Wednesday Vignette – road trip

On the very last day of 2019, I felt a bit disgusted with the way things are – here in the city and elsewhere. Blatant, obvious misery is everywhere you look, and even if you happen to do something nice for someone, that random act of kindness only serves to put a glaring point on the ever widening abyss between the haves and the have-nots, the sane and the insane. I needed an escape, however brief. A few hours away, in a place of wonder might help bring my inner calm back.

My old friend Hollye of came with me. We’ve been buddies since 2007, but, to my mind, don’t see each other nearly enough. A hangout was long overdue. Hollye makes fabulous terraria, and I wanted to show her this nursery that I thought needed to be on her radar – Fessler Nursery. They have a wonderful collection of houseplants – large and small, and are located in Woodburn — less than an hour from Portland, but far enough away to feel like an escape.

Fessler Nursery, Woodburn, OR

It’s easy to get lost, your first time there. Green house after greenhouse filled with good stuff… The craning necks of these hanging planter hooks reminded me of Triffids from that old sci-fi horror movie.

Apart from feeling bad for the folks that were working on New Years Eve (for f**k’s sake, America – it’s perfectly okay to give employees holidays off!) we had a great time. Lots of marvelous plants to admire, and amazing options for planting a terrarium—or ten. I promise, I was very, very good, and did not go bonkers. After all, I needed to assist Hollye in carrying all her new acquisitions to the office, to check out.

Fessler Nursery, Woodburn, OR

Rows and rows of Cycads, Sanseverias and more! Downright exhilarating!

Fessler Nursery, Woodburn, OR

These Sanseverias were blooming!


I got lost in the Calatheas…

I was right. Even a quick trip away in good company did wonders for my frazzled soul. After losing myself in the intricacies of foliage, I now feel ready to tackle whatever 2020 might bring—even if I might crumble, and feel like I’m due for a repeat before long. My point is that there IS truth to the Biophilia hypothesis. It DOES help to spend time with likeminded in seeking connection with other living things—in our case especially green things. I wish you all ample opportunity for doing just that in the new year. Here’s to a 2020, where we who DO know the secret to at least one happiness, can help spread what we know to others. Who knows… it’s might not be the key to world peace, but then again it might be. It doesn’t hurt to give it a whirl. Happy New Year, everyone!


About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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25 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – road trip

  1. Tina says:

    Income inequality–so obvious, so pervasive and until we have leadership who cares that it’s a problem, it will remain so. Sigh. But I do understand the need to recharge and you’re right, accomplishing that with a friend or loved one–and plants!–is a healthy way to move forward.

    Love all the photos, but that last one, with the Calatheas, is downright painterly. I did a double-take, as the texture and color were too stunning!

    No WV for me as it’s my wildlife thing, but I did mention YOU, my gardening friend; your blog name is just too descriptive…:)

    Wishing you and yours and all, a healthy 2020!

    • annamadeit says:

      Right back at you, Tina! I hope this year will bring positive change and steps in a healing direction. The issues we face as a society seem almost unsurmountable, and it’s so easy to get discouraged. Lets hope in 2021 and beyond, we can look back and not use 2020 as a negative “hindsight”.
      I love your wildlife posts – will definitely check it out.

  2. Oh Anna…NYE a holiday? Employers give people the day off? You are a foreigner aren’t you? (I mean that in the most loving way)

    So I’m confused. A friend who lives down that way has told me about Fessler Nursery and my need to visit. However, I was under the impression they were closed now and wouldn’t reopen until spring.

    • annamadeit says:

      I know, right? Lately, the idea of how much wonderful vacation I have missed out on by living in this mad nation, has started to piss me off. Most European nations have 5-6 weeks paid vacation built into their legislation. I am of the firm opinion that Americans have been brainwashed into thinking that working non-stop is a virtue. It is evident that such reasoning is total crap. And yet…

      About Fessler – they grow a lot of annuals and produce a lot of fuchsia baskets, etc. In the warm season, they open it up to the public for purchase – which is the part of the operation that is currently closed. The houseplant part (which I go down there for) is open for B2B year round. Definitely worth a visit, I think! 🙂
      We also learned yesterday that they are opening a booth at the Portland Flower Market soon, which is cool!

  3. bergstromskan says:

    Thank you Anna. I am leaving to take a Forest Bathing tour before the sun goes too low. Lovely, a little chilly day, Sunshine and light wind.
    Happy New Year to all you gardeners spreading beauty and joy to the world. It is so important.

