Tuesday, April 12, 2011

gift of tulips!

While I wait for the tulips in our garden, James surprised me with a bouquet of parrot tulips!
We grow parrot tulips, along with Rembrandt and fringed tulips in the garden, not only for their beauty but to cut and paint. Tulips have been a favorite of painters for centuries.
A gift of tulips..............how thoughful and sweet!

Meanwhile, we wait for the tulips in the garden. In the peony walk we plant 'French tulips' also known as single late tulips.
French tulips are tall and elegant. My favorites include, Menton (pictured above), Dordogne and Maureen.

Once the tulips just begin to show color and flower heads are ready to open I will head out to the garden with a bucket of cool water and some sheets newspaper or newsprint . After cutting the tulip I immediately put the stem into water. Once I have 8-10 stems cut I wrap the bunch of tulips in the paper, fairly snug, then quickly return them to water. I will put the tulip filled bucket in a cool place, out of sunlight, for several hours ( or overnight). Unwrap tulips, re-cut stems , and arrange in a vase. Did you know that tulip stems continue to grow for 24 hours after being cut!!

It will be some time before the tulips in the garden are flowering,
but the daffodils will soon be showing their color!
Can't wait!

(never combine tulips & daffodils , or anything from the narcissus genus, together in a vase)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Yesterday, James and I drove past a garden center where carts of pansies were outside in full view. Arriving home, I found my email included the announcement of The Mixed Border garden center opening in less than two weeks.
Gardening season is here!
I did stop at that roadside garden center to buy some enchanting pansies and violas. Who could resist??
Later,I became curious about these lovely little pleasures, so I did a bit of reading.

The pansy, as we know it, has been popular since the mid 1800's. Claims to its origins vary.
The pansy is derived from the viola, viola x wittrockiana and viola tricolor hortensis.

Lady Mary Bennet of England is said to have introduced the pansy in 1812. Her garden planted with every variety. It must have been a breathtaking sight! Meanwhile, at the English estate of Lord Gambler, it is claimed that the gardener, Thompson, began work with the viola tricolor species to achieve the pansy .
So the origins of the pansy seem to belong to 19th Century England.

Ophelia, in Shakespeare's Hamlet,
" There is rosemary, that's for remembrance: pray you, love,remember. And there is pansy, that is for thoughts."

Shakespeare wrote of the pansy as did Nathaniel Hawthorne and D.H. Lawrence.
Georgia O'Keefe painted the pansy, more than once.

Some say that you can see a loved one in the face of a pansy.
I find that such a romantic notion.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A second blog has been launched !!!!!!!!!



A Painting Marathon