Springspiration

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Dear Sisters,

Can you believe we are only a few short weeks away from the first day of Spring? Just the thought of warmer days and the greening of my gardens brings pleasant thoughts while I shovel the newly fallen snow off of my car and walkways. But that’s not all that’s helping me get my spring-spiration on. Every year in deep winter I spend time getting re-acquainted with a few of my favorite garden guru’s from days gone by. The gardens of Tasha Tudor, Beatrix Potter, and Claude Monet’ are worthy of a trip to the Library or a quick Google search for I can always count on them to remind me that each new growing season promises new lessons to be learned and more joys amongst the flowers and garden visitors. Come on in and meet one of my favorite garden ladies of yesteryear!

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Celia Thaxter in her Island Garden Oil painting by Childe Hassam

Doesn’t this beautiful oil painting by impressionist painter, Childe Hassam just make you want to dive right into Celia’s garden? I can almost smell the flowers and feel the warm sea air on my skin. It must be mid to late summer by the looks of everything a bloom.  In her  book, An Island Garden, first published in 1984, Celia shares her 50 x 15 garden plot illustrated with a plant by numbers scheme. Some 57 plants are listed such as; Sweet Peas, Hollyhocks,

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Dandelion House Hollyhocks

Poppies, Single Dahlias, Sunflowers, Love-in-a-Mist, Lavender, Honeysuckle, Bachelors’ Buttons, Damask Roses and many more beautiful flowers graced her garden from early spring right through the first freeze, as late as November in a rare year.

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An Island Garden Celia Thaxter

This is the cover of the famous Childe Hassam edition (first published in 1894) and the first reissue (1988) by the original publisher, Houghton Mifflin Company. My copy arrived two days ago and I’ve had a difficult time not staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish it! Not only is Celia’s flowery prose so telling of the way writers wrote in Victorian times, but the beautiful works by Child Hassam of Celia’s garden that are scattered throughout the book are enchanting. As much as I love being able to access virtually anything under the sun about gardening with a quick click of a button, the old-fashioned garden lady/farmgirl in me enjoys slowing down and soaking in a once-upon-a-time garden tour written in the gardeners own words. She speaks of the familiar calls of visiting birds, sewing seeds in eggshells that prove to be difficult to transplant, the never-ending weeding, and when to transplant tender Sweet Pea starts, all of which have been brought to the island by a bumpy boat ride in early spring.

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You see, Celia and I have something in common. She was an island gardener and I am a beach farmgirl! I’ll admit it was the title of her book that caught my eye because I’m always cultivating gardens in my mind for Dandelion House and at the cottage.

 

 

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I hoped I might glean some seaside gardening tips in her book ( which I certainly have) but it’s so much more than that. Celia’s, An Island Garden is a glimpse into a lady’s love affair with flowers of all kinds and her intimate relationship with them which started at the tender age of 5. She lived much of her childhood on White Island and later returned to the sea as a wife and mother of three children to Appledore Island, where her father had built a summer resort hotel. It was there she cultivated her beautiful gardens and writing about them betwixt and between rearing children and helping run the resort.

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Celia’s appreciation for the all mighty miracles that lie within each seed is apparent on every page. A gardener has to have a great sense of hope and optimism to begin with. It takes heaps of faith, hope, love alongside the protective prowness of a newborn mother to raise beautiful flowers to their peak. Who else, but the most dutiful mother would wake at 4:00 o’ clock in the morning, trek outside in her nightgown with a flashlight, and pick slugs off of her precious, newborn sprouts until sunrise when they disappear out of sight?

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I’m already half-way though An Island Garden and I can’t wait to read it again! It’s a wonderful winter escape for this flower-starved farmgirl.

 

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As you know, I’ve been experimenting with growing annuals by the boatloads for the last couple of years in preparation for taking my flowers to my local Farmers Market one day.

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Well, THIS is my year! I just had my logo created for some advertising I’ll be doing in our local Edible South Shore & South Coast Magazine over the summer months. I’m so excited about how it turned out! Let me tell you about what inspired my design. I love, ( no, I ) LOVE antique and vintage botanical drawings and illustrations like those found on antique seed packets, botanical calendars and catalogs. Something about those colors and designs just speak to me. With that in mind, I asked a friend who is a graphic designer to create a ” vintage inspired” logo for me that I can use in print ads as well as marketing materials such as business cards, banners and labels for my flower bouquets.

