Clematis, Jello Mold Farm

Clematis, Jello Mold Farm

“The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.  The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.  In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold purple stars.  But we never get back our youth.”
— Oscar Wilde, from “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

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Clematis seed case

Clematis seed case

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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

 

 

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

This morning I stopped by the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market after dropping  my daughter off at the airport for an early morning flight.  There were buyers lined up at the door at 6 o’clock when the Market opened.  It has been a while since I last visited and things have changed — new vendors, rearranged spaces, new market manager.  But the selection and quality of the flowers is as spectacular as always.

I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible while I took a few photos.  Here they are:

Peonies

Peonies

Peonies

Peonies

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Calla lilies

Calla lilies

Poppies from Jello Mold Farm

Poppies from Jello Mold Farm

Poppy seed cases

Poppy seed cases

Sweet peas

Sweet peas

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Harvesting poppies, Jello Mold Farm

Harvesting poppies, Jello Mold Farm

In the greenhouses at Jello Mold Farm, poppies were starting to bloom.  Harvesting poppies was truly a race against the clock.  Dennis had to check the beds every half hour or so to see which new flowers were about to pop open, cut them before they had fully unfurled, and rush them into the refrigerator so that they would be fresh for market.

These poppies were not yet ready to be harvested.

These poppies were not yet ready to be harvested.

The minute the sepals broke open, the race was on to harvest them.

The minute the sepals broke open, the race was on to harvest them.

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The larger variety of poppy was the Colibri poppy. This one is a Palaver nudicaule 'Colibri Rose Intenso Salmonato'

The larger variety of poppy was the Colibri poppy. This one is a Papaver nudicaule ‘Colibri Rose Intenso Salmonato’

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Most of the poppies were assorted colors of Palaver nudicaule 'Champagne Bubbles'

Most of the poppies were assorted colors of Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’

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I had never realized that poppies actually pop.  And that watching them pop was a spectator sport!  I could see the flower emerge slowly over the course of 30 minutes or so, without the benefit of time-lapse photography.  These poppies actually swayed gently from time to time as the tension of the unfurling petals sought release.  It was as if these plants had souls that animated them.  Take a look:

1:46 p.m.

1:46 p.m.

1:49 p.m.

1:49 p.m.

1:51 p.m.

1:51 p.m.

2:10 p.m. (then this flower went under the knife)

2:10 p.m. (then this flower went under the knife)

1:58 p.m.

1:58 p.m.

2:01 p.m.

2:01 p.m.

2:09 p.m.

2:09 p.m.

2:16 p.m.

2:16 p.m.

They emerged like wrinkled babies, crumpled tissue-paper.

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How’s that for excitement!

Here’s a poem that celebrates slow moments like these.

Swift Things Are Beautiful
by Elizabeth Coatsworth, from National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry

Swift things are beautiful:
Swallows and deer,
And lightening that falls
Bright veined and clear,
Rivers and meteors,
Wind in the wheat.
The strong-withered horse,
The runner’s sure feet.

And slow things are beautiful:
The closing of day,
The pause of the wave
That curves downward to spray,
The ember that crumbles.
The opening flower,
And the ox that moves on
In the quiet of power.

 

 

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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Imprecision’s Virtues

October 9, 2015

“You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft: a certain free margin and even vagueness — ignorance, credulity — helps your enjoyment of these things.”
— Walt Whitman, Specimen Days

Clematis seedhead

Clematis seedhead

I certainly fit Whitman’s description of someone who appreciates the aesthetics of things without understanding their scientific workings or names.  When I go out into the world, my eye seeks beautiful and interesting shapes and patterns, and I often don’t know what exactly I am looking at.

I remember the first time I photographed a clematis seedhead.  I sent the photo to the Plant Answer Line at the Elisabeth C. Miller horticultural library, and they identified it for me.  I don’t always take the time for this type of research, but I do appreciate how the internet connects me so easily with experts who are willing to share their knowledge with a stranger.  We live in a marvelous world!

I am drawn to the clematis seedheads because they make me smile.  Their swirly, feathered tails are like looking into a miniature whirlpool.  There is something funny about their fluffy, ball shape — kind of like waking up to a bad hair day.  At other times, I love the grace of their calligraphic lines.

Here are some clematis in the early October gardens of Jello Mold Farm:

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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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