Showing posts with label azaleas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label azaleas. Show all posts

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Spring Garden

Dawn and Dusk.

This year my spring garden has been more floriferous than ever. My climbing 'New Dawn' rose and clematis 'Etoile Violette' on the porch are looking even fuller than last year! Other plantings that were just getting established last year are starting to come into their own, like this old-fashioned iris my mother used to grow in her garden. It may not be as showy as the newer varieties, but its wonderful perfume, which many of the other varieties lack, more than makes up for it.

Old-fashioned iris

With such warm weather during the winter the grape hyacinths bloomed early, although the new batch I planted last fall (a mixture of several varieties) didn't bloom until late April, along with the Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides). The new pink dogwood in the background complemented the soft blues beautifully.

Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) with pink dogwood

The rhododendron planted on our first spring here (I've forgotten the variety, probably 'Yaku Princess') finally put out a few blossoms this year, though the leaves sustained a lot of winter damage. I hope that now that it's getting more shade it will continue to improve. In this alkaline soil, it's hard to grow acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododrendrons.

Rhododendron 'Yaku Princess'

The 'Admiral Semmes' azalea planted last year didn't put out much bloom his year, it will need more time to get going. I had expected the flowers to be yellow, but the soft peach color is as lovely as the fragrance (It's a cross between the southern Azalea austrinum and Exbury hybrids).

'Admiral Semmes' azalea


I had ordered a metal arbor structure for the clematis that my sister Bea gave me last year but
I've been having trouble assembling it, so the poor vine is just leaning against a couple of bamboo stakes at the moment. Lovely flowers, though I can't remember the exact variety-- it looks like it might be 'Nellie Moser'.

The east bed

The Japanese maples on the east side of the house are growing nicely. Recently I put in two new native trees--a sourwood (Oxydenrum arboreum) to shade the Carolina Silverbell (Halesia caroliniana) partly visible on the left in this photo, and a honey locust in the back yard. The trees came bare-root and the recent rainy spell has helped the locust to start budding out, but the sourwood appears to be dead--I may have to call the nursery where it was bought to replace it.

Irises and Double Knockout rose

The front walk.

The irises in the front didn't perform as well this year--perhaps they need to be given a bit more room to spread? But the general tapestry by the front walk is finally starting to look as I had envisioned. The expansion and consolidation of the backyard beds continues, with two new shrubs: a Fothergilla gardenii and a Blue Mist shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue').

Today, I have quite a number of annuals and a couple of perennials to plant, so I'm off to toil in the garden. Happy springtime, dear friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Londontowne in Spring

Londontowne in Spring, oils on canvas panel, 11" x 14." Contact artist for price.

It's high summer here in Maryland; we've been lucky to have cooler and less humid weather than usual so far. Still, I wasn't motivated to go outside to paint last weekend. My new 84-mile daily commute to my employer's Arlington office started the Monday before and by Thursday evening I was totally exhausted.

I'd been wanting to paint Londontowne Gardens so I dug out some of my photos taken this past spring when the gardens were at their most splendid. Voila! I love the the variety of greens of the foliage against the pinks and purples of the azaleas and bleeding hearts on this cloudy day.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Barn at Belvoir/ Azaleas at Brookside

Barn at Belvoir, oils on canvas panel, 11" x 14"

This week the Friday morning class was to meet at Belvoir, the same place where we painted last fall. The weather looked chancy--it had rained most of the night, but it wasn't raining at the moment, so I headed out the usual route. It was very overcast and foggy driving there, at least we'd have some interesting atmospheric effects to paint.

Lee decided the class was ready to take on some architecture, and the old barn at Belvoir is a noble structure to paint. With a classic hip roof and a dirt road leading to it, it would be an interesting painting to compose along with a drawing lesson. Lee's explanation/demo of two-point perspective was elegant and simple for those with no background on the subject.

Still, it took a long time to draw our compositions. I had mine completely drawn, then realized the barn was exactly in the middle of my panel, so I erased it and repositioned the barn a bit off-center. It was after eleven-thirty when we started the painting, and by this time the clouds were thinning and a bit of sun was shining through, making the lush greens appear incredibly vibrant. Time just flew; I didn't have a chance to work on any details. I had just enough time to cover the panel and lay down the masses, trying to get the right val-hues from the start, yet the painting "reads." Lee pointed out how the light reflected from the grass made the shadowed face appear greenish in color and how this effect holds true for all shadows. We'll be back next week to try another painting of the barn.

* * *
The previous weekend I wanted to paint some azaleas before their season of glory was over. A visit to nearby Brighton Dam showed the Glendale varieties planted there in huge masses had finished blooming, so I went to Brookside Gardens hoping to catch a few plants still in bloom. I was not disappointed: the trails through the woods had a number of brightly-colored azaleas and rhododendrons. There are few other objects in nature with that beautiful pink-magenta color.

Trail Through the Woods at Brookside Gardens, oils on canvas panel, 9" x 12," $300 unframed.