Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, February 22, 2010

Creative Juices Are Refreshing

January 29, 2009 Narcissus 'Jetfire'

My first year of blogging I found inspiration everywhere and all the time! While listening to a political discussion in late 2008 it suddenly hit me that titling a post about removing invasive Lonicera ....The Last days Of Bush ....Honeysuckle....was perfect. It was just enough of an attention grabber and not the least bit controversial! Titles like My Sweet Embraceable You and Pardon My Big Aster were just plain fun to write. Both were inspired by just being in the garden. During those early blogging months it seemed I never went anywhere with out something stimulating those creative juices. When they flow, you can't get to a pen and paper fast enough.

A clever idea from a friend's front garden
It makes a statement!
That's Mr I's Mini, btw.

So Saturday morning I headed out to get a bit of inspiration and possibly a plant or two. The three nurseries I stopped at had absolutely nothing that was interesting! The usual pansies were available~~looking terribly beaten up after two months of frigid weather. There were plenty of yews, Chinese hollies and other evergreens~ but I was hunting color inspiration. " Come back, our new shipment of plants isn't expected for a week to 10 days!" was the refrain. Ten days! That' s forever in gardener years.

While stalking the nurseries in January 2009, I found a perfect double yellow hellebore. Golden Lotus is her name.Golden Lotus is part of the Winter Jewel series from breeder Marietta O'Byrnes. This little beauty stands upright and doesn't require you to lie on the ground to get a good look or take a photo. Isn't she lovely? The entire series is stunning. Some of the best colors I've seen in a hellebore~~apricots, picotees, berries and deep blacks. I was sure hoping the nursery would have them in....talk about a shot of color. They can be a bit pricey so I only treated myself to one last year! What was I thinking...we all know it's better to buy in sets of three, five or seven;)...and with the garden in shades of brown and gray all those delicious colors seem very attractive. So if you want to be inspired~ you can visit the nursery to drool over the photos. Just be prepared to find space in your garden and budget for them.

Very nice, but not a stunning hellebore
Sunday, February 21, 2010

While plants weren't available to tempt me, I did stumble upon a mosaic that caught my fancy while visiting a stone yard. ~~This sun is on the stone gable of the office building. Don't you think it would look delightful on a patio or the right garden wall. I like the notion of creating a half sun at the end of a sidewalk~a stepping off point into the lawn or a garden room?
It reminded of this lovely, old sun carving at the Blithewold Mansion. The rough stone sun is part of the foundation of the mansion. Which is incorporated into the beautiful formal North Garden. Layanee took me to meet Kris/Trench Manicure and see the garden when I was in Providence the fall of 2008. It was beautiful....even after a week of heavy rains. Here's another impressive use of stone~
Again from Blithewold.

But, I digress! On Sunday I had lunch at J Alexander's Restaurant and look what I took home~This is a Polly Cook print from the back of the menu! She's a local artist whose work I have long admired. She works in ceramics and oils. Okay you're wondering, what's so special about this print on the back of a menu? Here's what this non-artist sees! Inspiration! A great mosaic opportunity. The shape of the vase is perfect and those red tulips are exquisite! They already look like pieces of stained glass that have been grouted....and look at those pops of purple for contrast. This would make a wonderful glass on glass still life~I might just have to try it.

The ideas are flowing and the juices are refreshing!

So tell me~What's inspiring you these days?


Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.
- Danny Kaye

February 21, 2010 C&L's first crocus of the season


  1. Inspired by your post to seek out the breathtaking Golden Lotus! And remaining hopeful that my first crocus will pop up in a few weeks...

  2. Just being able to get out into the garden without freezing inspired me to look around this weekend. I found a couple of buds on the hellebore "Prince" and some new shoots trying to emerge on a couple others. This painting is a great inspiration. I wrote about 5 pages in my garden journal yesterday. Chores, ideas, wishes... Yes, it is going to be a fun garden season.

  3. Those hellebores are inspiring, but not enough to lift me from my late winter funk. I will need copious amounts of blooms seen in person, but not from some once-grand home and garden show. I want to see them in my own garden.

