Single poppy with buds

Single poppy with buds

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.


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.




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

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







“That is May, the month I love the most, and when my turn comes to make the world, as surely it will, I shall make my May ninety days long.”
—  Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden (Book):



Poppy and bud

Poppy and bud

There aren’t enough hours in the days to enjoy all the flowers and blooms and green growth, so extending the month to ninety days is a clever idea!


Wildly exuberant branches, still bare

Wildly exuberant branches, still bare

I love visiting Jello Mold Farm, my favorite flower grower in the Skagit Valley.  I’ve stopped by in all seasons, but this week’s visit was the quietest by far.  The Skagit Valley’s annual tulip festival is in full swing, and the fields there are full of colorful blooms.  At Jello Mold Farm, in contrast, the flower beds are just now beginning to wake from their winter sleep.  One of my painter friends commented, “Talk about peaceful — it felt a bit like a ghost town because you could see how much work had taken place yet no one was there.  I would have thought the rapture had occurred . . .”

The greenhouses were full of plant starts and seedlings.  The flower beds were tidy.  It was as if everything was holding its breath, knowing that a few more weeks of sunshine and warm weather will bring on far too many tasks to keep up with.

Here are some photos of Jello Mold Farm in early Spring:

Bonnie displayiing the "lady in the bathtub" hidden inside a bleeding heart

Bonnie displaying the “lady in the bathtub” hidden inside a bleeding heart

Lovely, ruffled helebore

Lovely, ruffled helebore

Greenhouses open to the warmer temperatures

Greenhouses open to the warmer temperatures

Sweet peas just starting to blossom

Sweet peas just starting to blossom


Young poppy

Young poppy

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

Bird in blossoms

Bird in blossoms

Old chestnut clinging to a tree

Old chestnut clinging to a tree

New leaves, chestnut tree

New leaves, chestnut tree


A few early lilacs

A few early lilacs



Jello Mold Farm

Jello Mold Farm

While I was up in the Skagit Valley, I stopped by Jello Mold Farm to wander around the flower beds.  On this early June visit, I was especially taken with the red poppies and the pink peonies.

Garden shed with pink peonies, Jello Mold Farm

Garden shed with pink peonies, Jello Mold Farm












Bells of Ireland



“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
–Alice Walker

Pale purple gladiolus

A purple trio of geranium flowers

Purple pansies all in a row

Purple poppies

Lovely magenta poppies


Somewhere between purple and red, knautica macedonica

Plum-colored hydrangea


Clematis vine

Late season lavender

Fuchsia-colored foxglove, purplish pink

Purplish-pinks and blues of sweet peas

Plums, Pike Place Market

Bing cherries, Pike Place Market

This concludes our walks along the color wheel.  Hope you enjoyed the rambles!

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
— Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Spanish poet

A line of towering trees at Green Lake

Striped leaf

Unfurled poppy

Adorned poppy seed cases

Gladioli stalks

Leaves of a dogwood tree

More poppy seed cases

Little green apple


The yellow-green of a new sunflower waiting to bloom

Fluorescent yellow-green escalator in Seattle’s downtown library

Seattle green is the dark green of the trim on the Washington State Ferries.

And it’s also the green of Starbucks, our local Seattle coffee company, now a worldly giant

“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.”
— Kandinsky

Orange lilies



Striped umbrella, outdoor dining

Orange calendula

Orange poppy

Honeysuckle in oranges and pinks

More reddish-orange lilies

And yet another photo of a lily

Salmon filets, Pike Place Fish Market

Fishmonger from Pike Place Fish Market shows a young man a fresh Dungeness crab

Dahlias, Pike Place Market

The Space Needle (painted orange for the 50th anniversary of Seattle’s World Fair) seen beneath Calder’s Eagle, Olympic Sculpture Park






May your summer be filled with red letter days!

Lucifer crocosmia

Two pots of strikingly red geraniums brighten this yard.

Hummingbird feeder, no hummers

Ethereal poppy

Boat rentals at Green Lake

Ubiquitous red stop signs

Rainier cherries, Pike Place Market

Raspberries, Pike Place Market

Fire engine red

Red chairs in the pavilion at Olympic Sculpture Park, with “Encounters with Water” wall art

The Seattle signature (muted) wardrobe brightened by a red beach bucket






Jon B Dove garden cottage, Georgetown Garden Walk

Yesterday was the 2012 Georgetown Garden Walk.  My friend Carol and I strolled around, map in hand, enjoying the garden ramble.  We re-visited old favorites from last year’s Walk, and eyed a few new surprises.  This year the Garden Walk was made extra special by art in the gardens, a co-event called “Cross Pollinate.”

My absolute favorite part of the Georgetown Garden Walk was Jon B. Dove’s garden cottage.  I would love to have a garden retreat like this to write, paint, and work on my blog. Here are some photos:

The Jon B. Dove garden cottage interior

A relaxing spot to read a book

Dove garden cottage, another view

A profusion of clematis, Dove garden

Honeysuckle blossom, Dove garden

Another garden shed being made over into an extra living space

Red poppy

A small backyard space converted into a magical oasis, lined by votive candles


Garden gate, Georgetown Garden Walk

Garden arch, a cool, green spot

Many gardens sported interesting art objects, like this vintage toy airplane

Foliage from Solomon seal

Purple and green grape leaves

We saw borders lined with hubcaps, bowling balls, and this one with bottles

A gardener and her passion flower

Pink hollyhocks

Old-fashioned flowers — hollyhocks

Tea in the garden

Carol resting on a bench in Oxbow Park

Parasol and long braid

This woman with her parasol was perfectly attired for the garden walk.

Plein air painter in a garden

Budding artist, Piper, painting in her garden

Poster for 2012 Georgetown Garden Walk