When An Artist Comes to Visit - Ellen Hoverkamp

October gardenWhen an artist comes to visit the gardening disappointments of the past summer disappear. An artist brings with her a unique perspective when she views a garden. All of us have a bit of an artist within us but one who hones and practices her craft professionally sees the land, the landscape, the layout, and the individual plants, both foliage and flowers, with a trained eye. Recently Ellen Hoverkamp came to visit. Garden ClubEllen
Ellen shared her floral scans, tips, advice and knowledge recently with my garden club at our October meeting. Ellen was a captivating speaker. Since she was traveling I offered her a room in my home for the night and she prevailed. We sat up into the night chatting and getting to know one another and the next morning she walked with me in the garden. An October New England garden is not at peak. There are bits and pieces of interest here and there and sometimes there is fall color but in general, plants are waning as is the gardener's enthusiasm. This year was a particularly difficult gardening season. Gypsy moth caterpillars ravaged trees and plants in June. July came and went with little rain to help regenerate foliage. August came and so did the deer with their new offspring. GibbsOctGibbs has not yet learned that deer are not welcome here within the garden limits and he does little to discourage them. This gardener threw her hands in the air and went golfing-the game did not improve but the gardener's spirits did. Ellen'shandsIt was into this neglected garden that Ellen and I walked. She with clippers and a pail and me with a camera. It is a revelation to see one's own garden through someone else's eyes. Ellen cutsflowersEspecially those of Ellen who has such an original talent. Her art is beautiful. She collaborated with well known horticulturist and garden communicator, Ken Druse, on a wonderful book, Natural Companions which features her floral scans and Ken's prose. I know Ken only as many other professional and amateur gardeners know him- through his many award winning books and his radio show, Real Dirt.  Ellen snipped and we chatted. Monkshood scanEllen has visited many wonderful gardens and has cutting privileges in quite a few of them.  I was honored that she cut from my garden and, of course I hope she will come back to visit when the garden is beautiful in June. Pinksheffieldscan These are the scans she made from my garden tidbits. Through her work, I was able to see the beauty that is still quite visible in the garden if only one knows where to look. Through her visit, I gained a new friend. Thank you, Ellen.

 

Note:  Ellen's works are available on her website and on Red Bubble under Ellen Hoverkamp. She also writes a blog and has a list of her upcoming lectures and gallery sales both available as well on her website. Click on the purple text to visit them.


Bloom Day - September 16, 2016

Dahlia ageratumA speedy Bloom Day post is in order as there is much to do in the garden today and the weather is cooperating. It is cool, as September should be, and sunny at the moment. It is also still dry but no matter. Bloom Day cannaThe dahlias, cannas and fall blooming crocus are all blooming. The grass is still green and the scent of ripening grapes and decaying foliage is in the air. Colchicums
I hope this Bloom Day finds your garden full and satisfying. Thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.


Tassels and Silk

Corn topsTwo weeks ago there was fragrance in the air. It was subtle yet distinct. Sweet but not cloying. Heady and beckoning. I walked into the garden to discover its source. Fragrance can be as elusive as a dream memory and it took just a few steps to realize that fragrance was coming from the corn patch. This sweet scent comes along for a few days each summer as the corn flowers mature and release their pollen. Corn flowers are much more subtle than phlox, dahlia or daylily flowers. Corn is a monoecious plant which means that there are both male and female flowers on the corn plant. The female flowers are aptly named 'silk' which is wrapped around the fertilized corn and peeled back when we shuck the corn. Corn flowersThe male flowers are at the top of the cornstalk and are called 'tassels' and no male ever smelled sweeter than the pollen produced by these tassels. Tassels shed pollen for just a few days and once the pollen is shed it is viable for only a few minutes. When it lands on the silk below, it germinates within minutes. It is another miracle of Mother Nature. I am not a corn expert but as a gardener, I can appreciate the process. As I walked toward the corn patch I could hear the hum of the bees, honeybees. Happy, happy honeybees were busy with the corn tassels.  Corn with beeThey seemed to appreciate the sweet smell as much as I did. Perhaps even more since it is life giving for them. It seems that everyone can appreciate the line 'Stop and smell the roses' but how many of us can appreciate and actually stop to enjoy the smell of sweet corn in a field? I wish this for everyone, everywhere.