Wednesday Vignette – the great unfurling

So, I finally got it. That nasty crud that everyone seems to have had this winter. And just when I was thinking I was home free… well, stupid me! The Universe noted my cocky arrogance, and slapped me down good. Slept almost 36 hours between Friday night and Sunday morning, and remained suitably groggy for at least another day. Which threw me into a panic, because right now, I can’t afford to lose three whole days of time. Too. Much. Work….

Anyway, I felt better today. In fact, well enough to take a gander outside. To my delight, there are ferns popping up everywhere. More than I actually remember amassing – but who’s complaining? I love to see them awaken from their hibernation, unfurl, and stretch those fabulous fronds out for the world to see. In my recovering state, I’m feeling a kinship of sorts. After sleeping over half a week away, I too am feeling the urge to stretch my limbs and move out of my lair. In due order, since I’m playing catch-up, the rest of this week will be a lot less restful. I just hope I can manage as beautifully as the ferns do…

Athyrium ‘Ghost’

The standout today was the Ghost Fern which I had all but forgotten I planted last year. It is a hybrid between a Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum) and a Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina). A sublime awakening, indeed!

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Wednesday Vignette – in the eye of the beholder

St Johns Bridge, Portland, OR

I pass over this bridge several times a week. Every time I do, I marvel at how beautiful it is – tall, graceful, and exquisitely elegant. Its gothic towers carry the gentle curve of the main cables, from which its slender deck is suspended. Its spires pierce the sky – a form echoed in the lights lining the rails. About three weeks after I took this photo, on a quiet Sunday morning, a 15-year old boy jumped to his death from its deck. As anyone would, I shuddered at the horrific news, and sent the inevitable generic rays of sympathy to his people. Suicide is such a devastatingly selfish act *), that leaves kinfolks reeling with remorse, excruciating pain, and a tremendous dose of guilt – whether warranted or not. It wasn’t until four days later I learned that the boy actually was someone we all knew.

Stunned, with holes in our guts,  our hearts in our throats, and tears in our eyes, we went to his memorial. Suicide memorials are brutal, because the wounds are so deep and fresh, and laced with endless numbers of “what-ifs” that no one will ever know the answers to. Every fiber of your being wants to comfort the family, and wrap them in a protective, imaginary blanket of love, but it’s impossible. The raw, visceral, throbbing pain is both visible and palpable, and will have to live out its course, at its own rate. If you ever want to see what real pain looks like, look at a parent who has just lost a child to suicide. It is a harrowing experience – mostly because there is absolutely nothing you can do to help.

I’m not normally a praying person, but this week, I’m calling on the forces of the universe to send the family the strength and power it needs to get through this. Dear, sweet Spencer – where you saw a means to an end, I only saw beauty. I hope you found the light you were looking for at the end of the bridge.  And, I promise you, that every time I see your mother, I will hug her long and hard. Nothing anyone can do will ever fill the void you left, but that won’t stop me from trying.

*) After input from several, I feel I need to change my wording here. “Selfish” was not the right word to use. Instead I should probably have said, that although at first it may appear to be a selfish act, it is the result of being overcome with a pain so powerful, that a forced separation from ones body is the only perceived means of escape. I am sorry if my poor wording caused anyone additional pain – it was not intended. Just ignorance on my part.

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Wednesday Vignette – it’s not over ’til the Fat Boy sings…

Dark times call for dark foliage. When you peel back the dark, there is gentle light within. Just enough to give you hope. Is there still hope? Disporum longistylum ‘Fat Boy’ tells me there is. Brighter times lay ahead. No one knows whether those brighter times are caused by nuclear war heads, or by a great temporal burden lifted from our collective shoulders  – it remains to be seen.

Like the fern, we lift our heads and face our world – a gradual unraveling of ourselves, a revelation of our beliefs in relation to our surroundings. Will we choose to see the darkness, or the light?

Will we choose to be fooled by the snake in the grass?

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Princely Pastures

My garden pal Evan – whom some of you might know as The Practical Plant Geek, if you follow his blog (which you should), organized a field trip for us bloggers to famed wholesale nursery Little Prince of Oregon, this past Saturday. I was so bummed to have to miss it, that I arranged my own visit two days later. Actually, as chance would have it, I had a client meeting in nearby Woodburn, so I invited myself to stop by on my way home. Mark – Supreme Maverick of Marketing – was kind enough to not only let me in, but also showed me around – even though I turned up at the end of the day and he probably had way more important things to do. But, as the Queen of Distraction, I prevailed, and I got the royal treatment.

Blue house.

I immediately got lost. On my previous visits, the offices had always been housed in this on-site construction hut-type structure at the far corner of the property. I parked in the usual place, walked around the corner, and saw the note on the door; “We’re in the blue house”. Yup, that made sense. I had noted the grand, new building as I drove in, but not made the connection. Which was stupid, because it was obvious – the members of the Princely Court are moving up in the world. The new offices were glorious!

Bright and cheery, with glassy expanses in all directions. Fresh, new plantings lining the path to the front door.

