Tag Archives: spring

Art In Bloom For Spring

Meadow Near Front of North Carolina Museum of Art

Meadow Near Front of North Carolina Museum of Art

Vernal equinox March 20, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT. Earlier in the week it was sunny and 80°F. Now, following a rainy afternoon yesterday, our first day of spring is overcast and 46°F. Tomorrow the weather should be nice again and warmer, 70°F.

Given yesterday’s rainy forecast it was a perfect time to travel to Raleigh to view a special floral show on opening day at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Outdoor Display Near Entrance -  North Carolina Museum of Art

Outdoor Display Near Entrance – North Carolina Museum of Art

For this 4-day inaugural event called Art In Bloom, 45 floral designers each were paired with works of art from the museum’s permanent collection and invited to create interpretations of the art using flowers. (This has been done in other cities for a few years, but it was the first time for our state museum).

The displays were fascinating. They were large, rich in color and texture, featuring familiar and exotic materials (such as anthuriums, calla lilies, orchids, roses, proteas, tropical leaves) and they were presented in an array of interesting containers and frameworks.

Included among the 45 designers were my two teachers who, for the last several years, have offered flower arranging classes through the local garden club. Seeing their work in this exhibit was particularly exciting.  Unfortunately the quality of the dozens of photos I took were extremely disappointing and does not show their work to best advantage.

Jinny was assigned a Roman statue of Herakles. She responded to the white marble by using shiny and rough metal sculpture and anthurium with foliage. Sorry I cut off the top of the design–I could joke about where my eyes were but I truly was trying to include the description on the front of the stand.

Jinny Marino's Design

Jinny Marino’s Design

'Herakles' - Inspiration for Jinny Marino's Design

‘Herakles’ – Inspiration for Jinny Marino’s Design

Jinny Marino's Design

Jinny Marino’s Design

 

In a different gallery, Betsy’s arrangement was facing a different work of art than her assigned inspiration piece, Sunset (Medusa) (1945) by Eugene Berman. She seems to have played off both works of art.

Design by Betsy Ninninger

Design by Betsy Ninninger

‘Sunset (Medusa)’ – Inspiration Artwork for Betsy Ninninger’s Floral Design

Design by Betsy Ninninger

Design by Betsy Ninninger

Ikebana

This morning I returned to the museum for another Art In Bloom event.

Ikebana: Classical to Modern. Kyoko Petersen of the American Institute of Floral Design is a professor in the Ikenobo Ikebana school in Kyoto, Japan, the birthplace of ikebana. The presentation highlights classical ikebana arrangements along with newer styles introduced in the 20th century.

The demonstration was marvelous. It was enlightening to watch and listen as Kyoko created a dozen spectacular designs. She worked with many beautiful flowers, including orchids, anemones, peonies, quince and her favorite, camellias.

In some arrangements she strictly adhered to traditional principles set out hundreds of years ago, where nine elements of nature are represented (such as shady side, sunny side, waterfall). There are specific instructions for placement that cannot be altered. She began with this traditional design representing landscape.

Classical Ikebana - Landscape

Classical Ikebana – Landscape

Several of her designs illustrated 20th century adaptations made by the head master of the Ikenobo Ikebana school where she teaches. (The head master is forty-something generation.) The newer style takes into account people live not in castles, but rather in smaller houses. Also today the designs can take advantage of a wider repertoire of materials than those historically available. Kyoko also demonstrated free-form creations.

This design illustrates the modern simplification the master created in the 20th century.

Modern Ikebana

Modern Ikebana

This was one of my favorite designs. I tried to remember what the unusual leaves are called, perhaps begins with “Renaissance”? The surprising use of yellow pansy at the bottom adds finishing touch.

Modern Ikebana With Three Elements

This final design of the morning was an effusively abundant celebration of Spring, using camellias, peonies, variegated pine and orchids over a framework of weeping willow and weeping cherry. (Sorry for poor photo quality but perhaps you can get an idea.)

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Ikebana: Homage to Spring

Kyoko’s presentation has inspired me to try to learn more about Ikebana.  Another event today that was sold out but would have been fascinating, was a hands-on master class with Shane Connolly, Royal Florist. He designed the flowers for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  If you happen to be local to the Raleigh area, Art In Bloom is well worth your time.

So that is how I welcomed the changing season. And tomorrow I hope to back in my garden.

Spring Arrives!

Though the sun later broke through, the early morning was cloudy and cold when I walked through the garden looking for blooms. Forecasts warn of lows near freezing tonight and temperatures will dip into the twenties later this week. But here it is, March 20, 2013, and today is the first day of spring. The vernal equinox occurred at 7:02 a.m. EDT.

The early blooms of Helleborus have been a highlight since the first week of January.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

The garden is waking up but shows no sign of hurry. Among the several patches of Phlox subulata a lone flower is open.

Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue'

Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’

A few little Muscari flowers began blooming this week. These were planted over a decade ago and barely bloomed at all last year, so it is nice to see them again.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Diminutive white flowers are beginning to fill the branches of a Spiraea I brought from my previous garden.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Iberis Sempervirens filled the meditation circle last year but most of what was planted there has died out. I blamed moles but also realize the site may not drain well enough for this plant. Fortunately it is tucked around the garden in other spots, a cheery little plant.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Last fall I finally remembered to add a few more daffodils to the garden. Just opened today is the first flower of the miniature Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete.’ The garden was so overgrown when it was time to plant these bulbs, it was hard to find a good place for them. They were relegated to an old terra cotta pot, which worked out just fine.

Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’ has been blooming beautifully for a few weeks. I love the milky white streak that marks these blossoms.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Happy Spring!

Signs of Native Spring

Spring arrived quickly this year bringing with it early flowering to non-natives, such as the December arrival of Iberis sempervirens in the meditation circle. On the other hand the natives in the garden seemed to hold back and take their time.  They are opening approximately the same time as they have the last few years.

One such native is Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), which has just started blooming this week.

Also native, Tradescantia (Spiderwort) slowly has begun to show color around the garden. It seems to be a week early, based on garden records from past years, but it really has not put on its full display yet. Not all of the many plants are blooming. Spiderwort spreads easily and has drifted throughout the garden, often shifting colors as it moves around. Some years I do not mind, but this year I have already been yanking it up.

The Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebell) is native, but new to this garden. Judging from online resources its current blooming seems reasonable.

The Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is another native showing restraint. This tree, flowering about the same time as last year, will probably peak in another week.

Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) appears to be blooming at least a week early in this garden, but then last year it scarcely bloomed at all. It is especially vigorous this year. This cultivar is ‘Emerald Cushion Blue.’

Spring’s First Day

March 20, 2012. The vernal equinox occurred at 1:14 a.m. EDT, signifying the first day of spring for this Northern Hemisphere town of Chapel Hill, N.C.

To welcome spring this year I added several new spring blooming plants. One is a compact Jacob’s ladder cultivar, Polemonium ‘Bressingham Purple.’ Early on, this garden had contained a specimen of our native Spreading Jacob’s Ladder, Polemonium reptans, but it eventually was lost to drought.  Bressingham Purple is supposed to have purple foliage though it may depend on the light where it is grown. This one does not seem very purple.  The tag labels it as requiring sun to part-sun, so I chose part-sun. Even here it may require close monitoring and regular watering to keep it from drying out. I am already thinking of moving it to a shadier site.

Polemonium 'Bressingham Purple' (Jacob’s Ladder)

Another garden addition is the spring ephemeral Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells). These pink buds will open into light blue bell-shaped flowers and attract butterflies as pollinators. Virginia bluebells are native to North Carolina.

Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)