Sunday, March 18, 2007

In the Garden

I know nothing about Botanical Art and any time I attempt to draw or paint flowers I am in awe of the skill of those who do.

I've had a small Fabriano Artist's Journal with multicoloured pages for quite a while and not been able to decide what to use it for - along with quite a few other beautiful untouched journals and sketchbooks! - so I've decided to use it to record the flowering of our garden throughout the year.

We inherited a very overgrown and neglected terraced garden when we bought our apartment. HWEM is passionate about growing vegetables and views flowers as useless interlopers in his domain. To date his attitude in the garden has pretty much been: 'If you can't eat it, kill it.'

There are some spots in the garden judged unsuitable for vegetables and that is where I have been planting and discovering some existing flowers. The terrace is totally mine, so flowers will eventually rule there. HWEM is quite happy to cart loads of potting mix and terracotta containers up three flights of stairs to reach the garden so he's not a totally lost cause.

The excitement of inheriting a garden is discovering what each plant and tree is. One shrub we were about to pull out of the terrace saved its own life by starting to produce tiny mauve flowers. I later discovered it is Bush Germander, an infusion of which is apparently good for Gout. Life in Tuscany being what it is, it may come in useful some day!

I made a tentative purchase of Crocus bulbs a couple of months ago and, being a total amateur at this, planted far too few. Now they are blooming beautiful! I can't wait to put in more next year.

We have planted a couple of fruit trees - a Pear and a Cherry. There are Figs, a Loquat, an Olive, Bays, Grapes and a couple of other mystery trees awaiting identification. The first to bloom was what we had been told was an Almond but as it doesn't resemble the next door Almond tree, I'm hoping it's a Plum.

We had a mysterious small tree beside the terrace. Neighbours and a visitor of theirs who is a horticulturist identified it as a Peach. Now it has burst into a brilliant show of tiny yellow flowers - sadly no peach, it's the shrub, Forsythia. Since it's on the terrace it's allowed to stay.
Now I'm sweating on the Wild Poppies that appear here, it seems, wherever the earth has been turned over. That is if HWEM doesn't spot them first!


Anonymous said...

It looks like your garden is in a beautiful place and is full of lovely blooms already. Really nice paintings of them too!

Lisa B. said...

Hubby tends our garden, too. I froze my first green beans last summer!

He also doesn't mind growing flowers for his artist-in-training missus. I would love to have a terraced garden like yours!

Katherine said...

My goodness Robyn - what a brilliant idea for your sketchbook. I've got one of those as well and it's just too heavy to take out on trips si it keeps sitting there looking at me!

You're off to a fine start. If you want any book recommendations just let me know - I have one in mind which you might well like

MrsSnowy said...

Thank you Dave & Lisa.

Katherine - Yes please, I'd like to know the title of that book. I bet you have an enviable collection of art books!
The nice thing about this little journal is the novelty of working towards the darker pages - maybe by winter I'll be drawing on dark paper with white ink.

Stacy said...

Robyn, your garden looks beautiful!! And I love the idea of a sketch book full of flowers. When I first started painting with watercolors I painted a lot of flowers, but I haven't done any lately. With Spring coming I am getting the itch to paint or draw some more. Unfortunately here we still have snow on the ground. I am envious of all your blooms!

MrsSnowy said...

You spoke too soon, Stacy, we have snow on the hills today too. Just covering up my little lemon tree which we had just brought outside again! I look forward to your flower paintings.

platitudinal said...

Terraced gardens fascinate me. Your garden is lovely. You'll never be short of subjects to paint.

MrsSnowy said...

Thanks Luci - and I'm never short of weeding to do, either!

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