WAXING CAMELLIAS

If you are a regular reader, you know that camellias have consumed me.   They have a long bloom period; you can have different varieties blooming from Thanksgiving until Spring is fading.  The blooms do not last long when you cut them and bring them inside.  But cut them, you will.  What a pleasure to gaze on the curling and furling petals which surround the stamens that stand at attention with a determined upright stance and at times they appear to take on a life of their own.  So I just learned how to preserve that moment when one bloom is at the height of its beauty.  WAX IT!

 

A well-known and excellent grower in our area came to show us just how its done.  We were thrilled with the results and the process was great fun!  THERE WAS SOME WINE INVOLVED,  but truly the fun was all in the doing.

 

Each blossom was frozen in its most natural state.

The process can be a bit messy.  We had the station for waxing set up in a garage with tables covered in paper.

The first few were a process in learning, good technique comes with practice.  If you do not swirl just so, and pull the bloom up and drip properly, you might get little blobs of wax forming.

If there is any browning or fading of the petal, the wax is hot and so will make that spot even browner.  But somehow the beauty is still striking.

 

The waxed camellias can last anywhere from one day to 3 weeks.  Mine did not last very long, but I placed them in a silver basket and marveled at their frozen moment of loveliness!

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A Word About Camellias

img_9177A Southern garden should always include at least one camellia.  Or maybe a dozen.  With their long bloom time and delightful presence through the Winter, this small tree or shrub brings such a burst of energy during an otherwise quiet period.

We drove to Fort Valley GA, Massee Lane Gardens, and the home of the American Camellia Society.  img_9126Expecting  only to see some variations of camellias, we were wildly enthusiastic at all that we were to find.  The intoxicating scent of the tea olives as we strolled along the brick pathways added to the magic of the camellias, fully in bloom and in their glory.  10 acres of camellias with other plants of interest!  A recent storm had brought down a tree, but miraculously, it missed every single camellia!   We couldn’t believe the variety; I started to think of places where I could squeeze in more in our garden.  We drove home though peach and pecan orchards and felt as though this was one of our most special days in Georgia.  Three years ago with deep snow covering the ground of our CT garden, who would think we and our pups would spend a February day like this!

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Tiny Treasures to Behold

Today I organized a trip off Island and into Savannah to see a small exhibit of beading by the artists in the Coastal Beading Society.  This group of artists are inspiring in their artfulness and their patience.  Imagine the hours it took to make these creations.

This ensemble just made me happy!  Imagine how it would look on your atypical little black dress!

For the more tailored look, this necklace with its cool symmetry would kick up any traditional outfit.

How about a summer evening in a flirty dress with this piece?  To me, it is wearable art!

I can imagine trying my hand (pun intended) on a bracelet like this.  The flat weave of beads imitation the scarf, truly appealed to me.

I was charmed by this collection, but the techniques used are well beyond my skill set.

I really want to try some of these flat woven bracelets.

Maybe, the sculptural types can be learned after mastering the simple woven ones?

Most of the jewelry was for sale and the prices so reasonable when you consider the time and creativity.

There are so many things I want to accomplish in 2017.  Do I dare add learning a new beading technique to the list?  It is so far from my other objectives, and yet I think there might be a soothing peacefulness to working with these tiny treasures.

 

After the exhibit, we wandered up to The Gryphon Tea Room on Bull Street.  A repurposed pharmacy from 1900 is the perfect place to meet with friends for a splendid pot of tea and delicious sandwich or soup and salad!

 

Happy New Year with hopes for an adventuresome year ahead.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Hello dear friends in the garden,

Yes, I feel I live in paradise, even after Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew!  But I bet I am not the only person who is entering 2017 with some trepidation.  I also have some disgust for the way that so many people,  show their disregard for other persons’ choices, views and stances.  I do not care what side you take, there is never an excuse for anything but civil discourse.  And stop pointing the finger at the other side, no matter which side that is.  Point it at yourself in the mirror.  If you can’t take that first step toward understanding and healing and changing, do not expect anyone else to do the same.  We are all in this together.