  4. Les, I totally understand! Thjis time last year our gardens were popping with beauty! Sigh...soon! gail

  5. I love that stone sun, Gail! I can see you creating something similar in your garden; now where will you put it? And the Golden Lotus is gorgeous! I bought some hellebores last year through a mail order nursery offer, which weren't too pricey. I want to add more, but it will be a slow process as the ones available here give me sticker shock. Beckie and I went to one of our favorite nurseries on Friday, but absolutely nothing is available for sale yet, other than houseplants. Of course, it's far too early to plant anything here, but we could have used a little color therapy:)

    I'm getting inspired right now by my MG classes and lots of books on landscape design. The only problem is I have so many ideas swirling in my head, I can't get them organized:)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Try again....

    Inspired me...yesterday sitting under an oak tree and looking up. The clear, dark, blue sky and the dark leaves created an awe moment.:)

  8. Morning Gail, I will say those two daffodils look like they are talking to each other. hahah. Your yellow Hellebore is lovely, I would want a whole bed of them...if I had a million dollars. (Husband has been singing songs all weekend--not sure how Barenaked Ladies got into his head, but now it is in mine).
    I LOVE that print! it is bold and bright and really nice.

    I find inspiration in a nicely arranged room, making it feel spacious and uncluttered....too into 'staging' the house. blah!! Would rather be in the garden.

  9. I'm smitten with your yellow hellebore:)

    Blithwold, what an interesting name. I would expect a place with that name to be inspirational and beautiful.

    I think bold, bright pictures like yours inspire strong emotions.

  10. The sun, when it comes out, inspires me. :)

  11. Tons of inspiration in your post, dear Gail! I love that painting and see the mosaic to be, the vase of tuplips would be superb, as would the sun in any form anywhere! I love the Danny Kaye quote too, so true. Let's get splattering, after I do the laundry. :-)

  12. Flowers are inspirational. I love that stone sun on the building--been thinking of doing one on my stone path. I finally can see it after two months of heavy snow!.

  13. I'm with Frances! You are today's inspiration. It's still cold and snowy here. Light snow fell Saturday and last night and more in the next few days. We have not made it out of the 30s since the first week of December. So I'm looking at garden catalogs and buying primroses at the grocery store! And counting the days ....

  14. Thank heavens the Hellebore nursery is many miles away so I can avoid temptation. I feel quite proud of myself.
    I like the vase of rocks - a simple idea but so effective.

  15. I just love the mosiac star. What a great idea...you can even set in the floor of a stone deck. As for inspiration, sometimes I have so many ideas that I rush to put them down on paper. That way, I can go to them when I am feeling particularly uninspired.

  16. Envy is my main inspiration killer these days, when I see all the lovely things blooming in places other than here. I mean, HELLO! Daffs in January? JANUARY? That makes me completely empty of ideas, LOL.

  17. How unusual a yellow hellebore not sure if I like it or not i'll have to think about that one.

  18. Gail - THAT is the perfect yellow! Okay, now I must find that hellebore. You've inspired me! Why can't we find more perfect yellows (instead of school bus yellow)? The yellow has given me inspiration to write a blog story.

    There's nothing outside right now and I've not been venturing to the garden centers for anything but hard materials (rocks, pipe, etc.)

    I have to look through my photos from 2009 to find blog material!

    However, I have several new freelance writing gigs that require some research. One gig is for a garden center mag, so I've been researching the plant for that assignment and now I want one... or two!


  19. Having lain on my belly today to get a shot of my hellebores, I appreciate what you said about the ones that look upward. I would love Golden Lotus, but i haven't seen any around here. I'll be on the lookout! Also, I really like that stone sun at Blithewold Mansion. That is inspirational.

  20. I had to come back for a second look at the Hellebore -- Golden Lotus is a beauty. Sometimes I feel like the only gardener in the world without a Hellebore but am content to see them in the garden of others -- that one however is a must-have.

  21. Oh boy, now here I go wanting to blow an entire years gardening budget on one hellebore. And the slugs and snails will probably eat it first....



