Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sometimes I Make Things Other Than Troughs

I made this little wall shelf during the winter.  When it's too snowy and cold to be on my bike, in the garden, or casting troughs, I need an outlet for my busy hands.  The shelf is about 14" wide and 6" high, perfect for working on at the table while I drink coffee watch it snow outside.

The shelf started with a wooden armature, a few layers of 2" blue foam board (not visible), and Apoxy, a two-part epoxy clay (the gray part in the photos).  I form the detail by hand over a few hours.  The Apoxy is hard enough to carve, file or sand after it cures for 24 hours.  

Once I was happy with the final form, I painted it with a light tan acrylic paint, then glazed it with burnt umber and mica dust, which gives it depth and sparkle.

I've always admired the basket-weave form of early Christian capitals.  Above and below are photos from The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's medieval museum in the Bronx.

I like these two a lot.  Maybe next winter...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Random Summer Bits

Like the bees on the magnolia flowers, we've been busy.

I took the kids to the Cloisters in upper Manhattan.  It was their first visit (I know, what took me so long?) and I was excited to show them my favorite museum.  Plants and medieval art and architecture...what could be better? Maybe tacos....?

We took a few days vacation and drove up to see friends in Vermont.  Above is photo from the top of Mount Greylock in North Adams, MA.  We drove to the top to show the kids the (imaginary) location of the American version of Hogwarts.  We spent the day at MassMOCA, another great museum.

Quarry near Dorset, VT.  

I stopped by the side of the road while I was cycling near Pawlet, VT for this photo.  This Iowa boy was so happy to see and smell cows again.

One of eight pizzas I made for dinner with our friends.  This one is local Vermont cheese, tomatoes, garlic scape pesto, grilled new onions, bacon and an egg.  

My garden at work survived nearly three weeks without substantial rain.  There's no water nearby so whatever lives, I plant more of the next year.

This opuntia at work could care less about being dry.

Our front yard is doing its English Border Thing.  I went for interesting color and texture in choosing the plants for the flower boxes this year and kind of regret that they're not more showy right now.  Lablab beans will soon cover the trellis by the door. Yes, I planted the hellstrip too.  Couldn't stand mowing ANYTHING out front.

I have lots of empty troughs for sale for the first time in awhile..

...even curvy ones.

And it's cherry season!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Everlasting Purple

I planted clematis 'Roguchi' a couple years ago at the foot of a Koreanspice viburnum.  It's been a 'subtle' pleasure, one that you had to look for, until this year, when it shot to about 8' feet and covered itself with purple, frilly bells.

OK, so it's still kind of subtle, but it's gorgeous...and at eye level finally.  It goes on for most of the summer.

Above is campanula lasiocarpa, grown from seed by a member of my rock garden club (thanks Susan!).  It's the Energizer Bunny of plants.  It's got a cloud of purple bellflowers dangling in the breeze.  It always reminds me of a swarm of purple bees.

This shot from above shows the extent of the purple haze.  The plant grows out of the lower left corner of the trough.  

In other random news, I unwrapped these two troughs this morning.  It's always rewarding to see them again after a month of being wrapped up for curing.

Finally, my 8-year old son gave me this beautiful monster with a bloodshot eye for Father's Day.  He definitely takes after me.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Random Early Summer Moments

It's officially summer, even though the calendar doesn't agree, as the Asian tiger mosquitos are out in the garden.  They're a real drag from now until first frost.  The garden is looking great though, with tons of roses and peonies blooming through the rainstorms.  My friend used to call this period 'the second spring' in the garden. 

Above is dracocephalum argunense Fuji 'Blue'.  

This sedum cauticola has self-seeded into the texture of the hypertufa trough; there's no hole for those little guys low down on the wall.

dianthus pontederae 'Rachel'

This variegated yucca is imitating a goose prior to blooming.

The trough-bound dwarf golden threadbranch cypress is making cones.  How cute!

Monday, May 30, 2016

July in May

 After weeks of cool spring weather, we got hit with five humid days near or above ninety.  Predictably, lots of things didn't handle it well, including me.  Some superstar plants shrugged off the weather and went about their business.  Above and below is dianthus 'Tatra Fragrance'.


Dianthus gratianoplitanus 'Tiny Rubies'

Saponaria pumilo

Helianthemum 'Wisley Primrose'

Gypsophilia repens 'rosea' just staring its show.

It rained hard last night as the front came through so today looks like a gardening day.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Few More Spring Treasures

Our cool spring continues to offer up its delights.  Plants are on my mind so much these days that I had a dream last night about using a rare draba as collateral on a loan.  Sick, I know.

Above is globularia velutina.

This is a slightly different form of silene uniflora than last week's.  It has the good taste to produce a light pink flower to go with its bluish foliage.

Campanula chamissonis

Seedlings of saponaria ocymoides that decided to bloom this year.  They self-seeded into this trough from a huge, now-deceased saponaria in the trough above.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Just Keeps Getting Better

Erigeron leiomerus

Veronica rupestris purpurea

Matthiola trojana (yes, very weird-looking, I agree).  These are not faded, old flowers.  That's how they open.

Androsace sarmentosa

Phlox douglasii 'Lilac Cloud'

Silene caroliniana

Silene uniflora