Still thinking about our trip to the Adirondacks last September. Wetlands in the Adirondacks have long been a source of inspiration for me. This watercolor painting is not of the wetland where we first heard the haunting cry of the common loon or where we plunged into the water to cool off after a long hike. This one here is where Emma fell in love with Goldenrod!
When Covid-19 first broke out, I found myself with a little extra time to build a pond. I call it: my Pandemic-Pond. This is not that pond. This is a pond created by nature! This pond is somewhere out there in some obscure location where I imagine thousands of insects are abuzz on a lazy hazy mid afternoon. Frogs, turtles, and salamanders bask in the sun, as few random lazy clouds float on by.
This painting is available on my ETSY shop
Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) is often regarded by some as a weed, invading a lawn. But to anyone interested in native ecosystems, it is an important plant. Common blue violet is the host plant for the fritillary butterfly, of which there are many species. Also, the mining bee (Andrena violae), visits only violets. This bee is an example of a “specialist” – a specie, which can only use a specific plant specie for their survival. Knowing this, how could I not paint Viola sororia, as spring approaches?!
The original 🎨 (or print) of Viola sororia can be found on ETSY
Shadows can be most dramatic in contrast with snow. It is one of my favorite subjects to paint. The copper colored leaves still cling to young Beech and Oak trees all winter long. This phenomenon is called marcescence. There are a few ideas why trees may hold on to their leaves through the winter.
One idea is that Beech and Oak were once evergreen trees and are still evolving into deciduous species. Other ideas suggest that the leaves are used as insulation and nutrients as they drop around the trees closer to spring time. To the observer and artist, it certainly provides interesting subject matter for winter scenes!
Prints and originals available on Etsy.
From my experience this past year, Rainbow Swiss Chard seems to be quite a versatile plant. It can take summer heat, as well as winter temps in zone 6a. I can’t think of many plants that can grow inside an unheated greenhouse in both summer and winter. In summer, temps in the greenhouse can reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, I kept the plants inside a cold frame inside the greenhouse (2 layers of protection), so lets assume temps as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit at times.
Pictured here are Rainbow Swiss Chard plants harvested from the greenhouse on January 20th, 2021. The only issue is we just don’t eat as much Swiss Chard as lettuces and other salad greens. In that case, I probably won’t grow as much Swiss Chard going forward and I’ll look for other vegetable plants that can withstand similar temperature extremes, which we do eat often. Any suggestions?
I decided to harvest entire plants, instead of the cut-and-come-again method, which works well with Swiss Chard, because the plants were being heavily invaded by aphids. Perhaps I’ll try the Neem oil to see if it is effective on the aphids on the few Chard plants that I did not harvest. Either way, it is time for a fresh start. I’ll probably sow Broadleaf Endive seeds (member of the Chicory family) in this cold frame shortly and they should come up beautifully by March.