyria, SmokebushCotinus coggygria (Smokebush)

Miscanthus sinensis ‘purpurascens’ (Flame grass) inflorescence

pennisetum alopecuroides inflorescencePennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ (Fountain grass)

Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ between showers…

cotinus rain dropsCotinus coggygria – wearing a necklace of rain drops…

Article and photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the sole property of The Gardener’s Eden, and may not be used or reproduced for any reason without express, written permission. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond-friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

Art Inspired by Nature: Butterflies, Birds, Bees & Moths – Exploring the Exquisite Work of Cara Enteles…

October 7th, 2009 § 3

Peril detail

Peril in the Branches, (detail), oil on aluminum, 48″ x 72″, © 2009 Cara Enteles

Stop. Behold the fleeting, delicate beauty of a butterfly lighting on flower petals, or the whir and buzz of hummingbirds and bees as they dart about, competing for late season pollen. What an amazing and diverse world we live in. As gardeners we tend to be keenly aware and respectful of the living miracles all around us. Time spent in the garden provides many opportunities for close encounters with spiders, bugs and birds as they instinctively go about their daily tasks. These amazing creatures and their relationships with one another, as well as with humankind, are the subject matter of this week’s  Art Inspired by Nature: The Work of Cara Enteles.

I first encountered Cara’s paintings last summer through the Emily Amy Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia where we are both represented and exhibit. Cara’s work is truly beautiful to behold. Metallic aluminum and transparent acrylic supports enhance the saturated hues, surface, depth and detail of her paintings. Immediately mesmerized by the luminous quality of her work, I found myself further drawn in and captivated by the complexity of her natural themes. After looking closely at Cara’s paintings over the course of time, I was not surprised when she told me that she is an avid gardener. Her work communicates both a rich understanding and respect for the natural world, and a joyous, uninhibited sense of wonder.

Many of us have become deeply and legitimately concerned about shrinking habitat, changing climate, and other ecological imbalances both natural and manmade. Cara’s work speaks to these concerns by exploring the complex relationships between the species in both her ‘Alternative Pollinator’ and ‘Predator and Prey’ series’.  I hope you will make the time to look closely at Cara’s work and to share it with others. Artists of all kinds play an important social role by raising awareness and inspiring action. Cara’s work gives voice to the concerns of the honeybee, the hummingbird, the butterfly and the plants they pollinate; the natural world and web of life, upon which we all depend.

Cara Enteles‘ paintings can be seen in galleries and collections though out the United States, and this month she is participating in Art London with Four Square Arts in the United Kingdom, October 8-12th. The artist divides her time between New York City and her home in Abramsville, Pennsylvania, where she works in her beautiful vegetable garden, pictured below…

~ Click to enlarge any photo ~

Cara Enteles, working bees oil on acrylic sheet 2' x 2' cara enteles

Working Bees, oil on acrylic sheet, 2′ x 2′, © Cara Enteles

Peril in the Branches Oil on Aluminum 48x72 inches

Peril in the Branches, oil on aluminum, 48″ x 72″, © Cara Enteles

Cara Enteles, Alternative Polinators 5, oil on acrylic sheet, 2' x 2', cara enteles

Alternative Pollinators 5, oil on acrylic sheet, 2′ x 2′, © Cara Enteles

Hummingbird Pollinators 2 Oil on Aluminum 26x36 inches lr

Hummingbird Pollinators 2, oil on aluminum, 26″ x 36″, © Cara Enteles

Cara Enteles, The Last Days of Summer, oil on acrylic sheet 36" x 36"

The Last Days of Summer, oil on acrylic sheet, 36″ x 36″, © Cara Enteles

Cara Enteles, Mostly Moths # 3, enamel and oil on aluminum, 48" x 32", Cara Enteles

Mostly Moths #3, enamel and oil on aluminum, 48″ x 32″, © Cara Enteles

Butterfly Installation, oil on aluminum 9' x 3'

Butterfly Installation, oil on aluminum, 9′ x 3′,  ©  Cara Enteles, (detail below)…

Butterfly Installation, detail, oil on aluminum, 9' x 3'

For more information on where to see/acquire Cara’s work, please visit her website: www.caraenteles.com

Thank you so much Cara, for sharing your work !

All artwork displayed on this post is the copyrighted property of Cara Enteles, and may not be reproduced or used in any way without her express written consent.

Cara's garden

~ Cara’s Pennsylvania Vegetable Garden ~

Learn more about protecting the honeybee, birds and nature at these sites:

The Honeybee Conservancy

The National Audubon Society

The Nature Conservancy

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Article copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

Autumn Brilliance: Plants for Spectacular Fall Color, Part One …

October 5th, 2009 § 4

Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’ with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

What an impossibly beautiful morning. The sky is a scraped palette of blue-grey-violet, and the world all around me is a swirling kaleidoscope of orange and chartreuse, scarlet and vermillion, saffron and violet. I began my day with an early walk through the garden – savoring the ephemeral beauty of windflower and monkshood, and the delicate tufts of fountain grass.

