I usually get all excited about the garden right in the springtime, after I've rearranged and tidied up. I delayed it this year for a couple of reasons you probably don't care about (where's the art, lady??).
1: I didn't get to go plant hunting this year due to everything suddenly surviving.
2: The real exciting stuff happens after spring, because I never grow actual flowers.
I'm trying to accept my mostly-shade situation, and am gearing toward more coloured or exciting foliage (I get sick of green).
This is the first year of the self-watering containers and they are a hit! My twig of a lavender grew into a ratty collection of twigs. I'm staking it now to see if I can topiary it. But what is really great this year is how well the calamondin (center) came back after mostly dying. It's almost a normal green colour, with no scales, and this recent heatwave triggered its first flowering in several years. I'M SO EXCITED.
Watering the hell out of this planterbox, combined with the heatwave, is bringing the creeping jenny back to life. Not much good has come for the juncus grass though. It looks awful. Major surgery is scheduled soon. I'm thinking of chopping it in half. Should it be quartered?? Where will I put its other half??
This year I learned that "Coprosma" literally translates into "poopstink". Ha ha ha. For the record, there is no stink on this plant. This plant which started out as a 4 inch baby last year and is now a 2.5 foot beast. It looks way too pale, but the leaves are still so dang pretty on this one. Chose this one for the red foliage (to battle the greens), but it only feels like making yellow-green this year. Next time.
Only one of the old strawberries (center) survived my negligent, dry winter. But it is breeding up a storm regardless. I'm pretty sure there are 5 in there now. On the right is the purple smokebush I've desired for so long. It's looking pretty alive, not too happy... and also NOT VERY PURPLE, LIKE WWHYYYYY. I'm trying to fight the greens, guys. What are you doing to me. It needs more sun exposure. There are a few purple leaves, but that's all I get until we move somewhere sunny. Hang in there, smoky!
Last year I also decided to give up on succulents. They don't grow much and they shrivel out of existence in the winter, even when I bring them indoors. Even the sedum, which is supposed to be the easiest, doesn't like me. The jades, however, are such a delight. They've grown at least twice their original size. I'm hoping they grow and grow forever because they are pretty darn rad.
Turning the too-dry strawberry tower (right) into a weed tower was mostly a success! They drape nicely all the way to the floor. Seeds everywhere. Every once in a while, a pot will die back, but there's usually another weed growing in another container. I just rip it up and throw it in the tower and it re-roots there. That stubborn bastard is working for me now. That blueberry on the left still does nothing but looks gangly and kind of dumb.
Finally, this is the most exciting and new thing this year: polka dot. I bought it on a whim, just because it was pink. Then I learned that it is a much-hated plant that grows to be ugly. They were right - it was a struggle to get through his awkward teenage flowering stage. Then I learned it would die over winter anyway. But then it did this! It got big! And even pinker! And it looks so damn healthy! And now I want it to stay! We're zone 9, I think, so there's a chance he will return next year. Pink!
In conclusion, this year it seems as though everything responds favorably to more heat and more water. Shade be damned. I did not spend any afternoons on the balcony this year. And I also learned that most of the fun of gardening was hunting for new plants. And that the calamondin is looking so fantastic, after it completely died back and I got the chance to properly shape it. Watching that tiny blossom grow everyday is such a thrill. I highly recommend it.
I saw images of collage work chopped up into pieces and displayed on a page, and was instantly inspired. I'm amazed by how it transforms the collage. Maybe this is why "inchies" are a thing - tiny square inch pieces of art that people trade and collect. To me, it always seemed too tiny, but together, the pieces make a powerful little collection.
Like Power Rangers.
This card "Window" is available in the shop!
The tiny Paradise sketchbook is more of an artbook than an art journal, I guess. This is what I was up to at the last livestream on Tuesday. Everything takes a bit longer during a stream because of all of the lovely distractions (cat vomit not counted).
My blog editor is acting a little crunchy so I will leave you with this replay of the last stream. Enjoy!
Unrelated: Sometimes I walk to work at 5am, while it's still quite dark outside. It's not much of a distance, still I keep running into city wildlife! Sometimes I'm creeping past skunks, sometimes I'm flanked by raccoons, and sometimes I'm blowing kisses at friendly-looking kitties. It's not quite the Shifty Dudes Who Steal Bicycles that I was expecting.
Recently, we wandered over to the UBC botanical gardens to see what we could see. It was a hot, long trek and the 2 hour trip one way was slightly regrettable. But we did get to see a huge golden eagle perched on top of one of the resident buildings! It looked fake at first, until it finally gazed down at us. What a sight!
This card "Golden Eagle" is available in the shop!
I think this is page number 10! :O I'd like to think there were only two left to do, but then I have to come up with matching monthly calendar pages and whatever else I think one might need. But that should go quicker I think.
I'm seriously considering rushing off on a two-hour public transportation journey just to gander at a huge garden. Yay? Nay? It sounds a little crazy to me but I can't think of anything better I could do.
A couple of years ago, I went through all of my seed packs and used up as many as I could in my balcony garden. My balcony is mostly shaded these days, and most of the seed packs were years old, so luckily not a lot sprung up. A single lavender seed germinated and I didn't have much hope for it. The sprout grew into a skinny little thing with no branches, and I thought it would be gone by spring. It made a single blossom, which I quickly removed.
This year, that scraggly little twiglet grew to be at least 3 feet tall, with other scraggly little twiglets sprawling from the crown. The thing is a mess, and it's hard to wait through the summer before I can prune it. I think I might try training it into a tree, instead, because it has so much woody bark already.
Another single blossom popped out at the very skinny little top. It's the prettiest lavender blossom I've ever seen.
You can catch it for yourself in the shop!
If you ask, I could even rub lavender all over the back of it to stink it up real nice.
New in the shop is this squid journal! The cover is a laser print of one of my art journal pages. I struggled a little bit making this one, so some of the triangles on the front have been painted over in gold ink! I guess it's a bit of a happy accident.
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?