Just when you thought you had winter beat…

You thought wrong.

Surprise.

Unpredictable weather.

Dicey temperatures.

Gardeners need resilience. If Spring’s arrival is dashing your hope, start to look for the survivors in your garden. In your neighborhood. In your city. On your social media feed.

Every Spring - no matter the conditions, there are successes. Hardy Daffodils. Forsythia. Lungwort. Snowdrops. Magnolias.

Look for the plants that survive and thrive despite the challenges of Spring. Plant more of those plants. Find joy in those plants. Improve your resiliency by mirroring the resilience of your garden.

 

 

 


Brevities

#OTD Born today in 1854, the extraordinary floral still life painter and teacher Mary Hiester Reid (Books By This Author).

Born in Pennsylvania, Mary Augusta Hiester met George Reid (who was six years younger than her) at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts during school sketching trips. George later recalled that the trips were not only great for art’s sake, but they also gave him the chance to be with, “the beautiful Mary Hiester on their expeditions”.

After that, they often worked together and that winter, Mary invited George to accompany her back home for a weekend of sketching on the Schuykill (“Sk-ooh-kill”) River. Their fates were sealed together when they married in 1885.

The Reids spent every summer from 1891 to 1916 at Onteora (“Aunty Aura”), a private literary and artistic club founded by American artist Candace Wheeler in the Catskill Mountains near Tannersville, N.Y. They had a house and a studio, both designed on arts and crafts principles by George. They spent their time painting and teaching, their studio having accommodation for ten students, some of whom came from as far away as Toronto.

"A self-adopted Canadian who loved Canada", Mary was very humble. In 1910, a reviewer wrote in The Globe,

“Nothing can tempt her to talk about her pictures.”

Mary was one of the first women accepted into the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Her painting, Hollyhocks, is a personal favorite.

Reid was the preeminent female artist of Canada when she died.

She was celebrated for her,

"study and interpretation of Nature in those aspects that appealed most to her...glimpses of spring and autumn woodland, moonlit vistas, gorgeously colorful gardens, lovely skies, divinely tinted ends of evening, and the countless flowers of the fields….”

In 1922, a year after her death, Reid was the first female to be featured with a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto

She willed her husband to her friend and rival - the younger painter and printmaker (24 years her junior) Mary Evelyn Wrinch.

 

 

 


#OTD It’s the birthday of landscape architect David Darrell.

A semi-retired Harford County landscape architect. Darrell was born and raised in Claymont, Delaware, and was raised on his family's farm. Some of his commissions included the prayer garden at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the Largo Animal Preserve in Prince George's County, and Little Lithuania Park near Hollins Market among others. He also designed courtyards and tennis courts.

His wife Edna said

"David came into my life in August 2006; I was looking for someone to create a new garden. I looked in the Yellow Pages and five people came to interview. There was something about him. He studied the plants with big, gentle hands, he trimmed and shaped them. He was hired on the spot.”

David Darrel died of brain cancer in 2015.

 

 

 

 


Unearthed Words

Here’s a memorial poem for Mary Hiester Ried written by Canadian newspaperman and a native son of Scotland, Duncan Sutherland Macorquodale - reprinted in the 9th Volume of The Canadian Theosophist (Toronto) November 15, 1921, Vol 9.

There’s a reference to Wychwood; Reid's house, Upland Cottage, was located in Wychwood Park - an artist’s enclave of 60 homes tucked away in a private ravine setting atop the rolling wooded hills of the Davenport Ridge in Toronto.

MARY HIESTER REID Obit. Oct. 4, 1921.

Free from the thrall called life,
Palette and brush laid down;
Off with achievement’s strife,
Donned the immortal’s crown;
Yet hovers she near ’neath the Wychwood tree,

This, the roses she painted, tell to me.

Knelt not to gods of dress,
Knew naught of gossip’s blight,
Lived she to work and bless;
This was her heart’s delight.
And the smile of welcome to all she gave,
Would fashion a knight from the meanest slave.

Why mourn we our loved, laid low?
We also our time abide.
Are they lost because they go?
Nay! for they have not died.
The body rests, but the soul is free
To charm as of old with it’s melody. Queen, both of roses and hearts,
Her mortal course well run;
Her’s ‘both the good and the better parts;
Martha, and Mary, in one.
Still reigns she here, while there her body lies.
The good, the pure, the noble, never dies.

 

 

 


Today's Book Recommendation: The Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds

An award-winning garden designer's practical how-to book with stories and philosophy.

The Garden Awakening is a step-by-step manual to help create a garden in harmony with the life force in the earth; addressing not only what the people in charge of the land want but also asking what the land wants to become. Mary Reynolds demonstrates how to create a groundbreaking garden that is not simply a solitary space but an expanding, living, interconnected ecosystem. Drawing on old Irish ways and methods of working with the land, this beautiful book is both art and inspiration for any garden lover seeking to create a positive, natural space.

 

 

 


Today's Garden Chore

April is the perfect time to prune grapevines. Remove dead vines. Guide vines along trellis, arbors, or fences. Now is a great time to repair support structures as well.

 

 

 


Something Sweet

Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

#OTD The first Arbor Day in the US was observed in “treeless Nebraska” on April 10, 1872. It was established for the state of Nebraska by the Honorable J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska - later secretary of agriculture. The most memorable stat from that first Arbor Day is that around a million trees were planted in Nebraska on this day in 1872 – the first Arbor Day in America.

 

 

 


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for a happy, healthy life - garden every day.

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