The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

SPRINGTIME EARLY BLOOMER

The Cutleaf Syntheris was among Mrs. Trowbridge's favorite flowers. Though she had great respect and admiration for it, she didn't realize just how special this high meadow early bloomer really is. In addition to its unusually hardy nature, the Cutleaf Syntheris (Syntheris pinnatifida var. lanugosa) is one of eight "Olympic endemics", rare wildflowers found here and nowhere else on earth.

Imagine being in darkness all winter and well into the spring. Much of Mrs. T's journal work was done by lantern light. They used lupine seed oil for their lanterns because lupines are plentiful, and easy to find. It was the oil of choice in their cooking too. They preferred it over other plant seed oils because it didn't go rancid so quickly.
Here is my photograph of one of the world's rarest wild flowers. Don't look for it on Google Image...this flower is so rare and special, it's hard to find ANY photo evidence of it, not even in the wild flower books. We first encountered the Cutleaf Syntheris on the summit of Blue Mountain, in the north Olympic Mountains. It was Memorial Day weekend...I caught it at the end of its blooming season, long before the other wildflowers had even begun to bloom.

42 comments:

Michael O'Connell said...

as usual… a great story to accompany the great illustrations… thanks for sharing your rare picture and rare talent…

Doug said...

huh... around here we sprinkle Cutleaf Syntheris on our salads for a garnish... :o)

Bearuh said...

Oh my gosh your site is cute!

shawn said...

everything about you is enchanting and magical.

Marion said...

Rare!

Sweet Pea said...

Very delicate and ethereal, I like it a lot!

Ginger*:)* said...

Mrs. Trowbridge. You are astounding. Not only did you tempt us with the story of the 'Synthyris pinnatifida variety lanuginosa' but you dared us to find it on Google. If you do an image search for the above named wild flower, you will certainly see a wonder. The kittentail emerging from the snowy ground is truly a wonder to behold. You are so sweet to share this most beautiful spring beacon with us.

HARDWAX said...

The photograph is so lovely, but your depiction of this flower, is really fine work.

I am envious of Mrs Trowbridge, even the dark winter nights and tunnels for travel sound cozy and warm.

aynaku said...

FUNtastic blog! you got a new fan...

Debra Cooper said...

One of the true hopes that spring is on its way when such beauty can emerge from the blankets of snow.
Mrs. Trowbridge keeps us inspired.

Marieke said...

thanks for bringing the wonderful world of mrs. Trowbridge to my attention!

TXArtcGal said...

I truly am enjoying the tales of Mrs. Trowbridge!...as well as your wonderful illustrations! Thanks for sharing a part of Mrs. Trowbridge's life...and, a photo of that rare beauty!

tiffinix said...

Wonderful story to go with the post. But these particular illustrations are simply gorgeous! The flower in the first one - is just wow. And of course the second one with the little hiking outfit - adorable!

Toni said...

Now I know one reason I love your story and illustrations so much it's because you are a nature lover. Am I right?
I love how you take from your nature experience and turn it into a tale of folklore. Thank you for the wonderful read.

carla said...

What a special treat to share this beautiful flower with us! I am always so touched by those first little flowers that come up through snow...they are like the explorers who go out ahead of the rest to see if the territory is safe! Your painting looks so delicate in the lavenders and pinks, and the little faces peeking over the ridge add to the magic:>

Michele said...

Mrs. Trowbridge's favorite flower is beautiful.

The Tart said...

Those little faces are just too adorable. ; )

*Sigh* of Tarty inner childness. I love your work here! Delightful, natch!

Smooch,
The Tart

khya said...

That is beautiful! Both story and illustration are amazing, and that flower is just so perfect!

Trevor Pitt said...

Wow! Awesome vignettes. You certainly know design as well. Your characters are brilliant! It's fantastic that there's such an elaborate on-going journal. Mrs. T is absolutlely right about the Google search! Now, let's hope she never sees the other crazy things I Google for.

minacristina said...

I just love your work :)

Angela said...

Once again wonderful illustrations to go with a great story. I'm glad you said not to look for the flower. (I would have otherwise.)

I just noticed on your other blog about you being on TLC. I'm going to be sure to check it out. How exciting!!

brandon bolt said...

Wow, you've got a highly conceptual art blog here. Have you read Hitherby Dragons? Your approach reminds me of that. Geared towards the somewhat younger at heart of course. Clever! And the art is perfectly suited to it all too.

Anyway, thanks for dropping by my site – I don't know that I'd have ever found this one otherwise. Well, maybe. About a 1 in 40 chance per week, the way I click around on IF.

disappointed said...

what a perfectly rare and beautiful flower

Twisselman said...

Beautiful. And thanks for the interesting info on this rare little flower.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

Ah what beauty was yours in that moment of discovery! I would have walked on and not known its rare gift! Thank you for sharing such details of life, the littlest details please me, especially this one

Kaladda said...

It's a very pretty flower. I really like your drawing of it.

Anonymous said...

wow this is the coolest blog ever! you really need to publish this stuff as a book! it looks fantastic!! it has a very authentic feel. great work again!

-chris

Roz Foster said...

Bron, this installment was particularly lyrical. Beautiful words. And what stately little springtime party of a shoot that Cutleaf Syntheris is!

phinner said...

Sweet illustrations! I love learning at the same time I'm enjoying art. Extra bonus!!!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my IF post
: .)

ValGalArt said...

Hi Bron! I can see why this would be Mrs. T's favourite flower it is so beautifully rendered. The tunnel is fantastic and this rare flower is most excellent! Wonderful!!!

cristosova said...

They wear exquisite winter outfits! I wonder if the brown coat-like cape was knit by Mrs. Trowbridge herself. Do the shrews have "fashion"-boutiques?

All in all I´d say Mrs. Trowbridge has an exquisite taste: thanks for bringing the rare flower to us!

AndyDoodler said...

Boomin' awesome! The snow-tunnel's really cool too

AndyDoodler said...

Bloomin'

creative kismet said...

Thanks for sharing this truly gorgeous flower! The little villagers are so precious peeking out of the snow!

Lukas said...

Wow, great illustrations/stories, very very good. :)

Christine Lim Simpson said...

Awesome illos! Enjoy the stories behind them.

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