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Friday, June 24, 2011

Gorgeous Gardens at Ironstone Vineyards



A summer trip through California's Gold Rush Country brought us to lovely Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys where we enjoyed a day wandering the lush landscaping and exploring the many varieties of flowers surrounding the winery.  Ironstone Vineyards is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains and boasts a series of enticing wines as well as some of the most refined gardens in the region.  There are many acres of vineyards and extensive gardens featuring a multitude of flowers and trees.  The grounds and gardens are the site for public and private events such as weddings, concerts, picnics and the famous Concours d'Elegance classic car show in the fall.  

Most well known for its profusion of daffodils in early spring when over 300,000 of the flowers bloom for the annual daffodil festival, Ironstone also features many more exquisite flowers that continue to blossom into early summer.  When we visited in late May, wine barrels filled with irises, alliums and other dramatic flowers were found near the entrance to the wine-tasting room.  We discovered other botanical treasures while walking through the gardens such as extended pergolas covered with wisteria.  These long walkways formed an elegant showcase for the draping wisteria blossoms.


As we progressed through the shade gardens, azaleas and rhododendrons surrounded us near the winding paths.  These colorful evergreens bloom in abundance during the spring and provide refreshing bursts of color in filtered light.


Near a brook that traverses the garden calla lilies grow by the water in the shade of surrounding trees.  Japanese maples with their lacy foliage provide a softening effect in the garden.


Large stones edge the water and flowers such as the viburnum pictured below accent dense greenery. 


For more information on Ironstone Vineyards and Winery, including directions and upcoming events, please visit the official website at  http://www.ironstonevineyards.com/.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bougainvillea


Bougainvillea is one of the most dramatic flowering plants of summer.  It is exotic (but still familiar) and bursts into beautiful bloom in many places around June or July, but is common year-round in tropical regions where the weather is warm and moist.  In Kauai, bougainvillea was often covering walls and winding down pathways as we explored the island.  I hold great memories of the lush and gorgeous foliage with powerful pops of color draping over rocks .  This mixed media painting reflects those memories with abstract patterning and  rich textural papers.  Some of the bougainvillea blossoms are studded with freshwater pearls to capture the island essence of this piece.
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