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Ta-DA! She nailed it didn’t she? I couldn’t be more pleased with it. This is just the logo without contact info. I’ve got one all ready for the magazine ad with the addition of my email address and blog address. June seems like an awful long way off as I look outside at those 6 foot snowbanks lining my driveway but I can picture myself under my pop-up tent surrounded by flowers and smiling farmers market friends.

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In the meantime, I’ve planned two spring~spiration garden outings to get me in gear for a flourishing flower season!

Celia Thaxter’s garden welcomes visitors on Appledore Island ( one of 9 tiny islands that make up the Isles of Shoals located 6 miles off the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine) I’m thinking of an early to mid-July date for my visit. I want to see the gardens at their peak!

Next up is The Heirloom Festival in Wethersfield, CT. America’s historic seed farm of Comstock,Ferre & Co. It’s a celebration of spring planting season and a travel back in time garden day with top speakers, vendors and historic craftsmen. Sunday, May 24th. It’s just a short 2 hour ride from my house. I’m hoping to bring home some heirloom seeds and seedlings.

Now, pray for rain and sun, sisters! I’m ready to put down some roots and bloom!

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What are you doing to get ready for spring? Share your dreams, plans, trips, etc…

Until our next shoreline visit~ may you find plenty of spring~spirations to get you through these last few weeks of winter. Soon it will be baby farm animal season too!

Much love and Beach Blessings,

Deb # 1199

 

Leave a comment 26 Comments

  1. Catherine Dorsey says:

    Thank you for brighten my day. Weather is extremely cold. Needed that ray of sunshine with flowers.

  2. paula sullivan says:

    Thank you for the inspiring post! You are living your dreams by the beach- growing flowers, living off the grid in the cottage. I would love to see inside your cottage and what you do in living in the off the grid manner.

  3. junebug says:

    I must go on a search for that book. Spring~spiration is here! We’ve had some wonderful weather and everything is starting to pop! Trees are budded out, daffodils, crocuses, primroses and hyacinth are in full bloom. Even tulips will be early this year. This has been a crazy winter for weather. You are buried in snow and we set a record for the # of days in the sixties for February. The soil is till to cold to start planting but I sure am getting ready! The best to you and your new flower adventure, love, love the logo!!!

  4. Adrienne says:

    In the interest and promotion of sisterhood, let me say that because of our drought and spring weather, we have been enjoying the flowers you’ve been waiting for. I always have a healthy prayer plant and some lovely orchids to appreciate indoors, and when I visit the farmers market, I think of you when I bring home fresh flowers to add to the dining table. Flowers also make everything I cook taste better!

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hello there Adrienne! Oh, you west coasters are getting all the warmth and sunshine we here in the east are yearning for! I agree with you about ” Flowers making everything you cook taste batter “…:)
      Send us some sunshine!!! xo Deb

  5. Mary McDanie says:

    We are so covered up in ice still in Tn and your beautiful pics are remindful that Spring is on the way soon. I can not wait.

    I am an artist and love the paintings.

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Howdy Mary,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the paintings… I love that period as well. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a note! xo Deb

  6. Vivian Monroe says:

    Deb, I LOVE the drawing, I too love vintage flower and seed pkts. I love saving these type pics when I see them in magzines. I just scored a beautiful scrap book full of vintage greeting cards, valentine, easter, birthdays, etc from an estate sale. The lady saved everything. And now I will protect her treasures. :) Can’t wait for the spring as well. I will have to send you the latest pic of my latest project of what I am thinking of selling at our farmers mkt. this year. Watch your email. Be Blessed. Neta

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Howdy Neta! I can’t wait to see what you’re up to now! No doubt it’s farmgirl fabulous! How great you get to protect those lovely vintage treasures for a while.
      Hugs! Deb

  7. kim says:

    Hi Deb – I loved this post, it spoke to all of my soul. Your friend did a lovely job on your logo. I’m anxious to read all about your experience at the farm market with the flowers. Earlier today I was playing on the computer designing a logo for my flower farm stand that is in my dreams for someday soon. I went crazy buying dahlia bulbs for spring planting, if only all this snow would melt so I could go dig in the dirt. Thanks again. Best, Kim

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Kim! I’m with ya sister. I’m ready for digging in the dirt again too! I would love to hear more about your flower farm stand dreams too! Keep me posted! I am a HUGE fan of dahlias!
      xo Deb

  8. Thank you for sharing such beautiful picts and words! I did order a nice new chicken coop for spring! I am receiving some of my old flock back from a friend who has been watching over them while I was away. And, I intend to order a few more, as well as some turkeys in preparation for next November’s thanksgiving feast.
    Take care, sister!
    Diane

  9. susana says:

    I had a lovely response but I lost my page, but just wanted to say your garden is lovely, love stealing ideas fr Mis….Luke the cosmos you have with your sunflowers. I usually plant Cosmos flowers in my bed where my clematis is growing near the mail box as they dont seem to attract bees.

