Day 1 of 30 Watercolors in 30 Days

This is a challenge developed by Marc Taro Holmes ( for the summer.

My Aunt Patty and I are working on it together in September since it was more agreeable with our schedules.

The subject for day 1…a painters palette plant. It is a perennial…not pet safe if you have dogs/cats that like to wander the garden and munch. It has stunning foliage and tolerates shade. It gets some unspectacular tiny red flowers in mid-summer.

Day 1 is in the sketchbook. Took me forever…a little over an hour in the morning for the “sketch” and another hour this afternoon for the rest. I am talking myself into being satisfied with this unfinished look.

The morning “sketch” in one watercolor wash. I used a cartooning technique to maintain separate elements—the white gap. You can see it very clearly where the leaves overlap significantly.
In the afternoon I added two other greens and the red detail that make this plant’s foliage so distinctive. The red detail is watercolor as well.

I only added a little micron at the end along the edges of the stems.

Gardening After Work

We’ve had some mild days that just call me to the garden.

Returning from my morning walk with Clover, I spent a good 5 minutes watching this bee work my allium.

After finishing work, I returned to the driveway garden. I’m digging out the last patch of grass to plant lavender, rudbekia, and coneflowers. That is a work in progress.

On my way to the garden, I saw this guy on the lavender that is already established.

I was making notes in my garden journal of the seeds saved, plants cut back, and other goodies when I felt a splat on the opposite page.

After recording the event for posterity, the page was torn out cuz eeeeew!

June 18th

The word for yesterday was “minute.” I’m not sure if that is supposed to be the small segment of an hour, or a descriptor of a very small thing. Words out of context, as we well know, are open for wild interpretation.

Doesn’t matter much because yesterday I spent the afternoon working in plants instead of paints.

Several minutes were spent working on two minute gardens when considering the whole of the planet.

Forgot to get a “before” picture, but this will do. Taken from the public sidewalk side of the garden.

When I moved into my home, the gardens were all up next to the house. The front yard consisted of two large slabs of lawn with a tree on the north side. Not terrible, but not particularly wonderful either. I prefer not to use chemicals on my lawn—my pets eat grass, and I’m partial to dandelion greens, plantain, and purslane.

This little band of a garden went from holding 4 varieties of grass and weeds to 8 varieties of plants. I’m quite sure some of the weeds (and probably grass) I pulled out will return as well. I have no real objection as long as they play nicely with the others. This small patch could potentially hold 12 varieties of plants—biodiversity. Some will flourish and some will perish.

The squirrels will look at my work, and collaboratively edit my choices. When the weather is dry, birds will take dust baths next to the post edge.

When the plants have filled out, the possum in the neighborhood will have a new lookout. The bunny living under my neighbor’s porch will have new snacks and shelter.

In the fall, the leaves that fall there will be held by the plants, protecting the roots from the bitter cold of winter and feeding the soil for the next year’s growth.

In the spring, the emergence of the new growth will bring delight.

In the summer I’ll bury my toes in the warm earth and know my home. I’ll look into the garden and enjoy the accomplishment of establishing a space that nurtures.



Spike plant

Red daylilly

Rose of sharon – will come to dominate this bed but provide summer blooms in the front yard where I have a preponderance of spring and fall-blooming plants. The other plants growing it it’s shadow will be moved to other beds, sold in the FSGC plant sale, or given to friends.

Yellow spurge

White lace plant

Sun drops

How did the pot become a birdbath?

The pot was covering a sewer clean out, and when I leaned on it to plant the calibrachoa and spike plant, the base disintegrated. I tried to pick up the pot by its rim to move it out of the way and the rim came off in my hands. I’m afraid it is well on its way to becoming micro plastics—anyone collecting those yet? Apparently, there’s a lot of raw material to work with.

Anyhoo, the previous owners of the home left the birdbath behind. It used to live up near the house, but I moved it when I planted that garden bed. It has spent several years under the oak in the hosta garden.

Now it has an opportunity to shine. However, it has a mortal crack in the bowl which prevents it from performing its primary function. I patched it once, and I’ll try again. Or maybe I’ll put a plant tray in the bottom of it to hold some water and pile it with stones for a butterfly/bee watering station. Project for another day.

Happy Father’s Day and fatherly day to all the gentlemen out there!

Morning Light

My rose garden is blooming more than it ever has. This morning I filled a vase with roses, and my rose garden is still flush with buds and blooms.

I set this on the table on the front porch…where I enjoy the morning light with a cup of coffee and the pets and singing birds. Quiet time. Time to set aside concerns and just exist.