Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snowy Day

Herb shoveling our driveway.

Measuring the accumulation.

The recent snowstorm was reason to celebrate the day staying at home. We got about 16" to17" of the powdery stuff in Front Royal. Thankfully, this week the temperatures have risen and the snow has almost all melted. Yesterday I saw a few tiny green shoots poking up where I planted the species crocus last fall. Can spring be far behind?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blue Gentian Sketch

Blue Gentian (Gentiana scabra)

I bought a plant of Blue Gentian (Gentiana scabra) at last year's Arborfest held at the Virginia State Arboretum. It blooms in October, when few other plants are in bloom, but it was the stunning color that convinced me to splurge on it. One lady from the master gardener program there advised me to keep it in its pot rather than risk losing it by planting it in my rocky inhospitable soil.

I took her advice, and re-potted the gentian into a larger pot which I then buried to the rim by the front steps. All summer long I kept it well-watered and this fall it rewarded me with this lovely display. The photo was taken around the second week of October. Many of the flowers set seeds, and I allowed them to drop naturally to see if they will sprout next spring. I'm curious to see if the seedlings will manage to survive on their own with just a little help, or if I will have to collect new seeds this coming fall in order to propagate the plant.

It's such a beautiful flower, I'm in the process of creating a botanical painting from my photos, for this year's entry to Brookside Garden's Botanica exhibition. I need to hurry, as the deadline is coming up very soon. Here is a pencil sketch of my study of one sprig.

Gentiana scabra pencil sketch.