Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hairy Spiderwort - A 2011 GWA Treasure!

Back in the late summer of 2011, I attended the Garden Writers Association Annual Symposium, held in Indianapolis that year. As with all GWA symposiums, plants and design are front and center for most of the tours and this was no exception.

The original 1970 Robert Indiana "LOVE" sculpture stands in front of
the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

One of my favorite places was the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We had our breakfast there and then toured the gardens on the grounds. There wasn't nearly enough time for me to properly see everything that was there and I vowed to make a return trip soon. Regretfully, I've not yet done that.

The variety of plants and design at the White River Gardens was inspirational.

Same thing with the White River Gardens at the Indianapolis Zoo, which was an optional tour the day after the symposium officially ended. The grounds there were nothing short of amazing and as I've said before, some of the most attractive and interestingly designed gardens I'd ever seen for a space such as theirs. I also saw paw paw fruits on a tree for the first time and a staff member gave one to me to take home for tasting.

Whenever you get gardeners together like that, you know there will be plants going home with you. I don't remember each plant that Mom and I packed into the van as we headed home, but I do remember one, because it would require special care and I still have it.

Tradescantia sillamontana - August, 2011

While at the White River Gardens, we ate lunch and had plants for dessert. No, that's not quite right, but as we left the room where we ate, we each picked up a small Tradescantia sillamontana, commonly known as hairy spiderwort.

If you're familiar with spiderworts at all, you know that some of them are hardy to Zone 5 and some are not. I've got a couple hardy ones in my own garden...

Golden Spiderwort
Tradescantia x andersoniana 'Sweet Kate'

Dwarf Virginia Spiderwort
Tradescantia x andersoniana 'Bilberry Ice'

The one we received that day was not hardy, and some people passed on it because of that. Never one to pass on a plant with a coolness factor, I picked up my little hairy spiderwort and carried it home.

Tradescantia sillamontana is only hardy to Zone 10 (think southern Florida or Mexico, where it originates) so it's definitely a houseplant for me. In the time that I've gotten it, it has gotten quite a bit larger, partly because I've trimmed the ends and rooted them back in the pot, which is super easy to do.

Almost a succulent and xerophytic, hairy spiderwort needs the same growing conditions as plants that truly are both of these things. Well-draining soil, minimal watering (especially in winter), and a brightly lit location will keep it happy. I can't say that I haven't abused this plant, because I have. I very nearly had to dispose of it a couple of winters ago, because it got overwatered, but I cut back on the watering and it bounced right back.

Hairy spiderwort
(Tradescantia sillamontana)

This summer, for the first time since I got it, I put it outside. It was in a location that got very little direct sun (only a couple of hours in the morning) and it was rather protected from the west so there was little wind and only when we got heavy driving rains (or rains from the east) did it get much water. Because of the brighter light, its foliage color changed to a bit of a burgundy color which is quite attractive.

I love the "stacked" habit of the leaves and the burgundy color that it
takes on in the presence of brighter summer light.

Though our summer was cooler than normal, the plant thrived. It's been just beautiful all summer. Now that frost is coming soon, it's back in the conservatory for the winter. It will slow down its blooming and stop for most of the winter, but next spring it will start up again and be its beautiful hairy pinky-lavender self.

Though the foliage doesn't resemble my hardy spiderworts, its flower is a
dead giveaway to its genus, Tradescantia.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Grafted Tomato Experiment + A $50 Giveaway!

Earlier this year, Jung Seed Company contacted me about growing one of their grafted tomatoes. I'd first heard about grafted tomatoes just prior to and during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Seattle in 2011. I was somewhat fascinated with the science behind them, but since we are a family of two - only one of which likes raw tomatoes - I didn't give them much thought. We usually only grow two or three plants and two of them are cherry types.

Young 'Indigo Rose' fruits.
But this one that Jung wanted me to grow was different. First of all, it was GORGEOUS and I love growing beautiful edibles and beautiful plants for the sheer joy of looking at them. It went by the name of 'Indigo Rose' and not only was it a beautiful tomato, its reputation preceded it and I wanted it in my garden.

What's so special about 'Indigo Rose'?

Besides being dark purple, almost to the point of being black, 'Indigo Rose' is loaded with all the vitamins that any tomato is, PLUS it's very high in anthocyanins. These are what give it its purple color and anthycyanins are a type of antioxidant thought to fight disease in humans. 'Indigo Rose' has been called the healthiest tomato in the world because of this.

