May 6, 2014

More signs of spring

I was very excited to see the first snowdrop bloom in my garden today. I planted two different kinds of snowdrops in the fall. What a little beauty this one is. I can't wait to see the others.

I added about 300 bulbs to my flowerbeds this past autumn, so many that I've actually forgotten where I planted some of them. I tried to be organized. As I was planting them, I scribbled codes on the bulb packets to remind me where they were. Some are very clear to me. 'FR' is front yard.  'EMCH' means in the garden beds that belong to Emma and Chloé. 'DR' is the flowerbed that's visible from the dining room window. I can't for the life of me think of what 'LW' refers to. My daughter Chloé who is our resident comedian said that's easy. She said "Length times width gives you the area of the garden. They are somewhere in the garden." Thanks, sweetheart! Very helpful! Oh well, it's fun to see where things are popping up. :)

My first crocus bloomed almost four weeks ago. For the past few years, I have had pale yellow and purple striped crocuses in our front yard. I added a mix of crocus bulbs in the autumn so some of them have been wonderful surprises like these spiky white ones. The front beds have had a month-long show of beautiful crocus colour. They've been helped by the cool spring weather we've been having. A month of crocuses. They make my heart happy.

These gorgeous little pink tulips are new additions in my side garden. They are a dwarf species called Tulipa pulchella. They are native to Iran and Turkey. I absolutely love how they have combined with the Chionodoxa luciliae which have been there for a few years. Perfect marriage! They are planted under my dwarf weeping crabapple which is also showing signs of waking up.

My garden is not the only place with botanical activity. I noticed a welcome sight when I was walking with Meeko through the park across the street today. The trout lilies are in bloom!

Such a graceful, unassuming little flower. They are so close to the ground that it would be easy to miss them if you don't make it a habit to look down and observe. I actually had to kneel down to take this photo as well as some I posted on Instagram. As I was taking the photos, I was fully conscious of this being an area where I regularly see garter snakes. I saw my first snake of the season yesterday. I am not very brave about snakes but the desire to have some closeups of the lilies proved stronger than my fear.

Just to show that I'm not making it up, here's the garter snake I saw today--maybe it's the same fellow from yesterday. My phobia is so strong that it was actually hard to take and post this photo but I am trying to love all of the inhabitants of the woods. My eldest daughter Emma just saw me post this photo and high-fived me for trying to face my fear. :)

While indoors (and there has been plenty of rain in past days to encourage indoor activity), I have been painting and also working on new prints. I have been doing a constellation painting for Emma. She requested it for her 19th birthday which is coming up. I chose constellations that are visible in the northern hemisphere in June as a tribute to her birth. I've posted a couple of photos of it in progress on Instagram if you want to take a look. So much research went into it and I've spent hours placing, drawing and painting each constellation. I hope it does justice to the June night sky and to my wonderful Emma.  

Today I converted my woodpecker feather painting into a print. It took me hours as usual. Two and a half years of creating prints with Photoshop and my Epson printer and I still find the process to be slow and painful. I'm sure my perfectionist tendencies both help and hinder me. I care so much about my prints looking as close as I can make them to the original paintings. I am happy with how this one turned out. I found those woodpecker feathers this past winter in the same little forest that is now full of trout lilies and garter snakes. Everything is connected. 

 Woodpecker feather print


  1. Oh my! Kathleen your garden is such a treasure! The crocuses and the dwarf still my heart! And I so know what you mean about struggling with Photoshop/printer, but the print turned out so beautiful!! xx

    1. Thanks, Annamaria. The garden this time of year is such a joy. Thanks for the Photoshop empathy as well. :)

  2. So many lovely flowers in your garden ! Sometimes I really wish I had even a small balcony, but it's not been in the plans for us, apparently. Anyway, at least I leave gardening to experts like you !
    Your garden is a joy to see !

    1. Thank you, Sonia, and I enjoy the photos you post of flowers and plants you visit in your travels far and near your home. :)

  3. Anonymous2:15 PM EDT

    How strange to think that snowdrops and crocuses are just starting to bloom in your area whereas in my area that have faded long ago. Now, roses have start to bloom. I must say, due to a very kind winter, nature is ahead for one month at least.
    Happy painting to you

    1. Happy painting to you too, Hélène. Our gardens may not be in sync but they are providing inspiration. :)

  4. After such a hard long winter I know how exciting these blooms in your garden are. We had 2 hard winters, but this last one was a breeze, if somewhat soggy. The planting of bulbs is just brilliant, as even with the best planning, they still surprise you in the spring and how welcome they are. If my hawthorn hedge predictor is right ( it had very few blossoms last spring) then we could be in for a hard winter again, it has lots of blossom this year?? I love your feathers, I find them so amazing with the spots on, how brilliant is that :)

    1. I agree, Julie. I think spring bulbs are perfect in so many ways. To plant something with the hope of it blooming so many months later is an act of patience and hope. Our gardens teach us so many things. :) I'm glad your winter was milder. Ours was so long this year. It seemed to take forever to change to spring.

      It was a pleasure to paint those beautiful woodpecker feathers. I have so many of them, I'll have to do another painting some day. :)

  5. I love snowdrops, they are so delicate and cute :-)

  6. Kathleen - such a lovely view of your flowers. Was glad to see your snowdrops blooming...mine are long past and it was nice to revisit them at your home. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's day. Your feather print is awesome...looks like those feathers came from the down woodpecker. Are they not such sweeties!! Have a great day and enjoy your garden.

  7. such a pretty garden.
    we have a few woodpeckers stop by our garden to enjoy the suet baskets, but none have left behind any feathers ~ I wish! your painting is lovely.
    for mother's day I received photo shop ... lots to learn.
    have a wonderful weekend Kathleen.


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