Sheltering in Place, Part 9

5 Minute drawings from Wednesday, during the Draw Breath virtual livestream figure drawing group on Facebook I’ve joined; Platinum Carbon fountain pen in a Strathmore Windpower Drawing sketchbook

I guess the big news here is that, at least for now, we’ve “crushed” the virus and plans for a partial reopening of businesses are being developed. We’ve only had a couple of new cases in the last couple of weeks for a total of 54. No deaths, currently no hospitalizations. We are required to wear masks now when out in public and to observe social distancing. Our public health dept. is doing a wonderful job, not only in dealing with Covid-19, but in the quantity and quality of their public communications about it. Locals can currently take a survey on what businesses they think should open first.

We’re going out for groceries, but otherwise keeping busy at home. On Sunday we’ll swing by the North Coast Native Plant Society place to pick up an order of….native plants. The ordering was done using a plant list on their website to make one’s choices of plant and quantity, then you downloaded the order form posted on their website, filled it out, photographed it and attached it to an email back to them. This was only one of four ordering options they offered. We will drive onto the property being used for the sale at noon on Sunday, pay with a check and then load up our plants. Everyone has a separate pick-up slot. It’s all been very well-thought out and organized so that they can still have their sale, but keep everyone safe.

In art news, I’ve been doing extensive repaints on some older paintings I’ve done of African subjects. I’ve entered three in an online animal art show and will get the results on the 5th. Here’s one of them:

“Playtime” oil on canvas 20×30″ (price on request)

And for serious fun I was invited a week or so ago to join a Facebook group called “Draw Breath”. Since live figure drawing isn’t an option now, a group of mostly illustrators who also attended or teach at my alma mater, the Academy of Art University, have arranged Monday, Wednesday and Friday livestreamed “virtual” sessions from 4-6pm. It’s a three way split screen with the model in the middle and an artist on either side drawing in real time and chatting about what they’re doing and why.

3 minute figure drawings; Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340 clutch pencil with multicolor lead, 12×9″ Strathmore Windpower Drawing pad; I posted about this very cool pencil with a multicolor lead in my previous post

And, here’s some photos of the garden I just shot this morning. Things are really starting to take off. We’re supposed to get “real” rain tomorrow which is great.

Rhododrendron and forget-me-nots
“Citrus Splash” rose

And down by the pond on an old chunk of stump…

Finally (I have to pay attention to what my last image is because WordPress’ or some algorithm uses the final image in a post for the preview on other sites) here’s another of my Kenya pieces, a warthog…

“Ready to Run in 3…2…1″ oil on canvasboard 20×30” (price on request)

Sheltering in Place, Part 8

“Moose”

It’s been an uneventful week for us since I last posted, which is a Good Thing. Our four days with no cases (as per my previous post) turned into six days. Then there was one new case a day for two days, bringing the total for Humboldt County to 52. We’ve now gone three more days with no new cases. I think we’ll most likely stay under the shelter in place order through the end of the month. When we went grocery shopping at the Arcata Coop on Thursday almost everyone was wearing masks and being distance-conscious. Despite the ridiculous, ginned-up by right wing donors, protests a few days ago it’s clear that order or no orders most Americans get that social distancing is working and that doing so and otherwise being mindful is the fastest way to beat Covid-19. Someone posted a photo on Facebook this morning of a beach in Jacksonville, Florida that had been reopened and there was almost no one there.

In art news, I finally got around to experimenting with a new, very cool drawing pencil, a Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340 “Magic”, which is what I used to do the drawing of the mooose above, plus the ones below.

Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340

What makes it special is that, as you can see, the leads themselves are multicolor. You can see in the moose’s head how the color changes as one moves the pencil. Below is the first drawing I did of a skunk who visited our backyard a few years ago. I simply scribbled to see what the pencil would do. This was fun but I think I like the effect of the more simple use in the moose.

“Skunk”

In other news, the weather has now warmed up so the 2020 gardening season officially began late last week. I got four varieties of beans started in six-packs and planted a few things that I’d started last year. It will be late May/ June before the ground is warm enough for the beans to be happy in the ground. Ditto the squash. I weeded the pea beds, which are a row on either side of a salvaged cyclone fence gate, and found a gopher tunnel running the length of one side. So we will be lining each row with gopher wire before planting.

