Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Under the Tuscan sun…

Terry and I, with the support and help of our friend Marcie Beyatte, are making plans for a sojourn in the Tuscan countryside (25 minutes from Florence) next September. If you would like more information or to join us, Marcie has posted information on her blog site here: http://prontomarcella.com/2014/04/11/join-me-in-italy-in-september-2015-for-nature-and-art/

She includes pictures and descriptions of accommodations, activities, and excursions as well as contact information.

Very exciting!

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A walk with Priime…

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Took a morning walk with a new iPhone app I had just purchased. It is called Priime and it is free but, of course, if want the full complement of filters and lenses you would have to purchase them once you are in the app. But, I liked what it did, so I did.

Here is a discussion of how the app works in case you are interested: http://iphonephotographyschool.com/priime-app/

Our walk had a particularly nice sunrise…

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and I discovered that my neighborhood school has an answer to the “love-lock bridges” of Paris which are being crumbled by the weight of all the locks.

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Looks to me to be ceramic hearts by first graders…oh, the love…

I also used Priime on some new things in my garden…my new Meyer Lemon…

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and more colors of Douglas Iris that are popping out…

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What blooms there are…

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris (Iridaceae)

 

Sometime during the weeks of gate-painting, the garden went from dull winter-ness to lush spring green. I would not be able to pinpoint the exact day and time I noticed it, but there it was one morning and I could mutter, “Yeah, we’re back.” It could have been that I started noticing buds of flowers or tiny green leaves on bare branches and I was prepped for the full display. In any event, we are back and doing well, now…

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

 

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

 

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Pacific Coast Hybrid Douglas Iris

 

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Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)

Mahonia

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)

Redbud

Western Redbut (Cercis occidentalis)

Redbud

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

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Blue Witch (Solanum umbelliferum)

 

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Heuchera species (Saxifrage Family)

 

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Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora)

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Lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon)


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Under my canopy…

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The cherry tree is in bloom. Stand under it and be totally covered in a cloud of cotton-candy pink with sound effects. The number of bees that are buzzing is so loud that you think that your ears are exploding or you are ready for lift off into the great unknown. Must enjoy it at every opportunity because it only lasts for a couple of weeks before all the blossoms rain down in pink snow caused by an errant wind. Like anticipating the blood oranges or Chandler strawberries coming into the farmer’s market, the week of March 17 marks the blooming of the cherry tree. It is superior to the marking of a year by school vacations or holidays, in my humble opinion…

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I spent the last few weeks painting my gate…easier said than done it turns out.

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The paint had gotten chalky after nine years and there were rusty spots. After some research on the internet my process was this:

1. Sand the chalky paint and sand any rust away

2. Wash with a rag and a spray bottle filled with 50% water and 50% vinegar

3. Immediately spot prime with rustoleum oil based primer for metal

4. Paint with metal paint…since I wanted a color that was not standard I had to use an alkyd. (At least the clean-up was easier.) I am hoping that if it needs repainting in another nine years I will have moved to Rossmore and somebody else will get to paint it. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…It was not the easiest painting job because every joint is soldered and needed pouncing with a small foam brush to get the crevices painted. Then, I could use a foam roller on the flat places but had to go over it another time with the brush to smooth any pooled paint. Oh, and also I did not want to totally cut back the Dutchman’s pipe vine and there were a few places I could not get paint underneath the vine that has such a vise-like grip. One of those jobs that the best thing about it is that it is done!

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Now the pipe vine has a beautiful purple background…and we are still waiting for those special butterflies that are supposed to be attracted to it.

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Dutchman’s Pipe Vine flower


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Julia Morgan in the garden…

A few weeks ago, after reading this article in the SF Chronicle, we knew it was time to visit the UC Botanical Garden. Julia Morgan had designed a building on the campus that was a women’s social club in the beginning but then had other uses over the years. It needed to be moved out-of-the-way of construction projects. It had been cut in four pieces and trucked up the winding, narrow road to the garden. Eventually the structure will function as a wedding venue in the garden.

