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, April 30, 2015

A Round About Story About A Concrete Sphere

Years ago, I fell in love with the concrete "dinosaur eggs" made by the wonderful garden artists George Little and David Lewis on Banbridge Island.  To see some of their amazing work, go here.  Their book, A Garden Gallery  is full of more images.  Unfortunately, their garden gallery closed to visitors in 2013.  Anyway, the eggs were gorgeous but the prices were beyond my garden budget so I decided to try to make them myself.  Having very little experience with concrete other than making leaf castings, of which Little and Lewis are masters, there were many rather humorous mishaps in trying to get concrete to stick to a plastic exercise ball.  At the time I was very active in the forums on a great website called Dave's Garden  and posted this picture of my attempts at creating spheres.  Another member of D.G. named Hostajim posted commentary about his process,  You can see the exchange in the forum here.

Photo of another view

While nothing even approaching the splendor of the  Little and Lewis eggs, these were very inexpensive but did take a lot of work.  The smaller one became the blue egg you may remember from this image from my very first post three years ago. 

The larger one became home to this dinosaur hatchling. 

Hostajim, AKA James King went much further than I and perfected making beautiful lightweight spheres.  In an interesting twist, Jim is a friend of the sculptor James Kelsey for whom I was fusing cobalt glass that he included in his sculpture in front of the Tacoma Police Headquarters and smaller pieces at each of the TPD stations.  One afternoon, Kelsey was coming to the stained glass studio to bring specks or something and King came along with three of his fabulous spheres to show me.  What a cool surprise!  I would have bought all three but didn't have my checkbook with me.  Life got busy and the spheres slipped my mind.  Jim mentioned that he'd taken some to Dragonfly Farms and it wasn't until I saw them there that I remembered how well made they were.

Just last summer,  I had the pleasure of touring my blogging pal, Tatyana's (My Secret Garden - find her blog here.) gorgeous Gig Harbor garden and was very surprised to see one of Jim's eggs!  It seems that Tatyana toured her friend Jim's garden on a Northwest Perennial Alliance tour where she purchased this one, the first that he had sold.

In fact, Tatyana did a marvelous post about Jim's garden here.

Tatyana graciously allowed me to use the following two pictures that she took of the spheres in Jim's Garden.

In their natural habitat.

If you're still reading at this point, you're probably wishing that I'd grab the controls and bring this thing in for a landing.  So, here it is...

Last I heard, Jim was no longer creating spheres due to his health so on my recent trip to Dragonfly, where a few of his spheres still are available, I finally purchased one.  Only nine years after first seeing them.  If I only had such restraint with plants...

So, here are the two eggs together. The third is a spherical plant pot tilted up a bit. In looking at the picture, I think that they need a bit of adjustment to look their best and the blue one needs to be repainted but all in all I'm delighted to finally have one of Jim's creations in my garden.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

Old Things  

I like old houses and old streets... The tree that shows its age...And that familiar color of...The faded printed page ...I like old shoes and battered hats... The wrinkles in a brow ... and fields that have not felt for years... The turning of a  plow... Each month and moon of long ago... And every smile and tear... Become the music of a song... That leaves a  souvenir... The world goes on from day to day... With love and flowers fair... And many are the hands that reach... For newness everywhere... But in my heart I treasure all... The things that used to be... And I am really happy when... I dream in memory.  

                                                                           James J. Metcalfe 

This plow is now garden art at Flower World.  I wonder what the story is.  Blogging pal Anna at Flutter and Hum sponsors Wednesday Vignette each week.  Click on over to her blog to find links to lots of Wednesday Vignettes!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Whimsical Yard Art by Alikat Embellishments

On a recent Saturday visit to Flower World (more on that in another post.) we were lucky enough to visit the Saturday market on the park-like grounds of the Flower World compound (over 200 acres in all.)  Proceeds from vendor space rental are contributed to the local food bank.  Kat, the organizer of the happening creates unique beaded creations like custom designd tiaras, jewelery, flowers, candle skirts and more.  On this day, we got to see some of the "and more."

Many people make flowers from re purposed dishes and it's interesting how each person comes up with their own unique twist on this idea.  I've started calling my own thrift stores on a stick.

Kat does not limit herself to glass and ceramics.

Her prices are very reasonable.  

Heavy metal?

As if these fun and funky flowers aren't enough, Kat also brough along some of her  lovely (and hungry) ladies.

Thanks, Kat, for your permission to photograph and post your imaginative work and for organizing this weekly fundraiser for such  a good cause!