You have to eat the skins to gain the benefits of 'Indigo Rose' that makes them so good for you. The tomatoes were bred at Oregon State University and first introduced to the public in 2012. Breeding first began in the 1960s however, when cultivated tomatoes were crossed with wild tomatoes from Chile and Ecuador's Galapagos Islands.

Some of these wild tomatoes had anthocyanins in their fruit, but cultivated tomatoes had them only in their stems and leaves, which are inedible. The result of many crosses eventually yielded 'Indigo Rose', a 2-inch variety. Sold as both a grafted and seed-grown tomato, its beauty and health benefits are poised to make it a popular selection by home gardeners.

Here's the plan...

I had no intentions of eating this tomato - my husband would take care of that - but I wanted to do an experiment. I'd seen seed grown 'Indigo Rose' at our local Meijer store, and I thought it would be fun to grow the grafted and seed grown varieties of the same tomato side-by-side and do a comparison. Both the grafted tomato and the seed grown plants were nearly identical in size when I planted them.

Grafted version of 'Indigo Rose' on September 11, 2014

Why grafted?

Grafted tomatoes are supposed to have these advantages:

  • better disease resistance
  • increased vigor
  • higher yields

I wanted to see if this would prove to be true in my own garden.

My tomato experiment

I grew both the grafted and the seed-grown 'Indigo Rose' plants in the same location and treated them both exactly the same.  I didn't feed them and only twice did they receive any supplemental watering during the summer. We've had plenty of rain this summer and they didn't really need much extra watering. I pretty much planted them and then let them do whatever they wanted to do without any intervention.

Along with an abundance of rain, we had a cooler than usual summer, and we know that tomatoes prefer warmth. I think that's why these didn't start blooming and producing until later in the summer, but once they started, both of them really went to town. Both plants behaved nearly identical with neither one pulling ahead of the other, until late in the season.

'Indigo Rose' tomatoes are dark purple on the outside, but are
traditional red on the inside.

How do you know when they're ripe?

I began picking ripe fruits a little over a month ago. Deciding when they were ripe was sort of tricky until I knew what to look for. Since they're mostly purple, you really can't go by the color, although the shaded part of them - the bottoms - don't turn purple (because they're shaded from direct sun) so you can check that for the typical tomato red color. The purple parts also start out really shiny, but when they're ripe, the luster dulls. They also soften up a bit and a ripe fruit will come off the stem easily with a slight twist.

The results

Like I said, I couldn't tell much difference between the two plants in the early days of fruit production. But as time went on, the grafted tomato started pulling away from the seed grown one. Both continued to produce (and are still producing), but the number of fruits has differed. The grafted plant has been bearing more tomatoes in the last few weeks than the seed grown.

The grafted plant also looks healthier, with thicker foliage. Both plants were afflicted by late blight a bit, but not to the point of causing any real detriment to the plants. I had no issues with blossom end rot at all, and almost no splitting until just recently.


You can't trust my taste buds to judge a good tomato from a bad one, because I don't like fresh tomatoes. I can't help it - there's a scientific reason for this. But my husband loves them, so it was up to him to let me know how these tasted.

While 'Sungold' is his absolute favorite (even after growing 'Sun Sugar' this year, which is supposed to be an even sweeter variety), he did say he liked 'Indigo Rose'. He thought it tasted like a traditional heirloom tomato, although the flavor wasn't quite as intense. Some of the fruits had an abundance of seeds and some strangely didn't have any, but the seeds were very tiny, so they weren't objectionable.

FINAL VERDICT:  The grafted tomato performed better when it came to length of productivity and number of fruits on the plant. I'll grow it again, for both its beauty and its healthy fruit.


Want to grow a grafted 'Indigo Rose' of your own? Jung Seed Company has graciously provided a $50 gift certificate for me to give away that you can use to buy it! They've got much more than grafted tomatoes though, so you could use this gift certificate for any number of gardening goodies. They're shipping lots of items for fall planting right now.

To enter to win the $50 GC, just leave a comment here, telling me your favorite variety of tomato and why you like it so well. Then enter your information in the Rafflecopter form so that I'll be able to contact you should your entry be chosen as the winner. Do this by midnight EDT, Friday, October 3, 2014, and a winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, which I will announce on Saturday, October 4th. Best of luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WINNER! Rafflecopter has chosen Emily Smith as the winner of the $50 gift card to Jung Seed Company. Congratulations, Emily! Thank you to everyone for participating in the giveaway. Stay tuned, because there will be another $50 gift certificate to another nursery soon!