I also potted up six packs of sweet peas yesterday, all heritage varieties:
‘Painted Lady’
‘Lady Grisel Hamilton’
‘Miss Wilmot’
‘Chatsworth’
‘King Edward VII’
‘Black Knight’
‘Spanish Dancer’
‘Beaujolais’
‘Prince of Orange’
‘Winston Churchill’
‘Spencer Supreme’

Sweet peas, like most plants, go in and out of fashion. For awhile it seemed that mail order nurseries either had none or just a few varieties. Last year there was a sudden splurge of choices, so I stocked up. I plan to let some of each go to seed so I’ll always have some on hand. One of my favorite seed suppliers in particular, Select Seeds, had a great selection and most of the ones listed above came from them. Also worth checking out for interesting seeds in general is an English firm, Plants of Distinction, which will happily ship to the US and at a reasonable price. Both are potentially dangerous to one’s pocketbook so consider yourself warned. :0)

Finally, here are two more of my “magic” multicolor drawings. I’m also back at the easel doing repaints of some older African wildlife paintings. Hope to post a few of those by the end of the week!

“Bison”
“Zebra”

Sheltering in Place, Part 6

Prompt: “Green”- hope we see at least one this year

Sheltering in place continues with no drama other than Peregrin, one of our rough collies, getting skunked right in the face a few evenings ago, so his temporary nickname is Stinky. I got the deskunker on him right away but here’s still a whiff of it up if we get close.

Peregrin, age 3, aka Stinky Dog

This afternoon I’ll start making a few masks for us to wear when we go out. Did a lot of research and dug through my fabrics for tight-weave cottons. We’ve got coffee filters and some old vacuum cleaner bags for filtration. The local grocery stores seem to be doing their part to keep carts and conveyers sanitized. We’ve also got almost an entire box of disposable gloves that my husband bought for his airplane modeling. There will be a trip to the store tomorrow.

We had one last corker of a wintry storm come through over the past couple of days with good, heavy rain. Nippy this morning, but yesterday afternoon really felt like spring has sprung. Which means plenty of exercise in the garden coming up. Daffodils are almost done. Roses are leafing out nicely. Apple trees have flower buds on them. Tulips are in full bloom.

Here’s an update on the international online art event I’m participating in called Inktober52. The original event called for doing a pen and ink drawing a day for the month of….October. This time it’s one a week for the whole year. So far I’ve had no problem doing my weekly piece. My intention had been to post them in one month batches here on the blog, but that kinda got lost in all the pandemic news and prep. Things have settled down into a routine now, so in this post I’ll get caught up. You can see the first batch here. And I posted a few last time here. The one at the top is the latest, just done yesterday and posted on Instagram and elsewhere this morning. If you want to follow me on Instagram I’m here. There’s a board for them on Pinterest here.

Prompt: Spider- a visitor to our backyard
Prompt: “Wave” – reference from local beaches
Prompt: “Elf”- the bole of a very old red alder tree on our property
Prompt: “Tower”- me in front of a redwood tree in Prairie Creek State Park, just north of us
Prompt: “Elephant”- an elephant I saw in Kenya

Sheltering in Place, Part 4

Grape hyacinth latifolium ‘Touch of Snow’

We’re in Day 10 now of sheltering in place and will probably be doing this at least until the end of April. We’re fine. It’s been raining and that’s good. I’ve gotten some early gardening in between storms, like finishing up the apple tree pruning. I thought I’d share photos of our garden as we go along, along with my art. We have a fully-fenced acre in a great rural residential neighborhood. We’ll be “staycationing” this year except for day trips around our area once it’s safe.

I was never a fan of grape hyacinth until I saw this tricolor variety in the top photo and now I have lots of them planted in the beds outside my studio door. Seeing them makes me smile every day.

Our mini apple “orchard”

We have four apple trees: Ashmead’s Kernel and Cox’s Orange Pippin, both famous English dessert apples, a Granny Smith and Newtown Pippin, both green which is what my husband prefers. On the espalier to the right there is grafting to be done to make it multi-variety again, but it produced a nice batch of Gravensteins last fall.
In the background on the right below the power pole is our blueberry patch of about three dozen plants. I got them all pruned up as they started to bloom. They produce between five and six gallon bags of berries every year. Blueberries can happily grow in pots and are nice for casual “grazing”. They need acid soil and are generally low maintenance. Maybe consider adding one to your “family” this year!

Hellebore

This started as one sedate, as the British would say, bog standard pink-flowered variety that I can’t remember the name of and which, after some years, merrily started to self-seed into this nice big clump. It really is just about the first plant to bloom in late winter even here in our mild coastal climate.

