Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Small Gift....

I have been inspired to send a small gift into the world of one of my botanical paintings. It is painted on a very sweet wooden post card that was made in France. 
The fourth person to email me at will receive the botanical postcard in the mail as a gift. (Kindly title the email 'gift' and include your mailing address.) The post card is blank on the back so the recipient can then send it to whomever they wish.....
Where in the world will it go?
This little loose painting is of yellow kale flowers that appeared on last year's plants. It is acrylic and permanent black pen. The flower petals are glazed with an iridescent paint so that they sparkle in the light. The little blue birds came from my imagination and the peony seal was designed by Tashi Mannox.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peek-A-Boo With a Praying Mantis

A Praying Mantis egg case made it's way into the home and surprisingly 100 nymphs emerged from the case after it had been indoors for about one month. The nymphs were taken outside, several remained close to the house making an Agapanthus plant their temporary home. These pictures are of four day old nymphs! 

These two nymphs were watching me and very shy as I tried to get as close as I could with my camera. It felt a bit like a game of peek-a-boo. 

The word 'mantis' in Greek means 'prophet' or 'seer'. 

The 'medicine' of the Praying Mantis is believed to be patience, devotion, divine timing, the power of stillness and  the grace of accuracy. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pretty Peonies

Peonies are my absolute favorite flowers. My definition of a 'heaven' is a place that is filled with Peonies of all different colors, shapes and sizes. According to European plant lore, Peonies are known for their protective qualities. When planted near the entrance of a home they are said to protect the inhabitants from any negative forces.
Peonies are one of the national flowers in China and are used in Chinese herbal medicine.
Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Lactiflorae) which is called 'white peony' is bitter, sour and cold and goes to the Liver and Spleen channels. In the Materia Medica it is in the category of Herbs that Tonify the Blood.  When used in a formula, it regulates the menses, calms the Liver and preserves Yin.
Chi Shao (Radix Paeoniae Rubrae) or 'red Peony' is another type that Invigorates the Blood. It is sour, bitter and slightly cold in flavor and enters the Spleen and Liver channels. Chi Shao is used in herbal formulas to invigorate the blood when there is stasis, masses, and a need to cool the blood.
The photographs above were taken this week in my garden, they are tree Peonies. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poppies and Allium

There are so many flowers opening right now that it is hard to know what to share. Everything is so stunning and gorgeous. I especially love Poppies and Allium. In these Poppy photographs, I am sharing Champagne Bubbles mixed Poppies (Papaver nudicaule 'Champagne Bubbles'). Historically Poppies were cultivated for opium. The opium Poppy is known as Papaver Somniferum. This Poppy usually has white or purple flowers. The word "opium" comes from the Greek word 'opos'  which means juice.  
It is believed that this flower originated in the Mediterranean.

Poppies have also been symbols of fertility as they are loaded with many seeds in a single Poppy capsule. Even after the petals fell off the flowers, they are very beautiful. Poppies are associated with the element of water, the moon and are sacred to the agricultural goddess Demeter. 
The buds in the photograph above are Giant Allium. Before they open a thin papery coating splits open to reveal the many flower buds that will soon open up to beautiful purple flowers. The genus Allium includes onions, chives, and garlic.
Allium flowers are symbols of humility and unity. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Inspired by Yellow

The color yellow has been catching my eye this past week. It is such a lovely color to see after such a grey winter. I am sharing some very special pictures I took in the garden recently on my morning walks.  I never know when I will be inspired or greeted by something unexpectedly sparkly or truly amazing. 
In this nine patch the image in the middle far right square is the back of a boxwood turtle that was visiting us in the woods. I was collecting photographs of yellow flowers when it appeared. It was a bit shy and stayed in the safety of the shell but it obviously wanted to be included in the blog entry celebrating the color yellow!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lilacs and the Magic Rabbit

This is the year of the Rabbit!

The magic rabbit made another appearance this past week, just as the lilacs came into bloom. This large and amazingly healthy looking rabbit allowed me to get quite close so I was able to photograph it's beautiful ruby eyes!
 This rabbit appears to live in the wild near the road where I take my morning walks. 

 Lilacs opening in the sunshine remind me that Spring is indeed here! Lilacs have a very elusive quality about them. They can not be easily made into perfume as their scent is very delicate. 

Lilacs are believed to be a first symbol of new love.

This picture below was taken with my new extension tubes, it makes macro photography even more specific and exciting, I am thrilled to be able to share these amazing new images.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Farewell Sweet Magnolia....

The magnolia flowers are leaving us. They are bruising, fading, and falling to the ground. I have been enjoying cut flowers indoors every day. They remind me of the temporal nature of everything in life.  While I am sorry to see them go, I am delighted to have shared this brief journey with them. 
I have learned that magnolia flowers do not appear until the seventh year of the tree's life. I have also learned that magnolias are ancient trees and are dated as far back as 80-100 million years ago. 
             Because magnolias were on the planet before bees they were originally believed to have been pollinated by beetles! They are considered to be 'primitive' flowers because they are arranged in the form of a spiral. 
There are two different species photographed here. 
From my limited understanding of the morphology, the structure that resembles a pineapple is the female gyoecium or style, the many little structures coming off of this form are the pistils. The male stamens are the magenta forms, the anthers are white and will release pollen. 
Farewell Sweet Magnolia!