I was provided with a free grafted tomato plant from Jung Seed Company, as well as the $50 Gift Card for giveaway. I purchased the seed grown tomato plant myself for the purposes of this comparison test.

'Indigo Rose' Information Source: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/purple-tomato-debuts-indigo-rose

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Monarch Ecloses (feat. video)

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
Rabindranath Tagore

A little over two weeks ago, I was walking through the garden and happened to notice that a large-sized monarch caterpillar was munching on the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). I decided to take it inside our house so we could watch it become an adult butterfly. 

We've done this several times before, but it had been a few years. If you're one of those people who thinks it's wrong to interfere with Mother Nature this way, consider this: fewer than 5% of monarchs ever survive from egg to adulthood. Predators abound at every step of the way and in most cases, bringing them in at any stage and giving them proper care increases their chance of survival. (Emphasis on "proper care.")
A couple of days after I brought the caterpillar in, it went into the "J" formation...

...and later in the day, shed its skin for the fifth and final time, becoming an emerald green chrysalis.

Day 12:  You can begin to see the monarch's wings through the chrysalis.

A monarch caterpillar can take anywhere from 9-14 days, on average, to metamorphose into an adult butterfly and eclose (emerge from its chrysalis). Though I've seen the process in person several times, it never fails to thrill me to watch it again and again. And this time, I was hoping to video the eclosure.

On Day 15, I knew that "birth" was imminent, because the chrysalis had become completely clear and I could see signs of the butterfly pulling away from the inner walls. And then I noticed a vertical crack...

The video has some blurry parts, but overall I'm happy to have been able to capture the first moments in this monarch's life as a butterfly.

Most monarchs eclose by noon, which gives them enough time for the wings to harden and for them to figure out whether they want to fly around or spend a cool night roosting in a shrub or tree. Since ours didn't eclose until 1:15, and it was to get down to 43° last night, we decided to keep Miss Monica in the upstairs bathroom until today.

It's a beautiful, calm, sunny 70° day here in northwest Ohio - much better for a fresh, young butterfly to take its first flight. Though there's enough time for her to mate and produce offspring that would migrate to Mexico - it takes 30 days from egg to adult - I think it's more likely that she will make the 2200-mile trip herself. 

Be well, Monica.  Safe travels.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monarch Metamorphosis and Migration Miracles

While this is going on in my kitchen...

...this happened just three miles away.

We're smack in the middle of peak monarch migration through our area here in northwest Ohio. Several hundred of them stopped to rest and stay warm through the night at the home of Steve and Deb Plummer, near Latty, on Monday.

Normally, during the day, migrating monarchs are in the air en route to their wintering grounds in central Mexico and will travel 25-30 miles per day. But flight isn't particularly efficient or even possible when the temperatures are below a certain level. (Generally, 50°F.) Monday struggled to reach 58° here and coupled with the rain, these smart flyers decided to stay put.


Deb had contacted our local newspaper, the Paulding Progress, for which I write a weekly gardening column, to let them know about the visitors. My editor then contacted me to see if I could go snap a photo or two for this week's paper. I ran out the door.

We have seen overnight roosts here three times before (2003, 2007, and 2011), with two of those times being right here in our backyard at Our Little Acre. But we've never seen so many.  We're going to venture a guess at possibly as many as 500 monarchs were traveling in this caravan.

They're mostly silent, even with several testing the prospect of moving on. Once in awhile, we could hear the gently flutter of their wings. Romie remarked that seeing them draped on the trees like this reminded him of photos we've seen of them as they are in winter diapause in the oyamel fir forests of central Mexico.

It's a dream that I will likely never realize, to visit the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve near Angangueo, Mexico, during winter, to see them in all their miraculous glory. But you never know.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Daylily Proliferations

Hemerocallis 'Sarah Christine'
I have never really thought of myself as being a daylily fan (no pun intended!), but I've been rethinking this in the last few years.  Every time I see a beautiful one, I want it. In spite of the foliage of some of them getting rather ratty looking late in the season, I still want it. I've made a compromise with those by cutting the foliage back to about 8-10 inches and pulling off the brown and yellowed leaves.

As a result of my non-love of daylilies, I have no less than 44 different ones (possibly a couple more that I missed when I just went out to count) and I have a wish list of some that I'll buy if I ever run across them.

One of my favorites is a very large lemon yellow one, called 'Sarah Christine'. The American Hemerocallis Society's Online Daylily Database says this about it...

