Daisy Hebb: Science and Watercolors
And year-round plans for your garden
Art and science can be satisfying companions.
It may be edging on toward the end of February and you’ve already hung up that wall calendar you got as a holiday gift. But you may need another, and this particular one. Artist Daisy Hebb, who splits her time between Strafford, Vermont and Cambridge, Massachusetts, is melding art with science. Her calendars feature her beautiful watercolors and information about the natural world found right outside your window. She provides a gentle nudge into treating the planet—beginning with your own backyard—with the respect it deserves.
According to Daisy, this project, which she describes as both an aspirational profession and a hobby,
“. . . is my attempt to present the natural world in the light of something to care for, be curious about and, with more knowledgeable stewardship that can serve to support and heal human existence. Too many times, I see people scared of bugs and dowsing land with chemicals, whilst perhaps not fully aware of what they're doing to the air they breath, the soil they walk upon, and the other flora and fauna contaminated in the same blast.”
Hebb has teamed with environmental scientists to bring you information you’ll want to know. In a brief browse through her carefully-researched, hand-lettered prose, I learned a myriad of facts that surprised. A random sample: most bees live solitary lives, not in hives, and as a result are generally non-aggressive; American bees pollinate plants differently (“buzz pollination”) than do their European counterparts; and showy lady slippers are native to the northeastern US and are becoming rare.
The tone is far from scolding, and the content is not doom and gloom. There’s plenty of positive suggestions for what an average person might do to improve the health of the planet, such as choosing seeds not treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, or growing honeysuckle, or using leaves for mulching, or choosing a native rather than an exotic tree to plant. Not a gardener? Buy local blueberries, shop the farmer’s market, and make a lasagna with what you bring home.
If you are a gardener, each month’s page provides timely tasks that allow you to shape a to-do list throughout the entire year. It helps to keep your garden centered in your mind even when it, and you, are buried in snow.
There are three calendars from which to choose, each with a series of original artworks and accompanying research: the Seasonal Garden, Native Plants and Their Pollinators, and the Keystone Species. A few minutes with one of them is informative and entertaining, and would be great to share during story time with your kids. Maybe you will be changed by the experience, and in Daisy’s words, “ . . . hopefully are even inspired to let a little lawn go wild.”
The calendars, as well as notecards, are available locally, including at Norwich Bookstore in Norwich and Oodles in White River Junction, and through the artist’s site on Etsy (click here.) For more information and some close-ups of the calendar’s artworks, click here to listen to Daisy Hebb discuss her work on YouTube.
(Photos, top and bottom, courtesy of the artist: center photo by Susan B. Apel)
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.