  4. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Here in Australia, workers receive 4 weeks paid holiday a year and if they can combine it with public holidays, it can be stretched to a bit longer. Of course, casual workers and part time workers are unlikely to be able to do that, and there are many underemployed people in this country. Anyone who works for a couple of hours a week is considered to be ‘employed’ which makes the unemployment figures look deceptively acceptable. No wonder the gulf between the haves and have-nots is steadily widening.
    There seems to be no chance of lifting spirits here with these fires which have taken over our lives in the most awful way. Whilst we personally are not at all in danger, the news is consistently horrendous.
    Your photos of the visit to the nursery are cool, green and enticing.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Jane – the reports of those fires are heartbreaking! I couldn’t believe Sydney went ahead with the fireworks. Talk about denial of reality….
      I think almost every country with a democracy does better than the US in terms of vacation. And, the underemployment justifying slashing benefits you mentioned is all over the place here as well. I’m really surprised folks aren’t rioting in the streets – in fact it concerns me that they’re not. Mind you, considering how divisive everything has gotten, and how fuzzy the concept of truth has become, maybe dumb complacency is safer. I can totally see how an uprising would turn into instant infighting. Not sure what to do to make things better… open to suggestions.

  5. Kris P says:

    It is hard not to feel weighted down by the issues facing us these days. I also see the problem of income inequality in sharper relief during the holidays. After having a hard time just getting up in the morning recently, I spent a good portion of the last 2 days working in my garden, which helps me sleep, if partly from exhaustion. However, I’ve scheduled 4 lunches with friends over the next week, one including a visit to my local botanic garden, seeking the kind of restoration you found.

    Best wishes for a brighter new year, Anna!

    • annamadeit says:

      Good for you for meeting up with friends to help you recalibrate – especially in a pretty setting. I can tell you from recent experience, it works, and have faith it will make you feel better too. Also, as icing on the cake – today I witnessed someone doing something completely kind and wonderful to a stranger. It made me so happy, and it definitely gave me hope. I took the fact that it happened on the first day of the new year as a good omen. Hang in there, Kris – collectively we can right this ship. Wishing you a wonderful 2020!

  6. Alyse says:

    “The Biophilia hypothesis”…I love it! Yes, that is for me, whatever it is. I am with you on a tremendous need for getting away… my own deal is a tremendous bad attitude toward every asshole who says the next asshole thing. Plant therapy is the thing, and being outdoors. And forests, as Bergstromskan says. Fessler Nursery sounds COOL!! Great photos. Did you bring home any Calathea? that’s all I want to know.

    • sandy lawrence says:

      Yes! Plant therapy and being outdoors! On New Year’s Eve I was madly planting bulbs by porch light in direct response to the latest “asshole thing” statement I heard under the guise of ‘free speech.’ Too many of these; I’m running out of room in the garden! Perhaps Guerrilla Gardening is next …

    • annamadeit says:

      Nope – but I will definitely bring one back the next time I go. I found this fabulous 2′ x 4′ x 1′ aquarium at Goodwill, and was thinking of turning it into a terrarium. Not ready yet, though, and I need to return to Fessler in late January for an indoor office planter project anyway, so I restrained myself this time around. Want to go with me when I go?
      And yes, so many assholes. I take that as a sign that people are over-stressed, and the pendulum needs to swing back toward more humane practices. Overstressed, under-informed creatures always turn mean, and I think that’s where we are right now. I don’t expect any overnight changes, though… sigh!

  7. Jason Kay says:

    A visit to the nursery is always a good mood lifter. Unfortunately, I’ve got to wait at least another three months. But that’s one reason we spent the holiday in Arizona. Happy New Year!

    • annamadeit says:

      I saw your photos – fantastic! I’ve never been south of Colorado. I got a jigsaw puzzle in the form of a map of all the National Parks, and it was a great reminder of how many of them I still need to visit. So many awe-inspiring places in our end of the country. I need to figure out a way to kick them off my bucket list!

  8. tonytomeo says:

    It seemed odd to me that so many like to come out to the farm to see how we grew rhododendrons, camellias and such. It was such a sloppy mix compared to citrus, which involved less than 10% of the number of cultivars. Anyway, I appreciated it more when we had the Open House events during the bloom season. Prior to that, the bloom was spectacular, but seen only be very few.

    • annamadeit says:

      Maybe as a plant person you’re surrounded by plants every day, so you no longer react with the exhilaration those surrounded by concrete and asphalt have, when they get to bask in it for a while… That would make sense to me, anyway.

      • tonytomeo says:

        It is exhilarating in a different way. I enjoy growing what we grow. Fruit or bloom are merely by products. Most of our products should be gone before they blooms or produce fruit. If I see rhododendrons blooming, it is because they did not get into someone else’s landscape soon enough.

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