 'Sarah Christine' 
Introduced by Millikan-Soules in 1993

Scape height: 28 inches
Bloom size: 6 inches
Bloom season: Early-Midseason
Ploidy:  Diploid
Foliage type: Evergreen
Fragrance: Fragrant
Bloom habit: Diurnal
Color: Pale yellow and ivory to pink bicolor with cream throat
Parentage: (Siloam Mama × Groovy Green)

I would challenge the bloom size as stated in the database.  Mine have gotten larger than that on a regular basis. Regardless, it's one of the larger blooming daylilies out there. Its color doesn't really command attention because there are a gazillion yellow daylilies (at least), but its size certainly does, and that makes it worth having.

This week as I was walking through the garden doing a bit of late summer clean-up, I noticed 'Sarah Christine' was doing something her friends and cousins hadn't. She had proliferations! I've had a daylily do this before, but I didn't do anything with them and merely cut off the scape and composted it.

What are proliferations?

Sometimes a daylily will start to form little plantlets at nodes on the stem of a flower scape. These will often form roots while still attached to the plant. If the stem of the scape is cut on both sides of the plantlet - the proliferation - and put into potting soil, a new plant can be grown. It will be a clone of the mother plant - in other words, identical to it.

'Sarah Christine' has several proliferations on this flower scape. The middle
one is actually two, which I will pot up together.

The reason I don't get too many of these is because I'm pretty obsessive about cutting scapes off once they're finished blooming.  I missed this one.

There are four proliferations on this scape.

I cut it off at its base and then cut each proliferation and put them in water so they can form some roots before I pot them up. I'll keep the potted plants in the greenhouse this winter and then plant them out near the mother plant in the spring.

'Sarah Christine' had babies!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Self-Seeded Surprise

Since the majority of the garden where we have the most space to grow edibles has become mostly shady, we needed to find somewhere else to grow things like corn and squash. Our neighbor to the south has a large yard with no trees at all and a few years ago, he graciously allowed us to dig up a rectangular area at the back of his property for us to garden.

Last year, we grew corn over most of it, including beautiful 'Glass Gem', a flint/popcorn variety that took the internet by storm the year before. Though we saved plenty of seed from last year for growing it this year, we didn't plant any.

We did plant three different kinds of sweet corn and we got a decent crop for eating, but that season was over several weeks ago. Last weekend, Romie mentioned that there were several stalks in one corner of the plot that remained green while the rest were drying and straw-colored. He suggested that perhaps these were volunteers from last year's 'Glass Gem', since that matured later than our sweet corn varieties.

Curious, we walked over there and I peeled the husks back on one of the ears and how about that? 

Either these were seeds that we'd planted last year and they hadn't germinated until this spring (not too likely) or there was an ear that got left on the ground last year long enough that it dried sufficiently to have some kernels pop off the ear onto the ground. That doesn't seem too likely either, since we saved all available seed at the end of the season and I don't think we missed harvesting any ears.

However it happened, we're going to have eight or so ears of 'Glass Gem' this year! What a happy surprise. :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yes, Virginia. There IS a Hardy Agapanthus!

Tropical Agapanthus on a balcony in Quito, Ecuador
Every time I visit a warmer climate than mine, I'm enamored with the Agapanthus. Most recently, I saw plenty of it in Ecuador.  These plants are staples in places like California and Florida, but here in Zone 5, they aren't commonly seen to be growing, because they aren't hardy.

Wait.  That's not true.

Back in 2008, I visited the Toledo Botanical Garden and they were having a late season sale on some plants. One of them was a hardy Agapanthus. Hardy?  To Zone 5? I questioned the manager, and he showed me in the book where the hardiness was listed.  Indeed, Zone 5. I decided to take a chance and bought two.

It's now 2014, six years later, and we experienced the worst winter we've had in many, many years last winter. How's the Agapanthus?

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder' in August 2012, after surviving four winters at
Our Little Acre in Zone 5b

It has been giving us beautiful deep blue blooms for many years and though I had my doubts for this year because of The Winter From Hell, the plant is still very much alive. However, we only had one bloom stalk this year. Unless we have another tough winter this year, I expect it to be back in fine form next summer with its usual bunch of blooms.

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder' - August 2012

There's also a hardy white available, but I don't know much about that one. Joseph Tychonievich, who lives in central Michigan grew it for years, but he reports that it did not survive last winter, unfortunately.

So what is this hardy Agapanthus and where can you get it?

