Wednesday, November 11, 2009

garden therapy

Ever have a time when your mind seems to be completely preoccupied with ideas for new projects? This past week has been like that for me. I started off last Monday suddenly passionate about creating a Christmas card illustration. I proceeded to turn my studio upside down as I hunted up all sorts of Christmasy stuff that I keep for such times of inspiration. By the afternoon I had some draft sketches but no more enthusiasm. Humph...

The next day, I was off to the races chasing after the art card idea. As you already know, I then spent time on-line and in my vehicle checking out printing companies both near and far. I had to be out of town on Wednesday (selling my Dad's old car) and Thursday found me again at a printing company. As I was already downtown, I decided to revisit the National Gallery. (If you missed my last trip there with all of my touristy photos, click here.) After staring at some fabulous art for a couple of hours, my mind was now racing with new ideas for possible subjects, colour combinations, etc.

Suddenly it was Friday and it seemed like I hadn't had a productive week. I settled myself at the drafting table and worked on the peas. And oops if I didn't forget all about teaching the next day! I found myself losing track of time, dashing out of the studio at 5:00, hoping to get in a walk with the dog before pitch dark, with thoughts of what to cook for supper drifting through and then it hit me...I had to teach in the morning...I looked back at the mess my studio was in - Christmas stuff and art card stuff all over the place - I had material to print off - uh oh...

Monday and a fresh new week arrived and with it some fabulous, ridiculously warm weather. I decided it was time for garden therapy.

Time also to root out the invasive mallow is a blossom that managed to survive the snow storm. Looks innocent enough.

One of my flower garden beds has become overrun by this aggressive self seeder. Other flowers have been shoved aside and my colour palette has been reduced to a sea of pink cotton candy. I had thought this digging out job would have to wait until spring but this mild weather and my busy brain became the perfect combination for the job.

I ended up spending hours digging, talking nasty to the plant and chortling with glee as I yanked out the long roots. Very therapeutic!

Here was one of my challenges - twisting myself into a pretzel so that I could dig out some plants under a lilac bush.

Ah, the fruits of my labour.

There were also moments of art inspiration (I find inspiration everywhere which doesn't help with the overactive mind situation). I hope you can see the beautiful plum colour gradations in this decaying rhubarb leaf.

Several hours of good honest physical labour, digging in the aromatic earth and reveling in the peace and quiet of the great outdoors was just the interruption my busy mind needed. Tuesday morning found me calmly sitting down with my business journal to rationally plan the months ahead. Whew...then it was back to the drafting table...thank goodness for garden therapy!

Oh and for those of you with left over pumpkins and a yard where deer might visit, try putting your pumpkins out for them to munch on. They seem to really enjoy eating them and they will even dig out frozen pumpkin from the snow.


Laure Ferlita said...

Busy minds and forgetfulness do seem to go hand-in-hand don't they? Maybe it was something in the air, last week as I seem to be having similar issues. This week has calmed into crisis de jour so no time for my mind to go wandering off on its own.

Not sure it's a good answer, but it does resolve one problem!

Pencil Sanity said...

That was quite the week you had. I love the photos you took of your garden and that is one full wheelbarrow.

Teresa Mallen said...

Sorry to hear about your crisis du jour Laure! May the latter part of the week bring you a reprieve.

Hi Maria. Yes the wheelbarrow is ready to tip over and I have more mallow to dig out. I am not sure where to dump the invasive monster as it will no doubt go to seed where I put it. Maybe the deer will enjoy munching the ousted plants as well as the pumpkin! :-)

Jennifer Rose said...

best therapy, gardening :D

Jan said...

I'm just glad you're so inspired that you forgot something (even if it was a class! lol)

Mallows are my favorite flowers but I've never had any that were invasive - do you know the name of it? We have a huge yard where it would almost be a blessing for it to spread! lol Does it spread by seed or by roots underground? It's also a gorgeous color!

Paula Pertile said...

I can sympathize with your mallow problem - I've never had that, but DID have blackberries in my last yard and had many thorn scratches to show for my never-ending efforts to get rid of that stuff! Kudos on getting all that done!

So did you clean up the studio, or just let the class wallow in your creative gatherings? :~)

Lynda Schumacher said...

Doesn't time just seem to fill up and get away?? I love your pumpkin pic. Oh, and you forgot to post the photograph of you twisted into a pretzel. I know this was merely an oversight, so look forward to seeing it soon. : )

As always, enjoyed reading your post Teresa.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Jennifer Rose, seems I'm preaching to the choir! :-)

Oh Jan, be careful what you wish for! :-) The mallow was planted by the previous owner but I believe it is Malva Rosea, Musk Mallow Rose.

It is considered a weed but it is available in garden catalouges and garden centers. It was introduced to North America by European settlers and it has proceeded to take over quite a bit of land!

It is considered hard to control as it has a deep tap root which has to be dug up - you can't pull them up(except the real young plants).It spreads by seeds which are released from the pods in the spring.

In the two years I have been here, it has sown itself along the meadow fence line, amongst ferns I established in a shady spot, and alongside the raspberry bushes (I have left it there to see who wins that battle) and of course into my perennial flower beds.

The previous owner gave some of her 'extra' plants to the neighbours and I had no sooner moved in and they were trying to regift more back. I smelled a rat and said no thanks! :-)

It is edible though, from the leaves (people use the baby leaves in salads) to the fruit (which can be used to replace capers) to the flowers, to the pollen. The roots are also used but I would caution readers to do some research. For example chewing the roots can apparently cause a miscarriage. So as in all herbal ventures, I would only do informed eating.

As for my comment that it turned my garden into a sea of cotton candy - I have since learned that the flowers were used to tint cotton candy!! Anyway, Jan if you want a spreader, I believe this will be the plant for you! :-)

Hi Paula, yes, berry bushes are 'determined' as well! :-) And yes I was a good teacher and I cleaned up my mess. They wouldn't have had any space at the tables if I hadn't!

Now Lynda I would have been delighted to show off my pretzel pose but alas I was gardening alone and there was no one to snap the photo! Guess I need a tripod! (And this from the woman who won't post her feather done in oils :-)!!)

CountryDreaming said...

Well, personally I love that mallow plant. In particular, your photo of it deserves to be transformed into an art card. :-) And in general, it's purple and reminds me of marshmallows, both good things. (Don't think I'd be brave enough to eat any of it though.)

Methinks you're inspiring me and I need to start a weed garden somewhere -- "The Garden of Misfit Flowers." Once I took a picture of the Smoky Mountains in a sizzling summer haze with beautiful glorious periwinkle-colored chicory in the foreground. When I went back a few hours later to catch the scene in a different light, I'd found the farmer had mowed down all the chicory as weeds, calling them a fire hazard.

Now if only I had some land, instead of just a landing ...