“Potting Palace” west bed

This is the west end of what I call the Potting Palace since it’s 34′ long and divided into three sections. This is the greenhouse end, where we grow tomatoes and I keep seedlings growing on in pots. In the bed and blooming right now are three English wallflowers I grew from seed and some ‘Kingsblood’ tulips. The lilies are starting to emerge. There will be a clematis planted at the base of the trellis pretty soon.

Narcissus ‘Geranium’

I planted about ten of these lovely members of the daffodil family many years ago. They kind of got lost under a parahebe shrub that finally died and was removed. And, wow, in the meantime did they increase! Once they’re done I’ll dig them up and spread them around the garden front and back.

Tulip ‘Rococo’

Finally, we don’t live in prime tulip territory and some fade away after a year or two or three. I love parrot tulips, including ‘Estelle Rjinfeld’, which bloomed for two years in this spot then vanished, for their over the top colors and shapes. I’m trying a new one this year ‘Rococo’. They came right up and are blooming well.

Sheltering in Place, Part 3

Peregrin and Hailey approve this message

It’s been an *interesting* six days. We both felt somewhat stressed with the adjustment to the new reality, but are otherwise safe and ok. We’re doing some of what we need to and some of what we want to, including just kicking back. The spa is getting used most evenings if it’s not raining.

The weather has been quite cold with rain on and off, but I’ve made progress in the garden. Finished the first round of planting out plants in pots, finished pruning the apple trees and the blueberries, also a ‘Hot Lips’ salvia that had over grown an agapanthus (Lily of the Nile). Coming up is rose pruning, vegetable garden prep and the weeding of a couple of borders.

We’ve not gone anywhere since our trip to the Arcata coop before the official Shelter in Place Order was issued, so yesterday morning we drove into Eureka and went to Costco to stock up on a few things. We wore disposable gloves in the store, which wasn’t busy at all until we were on our way out. They seemed to have everything in stock. We got ibuprophen, three flats of peaches, three flats of my favorite Kirkland sparkling water (morale purchase), the one bag of dog kibble each customer was allowed, two bags of doggy duck jerky treats, one bottle of olive oil and one package of prawns. At the checkout line they’d put white tape on the floor to keep people properly spread out and even then the employee keeping an eye on things had to ask someone to move back. We finished up, loaded it all in the car, pulled our gloves off inside out and put them in a baggie.

Looking southwest past old dock pilings to Tulawat Island, recently returned by the City of Eureka to the Wiyot tribe from whom it had been stolen.

Then it was off to have some fun at a big informal open space on Humboldt Bay, which is where the photos above and below were taken. Our two rough collies, as seen in the header image, Peregrin on the left and Hailey on the right, had their usual good time running around and sniffing.

Looking towards the north end of Humboldt Bay.

After this refreshing break we went back to McKinleyville for a quick stop at Eureka Natural Foods. They’d put some sensible policies in place and, as one went in, there was an employee making sure that customers got a sanitized cart but, as you read will below it’s still a bit of a work in progress. OTOH, it’s barely been a week, so no complaints from me.

The store (which is often referred to as ENF) was also not busy so social distancing was easy. I had our own clean veg bags for the bulk buys of whole wheat flour (we have a breadmaker and know how to use it) and peanuts. Distance courtesy is clearly and quickly becoming the norm. Except for the few people like “That Guy” when I was checking out. Here’s the account I wrote for a Facebook post after we got home: “Then on to ENF in McK. Definitely room for improvement. No signage with their quite good policies, no enforcement of their checkout line policy. Big, well-dressed dude got in line behind me as I was checking out, barely 4′ away. I asked him to step back. His response was to push the mini-cart into me, lean forward and flip me off with some smart-ass talk. Clerk did nothing. In one of those, ‘darn it I wish I’d done “x” moments back home, I now wish I’d flipped him a peace sign and smiled.”

When we got home we put on another set of gloves and unloaded everything except perishables either onto the luggage rack on the back of David’s Jensen Healey or on the big recycle bin on the breezeway. Then those gloves went into the same baggie. It’s getting quite cold at night, low 40s predicting 37F tonight so everything should be ok by tomorrow for sure since the virus is estimated to only live 24 hours on cardboard and 2-3 days on plastic. But we need to reorganize the food storage shelves in the garage anyway and will do that over the weekend.

Last night’s dinner

I made this tofu-veggy stirfry last night: Peanut oil, cashew bits, chopped onion and garlic, sliced brown mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, and pineapple, seasoned with a bit of salt, cayenne and finally Vietnamese coriander from the herb border. Garnished at the table with Thai chili paste. Washed down with Eureka Natural Food’s “house beer”.

