Sunday, August 14, 2016
|A rare Franklinia (tree in foreground) stands in a garden amidst coneflowers, bee balm, day lillies, lavender and more. It's a true statesman in this perennial garden bed. A red maple (Acer rubrum) anchors the other end of the border and shines bright crimson in the fall, so as not to be totally outdone by the more diminutive yet regal Franklin Tree. By the way, how do you like my china teacup flower, made by my very talented friend, Rick Wiedner? As an artist and blacksmith, he certainly has an green-iron thumb!|
High heat, hefty humidity and soaking raindrops, that come out of nowhere and then disappear just as swiftly, cannot keep a good tree from blooming its little heart out in these dog days of summer. Have you ever heard of a Franklinia Tree (Franklinia alatamaha)? Named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the Franklinia, or Franklin Tree, was discovered way back in the middle 1700's in the state we know as Georgia, along the Alatamaha River by botinists of the time, John Bartram and his son William. This heirloom and rare ornamental has been considered extinct in the wild since the middle 1800's and can only be found/cultivated by nurseries. In fact, it is believed that all of the Franklin trees grown today came from the few specimens the Bartram's brought back from the Georgia territory and then propagated and grew in their own Philadelphia garden.
|Blossoms appear like fireflies in the duskiness of a hot summer evening.|
|Butterflies visit this tree all day long.|
|Marble-sized and pearl white, the buds will unfurl new, long-blooming flowers each day for about a month.|
|What did I tell you? The butterflies love the Franklin Tree!|
Sunday, July 17, 2016
A sphere of simple green.
With only butterflies to brood,
And bees to entertain."
Saturday, March 19, 2016
|Yep--that's our lavender.|
|So happy together.|
|I can smell it already and it's only March. Actually, I can't, because after more than 20 years of growing lavender, I think I've become so accustomed to lavender's intoxicating scent that I can't really smell it anymore--Go figure!|
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
|"Upperville, Virginia in the Piedmont Valley", Peter's newest addition to his collection of original oil works of historic towns in Northern Virginia. I think he does the town proud!|
|Another scene that graced the walls of our tiny apartment |
during married student housing days. Peter painted this on old
lath board he nailed together.
Note: For a complete viewing of Peter's artwork offered for sale as either color prints or stationary, go to bloominghillva.com.
|One of my favorites by Peter a.k.a P. Lorenz, "Bountiful Purcellville, Virginia".|
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
|Abundance is the sharp scent of elfin-leaved lavender on a beautiful sunny day|
|Don't tell me they are not real!--She is all the proof I need!|
|An elfin homestead.|
I asked them, "How did they come about choosing that for a name?"--other than figuring out that their last name was of Gaelic origin--and wondering what may be the added significance behind this title. Derek and Allison told me that "elf leaf" is a shortened translation for the Irish term "ar dhath an labhandair" which I think means the color of lavender (or something close to it) in our plain, old English or just "labhandair." pronounced pretty much the same as we pronounce lavender in English, only with a little more musical lilt to the word. In any case, I like the name they chose for their soon to be calling and operation, "Elf Leaf Farm," as it brings to mind the magic of this ancient and mystical plant that asks for very little but entertains so many and gives so much in return.
Now, close your eyes, sit back and picture mischievous elves clinging happily to those tiny elf-sized silver-green leaves while almost invisible fairies dance in, out and around a field of abundantly blooming lavender bushes on midsummer's eve. It's not so hard to do, is it? As I look out onto my own snow-covered and ice-laddened field of elfin leaves today, still deep in their winter sleep here at Blooming Hill, I can almost hear the elves and fairies singing a lullaby to the lavender and whispering, "Be patient. Summer is coming and then it will be time to wake up and celebrate yet another season of "ar dhath an labhandair" wherever there is lavender growing.
|Celebrating and dancing into the night while keeping watch over their elfin-leaved plants.|
|Elf leaves?--To be sure!|
Monday, January 25, 2016
|Thank you winter storm "Jonas" for depositing over 3 feet of snow in my yard, this past weekend! This is my driveway and looking down the hill towards the road, this past Saturday evening...what driveway and what road???|
|Strands upon strands of embroidery floss, threaded and stretched from floor to ceiling play off of light to create a fabric kaleidoscope.|
|Susan and me on a winter's day enjoying the Renwick Gallery.|
These first months of the year bring dark days of winter or bright, frigid sunshine. A time when I turn my attention from the lavender field and gardens and get a little rest and refocus on the coming growing season. Even on days like this, with 39 inches of snow staring obliquely at me outside my window, taking the time to appreciate all of the sights and adventures that wait just beyond my own backyard can be luxuries that I don't often take advantage of.
Getting off of the Farmlet, when we are in season can be a real challenge and takes lots of preplanning. However, January through March is a relatively quiet time here--if you ignore all of the snow that is waiting to be shoveled--as Blooming Hill is closed during the winter months. After all, who is thinking about lavender, other than P.Lorenz and myself? So, when someone just happens to suggest a road trip, believe me when I say, "I'm all in"!
|Imagine having to cut out all of these little cardboard paper pieces to make giant stalagmites coming to life and taking shape as an indoor canyon--and I thought pruning lavender bushes was tedious work--geesh!|
|Pods of twisted willow branches make inviting spaces to dwell in for mythical and practical everyday creatures, alike. Windows and doors are fashioned allowing people to walk in and out of them.|
|Shimmering, shooting stars dangle in this rather delicate looking chandelier. I kept thinking about the person who has the honor of dusting and polishing each strand of mirror, glass and light--I guess that is just the O.C.D. cleaner in me.|
|Made from the plaster casting of a hemlock tree, the sculpture itself was recreated using strips of cedar.|
What a wonderful cure for cabin fever--snow or no snow. The Wonder Exhibit will be on display at the Renwick Gallery until this summer. Of course, by then, the natural wonders of nature expand 100-fold all around my place, as I'm sure it does in your yard, too. Come to think of it, even on this snow day, wonder and beauty can spring out of the most usual of places I see everyday.
|I so enjoyed the Renwick Gallery last week but I must say that I also enjoy the artistry and wonders that occur daily in my own backyard, no matter the time of the year.|