Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunny Days

Brrrr… a wee bit on the chilly side, here in London, Ontario. We’ve finally got a bit of the white stuff on the ground and I’m sure that many skiers and snowboarders are happy!

Although I always enjoy the winter season – ha! for the most part – one thing that I like to do, to keep warm, is reminisce about the summer season. I’ve been saving these gardening photos to share with you now so that you can also enjoy reliving the sunny days of summer…

In 2010 I had a major restoration job to do on the foundation wall at the back of my house. After the work was done, I had a bit of fun painting a silly image on the wall before the whole thing got filled in with soil.

Last spring, I more than doubled the size of this garden area, adding a nice curve to finish it off.

For the most part, I planted yellow beans along the whole front of this space, with Gladiolas planted closer to the house. I added a few small hostas around the garden hose and nearest the corner of the house I planted some baby blue Morning Glories.

I added small round cages around the beans to give them a bit of stability as they grew higher. Since so much soil was exposed to the air – while everything was filling in – I added lots of grass clippings to hold the moisture in the soil. The Morning Glories were growing very quickly and soon I had to add metal poles with string strung between their lengths so that the flowers would have somewhere to grow.

Here you can see that the green grass clippings have turned brown, as they continue to hold moisture in the soil while they decompose to add nutrients to the soil. You can see a few yellow beans peaking out and the Morning Glories continue to grow and grow!

My idea for the Morning Glories was simple… I wanted to grow a wall of flowers. But you can see that my idea was getting out of control. Already the plants have grown as tall as the metal poles and they are reaching to grow higher still! What am I going to do?

It’s a little hard to see, but I ended up using a heavy-duty rope to run lines from the tops of the metal poles all the way to the window awning.

Morning Glories are a plant that needs continuous maintenance – if you are trying to grow a wall of flowers. Daily, I would weave the vines up and down and around the ropes. Left unattended the vines would simply grow upwards for a foot or two, become heavy from the weight of its own self and then fall towards the ground. They don’t naturally twist and weave themselves around the support ropes I put in place.

I would spend close to half an hour, each day, redirecting and maneuvering these vines. It was lots of fun and I learned a lot about how this plant grows… but soon I had a wild jungle on my hands and I saw my control slipping away.

These plants didn’t seem like they were ever going to stop growing… and they never did, until the Autumn frost finally killed the plants and flowers. You can see how far the vines stretched.

Yeah!!!! After patiently watching and tending to these vines for almost two months, it was now time to for the flowers to start blooming!

This particular species of Morning Glory produced flowers in baby-blue hues. What a delight! The flower lasted for just one day and then they died… but not before turning an interesting shade of fuscia. As the flowering season continued my jungle of green sparkled with two different colours at the same time.

To get these photos I actually had to climb onto my garage roof!!! My neighbours must have thought I was a bit nuts cuz I climbed up there quite often. I’m just showing you a few of my favourite ones.

I love macro photography! Getting in nice and close to one flower, while the ones in the distance loose their focus to add interesting textures to the composition.

This photo actually took me a while to compose. It was rather difficult cuz I had to climb up a shaky ladder. I was trying to compose an image that delved into the ideals of structured balance between light and dark. I had to think of the shadows in the foreground and balance them using the light on my neighbour’s garage wall in the background . I also spent time placing the loose, curvy vines in such a way as to compliment the rigid lines of the architectural structures in this photo. By fiddling with different applications on my computer an interesting final composition emerges for you to enjoy!!!

This image was also created using a computer application. As an artist who takes a long time to create just one painted image, I find it rewarding to use a computer to create an image that could well resemble my style of painting in less than an hour.

This final image that I have to share with you, was also created using my computer. I just love the wet metallic feel of this organic lifeform, stretching and yawning in its expanse to grow and evolve!

I’ve added a poem that I wrote over a decade ago – inspired by thoughts of Morning Glories (of course) – to complete this image. I know that many of you like to steal (er – I mean share) many of the images that I use in my blogs, so I made this image just for you. An inspirational poem and image to decorate your office wall, to remind us of the summer’s sun as we continue our way through the winter.


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