“Takhi Foal” downloadable pdf coloring page

Finally, I am also actually getting work done. I’ve recently uploaded three new coloring pages to my Fox Studio Etsy shop, along with three original pen and in drawings of corvids and my first tutorial! It’s an introduction to sketching for beginners, perfect for anyone who is now home a lot, maybe most of the time, and is interested in learning to sketch but didn’t know where to begin. Art is for everyone and sketching is fun!

“Raven” 8×11″ original oil on paper

That’s it for now. Next post will have some spring garden photos! I hope you, your family and friends are well and safe.

Keeping A Record…

Yesterday, March 16, kind of feels like the first day of the rest of our lives. And, as is true for so many, we’re now sheltering in place due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, we’re in a northern California county that had one confirmed case back in January (a person who had just arrived back from an infected area of China) and none since then. But people here are preparing just the same since it’s almost sure to make another appearance.

Not sure why, but I’ve found that I want to record what it’s going to be like between now and when the “all clear” is sounded. I’ll be posting whenever I have something to say or show you. My husband and I are fortunate in that we are in good health and we work at home. He’s the Executive Director of a tech consortium with members in a variety of countries. Their April meeting has already been pushed back to June, now with the expectation that it will be pushed back again to fall at the earliest.

I’ve been an art professional of one kind or another (sign painter, graphic designer, illustrator, now fine art painter) for over forty years, so my art will be part of this record. I’m also an avid gardener and have an acre to play with. All our travel is cancelled so the garden will get my full attention, including the vegetable part of it. We also have six apple trees, three dozen blueberry bushes and a raspberry “patch”, so I’ll be posting photos through the year of all that. The blueberries are already flowering. We get between five and six gallon bags of berries from them every year.

Right now the clematis armandii and wallflowers are blooming, along with crocus, grape hyacinth, daffodils and early tulips.

Clematis armandii in full bloom. The fragrance is wonderful!
English wallflowers I grew from seed
Daffodils in bloom

We share our home with two rough collies Hailey and Peregrin (“Lassie” dogs) and two cats, Michiko and Alexander A Really Great Cat.

Hailey, our seven year old tricolor and Peregrin, our 3.5 year old sable merle
Michiko in front and Alex in the back; dog toy box to the left

In other news, I’m participating in a fun art event this year called Inktober52. The original event, Inktober, calls on artists to create one black and white piece a day in the month of October. Inktober52, in its first year, is about creating one black and white piece a week for the entire year. I’m going to do my best to not miss a week and so far so good. All the finished art is posted first on Instagram here with the #inktober52 hashtag, including mine. I’m also posting to my Facebook public page here and on Pinterest here. Jake Parker, who invented and runs both events, sends out an email on Thursdays with the prompt for the next week, so everyone is doing the same subject, but in their own way. Hundreds of artists from all over the world are participating. So, sheltering in place or not, I’m able to connect with other artists.

Inktober52: Prompt: Tower

This is what I had to say about this week’s drawing: “After thrashing around I decided that I could use “tower” as a verb, but then what was towering over ? I tried a couple of different ideas and then “towering redwoods” came to mind. I grew up, and live in, Redwood Country so I dug out a photo I had of me standing in front of a huge coast redwood right by the road in Prairie Creek State Park. I started out intending to fully render the trunk, but had the thought of doing a “reverse”. Less time (a LOT less), maybe more visually interesting and different. I also create downloadable pdf coloring pages that I sell in my Etsy store and maybe this piece will end up there. I used a Gillott 659 crow quill nib (Joseph Pennell’s favorite), Platinum Carbon ink on Clearprint vellum⁣.”

Ikh Nart Sunset, Mongolia

Finally, for now, the 12×16″ oil painting above has been accepted into the Fusion Art Gallery online exhibition “Sunrises and Sunsets”! The location is one of my favorite places in Mongolia, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. I own my own ger with all the furnishings and have been allowed to set it up in the reserve and live there for a week or so and that’s when I get to see sights like this and take photos that I can turn into art.

The Art Life: Not Just Art

Alexander
Alexander A Really Great Cat

I have the good fortune to work at home doing something I love. It also means “visitors” every day. Our two rough collies and three cats wander in and out, sometimes just to say “hi” or to hang out. The last few days Alexander has come in, sprawling across my desk in front of my iMac to get his tummy skritched and combed out. He was a slightly scruffy little shelter kitten who we got when he was about three months old. He’s grown into a phlegmatic 8 year old, 16 pound furball.

