Life…

Yep, Life Happens… Yea, a lot has happened since my last post… Way back in October 2019, Ken flunked a stress test for his heart, then “flunked” a heart catheterization… they got in and found too many blockages, so he ended up having quadruple bypass surgery. A few weeks after his surgery, we both started Physical Therapy, cardiac rehab for him, and frozen shoulder treatment for me. It is amazing what Physical Therapists can do. My shoulder was back to moving again in 5 weeks!

Andrus Gardens, Walnut Garden, Thalia Daffodil and blue Brunnera flowers.
Daffodil Thalia with Sanguinaria and Brunnera in Walnut Garden 5-3-20

By the start of 2020, we both were back to almost normal, then we all know how the year went with Covid, and more… We went to Florida for our oldest grandson’s wedding, the same weekend that everything started shutting down, in mid March. The Wedding was beautiful, outdoors with the view of the ocean. A wonderful time with family all together, just as large gatherings were to be no longer allowed. Our planned visits with friends on the way home were changed, and by the time we got back to PA, all rest areas were closed and indoor eating at restaurants was no longer an option… the beginning of TP shortages and everything else. The Flower Tent season was cancelled, due to it not being considered “essential”. Businesses were allowed to start opening just two days before Mother’s Day… too late for the Tent to start up.

Andrus Gardens new garden area.
The area of the new Shade Garden after junk cleared out, before brush cleared.

With the Tent not open, there was time (for the first time in many, many years) for our home gardens to start being taken care of in May instead of July. We stimulated the local economy by purchasing trees and berry bushes from our “Tent competition”. The produce market, greenhouse and nursery sells produce and more in addition to plants, so they were able to be open with restrictions. I really enjoyed spring… digging, weeding, planting and mulching as much as my body would let me (which was made a bit more difficult after having my pain meds, that have worked well for years, taken away… ). Many visits to new doctors, resulted in visits to other garden centers and greenhouses. The best way to deal with Dr frustrations is to wander through displays of plants and flowers… purchasing a few new plants each time. Also, I ended up with another NEW GARDEN, too!

A very messy area that had been driving me crazy, got cleaned up, cleared out, and finally in Fall… planted… for the most part… New gardens always take years to develop their personalities… this one is along the woods, and will be mostly shade plants. I also was able to purchase some new Daffodil and other Spring flowering bulbs, in addition to digging and dividing gobs of huge neglected clumps of Daffodils that have been in the gardens for many, many years. With the new 150 Daffodil bulbs, I probably planted a total of 500+ Daffodils. Many of the clumps I dug resulted in 20-30 bulbs each. Fall planting is always a challenge, in that you have to imagine what you are planting will look like in the future, the result is not seen for months. I also was able to go into winter with the least number of perennials still in pots. I ended up planting right up till mid December, just before a record 3 feet of snow.

Sue Andrus Watercolor Setup under tent in back yard, Andrus Gardens
Painting setup under tent in back yard.

During 2020, I also kept up a bit with my pattern designing. I got some “real” watercolor paints, took some more classes on Skillshare, learning various watercolor techniques. That resulted in more designs uploaded to my Spoonflower and other online shops. One painting of the Plumbago flowers, that bloomed by the front door in planters, became one of my favorite designs since beginning pattern design. All in all, 2020 was an interesting year, but it did have several blessings thrown in. I look forward to seeing my gardens start blooming a few months from now.

AndrusGardens Watercolor Plumbago Flowers Collection on Spoonflower, Sue Andrus
Watercolor Plumbago Flowers Collection at Spoonflower

I began 2021 participating in a sketchbook challenge, doing at least something in my sketchbook, or on other paper, every day. I did miss one day, but caught up. Most days, I have ended up just using my watercolor paints, making leaves, flower petals, and flowers randomly on the pages. I have found that scanning in my pages, “cutting out” the individual images and combining them in Photoshop to make my designs, has been the best way for me to work for now. It is so interesting to see the steps I’ve gone through to get from beginning sketches to finished design.

Sue Andrus, AndrusGardens sketchbook images and cut out images ready for designing.
Random Watercolor Flowers in Sketchbook, left and “cut out”, right
Sue Andrus, AndrusGardens sketches and progress with Watercolor Damask in Blue and Green final design.
Original sketches, watercolor painting, images in process, and final design.

I have no idea what this new year will bring, but I’m going to try to keep back with the blog. No guarantees… I’ve felt like I have been restarting things over and over the past number of years… Here goes again….


About

I am a former textile artist and new pattern designer with a degree in horticulture, wishing to share my love of nature, flowers and gardens with everyone through my photos, sunprinted fabrics, and now pattern designs. Chronic Lyme Disease has caused major changes to the direction my life. I have to limit the amount of time spent digging in my gardens, and quilting has become more difficult. I discovered pattern design as a way to get art back into my life. I now use my gardens and photos to inspire designs that can be used on fabrics and print on demand items.

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