February 2009

http://www.hortus-bulborum.nl/eng/home-english.html I’s almost spring..time for tulipmania! If you are interested in the origins of the tulip, click the link and read up on the history.  It’s pretty interesting.

The Hortus Bulborum, established in 1928 is the only museum garden in the world where you can find over 3,700 different tulip, hyacinth, daffodil and other bulbous cultivars,  species and varieties in bloom.

This site has a terrific photo album of varieties some dating back to the 1500’s.   The type of Tulips that inspired those beautiful botanical prints,  and many of the famous paintings of the Dutch Masters.  Tulipmania was sparked by these beauties with their mottled two toned colors and large heads. Much different than alot of today’s hybrids which are not that impressive.  I’m always on the lookout for unusual and impressive tulips!

The secret to designing with tulips is to embrace the wildness! They have a mind of there own, they are phototropic ( affected by light ) and geotropic ( affected by gravity ) so they can be a difficult challenge to work with. They actually grow an inch or more a day once they have been cut, which also makes for a design challenge.

But tulips are dramatic, bold,  sophisticated and well worth the trouble they can give you,  just remember to embrace their wild side!  It’s almost time for the tulip festival…well maybe I’m pushing it a little, but after the winter we’ve had, I’m ready! 🙂


Sustainable spaces and beautiful places was the theme for this years NW  Flower & Garden Show.  It worked… there were a lot of great things to look at.  Anytime you get this many creative folks under one roof, how can you have anything but an energized day!

I thought I would post my favorite small things, that may have been overlooked in all the big massive garden displays.  There is so much to absorb in a big show, but I tried to look for small pleasures..here is what I found on my adventurous journey this afternoon.


Sogetsu Ikebana

Sogetsu Ikebana

I really loved the intricate detail of the worm wood and how they took advantage of it in this design. The contorted willow gracefully emerging from one of the holes. I took a free class at the library on Sogetsu Ikebana, and for something so simple and graceful, it is full of very complex principles. It takes time to master the art.  What I love is how they take the most natural of materials and allow each element to emerge from the design.  The whole Ikebana display area was beautiful!

a small world garden

a small world garden

http://www.smallworldgardens.com This booth had three beautiful landscapes all done in minuture. You can see the scale when you realize that these are barbie dolls.  This is the website. I enjoyed picking out at the small lovely details. It was like browsing art in a museum. I almost missed it!

Memory Garden

Memory Garden

recyled products garden show www.mygardennursery.com This company has a garden called the Plant a head for Alzheimer’s Memory Garden.  Purple is the color for Alzheimer’s like pink is for breast cancer.  The heads symbolize knowledge, dreams, and memories, and the millions of people who suffer from the disease which slowly takes this all away.  Check out their cause.

Moss wall sponsored by Smith and Hawken

Moss wall sponsored by Smith and Hawken


What a great fence! I love the idea of a living fence !  This was a wall in one of the gardens, there were a lot of booths that had this idea of living walls, fences and roofs.  I love the texture and color as well.

Another idea along the same idea was this living wreath done with sedums of various varieties and mosses, and ground covers. This was done by a local gardeners society

living wreath

A living wreath of sedum

A gardening wall


A gardening wall. A terrific idea for small spaces, the display was really stunning ! This company does landscape, lighting, etc.  What really captured my fancy on this was the use of the material. The most imaginative creative & cool use of rebar material!

House Financial Institution and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) announced her plans to introduce the “Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009” in the House.  Sens. Charles Schumer and Mark Udall who are joining in the  legislation in the Senate.  The past bill made it through the House only to die in the Senate, last year.

It was a big disappointment to consumers and small business who rely on credit.  Since credit cards are supposed to be contracts, these terrible practices of the credit card companies need to be fixed. The practices are predatory, unfair, abusive, deceptive, and hopefully the  unfair interest rate hikes and fees will finally be made illegal.  I’m not saying that credit card companies don’t have a right to make a profit, but I’m totally against extortion, which is what they are doing.


We’re all going through an economic crisis right now, and we need reforms that will help consumers and small business now!   It is criminal what these companies are doing,  hiking interest rates for no reason, calling lines of credit due for no reason.

I’m not sure if this bill is the answer but I do know in my heart that where we are right now is not good! Have you tried calling a bank lately? Or better yet, tried calling a credit card  billing department? How about calling the customer service department of a large corporation?  I challenge you to try and find a real person to complain to. I guarantee you, it will take you a whole lot of hours just to find a person who really cares.

