Friday, April 26, 2013

Taos Retreat End and the Beginning of the Long Trip Home

Tomorrow ends our Taos retreat and we begin to wind our way home.  Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana, New York, Vermont and finally Maine lie ahead of us as stops for at least one night.

Taos Gorge Bridge Seen in Multiple

 Taos Gorge with Rio Grande River Below

Fechin Windows in the Sunroom

If you want to read more about our Taos Retreat, see Michael Chesley Johnson's blog:

We are still looking for a few good students for workshops in Acadia National Park in June and Campobello Island and LUbec this summer!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Taos, NM Magpie and Painter's Heaven

We began our trip East one week ago.  We are spending nearly 2 weeks in our favorite state, New Mexico. This week we are hosting a painting retreat in Taos, NM.  It is the perfect time of year here, early Spring.  Yesterday it snowed and there is plenty of snow on Taos Mountain, but today is very warm.  The trees are just beginning to show some Spring green.  It is the only place I have ever seen magpies which I hear are very aggressive birds.

     The Magpie

The John Dunn Bridge

 The Old Church in Arroyo Seco from 1834

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Seasonal greetings from an Arizona garden

The lilac is blooming, the daffodils and tulips are past, the irises are especially nice right now and my neighborhood has yellow, purple, and white varieties blooming now, the weeds are growing, and people are starting to mow.  One thing that surprises me is that many of the plants that do well in my Canadian garden also do well in my Arizona garden with no added water, but Spring here is approximately 60 days earlier.  This means I get to experience Spring for a long time since my lilac here will fade by April 15th, but now begin to bloom until at least May 15th there...

Bamboo in my garden
Surprisingly this grows well in AZ even without added water.  I was afraid it would become invasive, but it seems to not expand without added water, but is a pretty spring green year round.

Iris in my garden
I planted many bulbs of irises last Fall, but did not have great luck with getting lots of flowers probably due to the gophers, but this is one that did  bloom in it's first year!

Gopher Plant or "Gopher kill"
There are many varieties of euphorbia.  Gopher purge (Euphorbia lathyrus), also known as gopher spurge or mole plant, does not necessarily repel gophers, but the latex found in its roots, leaves and flowers is poisonous. Once the animal gnaws on the plant, it will become sick or die. When gopher purge is planted in the gopher’s main tunnel, it will protect other plants from the gopher’s teeth.  Living down by Oak Creek, we have an abundance of gophers!  That is probably why most of my bulbs end up becoming gopher food!

Mulberry catkins
These are pretty, but messy as they drop off the tree before the leaves come out.and we have two large trees in front of our house.  This year we probably will be leaving before they completely drop.

Lavender among the red rocks

This is another plant that seems to like both my Arizona and Canadian  garden, but thrives more in my Canadian garden. I have several lavender shrubs now in Canada.  The snows protect it during the winter.

We will be in New Mexico for most of the rest of the month which is probably my favorite state overall.  We lived in NM for over 5 years of the past 15 and we are planning to move back when we find the right situation.  We want to live on a large parcel of land with some other like minded quiet artistic types.  For us, the "quiet" part of community is most important.  Minimal engine noises, minimal dog noise, dark night skies, affordable housing, and respectful neighbors are what we are looking for.  Anyone know of such a place????