Winter Doldrums

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
February 26 – March 1, 2020

As the days get ever shorter and grayer, I begin to hanker for Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I can’t wait to see all the blooms and drink in the earthy smells at the Washington State Convention Center in February.

I am delighted to be a Seminar Speaker at the Festival again this year with a new topic: Great Understory Trees. On Friday, February 28, at 2:30pm in the Raineer Room, I will talk about my personal favorite small(ish) trees that are on the Great Plant Picks list; I will be followed by two other speakers on trees (risk assessments and large trees). Of course, I love small trees–they make perfect scaffolds for clematis! See, for example, C. ‘Etoile Violette’ below in a lilac tree in my Boston garden of several years ago!

Water Color Painting

Another way I am brightening these short dreary days is with using water color paints to replicate the colors of blossoms, leaves, cones, seed heads, or anything else in the garden that catches my eye. I learned to do this from Lorene Edwards Forkner, a well-known local horticulturist and speaker, who will explain this delightful way of learning about color at the Flower Show on Wednesday, February 26, at 3:30pm in the Hood Room. I’ll be there!

Below is my recent effort to find the colors of C. cirrhosa ‘Freckles,’ which has just started to brighten my winter with its blooms again. I look and look and look at whatever I’ve chosen to bring in from the garden to discover all the colors and then use my paints to replicate those colors as best I can. I do this as a daily practice that I find relaxing and rewarding as well as a great learning experience. If you would like to see more of my attempts, go to As the season moves toward spring and more clematis begin to bloom, I will post my efforts at duplicating their colors here. I also plan to post more photos of clems–I promise!

The colors of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’

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