And so we start our second year of WFNC. April is my favourite month and spring is a good time for new beginnings.
The team consists of Dominique Nancy of 3C Style in Canada, Lisa Lawrence of Lismore Paper in the USA, and myself in the UK. We work closely each month to bring you three intertwined posts with a common theme. We are all three very creative people who met via our WP blogs. We have a shared ethos and a close friendship. Our motto – ‘An ocean apart but we share the same heart’ describes us perfectly. The five hour time difference means I spend my morning commute catching up with their conversations during the night, and waiting for them to wake up so I can join in!
Make sure you visit Dominique and Lisa via the links above, to see the whole of the post.
The collages in this post were created by Dominique
Protea cynaroides – King Sugar Bush
Protea is a genus restricted to Southern Africa. The family is a classic component of the ‘Fynbos’ habitat and is fascinating for its various adaptations to pollination, fire and seasonal drought. P. cynaroides, The King Protea has the largest flowers – dinner plate sized – and is pollinated by large scarab-like beetles which are really cool in themselves – see here. The species is widespread in South Africa and has forms which flower at various times of the year. I have grown it but it has to be grown in pots here and protected in winter. The photos were taken near Cape Town 20 years ago.
Above collage, coral art, Land Sea Earth image by Lisa. Model, concept, styling by Dominique, Flower photo, Darren.
The brief from Dominique was to find a ‘peach’ coloured flower. It was not easy! we eventually settled on this Narcissus. It is the fairly common cultivar ‘Pink Charm’ growing in a pot on my patio! Nothing unusual about it but it is rather lovely. The colour does vary with the light and with the age of the flower
Calanthe and Leafcutter Ant
Calanthe is a genus of over 200 terrestrial orchids from most tropical parts of the world. The genus includes mostly tropical species but there are a few from Japan, the Himalaya and China which are totally hardy through our winters. In Japan there are countless hybrids and even a dedicated society of enthusiasts. I first grew them in the mid 1990s when some bulb nurseries started offering them. To be honest the plants were weak and virused and poor growers. More recently fresh material has become available, including a range of vigorous hybrids grown from seed or micropropagated in Europe. These are much more vigorous, healthy and cheap. This particular plant has only been in my care for two weeks but if memory serves they like a spot free from strong winds, are quite appealing to slugs and snails and like more nutrients than most orchids.
There are several species of Leaf cutter ants. They cut pieces from leaves and flowers and carry them in a procession back to their nests where they eat the fungus that grows on the decaying leaves. This photo was taken in the mini-beasts area at a local zoo. The process seems to be directed by the little bossy one being carried by the others. For some reason it makes me think of the day job.
Ants pop up in new designs created for our Threadless shop by Lisa, from one of Dominique’s notions.. More about these next time and/or over on Lisa’s blog!
Concept by Dominique. Pop of Coral art by Lisa. Courgette flower drawing by Darren.
I have shown in-progress pictures of this previously as it was sketched from life during my trip to Montreal in September, with the colour added later at home. Dominique laid them out on a plate and is responsible for the composition. There are very fond memories associated with this drawing. And now it has been used in one of the team designs this month.
I confess I grow this largely for the fact it possesses the longest Latin binomial name in the plant kingdom – which I spelled out here from memory by the way, geeky bugger that I am. Though cute and fitting in my collection as a South African bulb, the flowers are not over spectacular as you can see from the Youtube video (which seems to be upside down – or maybe right way up in the Southern hemisphere 😉 )
It is so far proving not too easy to grow, but I have not yet killed it!
Happiful Magazine and welcome to new readers
I was delighted to find out that my story has been chosen as one of those featured in the upcoming Creativity Special issue of Happiful magazine!
If you are visiting because of this article, then a warm welcome to you! Whilst the topic of mental health can be a difficult one, I hope you will find humour here. And hope too. This blog has been crucial to my own growth over the last two years, and the friends I have made as a result are a source of great joy.
I have updated my bio with more information. This particular post is part of a collaborative series that sprung from friendship with other bloggers.
Especially visit the people whose blogs I link to here, and those of anyone who comments on my posts – they are all friends and mostly harmless 😉
If you like my botanical or other art work then thank you! It has two branches :
- Some of my work features in designs created with my partners-in-crime linked in this post. These are very much team efforts (a lot of fun) and, as ‘Fashioned by Nature’, we have a team shop on Threadless.
- My more traditional botanical art will be made available, mostly as signed prints, via a shop on NuMonday, but for now you can order direct from me, see details here. Three of my originals will be exhibited (and available for sale) at the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition ‘Plantae‘ from June 5th in London.
And finally, a preview of a special edition of WFNC for Earth Day on April 22d
You may have had glimpses of these hugging/dancing chillies before on IG. These have been applied to designs for Threadless and are already available there. But there is much more to come next week- we have been very busy!