 

So, what to do about it?  Get in the garden!  Let’s not lose our connection with Nature and let’s not stop enjoying her wisdom and the peace we can find through her!  For those who are religious, look for God there.  For those that find their spiritual selves within, or nowhere at all,  come outside and find some new voices in the garden.

 

You know I am a Hudson River Valley lady, born and bred, but 3 years in the South, and I am positively thrilled to be able to get out in the garden every single day!   Snow?  What is that?   Look what is blooming in Savannah right now. Thunbergia Hibiscus Did I mention I am crazy for camellias?   Camellia

Happy New Year all!  Let’s be positive and let’s work to have our best voices heard.  And always keep our hearts and minds open in the Garden!

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Fall to Christmas

Thanksgiving for the Southern Coastal gardener means your Fall vegetables are in full swing.  Annuals holding over from the Summer are petering out, but your Thunbergia grandiflora vine is just beginning to echo the sky.  What a color!  Not your traditional color of the season.  Autumn generally means oranges, reds, yellows and finally brown, but this winner stands out in the autumn garden.  I wonder how it would look growing behind a stand of plumbago?

In the Northern garden, the asters are probably fading, and the last rose of the year may be holding on til the next frost or cold night.  But in a protected Southern garden, many annuals keep on.  The pansy is coming into its own.  The foliage of the ginger lilies  streaks against the sky and sheltering palms.

The drama of the palms in the extremes of light are captivating.

As the calendar moves toward December, the season of the CAMELLIA comes to a crescendo.  A hedge of pink  Camellia japonica began blooming weeks ago.  A small red camellia near the house has already finished.  I have changed out two containers of summer annuals with a filler of dusty miller, pansies, no spiller, but a THRILLER….drum roll…Camellia sassanqua “yuletide’.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

The woman at the nursery recommended that I get them in the ground ASAP.  I have no intention of doing so.  I plan to keep them in large pots, a happy pair .  I will dig them in the ground after Christmas….maybe.  I like to do things my own way…sometimes perilous in the natural world.

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Post Hurricane Ponderings

Hurricane Matthew savagely struck  Savannah causing havoc and hardship.  My fears of returning to a home half underwater with alligators basking on the front porch were unfounded.

The mounds of trees, limbs, branches and debris are removed methodically and slowly.  The natural beauty of Skidaway Island remains.

The herons, egrets and migrating birds carry on as before.  The lagoons with their turtles and fish absorb and cleanse.

 

Parties and events, some that had been cancelled, begin anew.

Through the hurricane, some things were lost. Trees, roofs and landscapes.  But some things were found.  While rummaging in the attic space, a favorite Chinese rose mandarin warming plate was found.  I thought it was lost in the move.

I had been sad to lose it; loss comes in waves.  This was just a part of a wave, but now it is found.  A warming dish, whose beauty is apparent and whose function has passed.  We now have warming ovens…. and no cooks in the basement needing to keep the food warm before service to the dining room upstairs.  Times change and our time is what we make of it.  Hurricanes happen, and we heal.  Politics divides us and causes anger,  but only to the point that we civilized people allow.  After the hurricane, we move forward waiting for the beauty to reveal itself.

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Hurricane Matthew

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This is the scene everywhere you look on Skidaway Island after hell poured down from Hurricane Matthew.  Trees uprooted or snapped and toppled on homes and over streets.

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With nearly a thousand people reported dead in Haiti, from this hurricane, the fact that not one life was lost on this Island is a miracle.  A mandatory evacuation may have saved lives, and certainly  everyone made preparations in earnest and took every precaution possible.img_8255My heart goes out to the families who came back to find their homes damaged, and without power for days.  People are coming together and slowly this Island will repair and revive.  It will take time.  At the end of the day, Mother Nature wins every battle she forges, but she also gives back in equal measure.

