A Day at Oxford Botanic Garden

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Founded in 1621, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic gardens in Great Britain and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. It has one of the most diverse yet compact collections of plants in the world and contains over 8,000 different species, including… poppies!

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"Poppy Portrait II" 15cm X 15cm Available at Graham Fine Art

“Poppy Portrait II” 15cm X 15cm Available at Graham Fine Art

"Poppies in a Tuscan Breeze" 25.5 X 25.5 Available at Graham Fine Art

“Poppies in a Tuscan Breeze” 25.5 X 25.5 Available at Graham Fine Art

"Poppy Adoration" 60cm X 69.5cm Available at Caroline's online Virtual Gallery

“Poppy Adoration” 60cm X 69.5cm Available at Caroline’s online Virtual Gallery

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"White Daffodils" Available at Graham Fine Art

“White Daffodils” 25cm X 25cm Available at Graham Fine Art

"Lilacs and Wisteria" 30" X 24" Available at Lahaina Galleries

“Lilacs and Wisteria” 30″ X 24″ Available at Lahaina Galleries

"Summer Sunflower" 12" X 12" Available at Lahaina Galleries

“Summer Sunflower” 12″ X 12″ Available at Lahaina Galleries

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"The Rose Arbour" 100cm X 80cm Available at Graham Fine Art

“The Rose Arbour” 100cm X 80cm Available at Graham Fine Art

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“Hawaiian Heliconia” 2010 Private Collection

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"Plumeria for Rell" 1998

“Plumeria for Rell” 1998  Private Collection

Zimmermann tropical flower painting

“Hibiscus Leilani” 2012 Private Collection

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Homage to a Wisteria

This time of year the wisteria is a phenomenon here in Tuscany. It is a breathtaking spectacle seen throughout the region as the carefully maintained blooms adorn grand villas and bring their elegant grace to the most rustic of farm houses.

Molino 2012

Molino’s ancient wisteria is ill.  It should be in full glorious bloom, but this year it seems the excessive rains have rotted its grand old roots. Its blossoms are few and wan, desperate bees attempting to pollinate are confused, as are we.

Molino 2008

It saddens me deeply to see what was such a vigorous plant over the years now look weak and sickly.
The highlight of spring has always been its prodigious blooming over our loggia with heady fragrance and spectacular color. John spends many hours trimming back the vines during the course of year as it has always been such and active plant, and now it seems so quiet and still.
Over the years, our wisteria’s blossoms inspired my many paintings with its sensuous textures, beguiling shapes and fascinating patterns.

“Lilac and Wisteria Symphony” oil painting 24″x 28″

“Wisteria Doorway” 24″x 30″ oil painting

Somehow, our garden here at Molino always teaches us lessons which are relevant to the grander scheme of our lives.
Deep inside this Ciuffenna river valley is a little microcosm of Nature, and in this place over 500 years ago man interjected his will to live. Someone chose this spot to build our house, using only the native stone, sand and wood that they found in the vicinity.
Nature is constantly trying to reclaim Molino, the animals and plants surrounding us eager to fill in the little vacuum of order we attempt to maintain.
It makes me think of my high school physics lessons where I learned of entropy.
Simply put, it’s that law of thermodynamics and how the universe works to constantly bring disorder out of order. Yet, observing disorder is a matter of perspective, someone’s disorder is another’s order.
So why am I constantly fighting this urge to make my human order out of an overwhelmingly powerful Nature, who has ideas of what she considers order?

Ratso and Johnny’s water sculpture 2005

It may be a bad year for our wisteria due to the wet winter, but it is by far the most glorious year for our lilacs. The cherry trees are exploding with blossoms. The wildflowers spectacular.
I find such satisfaction in this as I gather lilacs for my next still-life paintings, and a silent prayer of healing for our wisteria.
The wisdom of our little garden speaks, sometimes so softly, I’ve only to listen.

Renzo, 2012

“Settignano Wisteria” 24″x28″ oil painting

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