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Abundant Future: Cultivating Diversity in Garden, Farm, and Field


Heirloom Blueberry Branch #1

Vaccinium corymbosum 'Stanley'

I fell in love with blueberries early in my years of painting, and I have yet to tire of their evolving colors and simple beauty. Initially, I had wanted to paint the heirloom highbush blueberry plant ‘Elizabeth’, as a tribute to our first grandchild named Elizabeth, who is just as sweet as a little blueberry. I was thwarted in my plan, having missed the ripe ‘Elizabeth’ berries by a few weeks. I settled on the available heirloom blueberries, the ‘Stanley’ -- not quite as poetic a name as Elizabeth, but timing is everything!

This painting depicts the ‘Stanley’ heirloom blueberry with its slow explosion of colors: beginning as green berries with hints of rose; then slow-growing berries of magenta and violet; and eventually ripe, beautiful berries of indigo blue. The suggestion of the branch beneath the upper left leaf was an area that I found an especially interesting challenge.

Heirloom blueberries are cultivars that have been in continuous production for over 50 years, and include many first- and second-generation crosses made by the original horticulturalists (Elizabeth White, Frederick Coville, and Arlen Draper). The names of some early heirloom highbush blueberry plants include: ‘Stanley’, ‘Rubel’, ‘Jersey’ and ‘Elizabeth’. Heirloom blueberries have seeds that are possible to regrow and pass on from one generation to the next.

Over a hundred years ago, the USDA botanist Frederick Coville wrote his report, “Taming the Wild Blueberry,” published by the USDA, which led to a collaborative effort with cranberry grower Elizabeth Coleman White to cultivate blueberries from the wild. Their first commercial blueberry crop was harvested in 1916. Coville named one of the earliest heirloom cultivars for his eldest son, Stanley. It is still considered one of the sweetest blueberries ever to be produced.


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Read more about this artist’s work: 23rd Annual

Abundant Future-scanlon heirloon-blueberry-branch-

Vaccinium corymbosum 'Stanley'

Heirloom Blueberry Branch #1

Watercolor on vellum

14 x 10 inches

©2020 Connie Scanlon

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

All artwork copyrighted by the artist. Copying, saving, reposting, or republishing of artwork prohibited without express permission of the artist.

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