I drew this little garden study for the Churchville Nature Center a while back, for a black/white brochure for their Native Plant Sale. All the flowers & ferns in the drawing are native to Pennsylvania. I didn’t draw this from life, it is a compilation of several plants in the sale which I had to research and arrange as if they were growing together.
While most flowers are naturally painted in color, this job challenged me to create an attractive garden scene using only black and white. Luckily, I was given a list of the plants for sale and could choose which I used for this brochure cover illustration. From illustrating for so many years for Burpee Seeds I knew that flowers, while colorful, often have interesting and differing leaf shapes, habits (the way they grow and branch out) and flower structures. I chose plants that were very different in these areas, to distinguish them as much as possible. Also from Burpee I knew to examine the mature growth height of each plant and arrange them as a horticulturalist would, with the shortest in front, tallest in back, to give maximum exposure to each variety. I added in a few butterflies and a hummingbird to give the drawing a little life, since they are attracted to these flowers.
The tallest in the back are wood asters, with long stems topped with daisy-like flowers. Below them, where the hummingbird is stopping, are phlox, whose flowers bunch together into balls like hydrangea. Far right are liatris, with spiky, furry stalks, and in the very front, various ferns, which gracefully splay out to make an interesting bottom outline.