I have been too sickly to go out into the garden this week,
instead I traveled down the Amazon with Margaret Mee and her friend Rita.
I would have been terrified running the rapids in a dugout canoe,
if I had not been safely tucked in my bed while doing it.
Not only is she adventurous, she is also an artist.
Her botanical watercolors are famous for their beauty as well as accuracy.
Margaret Mee gets placed on my hero list with Marianne North and Beatrix Potter.
I was almost glad to be sick, so that I could float and forage through the jungles.
It’s warm and dry inside a book.
I have a winter stash that I only allow myself to look at when the weather is bad.
It is raining again today. Hooray!
I finally get to enjoy the two books my friend Joyce gave me in June.
They are Flora Forager books. Both by the brilliant Bridget Beth Collins.
She does magic with flower and plant pieces.
Some of her art is mosaic pictures.
Some are replicas of famous paintings.
Many are mandalas made of natural materials.
The seasonal journal has plenty of room
to write that poetry I have been putting off putting down.
I plan to lose myself in these books on this dreary day.
Oh look. There I am now!
I spent the weekend at Winter Fest in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
My favorite part was the ice sculpting.
The artists set up huge blocks of ice in the middle of the town park.
This was the finished product .
There were also frozen signs made for different businesses around town.
These pieces were lovely, but did not inspire me to become an Ice Artist.
I was too cold to stick around and watch the artists work.
I did return later for photos.
By then I was rather tired, but there was only this seat available.
So I just stood around with the bear.
Better to stand with a frozen bear, than sit with a frozen rear.
These four gates are on display in the North Carolina Arboretum
in Asheville, North Carolina.
It is one of my favorite places on Earth.
This post features only the gates by E. Vega.
The first design includes a man fishing.
The fish is golden.
The fisherman has great details.
The second gate features a farmer with a plow being pulled by a his horse.
The two of them are working very hard.
The third gate has a tree with one golden apple.
There is a serpent twisted around the trunk.
Reminds me of a story.
The fourth and final gate has many rings with a different creature in each.
I loved each one.
If you go visit the Arboretum, do not miss these.
They are off to the right of the entrance building, around a courtyard area.
I could have easily missed them, if I weren’t such a wanderer.
The details are amazing.
This E. Vega is brilliant at capturing the details of living beings
and recreating them in metals.
These gates are heavenly!
I won’t be a spoiler by sharing all two thousand or so photos,
but I will share what I almost missed by not looking up.
I also almost did not return again after dark
because I thought they would look the same.
This would be display number 13 in the Conservatory.
Burnished Amber, Citron and Teal Chandeliers, 2017.
The supposedly unlucky number for the rest of us.
My daughter Rose’s lucky number and birth day.
Maybe having my head tilted back made me dizzy
or was I dazzled beyond normal consciousness?
Do not overlook (or under-look) number thirteen.
It’s a doozie!
I have been fortunate to spend the past few days in the midst of magic.
I was in the presence of the work of two creative minds in the same location
on the night of a full moon.
I am amazed that both my head and heart did not explode from the beauty and joy.
I was on the grounds of Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
This is the castle created by George Vanderbilt.
On display throughout the grounds and inside the palace
were the dazzling glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly.
Their magical spirits created mind-boggling beauty.
I am so grateful when mortals are given a glimmer of higher power
to share with the rest of us,
as Prometheus shared the flame
to enlighten and inspire
a mere mortal like me.
Why wait to get just the right garden accessory when a piece of trash will do the trick?
I feel sorry for folks who have HOA’s (Home Owner Associations) dictating what is allowed in their yard.
Out here in the middle of nowhere, we can slap up any implement in our yards.
I feel sorry for folks of suburbia, all stifled by rules of respectability and what-not.
I love my ghetto garden. Anything goes.
Reuse and recycle. Go Ghetto! (No offense.)
Go with the FLOW
We are very fortunate to have a great source for koi and water plants
just a short drive away from us.
Gayle’s Koi in Catawba has been our choice for buying koi and water plants for years.
She has a huge pond full of gorgeous giants.
It is on the side of a hill and seems almost like an infinity pond.
Look at this view!
My son and I went to get several small koi and some water plants last weekend.
Water plants are needed to help shade the water during the hot months here in the south.
My son picked out two colorful fish from one of her holding tanks,
while I wandered around enjoying her garden art and unusual plants.
If you are local, I will pass along her contact information.
Gayle is the best.
One of the highlights of my recent trip to North Myrtle Beach
was a visit to Tropical Nursery on 25th Avenue South.
It was within walking distance of my beach-front condominium,
but felt as though I had left the American shore for the southern hemisphere.
The place had an interesting selection of tropical plants.
Unique pieces garden art were displayed throughout the nursery.
I especially loved the giant triangular canvas that shaded the potted plants.
What a treasure to find near the shore of South Carolina.