(And wouldn’t you know it, as I was proofing this post in he came. Pause for tummy combing….)

DSC_2607.jpg

(Ok, I’m back.)

Being at home also means that if I, say, spot a juvenile great blue heron down at our pond I can grab my camera and get some photos.

DSC_2466

After work tasks include watering the vegetable garden and picking what’s ready. We got a very late start this year, but Humboldt County’s warmest weather is in September/October so we’ll get at least some goodies in the freezer like peas for winter solstice dinner.

Vegies

We picked our first real harvest a few days ago. Shallots, a yellow zucchini, Hurst Green Shaft peas (got the seed in England and haven’t found an American source for this awesome variety), Blue Lake green beans, and French haricot verts. Potatoes will be ready in another month or so. We’ve also planted regular green zucchini and summer squash, both of which will start to be ready for harvesting soon. I also, because I had them, threw some brussels sprout seeds from 2012 into the ground just to see if any would germinate. Thought I might get two or three. Well….I’ve now got a clump of over a dozen that are too close together. My plan is to carefully transplant them into a row once the rains come and the weather is cooler.

I think we’re going to dig a small root cellar on the north side of the garage since there are five varieties of garlic on the way, plus some heritage onions. The peas and beans will be, respectively, shelled and cut up for the freezer, where they will join the three gallon-size ziploc bags of blueberries our bushes produced this year. Did I mention that I’m reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” right now?  :0).

In the meantime, last night I rummaged around for dinner wanting to use the zucchini while it was fresh and some mushrooms before they were goners. And came up with this…

squash dish

I set water to boiling for the shell pasta and then sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil and butter. I added the zucchini and let it cook for a bit, then added some finely sliced leeks. It’s seasoned with a bit of salt, basil, parsley and oregano. When the pasta was done I dumped it into the vegies and stirred everything together. Dinner was served in our Portmeirion “Borders” pattern china that we got at the factory seconds shop in England  twenty years ago.

As for art, as you saw last week, I’ve got some new small horse paintings under way. I also started this one, getting the brush drawing done. You can still see the pencil marks from where I projected the preliminary drawing for transfer and then made some corrections. But darn, I kinda like the way it looks now, so I might just call it done and keep it around. We’ll see.

DSC_2577

Tales From The Field: In Which I Explore An English Garden Shop

garden shop 3

Two years ago, in 2015, we spent a some time in England before going on to a business meeting my husband had in Bucharest, Romania ( you can read about my adventure there here). My main hobby is gardening. In England it’s a passion, to put it mildly. And one of the things I learned on our first trips there in the 1990s was about the GARDEN SHOPS. Oh my. We may have big garden centers in the US, but I’m pretty sure there are few, if any, that are anything like this typical one, Stewart’s Garden Centre, just outside of Christchurch.

I had a list of seeds I was looking for…

Garden Shop 2

This was one of about eight display racks from various companies. I managed to not limit out the credit card. I love the quintessential English wallflower. In the tiniest pocket garden in the front of an attached house, if there’s anything planted there it will probably be a wallflower. So I made it easy for myself and got a packet each of every color I could find. The English also love, love, love their peas, so this was the place to pick up some. It was late in the season and there weren’t a lot to choose from, so I got three and hit the jackpot with Hurst Green Shaft. The best pea we’ve ever eaten. Had plenty of seed left from last year so growing a bunch of it this year.

garden shop 4

But what really grabbed me, starting with the display of everything barnyard at the top,  plus gnomes, was the vast number of animal species available, many quite exotic. Really, have YOU ever seen garden statues of meerkats in four sizes available at Home Depot? Didn’t think so.

garden shop 5

Seriously, how cool is this?

garden shop 1

And of course there are plants. Lots of plants. Hibiscus. So very English.

garden shop 7

MUST have red geraniums, of course.

garden shop 14

Bedding plants. Petunias front and center.

garden shop

Part of one aisle, about halfway down. I think there were at least four, plus various side areas. And of course a place to get a cup of tea.

garden shop 8

But back to the animals. This juxtaposition of species stopped me in my tracks.

garden shop 11

It was a little overwhelming. Oh, look! a lion on plant pedestal. I think staff is having too much fun.

garden shop 12

This display is what the fine old English word “gallimauphry” was invented for. A nude, an eagle and a modern sculpture fountain thingie.

garden shop 9

The English do love their hedgehogs. And I know you want a closer look at this one.

garden shop 10

Finally, after all that one needed a good tipple. And it just so happened they had “Hairy Potter Beer”.

garden shop 15

“Well-seeded” we were finally done and ready to head north to Stonehenge. You can see more photos from the trip here.

