Category Archives: Artsy Gardens

Gardening as Art ~ Survivors are invited to share news about gardening and original nature photos and other activities in nature which help them to cope with Living With Arachnoiditis

Day 2~ November is Art Every Day Month

Hand made paper & skeleton leaf collage
Found these with my bonzai maples when I was getting ready to tuck them in for winter.

An avid nature lover, hiker, and  gardener when Arachnoiditis entered my life; I had to find a way to keep those healing practices around me. So, I created my own indigenous Bonzai Garden.

See [Downsizing to Bonzai.]

This year as I prepared the roots for the winter season, I came across these two perfectly tiny fully intact miniature leaves that struck me being so charming I must find some way to preserve them.  I decided they would be quite lovely mounted on some of my own home made paper. Here is a photo of them drying on my art table.

Digital Collage of Indigenous Bonzai Roots
Indigenous Bonzai Roots ~ A Photo from my garden

Saying goodbye to the shining days of summer; I often battle with melancholy as winter approaches. It is a great comfort to know that each season this is a manageable and enjoyable task that allows me to get my hands into the earth before the ground freezes. This process helps me remember the beauty of the closing season with gratitude and to feel prepared for whatever winter will bring.


I have decided to participate in Leah Piken Kolidas’ Art Every Day Month Challenge during the Month of November. For the first time, as I do this 30 day challenge, I will be posting my progress HERE for arachnoiditis survivors and advocates.

I hope you will join me for this creative journey. If you are an Arachnoiditis Survivor creating any art during the series that you would like to share with The Art For Arachnoiditis Project feel free to do so in the Art For Arachnoiditis Project Facebook page, share links in the comments below, or submit the work for use in YEAR 2 of the Survivors’ Art Exhibit. (Accepting Entries until Feb 15, 2016.) Although the Art By Survivors’ exhibit is open only to the Survivors; other creative minded individuals are invited to share in all of the other places.

SUBSCRIBE to get the quarterly Art For Arachnoiditis Project Newsletter


SHOP Awareness Art,Your purchase will benefit the Art For Arachnoiditis Projects at the studio. These fair market prices are not tax-deductible purchases.or Make a tax-deductible contribution via our Fiscal Sponsor,  NYFA [New York Foundation for the Arts] Or by check payable to the New York Foundation for the Arts, Memo: The Art For Arachnoiditis Project mailed to: SheilaLynnK Art Studio, 345 South Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895.

To submit original art to this catalog to benefit the Art For Arachnoiditis Project Awareness Efforts. Send submissions with your signed Art In-Kind Form to subject line: Add My Art

This is the first time I will be doing daily art for The Art For Arachnoiditis Project. If you have never seen these posts before; you can get a better idea of what this is all about by checking out a A Few of my Similar Month-long Projects/Posts/Series from the Past.

My 30.30.30 [30 Days, 30 Pieces/posts, 30 minutes each] activities have previously been posted on my blog and on my facebook page. The most recent one I did in September 2015 is available HERE, April 2015 started HERE: 
April 2014 I alternated between painting and drawing HERE andHERE
January 2014 ~ 30 Day Art Journal Project HERE
September 2013 was a daily Mandala Project (which grew and ended up in my 2013 Show, “A Round Now In A Square Time” with artist & friend, Allison Midgley) That project startsHERE
The Show is HERE

Downsizing to Bonzai


[First Maple 2008]

I have always been sort of a nature nut. Long walks in the woods and along country roads and growing foods and flowers have been a source of great joy and peace for the majority of my life.

Although I made extreme efforts to continue gardening in my Sherman Street Garden after arachnoiditis, eventually, it became evident that I would have to reduce the scale of my ambitions. In 2008 I was searching for a hobby for my father who was recovering from surgery. I came across a book in the library that was all about using Native Indigenous trees as Bonzai trees.  Although my father browsed through the book, it wasn’t really something that interested. He had every intention of resuming all of his usual hobbies and activities.

For me, this was a wonderful lead in to an artistic gardening strategy that did not demand too much from my body but gave some relief for the stress  and frustration of my arachnoiditis-burdened mind.

A short early spring stroll around the boundaries of my yard revealed numerous seedlings. I selected three maples and three pines. With a small gardening shovel I loosened them from the soil and put them in small pots to move closer to the house. Sheltered on the side of the garage, this was all that I had to do for the first season.

In the fall, I trimmed the tap roots (maples) back and placed a small flat stone under the roots of all of the tiny trees. I returned them to the soil and watered them. The flat rock underneath helps the roots to spread and keeps them from getting too wet. Trimming the tap root helps to stunt the growth of the tree. Although I did have some guilt about “stunting” anything on purpose at that time, this feeling eased with the knowledge that I was cultivating a companion which would otherwise have been eliminated due to its location related to the established foliage around the yard.

Every spring and fall I repeated these steps and mulched them heavily to protect them from the hardships of winter in upstate NY. The first year I used fallen leaves as mulch. The second, I used leftover mulch from my neglected flowerbeds. When I left my large three story house for a more manageable property near my pain clinic, it was not difficult to bring these potted trees with me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Same Maple, age 4 years]

Moving Day
Moving Day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA [same maple, Spring 2014]

I have since collected other samples to add to my Bonzai garden. Each spring I trim the new leaves and branches to create a shape and form that I find aesthetically pleasing. I do make an effort to mimic the natural shape of the larger version of each type of tree but, sometimes, the artist in me sees something different.

I now have the original maples and an assortment of evergreens and two oaks that I found on brief walks in the woods. I have a small map of each new tree, type, and the date it was found and transplanted. Although I haven’t read anything to confirm it, I believe it is best not to do anything to the roots or “branches” of the oaks until the second year. For all of the samples, it is best to trim and shape new growth while it is still green to minimize the scarring on the surface of the tree. These trees are quite resilient and these markings heal over fairly quickly when done correctly. The trimming process helps to stimulate new growth of small leaves. Trimming the roots also helps to keep the size of the leaf in proportion with the size of the tree. Otherwise, the natural-sized leaf will appear and seems ginormous in comparison to the rest of the tree.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I have the ability and opportunity to spend time in nature, small rocks and stones seem to find their way into my pockets. Overtime, I have added these and some moss from the yard into my Bonzai garden. All of the indigenous trees in the garden still show seasonal changes. As fall temperatures drop and the pain in my body increases, I can simply sit on my back step and enjoy the vibrant reds and oranges of my mini maple trees.