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.

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

🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿

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

🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸

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

πŸ’™ πŸ’œ πŸ’™ πŸ’œ πŸ’™

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to Earth

I am finally back gardening! It was hard to set aside so many cherished activities the past couple of months as I waited for my neck to get better. The good news is that it is improving with physiotherapy. The bad news is that the reason it was vulnerable in the first place is that I have osteoarthritis in my neck. That was hard to accept (especially when I got the diagnosis a day before my birthday) but I suppose finding that out is a good thing as I am learning to be kinder to my neck and not to take it for granted. 

Back in April, I started a big project: revamping the shady garden at the side of our house. The pathway was already there. I created it myself six years ago (paver by paver and wheelbarrow-full of gravel at a time). I still love the pathway but I wasn't happy with the garden. It was especially hard not to like it as it's the view from our dining room window. This is what it looked like in early April.

Pathway and perennial garden in early spring

I completely removed the not-so-great grass that bordered the narrow flower beds. It was a big job but Meeko helped (sort of).

My wheaten terrier Meeko helping me in the garden

I loved this photo of Meeko so much and the way he was looking at me over his back that I painted him in late April. Cutie pie.

Watercolor painting of my wheaten Meeko. Artist: Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush

Once the sod was removed, I added good soil, divided the perennials that were already there (bleeding hearts, astilbe, lady's mantle, masterwort, turtlehead, sidalcea, hostas) and rearranged things. I also removed a huge shrub that was past its prime. When I was doing all of this work in April and early May, I was kind of feeling like Superwoman. Well, guess what? I'm not. I'm human after all. An aging human, my neck reminded me in a not very subtle way. The garden waited for me while I adjusted my pride and learned to treat my neck better through improved posture and daily exercises. 

In the past two weeks, I was finally able to finish my garden project. I weeded, added a few new perennials (coral bells and a shasta daisy) and planted an annual passionfruit vine in a pretty obelisk that my husband Jocelyn gave me for my birthday. Some of the new additions need to fill out a little but now I absolutely love looking at this part of the garden! It feels peaceful and serene.

Garden pathway and perennials by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush
Gravel pathway and perennial beds taken under the branches of a Japanese Maple tree. (Kathleen Maunder - Trowel and Paintbrush)
Tradescantia (spiderwort) and astilbe
Obelisk with passion flower vine and perennial bed
Shasta Daisy - Leucanthemum ‘SantΓ©’

I am happy to announce that I have reopened my shop after having it closed for a month. Yay! I look forward to gardening and painting more in the weeks ahead and sharing my efforts here and on Instagram. Thanks so much for being here!

🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿

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