Creating gardens for pollinators and art

Fall is here with so many things to do.

My memories of Summer days spent digging in the dirt, planting seeds and watching my garden come to life are fading.  I loved all the bumblebees, swallowtails, pearl crescents, frittilaries, clearwing hummingbird moths, hummingbirds and wasps in varieties I hadn’t seen before tumble, crawl and fly around the garden.

A garden for pollinators, an artist and other wild visitors

A garden for pollinators, an artist and other wild visitors

Now my days are spent cutting back the Lobelia cardinalis flower stalks, finishing up the art that began in my sketchbook and cleaning up the studio and gardens for the Countryside Artisans Fall Studio Tour visitors.

I am enchanted by the seasonal changes, and love capturing some of it in my sketchbooks and then in that art hanging on the walls.

Hopefully all the many tasks associated with the upcoming Fall Studio Tour will still allow me to watch the Monarch Butterflies and other visitors to my garden.   Right now I am living in the moment, sunsets, fall color, and the good life as an artist in the agricultural reserve.


Challenge: Being present, make art daily, gardening a little and not stressing over life.

P1000063I love watching all the insects hanging out.  Wishing I could stay in this moment.

Life has been a roller coaster these last months, as life as a mom overwhelmed everything else.  When my boys were young I imagined myself at this age with long days making art, reading with no regard for the time, spontaneous happenings, and not worrying obsessively about them in their 30’s.

However, worry and despair dominated these last 6 months. As our Iraq Vet son moved home.   We had some good days, when I could focus on the art, good books, and enjoy the life I have created.  There was joy in planning a wedding for my older son, and the actual wedding weekend was wonderful.  I won’t soon forget our rehearsal dinner evening, nor the beautiful wedding in Nashville surrounded by family, some of our friends, and his childhood, high school and college friends.


It is hard tho’ to stay in those moments, isn’t it?   If only I could block out fear and worry over the daily struggles of the Iraq vet son, and return to memories of the wedding son in Nashville.   Focusing on that, being present there.

That is my challenge now:  how do I live with the reality of life never being okay for my Iraq vet son, and not worry or stress over his difficulties?  I wish sometimes I were one of those women who can block out family difficulties and make art, be happy with friends, but I am not.

In the week following that glorious wedding, our Iraq Vet son relapsed and became angry and depressed as the VA crisis dominated the news, and despair grew over his day to day life.  That was the backdrop at home as I worked to prepare for 2 naturalist hikes I co-lead that first weekend home.  The following Tuesday I taught my final Art/Botany Class,  I was exhausted and blacked out (or fell asleep) while driving home.

Car Accident-

The Police, Firemen, ER Doctors and the Ambulance EMT guys all said it should have been a fatality, and I was lucky to be alive.   It was a horrible accident, the impact was est. @ 45mph.  I hit a tree and guard rail head on, it folded then turned into a vertical spear eating the engine of my poor car.

After all the doctors, tests and the followup to a near fatal car crash, I am left wondering: How do I change my  head and heart?  How do I destress when my son is in crisis?  And how can I make art and live with a different mental/emotional approach to work deadlines as personal crisis develop at home?

These last few weeks, I am working in the garden, I am drawing plants, I am teaching, and I am slowing down.  My son has moved out, he lives with a friend now.  I am not sure how I will face the next  catastrophe he encounters, but I will try to let it be his problem and hope that I have given him enough guidance and support over all these years to be able to make good decisions.

Living in the moment right now on a beautiful June day, with my garden in full bloom.  Now to the studio…..

Monarda & Dill

Snow falling on Morningstar Studio

Snow falling on Morningstar Studio

Snowfall, hibernation, reading, and loving winter.
I love the way this weather envelops me. Warm and bundled up with good books, sketch pads and hot tea, it is that time of the year when I am not juggling, garden chores, house chores, and studio time.
I am looking out my old, wavy glass windows, at the sun shining on a snowy landscape. Thinking of books I want to read and realizing this is my time to create, explore and make art!