Wildflower Wednesday: Maybe an orchid?

Colored pencil sketch of a red-stalked, leafless wildflower with round seed capsules, found at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Could this be a coral root orchid? Enquiring minds want to know!

This unusual looking plant was growing by the side of the Bridle Trail in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. It’s just under a foot tall, and is leafless with a dark red, subtly striped stalk.

Arizona wildflower, leafless, with a red stalk and round seed capsules.

I can hardly wait to find out what it is!

I immediately thought it might be a coral root orchid. Unfortunately, the seed capsules are roundish, and the two coral roots in Arizona have ovalish seed capsules. I sent in a photo to one of the rangers, who had said she would pass the information on to one of the botany specialists on staff.

If you have an inkling as to which species this might be, please drop me a line in the comment box! 🙂

Wouldn’t it be so exciting if it were an orchid?

Welcome Wildflower Wednesday link-partiers! The Wildflower Wednesday link party is the brainchild of Gail Eichelberger of Clay and Limestone blog. Go take a look at some of the exciting late-summer wildflower images people are sharing from their gardens and hikes. Enjoy!

How’m I doin’? First quarter update

Performance reviews are a boon and a bane, aren’t they? If you want to achieve a goal that is very complex or important, it helps a lot to look over your progress regularly to see what you’ve accomplished and what still needs to be done to reach success.

Here’s a brief update on how I’m doing on my own goals for 2013:

Corrie and Nevis, Scottish terrier puppies, on the sofa.

Caught at that rare instant of quiet! Corrie and Nevis are learning good manners, slowly.

  • 1. Civilize the hairy barbarians. Corrie has successfully completed the CGC certificate. Nevis is signed up for a recall class in May.
  • 2. Create a relaxing and welcoming home environment. The bedroom floor has been re-tiled, and a large strip where the plaster was missing when we removed has been patched up nicely. I sewed some cute fleece dog crate covers. We now have some lawn furniture. The guest bedroom, a banquette for the breakfast nook and some window treatments in key areas are the next on the list.


View of an orchid and sketches in the artist's studio

Getting my orchid-painting mojo in tune! Studying an orchid hybrid in preparation for the field season ahead.


  • 3. The New Mexico Orchid Project. Fortunately, none of the orchids in question start blooming til late May, lol. I have bought a guide book with photos. Next step is to contact the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and set up a guide for hiking into their restricted reserves in the Ortiz Mountains at the right season.
  • 4. Write a children’s book for submitting to publishers. Kind of falling off the radar here. 🙁
  • 5. The Silver Fox Chronicles. Got a cute haircut and found a hairstylist I like. Also discovered tinted moisturizer.
  • 6. Swim 3 miles a week. This month I swam 14.23 miles, for a total of 30.48 miles so far. The quarterly goal should be 39. I fell behind while the house repairs were being done in January and early February. This is a goal I can slowly get caught up on, but it means I have to stay focused on scheduling the workouts.
  • 7. Back re-hab work 4 sessions a week. So far, so good.
  • 8. Learn to ride my new bike. Waiting for spring on this one!
  • 9. Studio schedule of 10 hours per week. I am now so far behind in completed hours that I can never get caught up. Time to punt and figure out how to adapt this goal to one that I can successfully achieve. I’ve already started counting blogging and other studio-based projects as part of my total.


Valentines made with hand-lettering, sketchbook page by Wren M. Allen.

I love inspirational quotes! Some Valentine’s day lettering practice in my sketchbook.


  • 10. Experiment with new media. Picked up a couple of books on lettering, and have been playing around with them. Nothing worth showing off—yet.
  • 11. Improve my blog and attract more readers. I’ve joined the Bloglovin’ network, and have managed to stay on track with writing 3 blog posts per week, or 13 posts per month.



The end of March is a good time to look back. Discouragement is setting in, and the excitement of starting something is waning. It’s reassuring to look at your concrete accomplishments, and important to notice the problem spots so you can start working on resolving them before they become unmanageable.

How about you? How are you doing so far on your goals for 2013?

Be it resolved, 2013: Goals for the new year, part 1

This year, I have some personal and artistic goals I’d like to achieve. I’m making myself accountable for them by posting them here, and plan on posting updates here.

They're so cute when they're sleeping! Nevis and Corrie recover from one adventure and plot the next one.

They’re so cute when they’re sleeping! Nevis and Corrie recover from one adventure and plot the next one.

1. Civilize the hairy barbarians.

Nevis and Corrie are loving and lovable, but even after graduating from puppy kindergarten, they are very naughty Scotties! 🙂

By civilized, I mean:

  • Pass the CGC test (Canine Good Citizen). Volunteering would be a lot of fun with these guys.
  • Good door manners
  • Good people greeting manners
  • Loose-leash walking and recall so we can go hiking together!


Cheery and welcoming is the goal for our home this year. Source: housebeautiful.com via Wrenaissance on Pinterest



2. Create a well-ordered, welcoming and gracious home environment. We really have not put a lot of focus over the years in decorating our house or being hosts. I would really like to change that this year. Look for posts under the category, The Art of Living.


Margaret Mee, my botanical art heroine, at work in the Amazon. Source: t-h-e-f-l-o-w-e-r-s.blogspot.com via Wrenaissance on Pinterest



3. The New Mexico Orchid Project: Santa Fe County. One of my childhood dreams was to be an intrepid lady explorer, like Margaret Mead and Isabella Bird. The opportunity to go on expeditions and journeys is one of the things that attracts me most to botanical art. Sketching and photographing the wild orchids of New Mexico to paint a series of botanical portraits should satisfy my lust for adventure and artistic need to create.


Ezra Jacks Keats: The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats, September 09, 2011 – January 29, 2012 One of my childhood favorites: I remember it from Capt. Kangaroo’s story hour. Source: thejewishmuseum.org via Wrenaissance on Pinterest



4. Write and illustrate a children’s book and submit the dummy to publishers. This is a dream of many years’ standing. 2013 is the year it becomes reality. Watch here for posts under the category, Childrens’ Books.

Earnestine Shepherd, 74 year-old body builder. Foxy lady and inspiration! Source: washingtonpost.com via Wrenaissance on Pinterest



5. Be a silver fox, not a gray beaver. Ladies, let’s face it, it takes a lot more work to look and feel vibrant and healthy as we age. Basic hygiene and fitness routines can only get you so far. It’s embarassing to admit, but this fall’s focus on dog-walking and house projects has caused me to ignore the finer points of grooming. This goal is about taking the time to spritz a little perfume, use tinted moisturizer, and getting dressed instead of just covered.

As Fernando says, “It is better to look good than to feel good—and darling, you look mah-velous.” 🙂

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