I am feeling so inspired by spring this year. Everything is waking up—the trees have leaves again and the fruit trees are flowering sweet and fragrant. The roses are in bloom in every color, shape and size. The annuals are at the peak of their extravagance. Here in the Sacramento valley, the heat will doom them soon, but for now everything is beautiful. The pansies, petunias and snapdragons are thriving. Bees are constantly buzzing around the Spanish lavender with their bold purple flowers. Select succulents are sending out long-stemmed flowers and bursts of petite floral clusters. There’s a family of blue jays in a fig tree peppered with figs. I can hear other baby birds chirping in a neighbor’s tree. It’s very serene and perfect at 70 degrees. If the weather could stay like this through the summer, we’d really have it made. Unfortunately in less than two months we’ll have continuous blaring heat that limits patio time to mornings and evenings, guzzling ice water and wishing the bay area wasn’t so expensive.
That said, this time is idyllic and I’m grateful since parts of the country are still struggling with snow (!!)—a foreign substance that very rarely falls here, although we had a pretty stellar hail storm two weeks ago that left my garden covered in piles of hail and caused some damage, especially to a young lime tree’s leaves, killed some seedlings and left scarring on my jade plants. It comes as no surprise that I like plants—they are prominent in my work. I am an OK gardener. I am still learning and every year my skills get a little better. It’s a struggle with the poor soil quality, droughts and brutal sun that are part of the Sacramento Valley landscape. I’ve nearly given up growing vegetables (they require so much water and space!) and instead have focused more on succulents and flowers that can take the heat (hello Zinnias and Sunflowers) and don’t need nearly as much water.
Browsing the rows at the plant nursery is a favorite past time of mine, next to taking the plants home and finding the perfect pot for them. I’ve been out with my sketchbook on my patio and garden, making studies and drawings, noting color palettes, the shapes of leaves and petals, and integrating them into my work. Who knew my gardening trips and hobby would turn into research! In the days to come you’ll see some of the work that has come from my recent inspiration. I hope you enjoy it and this peek into my creative process.