It’s time for the annual Northwest Flower & Garden Show. The theme of this year’s show is “Sustainable Spaces. Beautiful Places.” The Northwest Flower & Garden Show is one of the most attended events held in  Seattle and it  is the third largest spring flower show in North America.  The Northwest Flower & Garden Show has been a popular annual event for over 20 years. Unfortunately, this year’s show will be the last one.    We are sad to see the show leave, hopefully they will find a buyer.   Here is this years entry in the floral competion.. it is always fun to see what designers come up with! NW Flower and Garden Show 2009

I was recently browsing blogs, and I came across one titled the year of the fruitful life.  It was on one of those blog sites that roll and you can’t stop and read the  story. While I thought the technology was cool, I’m not convinced that is works very well in a blog format.  I think that when you are a writer, your hope is that someone, at least one person in the world  finds something compelling in your writing and it makes you have a connection. In my opinion,  I’m not sure that if your blog never gets discovered  by anyone that it is fulfilling. I know that most of us  do it for  different reasons, some for a voice and some for an audience.

But I did  find this title interesting and captivating.. It blinked before me, and I was instantly captivated! The possiblilties of the title  seemed huge! It touched me, I’m not sure how, but I know that it captured the essence of me that lies there, not sure how to react to the thought. It might be that the world is in a stage of change, and I’m not sure what that means, or it might mean. Or it could mean that I’m unsure of what my loved ones  close to mean are sensing in the world and this title  holds the answer.

I’m tired of doom and gloom..maybe that’s it..everyone I know is tired of doom and gloom, so we are all ready to move on to larger things..maybe a fruitful life is it!  Check back, as soon as I figure it out,  I’ll  ltell you what I think that fruitful life of the future might be.

A day in the life of a florist is similar to living life in a box of crayons. Life was simple when the box only had eight colors. Now it is  so much more complex and complicated!

If you think roses are red and violets are blue… you may be right but it’s not true.  In reality violets are really only blue if we are talking about poetry. Then again we may find that violets are actually periwinkle, (which is a shade of blue ) but violets can also be violet ( which is actually light purple ) or they can be purple which may be lavender or UW Husky purple! 🙂  Now if you’re not from Washington and aren’t familiar with University of Washington Husky purple, then we may have a problem with interpretation of the color purple.

To make it easier, let’s go with a more common color like red….roses that are red like a ruby, or maybe  they  are red like an apple, or red like the sunset.  Although a sunset is  more a combination of red and hot pink which is a shade of red called magenta. But then of course there  is cabernet which looks more like wine, ( imagine that 🙂 ) but it’s still red.  There is the shade of red that is like the soil in the desert, but actually that is brick red which is a mix of red and brown and orange, so I’m not sure if that really ranks as red!  Actually Merlot has a hint of purple, but some still call it red…. and let’s not forget cranberry!

On second thought, maybe that wasn’t any easier. This all came to mind today when a bride & I were discussing the colors for an upcoming wedding.  A newspaper photographer, myself and the bride were having a funny conversation and a whole lot of fun with regards to color and how difficult it can sometimes be to select just the right shade.

Sometimes I just want to scream 😦 people can we please all get on the same coloring book page! The ribbon folks need to talk to the dress manufacturers, who need to talk to the stationary folks, who need to talk to glass manufacturers, who need to talk to the pottery and linen folks…it goes on and on…really it does.  I have a whole drawer full of ribbon that doesn’t match anything???  🙂 It is why brides should always bring a color swatch too! If you think about the number of industries that contribute to putting on an event or a wedding, it’s amazing that we aren’t all able to talk to each other in this day and age of the internet.

I couldn’t help but think that being a florist is rather like living inside a box of crayons when you consider that there are  120 shades of crayons now. When I was a kid, there was Crayola brand crayons   http://www.crayola.com/colorcensus/history/chronology.cfm invented by cousins, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. The brand’s first box of eight crayons made its debut in 1903. The crayons were sold for a nickel and the colors were black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green…all shades of living a much simpler life.  🙂  Can you tell wedding season has begun? I don’t have the answer to the problem but I know life would be boring without color!

Does doing a good deed for someone else have the power to make you feel better? I believe the answer is yes,   just from my experiences, I know that doing good for someone makes me feel less stressful.   I feel more joyful when I do something good for others.  It is really easy to feel overwhelmed by all the bad economic news, almost making you feel a little depressed. Why not try doing something good for someone else and see if it works.

It is so much healthier to maintain an optimistic outlook.  If we work on staying connected with our friends and loved ones we can reduce our stress and increase our sense of well being.  Everyone needs a positive connection in their life. If we focus on doing something good for someone else, it gives us the mental strength and courage to face each day.

Try it, you will find that with practice  “doing good”  is easy!

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