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

 

 

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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Single poppy with buds

Single poppy with buds

Bouquet
by Robert Francis

One flower at a time, please
however small the face.

Two flowers are one flower
too many, a distraction.

Three flowers in a vase begin
to be a little noisy.

Like cocktail conversation,
everybody talking.

A crowd of flowers is a crowd
of flatterers (forgive me).

One flower at a time.  I want
to hear what it is saying.

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This was the lone poppy blooming in a bed of buds.  So I had no choice but to gaze intently at this one flower.  So much to see!  I was reminded of my Wordless Wednesday project of last year, when I took the time to photograph 12 views of a single object.

I think of Georgia O’Keeffe’s many flower paintings — most depict single flowers.  For most of my painting practice, I have been focussing on small watercolor sketches of single flowers, too.  But this year I have been branching into painting bouquets from time to time.  Even when painting bouquets, one has to paint one flower at a time!  Each one is a little portrait, so varied and unique.

For me, painting always involves looking deeply at things.  It adds another layer of enjoyment to seeing.

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My first watercolor sketch of this single poppy

My first watercolor sketch of this single poppy

 

Another watercolor sketch of poppy

Another watercolor sketch of poppy

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.

 

 

“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

 

 

 

 

Ed and Mary Epps' backyard garden

Ed and Mary Epps’ backyard garden

Sunday’s “Let’s Sketch Bay View” gave a few of us the added pleasure of a mini-garden tour by Ed Epps.  He and Mary have garden plots on all sides of their home, with plenty of places to pause and enjoy the variety of colors, patterns, and natural forms.

Rarely have I seen such exuberant variety in a garden.  Ed seems drawn to all manner of flowers and plants — from the odd voodoo lily, to the uniquely colored chrysanthemum ‘bright eyes,’ or to the more traditional sweet peas and poppies.  Something lovely is always in bloom, and each plant is worthy of joyful attention.

Desicated bloom of weird voodoo lily

Desiccated bloom of weird voodoo lily

Chrysanthemum 'bright eyes'

Chrysanthemum ‘bright eyes’

Sweet peas

Sweet peas

Poppies

Poppies

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Ed and Mary’s garden exhibits all manner of things done well, but surpassing all is the celebration of foliage.  The foliage provides its own beauty in the variety of colors, textures, and structures it displays.  I was particularly taken with the jagged-leaf melianthus, whose early leafings are folded like intricate origami (another of Ed’s interests), and whose mature leaves bring intriguing spikiness to the garden beds.

Melianthus leaves, folded like a miniature origami fan

Melianthus leaves, folded like a miniature origami fan

Melianthus

Melianthus

Melianthus

Melianthus

The spiral of the rex begonia escargot

The spiral of the rex begonia escargot

The under leaf of the rex begonia escargot

The under leaf of the rex begonia escargot

Succulents

Succulents

I was also most impressed with the many ways Ed incorporated chocolate browns, deep dark purples, and (almost) blacks into the foliage and flowers of the garden.  It made me wonder if a chocolate garden, similar to Vita Sackville-West’s white garden, could be executed in an exciting way.  I imagine cafe au lait dahlias and black leaf dahlias combined with  . . . what else?  Ed would be the one to pull this off, I’m sure.

Black leaf dahlia with yellow bloom

Black leaf dahlia with yellow bloom

Thank you again, Ed and Mary, for opening your private gardens for the participants of Sunday’s “Let’s Sketch Bay View.”

 

 

 

 

Mid-July Vividness

July 13, 2014

Harvesting for market, Jello Mold Farm

Harvesting for market, Jello Mold Farm

“Mid-July comes and the palette of blossoms shifts to hotter colors, as if in their vividness they were reflecting the sun.”
— Verlyn Klinkenborg, More Scenes from the Rural Life

I saw some evidence of vibrancy in the flower fields at Jello Mold Farm this past week.  The deep reds and oranges of the crocosmia, poppies, and sneezeweed glowed in their jeweled presence.  And the sunny yellow sunflowers were starting to burst into bloom.

