May Flower Journal

May 16, 2023

Sometimes it seems like we go from zero to flowers overnight. This was one of those years. After a very wintery April, May arrived as an awkwardly beautiful display of all the flowers at once. Forsythia usually stands nearly alone screaming, DON’T GIVE UP, SPRING IS COMING, but this year the competition was stiff – the Redbuds, Tulips, Hyacinth, Hellebores, Lilacs, and a whole host of other flowering trees all burst open at the same time. And at this point in the month things are disappearing nearly as quickly as they arrived. 

The pace at which things are changing has made it challenging to do things with the flowers – I somehow never got around to pickling any Redbud flowers, I managed to completely miss the small handful of Asparagus spears that were technically at the three year mark (meaning I could have picked them before they went to flower), and I am in a race against time to make all of the Lilac things! Should I make sugar, honey, or cake?

I have, however, done a lot of quick sketches. Without being too precious, I have been making daily sketches as a way to document what May 2023 looked like here in the garden. And in the Flora membership, we are spending the month creating flower journals– doing sketches, spending a bit of time identifying what we are drawing, and making notes about the things we find interesting about the plants. And to wrap things up we will work on mixing colors and making quick palettes that we can come back to later if we want. 

That process was also a great way to allow me to focus more deeply on one spring flower – the Tulip. I ended up starting about six Tulip paintings – some I loved, others not so much. But by focusing on one flower, I was able to really get into the details ( I could see my own improvement as I worked on them). And I loved it so much, I chose it as the Spring flower for the new Seasonal Botanical Art video class series! The series will focus on one flower per season, and each class will be available for purchase at any time (no membership required, and no close date on the class, you simply buy it and get lifetime access!). 

But before summer arrives and all of the seedlings I started in the basement grow and begin to bloom, and I start creating the next class in the series, I will paint the last of the tulips one more time…