The Obsession/Inspiration of Spring

This week, I’m continuing with the coat decoration and have become obsessed with SEEING! Our early spring is feeding my obsession. My walks are spent with nose to the ground—seeking new growth and possible inspiration to add to the coat.

Just look at all the little details in this small snippet of the soil's surface!

But one of the dangers of playing around with plant identification at this time of year is doing it too early in the growth cycle. Last week, I posted a photo of what I thought was a Wood Anemone. When it emerged more fully, showing its leaves, I realized it was a Sharp-Lobed Hepatica. Oops!

Sharp-lobed Hepatica.

Knowing we have Anemones in the yard, I went out to find them. Instead of a Wood Anemone, I found Rue Anemone. (The leaves help to distinguish between the two types.)

Rue Anemone

The Scilla is in its full glory now.


And the Blood Root has arrived! Oh, how I LOVE the Blood Root and its regal leaf mantle. The leaf curls up tightly around the flower at night and on cloudy days, and opens when the warm sun hits it. Such a delightfully intelligent plant!

Stan Tekiela's Guide (see below) says that the red-orange juice found in the stem and root has been used as an insect repellent and a dye. No wonder I love this plant. Those are two of my favorite things!

This Week: A Challenge for the Optical Phytomaniac (someone obsessed with visually collecting plants)…

What is this plant?

Trillium or Jack-in-the-Pulpit?

And just for fun – a few other plant obsessions…

Anthomania and Florimania – obsession/passion for flowers

Orchidomania – obsession for orchids

Pteridomania – obsession for ferns

Tulipomania – obsession for tulips (I think this one is particularly strange. Why not Lilacomania? But Tulipomania has a strange and fascinating history within the field of economics, explaining why tulips are singled out.)

“Earthly Coatomania” – this one I have!

Steady Inspiration

Even though our early spring has started providing living inspiration for the coat decoration, it’s still too early for most of the bloomin’ inspiration. So I’ve sought out photographic gardening books to use for reference. In the end, I was surprised to find very few gardening books showing the sharp detail that I needed for the coat imagery. After stripping the library bare, I found a handful of strong partners to help me with the imagery. You may want to add a few of these to your gardening library.

Books to Inspire – Minnesota-focused

Wildflowers of Minnesota – Field Guide by Stan Tekiela – This is my backyard bible since our property is wild and we never know what’s coming up from one year to the next. It’s got most of the facts anyone could be seeking for native (wild Minnesota) plant identification.

Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota by Lynn M. Steiner – Lynn describes and shows more than flowering plants. This book is a “must” for people who seek to grow any type of native Minnesota plant. For me, it’s been a great guide for identifying native grasses to incorporate in the coat imagery.

Minnesota Gardener’s Guide by Melinda Myers – This book’s crisp photographic close-ups of plants have served as my key imagery guide for the coat. Melinda also shows non-native annual plants that are suitable for the Minnesota garden. She even gets into vines and trees. I’d say that most of the plants found at the Arboretum are represented in this book.

Books not focused on the Minnesota region but still inspirational…

Easy Mix and Match Garden Color Guide to Annuals and Perennials by Graham Strong and Alan Toogood – This book reminds me of a pop-up book. It’s spiral bound and in the back of the book there are mini flip pages of colorful flowers shown separately by type, allowing the pages to flip and match 4-up in a column. This clever page design helps in garden design—and coat decorative design—and lets the gardener mix and match plants to suit their taste.

Taylor’s Guides: Growing North America’s Favorite Plants by Barbara W. Ellis – This book has good close-up photos of flowering plants and a few grasses.

Garden Plants & Flowers Through the Year by Ian Spence – Crisp photos. Has a very nice fern section.

Garden Plants and Flowers: An A-Z Guide to the Best Plants for Your Garden by Ian Spence – Large, sharp photos. The shrub section is especially thorough.

Plant Partners: Creative Plant Combinations – by Anna Pavord – I’ve been primarily juggling between this and the Minnesota Gardener’s Guide while creating the coat decoration. The photos in Plant Partners are huge and show great detail.

The spirit of spring and new growth is all around us right now. I challenge you to get your nose to the ground and find it for yourself!

I’m ending my post this week with an image of new growth…

Growth tips on Arborvitae.

The light green tips of this Arborvitae show where the new growth for this year has occurred. And soon, this new growth will become the color of the rest of the shrub—adding to its expanse and becoming the support for next year’s new growth.

In this season of growth, leading to new possibilities, I wish you a wide swath of bright green at your tips!

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About wendyj-sagahill

I am a textile artist, designer, and author.
This entry was posted in Earthly Coat and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Obsession/Inspiration of Spring

  1. Barbara Ruuska says:

    I definitely have orchidomania. If you’ve ever seen my wedding pictures you’d be amazed at how many orchids I could carry. They were long and flowing. Why I don’t have Irises growing in my yard is a bit of mystery. Oh yeah, the rabbits would probably eat them. I love the wild flowers in your yard. I want to walk around your yard the next time I’m over.


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