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.

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Summer to Fall Transition

Summer to Fall Transition

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I have no problem being present in the fall: Being outside, listening to the wind rustling leaves in the trees; bike rides; apples from the orchard; colorful leaves falling; collecting acorns, nuts and samaras; long walks with my dog; and trying to capture some of this in my art.

This leaf rubbing was created in a Greek restaurant (on the paper placemat) after a hike at Boundary Bridge with my buddy Melanie last fall.  I was so excited by all the trees we saw on the hike, I couldn’t resist rubbing the freshly collected leaves with color sticks.

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The summer was great.   My days were filled with drawing and painting in my sketchbooks from the garden and from the car as i traveled south, north and to the midwest.  Taking walks and hikes, kayaking, working in the garden, and visiting with family and friends.

mixed media sketch

mixed media sketch

Now is the time to prepare for the Fall Studio Tour in less than 4 weeks, I can’t believe it is already upon us.  That deadline helps me focus on finishing art that can be put in a frame and setting the studio up for customers.  It is easy to be consumed with  finishing art, photographing art, framing art, social media, cleanup work in the studio and garden tasks, and all the clerical work.

As  I finish these essential tasks, the fall season is rich in color for painting, the mountain is calliing me for a hike, the dog wants a walk, and my new bike is sitting inside waiting to be taken out on the road.  I am lucky to have this life in the country, just hope I can work that studio tour list..

A hummingbird just flew nearby to drink from a late blooming Lobelia cardinalis, life is good when I can be present in these moments outside in nature.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain to my Persimmon tree

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain to my Persimmon tree

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I am a midwesterner at heart- loving the seasonal changes in woodland forests.  Last week I led a group of women from Chevy Chase, MD on a hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain.  We were enveloped in the fall colors against Sugarloaf’s quartzite rocks.  Her trees are in the early stages of the fall burst of color.  Tupelo, Black Birch, Tulip Tree, Red Maple and Persimmon were glorious shades gold, crimson, citron and tangerine.

These women get their hands dirty working with soil, they are attuned to plant diversity and microhabitats.  So I shared tree ID clues and various habitat preferences, knowing they would be interested in how these plants adapt to their specific part of the forest.  Every time I lead a hike I learn something new about the mountain.  This time I was struck by the number of persimmons on the summit, we all got a chance to see and taste those amazing berries.  And for many on the hike their previous experiece with persimmon was the cultivated varieties in the grocery store.  I encouraged them to taste the ripe fruit and I think I have a few more converts to my favorite tree.

It was a wonderful day to be on Sugarloaf with kindred spirits.  Maybe if I finish work on a deadline in time today I can get back on the trail to my Persimmon Tree.

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