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder' blooms in August 2013
(foliage not shown)

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder'

Common Name: Lily of the Nile
Zone: 5-10
Height: 24-30 inches (bloom stalks), foliage tops out at about 12-15 inches
 Full Sun

Possibly available here:

Easy to Grow Bulbs (currently out of stock)
Nature Hills Nursery (currently out of stock)
Greenfield Plant Farm

Monday, September 8, 2014

Projects X 2: The Berry Barn & The Weeping Circle

It seems as if life around here is operating on a delay much of the time. Too busy? We're getting older? Maybe a little of both, but it feels good to have two of our planned projects completed now. One, The Berry Barn, should have been done last fall and The Weeping Circle was something I've wanted to do for a couple of years now. Neither really took all that long, but you know how that goes.

Thornless blackberries beginning to ripen earlier this season.
We've got six thornless blackberry plants, or at least that's what we started out with a few years ago - three each of 'Chester' and 'Triple Crown'. They've done well and we've gotten some great tasting berries from them, but the birds like them as much as we do. We've netted them in the past, but nets are a pain.

There are also three Raspberry Shortcake thornless raspberry plants I received as test plants from Fall Creek Farm & Nursery a few years ago in close proximity to the blackberries. We've never gotten any berries on those, but it could be because just when they were getting big enough to possibly give us some, the rabbits decided they would do us the favor of chewing them off at the ground. We forgot to cage them last winter. Our bad.

Last year's 'Jelly Bean' blueberries

For the past couple of years, we've grown blueberries in containers, mostly because we've got alkaline soil here and blueberries like it acidic. It's easier to control the pH when you grow things in containers.  We've got some great compact varieties, also test plants from Fall Creek Farm & Nursery ('Jelly Bean' and 'Peach Sorbet'), as well as 'Pink Lemonade'. But I wanted to try them in the ground, amend the soil around them, and see how they did.

2012 Blueberries

So how did they do?  Ask the rabbits.  By the end of last summer, I really thought they were large enough to withstand a little rabbit pressure, but nooooooo... The rabbits sheared them all off right at the ground too. It was a rough winter for everyone. But guess what? None of them died, even though I was certain they were goners. We didn't get any blueberries this year, but they did recover nicely and I expect to get some next year.

To better address these bird and rabbit problems, I came up with an idea. My husband dislikes it when I do this, because he knows my ideas mean work for him. He's not opposed to working in the yard or work in general, but he likes it better when it's his idea. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't finagle this into being his idea in any way. But he agreed to build The Berry Barn. (I have other ways of persuasion.)

My idea was to build a wooden frame and put chicken wire all around it to keep the birds and bunnies out, but still allow pollinators in. Since the raspberries and blueberries would remain relatively small due to the varieties they are, and with all of those planted about 4-5 feet south of the row of blackberries, I wanted the roof line of the enclosure to be asymmetrical, being longer on that side. Hubby says, "Can't you just ever do something the simple way?"



To make a long story short, The Berry Barn got built (my dad even came out and helped one day), and I was so happy with the way it turned out, I literally was jumping up and down.  Hubby smiled. I suspect the rabbits and birds will not be pleased. Too bad, so sad.

In the same week, a paved circle was placed around one of our weeping trees, the Weeping Extraordinaire™ Double Flowering Cherry (Prunus x 'Extrazam'), from Lake County Nursery/UpShoot!. This project didn't take nearly as long and was made easier by special ordering the patio kit from Menard's. No cutting of pavers!


Hubby didn't understand the need for this project at all, but he agreed that it looked nice when it was done. There were a couple of other little projects on my list - a cinder block wall by the pool house and a short trellis near the newly-planted Eco-Lawn area in the middle of the garden. More on those later!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monarchs Led Me To This Talented Artist

I have a heart for one the most iconic symbols of this country - the monarch butterfly.  I've always been fascinated by them and entranced by their beautiful markings and how they metamorphose while being encased in a green jewel chrysalis. When I became a gardener, I learned of the importance they play in their role as a pollinator.

Monarchs nectar on many plants, such as this coneflower (Echinacea purpurea),
but they only lay eggs on milkweed plants.

Besides their beauty and utilitarian function though, is the miracle of their migration. How a creature that is two months old or less knows to leave their place of birth at just the right time and travel thousands of miles to a very specific location where they've never been before is incredible. Not everything is known about just how they do this, but the fact that they do is one of the world's wonders.

This monarch is nectaring on swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) in my garden.

