Changing Seasons of Inspirations Palette
by Ann Zalek
As leaf tips turn shades of amber and crimson, I struggle to admit
that its time to prepare my gardens seasonal palette
and their earthen beds for winter slumber.
in Michigan arent forgiving to plants that typically "season"
over in warmer climates (e.g. no chance for canna lilies), so digging
up and bringing some of my favorites (e.g. patio plants, geraniums,
etc.) inside during the colder months are worthy efforts.
with other avid gardeners in my family, Im in denial that
the "season" is over, and hold great hopes that there
will be one more warm day to clean up, transplant or create a new
work of art in my yard. (I have been spotted in years past planting
tulip bulbs during January and February warm spells.)
is the garden artisans craft? Painting joy on an earthen
Garden artisans paint their lives in carefree blossoms, golden hues
and frosty evergreens. Their medium includes: flowers, herbs, shrubs,
trees, vines and mouthwatering fruits and vegetables accented by
stones, bricks, or adornments in all sizes, shapes and colors. The
artisans, much like their traditional counterparts, grasp personal
inspiration from (all of the senses) light, texture, shape, color,
emotion, heritage (techniques or preferences passed on from generation
to generation), experience and personality (whimsical to serious).
Some folks plot and plan meticulously, while others brush swaths
of chaos and anxiously await clues from their mystery garden (Im
canvas can morph into cozy little pots on a windowsill or great
expanses surrounding the home. Trailing vines and mounds of vibrant
petals weave themselves among nestled plantings in my gardens and
reveal a glorious work in progress. Creating and nurturing these
nooks and crannies of my homes environ evokes a sense of peace,
appreciation, satisfaction and creative expression. For many, gardening
is an artistic passion and way of coloring the world in simple,
whats a garden guru to do when its time to come inside?
Share your inspiration. Learn, teach and give.
Its quite difficult to tuck my trusty tools and project plans
away each season, so I transition my mindset from "hands-on"
physical work to energy refueling activities. When the weather dictates
cozy wool sweaters and a hot cup of cocoa to ease the chill, I find
ways to improve my skills, explore "garden dreaming" resources,
and take time to make and share garden-inspired creations. This
"starter" list of suggestions may be helpful; its
a compilation of venues that are of personal interest and by no
means exhaustive. Whether brick or click, resources are abundant.
Sign up for a class, visit your local garden center, or pull up
a chair at your local library or bookstore and learn new tips, tools
and techniques to improve or expand your garden. Here are a couple
ideas to get you started.
Gardeners- Contact your local extension office for information about
your communitys Master Gardeners and Advanced Master
Gardening courses. Many programs have web-sites, so you may wish
to do a quick search.
of Garden Inspiration
Surround your senses in posies all winter long. Tune into gardening
television programs on a frosty morning, scope out well-known and
lesser-known web-sites or thumb through flower and seed catalogs.
For visual inspiration, surround yourself with breathtaking photographs.
A couple of my "eye candy" coffee table books are listed
Potting Shed (Smith & Hawken) by Linda Joan Smith, Hugh Palmer
was a gift from a friend and I just love it.
Garden Design Book by Cheryl Merser and the editors of Garden
Design magazine. Gorgeous landscape designs abound in this book.
The Art and Craft of Setting and Stacking Stone by David Reed
is one of my favorites for stone work.
Alfresco is a magazine for Pacific Rim garden design with a funky
do you bring some of your favorite floral paintings to life? Easy
Gardening web-site offers tips on how to create artful plantings
in your garden that are inspired by an artists floral paintings
(e.g. Georgia OKeefe). (http://www.geocities.com/heartland/pointe/8391/art.html)
for fun and inspiration, check out www.snohomisharts.com
for whimsical garden art ideas. Beautiful work!
is a substantial gardeners information and shopping guide
free floral clip art go to www.gardening.about.com/library/blphotoindex1.html
White Flower Farms catalogs are tops on my list for garden
dreaming. Fantastic photography!
are numerous seed and flower catalogs, do a general search online
for leads, plus ask your fellow gardening gurus for suggestions.
from the garden or inspired from the garden are always thoughtful
gestures anytime of the year, but especially during the season of
giving. I especially like to surf online for garden-themed craft
ideas (a few below), but I really enjoy scouring the shelves of
my local merchants for end-of-season sales and creating my own gift
creations and baskets.
to share seeds from your garden or make gifts with a floral theme?
Check out this link to Better
Homes and Gardens for project ideas. Free: Garden Goodies
to Print Personalize seed packets, gardening aprons and journals
with these free printable projects. Stay and surf this extensive
if youre missing your garden, surround yourself with colorful
photographs, or go one step further with this idea from HGTV.com.
Garden Home Office Decorate your office space with a gardening
theme. Crafts & Collectibles:CDS-502
the gardeners on your holiday list, pull together a garden gift
basket. Many garden centers and crafts shops typically have seasonal
items on clearance at this time of year.
in store for next spring? Hope and surprise.
Spring is a time of rebirth in nature, but also a time for personal
rejuvenation. I treasure this time of year, and its just as
energizing today, as it was 30 years ago. As a child, the April
rains created puddles of belly laughs, and on sunny days, my pal
and I would practice cartwheels until the lush, grassy blanket seemed
to be doing cartwheels around us. That inquisitive child who ran
to the flower garden to smell the first blooms of spring is still
alive. Im just a litter older, a little wiser, but not a whole
lot better at cartwheels.
season, as thirsty blossoms reach skyward for warmth from my mystery
garden, I anticipate and revel in the ever-changing spectrum of
hues. Sun-drenched colors splashed in my gardens veritable
palette, remind me why I hold dear the art of the gardening life.
Its every changing beauty is a gift to all and its inspiration sustains
me all year long.
you in the garden!
Troutman Zalek owns a marketing communication & publishing consultancy
in southeastern Michigan. She is an Indiana Master Gardener and
an amateur arts/crafts creative. Feel free to e-mail your thoughts
and favorite resource lists to firstname.lastname@example.org.