First Day of Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!!!

I thought I would share some of my favorite springtime images from last year in my old garden.

Early March, when the bulbs were just beginning to peak out.  Those yellow daffodils are some of the earliest bloomers, if the winter is mellow they sometimes bloom the first week of March!

And my back boarder with some "bouquet" tulips.  I loved them in the garden, but they did not ever make it into the studio for a painting.

I have been busy digging up my old garden and enjoying all the time in the sun.  I will be recreating a long row of purple bearded irises in the new garden, I always loved this view.   However I now realize that irises need to be dug up every 4-5 years or they get out of control!  Even though it looks fantastic.

Sweet William, and Centura in the foreground.  The really tall, fun architectural green stems on the left was a rogue bunch of goldenrod.  At first I did not know what it was, but I allowed it to grow because I like how tall and structured the vertical stems looked,  and they looked great in late August, though they are aggressive and choked out my seaholly and echinacea in this bed.

...and my beloved nicotiana.  I love this plant and its beautiful scale, I think this year I am going to plant it with my dahlias.

Wishing you a very happy Spring season!


My New Garden

"The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives." ( Gertrude Jekyll)


It has been a while since I posted here. I find in times when so much is going on and with the ability to share small snippets via Instagram and Facebook, my tendency to share deeply also goes away. However this month I am choosing to slow down, and to start sharing more, in a slower, more meaningful way.

Garden Plan 1st draft {first draft of my garden plan}

This morning I am going to share with you what has me so excited, my new garden.

The autumn of 2016 was a whirlwind of effort that culminated with the purchase and move to a new home. November and December were all about packing up and physically moving into our new home. December and January were a whirlwind of boxes, gallon paint cans and all the paraphernalia that goes with a rapid push to get some of the rooms of our new home freshly painted and set up for how we want to live. There is still more to do inside however since February, my attention has been turning outside in focusing on how to move my previous garden to my new outdoor space.

This is what I have to work with, a beautiful, large yard that already had an established vegetable patch in the central open area that receives full sun for at least half of the day. I am so excited about what I’m going to grow here. 9032 Buckner backyard 2

9032 Buckner ext backyard 1

{the existing backyard}

The existing vegetable patch will be host to some vegetables, however mainly annual flowers like zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers will go here. The surrounding flowerbeds that I am creating will host my perennial plants.

Garden Plan final design 20170308

{the plan as of today, it may change, but pretty much this is what I am planning on implementing}

As you can see by my notations, I will have a main central garden, based on  classic English cottage gardens, with pebble paths and gathering areas.  The main one will be for meals and hanging out, and a second play space is for Naomi.  She still has her playhouse and sandbox, and this time the flower beds that surround her area will be filled up with flowers and plants of her choice.  Plus in the middle of the two squares that have (4) "L"s in them will be the peach trees she has been asking for.  She loves peaches and since I told her about how my grandpa had a peach tree in his backyard so he could go out and pick sun-ripened peaches, she has latched onto the idea and has been requesting to grow peaches in our backyard.  So this spring we will pick out two peach trees for her.  The Dahlia bed that will run along the north side of the yard may or may not be implemented this year, it all depends on how much I get done this month with regard to the rest of the garden.

Today the garden is still a construction site with some plants already placed with the vast majority of plants still over at the old garden. As you can see, the layout is established with the black garden fabric that denotes where the gravel paths will be. I used the lasagna method of establishing flowerbeds, this utilizes a layer of cardboard placed on top of the turf with a thick layer of compost and leaf mulch placed on top (5 to 6 inches deep). I then place my plants in each flower bed as I have planned and fertilize everything.  I will then layer another layer of mulch on top of everything once things are settled. 9032 Buckner today 20170308-01

9032 Buckner today 20170308-02

9032 Buckner today 20170308-03

March is going to be a crazy month, full of digging, lugging and relocating my beloved plants. Some plants are especially sentimental as they are from dear friends and now I almost consider them family.

My Garden: End of May

201605 - my garden 01May came and went very quickly and I was particularly happy with how lovely the irises were this year.

201605 - my garden 02This summer I hope to have a bunch of dahlias to paint, as I planted several tubers and have already installed their tomato cage supports to help me remember where they were planted.  I also labeled them, which is not a common action of mine because I embrace the whole "wild gardening" attitude and often let volunteers grow where they seed themselves.  This of course leads to a crazy garden in August and September.

Already I have gaillardia and batchelor buttons growing in places I did not expect this year, however I love them, so they remain where they are :)

201605 - my garden 04 Recently Naomi asked to take some photos of the garden.  The photos below were taken by her.  It is so magical seeing what she admires and likes enough to photograph.

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201605 - my garden by naomi 04 Naomi loves the clover growing all over our lawn, and has been picking them to make bouquets and flower crowns lately.

201605 - my garden by naomi 05

201605 - my garden by naomi 06

201605 - my garden by naomi 07


My Garden: End of April


201604 - my garden 01April has been a fun month in the garden.  The tulips came and went, as well as the daffodils.