    Love your hollyhocks, they cut so elegant, and are so high. I haven’t seen any of mine grow that high. I haven’t seen
    hollyhocks grow that tall since I was a kid. We had a neighbor
    who lived down the block and she would plant hollyhocks along
    her back fence near the/alley with her roses. I like how your
    hollyhocks look near the building. I’m curious, how do you get
    them to grow so tall or are they wild ones? Lovely!
    Love the painting and he book sounds delightfully interesting. Wish to find it the next time I go to the library. Love reading about gardens. You would love to visit The Jefferson garden down south at Monticello.,,.it was a lovely plantation garden, which they keep going. Got to see tobacco growing in it. They have huge leaves. Wish I could find seeds fir that, but its probably illegal to grow your own. Not that I would smoke it, but I hear the smell keeps critters out of your garden.
    I read a few books over the year of gardens in the story. It takes real talent to write bout plants b a garden, you need go know about plants. I learned about a few herbs from one writer, and it case e to look fir the seeds, I forgot thenanes if all those knots but I trued growing them because if those stories. One being comfrey, and it got me interested in other plants like hibiscus, columbines from Maine, and lupines from Nova Scotia, Canada. I would love to find eidelwiess seeds. Always a joy reading about other peoples garden adventures! Thanks for sharing. Susana

    and Columbine, a few of my favorites.

    I look at seed books and pictures all winter. Magazines give me ideas of what i can put in my plots. I look all all winter to get ideas fir my next garden. I make changes all the time.

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Susana!
      It sounds as if you love your flowers too! As for my Hollyhocks. I believe they grow so tall because they are planted in front of my hen house. The get plenty of sun and are sheltered by the building, but also the girls kick out some of that great naturally composted soil from their chicken run and It gets into that little garden in front of the coop! Everything I plant there goes crazy. Keep the faith! Spring is almost here! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your love of gardens too. xo Deb

  10. Sharon Elaine says:

    I ordered An Island Garden several years ago and refer to it often. We toured Tasha’s home and gardens for our 49th anniversary last year – these ladies are all about inspiration. We moved back to OH after 5 years in TN – how I miss the bulbs blooming in February and March and the long growing season. All farmgirls are anxiously waiting to play in the dirt, grow flowers and food – once again.

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      All farmgirls are anxiously waiting to play in the dirt, grow flowers and food – once again.
      Amen to that sister~
      xo Deb

  11. Hi Deb,

    I read this post several days ago on my phone and then didn’t get back o here to comment. It got me so excited about our flower gardens! You know, I’ve never read that book so it is on my “to read” list now. We did get our seed order placed, finally! And can you believe it – nothing was out of stock.

    Is any of your snow melting yet? Or do you have more?

    Hugs – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Dori,
      I think you will love the book! We are still just buried in snow here. It snowed last night and we are expecting more this week… Next week we are supposed to reach the 40’s so it should begin to melt. All of my gardens and raised beds are under a minimum of 5 feet of snow… more in some places! Glad you got your seed order places and got everything on your list! I cant’ wait to watch your flower season take off as well! Hugs from the snowbound beach farmgirl! 😉 Deb

  12. Brenda Towsley says:

    I love your new logo Deb! Very vintage. Not up to much as far as the garden season yet. I am having a hard time even thinking about it with all the snow that still surrounds us. And the below zero temps….brrr. We built a new fenced in raised garden area last year and am looking forward to working in it again this year. Since we do not have to do all the extra building work we did last year it will be a more relaxed start of the growing season for us this year. Cannot wait to see your bouquets that you sell at the farmers market. I have a favorite vendor at one of our local markets they always have beautiful bouquets or singles which I like so I can add to what I already grow.

    • Deb Bosworth says:

      Hi Brenda! Thank you…I’m very happy with my new logo as well…We got 8 more inches of snow today and it’s still falling! Crazy!!! I can’t wait to get going in the garden, but it’s gonna be a while before all this snow melts that’s for sure! Good luck with your gardening season Brenda.. I know you’ll have enjoy every minute of it. :) xo Deb

  13. Jill says:

    Love, love, LOVE your new business card design!! The colors are perfect!

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