The inside behind the red door revealed a well-lit, communal office space with tall ceilings, held up with massive glulam beams spanning the distance. The interior was flooded with light. I loved the doors – there were two of them.

The second floor is the break room. A full kitchen with bar seating and plenty of counter space…

… large tables, and comfy seating to lounge on for a while. All enveloped in wonderful light!

The third floor sported but one desk. I figured this must be where the Prince hangs out.

Next to the desk was a door out to a generous terrace, from which the Prince and his visitors can survey the Kingdom. He has every right to be property proud. Straight ahead, are the greenhouses.

To the right, are more greenhouses., and the production and shipping facilities.

Looking to the left, you can see the tidy rows of greenhouses marching on the horizon…

… flanked by horses out to pasture! So wonderfully bucolic!

Down below, we walked through the hustle and bustle of the shipping area.

The plants are grown mostly unlabeled, and get their label when they are on their way out the door. This is the library of tags. I can just hear the shipping center mantra – Right Plant, Right Tag….

Here, orders are being assembled, and loaded onto trucks.

Don’t you just love the diffused light illuminating the space through the rolling waves of shade cloth?

Rows of the popular Eco-roof Bird Feeders waiting to go out.

Ground covers galore! I can’t get over how spotlessly clean this place is. Not a thing out of order – this place seems run on almost military perfection. It’s stunningly beautiful!

Here is where the propagation takes place. Tiny succulent cuttings will one day fill out their allotted space, and be ready to be transplanted into the next size up. Until they are ready to brave the world of the market place. Plants from Little Prince of Oregon cover table space in most every retail nursery as well as box stores and grocery stores here in the Pacific Northwest.

Another greenhouse shot. The door patterns is what captured my attention this time around. It almost looked like one of those eternity mirrors…

Delosperma ‘Fire Spinner’ lighting up the room. According to Mark, these are fantastic pollinator plants.

Once outside again, rows and rows of greenhouses to explore. They grow lots of different things, but the same plants usually stay in the same greenhouses from year to year. I imagine that makes it easier to remember what’s what – and where!

i just love the clean, quiet, rhythm of the pristine greenhouses. This nursery is incredibly well kept!

See all the pink flags? That means the plants are stock plants, and are used for propagation only. This is where the sweet stuff that will make us consumers ooh and aah next year, is contained.

Sempervivum ‘Braunii’ – adorable!

Row after glorious row…

Not sure which kind this is, but it had decided to flower in its little pot. So cute!

Anyway, a new client AND a visit to Little Prince. I had a very, nice Monday. Thanks Mark, for taking the time – I loved it! 🙂

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Wednesday Vignette – a seahorse convention

It’s fern-unfurling time in the garden. One of my favorite times of the year. They are so perfect when they start unraveling. Don’t get me wrong – I love them in full, extended glory as well, but seeing them like this is just precious. Maybe it’s the anticipation of it all? What do you think?

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Wednesday Vignette – a gardener’s de-light

No philosophical musings today – just some really fun lights that I always admire at Fino – a neigborhood Italian restaurant. For a cuisine that relies so much on tomatoes, I have a hard time imagining more celebratory lighting. This garden of lights adorn the wall between the bar and the dining room. I finally snapped a picture of them. Pretty fun, aren’t they?fullsizeoutput_a01fullsizeoutput_a00

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Wednesday Vignette – O say can you see…

Time wise, Spring in Oregon is behind where it usually is. It has been record-breakingly wet, and the water levels of the mighty Columbia river are alarmingly high. Driving west, on Highway 30 an early morning, the views were so breathtaking, I just had to stop and snap some photos. Budding trees are holding still, as temperatures are not quite yet where they need to be for them to leaf out, and the high river is splashing around their trunks. Things are indeed a bit off…


We are now in the third month of the 45th presidency. I need to tell you something interesting. About two months ago, I had a phone conversation with a very clairvoyant friend of my mother’s, who lives on the east coast of the US. From afar, over the phone, she was checking my energy. As I was sitting by the kitchen table, engaging in the conversation, my legs were crossed under the table. “I can’t feel your left leg” she said after a few seconds. “Can you make sure you have both feet on the ground?” I just about died – how could she possibly sense that my legs were crossed????? Whatever your beliefs are in terms of spiritual matters – to me, this was amazing. How could she know?? Anyway, later that day, my mother told me of a conversation she had had with her friend – about the new administration in the White House. Her friend had said simply: “Yeah, it will be a long three months…” At this, my mother had jumped – as did I when I heard. Three months? How? What??  I was so excited – this gave me hope!  We both marked it down on our calendars. Now, two months have passed, and there is only one month left to go. With almost giddy anticipation I look forward to whatever it is our clairvoyant friend knows is coming. What does it mean? Will it change things for the better? For the worse? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I welcome the change. For one thing, it gives me something to look forward to. And, hopefully by then, the waters will have receded down to more predictable levels, and we can all draw a deep sigh of relief.

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