Every season has its beauty. I'm out in the garden every day now, watching the pea plants poke through the soil, and the strawberry plants blooming uncontrollably! We decided to "invest in local food sources" by planting a small produce market/orchard in our yard this year. Chip and Gabe helped dig the large holes for the multi-variety dwarf apple tree, the dwarf plumcot, and the dwarf Shiro plum. Outside the fence, in the perennial bed I placed the "Lapin Cherry" (or Bunny Dear, as I translate it ;) surrounded by the existing rose bushes, peonies, echineacea, bee balm and myrtle. I added a mock orange bush under Sisi's window, and a yellow knock out rose on the fence corner.
Along the southern side, outside the 8 ft privacy fence, I planted four red raspberry canes to accompany the two planted years ago, as well as five blueberry bushes on either side of the 8 x 12 raised strawberry bed. All the new plants are leafing out and growing, and it will be so hard to be patient the few years it takes for them to bear fruit - but well worth the wait, I say! The free lilac starts I planted four years ago are finally blooming like crazy this spring, and their fragrance is intoxicating. The pink dogwood near the neighbor's house, as well as the deep purple irises, the lilacs, the daffodils, tulips and bleeding hearts make a lovely bouquet. I have shared the bouquet with my art students, as we paint "flower portraits" in the manner of one of my favorite artists, Georgia O'Keeffe.
Now on to the veggie garden... I bought seeds, lots of seeds from Natural Gardening company. I planted mid-March, after the yearly amending of the clayish soil with composted chicken manure, horse manure and some peat. The soil improves every year, and I'm hoping the sawdust in the horse muck will keep the weeds under control and preserve water in the humid heat to come. The four varieties of peas planted are now 3" tall, the spring salad mix, romaine, buttercrunch, spinach, tatsoi, kohlrabi, broccoli, leeks, beets, onions, scallions and carrots are all growing great guns! I cannot wait to harvest a salad from the garden for next week's meals! Yummy!
I started melons, eggplant and tomatoes in flats, and they are just starting to sprout. I don't usually have good luck with starts in flats - the seed seems to do better when planted straight into the garden! I usually get leftover tomato plants from our friend who has a CSA.
I am learning to sculpt in metal. There is a sense of power, like some mythical Titan, in welding a fiery torch that can slice through steel like butter, and in putting it back together again with a bead of silvery puddles. Next class we make mobiles and wire figures, to form maquettes for larger projects to come. I'm lovin it.
My self-imposed "stay at home vacation" is now over, and I'm proud to say I got almost the entire house thoroughly cleaned. I am back to the teaching schedule for another four weeks, with Fashion class here, two classes at St. Paul, painting with Lydia and Darrell, and Deer Creek classes. It's hard to believe the school year is almost over, as I look ahead to planning the Open Window Studio Summer Adventures in Art classes in June, and look forward to teaching Printmaking class for the Art Academy program on campus in July.