wednesday vignette: portal


Anna (Flutter and Hum) invites us to post a vignette every Wednesday. This week, she is featuring a way to manipulate the environment to distract us from a long walk or a long wait. Here, I’m featuring a portal made of greenery that frames a garden view to manipulate our first impression. We usually think of manipulation as a bad thing, but it can also be a way of enhancing experience. What do you think of when you hear the word “manipulation”?

easter leftovers in a vase

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Three’s company when the guest list has been decimated by the illness that has been galloping¬†through Portland.

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The mercury glass vases are meant to hold votives, but they make nice little containers for spring ephemerals to grace a luncheon table.

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A nest of moss holds an assortment of chocolate eggs.


Moss, we have aplenty.

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In general, we encourage the moss, but that garbage bin of it was gathered from the few places where it is unwelcome. It comes in handy for many things, like holding in place the lily in its cachepot, then disguising the top of the plastic pot.

Easter themes will find their way into many vases this Monday, starting with Cathy (Rambling in the Garden), who hosts this ever-popular meme on a weekly basis.

friday grab bag


So well camouflaged was this fine fellow that I would never have seen him had he not leapt into the air right at my feet. Which raises a question: do they change color, chamelionlike, to blend in to varying backgrounds? The markings are the same as those on a bright green sibling spotted on bright green leaves and a dark green one in the dark green grass.


I was headed to that green building across the street, an art supply store.

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Out front of Little Baja was one of these welded outdoor fireplaces ( is chimnera the term?) so I had to go check it out.


There were others in heavy terra cotta in styles ranging from straightforward to comical.


I bought a large terra cotta pot here many years ago. While others have flaked or broken as a result of freeze/thaw cycles, my pot from Little Baja has soldiered on through it all.


A gallery of gargoyles are inviting me back sometime before next Halloween.


Should your taste run to more imposing statuary, they’ve got you covered.


Personally, I was drawn to these simple cubes. If I remember correctly, medium sized ones were $59 and the large ones were $105. I just don’t know how they would fit in with all of the terra cotta I already have. Anyway, Little Baja is a fun destination if you’re a local and you find yourself on East Burnside (around 15th or so).

gbfd…yep, more foliage


It’s slooow going, but the Monkey Puzzle tree is finally beginning to make its presence known.


Just about time to cut back and move some things to make room for Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’.


Her neighbors need to be reminded to be a little more neighborly.


The deeply textured leaves of Viburnum rhy. ‘Alleghany’ are its ticket to stardom, but I see a flower bud hiding in there. It will be fun to see how that develops.


This is Sedum ‘Jade Frost’ at its most charming, when it is just emerging, all fresh and new with even a few captured raindrops for emphasis. To what, you might ask, do we owe the opportunity to visit foliage a second time this month? Thank (Christina) and go ahead and wallow in more foliage…I never get too much, how about you?

one vase was not enough

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Even limiting my palette to black and white (mostly) there was too much going on out there.

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My daughter, Hillary, gave me this vase a few years back. By adding the pebbles in the base, it becomes easy to control the placement of stems.

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The metal dividers separate the blooms so that each can be appreciated individually. ‘Thalia’ is so delicate that it is easily beaten down by the rain. I rescued these for today’s vase.

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A few blade-shaped leaves from a variegated iris had browned tips, thus the hatchet job (we’ll pretend it was a design decision).


As you can see, there is plenty of evergreen clematis to spare.


It cascades so prettily over the deck.


In a vase, it gets all stubborn and insists on standing at attention.


Only a few blossoms condescended to dangle. I was after a downward flowing effect with the flowers showing up against the black vase. Oh, well…I’ll take what I can get.


The Rhododendron ‘Janet’ that I pressed into service a few weeks ago lasted remarkably well. The shrub is in full flamboyant mode now, so I plucked another today.

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The shell is something of an afterthought, but plays to Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) use of props, which she does with a¬†flair I could never hope to emulate. Oh, and the black and white cloth is a cotton ikat sari from Calcutta. Happy Spring!

begorra…it’s foliage follow-up


So of course I have to lead with shamrocks.


But let’s not stop there. I loved the way the raindrops sparkled on this unknown Verbascum.


And the play of textures that happen stepping back a ways.

Do visit Pam (Digging) to see her focus on foliage. I’ll be back with more on the 22nd, when Christina steps up with her foliage from another continent.

a new vase for spring


Actually, I’ve had this vase for years but have never before pressed it into service to hold an arrangement. If you look closely, you can see that the candle holders are carved ebony in an oriental style. I don’t know my Asian styles, so it’s probably from some completely different region than the writing on the vase.

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The yellow edging on the tiny leaves of Lonicera nitida ‘Baggsen’s Gold’ picks up the yellow of the Forsythia and daffodils.


It’s nice to have evergreens bulking up to the point where I can snip a few branches here and there.

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Forsythia is one of the few things that will droop like this, so I had to jump on it. There’s more, much more, over at (Rambling in the Garden), where Cathy hosts In a Vase on Monday every week.

friday grab bag

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Spring is bustin out all over here in Portland OR. Lots of these street trees soften the urban landscape with clouds of pink and white raining petals everywhere.

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For as long as we lived in NW, Homer ran his little grocery on the corner. The first of these Magnolia trees that he planted was stolen (dug up and carted away in the middle of the night, no less). Undaunted, he quickly replaced it. Here it is in all it’s glory, a tribute to Homer, rest his soul)


Want rocks? Loosened by a cycle of freeze/melt and record rainfall, the cliffs along Hwy 30 between Portland and Scappoose lost their grip and let slide several rockfalls. You’ll see lots of rock walls in gardens around here, meaning that these piles will slowly diminish over time. Get em while they’re hot (and drop by for a cuppa if you can).

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Santa brought me three new books. Woo hoo! the reference library is slowly overtaking shelves of old magazines. I’m thinking some of those magazine pages might be put to use copying (Loree’s) fab fake flowers. First, of course, I’ll cannibalize them for all the good ideas I saved them for in the first place. Think I’ll ever get around to any of that? Nah.

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This is one intrepid slug. We live in a house with a daylight basement, so here he is crawling across the equivalent of a second story window. Kinda have to admire him, even while cursing his jaws of steel.


When potting up or starting seeds, I’m always annoyed by dirt falling out through drainage holes. Mesh bags that held fresh fruit from the grocery store to the rescue…and another way to recycle discovered.


Now here’s a fun Etsy discovery for all you Opuntia lovers (Copper Cactus Candlabra). Click through if you want to see a full size photo. This is fake done right…almost as effective as the aforementioned fab fake flowers. Friday seems like a good day to sweep up the bits and pieces that never quite fit into themed posts, so that explains my scattershot approach here. May your weekend refresh and replenish you. See you next week.

no! no! not this!

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We’re doing everything we can to warn birds away from windows and prevent such sad scenarios. Our window warriors made of static cling, repositionable and removable vinyl are available (here). The birds are becoming more active, so now is the time to try them out.

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This Egyptian cat is our latest design. We currently have cats, an owl and a falcon, with more designs coming soon.