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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

City People's Garden Store - As If We Never Said Goodbye

I don't know why I'm frightened
I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here...
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I'm not in any hurry
And I need a moment
The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
Thee atmosphere as thrilling here as always
Feel the early morning madness
Feel the magic in the making
Why, everything's as if we never said goodbye
Since 1988, City People's Garden Store has been carrying plants, supplies, and garden-related gifts. At the end of December the business closed it's doors as a developer had bought and had other plans for the property.  The plan was delayed for a year and City People's opened once again.  After seeing the building totally empty just a month ago, I wondered if the new owners, who had worked at the store for years, would be able to pull off a reopening. Through some magic (hard work) the store has been reborn.  While not as packed to the gills with stuff as it once was, the store feels alive and growing with a lot to tempt the plant addicted.

Helleborus × hybridus WJ Jade Tiger would have made it into my wagon if one didn't already live in my garden.

Helleborus orientalis 'Cherry Blossom'  did jump into my wagon along with H. 'Golden Sunrise' and another big double white whose name escapes me at the moment.

Also into the wagon jumped Hebe 'Jewel of the Nile' whose winter colors I'd been admiring at nurseries lately.

Lots of great evergreens and seasonal color!  The outdoor garden space was just beginning to be filled with plants but this is always the case at this time of year at People's.

Houseplants are all the rage with young people and apartment dwellers and this area is being expanded.  A shipment of plants had just arrived and workers were busy unwrapping and displaying them.

It's a delight to see the store reopened and flourishing.  However, this is only a one year happening and the search for a new location will continue.

We all wish Alison and Jose, the new owners, the very best of luck with this green venture!

Monday, February 27, 2017

In A Vase on Monday

It's been a whirlwind of a week, visiting the garden show and a nursery in Seattle, teaching kids during the day and a new series of stained glass classes starting some evenings and Saturday.  My initial though was to simply float some camellias in a bowl for In A Vase on Monday, the addictive meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Then I found this fun nest on sale while grocery shopping after my Sunday job.

Three camellias filled the vase and from most angles totally obscured the poor little bird.  A quick and easy arrangement  was just the thing to end a hectic week.

Thankfully, there were a few other birds flying around the place who agreed to pose with the posies.  

The winter weather warnings on the news had me thinking, "This weather is for the birds."  However, these avian friends told me they're not to crazy about it either.

To see Cathy's arrangement and those of other bloggers, click here!

Friday, February 24, 2017

That Really Takes The Cake!

Something new at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year -  Bouquet of Cakes.

I'm always pleased if I can get frosting on a cake without the whole thing falling apart or the frosting melting onto the plate so am impressed by the skill of folks who can create cakes that are level and have smooth frosting.   The floral delights represented at the show are mind boggling to me.  Desert (dessert) blooms graced not one but two offerings.   "Southwestern Garden Flowers" by LUC Custom Bakery (Seattle)

Celebrity Cake Studio from Tacoma took the theme a step further in "Spring Blooms."

"The First Bloom" by K.J's Cakery Bakery, Kent 
Is that bamboo?  

"Wine in the Garden"  by Finale-Signature Cakes, Maple Valley.  The show probably required that flowers be used but for this cake I might have been tempted to use frosting grapes/vines, perhaps intertwined with  flowers to compliment the clever wine barrel design.   These blooms are all hand-made of sugar but many mistook them for silk.  

"Flowers and Bows" by Crème de la Crème in Renton.  All of the elements are of fondant or some sort of frosting stuff.  Is this a gorgeous and intricate thing or what?   Very feminine and pretty!  Know any brides looking for a cake idea? 

Can you imagine the hours that went into creating all of these flowers?

Do you think that there is actually cake under these creations?   Don't know if I could bring myself to actually cut into something like this.
Have a sweet and beautiful weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Northwest Flower and Garden Show; Putting It Together - The Floral Competition

The  amount of work that goes into creating the multifaceted Northwest Flower and Garden Show seems overwhelming to a simpleton like myself.  How do they do it all?  As Stephen Sondheim says, "Bit by bit."  Here, along with the lyrics to the Sondheim song, is a glimpse the floral competition being put together.

Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a part
Having just a vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together (That's what counts)

Ounce by ounce, putting it together
Small amounts, adding up to make a work of art
First of all you need a good foundation 
Otherwise it's risky from the start

Takes a lot of earnest conversation 
But without the proper preparation
Having just a vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution
The art of making art, is putting it together
Bit by bit

 Art isn't easy 
Every minor detail 
Is a major decision
Have to keep things in scale
Have to hold to your vision

Even though you're feeling apprehensive
That you're looking bland and inoffensive
And you wish your wardrobe was extensive
Don't forget that Spangles are expensive

The light, Love
A little to the right, Love
It isn't very bright, Love
And must it be so tight, Love
Thank you, he does that every night 

 Art isn't easy
Every word, every line
Every glance, every movement
You improve and refine
And refine each improvement

Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, working out the vision night and day
What it takes is time and perseverance
Dealing with details along the way
Dealing with producer's interference
Waiting for the author's disappearance

Filling up the holes with animation
Covering the flaws in the construdtion
wiping all the scenic ostentation
Knowing it's a "Macintosh" production
Working for a tiny compensation

The art of making art 
is putting it together
Bit by bit
Part by part
Fit by fit
Start by start, Stride by stride
Kick by kick, Glide by glide
Schtick by schtick, Side by side by side by side by side by side.
And that is the state of the art.

Hats off to the floral artists who inspire, entertain, and amuse us year after year!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday Vignette

Wednesday Vignette is hosted each week by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join in the fun.

What does one do when a fire is burning out of control?

Throw some water on it from above of course!

And hope that plants regrow.  (Notice the letters las on the sign behind the leaves?  You bet your a** that I'll try to frame that a little differently when I go back to the show!

These were all seen at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show that opens today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show - A Preview

Maybe the title should have been a taste of a taste of spring, the theme of this year's show.

It's an hour and a half before the floor of the convention center must be cleared for the judges to view the display gardens.  Tired designers and their teams, some of whom haven't slept for days, are putting finishing touches on their gardens.  The occasional forklift passes by, large carts of unused plants sit awaiting their fate, brooms and mops are busy everywhere sweeping leftover soil into tidy piles.

The excitement is palpable as preparations for this year's show reach their zenith.

I sneaked into the vendor area as well. 

In just a few hours this place will be buzzing with attendees of the Tuesday evening gala, and on Wednesday morning, at the opening of the show, crowds will fill the space.

The South Entrance to the show is always planted with locally sourced gems.

In this area, every plant is well marked so that even non gardeners (I've heard that there are such people.) can identify them.

The taste part of the theme "Taste of Spring" is seen frequently at this year's show with edible plants being in vogue.

More posts of the show will follow but today, here's a sampling of a few highlights in random order. Wanting to give you a taste of the show as soon as possible, I'll publish the post first and then go back to add descriptions if time allows. To really get the whole scoop, pick up a show guide on your way into the show!

 I recognized quite a few of the plants seen in the greenhouse of Windmill a few weeks ago in the Fancy Fronds garden.

A hand carved marble fountain ($9,500.00 if you want to take it home) is one of the details of an Italian garden

From an entirely different part of the world comes the inspiration for this garden. 

Yes, it's natural rock!  
 Elandan Gardens brought in the largest Contorted Filbert in the state of Washington for it's display.

The G-spot?  

Honey, I Shrunk the Farm features natural filtration of water, using fish waste as fertilizer, and highlights sustainable garden practices.

All set up for a game of teacup golf. 

This represents pasta (a taste of spring)

A stack of butter cubes
And here we have Swiss Cheese.

Do you see the bed springs? 

The bunkhouse features a first for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, a urinal planted with yellow violas.

Making it's world premier at the show is "The Drunken Lotus Fountain"
 Even we'll have lows below freezing for the next week or so, colder than normal for us this time of year, the show always makes me ready for spring.

After all of that loveliness, I'm ready for a nice cup of tea, how about you?

The show opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday.  You won't want to miss this highlight of the garden year in the Pacific Northwest. 

Many thanks to those talented and tireless souls who spend months of preparation and sweat to make this annual event such a joy for all of us.  Special thanks to O'Loughlin Trade Shows for saving our show from coming to an end.