October is Here??

It’s only been a couple months since my last post… Getting better with posting… It’s hard to believe that October is here and almost gone already! September flew by in a blur. I accomplished nothing in the gardens, other than taking some photos of the blooms and weeds. I did accomplish a lot of pattern designing.

Vista Bubblegum Petunias, Zahara Double Raspberry Ripple, and Sweet Potato Marguerite

The center section of the Maple Tree Garden stayed full of blooms all summer, despite the deer and bunnies trying to eat everything. For some reason, the Vista Bubblegum Petunias didn’t seem to be tasty treats like the other Petunias I planted. There are only four Petunia plants in this area. I took this photo before the lime green leaved Sweet Potato vines were eaten down again. They must be like candy, as the deer have munched on these since I planted them. Various repellents helped some, but all the rain we had washed it off frequently.

Due to the constant loss of plants to the critters and too much water, gardening this year was quite frustrating. Tomatoes that I planted late didn’t like the excess water, so my crop was really small. The only plants that didn’t get eaten down were the ones in planters. We got only enough tomatoes to eat fresh, with not enough to can for later use. The Squash did a little better… It took three tries to get Zucchini to grow.

The Squash Patch in the Rock Garden with Rudbeckia Autumn Sun.

Above is a little group of Summer blooms from the gardens. It was a challenging growing season, but I did get some pretty flowers.

September brought a new large collection of designs that started with a Spoonflower Challenge. To promote their new dyed Petal Solids, the challenge was to use three of the new colors. Lagoon, Cotton Candy, and Mustard were the colors we were to include. A couple other colors and white and black were also allowed, so I added Peacock and Peony. My Teardrops Flowers Collection was born.

Teardrop Flowers Collection

All of the flowers in this collection began in a single sketch. I pulled all the little parts out of the sketched flower to make the different flower types. The photo below, shows the original sketch. It also shows stages of the flower pulled apart and the bits and pieces colored. Once I got the parts and pieces ready, I got carried away playing with the different coordinates.

Original Flower Sketch and Work in Progress

The next challenge was much more challenging for me. The colors were Mushroom, Pine and Sky Blue. For some reason, this color combination didn’t light up the creative juices like the previous one. We were allowed to use one, two or all three of the colors. Additional colors as well as black and white were also allowed. This time, I ended up using just the Pine green with white Paisleys. It was fun to play with the different Paisley designs, adding swirls and curls. I also had to add some little flowers in and around the Paisleys. The photo below, shows some of the process.

Paisleys on Pine Progress
Paisleys in White on Pine Texture

Here is the finished version of my Paisleys, shown as a table cloth on Spoonflower. It is available in many types of fabrics and Home Decor items. They are also available in more colors in my Paisleys Collection in my Spoonflower Shop. In the next post, I’ll show my newest Calendar Tea Towel/Wall Hanging made for another challenge.

Summer’s Almost Gone…

Spring weather finally arrived with all it’s colorful flowers! As the snow left, the Snowdrops started blooming, followed by a few Crocus, Snow Glories and Daffodils. I had lots of Daffodils, after buying a bunch f new bulbs in the Fall, and digging and dividing many clumps I’ve had growing for years.

Daffodil Fluffy Double

I was amazed how many bulbs I found in the clumps I divided. Some had 30 or more in each… it had been many years since I had divided them.

Daffodil Passionale showing color variations
Daffodil Ice Follies by Stone Wall

Summer arrived in a blur again after the Flower Tent Season was over. It seems I’m always trying to play catch-up in the gardens after “living” at the Tent for all of May and most of June. This year, we also had a LOT of rain, especially in July. One storm dumped enough water to wash a big pile of gravel from the driveway to the Mound garden, burying a big hunk of that garden. Below, is a group of photos from the gardens.

I finally got back to designing again between working in the gardens and mowing the swamp… er… lawn. I had been in a creative slump again (what else is new), and decided to work on a design for another Spoonflower Challenge. Pastel Halloween was the first theme I worked on. I’m not into the oranges and blacks of typical Halloween decorating, but love pastel colors. I thought I would do a design with pastel colored pumpkins, and Glass Gems corn. While working on my initial images, I got thinking about my grandkids who love playing with googly eyes. After that, I ended up making my silly, cute Jack-o-Lanterns in pastel colors with googly eyes. That then led to me finally doing my original idea of groups of pumpkins, corn and Maple leaves, followed by several versions with just Maple leaves.

Once started with the Maple leaves, I worked with different colors. The original leaves were pulled from images of sunprints I had done in the past. My first version used the pastel colors of the prints, then playing in Photoshop, I ended up finding some interesting color combinations. Below is a group of photos of the above mentioned designs.

The next challenge I decided to enter was Autumn Botanicals… perfect for my style of work. I began again with an image of a sunprint. This time, a fern I printed with black paint on a brightly colored fabric. I thought I would do a design including the fern along with Oak leaves and maybe other leaves, but it ended up with just the Fern sunprint and pieces of it.

Again, I played with colors in Photoshop, and ended up with some interesting colors. Not all were “Fall” colors. Unlike many people, I am not that fond of fall and it’s colors. To me Fall brings the death of my gardens. The leaves are pretty, but I hate that day of the first killing freeze. I created some versions in traditional oranges and more, but my entry was the first one I made with a textured white background.

The current challenge is Ice Crystals… I’m not ready for Winter at all, but it was fun playing with photos I took of snowflakes and ice crystals.

Scattered Snowflakes and Ice in Caribbean Blue

I might be playing with snowflakes in the computer, but there are hopefully many weeks left for the gardens to bloom. Also hoping to be back with a new post in less than 6 months or more…


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….