Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Ours to Yours

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the store,
Not a creature was stirring,
No one came through the door.

Harriet was safely sleeping,
On her bed on the floor,
When outside in the trees
She heard quite the roar.

She ran round the table,
And put her face to the glass.............
To see what could be causing
This loud sounding crash.

"It's just us", we exclaim,
As we open the door
We've coming bearing gifts,
Catnip, treats and toys galore!

We picked up sweet Harriet
And cuddled her well,
Filled her food and water
And pulled out her new bell.

We left with a smile
Harriet's blanket tucked tight,
Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night.

Merry Christmas from our family,

including Harriet, to yours.

May the season bring you good

health and happines

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice in the garden

This morning as I stepped out into the cold to get this picture, I couldn't help but feel the light of the season returning. The Winter Solstice arrived early this morning and with it came this amazing sunrise. Shades of red and orange light up the sky in preparation of the first day of winter. Not only do we have this show in the morning, but it is predicted that we will have snow by tonight up in the mountains. Lots of snow! For now I will enjoy the clear skies and reflect on the season just past, and the new one starting.

Winter in the garden is a time for reflection and solitude. There aren't a lot of chores to be done, and hopefully everything has been heavily mulched with a blanket of compost to keep it warm through the days ahead. But while there may not be physical work involved with this time of year, there certainly can be some written and mental gardening to be done. Planning new gardens for this spring?  Today is the day to take notice in the garden where the sun sets. Occurring at about 4:30 this afternoon, step outside (or anytime this week) and see where the sun casts its final shadows of the day. You might be surprised to see that the tree that shaded a bedroom window for you all summer is now in full shade itself. When planning those new shrubs or perennials beds for next spring, you will want to keep in mind “Will they get sunshine in the winter months also?” or “Will they be in full shade through these cold days to come?” And why should you care? It is important for gardeners to understand how remarkable plants are. They have abilities to sense the world around them and respond to it in ways that many gardeners are unaware of.  We used to be considered Zone 5, but now the USDA has expanded the zones into more micro-climates, but........the majority of the growers that we deal with have not! So while we may now be considered Zone 7A, the plant tags will still say, Zone 5, confusing.....Yep! find your zone hereQuite often I plant things that are considered marginal for our area, perhaps Zone 6 all the way to Zone 8! These selections need to be planted where they will get the most winter sun and warmth, and yet also they may need protection from the heat of the summer sun. Best places….perhaps under a deciduous tree facing the south, where they will get full sun in the winter months to warm them, and have some protection from the summer heat from the shade of the tree. Or maybe by a large rock or boulder, also on the south side. If you are thinking of a plant that can take the heat, but perhaps not to much cold, something like the beautiful Salvia greggii…a lovely addition to the perennial garden, tucking the roots up under the rock as best you can when you plant it, will allow it to gather warmth from the rock all winter, but still enjoy the heat of summer.

Reflect and Relax. I laughed the other evening when a fellow gardening friend explained to those of us gathered that the reason she owned one of those high intensity headlamps you see miners wear, is so that she can garden late into the night during the summer season. This time of year for those of us gardeners that want nothing more than dirt under our fingernails can be daunting. We dream of seedlings and blooms and the fresh fragrance of herbs. But while it may not be time for digging, it is time for reflecting, and remembering the beauty of the garden. All months, all weeks, all days. There is beauty in the garden.

Happy Winter Solstice! May the light find you and surround you in its warmth during this season ahead.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A "crafting" we will go

We gathered for our annual holiday craft extravaganza at Lucia's last night, and after we wandered from room to room to see all her newest/ and oldest decorations, we settled in at the table. This year we made small paper houses that can either sit on a tabletop, or with a small hole cut in the back, can hang on the Christmas tree with a light showing through the tissue paper windows. It was a great night, gathering with friends, holiday music and good food. And dessert !!! Oh my, Michelle outdid herself ONCE AGAIN, with a most extraordinary vision in chocolate!
 we do love our glitter......

 one of Lucia's newest....The Carousel
 fun times......

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Carson!!!

Happy Birthday to my sweet grandson! Today you turn two and as you fill your day with giggles and fun...... and of course some lovingly made cake, feel my hugs around you. Love you sweet bird. Nana

Monday, December 10, 2012

Family Day @ The Flower Tree

Well, I may have missed Family Day, but as you can see.....Michelle and Rose handled it just fine without me. What beautiful wreaths, yule logs and arrangments everyone made.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

frosty morn

It's coming.....just a little late this year
the crystals form every morning.....
in anticipation of the parade of larger ones to come
can white flurries be far behind

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Forced to......CHILL

Early morning  as the sun starts to rise, I looked out the window, with frost sparkling on the ground, and just a tiny hint of  pogonip in the trees. (For those of you not from around these parts, that is a Shoshone word meaning "cloud", or the freezing fog that forms dense ice particles that surround the trees in crystal like loveliness)  There sitting so quietly, because after all is winter, I saw my carved Adirondack chair outside on the back deck.

