I woke on this Saturday morning with a clear goal to to make a flower bathing cap, like you would have seen in the 50″s, but with real, fresh cherry blossoms. We had spent the week admiring the blooming double cherry blossoms and I think my annual attraction to playing with them here and here led me effortlessly into this project.
The cherry blossoms were at the end of the cycle, and so this was not an idea that could be put off. Although I now consider this a stepping stone to another project I have planned for next Spring…oh yes…the ideas grow and grow.
The whole process involved some secrecy (me pinching flowers), and the finer details of process itself (I am going to keep to myself)…oh secrets, secrets. You can see some sneak peeks, our dinning room table was a mass of flowers and petals. I was sneezing my head off and when Cam rose from bed I had rubbed my eyes red with pollen allergies. Yes, I am a suffering artist.
Elle and I discussed my idea and she was willing to be my model. I asked her what she would like for modeling payment and she said “A lara bar…no four lara bars, one for everyone”. Our sweet girl so thoughtful to her loved ones. Despite her saying she would help, I was a little on edge that the actual event would go belly up. At any point Elle could have ripped the flowers from her head and heaven forbid I not even get a photo!
Thankfully Elle was very easy going, her only insistence was to have this huge purple my little pony with her…not at all my plan, but I went with it…because…I had no choice. While I put the flower cap on her head, she took the opportunity to put flower petals down the front my my shirt. I was so caught up in my process, the petals pressed onto my skin at the end of the day was like a sweet love note from her. Residue of our creative Mama and daughter experience together.
The whole thing was really a beautiful mess – in the true sense of expression, my house was covered in flower petals. Petals were stuck everywhere. Working with flowers is such a joy, sweeping them up was a quiet moment for me to reflect on the beauty of creating – each and every step of the way. My first couple of weeks working for Papier Mache Magazine has been very inspiring, it has given me more reason to act on ideas…it has given me more creative purpose and to manifest the things I can see in that wonderful place, the imagination. It is funny though, I really do not need a reason to create, other than, it makes me feel good.
One afternoon last week Elle and I collected Maya from school and we drove to the Reeves Reed Arboretum. It is in a neighbouring town not too far from our house. Close enough to make it an after school trip. This was the first time we had been there. Much like Van Vleck House, which we often go to, it is a private estate with amazing gardens, now open to the public. Some time last year I saw a photographic exhibition at the Montclair Library, and in the exhibition were some photos of a daffodil garden. When I saw the picture I thought to myself, I must visit this place. I wrote the name down - Reeves Reed Arboretum , and made a mental note that I would seek this garden out next Spring. I am so glad I did. I have not ever seen so many daffodils growing in one place. They take up an entire hill side, which as the name suggests, is like a bowl. A bowl filled with daffodils.
I invited Anneliese and her girls to come along, and it was really nice to get a photo of the four girls together in the daffodils. We went a little early so only half of the daffodils were in full bloom. Still it was gorgeous. Anneliese had a nice tour of the gardens with her girls, whilst I was dealing with some behaviour issues and an accident! Perfect garden outing it was not. Elle became very enraged because Maya whispered something to Bea and then they ran off and Elle could not keep up. Poor little sister – who almost yelled the house down. Oh dear! Then Maya decided she did not want to walk on the garden path out of the daffodil bowl and instead started walking up the hill off the path. I suggested she not do this, and while she was protesting she tripped over and fell down the hill. Like a cartoon character she tumbled head over heels. Getting scratches all over her arms. Poor big sister – who was then in tears. I could be heard saying “well you should have stayed to the path you silly goose”. Thankfully Maya recovers quickly despite my not being a very sympathetic Mother in that moment. I certainly had two daff-o-dils on my hands.
Non the less from all of this, we had a lovely time. I baked a carrot cake and Anneliese made iced tea. We had a picnic in the shade and admired the trees returning to life after a long winter. The girls chased a butterfly, and Anneliese spotted birds and nests. So dearly love my naturalist friend.
My girls felt put out to pose for photos, which I suspected would be the case and so they were given the incentive of cake (Nothing wrong with bribing them with fresh baked carrot cake is there?). I could not miss out on photos like this.
The estate appears to have a lovely rose garden, and a woodland path. We went specifically to see the daffodils, but from what I read on the website there are many beautiful things about this garden at other times of the year also. It was gorgeous to see the garden glowing with golden daffodil heads. Such happy flowers. Spring has sprung my friends, and it was so very worth the wait.
Spring flowers seemed to come and go in a week this year with yo-yo weather making the flowers bloom early, and over quickly. We were lucky that the week of Spring break was the peak of the cherry trees blooming and so we made a trip to Branch Brook Park to enjoy the blossoms. This was our first trip to Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ, which we specifically went to as it boasts the largest number of cherry blossom trees in the nation. We have come to look forward to cherry blossoms blooming, being that we love pink and we love flowers, cherry blossom time is divine (allergies and all!). The past few years we have enjoyed the cherry blossoms all over Brooklyn, and especially the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. This year I was looking forward to seeing our new neighbourhood in bloom – it came a close second to the gorgeous streets of Ditmas Park in Spring.
