Archive for December, 2009

trees, part two

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

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As promised, here’s the tree all tarted up.

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A close-up of one of the Margaret Furlong porcelain angels. A client gave me one of these, autographed, each of the fourteen years that we worked together. The artist lives in Salem. Each year she comes out with a new edition, holding a different object. This tree creates perfect planes for displaying them.

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The tree also has open spaces, allowing ornaments to dangle. I love that!

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The torso came from a guy down the road who made mannequins. It was quite a sight back when he had his shop in an old house along Hwy 30. Body parts were bursting from windows, chimneys and balconies. It looked like the frat party of all frat parties was in full swing. Here, our rather tame torso is wrapped in strings of twinkle lights.

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Here’s a shot to show you how I tucked it in amongst the vacationing plants, so they wouldn’t seem like such a strange counterpoint to the decorated tree.

Things are going to begin livening up around here, so if I don’t get back here for a while…Have a wonderful, fun-filled, friend-filled, family-filled time of it in the next few days. Thank you for enriching my life. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

trees, part one

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Several bloggers have raised the question “fake or real?” You can go here to find a table of pros and cons, but I would like to suggest a third way. For many years now, we have settled on some evergreen that we would like to have in our landscape and purchased it to first serve as a Christmas tree. When our property was small, we would coax it along for several years in a big pot before planting it out. Our trees were never the traditional firs, but they were always interesting. An Italian cypress accentuated the verticality of vaulted ceilings, while taking up little of the limited floor space. A Deodora cedar taught us that three years is about max for keeping a tree pent up in a pot.

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This year, I settled on a Weeping Norway Spruce Picea abies ‘Pendula’. I sort of forgot that the selection of interesting trees would be depleted by now, but I am quite happy with this guy, and will post tomorrow, when he will be all decked out in seasonal finery.

But wait! There is even a fourth way.

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A savvy friend gave me this exceptional topiary frame. Last year, when we were snowed in for the holidays, I decorated it in lieu of a tree, using dried allium seedheads, and other remnants from the garden. We are having a house-full this year, so I may go all out and use this too. You will know tomorrow.

Almost forgot yet another option. There are businesses that will rent you a living tree, delivery and pickup included. So whatever your moral and/or emotional stance, there’s a tree for you out there somewhere.

belated bloom day

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

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The dahlias soldiered on even through torrential rains, but even they were no match for the cold snap we just went through. For that reason, we Portlanders must look elsewhere for the beauty of the season.

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The rains have returned with a vengeance, but this morning there was fog to act as a backdrop to the raindrops shimmering in branches and leaves.

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This gnarly old apple tree silhouetted against the fog looks like a setting for the “Twilight” series.

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The Euphorbias are bouncing back, especially this ‘Persian Velvet’, which captures raindrops for display.

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The birch trees are filled with cute, dangling catkins.

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The catkins on the wild hazels are a soft, creamy yellow.

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I suspect the cold snap can take a bow for turning the Nandina nitida these fiery shades for the first time in its life.

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Grasses have colored up too.

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The black mondo grass has managed to hold on to its delightfully sinister berries.

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Everywhere, there is the promise of things to come.

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The bottle bed sparkles in the woodland no matter what the weather Gods throw at us. With little competition, this is their time to dazzle.

May Dreams Gardens is the place to go to see gardeners from all over the world chronicling December in their gardens.

crowded in here

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

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All of those plants that spruce up the great outdoors all summer long have to go somewhere when the temperatures drop into the teens (or even the twenties and low thirties…I’m just being dramatic). The southeast facing windows will keep them happy until liberation day. This is a little bit like one guest room and five guests: we love ‘em, we want ‘em, but where will we put ‘em?

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Every windowsill has been pressed into service.

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But these are the spots where seed starting occurs in a couple of months. Oh dear, oh dear! I am developing empathy for the old woman who lived in a shoe.

bookies in sellwood

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Delma lives in the Sellwood neighborhood. She hosted our book club in her art-filled condo Saturday afternoon, and then we went for a walk around the ‘hood.

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One intersection is designated as a community gathering place, with hand-built structures on each corner. This one is a play station for kids. The street itself (in the foreground) is painted with swirling, colorful designs that are changed or updated regularly.

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Under-cover benches grace two of the corners. I think this is straw bale construction. Love the streamers. Directly across from this bench is a coffee/tea station with a couple of carafes, tea bags and a selection of mugs on pegs.

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We couldn’t resist trying out the other bench, but it was way too cold to linger for long. The orange house in the background gives you some idea of the character of the neighborhood: lots of old-time houses, gardens galore, and in-fill projects designed to complement the mix.

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Before we move on, here’s the artful little news kiosk, filled with local newpapers “The Sellwood Bee”, produced just down the street.

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The commercial strip is lined with antique shops and boutiques. On this weekend, they had conspired to put on “Decemberville”, complete with horse-drawn carriage rides up and down the main drag, and goodies like hot cider and homemade cookies offered for browsers.

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Fittingly, the swankiest building on the strip holds a shop filled with luxury items from many eras.

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Just inside the door is this room-high tree with a white feathered peacock.

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One of many chandeliers. There wasn’t a one of us who failed to find something to lust after in this shop…which made us short on time to do the other intriguing places justice. You could do worse than to plan on spending a whole day soaking up the atmosphere in Sellwood.

new shop on Etsy

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Have you discovered Etsy? It is an online shopping site for handmade items. I just opened a shop there to sell the pillows that are the latest offshoot of my line of banners, pennants and flags. All are the result of an effort to bring color into the garden, even on the grayest days.

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Palm

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Confetti

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Budrise

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Rosy

I would like to invite you to visit my shop to see more photos of each item. Tell me what you think. I always value the kudos, brickbats and/or suggestions of this close-knit community of bloggers. Thanks!