This worn wooden chair is one of my spring/summer/fall favorite evening spots. This is the chair where I can sit and gaze out to my old fashioned English rose garden, book in my lap and dogs attentively waiting for me to throw their ball, at my feet. I went in to get my camera, because I wanted to do a visual reminder, that during this season of near constant states of excitement, that sometimes it is just good practice to "chill".  I centered on that fact that I  should pay attention and heed the call of what it was telling me. Why...on this morning, did it call to me. Why....on this morning did I step outside in stocking feet, with the air temps in the teens to take this visual reminder.

Fast forward 24 hours. Little did I know, that on one of the happiest and biggest days at the nursery during the winter season that I would get the chance to do just that, sit in a chair.

Family Day @ The Flower Tree happened without me this year. And that makes me very sad. I plan......... and look forward.......... to this day all  season. We gather greens the week before for the classes. The kids pounce in the nursery to great Harriet in and make their pine cone bird feeders, and the Mom's and Dad's get all excited hearing the story of the Yule Log while they make their very own to take home. Michelle always has lots of creative projects that she demonstrates throughout the day, and we are loading up lots of living Christmas trees that have found a new home. I LOVE FAMILY DAY! But this year, I spent it in the chair, not this chair, but a chair never the less. 

Darn the lessons I still need to learn. The ones that have been telling me to slow not load trees by hand when a perfectly good forklift is right near...TO PROTECT THE ONLY BACK THAT I WAS not overdue it. 

Well I guess I did, overdue it. Hope to see you soon. Susan

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another "Natural" evening at The Flower Tree

Michelle walked us through another creative adventure last night. There are now beautiful "Natural" wreaths gracing our front doors for the upcoming holiday. With cuttings that I took from around the nursery earlier in the day, and a few things from home and the thrift store our creations took form. It was a lovely evening, filled with the scent of the holidays, and the companionship of friends.

 milk pods and dried red roses

 lambs ear, it dries beautifully
 my favorite I think, dried artichoke flowers from Michelle's garden
 even horsetail reeds were twisted into action to make natural bows
 Jaime wrapped plastic ornaments with rope, glued it on, and then twisted strands through her wreath, beautiful and natural with the burlap bows

Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily visitors

Camouflaged into the background you will see my daily visitors to the River Garden. They stop in to eat the apples, gnaw on what is left of the giant pumpkin that we put out there for them, and visit with their stone friend. Most every afternoon will find them making their way across the river in one direction or the other. Living in the more reason I love it.

 their buddy 
 Harriet , just sitting there looking her pretty self

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Some people chase rainbows, gardeners chase sunrise'bows. It means it's time to check the birdfeeders, make sure the fountain is filled and start the the garden.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Natures Bounty Wreaths

I feel for the pumpkins in the background......their soft orange skin now faded and starting to peel, they have been thrown to the side as the aromatic and nostalgic scent of  greens fill the air with their sweet scent. It's time for the next leap on the calender page, the holiday that fill our soul and announces itself with music, cider, cookies, cedar, and pine.

This is Michelle. She has been our Creative Designer for as many years as I can remember. Now...Semi- retired, she is.....oh so very gently prodded back to assist us with classes; and the holiday ones are the most important. Nobody does wreaths, porch arrangements and yule logs like Michelle. The simple placement of an extra piece of cinnamon, dried orange or milk pod that makes all the difference in our creations. She knows her stuff. We are very lucky to have her, and I hope I tell her that enough.

The class starts outside, as the 17 that are gathered walk the nursery in search of that perfect color/texture/scent that will fill their wreath with wonderfulness to last through the upcoming season. Lavender from out by the pond. Milkweed pods that we leave for the monarchs to feast on. Mahonia, purple leaf plum, rose hips, gnarly branches, crab apples, and lambs ear ~ clippers in hand they collect what draws their eyes. Gathering back inside..... holiday music playing softly in the background, hot cider cups filled and frosted pumpkin scones sitting ready for the hungry~they begin their creations.


THIS is what concentration looks like, these ladies are focused!


Mom's and daughters

 and friends,

please don't tell the fire marshall, glue guns are a necessary evil for this type of event. (yes, we do use surge protectors and unplug when finished)


Me, Melinda and Michelle after class. Smiles all around as we watch the beautiful wreaths make their way home. It is always so amazing to me how each and every wreath starts exactly the same as the first picture at the top of this post. A 24" evergreen wreath from Oregon, with cedar, spuce, fir and pinecones...that then takes on a beauty all it's own from the addition of natures bounty of the garden, the creative eye of the women involved, and yes....... a lot of help from Michelle. See you at the next class, Tuesday Eve, November 27th.
it was a beautiful start to the season.......


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