Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer is still Glorious in N. California!

Another fabulous summer day here in N. California, mid to upper 80’s for the highs and mid 50’s for the lows.  You can’t ask for better weather. 

I have been a painting fool the past week. But it has been well worth it, my goal was to finish up my sign orders before leaving this week for the Strawberry Music Festival held up by Yosemite and I made it (I don’t leave for Yosemite until Wednesday). 

 Here are the signs/paintings I worked on for one order:

I had to take the photo of them while they were still lying on the table as they were still wet with varathane and I wanted to get the photo sent off to the customer.  I want to do individual photos of the signs before I ship them out but you get the drift with these photos.  I am told most of these will be placed in the garden they are having built/planted for their daughters which will have a fairy garden, a tea garden and the Secret Garden sign will be at the front garden gate. 

Sounds like a garden I would dearly love to see.  The most challenging sign to do what the Fairy Village sign, I had not tried to paint fairies before.  This is a little bit better shot of it.


I have also worked on other orders, like this EAT sign. I like the way it turned out and plan on doing one to put on my website.


The red is darker in real life, for some reason my camera does not capture reds true.  I also worked on this Cherries sign but I am not done with it.  It needs something, like FRESH put up above the CH area or some kind of trim.  I am not sure yet but it will come to me.  This one is for my website, so I can play with it a bit yet. 


This sign is a good one and I will be doing some for my website for sure, I like the rhyme.


I spent most of Saturday cleaning up in my greenhouse and repotting up plants along with other yard clean up.  One plant that really needed potting up to a larger pot was many of my English Delphiniums, the ones on the  right had been potted up a couple weeks ago, what a difference between them and the ones on the left, they are all the same age but the ones on the right are decidedly larger…the effects of more room to grow and fresh soil.  They all should’ve been repotted weeks ago but I just have not had the time. 


My garden is still flourishing and I am enjoying every second I can outside.  My oriental lilies are blooming, love the sweet, sweet scent.


I let my hens out to enjoy a bit of garden time as well.


I keep an eye on them so they don’t become destructive in their quest for delicious bugs to gobble up.  Hmm, must be a really good lookin’ bug under there.


My Echinaceas are looking pretty good right now as well. 


Lots to enjoy yet as summer starts to wind down.  Maybe by the end of September I can actually think about enjoying Fall, no leaves are beginning to turn here so not even a whiff of Fall type weather or foliage.  Summer is still with us, Glory Be!


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Bouquet for You

I can’t get over how fast time is flying by.  My days have been jammed packed with painting.  I have been getting a steady amount of special orders and I am attempting to get them painted before I leave next week to work at the Strawberry Music Festival near Yosemite.  It will be a wild time and I will come home exhausted but jazzed. 

The weather has been holding in the mid to upper 80’s with the soft breeze making it oh so enjoyable.  I do work out in my garden every chance I get.
My flowers are just as happy with the fine weather as I am.  Autumn can take it’s sweet time in coming as far as I am concerned, I am enjoying summer too much to give it up yet.

Tonight I wanted to share a bouquet from my garden.


Some English roses, Tess D’Ubervilles and some Heirloom. The peachy one towards the back is Crown Princess Margareta.


A wee bit of pink Yarrow which just lasts and lasts.  It is a favorite of the butterflies and bees.  I have a new color Yarrow coming up from seed in my greenhouse, it is called Cerise Queen and it is supposed to be a deeper pink.  I have quite a few of them potted up and growing well. 


The Shasta Daisies are a perfect compliment to the pinks.


I had many compliments on my Cherry Brandy rudbeckias and the Tomato Soup Echinacea featured in my last post.   I have had a hard time finding the different Echinacea’s at nurseries around here and I am considering getting my nursery license again to start getting the latest varieties as plugs and potting them up. 

 They will easily live over the winter here in my greenhouse and be ready to sell next summer and if the weather is mild I can ship to people too, as long as I get the proper certifications.  I could ship them as plugs instead of waiting to pot them up as well.

The Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia I started from seed and I think I got the seed from Park or Burpee.  I will have to check that.  I should start another large batch of them and have them ready to sell next summer along with other harder to find varieties of hardy drought resistant beauties.  

I read another blogger asking if anyone had seen Monarch butterflies yet as it is time for their migration or about time.   That made me realize that I had seen tons of Swallowtail butterflies this summer in my garden, at least 5 or more daily everyday for weeks and weeks but no Monarchs. 

I no sooner look up from the screen and what flutters up to the Martha Washington Pelargonium on my front porch, you guessed it,  a Monarch. 


I snapped up my camera and stealthily followed it around my front garden, capturing shots every chance I got in hopes of getting a good one.  It finally settled on, what else, my Butterfly Bush and remained still long enough for me to get this photo. 

Next post I will share the signs I am finishing up.  Enjoy!

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Here it is Friday already!

All day I had trouble remembering which day of the week it was.  It just seems too soon to be Friday.  I was reminded when I ran into our local grocery store at noon today and was flummoxed as to why the parking lot was teeming with cars then it dawned on me it was Friday. 

 The locals know better than to try to get in the market on Friday, the day many vacationers drive up for the weekend and shop here in town.  That is not a complaint, we all appreciate that the vacationers keep our economy moving along in this small mountain community, we just plan around the crowded times at the store. 

It is a good thing I spent a day cleaning and organizing my studio.   I have been flooded with custom orders for signs since and having my space mostly organized is making it much easier to dig in and get to painting.  Here is one painting I finished today, it is one to put on my website but I painted it while the base coats on the custom signs are drying. 

I think I may need to sand some on the Beauty-Full line as it seems so stark, it will soften it.  I will wait first, sometimes I change my mind when I walk away for a day and then come back to it.

As promised I have my latest blooms for you.  Here is a fun new one. Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia, Such an unusual color. The little spider stands out on the dark color.

Mesa Gaillardia, the only all yellow one I know of.
Demitasse miniature rose.
Happy Chappy ground cover rose.  It really likes this spot I picked out for it, I was surprised since it is a rather rocky area.
I cannot remember the name of this Phlox, it is a newer variety that does not get as tall as most.  This one is purple, I have a pink one too. I love that it is just starting to bloom when many other plants are fading. 
This is a rose in my neighbors yard, this poor thing has been neglected for about 10 years. (the house has been rented out to folks who could could not care less about a yard or flowers) It does not receive any summer water, and with the house being remodeled now it has been trampled on by heavy booted men and yet it blooms its heart out.  I have got to get myself a cutting to start of this one. 
And last but not least my Tomato Soup Echinacea.  The red is even more outstanding than I had hoped. 
I hope you enjoyed my latest blooms.  The only thing left to bloom for the year is my Hardy Hibiscus, and that usually starts about the first of September.  I know summer is winding down when it starts to bloom.  Enjoy your evening and your weekend!

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