Fall Pumpkins

November 5, 2012

Pumpkin and gourd harvest at Jello Mold Farms

Pumpkin on our front steps

“What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?”
— John Greenleaf Whittier, from “The Pumpkin

My favorite pumpkin pie recipe is really a sweet potato pie.  I featured this recipe in one of my early blog posts.  I make it often during the fall and winter, and always at Thanksgiving.  Here’s a link to my old post: https://rosemarywashington.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/sweet-potato-pie/

Lingering last days of sneezeweed in bloom

“The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.”
Northern Advocate

You can see in the many colors of the sneezeweed beds the gradual letting go, the change from summer splendor to the dimming of winter.

Sneezeweed in October

Sneezeweed in its final days of glory

Watercolor sketch of sneezeweed

And another watercolor sketch of sneezeweed




Black and Orange Lilies

July 19, 2012

Black and orange lily

Dramatic black and orange lilies

Black and orange lily

Black in flowers is simply arresting.  These lilies in a neighbor’s garden attracted my eye because this was the blackest black I had ever seen in a flower.  So often black flowers are deep, deep purple.  I can see some purple in these lilies as well, but the color verges on true black.

I see my blog as something of an online nature journal.  All it takes is a walk outside my door to come up with something new to share, like seeing black in a flower.  I am often amazed at how inexhaustible Nature is.

Most often there is no improving on Nature, but I couldn’t resist trying some special effects on my photo editing software.  Here they go:

Lily with focal black & white effect

Lily with HDR-ish effect

Lily with cross-process effect

Posterized image of lily


The Signature Mark of Autumn

November 19, 2011

“The signature mark of autumn has arrived at last with the rains:  orange of pumpkin, orange persimmon, orange lichen on rocks and fallen logs; a copper moon hung low over the orchard; moist, ruddy limbs of the madrone, russet oak leaf, storm-peeled redwood, acorns emptied by squirrels and jays; and mushrooms, orange boletes, Witch’s Butter sprouting on rotted oak, the Deadly Galerina, and of course, chanterelles, which we’ll eat tonight with pasta, goat cheese, and wine.”
— Gary Young, “The Signature Mark of Autumn”

Fallen leaves in yellows, golds, and browns

Fall colors at Molbaks Nursery

The signature colors of fall at Molbaks Nursery

Chanterelles, a gift from my sister and brother-in-law

Chanterelles for supper

Satsuma Season

November 29, 2010

With the holiday season comes a favorite treat — satsumas!  I buy them when I find them on sale at $3.99 for a 5-lb box.

Seasonal satsuma

Satsumas are seedless and easy to peel.

Sneezeweed Sketches

August 24, 2010

Sneezeweed, a late summer flower with the colors of fall

This flower photo was the inspiration for a few more sketches and watercolor paintings.

Ink drawing of sneezeweed flower

First watercolor painting of sneezeweed

Second watercolor sketch of sneezeweed

Sneezeweed, August 2010

What is Pink?

May 14, 2010

What Is Pink?
by Christina Rossetti

What is pink? A rose is pink
By the fountain’s brink.
What is red? A poppy’s red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? The sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro’.
What is white? A swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? Pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? The grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? Clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? Why, an orange,
Just an orange!

I pulled a few photographs from my archives to illustrate this poem:

What is pink? A rose is pink . . .

What is red? A poppy's red . . .

What is blue? The sky is blue . . .

What is white? A swan is white . . .

What is yellow? A pear is yellow . . .

What is green? The grass is green . . .

What is violet? Clouds are violet . . .

What is orange? Why, an orange . . .

Bird of Paradise

January 3, 2010

Bird of Paradise

Orange and blue bird of paradise

Detail, bird of paradise

I returned to the Volunteer Park Conservatory last week during its open hours, and what a feast for the eyes it was!  I felt like I was in heaven, as symbolized by this elegantly blooming bird of paradise.  You can see why this plant is also called the “Crane flower.”  I love the pairing of complementary colors, the brilliant orange with the true blue.

When I got home, I found these botanical prints at http://botanicus.org.

Botanical print of Strelitzia reginae

Botanical print of Strelitzia reginae

Orange Pumpkins

September 4, 2009

Orange pumpkins at a farmer's market

Orange pumpkins at a farmer's market

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have a seat to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
     — Henry David Thoreau

Sunrise in the Garden

July 12, 2009

Reddish-orange and yellow crocosmia

Reddish-orange and yellow crocosmia



Yellow and pale-orange hollyhock

Yellow and pale-orange hollyhock



Orange-colored flower

Orange-colored flower

“It is always sunrise somewhere.”
     — John Muir

I really should take the time to witness more sunrises and sunsets. I love the yellows, oranges, and reds of the sky during these transitions to day and night.  And I love seeing these colors in the garden, too.