Don't you just love that art can bring to life all of the things you'd like to see or recall-memories of all that you've seen and experienced?
Just with a pencil and paper, and even a bit of color, you can bring magic to the world.
Art is how we make meaning in the world. I love how I can sketch birds I might have seen just once last summer or my favorite dogs I have loved. I can sketch exciting vacation spots or places I wish to visit. Art has a transformative power that brings to life everything in my beautiful brain.
One of my favorite subjects is plants and flowers, and judging from how much people decorate their lives with flowers, it makes a lot of other people smile as well. On a snowy day in winter, I can sit down at my art desk and pull up photos of summer flowers to create a colorful summer garden. Cosmos, hollyhocks, and roses all show up on the page. Likewise, I can sit in the chill of autumn and draw the houseplants that adorn my home. The magic happens when I open up my imagination and dream.
A few years ago, while watching Gardeners World on the BBC, I was stuck in the air conditioning while living in Las Vegas, Nevada with 112° degrees of fiery sunshine outside (Sorry, just a little trauma coming out!). I dreamt up a project exploring the garden and its story through the year. I called it Floribunda (Latin for "many-flowering") and also the name of a modern group of garden roses that was developed by crossing hybrid teas with the wild roses. I took the name for the project because I was enchanted with roses and thoroughly gobsmacked at how many varieties there were.
I came from a midwest garden scene, having lived in Denver, Colorado for most of my life, where you had in your garden what would bloom from May to September between frost dates. So, I grew lots of flowers and veg, storing up all the goodness that came from being outside with fresh air and sunshine for those three months.
While learning more about gardens around the world, I came to understand that things could bloom all 12 months of the year, I had just lived in a place with harsh winters, so I didn't know the variety and sheer amount of things that could be found in gardens in many different climates. So, I went online and bought the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers and then spent the next year figuring out and drawing what bloomed from month to month. A Year In Flowers so to speak.
I had to cut down my master list and picked flowers and plants that would be iconic but also lesser-known plants that would challenge me. So, with that, my FloraBunda sprouted.
My main goal for the illustrated project was to see how it changed from month to month and filled up the garden as new things came up in the spring and other plants receded in the autumn and winter. It helped me enjoy seasonality, which I have struggled with in life, through the eyes of a gardener, anticipating what comes next.
I enjoyed creating the 12 gardens of the year, and hope you enjoy looking through them. I have more garden plans for the future, and can’t wait to hear which monthly garden is your favorite. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!