Blooming Magnolia

March 26, 2013

“Nature is infinitely patient, one thing lives after another has given way; the magnolia’s blossoms die just as the cherry’s come to life.”
— Teju Cole, Open City

Magnolia in full blossom

Magnolia in full blossom



The artist Ellsworth Kelly has captured the essence of the magnolia blossom in just a few clear lines.  The simplicity of his drawing is beguiling.

From Plant Drawings by Ellsworth Kelly

From Plant Drawings by Ellsworth Kelly

I was also inspired to try my hand at painting magnolia blossoms after seeing some botanical prints in Treasures of Botanical Art by Shirley Sherwood and Martyn Rix.

Magnolia painting by Siriol Sherlock

Magnolia painting by Siriol Sherlock

Magnolia painting by Barbara Oozeerall

Magnolia painting by Barbara Oozeerall

My watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

My watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

Another watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

Another watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms





Mystery Plant

February 22, 2012

While I was out and about looking for early crocuses, I came across this dense patch of blooming bulbs (or possibly corms).  The petals resemble irises, but the plants were dwarfs, no taller than crocuses.  I can’t recall seeing them before.  But they are very pretty!

Do you know what they are called?

Dense, early blooms

Tightly wrapped bulbs and freshly opened flowers in the same bed

The colors of Spring

Ground-level view

Early Blooms

February 17, 2012

I am now seeing camellias in bloom in Seattle.

“Help us to be the always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.”
— Kali, “A Grain of Mustard Seed”

When I first started my blog in April 2009, I did several posts about the camellias blooming by my front door.  (See here and here and here.)  So it just surprises me to see camellias blooming already in mid-February this year.

It is so lovely to see the new pink and deep fuchsia-colored buds bringing spots of color to our gray winter landscape.  After a long winter, things are beginning to flower again.

There are still hundreds of unopened buds on the camellia bushes.

But a few of the buds have burst into full bloom.

Delicate new blossoms on a flowering plum or cherry tree

Pink buds on the verge of flowering

New bud

And flowering plant

Texas bluebonnets

We saw our first Texas bluebonnets in a ditch from the windows of the car rental shuttle at the Houston airport, but we couldn’t stop for photos.  That first sighting whetted my appetite, so the hunt was on.  I next saw some at a nursery in Chappell Hill.  Chappell Hill is on the “Bluebonnet Trail,” and I had read that one could sometimes find early blooms along the trail at Old Baylor Park in Independence, so we made a point to stop there.  We were in luck.

Potted bluebonnet for sale in a Chappell Hill nursery

Bluebonnets and white wildflowers at Old Baylor Park

Wildflowers in bloom at Old Baylor Park in Independence, Texas

 After Independence, bluebonnets proved elusive until later in our trip when we drove south of San Antonio.  Suddenly we saw bluebonnets growing in profusion in huge patches along I-37.

Texas bluebonnets along I-37 south of San Antonio

Bluebonnets along I-37

We saw plenty of other wildflowers along the roadsides of Texas.

Coral-colored Indian paintbrush near Old Baylor Park

Butterfly and wildflower

Flowering plum and butterfly

Tiny blue wildflowers

White wildflower

Cactus in San Antonio

Patch of evening primroses growing wild in a ditch

Coreopsis growing close to the ground, North Padre Island National Seashore

Prickly poppies, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Huge thistle near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Wildflowers in a meadow near Brazoria

Wisteria in bloom on the drive to Huntsville, Texas

Bee in the wisteria blossoms

Pussy Willow Wreath

February 25, 2010

I’d never taken the time before to really look closely at the budding of  a willow tree.  I’ve just noticed that those little gray muffs of pussy willow eventually sprout  into an explosion of yellow.

Pussy willows in an advanced state of bloom

Bursting into full bloom

I picked a few sprays of willow to make a spring wreath.  It’s a very simple arrangement, but I like it.

Ready to assemble my willow wreath

Finished wreath

Gracing the front entry way

This looks like the end of the season for pussy willows, so I’ll end this post with a nursery rhyme:

Pussy willow wakened from her cozy winter nap,
For the frolicking spring breeze, on her door would tap.
“It is chilly weather, though the sun feels good;
I will wrap up warmly and wear my furry hood.”
Mistress Pussy Willow opened wide her door;
Never had the sunshine seemed so bright before.
Never had the brooklet seemed so full of cheer;
“Good morning, Pussy Willow, welcome to you, dear.”
Never guest was quainter, than when Pussy came to town,
In her hood of silver gray, and tiny coat of brown.
Happy little children cried with laugh and shout,
“Spring is coming, coming,
Mistress Pussy Willow’s out.”
     — Author unknown