Every once and a while I go into an old folder of photographs and randomly choose an image to post about. Today it is this Guernsey Lily (Nerine bowdenii) ‘Isabel’ that bloomed in my garden this past fall.
I originally bought the bulb in a late-season clearance bin in 2011, planted it in the sandy soil at the back of the garden and completely forgot about it until it made itself known in late-2012 when a flower spike poked its head above the ground.
I needed a bookmark, so I made one. Random scraps of paper and bus transfers do the work of marking my place in a book, but they are not special. They just are.
I knew it had to be botanical, because… exhibit a thru z… and it was a pressed leaf that provided the inspiration. I often slip leaves into books only to discover them months or years later. This is why I always flip through the pages before I get rid of a book. They sometimes hold more secrets beyond the words that are written inside.
In this case it was a leaf from a tulip tree leaf (Liriodendron tulipifera) that I picked up on a walk last fall. The tulip tree is a North Eastern native that is gaining popularity around here. The leaves are simple and elegant and they turn a beautiful golden yellow in the fall. I find I want to take them all home.
I stitched my bookmark onto a piece of scrap cotton. It is 2″ X 6″ but I realize in hindsight that 8″ would have been a nicer length. The leaf was yellow when I put it into the book but had browned with age. I used variegated thread to represent this colour shift, but any solid colour will work, too.
As previously mentioned, I decided to stop posting weekly from my ongoing Herbaria project. However, I am still assembling the boxes and taking the photos each week and hope to make this into something bigger once the full year is up in May. Until then they will make an appearance now and again rather than weekly.
When I took this photo we had just experienced a big thaw and I thought it would be interesting to assemble the opuntias to see how they have been fairing up underneath snow. For eight of the nine plants this is their first winter in the ground, outdoors. I checked up on them today (another big thaw) and they are holding up nicely.
I am yet to write extensively about my experiments with hardy cactus in Toronto, Canada, but I promise there is more to come. What you see here represent the sum total that I have growing outdoors to date, but I hope to add many more this spring. The desire to fill up all available space with these ferocious beauties is strong — the trick is in finding them.
If you’d like to learn more about growing hardy cacti, I highly suggest “Cacti and Succulents for Cold Climates” by Leo J. Chance. It’s a fantastic book full of useful information. I’ve gone back to explore its pages and drool over the photos many times since I purchased it.
I bought these bright and colourful botanical-themed embroidered panels in a little textiles shop near(ish) to the hotel we were put up in in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This shop was full of embroidered textiles, but I honed straight in on the old pieces in various stages of disrepair and ignored the new.
This one is practically neon! Look at the fantastical bird.
Until recently it had been at least a year since I picked up a needle and thread to embroider or cross stitch and I was itching to get back into it. I took some time over the holidays to rekindle the interest and now it is back, bigger than ever. I am stitching up a storm.
One of the first things I did over the break was buy a stitchable, wooden pendant. I knew right away that I wanted to do something botanical, but I didn’t want to do the usual flower motif. With seed starting season on the brain, I first considered stitching up seeds but couldn’t come up with a pattern that looked like more than colourful blobs. Seedlings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and I knew I could turn out something interesting. I tried stitching in little roots, but eventually removed them because it didn’t work and they ended up looking more like strange trees.
I’ve provided directions and a pattern below so that you can stitch up your own Seedling Medallion. Wear it with pride this spring as you watch brand new plants emerge from the soil in your garden.
You Will Need:
- A pre-fab wooden cross stitch pendant. I purchased this scallop-edged, wooden cross stitch pendant from The Workroom ($7). I have also found sellers on etsy here and here, but I can’t personally vouch for the quality of their pendants.
- 5- Six strand embroidery floss in shades of green, yellow, and brown.
- 1 Cross stitch needle (available at any craft store)
- Cross stitch pattern (See below.)
- An adjustable chain to hang the pendant.
How To Make This: