Signs of Spring: Tulips and More

On my weekend treasure-hunting excursions throughout our gardens, I found a few tulips in bloom that the rabbits haven’t eaten.

pink and orange tulip

Some of the tulips came up in places different than where we planted them. I think the squirrels have been busy rearranging things for us.


I love looking at our neighbors’s gardens which are chock-full of colorful tulips. Since I didn’t have time to plant more bulbs last fall, I am cherishing the few tulips we do have. And making a note to self to plant more bulbs in fall. I think I’ll try to plant late-blooming tulips since the rabbits love to eat the early-blooming tulips which are some of the first plants to come back to life after a dormant winter.

ruffly pink tulip

ruffly purple tulip


It’s always exciting when our bleeding heart shrubs start to bloom. They are such a delicate, dainty plant. They grow right next to our front porch, making it so inviting and fresh. We like that they spread because we find more new shrubs in different places each year.

bleeding hearts

Happy treasure hunting!




From My Inspiration File: Spring Is Here

I photographed some new treasures in our yard and gardens over the weekend, as we continue to find more signs of this early spring we are having… and loving!

This week, our forsythia bloomed with an explosion of yellow. Every time I look out our windows that face South, I see this magnificent yellow glow.

The buds on our magnolia shrub are about to open. They are so elegant looking at this stage.

Our first tulip opened over the weekend. I am always surprised when this one opens because I forget that we planted such a classic red tulip.

The buds on many of our trees are popping too, adding that fresh spring green color, which makes me so happy.

Such an exciting time of year to watch the colors change from brown and grey to spring green and yellow and red and purple. Thanks for stopping by!

Garden Update

Since our weather is gradually turning warmer, I thought it would be fun to start sharing what’s happening in our gardens as things come back to life again.

I can’t decide if it seems early to have tulips opening, or if everything else is just late because of our cold, wet spring.

One of the most exciting finds to me is the buds starting to open on the trees.

I look forward to finding more blooming treasures in our yard in the days and weeks to come!

Art Cards 2011 – Week 12

Last week, Michelle and I swapped cards to celebrate the first day of Spring.

She received my package so I’m excited to be able to share what I made for her. I was inspired by a photo she shared recently of a ribbon of daffodils growing across a field. Daffodils are such a cheerful flower, usually the first to bloom in my part of the world. Since I was mailing this little card to Michelle, I really wanted to created a postcard image. I found a piece of paper in my craft stash that had stamps all over it, and I saved one of those air mail stickers from another package I received from her.

I also found inspiration from one of my favorite spring flowers that will be blooming soon, crocuses, along with some lyrics from a Bob Dylan song that I know hold a special place in her heart.

The entire lyrics say “just to dance beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, let me forget about today until tomorrow.”

I have to admit I was happy with how these turned out, so I made a duplicate set to have in my own journal.

I also made a couple more cards for the new week.

I have been inspired by all the spring bulbs trying so hard to come back to life here even though our temperatures continue to be cold (30 degrees F). I drew an illustration of the first tulip leaves to come up, cut them out and pasted them on a bright blue background for a 3-dimensional effect. I found a Chinese proverb that was a fitting sentiment to use for my journaling.

More and more birds have been returning to our part of the world, especially the common grackles, who act like bullies of the birdfeeders in our yard. They are fun to watch, but they are noisy and eat everything. I loved illustrating one of them clucking away because of the beautiful irridescent blue and purple and black colors of the feathers.

I haven’t added a journal sentiment to this card yet. I want to add this saying “Birds return every spring like clockwork, but where is the clock” but I’m not sure how to make all that fit on this little card. You know me, I’ll figure it out!

Be sure to stop by our Flickr group to see what Michelle and Sandra have been doing on their fun art cards.

Art Cards 2011 – Week 10

There are signs of hope everywhere, if you just know where to look. That was the theme for my art cards this week.

Even though we got a late snowstorm last week, the recent sunshine has been melting our snow, revealing grass and bulbs coming up around our yard.

I saw our first robin last week, which is a sure sign of spring is just around the corner. The robin is our state bird, so when it migrates back to our neighborhood in March, we get excited that spring is near.

I used my new process on these cards of pencil sketching the idea first and then filling in with color. This week, I spent most of my time painting with watercolor. I used markers and colored pencils to add a few details. I decided to keep the journaling short and simple. You get the message: I’m excited spring is here! Can’t wait to see buds popping out on the trees and more bulbs coming up.

Be sure to stop by our Flickr group to see what Michelle and Sandra have been doing on their amazing art cards.

A Walk in the Garden

I think everybody in the Northern hemisphere has been doing yard work this weekend! We enjoyed a weekend of gardening ourselves.

We got some new spirea shrubs to replace the holly shrubs that didn’t make it through our winter.

We have this really big landscaped bed that borders our fence line. We’ve been trying to fill it in over the years to keep the weeds out, and make it look more like a park.

We added these new bee balms to attract the butterflies.

We also added these new coreopsis plants, to attract more butterflies.

A lot of our spring perennials, including those alliums, bloomed a month early since we had such a warm April, so now we need to fill in more perennials in those bare spots.

We stocked up on a variety of ornamental grasses, which get tall and provide great eye appeal. They are also low maintenance!

Our bleeding heart shrubs have grown to be giants in the five years we have lived in this house!

Our clusters of Siberian Irises get bigger every year too. I wish they lasted longer.

I love these late-blooming tulips, which remind me of Barbie pink.

It’s fun to watch the changes in the garden as we move from spring to summer, and the progress of all our hard work over the years.

Garden Discovery

I swear I don’t remember planting these tulips last fall. Who else would have planted them? It must have been me. I guess I don’t remember them looking this pretty on the packaging.

I love the two-tone colors and the lily shape when they are open. Even the leaves are variegated.

Look at what happens to them at dusk.

And then the next day, they open up and shine again.

That is one of the many wonderful things I love about spring, discovering treasures in our gardens.


I came up with several reasons to appreciate this Monday.

I want to extend a big thank you to Jennifer for this week’s Big Shot Award! I was honored to receive recognition from such a talented designer and generous friend.

We also celebrated a birthday over the weekend!

I keep finding more buds and blooms popping up in our gardens.

All the new crocuses I planted last fall are going crazy this spring. I love it when that happens!

It has been so fun watching everything turn green again. Look at all the potential in this cluster of tulips!

I am one lucky gal!

In My Spring Garden

I have been taking a lot of pictures around our yard and gardens this spring.

flowering crab treeWe have these great flowering crab apple trees that look like giant blossoms in spring.

flowering crab in front yard

The bleeding heart shrub proves to be spectacular every year.

bleeding heart bush

Great close-up subject for drawing practice.

bleeding heart flowersSomehow, we even got white flowers out of the same plant. I think they are so mystical looking, especially with those rain drops on the leaves.

white bleeding heart flowers

We planted more bulbs last fall, which I had forgotten about, so these were a nice surprise.

new pink and white tulips

These tulips are my favorite!

my favorite tulips!

Check out these gorgeous dahlias I found at the farmers market today.

red and white dahliaI wish they were perennials around here, but our climate is a little too cold for them to last past summer.

purple dahlia

Isn’t planting season the best?! Once we get past the last chance for frost, I will be planting the vegetable garden, which will be strictly a salsa garden this year, and annuals in our containers. I can’t wait to get cosmos and zinnias too. I hope it looks as nice around here as a botanical garden by July!