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Just Fine

I kind of totally forgot I was supposed to write a blog two weeks ago. I think I remembered at one point and then headed out of town for the regional Garden Writers’ meeting and poof! – thought gone. It’s been crazy busy getting annuals in the ground even with us doing less of them than we once did. At this point there are not many to go though I have yet to plant my first dahlia. You all rest easy in the root cellar, I’ll get to you right soon.

I am incredibly grateful for a “normal” spring. At least I think it was normal. It’s been so long since I saw normal in relation to weather that I’m not sure what it is anymore. Rain has been available though whether you are getting just enough or way too much is dependent on which side of the street you live on. There’s that whole normal thing again. Seems we used to all get an inch during a rain event and now I might get an inch, the folks two blocks over get a quarter inch, and the folks three miles south get 2 ½ inches. And maybe that was the way it always was but we didn’t have such exacting measuring around (or I just plain don’t remember).

Despite good rain up to now I find myself looking over my shoulder pretty regularly to see if a drought is following me. I remember the earlier forecast of it coming again. And I certainly remember the last three summers, last summer in particular when it seemed all I did was water. Not that it could not have been even worse. I’m fully aware.

Today. Right now. The weather is just fine and the Gardens are looking great with many plants in full bloom and foliage.

Campanula ‘Sarastro’ remains a favorite. If it does not get crazy hot we can get three bloom cycles on these.

Sarastro plant

Sarastro plant

Lupines don’t always do well around here but Thermopsis (villosa?!?!) caroliniana, Carolina LOU-PINE, does fantastic.

Yellow Loupine

Nepeta ‘Joanna Reed’ bloomed from June til frost last year. This is its second year and looks wonderful. I hate the way the foliage smells on most Nepeta but there is no denying they tend to be real workhorses.

Joanna Reed

Love Geum ‘Double Bloody Mary’ even when out of focus.

Bloody Mary a red flower

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Double Bloody Mary a red flower

Deutzia x hybrida ‘Magicien’ is one of the best shrubs for shade. A blooming machine every year.

Magicien plant

Close up of Magicien flower

Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is very lovely with its combination of dark foliage and pink flowers. But if you read it is sterile, trust me, it is very fertile.

Dark Tower plant

I’m not a big fan of white flowers normally but I really like the crisp white of these Geranium sanguineum ‘Album’.

Geranium bushes

Dryopteris erythrosora (autumn fern) shows why it is so wonderful. This is ‘Brilliance’.

An autumn fern plant

Close up of autumn fern plant

Why I said earlier things were in full foliage.

Low plants in full green foilage

In its second full year the Four Seasons Garden is presenting well.

The four seasons garden at the IMA

The Formal Garden is in prime condition. Even the climbing roses are putting on quite the show this year.

The formal garden at the IMA The formal garden at the IMA

As always, the rain garden is lush and beautiful.

The rain garden at the IMA

And don’t you want to know what is beyond this curve?

A curvy path on the IMA campus

I could go on and on about the gardens being beautiful this time of year (along with the weather!) but those dahlias are not going to plant themselves. Not that it would hurt them to have a little ambition and at least drag their butts out of the root cellar. But alas, I must plant and water. Come on over and visit. The Gardens are beautiful. Wish you were here.

Filed under: Horticulture


In Bloom Now at the IMA: Foxglove

Today’s guest blogger is Anne Furlong, an intern in the IMA’s Horticulture Department.

The foxglove, simply stated, is a beautiful flower. It caught my eye earlier this week while walking through the Four Seasons Garden, located just west of Garden Terrace. This striking flower is in the genus Digitalis, a name that means finger-like. The plants ‘finger-like’ flowers give the appearance of fingers of a glove, hence the name Foxglove.

There are over 20 species in the genus Digitalis. All have flowers that are alternately arranged on tall flower spikes. Interestingly the flowers, which are spotted on the inside, only bloom on one side of the flower stalk. This unique member of the Plantaginaceae family is typically biennial but some are perennial. These towering, tubular blossoms will naturalize and create a nice grouping if grown in suitable conditions.

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Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Horticulture, Oldfields


Silents: Before and After, Part Two

Today's guest blogger is Eric Grayson,a film historian and preservationist who lives in Indianapolis.

The IMA’s silent film series continues on April 12, with a rare showing of WC Fields’ So’s Your Old Man (1926), followed by its sound remake You’re Telling Me (1934).  Although Fields is well remembered for his talking pictures, his silent work is nearly forgotten today.  Most of the films are tied up in complex rights issues, none of which got more complicated than So’s Your Old Man.

Based on an award-winning story by Julian Street, the film tells the story of eccentric inventor Sam Bisbee (Fields), who has invented a shatterproof glass and wants to sell the patent in the big city.  A series of tragic and comic circumstances keep Bisbee from selling his patent, and, dejected, he boards a train bound for home.  Unable to face the shame of failure, he contemplates suicide.  Fortune belatedly intervenes and a foreign princess, traveling on the same train, comes to his rescue.



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Filed under: Film, Guest Bloggers, Public Programs, The Toby


Indigenous Hexes

Now that the season is drawing to a close, we can take a look back and see where The Artist has been spending his time this summer thanks to the Arduino geekery that Kris wrote about earlier. I’m going to fill you in on what happens to the data that he collected to create the visual representation that you see on the map.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Technology


Google Art Project + IMA

This morning, in a room at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, I joined a group of museum colleagues (representing 151 institutions, from 40 countries!) and journalists for the launch of the next iteration of the Google Art Project. For those of us who worked on the project, this was our first look at the results of an all-hands-on-deck effort to prepare images and gather contextual information about the works in our respective collections. Each participating museum’s logo flashed on the screen as the revved up to the big reveal. Sorry for the blurry photo, but I got a little excited at this moment!

The big reveal

Google has made an incredible 30,000 + high-res images available in this wave of the project. At the IMA, we selected over 200 works from our collection to feature – a number that will continue to grow as we add more to the site. For us, this opportunity came at a moment when we were beginning to re-assess the content that’s available on the collection pages of our own website, coinciding perfectly with a major effort to expand this information and re-think the layout of these pages (more to come on this later!).

Art Project organizer Amit Snood revealed a number of features throughout the site demo, including search options that allow users to browse by artist’s name, artwork, type of art, museum, country, collections and the time period. To highlight the cross-collection capabilities, Amit walked us through a search he did for Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, which revealed not only the three versions on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, Van Gogh Museum and Musée d’Orsay, but also pulled in an artist he was previously unfamiliar with named Kyung Min Nam, who was inspired by Van Gogh’s work.

Search functionality demonstration

Users have the capability to create their own collections by saving their favorite works into galleries, adding comments, and sharing with friends.  Amit also featured the expanded street view and gigapixel options with a view of the galleries below us at the Musée d’Orsay:

Street view of the Musée d'Orsay

Of course, as soon as the demo was over we all made a beeline to the computers in the hallway to check it out, necks craning over shoulders to scope out our neighbor’s museum and our own.

Exploring the site for the first time, plus another shameless IMA plug

I’m looking forward to delving into the site further to look at the IMA’s collection in context with other works of art across the globe. Looking around the room this morning, Google’s goal of developing connections and providing access seems to be off to a pretty good start. Take a look and see what you think.

The IMA on Google Art Project


Filed under: Around the Web, Technology, The Collection


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