 Dig those fab pumps and that cute bee!

Tin woodsmen!

No insecticides please!

As if 15 acres of retail plant sales area, the local produce store, (fresh unpasteurized apple cider!) the gardens, the livestock, and the nursery's proximity to the Maltby Cafe weren't enough, now there's yet another reason to visit Flower World on Saturdays! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

My First Visit To West Seattle Nursery

Since seeing their great display garden at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show in February, I've wanted to visit West Seattle Nursery.

A small part of West Seattle Nursery's  NWFGS display garden.

 The insect hotels were a big hit!

On April 11, the plant mobile took us on  a nursery hop which included West Seattle Nursery!  We'd arrived on the day of their annual open house.  Although we arrived well after the festivities, there were still a lot of people shopping and with good reason!  This place is full of great plants!
You read the sign correctly, they're open until 8:00 p.m. I already love the nursery without setting foot inside!

Warm colors made the cool day seem less so.

Stolen  Borrowed directly from WSN's website is their definition:
"West ∙ Seattle ∙ Nursery (west sē at’l nûr’se rē), 1. the place in West Seattle where a variety of trees, shrubs and plants are nurtured and available for purchase. 2. a landmark small business operating in West Seattle for the past 31 years. 3. an eclectic group of horticulturalists and plant enthusiasts working together for the edification, service and common good of gardeners everywhere."  I can't improve on that nor can I think of a way to improve this magical nursery.

 There's something for every gardener here. You can even adopt this little cutie!

W.S.N. is not expansive in area but they've fit a lot into their space which is dripping with plants!

 You'll see clever use of vertical space throughout. 

Even a separate sale area!

I found a cardoon in a four inch pot among the many vegetable plants.  Much more affordable than the huge and glorious plant seen earlier at another nursery.

Shelving puts lavender closer to nose level!

So cool to see agaves (from Little Prince of Oregon!) mixed among the other hardy succulents. 

Hosta 'Happy Days' is aptly named.  While its appearance doesn't bring to mind the T.V. show, it's cheerful colors can't fail to make you happy, especially if you're a deer.

Azara integrifolia 'Variegata' was new to me but not to Plant Lust.  Those ladies know everything! Azara microphylla 'Variegata' is a favorite of mine and I was sorely tempted by it's larger-leaved cousin but where would I put it?  (Like that's ever stopped me before.)

There are good reasons why Chavliness, a commenting reader of O.G, says that this is her favorite nursery!

Chief among them is the focus on beautifully healthy plants!

At the Portland Yard, Garden, and Patio Show in 2014, there was a display garden that featured a group of  beheaded Pseudopanax lessonii 'Sabre.'  Do you suppose they're delivered this way?

Bidding the birds to come hither. 

Structure and some of the insect hotels from the NWFGS display garden.

 Caragana arborescens is a shrub that grew well in my Alaskan home town.  There were a few people who had clipped privacy hedges of it.  A lot of good that did.  In a town of seven hundred fifty people, everyone knew what you were doing anyway. Anyway this weeping form called 'Walker' is new to me this year and I've seen it at a couple of nurseries already.

A chicken coop with a Shotz Brewery sign.  Why?

I didn't figure out which was Laverne (Henny) Penny Marshall

And which was Shirley but this one was sipping milk and Pepsi.

The references are all to "Laverne and Shirley" which aired on U.S. T.V. from 1976 - 1983.

Trees and shrubs.

Wood made of concrete is faux bois; Are cacti made of concrete faux ouille! (ouch!)

The fading paint on the house next door adds an air of mystery.

And inside, there are more treasures to find!

Tillandsias still tickle me even though they're a bit of a fad right now.  How can a plant that's happy with a weekly bath in the kitchen sink or a spritz of water if I forget be all that bad?  Although they're called air plants, they do need water and occasional fertilizer.

Squidward here almost came home with me.  Sure is cute.  Maybe I should go back. 

Another sighting of these planters/facial tissue dispensers for the Flintstones.

Galvanized metal house-shaped display piece is interesting as are those little vases.

The best surprise was when I came across this!  Mark and Gaz from Alternative Eden posted a similar piece with which I was quite taken,  on their blog.  Theirs are light green, the top domed a bit. Might be interesting with a collection of tiny flowers tucked into the openings.  On the other hand, it's great all by itself.  

What a terrific nursery! The products were top notch and the people, even though they were probably tired from the extra work of the open house earlier in the day, were helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.  Just go!