Monday, September 8, 2014

September Garden

With the cooler days we're having now, I was feeling a little sad to see summer on its way out. I really enjoy all the flowering shrubs and perennials that brighten up our yard in the summertime, and I'm just not ready to say goodbye to them yet.

Then I started looking a little closer and realized that even though the masses of daylilies are finished for the year, and the daisies and campanula are drying up and turning brown, there's still plenty going on in my September garden.

9" x 12", ink, watercolor, and gouache in Aquabee Super Deluxe sketchbook. Drawn with Noodler's Creaper Flex Pen and Noodler's Lexington Gray ink. Lettering done with Pitt Artist's Pen, size S.

I planted several packets of zinnia seeds in the the front row of my vegetable garden this spring, as I do every year, and they never fail to provide loads of bright, cheery color, up until the first frost. I like to cut bunches of them to bring inside, arranging them in antique stoneware pitchers and blue Mason jars. I set one on the kitchen window sill, one on the kitchen island, and another on the coffee table in the living room. They make me happy whenever I catch a glimpse of them.

Bluebeard or blue mist shrub is a never-fail fall bloomer. When everything else is waning, it's just hitting its stride. The lavender plants growing above the stone wall by the basement door are all blossoming now, too.

The coneflowers are mostly over, but I found a few fresh flowers on a new variety that I planted in July.

The little flower with the blush pink petals, above, is from the coreopsis shrubs that spill over onto the stone steps leading down to the lower patio by the basement walkout.

The flower clusters on my 'Pee Gee' hydrangeas have turned from warm white to a soft dusty rose color in the past few weeks.

Most of the hosta by the garage finished blooming weeks ago, but one stalwart plant still has its pretty purple flowers.

One packet of sunflower seeds planted in June in my garden has yielded hundreds of sketch-worthy, sunshine-yellow blooms.

Our butterfly bush is true to its name - it's filled with butterflies all day long. The hummingbirds seem to like it, too.

My roses have suffered mightily this year, trying to recover from last winter's harsh weather. They haven't done too well, but I'm hoping next year will be better, and at least there are still a few blossoms to enjoy this fall.

Most of the spirea bushes in our yard put on a beautiful show in early summer and then rest on their laurels the rest of the summer, but one dark magenta variety is blooming nicely right now.

My favorite 'Nikko Blue' hydrangeas also took a hit last winter and didn't give me their usual bounty of blue flowers in early summer. But a few of them finally sent out some buds in August and are blooming now. Better late than never! I'm enjoying every one of them, and they seem all the more precious for their scarcity.

And last but not least, the dependable coreopsis. These cheery little flowers by the stone patio just keep coming and coming throughout the summer and fall.

As I wandered around the yard yesterday with my sketchbook, pen, and three-legged stool, adding one flower after another to this page, I was surprised at how much life there still is in this late summer garden. I just have to look a little harder and take the time to notice it.

Soon these flowers will be gone, replaced by the bright reds, oranges, and golds of fall, but I'm savoring these remnants of summer, and they'll still be blooming in my sketchbook when the winter winds are howling around the house a few short months from now. And looking at this page, I'll remember a warm September evening when I spent some time just enjoying the beauty that's all around me, right here at home.

A little bit about the lettering on this sketch ...

I drew the lettering (inspired by the Antrokas font) by hand with a pencil first, to work out the size and spacing on the page. I then outlined it with a black Pitt pen, size S, and colored in the spaces to make the thick ascenders and descenders. A cool violet-blue watercolor shadow was brushed on, spaced away from the black lettering so the words appear to be suspended above the page.

I toyed with lots of different ideas for borders but thought this swirly one would add a lot of movement to the page while echoing the curving lines of the flowers. I wanted this sketch to be filled to the brim with color and pattern, just like my September garden.

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