Herbaria (May 15, 2013): One Year Later

Herbaria May15 2013

Before I talk about the project I wanted to mention the awkward image sizes that are appearing on the site. We are in the process of a redesign and will be using larger photos in the future. I plan to post at a larger size from here on out, but it will be a bit awkward until the new site design is functioning.

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.

Please note that I have also made a page for the Herbaria where you can find out more and see all of the weeks that I have posted to this website so far.

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.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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14 thoughts on “Herbaria (May 15, 2013): One Year Later

  1. I always enjoy these – they are very inspiring. Is there a way to read the description and see the boxes at the same time? I go up and down as I read each line. Maybe I should try viewing the post in full screen? These are my favourite posts Gayla. Thank you

  2. If Herbaria were a book, I would buy the hell out of it, for me and as a holiday/wedding/housewarming gift for so many of my near-and-dears. Just puttin’ that put there.

  3. Count me in as another huge fan of your herbaria. I’ve thought about trying to do something similar myself, just for my own enjoyment. These photos would make lovely postcards or greeting cards, too bad no one writes anymore. Hey, how about a calendar? I would Definitely want one of those.
    I wondered about subscribing to blogs? I generally just check in myself every few days, I don’t subscribe. Do you get any kind of help by having more subscribers? If so I’d be happy to subscribe.

    • You should! It is a nice document of the garden through the seasons that you can look back on… There are other ways to go about it… even just clipping a few things and taking a group shot…

      RE: Subscribing to blogs: It helps in terms of attracting sponsors. Being able to say you have not just so much traffic but a committed, regular readership.

  4. Herbaria is just screaming–make me a book! Make me a book! A perfect coffee table oversized book with all the lovely photographs.
    I say keep going with it as you are definately on to something here.

  5. I love the Herbaria! The photos are like little art pieces. Have you considered offering these images in your online shop?
    Currently, I engage in container gardening only, but it is an interesting adventure and I am enjoying my first salads of the year here in BC. I look forward to your newsletter posts and eagerly read through them every time they show up. Thanks so much for sharing your love of gardening.

  6. What beautiful photographs you have on your site, herbaria is inspired. I am also planting in less than ideal spaces is what I am trying to do, and find that most of the plants I pick because I like them don’t want to grow where I put them. So currently I am mostly fighting insects. Congratulations on a lovely site Polianthus

  7. I love your herbaria very much but I think this one is my favourite. It captures a poignant phase of the garden we don’t usually celebrate – when the flowers are done. Still there is great beauty there.

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