Monday, September 26, 2016

Edible Flower Print Series

Print of chives watercolor painting

I am happy to announce that my edible flower watercolor series is now available as prints in my shop. I really enjoyed painting this collection of flowers. I have printed them in my studio on beautiful paper. I mean paper so nice that you will want to sit there holding it instead of putting it in a frame. Or at least I would. Because I love paper that much.

A little while ago, I wrote about how I am trying to paint more series. I did it! These six edible flower prints are compatible with my herb series. I hope by having related images available that it will be easy for people to mix and match to create a collection of prints that is just right for their wall. 

Botanical watercolor prints by Kathleen Maunder: viola + pansy, crabapple and borage
Viola + Pansy - The flowers of these charming plants are edible. They can be added to salads or crystallized and used to decorate cakes.

Crabapple - The petals of crabapple blossoms are edible (apple blossoms too). I was delighted to learn this! They can be used in small quantities to garnish a salad or try floating them in a drink.

Borage - I grow borage from seed every year. It's such a pretty addition to the garden. I love all blue flowers! The flowers are edible and can be used to garnish salads and cold soups. You can float them in beverages or freeze them in ice cubes. The young leaves are also edible but I don't really enjoy how prickly they feel so I leave them on the plants.
Botanical watercolor prints by Kathleen Maunder: chives, nasturtium and violet
Chives - The stems of chives are a great, mild substitute for onion in foods. They are nice with egg and cheese dishes and are lovely baked into biscuits. I never used to think of eating the blossoms until I saw a photo on my friend Sonia's beautiful Instagram feed a couple of years ago. She was preparing toast topped with soft cheese and chive florets. I tried it and not only is it delicious but also beautiful! 

Nasturtium - This is another beautiful flower that I grow each year from seed in my garden. I line the sides of my square-foot garden with nasturtiums. The flowers have a peppery taste and are great in salads or as a garnish. The young leaves are edible too.

Violet - Wild violets are edible. I'm lucky to have some growing wild in our back lawn. Many people like to crystallize them and use them to decorate cakes and cookies. 

I really hope that like my new edible flower series. You can also find smaller versions of these images in my 2017 calendar.

I should mention that it's important to be sure that your flowers and herbs are pesticide-free. Eat in small quantities and always consult with a health professional if you have particular health issues or are serving to small children. The basic rule is, if in doubt about a plant, don't eat it. If you want to learn more about edible flowers, there are some good guides online. You can find two here and here.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A 2017 Calendar!

Calendar with watercolor images of herbs and edible flowers by Kathleen Maunder (

I am happy and proud to introduce my first Trowel and Paintbrush calendar!

It's twelve months of herbs and edible flowers featuring my botanical watercolour paintings.

I started working on this project a year ago. I was encouraged by an artist friend (thank you for the nudge, Brenda of @cattailswordwork) to think about doing a calendar. I quickly figured out my theme: herbs and edible flowers. I already had six herb paintings finished. I started to work on six edible flower paintings hoping to have it ready for 2016 but I underestimated the time it was going to take me. Rather than introducing a rushed effort late in the season, I decided to make it a 2017 calendar.

Hand lettering of months and days for 2017 Trowel and Paintbrush calendar

I did some finessing of the edible flower paintings early this year. In the past few weeks, I hand lettered the months and days in watercolour. Some of lettering was done with a fine paintbrush, some with a pen nib dipped in watercolor paint.

February watercolor calendar image of violets by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush
Images from 2017 Herbs and Edible Flowers calendar by Trowel and Paintbrush

I chose 'Mint' for the January page as it seemed to fit with a fresh start. The sweet violet bouquet seemed to be perfect for February, aptly so I found out later as the violet is February's birth flower. I chose 'Thyme' for March because time marches on. (Sorry to be corny but it's true! Sometimes I need to amuse myself.) I placed my viola and pansy painting as the July image since that's when my birthday is and violas and pansies have lots of family associations for me. Sage is on the December page as it is so often used in holiday meals.

I've printed the calendar in my studio on beautiful paper with the same care and attention I give to everything that I produce. As a bonus, I also created an accompanying page which describes some common uses of the herbs and flowers featured in my calendar.

The calendar would be a lovely gift for a gardener, cook or nature lover. Or you may want to buy it for yourself! It would brighten up a kitchen nook or an office space. I sell it without a hole at the top centre which is perfect if you want to display it with a clip, clothespin or washi tape. Or I can punch a centre hole for you so you can loop a piece of twine or ribbon through it.

It was so much work but I am thrilled with how it turned out. I really hope you like it too!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Morning Glory Painting

Watercolor painting of a morning glory by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush

The morning glories in my garden inspired me to do a little watercolour. I have a stack of paintings from the past few months that I hope to convert into prints in the weeks ahead and this will be one of them.

My garden is shifting towards autumn. I want to paint it all but I don't have the time these days. I'm trying to take lots of photographs to use as references and inspiration during the long winter months ahead. I bought some pots of chrysanthemums yesterday, a sure sign that the seasons are changing.

I sometimes wish you could freeze moments in the garden and get things to slow down and linger a little bit longer. It goes too fast. The morning glories are looking absolutely glorious at the moment. I truly understand where their name comes from. I took this photo this morning. They look like the light is coming from within them.

Morning glory vines against a brick wall

This is a tangle of flowers that are growing near the morning glories: gaillardia and verbena bonariensis. If you asked me to list my favourite colours in the garden, red wouldn't be one of them. However, I absolutely adore this combination of red and light violet. I have to tell you something else. I have the worst mental block for 'gaillardia'. I have to look it up, every single year.

Red Gaillardia and Verbena bonariensis

I always have to remind myself that as we are approaching autumn here, that my friends in the southern hemisphere are enjoying spring! In the north, we are dealing with the wistfulness of knowing that our gardens will soon be going to sleep and you are experiencing the joy of spring flowers! For the moment though, in the Montreal region we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather.

I'll leave you with one final photo of my morning glory painting. I hope you are enjoying nature wherever you are and whatever the season.

A morning glory watercolor painting by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Meeko and the Morning Glories

Wheaten terrier and morning glories (Photo by Kathleen Maunder of

Meeko and the morning glories. Ha! I think that would be a good name for a band!

These morning glories reseeded themselves from last year. As they've grown, I've guided them towards the little fence that backs the flower bed. They've twirled and curled around the wire and look so pretty.

I didn't grow morning glories for a couple of years when Meeko was a pup. In those days, he couldn't pass a plant without trying to take a bite and morning glories can make dogs sick. Now he ignores most plants except for grass so I'm able to grow morning glories in my garden again.

The blue-purple of these flowers is one of my favourite colours. I love any warm blue tone. The morning glories have created the perfect backdrop to the light blue salvia. I love when the garden leads the way.

Morning glories and salvia (photo by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush)

There is something very special about morning glory blooms. I think they look like little lanterns, almost as if the light was coming from within them. So very beautiful!

Morning glory photo by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush

Morning glory photo by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush

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