the vase is the thing

My friend Linda just opened an Etsy shop. Check it out HERE. I couldn’t resist ordering a couple of these adorable hand built small pots to give as gifts. The two-part one in the foreground, I am keeping for myself…must admit to difficulty parting with the others but that’s love for you.

Because there is no drainage hole, I am using it, stacked, as a vase. I can see putting wooden matches in it and using the rough surface for striking. At only a few inches tall, it is easy to incorporate into a tablescape or use as a bright spot in cramped quarters.

The other two little pots do have drainage holes. I wanted them to be used inside without worrying about leakage staining surfaces. Enter Tillandsias: problem solved.

You can see how putting it in a saucer would obscure the three little pot feet that are part of its charm.

I’m sorry I don’t know the names of the Tillandsias but I can tell you that I got them from a new Solabee shop that just opened in a remodeled space across the street from the post office in NW Portland (24th & Thurman) next door to the new home of Betsy & Iya (another great gift buying destination).

I’ll link here to Rambling in the Garden, where Cathy hosts ‘In a Vase on Monday’ where we have gotten hooked on bringing the garden’s goodness indoors.

magical succulents + iavom

They tend to be a bit fragile, so bits and bobs are always breaking off from the mother plants.

I had a pot that needed some filling in at ground level so just poked those bits into the soil. Voila! In a matter of weeks they had surpassed all expectation. Kinda reminds me of Jack and his magic beanstock.

This little vase is an afterthought because it took shape a couple of weeks ago. The mums last and last in a vase even though the great outdoors destroyed what was left out there. Supplemented by some dried Persicaria and Chasmanthium latifolium and a decorative leaf plucked from a NOID houseplant, I’ll offer it up for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’.

the garden of maurice & george

One of the many delights working at Joy Creek is getting invited to the garden our fearless leader shares with his partner. I foolishly left my good camera at home so we will have to settle for phone pix. Pictured above are Anna, Monica, Maurice (showing us around) and Yohanna.

The drive leading away from the house is flanked by lavender on one side and a mixture of remarkable trees, shrubs and perennials on the other. Beyond the cultivated areas the landscape opens into natural beauty as far as the eye can see.

Hardscapes like this elegant stairway lend an air of permanence to the functional aspects of the garden.

Monica gives an idea of scale to this formal area, as does Yohanna, further along the path in the distance.

More of that formal section…and there’s Gina in the foreground.

This shade garden is representative of the dense planting throughout the garden. These are no ordinary plants either, though Maurice is not above using a tried and true item wherever appropriate.

I almost missed getting a shot of George, but there he is on the far right. He claims that he is the gardener, while Maurice is the plantsman. However they divide their efforts, they have conspired to create a piece of heaven on earth. I’ve been kicking myself for not getting many more and better photos but if we’re lucky we might get invited back, when I won’t make that mistake again.

just in time for haunting

As gardeners, we know enough to appreciate the activity of bats as they gobble up pests at a prodigious rate. This little guy is pretty friendly looking besides. If you put him on your window the little goblins ringing your bell will not be terrified, so better have plenty of treats ready.

Hand cut from static cling vinyl, you peel the bat from the backing sheet and apply to any clean indoor glass surface, working out bubbles with your hand.

Orders are sent in sturdy envelopes with complete instructions for use and storage. The bat measures 11″ x 5″.

You can order a bat, or other of our Window Art Warnings HERE!

another monday, another vase

I liked the way the Heliantemum maximillianii yellows pick up where the yellow in the Dahlias leave off.

A touch of Autumn enters the picture with a branch from the sourwood tree. It will flame out in brilliant red as the days grow shorter.

More russet tones compliments of the crape myrtle.

A branch of dogwood yielded up a few of its little red fruits.

I had to take a few steps back to include the Solidago ‘Fireworks’ shooting off in every direction. I’m a day late for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ but you can still get in on the fun by clicking HERE.

monday vase

The matte finished pot suggested a bouquet of pale colors, a bit of a surprise in this season of bold, burnished hues. Delusional Drive was getting overgrown, reaching out to snare visitors as they struggled to reach us. My pruning efforts yielded plenty of material to work with.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ was beginning to color up, giving me a nice pale pink to pick up the color of the Hydrangea quercifolia. Some variegated Euonymous provides two shades of green, with the last blossom of Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’ sporting almost the same color as the vase.

A few dangling blossoms of Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’, also known as ‘Maiden’s Blush’, complete the picture.

Oh, wait! There’s also a handful of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ to add a linear element and one huge leaf from the rice paper plant.

