Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hurricane News

These unusual white morning glories are almost the last remnants of late summer in the woods.  The breeze is picking up.  The sky is greenish.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sharing With Turkeys

I came home to large fat Black Cherokee tomatoes so heavy that they were bending the plant and lolling on the ground.  Wild turkeys had poked most of them, but I think I can salvage enough to make gazpacho tonight!

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Nate and I built this mummy out of airdry clay after drawing a mummy at the Met.  Yesterday we painted the mask and coffin with acrylics, and tonight the beeswax-impregnated cloth arrived that we ordered.  We cut some bandages out of it.  Then Nate told Alexa to play “Walk Like an Egyptian” and we made a video, which is too large to post.  So here are some photos.  Tell your Alexa to play the song while you watch.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Switching Channels

I’m traveling this week, up to visit family in NJ.  Above, a woman in the airport foundered by her luggage.  

We all took the train into NYC yesterday to go to the Met, a regular outing for N, but A’s first time to an art museum!  A and I drew on the train - the inset is the scene at the first station stop.  After the long exciting day the kids were sitting on the floor in Penn ststion.  When A noticed I was sketching them she started sitting still and posing (right side).  Turns out Labor Day is a good, low-crowd day to visit the Met.  N drew his favorite piece in the Egyptian galleries.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Tiny Begonia Couple

I’m leaving for NJ in a couple of hours.  These tiny begonia blooms are the first page of my travel sketchbook.  I wanted to test out the paper, and it is lovely, smooth yet lightly textured.  It was made by my former student who now owns Papercraft Miracles.  ( She made this paper, of her own invention,  in my class as an assignment, coloring it with local reddish  clay that she gathered from the site of her dormitory after the dorm had burned down.  Happily she had some sheets left that I was able to buy for this book.  Check out her site!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Balsam for Palindrome Day

Balsam has magically reappeared in my garden.  This  fragile looking plant has the amazing strength needed to prevail against the solid hedge of rudbeckia and oregano.  Notice the odd ovary that is attached to a tube that pierces the back of a petal.  The tip of the ovary develops a clump of stamens that produce pollen.  It’s easy for visiting bees, lured by the sweet smell, to transfer pollen to the tiny pistol that threads its way down to the ovary.  Everything falls off once pollination had taken place, and the numerous seeds inside the ovary ripen in harmony with the outer wall of the ovary.  As the capsule ripens it develops tanninous dehiscent lines, which split apart as soon as they are touched, giving rise to the descriptor explosively dehiscent as well as the nickname touch-me-not.

Balsam has many medicinal uses in the traditional medicines of China and Japan.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Jewel Weed Like Gold Fish

Not only are they lovely but their stems and leaves crushed are a valuable antidote to poison ivy.  Rub the juice on your skin where poison ivy has touched you.  It always grows near poison ivy too.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

In the Mosquito-Ridden Rain Forest of the Front Garden

A few surprise larkspurs have prevailed against the rudbeckia and oregano and tomato jungle that is my front garden.  My friend H gave me s little twist of paper with saved seeds from her last year’s larkspurs.  I had forgotten all about them, wondered what the brave spots of violet were among all that blazing yellow and green.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Another Kind of Begonia Festival

This plant actually over-wintered in a hanging pot last winter.  The plants are monoecious as always with begonas.  The male flower is on top, female below.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Festive Synchronously Monoecious Begonia

These begonias think they’re back in the tropical rainforest from which they hail.  Our daily warm rain and humidity is exactly what they love.
And this drawing shows why they’re classified as synchronously monoecious:  the same plant produces at the same time separate male and female flowers.  On the left is a male bloom with its curly stamens;  on the right is a female with her vase-shaped ovules.  Let the party begin.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Getting Past the Bombast of Gladiolus Blooms

If I can get past the spectacular bombastic aggressive show of the gladiolus blooms in our garden, I can luxuriate in the intricate alluring complexity of the individual flowers.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Amaryllis Seed?

The seed pods grew fatter and gradually shrunk and dried out.  The tiny seeds are white and about .25mm long.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Not So Lush, the Difficult Part

The swelling ovaries of the amarylis, each lush in its own way.  I pollinated several of the blooms to see what would happen—

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Downtown Asheville, Early Sunday

My friend K and I are sitting on a bench on Eagle Street.  It is cool, slightly breezy, quiet.  The sun shines lightly on us as we draw a church down the block.
After an hour or so we amble around and find ourselves at the end of Chicken Alley.  Tucked into a tiny collection of potted plants against an old wall, these astonishing pitcher plant blooms stir gently in the breeze.  The air is quietly seething.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Bloom to Seeds, Step 1

The final bloom with the swelling ovary/fruit of one of the spent blooms. 

I hand-pollinated the blooms, and this one is swelling. Stay tuned for seeds!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Late Bloomer

A week after four blooms had opened on the giant amaryllis, this small tubular bud-like thing appeared.  Two days later it had grown taller and fatter.
Yesterday in the sunrise rays its petals began to loosen;

and this morning petals relaxed to form a cup.
After today’s heat and humidity a fifth flower is in full bloom, almost as fully open as the older blooms.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Amaryllis Redux

This 27” tall amaryllis sprung from a pot of old bulbs that we had put out on the back porch last March after they had bloomed.  Nature does not need humans.  It only needs humans to stay out of its way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sunflower Profiles

These are starting to gear up for seed production, withdrawing water from the no-longer needed petals.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Rhododendron bloom babies.  And a baby bear halfway up a  tree on the trail near my house, its mother nearby,  naturally.  (How can we live in a country that is standing by watching while the would-be dictator and his sycophants and stooges rip babies away from their parents?)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Back at It

Michelle gave us a few daylily corms last fall,  and this is today’s bloom.  I’ve been not drawing much the past few weeks.  That felt freeing for a while.  But when I don’t draw something I more or less just glide over the surface:  “nice daylily, that one too, ✅✅”  , checking it off mentally, not spending time with it.  I really miss seeing slowly for a few minutes a day.

It was fascinating to follow the intricacies of each petal, knowing that the form is so ephemeral and that even as I was drawing it, it was withdrawing water from the petal and gearing up for seed making.

So I numbered it, but I don’t have a goal beyond drawing something every day.  At least for now.