Tomorrow marks exactly one year since I started the Herbaria. I knew the anniversary was approaching, but did not realize the date until I set up to take this week’s photo. There it is: one year complete. I wish this were coming at a batter time. Instead of feeling accomplished, I’m feeling frustrated, uncertain, and a bit sorry for myself.
Still, to commemorate the occasion, I decided to make this collection a theme that coincides perfectly with the current phase in my garden: the finished blooms of spring ephemerals.
Since starting this project, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with it beyond the site. In fact, since the start, the weekly documentation has gone beyond just the collections themselves as I have always been determined to make it more than a mere art or vanity project, but something with educational merit, too. As you know, I stopped posting weekly sometime last fall when I realized that the work involved in preparing each week’s post was far too time-consuming to continue without some sort of financial support. However, I did vow to continue taking the photos, and while there were many times throughout the winter that I wanted to give up, the stubborn part of me continued on, determined to follow through to a year. If there is one thing I do well, it is stubborn.
And now here I am. I don’t know what comes next, but I have decided to carry on taking the photos (and writing offline) into a second year. On a personal level this project has served as another way for me to see my garden. I enjoy artfully and carefully assembling each box. For now I am allowing that to be my motivation and my reason for continuing until such a time that I can figure out a way to make it financially feasible to take the project further, beyond countless hours of unpaid labour and a whole lot of photos (and text) sitting dormant on my hard drive.
From Left to Right:
Top Row: 1. Narcissus ‘Avalon’ ‘Avalon’ is a lovely duo-toned flower that looks like this one, but as it turns out, isn’t. So of course I had to get the real thing. And now in their third year I am so glad that I did. 2. Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) ‘Red Bells’ Planted in my garden in 2011 and now in its third spring producing an exceptional number of blooms. 3. Muscari latifolium A favourite muscari that I was sure to plant the fall that we moved here.
Middle Row: 4. Cream tulip. Unknown variety. 5. Orange tulip. Unknown variety. 6. Narcissus ‘Thalia’ This is a small, white-flowered daffodil that I absolutely love. It is also another of the flowering bulbs that I planted that first fall when we still didn’t even have a garden. I just had to have spring flowers! I have since had to dig up and move several bulbs once proper beds were formed. However, everything I moved came back without fail.
Bottom Row: 7. Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) 8. Primula farinosa This is a tiny, delicate-looking thing, one of several primulas of various sorts that I added to the garden this spring in a flight of fancy. I acquired this one when I asked my friend Barry to pick me up a few surprise selections at a plant sale. His choices did not disappoint. I only hope I have placed it well and will see it come back with more flowers next spring. 9. Tulipa Praestans ‘Shogun’ Another from that first year here and probably still my favourite bloom. That orange is amazing!
Herbaria Project: A Year (+) in the Life of an Urban Garden
What is this? An herbarium is a collection of plant specimens. Herbaria is the plural form. A collection of collections. You can find out more about this project by visiting the Herbaria information page.