The bonus on our trip to see the Julia Morgan architecture was that at the time it held an art show of botanical art  displayed in the setting. (The only negative, which wasn’t really a negative, was that Julia Morgan had a way with light and it infused the spot. The day was very sunny and all the art was behind glass. I cropped my pictures  very close so that I could eliminate as many reflections as possible but I was not totally successful.) The interior is sheathed in redwood with a massive brick fireplace.

The new setting and the buildings’ details:

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I overheard a docent say that when the building had been jacked-up for the move, this fire-place screen, designed by Julia Morgan, had been found under the building. So it was restored for further use…

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The art:

Forest Floor Watercolor Betsy Rogers-Knox

Forest Floor
Watercolor
Betsy Rogers-Knox

American Mountain Ash Watercolor Sharron O'Neil

American Mountain Ash
Watercolor
Sharron O’Neil

Beautyberry Graphite on paper Maryann Roper

Beautyberry
Graphite on paper
Maryann Roper

Foxglove Colored pencil Rhonda Nass

Foxglove
Colored pencil
Rhonda Nass

Sassafras and Spicebush Swallowtail Watercolor Wendy Cortesi

Sassafras and Spicebush Swallowtail
Watercolor
Wendy Cortesi

Detail

Detail

Heuchera Watercolor Martha McClaren

Heuchera
Watercolor
Martha McClaren

Coneflower Watercolor, colored pencil Wendy Hollender

Coneflower
Watercolor, colored pencil
Wendy Hollender

Franklinia Capsules Watercolor Dick Rauh

Franklinia Capsules
Watercolor
Dick Rauh

Eastern Redbud Branch Oil on paper Ingrid Finnan

Eastern Redbud Branch
Oil on paper
Ingrid Finnan

Shooting Star Copper Etching Bobbi Angell

Shooting Star
Copper Etching
Bobbi Angell

Rat's Tail Watercolor Sally Petru

Rat’s Tail
Watercolor
Sally Petru

And this was by my friend:

Paddle Plant Watercolor Linda Kam

Paddle Plant
Watercolor
Linda Kam

Such excellent artists, beautiful plants, and a nice variety of techniques. We also walked the California Natives section and were treated to a Silk Tassel and a poppy…

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Success at last…

Many times in these posts I have mentioned visiting the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. In particular, the butterflies have held my interest. Last week we made a swift visit and had a few moments to see them again because I am always in hope of capturing a photo of the Blue Morpho. I have been successful with birds…

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Other butterflies…

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The Blue Morpho closed up…

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But usually it is…

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I was in despair until there was one quick moment this time (thanks Terry for spotting it)…

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At long last, success!!


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The Rock, the Tide, and Sea Friends on the Bay…

IMG_8917 After our sunrise and coffee on the beach, our last scheduled event of the 2015 Morro Bay Bird Festival was a cruise on the bay. You will notice in these photos, as our skipper pointed out, that it was a king tide. He mentioned how it gave a sense of what it will be like when the seas rise. No parking lot around the rock, evidently. We headed in the direction of the rock, spying sea friends and enjoying the sunshine. IMG_8928 IMG_8938_2 IMG_8942_2 IMG_8956_2 IMG_8959_2 The rock actually has two pairs of peregrine falcons that nest on it. One pair on each side and it is highly unusual for them to be so close to each other. However, when they fly off the rock for hunting they have very specific territories. We could see the ones on this side of the rock as we floated. IMG_1793IMG_8985_2IMG_8969_2 IMG_8982_2 IMG_8971_2IMG_8996_2 IMG_9004_2 IMG_8998_2 Once we got out toward the breakwater and the exit to the open sea, we turned around and went back down the channel through the marina. IMG_1855 and saw more wild-life friends.

IMG_1813IMG_1871 IMG_1875 IMG_1873 Once we left the boat, our time in Morro Bay was finished and we packed up and headed south.  For lunch we stopped in Pismo Beach and then drove to Camarillo for a visit with my mother. Definitely going back to the Bird Festival next year. IMG_9020_2

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