Updated: Jun 7, 2021
My biggest muse or inspiration for my art has always been flowers, and May has turned out to be a fabulous month for a garden show!
It’s true, I’m slightly obsessed! I think this must stem from my childhood and I know I’m lucky that I inherited a green thumb from both sides of my family. When I was young I remember my maternal grandfather tending to his rose garden as well as my father creating beautiful garden beds out of nothing, and then designing them around color and shapes.
English gardens (aka cottage gardens) are my favorite type probably because I lived in Ireland and England as a child and I have such fond memories of the flowers there. Walking to school along a path that was flooded with hollyhocks and foxgloves as they would grow wild - they seemed so tall back then (I’m sure I was about 5). Gathering rose petals and making perfume into little jars with my older sister!
Coastal California has a similar climate to the UK so a lot of my favorites grow well here and I am starting to build up different gardens. I have 2 English gardens right now that I love!
One is outside my art studio and is filled with foxgloves that have reseeded and spread, among lavender, poppies, yarrow, and verbascum.
And the other is a beautiful rose garden mixed in with some sweet peas, salvia, dahlias, and scabiosa. I am the proud owner of 12 rose bushes! Each year I add 1-2 David Austin roses (thank you Joyce!) as they are my favorite brand. I order direct as their roses always arrive in great condition, they may be a few $ more but are worth every penny. I have a few roses that are similar to peonies (which is the one flower I cannot grow and wish I could – not cold enough here!).
I also started a new garden this year! Filled with daffodils, a magnolia tree, and 15 dahlias from Swan Island that my mom gifted me for Christmas. They are about 6” right now and the last one finally popped through the ground. The outer edges of this garden are surrounded by purple echium (Pride of Madeira) which I LOVE. They are just about done blooming. For 2 months it’s a feast for the bees and the hummingbirds. They grow wild here, hardly need water, and reseed everywhere.
Luckily my hubby, Mark also loves gardens! His taste is much more tropical (which I also love) so as I tend to my pretty petals he is busy planting palm trees, bougainvillea, ferns, and succulents.
Every morning when the sun comes up I go and check on all the flowers, see what is growing, what damage the snails have done, and cross my fingers that the gophers have not wolfed down another one of my favorite plants!
I also wanted to share this beautiful poem from Mary Oliver
Freshen the Flowers, She Said
So I put them in the sink, for the cool porcelain
and took out the tattered and cut each stem
on a slant,
trimmed the black and raggy leaves, and set them all-
roses, delphiniums, daisies, iris, lilies,
and more whose names I don’t know, in bright new water-
a bounce upward at the end to let them take
their own choice of position, the wheels, the spurs
the little sheds of the buds. It took, to do this,
perhaps fifteen minutes
Fifteen minutes of music
with nothing playing.
Sending you love + light,