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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Drought-Tolerant Tree - Is There Life After Death?

When driving by these topiary trees in exposed aggregate pots on a sidewalk where they bake in summer and shiver in winter, I feel sorry for them.

Behind them is a concrete block building which recently got a new tenant and a snazzy and bright paint job.  The poor trees were left behind by the former occupants and were neglected for a few months as the building was vacant.  Two, like the one above, survived.  One did not.  Well, it was done with life as we know it (or was it just unsightly?  Either way, it's dead now.) but has been reborn in a way.

It's quite vibrant and eye-catching in this light industrial, mostly- bland-colored area.

Because of it's position, so much closer to the street than the building behind, it really grabs attention. The sign on the building now says "One Word Plastics" but I didn't go inside.  Now I'm wondering what it is that they are about but an internet search turns up nothing, nada, zilch, zero so next time I'm in the area I'll find out.  Anyway, dead tree becomes garden art - we've seen it before with deciduous trees so why not conifers as well.  Come to think of it, what were you planning to do with that Christmas tree ...
Happy New Year's eve and may 2016 be happy, peaceful, prosperous, and find you surrounded by love.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

Walking to and from my church job on Sunday, I pass the back of a garden that intrigues me because of the many interesting and mature plants.  The place has a bit of a natural feel to it and at one point in the last seventeen years, had largish compost piles on this back side of the garden.  The house, a smallish Victorian with faded paint, has much more stained glass than would have been original to a dwelling of this size.  Much of the glass appears to be from the same time period as the house and may have been collected and installed by some owner of the place or constructed to look old. This is a dwelling and garden that have been well loved, perhaps by the same loving owners, for many years.

 During the spring, large drifts of a naturalized species tulip dance beneath these bushes; in the summer, the roses in the hedgerow are lovely.  In the winter, a strong backbone of evergreens provides a perfect backdrop for these brightly colored rose hips making a pretty holiday greeting.
One day, I'll leave a note on the door  or perhaps knock to see if I can find out more about the history of this house and garden.  For now, the mystery continues.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In A Face on Tuesday

Somehow Claudia always seems so peaceful even in the midst of the hectic holiday season.

One wonders along with the song, Is it Peace or is it Prozac?
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 28, 2015

In A Vase on Monday

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Do click on over to her blog to see her vase this week and links to those of other participating bloggers.

Today's dash out to the cold wet garden, foolishly undertaken without a coat or gloves, left me chilled!  I had to run my hands under hot water for a bit to warm them up.  There wasn't much blooming that wasn't already used last week so greens it would be.

Since we have a 12th night party at our house for my church choir,  decorations continue to be dragged out of the basement and attic and the scent of fresh greens is always welcome at this time of year.

Once I started playing with the cuttings, it seemed clear that this vase, chosen first, wasn't ideal

 so I switched to this crystal bowl from Russia.  While I seldom use oasis, this large opening really needed some help and there was a block of it left over from our Thanksgiving centerpiece, the gift of my niece.

View of the back side.

Front side.

Everything's always better with a bird or two, right?   Throw in some sparkly pipe cleaners left over from a gift and a few cones  and here you have it.  The sparkly things need to go away.

Currently the arrangement is sitting in the music room hovering over the remains of the poinsettia challenge entry.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tacoma's Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees is a fundraiser for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.  The event is in it's twentieth year and features approximately 60 elaborately decorated themed trees, wreaths, and tablescapes along with equally elaborate gifts surrounding them.  There is a gala party and auction on Friday night and on Saturday and Sunday, the event is open to the public.  For more information, look here. Here is a small sample of what awaits at Festival of Trees!

Rustic Chic "Time to Celebrate"

When I was a music teacher, my choir sang at this event but it had been over 20 years since I last attended.  This year's event was as beautiful and perhaps even more elaborate than those I remember.

Our Secret Garden

Once won at auction, and after the public gets to drool over them, they are delivered to the winner.

There was a list with  each entry to let bidders and droolers know what was included with each.

"Fantasy Water Sports: included the Jet pack being demonstrated in the video along with the water vehicle complete with trailer and bunches of other goodies.

A four-foot tree category allows bidders with smaller spaces to take something home as well.

"Make a Joyful Noise for the Diamond Jubilee." (Mary Bridge is sixty years old this year.)

"Merry Napa" Comes with an all expense-paid trip to Napa to a special wine auction among other things.

What a cool sleigh!  The fortunate winners receive everything in the scene!

"Chickadee Delight"

 "Open the book to Wonderland" is perfectly situated next to 

"Curiouser and Curiouser; The Mad Hatter's Tea Party"

"For the Record" is one of the two entries designed by a very creative lady who I met through stained glass classes.  In fact, she'd taken another class on Saturday and gave me comp tickets for Sunday which is the reason we attended.  I'll be back next year!  Here's the exterior.

Views of the interior seen through the "window" openings. 

The floor.

"Sheldon the Elf," a four-foot tree, came with an entire elf community!

And, of course, the tree. 

See the next picture for the title of this cobalt and silver beauty and a list of the gifts that come with it.

"Tiny Bubbles"

"We are 12"  is one of the nicer treatments of the blue and green theme.  I'm starting to feel like they could call it "We are Borg" as everyone seems to have been assimilated.

"A Garden of Flamboyance"

"A Tribute to America's Heroes in LEGOs"

 "Walla Walla Splendor"

"The Magic of Books - Where Dreams Come True"  was very popular with kids and moms. Disney books?   One assumes the background was intentionally not ironed as a nod to Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

"It's a Wonderful Life"   Love the Wings near the top of the tree!  I have a bunch of large metal wings hanging around in the basement (Doesn't everyone?) that would be just the right size.  An idea for my own tree next year.  Just throw a head on top and the whole tree would become an angel.  How fun would that be?

"Blue Hawaii"

Performers from Tacoma Performing Dance Co. handing out fliers about an upcoming performance. 

And performing.

"A Decadent Housewife"

"White Hot" 

Lots of photo ops for families!

Mr. Claus had just stepped out to feed the reindeer.

Hope your preparations for Christmas are nearly complete!