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A New Garden Year

January 1, 2015

Cover_3New Year 2015 is special for me, both because I moved into the new addition to my house on New Year’s Eve and woke up for the first time in my new bedroom this morning, and also because 2015 will be the year that I begin work on my new front garden.

As I have for the past several years, I’ve created Jean’s Garden gift calendars for family and friends to take them through the new year. This is the fourth year that I’ve had calendars produced by Lulu.com, a company with a well-deserved reputation for the high quality of their color reproduction. The one exception is that blues do not reproduce well, appearing a bit muddy and much more violet than blue. I’m making a note to myself for the future that I should always compensate for this in any photo images that feature blue or purple flowers by adjusting the color values to enhance the blue tones and subdue the red tones.

I have also developed solutions to two image issues in Lulu’s large premium calendar format. I find that if I use the Lulu option to include a caption for images, I end up with awkwardly shaped images (too wide for their height). My solution is to bypass Lulu’s caption by using Picasa’s collage application to create a white border around each image and then utilizing my Canon photo-editing program to add a caption to the white border beneath the image. The other issue is how to use a calendar image for the cover, which has a portrait orientation in contrast with the landscape orientation of the images inside the calendar. I’m particularly satisfied with this year’s solution (see above), which involved creating a collage of five landscape images from my calendar, one of which is featured in the center of the cover and the other four of which are inset above and below it.

Here are my images for this year’s calendar (click on any image to enlarge it):

January_4 February_3
January February
March_3 April_3
March April
May_3 June_3
May June
July_4 August_3
July August
September_3 October_3
September October
November_3 December_3
November December

Anyone wishing to purchase a copy of the 2015 Jean’s Garden calendar can do so at Lulu.com.

Wishing you all a happy 2015, both in and out of the garden!

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39 Comments leave one →
  1. Nell Jean permalink
    January 1, 2015 9:43 pm

    The photo choices are great, Jean. Someone gave me a Blossoms calendar for Christmas. I like yours better.

    • January 2, 2015 9:25 pm

      Thanks for the compliment, Nell Jean. I enjoy the process of choosing my calendar photos each year (which sometimes includes a trip outdoors specifically to get just the right images for certain months, as was true this year for the September, October, and November images). Happy New Year to you.

  2. January 2, 2015 2:09 am

    A lovely calendar and I love the walk taking centre stage on the cover! May 2015 remain a memorable year for you Jean – you sure started it on a very high note. wish you joy as your new life takes shape!
    🙂 Jack

    • January 2, 2015 9:27 pm

      Jack, 2015 has a lot of promise to live up to — but seeing the end in sight on my construction project is making me very happy. Happy New Year to you and best wishes for your own life transition.

  3. January 2, 2015 5:17 am

    Beautiful! I particularly like September and November. Congratulations on the new addition!

    • January 2, 2015 9:29 pm

      Cindy, Those two are my favorites, too. Interestingly, I took them both on the same day, when I took a walk along my rural road to get away from the construction and my attention was caught by the vibrant color of the aster blooming in a vacant lot and then noticed the milkweed pod nearby. I think some days my photographic eye is just better than other days — and that particular day was a very good one.

  4. January 2, 2015 11:51 am

    What a lovely idea to share your garden on a calendar, Jean! I’m a new follower and look forward to exploring your blog archives. Wishing you a New Year filled with possibilities! ♡

    • January 2, 2015 9:33 pm

      Dawn, Welcome to my garden and thanks for commenting. This is my sixth year doing gift calendars of garden images. The first year, I was nervous about how they would be received, but they turned out to be a big hit. A couple of friends have told me that I’m never allowed to stop creating gift calendars! If you are interested in what the calendar process looks like, you can find my accounts of each calendar year (and the lessons learned each year) by clicking on the “calendar” category in my archives. Happy New Year!

      • January 2, 2015 11:16 pm

        Thanks so much for the details, Jean. I will check out your accounts of your past garden calendars. Over the years, I have created several digital slide shows highlighting a year in my garden. Weekly photos of my perennial beds and herb garden were set to music. It always made a nice remembrance of each gardening year in my Midwest garden! I’m looking forward to visiting your blog often, Jean. So much to learn from other gardeners! ♡

  5. January 2, 2015 2:59 pm

    Happy New Year! Glad to hear you are in your new bedroom. it must be a great feeling.

    • January 2, 2015 9:34 pm

      Carolyn, Happy New Year to you and your family. It does indeed feel great to be (finally!) in the new bedroom. And as is true for so many things in life, now that I’m enjoying the fruits of my labors, I’m quickly forgetting the pain of the process. Maybe you can come and see it in person this summer.

  6. January 2, 2015 4:43 pm

    It’s a beautiful calendar Jean. Congratulations upon finishing your bedroom and I look forward to seeing what you do with the garden. Best wishes for a happy new year!

    • January 2, 2015 9:36 pm

      Kris, I’m already dreaming about the new garden. This afternoon, I was standing at that enormous window, looking out and imagining flower beds. A very Happy New Year to you.

  7. January 2, 2015 5:28 pm

    so much joy dances in the ‘woke up in my new bedroom this morning’!!

    • January 2, 2015 9:37 pm

      Diana, It is a very joyful experience. The light in the room (with windows on three sides) is everything I hoped for and more.

  8. January 2, 2015 7:59 pm

    Lovely images! So many different moods as the seasons change. I hope 2015 brings you even more great garden views!