My favorite woody plants, autumn’s radiant viburnum, shine against the moody sky as if lit from within. Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey compact’ and V. nudum ‘Winterthur’ are particularly beautiful in early October. In fact, Bailey reminds me a bit of those rainbow colored confections found in old-fashioned candy stores. Do you know the ones I mean… the long, translucent cone with the stick? I can’t recall their name. The spice bush, (Lindera benzoin), has turned lemon-drop yellow, and her neighbor, the Bodnant viburnum, (V. bodnantense ‘Dawn’), is slowly shifting from maraschino to dark-cherry-fizz. But at the moment, the real stand-out in the garden is the flame-grass, (Miscanthus purpurascens). This glorious plant is a giant swirl of orange, yellow and grape hued ribbon, ready to be wound into a psychedelic lolly-pop. Delicious. Perhaps Willy Wonka collected plants in the fields beyond his factory?

And speaking of candy-shops – it seems my garden has turned into a feathered-foodie mecca. Every bird in the forest, from cedar wax-wings and cardinals to finches of every hue, has turned up to feast upon seeds and berries. The tea and nannyberry viburnum, (V. setigerum and V. lentago), are a beautiful sight with their brilliantly colored berries and stems, and the American cranberrybush viburnum, (V. trilobum ‘J.N. Select’ and ‘Baily compact’), is loaded with shimmering red fruit – all bright as gum-drops.

Oh dear. All of this talk about candy is making me hungry. But before I slip away to rustle up some breakfast, I will leave you with some ideas for autumn planting. This month I will be focusing on ornamental trees and shrubs, grasses and perennials for brilliant fall color. Take a peek at some of the colorful plants and combinations here. The key to successful late-season garden design is anticipating the color-shifts of autumn and winter. So let’s have a little fun with garden alchemy, shall we? I’ll meet you back here in just  a bit…

flame grass at edge of north garden : meadow edge 2Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame grass), and Viburnum trilobum, edge the meadow

amsonia, close upAmsonia illustris (Ozark Blue Star), glows against blue-green, ground-hugging juniper

viburnum setigerum, tea viburnumViburnum setigerum, (Tea viburnum), fruit in September

Anemone ‘Serenade’ (Japanese Wind Flower), harmonizes with golden hosta

Berry and stem coloration of North American native Viburnum lentago, (Nannyberry viburnum)

witch hazel 2Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ (Witch Hazel), color variation

witch hazelHamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ (Witch hazel ), color variation

Lespedeza thunbergii bicolor bush cloverLespedeza thunbergii bicolor, (bush clover), provides late-season bloom

autumn color lindera bLindera benzoin (Spice bush), turns lemon yellow in early October

Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' autumn color, companion Lindera benzoinViburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’, shines cherry red against Lindera’s gold

Rosa rugosa hipRosa rugosa’s (Rugosa rose) fruit is a knock-out in September

Viburnum plicatum var tomentosum 'Shasta' begins to colorViburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Shasta’ (Doublefile viburnum)

Lindera b. fall color close upNorth American native Lindera benzoin, (Spice bush)

Viburnum trilobum J.N. Select RedwingViburnum trilobum ‘J.N. Select’ Redwing – American Cranberry Viburnum fruits

Viburnum trilobum JN Select 'Redwing' and Miscanthus purpurascensViburnum trilobum ‘J.N. Select’ Redwing, (American Cranberrybush viburnum), with Miscanthus purpurascens, a radiant combination on a misty morning

amsonia hubrichtiiAmsonia hubrichtii (Thread-leaf Blue Star), a glowing North American native plant

Cornus kousa fruitsCornus kousa, (Korean dogwood), fruit in September, slowly turns from green to scarlet

Humulus lupulus, "aureus'Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ (Golden hops), is bright all season long

Viburnum nudum 'Winterthur'Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’ turns a knock-out red with bright blue fruit

Dryopteris erythrosora autumn fern  'Brilliance'Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’, (Autumn fern), is one of the stars of late-season shade

entry walk, viburnum, miscanthus, lindera b, viburnum b, autumn perennialsEntry garden: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’, Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact, groundcover ajuga reptans,’Brocade’Background: Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Fothergilla gardenii, (still green), Lindera benzoin,(gold), Cornus kousa. Background perennials: Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Rudbeckia hirta.

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For more on ornamental grass, see ‘Autumn and Everything After‘…

Article and Photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

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