Red Poppy growing at Jello Mold Farm

Red Poppy growing at Jello Mold Farm

I was captivated by the vibrancy of the red poppies growing at Jello Mold Farm.  Not surprisingly, I took a lot of photos of them.  So many that I decided they needed their own post.  Enjoy!

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I even like looking at the poppy foliage and pods:

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Garden shed at Jello Mold Farm

Garden shed at Jello Mold Farm

Here are some more photos from my June visit to Jello Mold Farm.  Lots of gorgeous flowers in bloom.  I never tire of the beauty held in these fertile acres.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas

Poppies

Poppies

Dahlias (I put my hand in the picture to give you some idea of the size of these giants)

Dahlias (I put my hand in the picture to give you some idea of the size of these giants)

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Greenhouses

Greenhouses

Crocosmia

Crocosmia

Another view

Another view

Love-in-a-mist

Love-in-a-mist

Lupine

Lupine

Inside a greenhouse

Inside a greenhouse

 

 

Sweet peas from Jello Mold Farm at the Seattle Wholesale Growers' Market

Sweet peas from Everyday Flowers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Sweet peas from Jello Mold Farm

Sweet peas from Everyday Flowers Farm

“Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight,
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers casting at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny wings.”
— John Keats, from “I Stood Tip-Toe Upon a Little Hill”

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I loved seeing the array of colors in the sweet peas at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  Their ruffled petals really do look like flushed wings, as Keats so aptly observed.  And their tendrils look like wayward calligraphic lines, ready to bind those wings from actually taking flight.

I had the opportunity to visit Jello Mold Farm recently and was rewarded by the sight of a greenhouse full of sweet peas.

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I wish I could do a better job capturing sweet peas with my watercolor paints.  Sometimes, even when I paint something over and over, I don’t seem to be improving.  Aargh!

Sweet pea studies ( a few good ones in there)

Sweet pea studies ( a few good ones in there)

Bucket of sweet peas

Bucket of sweet peas

Latest watercolor sketch of sweet pea bouquet

Latest watercolor sketch of sweet pea bouquet

 

 

Lilacs at Jello Mold Farm

Lilacs at Jello Mold Farm

“Is any moment of the year more delightful than the present?  What there is wanting in glow of colour is more than made up for in fullness of interest.  Each day some well-known, long remembered plant bursts into blossom.”
— Henry A. Bright, from A Year in a Lancashire Garden

Blossoms abound this time of year.  One can hardly keep up with the newest blooms.  This year, in the midst of tulip season, the lilacs are already bursting into flower.  Since we were in the Skagit Valley to see the tulips, we decided to swing by Jello Mold Farm to see what was happening there.  And lilacs were abounding.  These are indeed long-remembered plants to me.  My mother had a large lilac bush by her garden, and the scent of lilacs brings back memories of my childhood on the farm.

Here are some photos of the lilacs at Jello Mold Farm:

Syringa hyacinthiflora 'Sister Justena'

Syringa hyacinthiflora ‘Sister Justena’

Syringa hyacinthiflora 'Asessippi'

Syringa hyacinthiflora ‘Asessippi’

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Syringa vulgaris 'Krasavitsa Moskvy'

Syringa vulgaris ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’

This variety of lilac has unusual multi-petaled flowers

This variety of lilac has unusual multi-petaled flowers

Watercolor sketch of lilacs

Watercolor sketch of lilacs

Another attempt at painting lilacs

Another attempt at painting lilacs

 

 

Sparrow in the zinnia beds, Jello Mold Farm

Sparrow in the zinnia beds, Jello Mold Farm

“In any careless combination they delight.
Pure peach-cheek beside the red of boiled beet
by the perky scarlet of a cardinal by flamingo pink
by sunsink orange by yellow from a hundred buttercups
by bleached linen white.  Any random armful
of the world, one comes to feels, would fit together.”
— from “A Bouquet of Zinnias” by Mona Van Duyn

Zinnia field, Jello Mold Farm

Zinnia field, Jello Mold Farm

I love how Van Duyn’s poem celebrates the brilliant multi-colored pageantry of the zinnia flower.  As summer fades to fall, the tenacity of this flower means that we will enjoy their splashes of color when other summer blossoms are spent.  The poem is brought to life in the zinnia beds at Jello Mold Farm.

“How tough they are, how bent on holding their flagrant
freshness, how stubbornly in their last days instead
of fading they summon an even deeper hue
as if they intended to dry to everlasting,
and how suddenly, heavily, they hang their heads at the end.”
— from “A Bouquet of Zinnias” by Mona Van Duyn

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'Queen lime" zinnias

‘Queen lime” zinnias

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Chestnuts from Jello Mold Farm

Chestnuts from Jello Mold Farm

What a funny mix of textures there are in each chestnut seed case.  Those prickly-as-a-hedgehog seed cases protect a nut that is as smooth as marble.  I love the feel of chestnut conkers in my hands.  Jello Mold Farm has several rows of chestnut trees separating their flower beds, and I was so taken with photographing them, I thought they deserved their own post.

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Jello Mold Farm's magnificent dahlias

Jello Mold Farm’s magnificent dahlias

It’s impossible to say what Diane, Dennis, Andy and the staff at Jello Mold Farm do best, but their dahlias have to be near the top of the list.  How fortunate that the growing season has lasted into early October, so that I could feast my eyes on their riotous glory.  These have to be the most exuberant of blooms, a welcome splash of color in our muted fall landscape.  Enjoy!

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“The exceeding beauty of the earth, in her splendour of life, yields a new thought with every petal.  The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live, so that the longer we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched from inevitable Time.”
— Richard Jeffries

Poppies, Jello Mold Farm

Poppies, Jello Mold Farm

Watercolor sketch of poppy

Watercolor sketch of poppy

I have a terrible track record with painting outdoors, especially if I have my camera along and know I will be taking photos, too.  I find it easy to pull my camera out and snap shot after shot, but it feels like a hurdle to set up my watercolor supplies. Countless times I have carried my painting supplies with me on trips and outings and left them in my bag, unused.

No, now when I think about it, it is not the physical act of setting out paper, water and paints that proves difficult — it is the mental adjustment I need to make before painting . Slowing down, forgetting to feel self-conscious, becoming absorbed, etc.  All processes that I find easier to embark on in the privacy of my home when I am alone.

But I do want to get better at painting en plein air.  So I packed my little palette of travel paints, a sketchbook, a brush, and a water bottle in readiness for my daytrip to Jello Mold Farm.  On the drive up to the Skagit Valley, I thought I might set a goal of painting 12 sketches in one hour, an exercise to free me up because I would have to work too fast to think much.  And then I discovered that I had not packed any pencils, so I had to skip my usual step of making a light pencil drawing before applying the paint.  This was going to be a day of experiments!

Here are my sketches from Jello Mold Farm.  I simply could not sustain my focus beyond seven sketches, so I stopped.  Still, it was rewarding to have made an attempt at working outside.

Watercolor sketch of poppy and pods

Watercolor sketch of poppy and pods

Watercolor sketch of poppy

Watercolor sketch of poppy

Fallen poppy petal

Fallen poppy petal

Watercolor sketch of poppy petals

Watercolor sketch of poppy petals

Poppy seed pods

Poppy seed pods

Watercolor sketch of poppy seed cases

Watercolor sketch of poppy seed cases

Sweet peas

Sweet peas

Watercolor sketch of sweet peas

Watercolor sketch of sweet peas

Another watercolor sketch of sweet peas

Another watercolor sketch of sweet peas