In recent years, the monarch population has declined drastically, due to loss of habitat and the use of pesticides. Monarchs require plants in the milkweed family (Asclepias spp.) on which to raise their young. These are the only things they eat as caterpillars. So gardeners are encouraged to grow milkweed in their gardens to try to help. Recent reports are that efforts are helping, even if the progress is very slow. Keep up the good work, people!

The monarch dress launched Luly Yang's
career as a fashion designer.
When I was in Seattle a couple of years ago, a walk through downtown led me by the design house of Luly Yang. Yang is famous for her monarch butterfly dress and there it was, in the window. I fell in love with it and could envision myself wearing it at some fancy schmancy social function.

I did a little research online about the dress and read an article about Luly Yang. The article had a photograph of Yang, wearing a beautiful monarch design scarf. Hmmm... a monarch scarf.  I could do that. Because the monarch dress wasn't for sale and I wouldn't be able to afford a single wing of it anyway. So I began a search for a monarch scarf.

Kim Kennedy
To make a long story short, I came upon Kimberly Kennedy, an artist in San Antonio, Texas, who had created a beautiful silk monarch scarf and a quick inquiry to her let me know that yes, she could make a scarf for me. She does these "on demand," one at a time, and it's a lengthy process that I have neither the talent nor the patience to do myself.

As we communicated back and forth, I was interested in what led Kim to choose the monarch as the inspiration for her design. I had a feeling she felt a connection with nature, and I was right. We chatted one day about her art...


How long have you been designing scarves?
I have been designing scarves since 2002.

What inspires your designs?
I am always finding inspiration all around me. I love the great outdoors and often am inspired by being out in nature. I use a lot of nature inspired designs in my work such as leaves, butterfly wings and abstract sea-life. I always have a camera on hand to remember interesting patterns, textures and wildlife that I see so I can reference it later. 

That's my monarch scarf, nearly completed.

 How long does it take for you to complete a design on a scarf, start to finish?
It really depends on the complexity of the design. There are two main techniques I use, serti and shibori, and each has a different level of involvement. The serti technique involved hand drawing onto the silk a pattern. The more complex the pattern, the longer the scarf takes to complete. Typically a serti scarf can take 4-36 hours to draw and dye. 

A shibori scarf is much less time consuming. Shibori is a Japanese binding technique where you use pipes and wooden blocks to wrap, clamp and dye scarves. This yields completely random, but beautiful patterns. After 24 hours the dyed scarf can be treated with a dye-set. Therefore each scarf takes a minimum of 24 hours from start to finish, mainly due to the required inactive time for the dye.

Kim works on creating one of her original scarf designs.

How did you learn how to do this?
It all started with a new art teacher in high school, Mrs. Killmore. She taught the class some basic techniques, but I wanted to learn more than just basics. She took me under her wing and taught me more and really helped me to learn what dying was all about. Because of her I gained the building blocks to be where I am today.

What is your favorite design and why is it your favorite?
I love the butterfly designs! The butterfly takes the longest and is the most difficult to create, but the end product is just so amazing. They look so unique and really grab the attention of people around you.

Have you done or do you do any other kinds of art besides your scarves?
Oh my goodness yes! I actually went to an art college. I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. I play with many areas of art including sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics and photography. I really enjoy working with my hands, so any opportunity to do that makes me happy. One of my favorite forms of art is photography on my old Pentax film SLR that was handed down to me by family. I also like taking digital photography, but there is something so raw and special about film. When I travel I bring both cameras, but the film photos almost always win over the digital photos.

I know you've said this is a sideline for you. Do you have future plans to make this your life's work?
For now my business is a part time endeavor, but someday I would like to open a shared gallery and studio space. It would be a place for artists to collaborate on new and exciting work to share with the community, not just a stationary place to view art.

Is there anything else you want to share?
Besides fine art also I also enjoy building structures and being the family handy-woman. I built my Chicken coop out back and have plans to build a backyard studio soon too. 


I now own one of Kim's monarch design scarves and if you think it looks beautiful in photos, you should see it for real. I wore it one day at the recent National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium, held this year in Columbus, Ohio, and all day long I had comments and compliments on my scarf. 

I don't usually wear the scarf in my hair, but it's long enough that I can!

Here are a few of Kim's other scarf designs, which are just as beautiful:


What a special gift this would be for the upcoming holidays! Since it takes a bit of time (up to four weeks) for a design to be completed and shipped, it's not too early to think about it. She does custom orders too, in any pattern and color you like. 

You can find Kim and her beautiful works of art at her website: 


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