Cathy of Rambling in the Garden hosts In a Vase on Monday weekly and it is always worth a visit. I put this arrangement together two weeks ago and the only things that petered out and had to be removed were the Kniphofia and the Fuchsia. It needed to be an outdoor arrangement because the Hydrangea immediately began to drop teensy seeds all over the place. Being outside in the cool probably contributed to its longevity.

dahlia time

You still have a couple of days to catch the dahlia festival at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby OR. We went last Monday to avoid the crowds…HAH! It was wall-to-wall people but a fun, festive atmosphere. (I just missed catching a shot of an adorable little girl peeking out the center of that flower graphic)

Row upon row of incredible flowers stretch as far as the eye can see.

Thanks to clear signage, you can wander the fields to create a list of must-haves.

My latest heartthrob is the pom pom form, like ‘Maarn’, above. Hard to believe that nature can produce such geometrical perfection.

‘Spartacus’ is a whoppin’ big guy with recurved petals and a velvety richness.

‘Gitt Crazy’ has wonderfully modulated shades of color and a name that must have come from a late-night session fueled by who-knows-what.

The fields will be open through September. Here’s a glimpse of what you will miss if you can’t make it to the festival: music, food, crowds of happy people, and extensive indoor displays of cut flowers like those above. I prefer seeing the flowers growing in the fields, where the varying heights and strength of stems are obvious.

We came home with a nice bouquet…

…and a full color catalog that I cut up to make my selections (it was a little too overwhelming to me to make up my mind on the spot). Prices range from a low of $5.95 to upwards of $25.00 for new introductions. You can order online HERE for delivery at planting time. OOOH what bouquets I dream of making next summer!

i’m back…with a new monday vase

My friend Susan B gave me this rustic metal tray filled with five vases.

What fun it has been, cruising the garden in search of just the right materials. Here we have chive blossoms, sprigs of Euphorbia ‘Fen’s Ruby’, Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ and an Iris that shall remain nameless.

Taking a break from working at Joy Creek for health reasons is a sad state of affairs, but let’s look on the bright side. I can get back to blogging a bit more and participating in Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme.

Here’s the last bouquet I did for Joy Creek, where bouquets come together nearly effortlessly, given the wealth of materials to work with.

spring sampler in a vase

Anyone else feeling downright giddy with the early signs of spring?

Bits of this and that: some Téta a Téte daffodils, always the first to bloom; a couple of Hellebores; one tiny sprig of Stachyrus praecox (on the shrub, those racemes of pale yellow buds would be dangling downward); foliage of Brachyglottis greyi and Cotoneaster; three sprigs of pussy willows. The nearly heart-shaped perfume bottle was added to pick up the color of the Hellebore and in recognition of Saint Valentine’s Day.

The sweet pussy willows deserve a photo of their own. A friend gave me a few stems in a bouquet, which I enjoyed indoors for a long time, then stuck in the ground. This is the first year they have produced stems to spare.

So Welcome, Spring! Hope you can stay a while! Cathy, over at Rambling in the Garden hosts In a Vase on Monday, where she rounds up many bloggers’ vases for your viewing pleasure each and every Monday of the year.

company coming…what to do?

Richard has a passel of Estonian cousins who were converging in Portland for a big family reunion. I knew about this a year in advance and had visions of getting the whole garden ship shape by the first of October.

Hah! You know what they say about best-laid plans. At least I had enough sense to concentrate first on the approach to the house. Delusional Drive was fully weeded and looking pretty darn good, if I do say so.

Once I accepted the fact that that was as far as it would get, I put out a few banners to dress up the drive a little more…

…and let it go at that.

Once they reached the front deck, there was plenty of food and drink to distract them from the flaws in the rest of the garden.

And after all, the point of the gathering was to catch up and retell the fascinating stories that make up the family lore.

R did conduct a few tours, primarily of the forested area, where Mom Nature never needs to apologize for her gardening skills.

Then it was off to Neskowin, a charming little beach town on the Oregon Coast.

Beachcombing, of course, but wandering the lanes here are a treat for the horticulturally inclined.

Cottages have ruled for years but new construction is often upscale and modern, with landscaping to match.

The cottage gardens tend toward the blowsy and colorful.

This gardener was not shy about the use of color.

The use of driftwood and stones establishes pride of place.

Coastal storms have a way of sculpting trees into works of art. Often they are the only ornamentation needed.

Here the remains of a tree support a collection of whirligigs to turn in the wind.

A fitting farewell to the beach and the cousins: sunset looking out to sea with Proposal Rock in the background. this year I really really do hope to whip this garden into shape.