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American Moderns and the West

Trading the sultry summer of coastal Georgia for  cool and clear Taos days was exhilarating. The art scene in Santa Fe and Taos was energetic and just as exhilarating as the change of climate!  I’ve been back for awhile, but before summer disappears, I will make a note about the summer trip to Taos.

We toured the “Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company, American Moderns and the West” exhibit at the Harwood Museum of Art.  Called the “new woman” of her time (1879-1962), Mabel was born in Buffalo NY during the Gilded age.  The story of her life, moving from Buffalo to Florence, Italy, to Greenwich Village, NY to Taos NM was on display along with the artists of the day.  She was a collector of creative types, attracting important artists and writers of her time to Taos.  DH Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keefe, Marsden Hartley and many others came to visit her in Taos and influenced a new modernism in the Southwest.

Last year we toured the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos.  Millicent was another strong woman who brought to light the culture of this region.  The myth of the cowboy and the Southwest is fascinating but I am glad that two important women are credited with bringing the lively art scene to the attention of the world.  One thing I will never forget is how amazing it was to bring my Mother to this part of the country, this late in her life.  She had never thought she would ever see such sights.

On a day trip to Santa Fe to visit galleries and shops, I had an amazing experience as I happened on a painting by Jerry Johnson.  Literally it took my breath away.  Well, yes, at the high altitudes of 7000 ft above sea level, your breathlessness is a fact until you get acclimated.  I bought a lottery ticket and hoped for the best.  Needless to say, I did not bring that painting back home with me…

But I will remember where the gallery in Taos is located which also had some Johnson paintings!  Who could miss their turquoise door?  And speaking of turquoise, I also wanted to bring some serious turquoise home, but that didn’t happen either.  What I did bring home ….. the sounds, smells and sights of that small town high in the moutain valley…. never to be lost.

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Tornadoes and Trees

When Hurricane Hermine decided to make landfall in Florida on the Western side, we knew Coastal Georgia would see some of her aftermath.  As a friend called her, Her Meany,  was not nice to spin-off a tornado from her wake, because it touched down on Skidaway Island.  There was miraculously no loss of life but trees came down, homes were smashed and weeks later we are still waiting for the County to clear all the debris piled high at almost every curbside.  Two doors away from me, a tree fell on my neighbors’ home.

Fortunately most neighbors keep their cars in the garage, but you can see what a disaster it could have been if they had not prepared.

 

After a couple of days of hauling tree limbs and debris from our yard, I was back to the happier chores of gardening.  One of the dahlias bloomed, as if to say it will all be fine.  This dahlia Dahlia 'American Dream'‘American Dream’ is a much deeper pink than I expected, and very different from any other photos you will see on the web.  I can only chalk it up to the intense sun and heat it receives and the bloom booster I have been feeding it to get it to bloom!  Jeez, it is September and I’ve been waiting since July to see some bloom from this particular plant!  Dahlias and the deep South are a challenge that continues, at least in my garden!

I have been volunteering at the Sparrow Field to help maintain their pollinator garden.  This is the time of year that the butterflies arrive, if you’re lucky, and I’ve enjoyed participating in a project to help them along.  

At my own back door this week, look who stopped by!img_0533

The luna moth!  This is a very poor photo, but I did not want to flash camera  light at this lovely creature.  When it opens its wings, those two eyes really give you a stare – apparently it warns predators to stay away!

This is a very busy time of the year as neighbors return home from their summer places or journeys, and as birds migrate through, along with butterflies and the like,  I have to remind myself to make time for the bike ridesA and the glorious sunsets just a walk or bike ride away!

View from Moon RIver

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Sea Island, Georgia

One of my readers wanted to know what is happening on my blog break.

Well, there were big birthdays to celebrate and we chose The Cloisters for the perfect setting!

Need I say more?

Now I will go back to my blog break!  Filling my new birthday basket with a picnic and sailing off on my bike!  See you later!

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