Late Spring: The Hillside Garden

It’s been a beautiful spring so far! I adore this time of year, until about July 4th, when it usually just gets too darn hot.

Take a walk with me in my backyard, a south-facing hillside filled to the brim with green. I’ve heard every garden should have a name so I’m calling mine “Boxwood Hill”.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.13.37 PM

The pond.Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.08.32 PM

My poor golden willow at the bottom of the hill. It died last year but, I’m keeping it for it’s sculptural qualities. I’ve planted some scarlet runner beans around it this year.

I love the contrast between the silver lambs ear and the green English Boxwood.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.13.51 PM

A “Wild Twig Teapot” tucked in amongst the English Boxwood.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.10.36 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.12.04 PM

The phenomenal Mr Gray!

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.14.18 PM

Here’s where I put all my organic kitchen waste- this big ball makes the best compost! I try to remember to roll it around everyday.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.12.57 PM

New bed of elephant ear caladium that I’m hoping will sprout soon. We need some rain!

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.11.55 PM

Another view of the “Wild Twig Teapot” and the arch at the gate with roses on the left and clematis on the right.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.10.59 PM

A cracked pot. I made this one in high school. Yes, really! Can you believe I’ve kept it all these years? It didn’t survive the winter though, but I kind of like the way it cracked.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.12.19 PM

This trumpet vine in a pot didn’t survive the winter either. I’m growing a vine over it and I’ve draped a string of mirrored glass among the branches. It’s so cool when it’s sunny and there’s a slight breeze — little dots of light literally dance all over my garden! Drives Mr Gray wild!

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.13.20 PM

Another view of the twig teapot.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 9.14.37 PM

This quote is near and dear to my heart…

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope you are enjoying spring in your garden too! –J.

Posted in Garden, Twigs | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Garden in Winter

This year has been the snowiest winter in a long time.

Garden gate in the snow

Garden gate in the snow

We’ve had several storms hit our area within the past 2 weeks and the temperatures have stayed very cold so nothing melts.

The front walk

The front walk


Kitty Cat tracks headed to the pond.

Kitty Cat tracks headed to the pond.

The pond is completely covered except for a small baseball size area where the bubbler has kept it open.

Row of birdhouses waiting for spring.

Row of birdhouses waiting for spring.


Twig Teacup and Saucer in the snow.

Twig Teacup and Saucer in the snow.


These photos were taken at early morning hence the beautiful light. It’s that morning glow- golden light.


Posted in Garden | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Welcome to my Garden

The goldfish pond.

The goldfish pond.

I thought I’d give you a tour of my garden this August.

The goldfish are doing well, I have four.  However, one of them is turning pink.  I’m not sure why.  It’s pictured above.  It started out gold with a touch of white.  Perhaps it’s maturing to all white?

Below is a photo taken from our 2nd floor deck of the backyard hill.  Morning glory is growing over the arch at the gate.  It just began to bloom this week.

View from the deck.View from the deck.

The front entrance is beautifully green this time of year.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.34.59 PM

The front entrance.

Thats a pineapple plant in the center.  I started it from one of the pineapples I bought at the store last year.  Cut off the top and place it in the dirt. Keep it watered and it will root.  It is a tropical plant so keep it inside during the winter if you get cold weather.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.38.07 PM

Pineapple plant among others.

I have a grapevine that grows on my back deck.  It climbs up to the second level and gives us much needed privacy from the neighbors.  We live in a townhome and the decks are much to close for my comfort but this grapevine sure helps.  I can go out on my deck in the morning in my pj’s to water plants — a true luxury!

The grapes are a seedless concord and delicious!  They are ripe now so I usually pick a bunch to eat with my morning tea.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.38.18 PM

Grapes on the back deck.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.37.51 PM

Plant arrangement by the front door.

This plant arrangement by the kitchen window attracts hummingbirds which we can watch from the window.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.35.33 PM

Scarlet runner bean blooming.

This scarlet runner bean is blooming near the kitchen window.  The hummingbird usually makes a stop here too.  I’ll post a photo of the bird in the future.

Hope you enjoyed this quick tour around my garden.


Posted in Garden | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wild Twig Birdnest

One of my wild giant twig bird’s nest purchased by Lulubelle Photography.  Here are a few of her VERY special photographs!

