November Bloom

Beatrice off to her first year of college and with her no-longer-wanted loft bed and a jig saw, Russell made a green house on the patio. Five years of caring for his lemon tree: misting, grow lights, spraying soapy water on bugs, in for the winter and out for the summer, re-potting, friendly advice around the barbecue, and special delivery of potash from Montana, produced no lemons. Considered and well-proportioned, the crafted hothouse was the last ditch effort for fruit production, finishing just before the first frost. Then Sandy and her accelerating winds, as on a ship in a storm, together we wrapped the brand new structure in tarps and ropes and hoped. Miraculously intact, heater installed and a new remote digital thermometer next to the bed, readings throughout the winter nights monitoring, keeping a constant 45-50 degrees, out of the house in spring, blossoms appeared. And as they dropped, small, pea size fruit remained. Green bulbs slowly growing all summer, fearing frost in mid-October, back in the house, yellow finally emerges. November lemons. Years ago on a motorcycle trip from Spain to Morocco, the only souvenir brought back in my backpack were skeins of wool yarn bought from a Berber man on the edge of the Sahara. Growing up in the New Hampshire winter weather, wool was the always the key to survival - it keeps you warm when wet. The history, traditions and qualities of this animal fiber has held my interest for decades. And then flowers, the motif on my bedroom wallpaper as a child, etched in my mind as some kind of primal visual language. Last year in a second hand shop, I picked up a copy of Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris by John Parkinson, the first book written on English gardens, published in 1629. All winter I copied, traced, graphed, embroidered images from the musty smelling pages. Selecting colors of silver grey, pale blue, natural and black, knitting and embroidering, printing flowers, for grown ups.

Available for sale by clicking the images below.