Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
Two Cities, One Blue Sage - Explore

« Where the Bears Are | Main | Year in Yosemite: A Walk with Giants »

Sierra Daily

10/03/2011

Two Cities, One Blue Sage

We dropped our daughter at college in Chicago last week, which gave me a chance to visit the Lurie Garden at Millenium Park, right in the downtown area, east of the Loop. It's a striking oasis, full of flowering prairie plants and goldfinches pecking at the seedheads of coneflowers.

The garden's designer, Piet Oudolf, also designed the High Line garden on the west side of Manhattan--and a gorgeous blue sage is blooming in both places right now. The sky-blue blossoms of this plant are unmistakable and unusual; most perennials said to flower blue actually have a purple cast to their petals. I was so excited when I saw it in the Lurie Garden, I made a quick pencil sketch:

 

DSC_0001-1 copy

The High Line is a repurposed elevated railroad trestle that runs for 20 blocks along the Hudson River as a stroll garden. Oudolf retained many of the plants that had grown up on the abandoned railroad bed (the goldenrod, the sumac) and added native sages, asters, and vibrunums. Oudolf, from Holland, has introduced American gardeners to the idea of using native vegetation--planted in large groups, with dried stems on perennials--as food and shelter for wildlife. These low-water gardens work as natural habitats, even in the city. Oudolf has authored many books, but my favorite is his early "Designing with Plants" for its specific plant recommendations, accurate photos, and playful translation from the Dutch.

 

I've been painting with Yupo, the synthetic "paper," because I like the random flow of the pigments on its slick surface. I can't use pencil on Yupo because its surface is too slippery, so I lightly paint in the plants using cobalt blue and a fine brush. Then I go back in and add the colors I want. Here is Salvia azurea, Blue Sage:

 

DSC_0002-2 copy

-- Sue Fierston paints and teaches just outside of Washington, D.C. in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As a painter, she works in acrylics and watercolor and is in the middle of a series called "100 Flowers." As a teaching artist, she works with teachers to bring art into their classrooms in grades 4-8. Her posts focus on her nature-themed art collaborations. For a look at her paintings or more about her teaching, check out her website at suzannefierston.com.

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...