 

 

 

 

 

Gallimauphry Friday: New Work In Progress! In The Meantime…

apple blossom
Apple blossoms on our Cox’s Orange Pippin tree

I love to garden! Besides being great exercise, it’s so satisfying to be outdoors with growing things and when it’s plants one has started from seeds even more so. Anyone with a bit of yard or an apartment balcony can garden. We’re very fortunate in having an acre which is about a mile inland from the ocean in northern California. The soil is very good. We’re in a sheltered location at the end of our street. I’m limited a little by our mild marine-influenced climate (USDA zone 9/Sunset zone 15/17), so plants that need hot weather or seriously cold winters are off the menu, but otherwise if one can find a microclimate here or there, there’s almost no limit.

I got some seeds started a few weeks ago and and plants in the ground are starting to flower, so I thought I’d share what’s happening this morning.

PP
So last year we were finally able to have a potting shed built for me after years of making do under a tarp on the north side of the house. I based my idea on the roofline of a barn in the neighborhood and our contractor sketched it out on a scrap of paper. We marked out the length and width, decided on a smoke-tinted polycarb for the roof and greenhouse end. Then he built this fabulous structure which is anything but a “shed”, so I dubbed it the “potting palace”

flats 1
From left to right: hollyhocks, sunflowers, wallflowers plus a couple of fuschias and a six pack of shallots from the local nursery. I’ve had the PVC pipe rack for many, many years, which we made from one I saw in a gardening magazine

flats 2
More hollyhocks and wallflowers, plus a collection of pulmonarias (lungwart) I bought from Joy Creek Nursery for the shade border I have planned for that north side where my potting stuff used to be

lilac
I have a regular common lilac also, but this one, called ‘Sensation’ with its picotee edges, is one of my garden favorites

cowslips
I planted one cowslip plant close to ten years ago and it has self-seeded. I always take as a great compliment when a plant that can be challenging to grow from seed is happy with the spot I picked for it and increases on its own

Poached egg plant, a California native, but these are volunteers from seed I scattered years ago. We first saw it in a garden in England, covered with bees, and were really excited to find that we could easily get the seeds for it over here

fleabane, allisum
Sometimes plants pick their own “associations'”, as the expression goes. In this case, it’s fleabane and sweet alyssum with a patch of lady’s mantle on the right. All are volunteers

wallflowers, etc.
Sometimes I think wallflowers should be the national flower of England. Even the tiniest patch in front of an attached house seems to always have a wallflower or two. There are only two colors one ever seems to see in US nurseries, a mauve and a gold, but they actually occur in an absolute riot of colors. I’ve bought seeds in England on past trips there and started them here. Some germinated after ten years. In this photo at the top is a ‘Crown Princesse Margarete’ rose from David Austin. Under and next to it are two wallflowers. The single red-orange flower is a volunteer heliathemum (sun rose). At the bottom is a dicksia, which gets flower stalks with small orange flowers. It is armed and dangerous so plant with caution

yellow wallflowers
At the top is a rhododenron that has just finished blooming. In front are two more wallflowers. I like that the new leaves on the rhodie pick up the warm tones of the flowers around it, one of those happy accidents one loves having

pale yellow wallflower
This delicately-colored wallflower self-seeded itself among what will be some fire red Crocosmia ‘Lucifier”\’. We’ll have to see how that works out

R. chinensis
And I love, love, old roses. No hybrid teas allowed. This is Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’ so named because the flowers change color as the bloom and age

CRMc rose
They’re really just getting started now, with one bloom on some plants. This is the first one on my ‘Charles Rennie Mackintosh’ David Austin rose

forget...and lilies
I also use containers. These are on the patio. I had to resort to them have lilies after the gophers got all the ones that were in the ground. I threw some forget-me-not seeds into some  and they are coming back every year, increasing enough that I can transplant them into other pots. On the right is a mint that I’ve forgotten the name of

letuuce
And, finally, we like to grow food too. The vegetable garden is ready to be cleared of winter weeds and planted in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I got a baby greens salad mix going in a steel tub on the patio. It sits on a small wood platform with casters. The tub is right outside the kitchen/dining area French doors for easy picking.

I’ll post again next month when things really get going. Happy gardening!