Branch Brook Park has a Cherry Blossom Welcome Center with a beautiful cherry blossom mural and life size imitation cherry blossom tree inside it. The week we attended was during the Cherry Blossom Festival, but the welcome center did not offer us much, and I am not sure if this was due to us being there on a weekday or not, but while it was pretty I wish it had been more like a museum. I also wish it offered a detailed map of the cherry blossom trees throughout the park.
We did not travel very far into the park as it is huge and the tress appeared very spaced out. The Girls were on their scooters so we were able to cover some ground. I felt like the cherry blossom trees would have had more impact if they had been planted close together like at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. From what I gather there are numerous variety of cherry blossoms trees at Branch Brook and when we went the single blossoms had already flowered.
Rather than looking for more trees we planted ourselves beneath one lovely old tree that had tapered limbs bowing to the ground. It was covered in popping buds and so we were in a canopy of pink petal pom poms. We had a picnic packed, and so quite happily spent a couple of hours beneath the tree building dandelion and cherry blossom fairy houses. I think in fact it looked like we were the fairies, playing in a cherry blossom fairy house.
The petals were already starting to drop and so we were treated to pink snow when the breeze blew. I let the girls pick the flowers as they were to come to pass so quickly anyway. I am glad we were able to savor the moment and spend a day playing in the pink. Until next year…when we will surely do it again!
I am not sure where the days have gone, but my goodness they slip away….Not last Thursday, but the Thursday before, Thursday March 22nd…we spent the day at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens, which is also the site of Skyland Manor. This was an exceptionally warm day of early Spring, with the predicted temperature to climb into the 80′s (27˚C). With knowing that this was going to be a gorgeous day I planned not to send Maya to school. I am currently sitting on the fence about homeschooling and so have no problem giving her a day out to do something interesting and rewarding…like go to a garden or to go to an art gallery…or whatever else, to live life outside of the box. I admire the concept of learning through living, and having a day like this now and then makes living and learning so much fun.
We love to visit botanical gardens, and as you may recall we often visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. This was our first time to the Botanic Gardens in New Jersey, and I am sure we will go again. It is a beautiful place to spend the day, and only a 40 minute drive from home (or an hour if I get lost!). I packed a picnic lunch and our picnic blanket, some water colour paints and water colour paper, and we spent the day outside in the glorious warmth.
I have plans to draw and paint with the Girls all Spring and Summer long outdoors. We started taking drawing pads and pencils on walks in the woods and the Girls really like to stop and sit on a rock and draw so the next step was to sit and paint. This idea was well received and between wandering the gardens and eating a picnic lunch they painted. I was well prepared with water color paper taped onto cardboard so they had a firm lap surface. I thought I too might paint, and when I told the Girls this they both boo-hoo-ed this idea and told me firmly “Mummy, you use the camera, not paint”. I thought this was funny, but like that they see the camera as my creative medium. Painting outside worked really well and I will definitely do this for them again.
As it was early spring the gardens were still waking up with many things active benneath the surface. There was however bulbs blooming, lots of forsythia in bloom and some magnificent cherry blossom trees, unlike any I have ever experienced. I stood beneath their cascading canopy and felt like I was in heaven. The Girls too were in flower bliss. Maya pretended to be a bride with Elle as her attendant.
I spent the whole day saying “Don’t pick the flowers”…but if I have to be honest, this was said completely without clout, as I secretly wanted to pick the flowers myself. I know…I know…if everyone picked the flowers there would not be any left…I know…it was a terrible moment of careless parenting, and one of the examples when I let it really slip. I felt I pang of guilt at the sight of the little bouquets for so many reasons, but I could not make them stop, because they knew despite my saying “Don’t pick the flowers”…that their Mummy too is a flower child…
We made our way to the BBG to enjoy Hanami – Hanami at BBG is a month-long event from April 2 to May 1 that celebrates the Japanese cultural tradition of enjoying each moment of the cherry blossom season.
This weekend the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens hold an annual blossom festival - Sakura Matsuri, celebrating the blooming of the cherry blossoms at their peak – we did not go to the festival, but We were able to enjoy full blossoms. I would love to go to the festival one of these days, but while the Girls are pre-school age, I know there are limits to the crowds and lines they can enjoy. Maya and I have decided that we will go one year, and have researched joining the Brooklyn Parasol Society so we can have tea with parasols under the cherry blossoms – doesn’t that sound like fun!
The Girls love to run through the gardens exploring, picking up fallen flowers, and looking for treasures. A group of turtles sunning themselves on a rock were of particular interest, keeping the Girls captivated for the longest time. They also found great joy in the vibrant rows of tulips, be sure you could hear me saying “Do not pick the tulips Girls!”.
As usual when heading to the BBG, we packed a picnic lunch, found a shady spot and enjoyed lunch. Such a romantic day in the gardens – even if only with my daughters, the fluffy canopy of pink has me swooning over spring!