Thursday, July 24, 2008

Traveling out of the Norm

I'll return in a week or so, but I am traveling off the hamster wheel to play on the beach with Finn & family. The gardens are all looking amazing at the hieght of the summer season, all weeded watered and groomed. They will be fine til I get back from dancing on the beach.

Speaking of dancing, I love this video.......

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

50th Annual Homes Tour

Blowing Rock's 50th annual home tour is next weekend. We will be getting the gardens of Miramichi, a Cherokee word, meaning happy retreat, ready for busloads of visitors.

Miramichi was restored in 2006, we began restoring the gardens in November of that year. At the time they had suffered from years of neglect and two years of construction.

With the help of Graham, Michael and Robbie, who befriended me when they were working at Shadowlawn, which is also on this years home tour. I was working in a small garden across the street.

Robbie's dog Sophie was Finn's first friend. She patiently taught Finn how to puppy play, while we worked in neighboring gardens.
We dug out massive overgrowth of Iris, orange daylillies, Black eyed Susan and blackberry. They helped me bring in loads of good soil, spread mulch, and hauled away mountains of debris.
It was like digging for treasure, in an archaeological dig, peeling out columbine babies from massive networks of ancient Iris roots. We kept plenty of the plants found in the gardens while sifting through the overgrowth. The peonies, baptisia, fragrant Hyperion daylillies, trillium and Turkscap Lilles, Iris and Phlox. We added Helleborus, Hydrangea endless summer, Echinacea 'Big Sky' , bleeding heart and ferns.
Last Fall we added two 'Million Dollar Red' Trellises, matching the trim on the house for the massive 'New Dawn' Rose and Clematis used to screen the generator. Which I just realized I have never photographed....
But, the gardens are coming along nicely, and ready to be seen.
This is the last big event we have to complete from our spring agenda. I am also putting a beautiful new coat of paint on the walls in the basement. A project I have put off for way too long. It is cooler down there, and after today I will have a beautiful and cool studio to paint in. I have come come a long way since the basement flood two weeks ago. After this wonderful but demanding spring, I think I need a vacation~
Saturday I am heading to Cape Hatteras for a week with the family by the ocean. Finn has never met the ocean, he will love it, as I will love spending time with my family and granddaughter. I will be packing my watercolors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet Mimosa

I was mowing the grass last night, so happy that it was lush and green again, thanks to the recent and regular rain we are having. I got to one corner of the back garden and smelled it...the Mimosa above me was in bloom. On the ground I found a perfect blossom laying at my feet, picked it up and deeply inhaled. I love the scent of Mimosa. It is so haunting and romantic.
I know my Mimosa tree is an invasive alien pest.....but the scent is awesome. I wonder if all the plant Nazi's were to eradicate this 'pest', which I am sure is quite good at colonizing territory, what would a warm southern summer night smell like with out them?
Also known as the Silk Tree, these exotic ornamental trees are native to Iran though Japan. They were introduced to our continent about the time this country, as we know it was born. They are masters at colonizing along riparian areas, traveling downstream easily. So clever.. that they block out light to other native species. Greed is not limited to humans. I have a few more saplings trying to establish themselves in my forsythia along the property line that I do need to deal with, later. In the meantime I am inhaling every molecule of beautiful fragrance I can get during it's brief time in flower. I am also studying and paint the blooms and the leaves.
How long has it been since I really studied the anatomy of a Mimosa flower. They are so delicate, subtly colored...the feminine reproductive tube is loaded with sweet nectar, hidden in the yellow ...turning to pink at the ends, filament like flower petals. All held securely by spring green colored tiny sepals. If held upright, the petals are geometrically and perfectly spread on a dome shape, all exactly the same length.
According to the British Flower and Vibrational Essences Association the signature of the Mimosa flower and it's healing properties is is used for peaceful sleep and relaxation. The pink color resonates with the heart and encourages forgiveness. Well duh! Who can hold a grudge in the midst of such a sweet fragrance?
I did sleep and dream well last night. Mimosa' motto is "My bright head greets the morning and my leaves sleep at night"
Nature does often blow my mind.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dog Days and Flooding

I just realized I have not posted at all this month. Much has been happening.
I got called up for Jury duty last week, the day after my water heater overheated and poured 50 gallons of water onto my basement floor. It was all quite an adventure, saving the oriental wool rug with the rug doctor machine, in two day spurts between Jury duty at the courthouse in town.
But it did help me to hop off the hamster wheel of work and get my basement cleaned, a job that need to be done anyway. Fixing the heater was no big deal and I did give my own lawn and gardens the special attention it deserved while the plumber worked in the basement. So much got done in the three days I was off work, it all turned out to be a big ole blessing~
We have been getting wonderful rainstorms most evenings, so my gardens are flushing up and radiating deep green health. Even the mountains are looking deep green and shiny. The plant kingdom is having a major party in celebration.

About dog days...The Saturday before the water heater incident Finn had an epileptic seizure on the kitchen floor. A new experience for both of us and very unsettling. We also found out that day that Finn's father, Tank, has been diagnosed with Lymphoma, and that it was terminal. Our family is devastated by this news. Most especially my oldest daughter, who is now feeding him the BARF diet based on raw foods for dogs. I will go this route with Finn as well when I can find a supplier, or learn to make it myself.

After the basement incident I decided to treat myself to quiet hours of painting. I am out of practice after the spring work marathon. But I have entered two paintings in some local shows at the end of the month with the High County Water media Society. I also enjoyed a demo at the meeting from Cathy Futral in acrylics. I decided to stick to water colors, after the demo, and save experimenting with acrylic painting until winter. As always, watching another artist work opens up new ways to work with the medium I am already using and brings in much needed inspiration.
Finn has not had much fun through out the basement incident and my retreat into painting. So we went to Wilson's Creek on Sunday morning. This time he actually went down the small falls above the swimming hole at Lady Rock. He is quite the water dog and very entertaining to watch. I did bring my camera this time......

All this, right in my back yard!