201604 - my garden 02 The gravel paths are in and Naomi likes them :)  She has been seen playing outside in her playhouse and sandbox.

201604 - my garden 02a In addition to all the bulbs, the peonies are also breaking through and beginning to bud.

201604 - my garden 03

201604 - my garden 04 I love blown out tulips.

201604 - my garden 05 A few years ago a friend gave me some English Bluebells, and this is the first time they have bloomed!  I dream of having a big colony of them intermixed with these daffodils.

201604 - my garden 06 Naomi likes the daffodils also.

201604 - my garden 07 A last view of tulips and daffodils.

My Garden: End of March


2016 03 - my garden 01 Gardening is such a part of my studio practice that just as the garden begins to green, I feel as if my mojo to paint also quickens after the stupor induced by the cold and dark days of winter.

201603 - my garden 02

A big change in the "butterfly/rose" garden is that the wood chipped paths are being switched to pea gravel.  My dearest Naomi boycotted her sandbox and playhouse because she asserted the wood chips hurt her bare feet.  So this summer, I am hoping to avoid the almost daily requests that I carry her to the safety of her sandbox and back to the lawn in order to protect her princess feet :).

201603 - my garden 03

201603 - my garden 04

Some early daffodils are in full bloom, and the tulips are all far enough along that flower buds can be found on most plants.  I am sooooo excited this year about the tulips.  I cannot wait to see how they look in the garden and to then bring them inside to paint.

201603 - my garden 05

My wild back boarder is also beginning to green. The hydrangeas all have green leaves, and then other early spring flowers are also peaking out of the turf.  Primroses, pansies, some tulips, and daffodils.  Even the scillia siberica that I planted the year before looks to be colonizing and spreading along side some lupine.

201603 - my garden 06

201603 - my garden 07

And even as the temperatures rise here in the mid-Atlantic, the hellebore is still going strong.  I gotta get some more of these inside to paint as well.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, Liz

My Garden: End of February


201602 - my garden-01{hellebore, one of my favorite winter flowers}

As gardening is such a part of my studio practice, I thought this year I would share monthly snippets of this part of my life.

201602 - my garden-02 {Naomi's playhouse and sandbox in the middle of my butterfly garden}

Not much occurs in the wet and cold month of February.  As soon as the ground is no longer waterlogged from seasonal rains, early spring gardening starts in earnest.

Starting next week, I will fertilize everything, giving my roses an extra dose of love {the roses are still under their winter burlap blankets}, and I will also begin to lay down a layer of compost everywhere.  Often I try to get a layer of compost down before the ground freezes at the beginning of winter, because it visually cleans everything up and makes for an easier start in spring.   About half of my garden still needs its compost to go down and after it is all down, I will setup my cold frame so I can begin my seedlings.

March is going to be a busy and fun month.

I am sooooo looking forward to the spring bulbs and I am very happy to see the green tips poking up through the soil. Tulips and daffodils! Yippee!

My Garden: Mid-May

20150528-01 garden-mayEvery year I am surprised how fast the spring season changes into summer-like temperatures here in Northern Virginia. Some of my spring flowers began to bloom in early May and were bloomed out and ready for trimming by the week before Memorial Day. It was only a few weeks, and already there is so much change in the garden.

20150528-02 garden-may The foxglove needed staking and the snapdragons were in full color.

20150528-03 garden-may 20150528-04 garden-may 20150528-05 garden-may Have a wonderful weekend,


My Garden: Mid-April

20150423 my-garden-mid-april-01

Since the middle of March I have been spending more time outside prepping the garden for spring and summer flowers. Working in the crisp mornings or the temperate afternoons has been a joy.

Here are some images of my focus lately.

20150423 my-garden-mid-april-02

Naomi's play house and sandbox is in the middle of my "formal" flower garden.  In early March the playhouse got a new color scheme from its original cedar red.  Tulips and forget-me-nots are blooming in abundance now while all the other plants are starting to leaf.

20150423 my-garden-mid-april-03

20150423 my-garden-mid-april-04

Last spring I got a celandine wood poppy and I am so pleased to see it back and so happy among the forget-me-nots and bleeding hearts.

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The tulips and daffodils in the foreground are located in my "dry" bulb beds.  I am experimenting with having some areas of my yard being low maintenance, the ground covered in wood-chip mulch and allowing various bulbs to naturalize.

20150423 my-garden-mid-april-08

20150423 my-garden-mid-april-09

And this is a small "test" section of my back flower boarder that is typically full of annuals.  Last fall I decided to test a section of it by planting some fritillaria meleangris and scillia siberica.  To my surprise the fritillaria, which are particularly known for being fussy and temperamental have prospered while the scillia were a bit lackluster.  So next fall I think I will expand to another area...

Have a wonderful day and soon I hope to have some spring themed paintings to share.