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 9.17.56 PM


Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 9.18.31 PM

Posted in Twigs | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Winter Blooms

photo copy 3

I’ve had this topiary azalea living inside my home for the past twenty plus years.  It blooms every year and this year it’s blooming just in time for Valentines!

I place it outside for the warmer months but it is always brought inside for the winter.  I’m not sure it’s a variety that would be hardy in our area.

Here’s a photo of it in our living room.

photo copy

Hoping to add a sketch soon!


Posted in Garden, Watercolor | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

My Porch Experiment

I wondered if I could grow lettuce outside during the winter months here in Pennsylvania.  Last winter was very mild.  We only had two days of temperatures in the 20′s.  I think it would have easily worked last year but, this winter seems to be stacking up a little colder so we’ll see.

Here are photos of my planters on my south facing deck.  This photo was taken in December 2012 on a mild rainy day.  I planted the lettuce in November.



So far so good.  Everything is looking great although growing slowly.  Don’t you just love that springy green color!


I’m using the basket container as a cover on cold nights and it’s worked so far.  I’ve been meaning to make a clear plastic cover so the plants can get light but I didn’t get around to doing that yet.  I really should do it soon because it’s getting much colder now.  Temperatures were in the low twenty’s last night.

Plants are still green.  I’ll let you know how things are going in future posts.

Here’s a shot of my hillside garden from the deck.


I’d love to know what you’re growing or enjoying from the flower and plant world this winter!  Leave a comment of you’d like.


Posted in Garden | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas Roses

Watercolor on paper

Watercolor on paperP1130565

Watercolor Christmas roses painted in sumie style.

Happy Holidays to all!




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”  Charles Dickens

This is Blossom.

Blossom pencil sketch by Judy

I’m checking in on her while her owners are away.  She is a sweet, smallish, very soft kitty.

She usually greets me as I get out of my car.  We go inside and fill her food and water. Then we spend time together sitting on the front porch listening to the birds.

Blossom inside

Blossom lives a good life.  She can come inside or go outside as she pleases through a cat door. Outside are lovely gardens, patios, a pond, woods and a large barn.  Could a cat ask for more?

Blossom doing her “Lassie” impression.

When I leave, she sits and watches me from the path with her one paw raised, just like Lassie did at the end of the show.  Did you watch Lassie?  Remember the end when the credits rolled?  Is that sweet or what.

I love when you visit.  Please leave a comment and tell me about a favorite pet of yours!

Blossom doing her 'Lassie Impression"!

Blossom doing her ‘Lassie Impression”!

Posted in Animals | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Walk in the Orchard

Me and my shadow


I visit Brown’s Orchard in Jacobus, PA quite often these days as my son’s robotic team meets nearby.  Just look at these gorgeous apples.  The trees are incredibly full this year.

I found a nice path for a short walk through the trees that leads back to my car in the parking lot.

Beautiful Colors…The sunset is amazing at this location.    Doesn’t this look like someone took a brush to the clouds?  I hope to do some sketching soon but, I may have to be inside now with the time change.

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” (George Bernard Shaw)

October Sunset

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Brush Painting Kits

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”  Henry Ward Beecher

I have a relative currently living in China.  She scopes out the markets there for art supplies.  As promised, here are photos of the Brush Painting Kits she sent to me from China.

Mr. Gray checking out the brush painting kits

The kit includes 4 beautiful full sized brushes, a covered ink stone, ink stick, a soap stone to carve for a chop (your personal signature), covered porcelain pot of red stamping ink, porcelain brush prop, small porcelain dish for water, over a dozen practice papers lined off for calligraphy practice and an instruction guide with photos.  (note: it’s written in Chinese –but the instruction photos are easy to understand!)

Here’s a close up of the inside of the kit:

Kit for brush painting or calligraphy

Below is a close up of the included practice pages and instruction guide.

Practice pages and Chinese instruction guide

It all comes packaged in a handsome “orange juice” colored padded box.  I’ve purchased several in anticipation of future “Sumie” brush painting classes that I may be teaching.

If you’re interested in giving brush painting a try, I will be posting one or two kits to my Etsy store soon.  Please feel free to contact me!


Posted in Sumie | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments