Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Decay, winter nests, and hope…

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Decay

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Winter nests…

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Promises of new growth to come…

Playing with a new app to me, Lenka (black and white), plus Stackables…nice to wander in my winter garden between rainstorms…


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Good things…

Back before I went to Barcelona, I mentioned that I had been helping some parents at an elementary school in the district I used to teach in construct a ceramic mosaic. When I left, after many months of making clay tiles, glazing clay tiles, creating images of the life skills the kids at the school are taught, and cutting tiles and mirror for the background, they had begun the installation.

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By the time I got back they had completed the installation with every kid in the school getting to make an addition of some type. They had even completed the grouting and the entire mural was absolutely fabulous! (I was kind of sorry I missed the grouting because I do love to grout. Oh, well, the next project!)

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These are Shweta and Tammy, mothers, artists, volunteers, organizers and Renaissance women who are really fun to hang around with because they do cool projects. I would follow them into an art project anywhere. Kudos on a job well-done! Just goes to prove the universal goodness brought to you by art.

In addition, on the universal goodness of nature:

I have mentioned my Dutchman’s Pipevine on my gate many times over the years. It is great because it is a California native plant so takes little water, the deer don’t like to eat it so it can hang to the outside of the garden gate, and it has possibly the greatest flower ever seen…

5, LRM, (010_JC_PipeVineBloom)

We planted ours probably six years ago for the above qualities and one more. There is a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly that only likes it. So we have waited and waited for ours to come…which it finally did a few weeks ago.

I could not get a picture of it because it was really flittering…

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but Terry succeeded…

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but then it was gone. Today I passed by the vine and into the house, glancing over to see if it was time for me to take fast growing tendrils and weave them back into the trellis and I noticed that many ends had been chewed off.

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After my first thought that we had somehow grown a super-large example of deer that was taller than the gate and wrecking havoc despite the poisonous nature of the plant (which is why they are not supposed to like to eat it), I looked closer and found that we now have a colony of caterpillars…

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The caterpillars are not poisonous at first, but the more leaves they eat the more poisonous they become. This is why the birds do not like them even though black with red spikes makes them kind of obvious. The caterpillars leave the Pipevine for a different plant when they make their chrysalis. I feel like a grandmother to thousands! I am so proud…


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Transforming my frustration…

I have mentioned before how much I love the app Snapseed for processing my iPhone photos. For many, many years it has been my go-to, all-purpose, crop, clean-it-up and tweak app. So imagine my surprise when I opened it last week to find that there was an entirely new version. I am so set in my ways, I was immediately frustrated. That frustration grew and grew as I tried to do the things that I have always done, but couldn’t find the work flow as it had always been. hmmm, I said, why would you do that to me oh, favorite app…

Many YouTube videos later and a walk in the garden yesterday, I have made my peace…I at least know where things are now.

Fernald's Iris

Fernald’s Iris

lewisia - Version 2

Lewisia

Pink Monkeyflower

Pink Monkeyflower

Spicebush

Spicebush

New dwarf Butterflybush

New dwarf Butterflybush

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

Swallowtail looking for new dwarf Butterflybush!

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

California poppy

So I say, people, take out your green grass lawns, install drip irrigation, put in native California plants…you will not regret it as you face the draught…spot through the garden a few non-natives, like a Cecile Brunner in a planter…you will have no end to willing photographic subjects…and you might get to liking Snapseed again as well as saving money on water fees!

Cecile Brunner

Cecile Brunner

And with great anticipation of getting to try a new feature of the Snapseed app (it now includes a function called Transform, which allows you to tweak perspective both vertical and horizontal…so all those tall buildings in a big city…no leaning towers except in Pisa! In a few short weeks we will be off to soak in the architecture of one of the most interesting cities…for now, from an old photo, here is what it can do…

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original…notice right hand edge of building

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now it is straight!

I really like Snapseed again!


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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.  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)

Lewisia

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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