Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Monday, February 8, 2016

In A Vase on Monday

Each Monday,  Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts this addictive meme which challenges us to arrange material from the garden in a container to enjoy indoors.  Click here to join in the fun!

Until a Saturday trip to Vashon Island, I was hard-pressed for inspiration this week's bouquet.   On the side of the road were several small piles of Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) AKA Madrona and Arbutus branches, their cinnamon-colored barkless smoothness demanding that the car be stopped.

The leaves were gone and there were no Madrona trees nearby so someone must have dumped them and perhaps deer ate the leaves?  Anyway the ones small enough to fit in the car came home with me. However, most of what's blooming outside is a bit small for these large branches.  They could go in a container by themselves but I couldn't think of one that would work until just now as I'm writing this. Maybe next week.

Snowdrops are plentiful right now and had I been thinking, a small bouquet of those with some pretty greenery would have been just the thing but that didn't hit me until just now either.   Crocus tommasianus are blooming but I don't know if they cut well or not, what was blooming last week is still going now but has already been used, and I can't bring myself to cut the hellebores.  What to do?
Cheat, that's what.

You perhaps remember this container from my trip to Wight's Nursery, already used in December.  It's since moved outside.  How about arranging plants instead of cut flowers? 

Such a sunny and calm day meant that doing this outside would be delightful. 

A new Euphorbia 'Ruby Glow' and an orange Libertia from Jungle Fever along with some other plants hanging around got stuffed in.  Cyclamen coum is still glowing with radiant blooms months after it came home.

Black mondo grass and some red twig dogwood add more color.

One of the dark-leaved bergenias echos the burgundy color in the veins of the heuchera and that of the Euphorbia.

 I should have elevated this to photograph it.  

Oh well, it looked lovely when I put it on a column outside to enjoy at eye level.  The Madrona branches were inserted several times but just didn't work with this so they'll wait to find a purpose.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Attending the Home and Garden Show at the Tacoma Dome last weekend, I was especially drawn to the excellent Vintage market.  So many things that I remember using - the same kind of electric typewriter (really uptown for sure) that a college housemate let me use to type papers, a set of mugs identical to one I once received in new condition as a gift, etc.  Sometimes when looking at antiques and vintage items, the fact that they have a story and past makes me smile and other times, the realization that everything we own will someday be either garbage or floating around in places like this makes me a little sad.

 A dear departed friend once said as part of a memorable sermon that everything we love, a house, a person, possessions, even life itself, will eventually be taken from us.   These items are reminders both of simpler and in some ways happier times and of the temporal nature of life.  Like a beautiful piece of music, a life vibrates in time/dances upon a stage for a moment and is gone.

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it, there ain't nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.
But since we're on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride.

 - James Taylor   "Secret O' Life"

"Temporary" by John Bucchino

Honey come here I have something to tell you
It won't make things perfect 
And it may not make sense 
But someday you'll see it as clear as my smile
 Do you know the word temporary ?
 It means only for a little while.      
And everything is temporary
A friend moves, a tooth aches
A pet dies, a toy breaks 
The detours a life takes
Everything is temporary
A storm clears, a tear dries
A wing heals, a bird flies
The trust lighting your eyes
I know you want things to stay the same 
I know it's hard to watch a childhood
Going up in smoke
It's hard for me to watch a child 
Who's growing up
And choke back all the warnings
I could scream
To protect you from the things
That aren't as solid as they seem
But then, I'm only temporary 
Everything is temporary 
A child leaves, a heart breaks
A love dies, a world shakes 
The difference one life makes

The trick is:
Hold it now as tightly as you can
Whether it's your favorite toy
Or a sad little boy who's trying hard
To be a brave little man 
Hold it tighter 'cause you know 
You'll have to let it go 

If you learn this, though
You won't feel so sad: 
A playmete, a tearstain 
A Christmas, a dad 
The best times 
The worst pain 
All temporary

Looking at all of this stuff is like going through someone else's attic except that everything isn't wrapped in newspaper, stuffed away in boxes, covered with dust.  How fun is that?
 Although I admire the weathered boards and peeling paint look of shabby chic, I can't pull it off very well.  Probably because there's too much dark wood in our house or something.

This lady was a serious temptation and would have made an interesting addition to the greenhouse but she stayed.