    • January 2, 2015 9:38 pm

      Thank you, James, and Happy New Year. Much of 2015 will be devoted to creating new garden views — but it will probably be a few years before those new gardens are mature enough to become calendar pin-ups.

  9. lilith permalink
    January 3, 2015 3:57 am

    I’ll lokk fwd to seeing what you create in your new garden…

    • January 7, 2015 10:37 pm

      Lilith, I’m looking forward to starting work on it in spring.

  10. January 4, 2015 8:51 am

    Jean I marvel at your knowledge in creating a calendar and one day if I attempt this I will use your ideas. Wishing you a very Happy Gardening New Year. Looking forward to your new garden in 2015!

    • January 7, 2015 10:38 pm

      Donna, The calendar is really surprisingly easy to do. I imagine the most difficult part for you would be choosing among all your wonderful photos.

  11. January 5, 2015 8:51 pm

    So happy for you Jean and look forward to seeing the progress in your front gardens! Beautiful calendar images!

    • January 7, 2015 10:40 pm

      Kathy, One day this week, I found myself standing at that big bedroom window and looking out at the space outside it that is destined to become my new fragrant garden. It is one of my high-priority areas to work on in the spring.

  12. debsgarden permalink
    January 5, 2015 11:23 pm

    Happy New Year, Jean! How exciting to start the year in your new addition and with plans for a new garden; I am looking forward to your upcoming posts. Your calendar is so special; I know the recipients must treasure it. I love November’s seed pod!

    • January 7, 2015 10:41 pm

      Deb, the November seed pod is my favorite image from this year’s calendar. You know how sometimes you see an image framed in your mind’s eye and know it will be a good one; this was one of those.

  13. curbstonevalley permalink
    January 7, 2015 11:27 pm

    My resolution for the new year is to get back into the blogosphere this season, so I had to stop by and catch up. How fun that you’re still using Lulu…us too! Of course, the last two years the goats have taken over our calendar entirely, but that’s because our gardens have languished in the drought. I had not noticed the blue reproduction issue, but I probably haven’t had much blue in my photographs recently, I’ll definitely watch out of the that. I don’t why I didn’t think to arrange images in a collage format, too, especially for the cover. The portrait cover image is so large, it always gives me fits making sure the software is happy with the resolution, and finding one image I want to use, that is in portrait view, isn’t always easy! Looks you found a great solution to that problem, and your photographs are gorgeous. Your ‘Orange Bounty’ daylily really pops, too! Happy New Year, Jean!

    • January 13, 2015 9:30 pm

      Clare, I’m also trying to get back into a more consistent blogging schedule.
      The problem with reproducing blues isn’t specific to Lulu; it’s the same issue that was familiar in the days of making prints from film. By the way, did you notice that the Lulu premium calendar shrunk in size this year. I haven’t decided yet whether I like the new or old size better.
      ‘Orange Bounty’ is a favorite of mine, both because it blooms later in the season than most and because it is a vigorous bloomer that lives up to its name.

  14. January 8, 2015 4:33 am

    Oh I’m bewitched by that image of the seed pod Jean. Will have to investigate whether Lulu operates this side of the pond. Happy New Year – may 2015 treat you and your garden gently xxx

    • January 13, 2015 9:35 pm

      Anna, Each year I seem to have one photo in the calendar that I think is special, and this year that special image was the milkweed seed pod. Lulu says that it operates in over 200 countries, so I would imagine that the UK would be one of them. Happy New Year to you!

  15. January 10, 2015 10:49 am

    Calender looks terrific, good luck with your new garden.

    • January 13, 2015 9:36 pm

      Alistair, I am so looking forward to getting started on the new garden. And, unlike what happens when you move, I get to create a new garden without having to give up the old one.

  16. joenesgarden permalink
    January 10, 2015 3:33 pm

    Beautiful images, Jean. Happy new year and happy new home!

    • January 13, 2015 9:37 pm

      Happy New Year, Joene! I am loving my “new” home and my new retired life. 🙂

  17. January 10, 2015 4:46 pm

    Hope you enjoy your new room. It’s exciting to have plans for a new garden as well. Your calendar is lovely. I’ve been wanting to find a good place to print one this year. I’d used Blurb for a book one time, but they didn’t seem to do calendars well, that I could figure out anyway. I take another look at Lulu. Thanks, Susie

    • January 13, 2015 9:42 pm

      Susie, Do take another look at Lulu. I know several garden bloggers who have been very happy with their calendars. I sometimes worry that they are very self-indulgent gifts, and I’m always a little bit surprised by how much many of my friends and family members look forward to them.
      I am very much enjoying all my new rooms, and find myself staring out the windows thinking about garden possibilities.
      Thanks for visiting.

  18. January 16, 2015 4:53 pm

    Hi Jean, I love personal garden calendars like this. I still have the 20013 garden calendar that was given to my by my friend made from the “Year in a Small Garden” series of pictures, where I took one shot of the garden from the same spot around the same time each month to make up a year in 12 pictures.

    • January 22, 2015 10:10 pm

      Sunil, I remember that series of photos on your blog; I loved them. How thoughtful of your friend to make them into a calendar for you.

  19. January 22, 2015 9:34 am

    I’m late with this, but what a great idea. Your photographs and choices are just beautiful. Quite inspiring.

    • January 22, 2015 10:12 pm

      Pat, Choosing the photographs is the most fun part of this project. February and March are usually the greatest challenge; after all, it would get pretty boring if I showed my garden as it is in these months — snow, snow and more snow 😉 .

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