Poppies

Poppies

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Crocosmia with hummingbird

Crocosmia with hummingbird

Sneezeweed

Sneezeweed

 

 

“A pedestrian is a man in danger of his life.  A walker is a man in possession of his soul.”
— David McCord

I admit I was a bit apprehensive about this third leg of my circumambulation of Seattle because the southern perimeter zigs and zags across industrial areas. It’s not a straightforward boundary line because Boeing Field interrupts the trek east to west. I would be leaving the flat, scenic shoreline of Lake Washington and heading toward Puget Sound. I’m not familiar with south Seattle, as I live and work in a northern neighborhood, so I didn’t know what to expect.

My husband came along to keep me company for the first part of the day’s walk. We started at South Kenyon Street and walked to the lakeshore. We walked south along Lake Washington to Thayer Street, not quite to the Renton border. At Thayer, we headed uphill to begin our walk west. This was the first of several uphill stretches on our journey.

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Rather than follow each zig and zag along the city’s south boundary line, we fudged a bit to take in some more natural pathways. Our first destination was the Kubota Garden. We found the southernmost entrance by Mapes Creek overgrown with blackberry brambles. So we continued on to the main entrance on S 55th Street. The Japanese garden was a tranquil place early in the morning and we were its only visitors. It was an in-between time in terms of color. The rhododendron bloom was past its peak. But the curved paths took us past thoughtfully landscaped ponds and lawns, so it was a lovely meander.

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

Gated entrance

Gated entrance

Rabbit in the gardens

Rabbit in the gardens

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

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We exited the Kubota Garden on Renton Avenue and headed west toward the Rainier Beach light rail stop. There we intercepted the Chief Sealth trail, a bike and pedestrian trail along a green belt. The paved trail wove up and down in a grassy meadow landscape.

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Chief Sealth trail

Chief Sealth trail

At Kenyon Street we headed west to Beacon Avenue, followed it until it turned into Swift Avenue, and continued north along I-5. We were under the noisy flight path of planes destined for Seatac Airport and Boeing Field.

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We crossed I-5 at Albro Street and rested for a few minutes at Ruby Chow Park. Then George caught a bus back to his truck, and I continued on my way west. I walked to S Eddy Street in the Georgetown neighborhood and followed it to Michigan Street. I continued on Michigan to the First South Bridge, whose Duwamish bike trail provided pedestrian access across the Duwamish River. Now I was in the heart of the industrial area of Seattle – barges, concrete, traffic, storage lots for all sorts of industrial materials.

The Duwamish River

The Duwamish River

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

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I followed the zig-zag bike path to the South Park neighborhood. The library there provided a clean and quiet space for a break before I headed up the hill on Cloverdale, over Hwy 509, and up into West Seattle.

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

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As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

Once again I fudged a bit on my periphery route, bypassing the point at Arbor Heights in favor of a more direct walk west. I took Roxbury to 8th Avenue SW, then 8th to Henderson St, and Henderson to Barton St and 35th Avenue SW.

I marveled at the beautiful flowers and landscaping I saw along the residential streets, but the highlight was the Barton Street Pea Patch on 35th Avenue SW. Everything looked so healthy and full of life. The colorful poppies and pink peonies were eye catching. The prolific pea plants gave special meaning to the concept of a “pea patch” garden. If I lived in this neighborhood, I would definitely get on the waiting list for a spot in this community garden.

From a yard along SW Henderson St

From a yard along SW Henderson St

The perfect rose

The perfect rose

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Sunflower in the pea patch

Sunflower in the pea patch

Poppies

Poppies

Peas in the pea patch

Peas in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

I took a short two-block detour on 35th to the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library for a needed break before catching the Rapid Line C back to downtown Seattle.

Walking distance: about 13 miles

Poppies: Painted Glass

June 18, 2014

“The poppy is the most transparent and delicate of all the blossoms of the field.  The rest, nearly all of them, depend on the texture of their surface for colour.  But the poppy is painted glass; it never shines so brightly as when the sun shines through it.  Wherever it is seen against the light or with the light, it is a flame, and warms the mind like a brown ruby.”
— John Ruskin

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