She's obviously learned to enjoy the moment.  As a page of the Ziggy calendar in my college dorm room read, "We should enjoy here because there's no here there."
 The bank in my hometown had a scale like this on display that had been used there to weigh gold.
Aren't we an interesting species?  Some shiny rocks have value and are used as currency...hmmm.

Speaking of the temporary nature of things, did you know that the timbers used to frame the roof of the dome were harvested from trees blown down as a result of the eruption of Mount Saint Helens? At the time of construction, the Tacoma Dome was the world's  largest wooden dome and the aluminum super grid is still one of the world's largest.
May you  enjoy each moment of our temporary time in this life as fully as possible!  Happy weekend and happy gardening (and junking) all!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Out in the Greenhouse

Things in the greenhouse slow down a bit in the winter but with the days growing longer, there are a few things happening.

Paper white and 'Angels in Water' narcissus are perfuming the air. 

Jasmine vines blooming and pumping out their own strong fragrance.  It's really smelly out there right now.

First of the amaryllis (Hippeastrum) to bloom.  There's another bloom stalk coming up as well.  This should look lovely still on Valentine's Day.
 Kalanchoe uniflora 'Coral Bells'

It's pretty full but soon a lot of these will be traveling outside for their annual summer vacation. 

Alan (It's not work, It's Gardening)  inspired me to try and winter over  my papyrus instead of getting a new one each year.  It looks like it'll make it through with flying colors!

Tillandsias seem very happy here, perhaps because they get drenched weekly in the winter, more often in the summer with a hose.

Spanish moss, also a tillandsia, seems to like this treatment as well. 

This poor indoor space gets ignored except on weekends during the darkest part of the year even though there are lots of lights to illuminate it at night.

Pregnant Onion seems to enjoy living with all of her children.  You know how kids are these days, you just can't get them to leave the nest.

Like magic, another amaryllis is popping up. 

While overhead, a brugmansia trumpets in the returning of the light. 

I hope you enjoyed spending some time exploring inside with me today. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

Wednesday Vignette is hosted each week by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to see her Vignette this week along with links to those of other participating bloggers.

My vignette this week comes from my visit to Earthwise Architectural Salvage (post to come.)  A year or so ago, I read in the newspaper about an old middle school being renovated and much of the older furniture being brought to Earthwise.   I'd not so long ago spent some time at that school while working on my master's degree.  I remember thinking that the auditorium, especially, was a grand example of the grace and scale of schools built in the early part of the twentieth century.  Here are a few of the seats from that very auditorium.  Who knows how many performances they've witnessed over the years, how many young lives transformed by learning, by the arts, by ideas.  Rows of lockers have served their time as well.  Will any of these find a new purpose or is this one last stop before the end?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In Some Vases at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show

The garden show season is upon us!  Portland's Yard, Garden, and Patio show happens next weekend and the following week is The Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  Each year, these shows signal the beginning of a new gardening season and have become for me as much an indication of the changing season  as are the Camellias, Snowdrops, and Hellebores.  Tacoma has a Home and Garden show in it's picturesque Tacoma Dome which, unfortunately, has become more home and less garden oriented over it's thirty-three years.  There are still landscape designers, firms, and so forth and a couple of well done gardens (more on that later) and it's a great place to find all sorts of resources for home projects big and small.  I personally found a local company that resurfaces old sinks and tubs, something that our upstairs claw-foot tub desperately needs.  (See Heather's post here about having this done to her tub.)  An area of the show which is spectacular is the vintage market.  This year, there seemed to be a lot of flowers incorporated into the displays.  I considered using these yesterday for In a Vase on Monday but thought better of it.

 More and more at these vintage markets, I find myself waxing nostalgic when spying objects that I once used like phones with dials, electric typewriters and dishes.   These canning jars in their rusting rack make a rather clever flower receptacles.

As are the bed springs with bottles. 

Unusual but interesting- Pussy Willows, Dried Banksias, and rope.

I found a silver plated tea pot, priced at less than a dollar as the finial had broken off the lid, at a thrift store the other day and brought it home with the idea of using it as a vase.  Great minds think alike!

Loved this one for some reason.

One of the great things about this vintage/ shabby chic movement is the ability to combine disparate items to create interesting still life scenes.
A full post about the vintage market and the rest of the show will come later.  
Happy gardening and arranging!