  22. Gail, That yellow hellebore is stunning. I have a feeling it's probably not a species that will grow in Zone 4/5, but if it turns out that it does, that will be inspiration for me! Spring is still pretty far away here, so I'm getting my inspiration from the blogs of my more southerly virtual friends. -Jean

  23. Gail: That is too funny that we both mentioned Blithewold in our today posts. I had forgotten that mosaic stone in the North Garden and it is very much like the facade mosaic. Love those hellebores and that print. My creative juices are a bit dried out but this post of yours will help.

  24. Those hellebores were great, especially the yellow! And congrats on finding the first crocus of the year...that should definitely be some inspiration!

  25. I'm eager to see the mosaic you create based on the painting ... I like that artist!

  26. My inspiration is coming from garden books during these last chilly days of winter. Also from lovely blog posts like this one. :-)

  27. That old sun carving with the moss growing all over it somehow makes me sigh with pleasure, and I'm not even sure why. Something about it is just *right*.

    What a lovely first crocus! And that upright hellebore is a dream. I've been avoiding the nurseries so far this year -- afraid I'll blow my budget early. ;)

  28. Congrats on your first crocus of the season Gail. I'm hoping for one in the next few weeks but with the weather this winter, who knows? Wowee on that hellebore. I'm going to have to remember this series. You know I just planted my first ones last spring but I'm pretty sure I'll have to lay down and get covered in mud to photograph them! I got excited reading there is a deep black color.... Maybe one of my local nurseries will carry them? Although nothing will be in in the next 10 days!! ha. Thanks for refreshing our creative juices. I've been visiting our greenhouses too but sadly, there's very little to bring home (yet)...

  29. Great images here Gail - I wonder if shedman could build me a stone moongate - it is rather lovely.

  30. Gail, Julia Cameron (Artist's Way) prescribes "artist dates" and I know I don't take enough of them. But I am constantly on the hunt for inspiration and manage to find it in both likely and unlikely places - probably only because I can't stop thinking about my garden. I'm so glad you visited Blithewold and look forward to seeing you again. Meeting and talking to fellow gardeners is what truly feeds my soul. (Blog on!)

  31. I want that double yellow hellebore, Gail. I've been trying to talk myself out of it for two weeks now. But it's not working.
    Inspiration? Since I'm working on a large project right now, I can offer my thoughts about writing. Sometimes in my work discipline trumps inspiration; I sit down to write an article or a review and am not sure where things are going to go. So I just start writing, and things flow as they're meant to. Other times, the inspirations will wake me up in the middle of the night, which is a bit tiresome. Sometimes the muse is simply replaced by applying seat of pants to seat of chair and just trusting that it will come.

  32. YOU, just inspired me, Gail! I'm so itching ... and just keep buying indoor stuff to make me happy. Golden Lotus is a beauty and, after our 9 inches of snow, I'm green with envy (but happy for you) seeing your 1st crocus.

  33. Oh sigh Gail as I gaze upon these lovlies!
    The double yellow hellebore..oh so bright and happy!
    A welcome burst of color on this grey snow covered winter day here in my world.No signs of crocus peeking through the earth..so my inspiration comes from all my archive images of blossoms and bursting buds!
    Thank you for this lift today!
    BTW: now that's a "stone urn" in one of your images!!

  34. Hi Gail, You again have provided a lot of inspiration in just one post! ;-) And I have to laugh, I just saw that quote by Danny Kaye before I headed to the computer just now. (Was it on my teabag??) ha. Have a great day!

  35. Our 70 degrees day on Sunday got my juices to flowing for sure, lol. I was just reading about Priscilla Peahen and I knew you would get attached to her. I know the Saint and I would have had her in the house! I enlarged the pic and it was wonderful to see her checking out the other fowl. I just love happy endings. Let us know if she becomes a mommy some day...

  36. What a fun series of inspirations and photos! I love any hellebore I've seen, and I just discovered them at my sister's place she had moved to a couple years ago. I found several kinds to plant last year, and hope they bloom and grow well this season.

    What's inspiring me these days is looking at knobs and pulls and such. LOL I ordered a grid and accessories yesterday after seeing one in a kitchen on a blog. Imagine my surprise when I opened the front door to go see if any bulbs were coming up, and there were my packages already!

    Hey, how are your wrist and thumb?


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson