Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Passion For PURPLE: Art and Gardening with One of My Favorite Colors

My birthday was yesterday and I celebrated by taking myself to one of my favorite antique malls in Hagerstown, MD – Beaver Creek on Rt. 40 – where I had the pleasure of gifting myself with the loveliest garden book, “The Gardens and Accoutrements of James Cramer”.  James has several booths at Beaver Creek and thanks to his wonderful vintage collections my purse is now a bit lighter and my new home and gardens are enjoying the benefit of his practiced eye.  I was lucky enough to find him at the antique mall so I came home with a signed copy!

“A must have for any gardener, OR for any country antiques lover,” according to And I could not agree more!

The photography is magnificent and the text is alive with the voice of one who gardens from the heart:

"The first fifteen years of my childhood were spent living with my great-grandmother in her white farmhouse at the edge of a small town. Her large garden, mainly vegetables, started at the back door and took up the entire yard. There was a path down the middle that led to the old chicken house. I later came to realize that this was a victory garden and my great-grandmother wanted to be self-sustaining during and after the war.”

But it was the Allium Purple Sensation on the front cover of James’s book that really caught my eye! The photo above shows some Purple Sensation Alliums that I planted at my previous home. I even spray painted them with purple floral spray after the color faded – right there where they were growing! I simply could not let them go! And of course, I’ve just planted some of them in my new home in West Virginia so I can enjoy them here next spring.

I just love purple in my gardens! In my Richmond house I started the season early with a mix of species crocus to greet me when getting in and out of my car. I like the species variety since they are not favored by rodents, same as with the allium (so I’ve read). These are Blue Pearl, Ruby Giant and Spring Beauty, and this photo was taken the first year of bloom. No doubt by now they have multiplied and filled in nicely (for the new homeowner, that is!)

The purple crocus was then followed by my favorite miniature daffodil – Tete-a-Tete - surrounded of course by purple viola.

 Even my front door in Richmond was purple!

 I also enjoy growing purple viola and pansies in flower pots…..

as well as purple miniature African violets on a sunny window sil. Yes, this is a mini – not your typical full size African violet at all. I adore the minis and blogged about them here.

 And of course I include purple flowers in some of my painted pottery pieces

 and purple sheep, too.

I even painted a purple birdie once, believe it or not!

Well, its not too late to plant some of those gorgeous Allium Purple Sensation if you hurry! I planted mine earlier this month, but here in the Mid Atlantic Zone 6b we’re having unseasonably warm weather lately. I purchased my allium and species crocus from Van Engelen  – great quality and the very best prices – and they’ll ship them out to you pronto! Order qualities are quite large to get their best prices, but do what I did and split the order (and shipping cost!) with a friend! As of today Van Engelen still has several varieties available.

And don’t forget to grab a copy or 2 of James Cramer’s new book before it sells out – what a wonderful gift it would be to give this holiday season!


Sarah Goode said...

I have to admit that being a vegetable gardener I bought purple veg seeds last year! Beetroot, Purple sprouting broccoli, purple carrots and purple sweetcorn. And I saw some purple podded peas yesterday and couldn't resist buying them too!

CynthiaCrane said...

Oh, thanks for sharing these resources Jeri! I can't seem to get enough gardening books either, but I've never purchased a video or even considered doing so. But this one sure sounds like a "must have"!

Jeri Landers said...

Got it on Amazon, I am sure it is still available. It came out before the garden book... and did you get his garden planner? There were several good books on window boxes, I purchased about 3, I'm, addicted to garden books and videos. And since were on it, may I recommend a lovely video entitled "English Cottage and Country Gardens". It features 8 cottage gardens, you may love, I do.

CynthiaCrane said...

Oh, I haven't seen that book! I hope its still available. I plan to install window boxes in my new home this spring and I'm always looking for ideas. Pinterest is a great resource, of course, but there's nothing like having your own book full of glossy photos!

Jeri Landers said...

Oh, I also got his book on window boxes, that one's a real treat!

Jeri Landers said...

jUST LOVE THIS BOOK. I bought it back in November and I just itching to get outside and put some of his ideas in my own garden. I love Jimmy's style it is "classy primitive" to me.

Jill Verbick said...

Your work is so sweet, it warms my heart. I can't wait to give you a feature on my blog, Fiberluscuous. I have so many ideas on how to use your adorable buttons on one of my pincushions! It will be a wonderful giveaway for some lucky sewer! Jill

Jenny Woolf said...

Beautiful! Some of my favourite flowers are the purple crocuses of early Spring. I planted a whole load more this autumn

CynthiaCrane said...

Jill, you are such a treasure! Looking forward to our giveaways in late January!

CynthiaCrane said...

Jill, you are such a treasure! I'm so looking forward to our giveaways in late January!

CynthiaCrane said...

Oh, how lovely Jenny! Don't you just love how easy they are to plant since the bulbs are so tiny?!!!