Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Other Grey Gardens

When I think of "grey" gardens I tend to think of cemeteries—not so much Big Edie and Little Edie. 

I'm one of those people who was raised visiting such bucolic settings, and with the grey rainy days we relish so much here in the Pacific Northwest, visiting certain old cemeteries once spring has sprung can be kind of fun. I especially enjoy the drive down through the Willamette Valley to visit my pioneer ancestors' graves in the town of Jefferson, Oregon. I like to do this at least once a year, stopping at other old cemeteries and historic sites along the way.
View from the Wells family pioneer cemetery in Jefferson, OR. Wouldn't you know it the patriarch made it all the way here during the 1850s only to die from diphtheria.  
This past weekend I made the trek with my boyfriend John. 

What a great way to get away from the city for a bit and talk with one another while pointing out my favorite plant shopping spots. 

Now he knows where to shop for me, right?

Of course I told him about other things too like the job I had in Silverton at the Gordon House and my family history too. 
Erythronium found in the cemetery.
Although I'd gone out to get cuttings from cemetery roses planted in the small cemetery with about 10 burials, I was thrilled when I found a small colony of native trout lilies growing amongst the graves. 

Finding these little beauties was a big highlight that day. The view was really nice too.

(Yes, I know it's also a horrible time to take rose cuttings, but I figured, "Why not?")
Later, at the city cemetery, I found a name on a gravestone that was kind of interesting. I wonder if one of her parents liked plants?

Then there are the truly grey gardens...
We found roses with primroses.
 Then there were the ever-present roses.
I think this might be a Camellia.
Of course there were Lilies-of-the-Valley too.
On the stone of the pioneer patriarch of the Terhune family I really enjoyed this rose. (This is another of my ancestors and the Terhune family line goes back to New Amsterdam.)
But I did not understand the willow nearby that I'd seen on another stone at the Champoeg Pioneer Cemetery earlier in the day. Does anyone know what a willow on a gravestone signifies? I'm guessing it might be from the Bible, but I'm really curious since we saw it twice.
Lastly, there was a really interesting design on another Terhune gravestone. We'd thought the leaf looked maple-like, but after giving it some more thought, I now think it is meant to by a leaf of ivy. The stylized elements below it are quite pretty too, don't you agree?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Welcome to Spring 2013

Camellia 'Bob Hope'.
Sedum obtusatum boreale.
Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco'.
Sedum cockerelli grown from seed.
Helleborus. 
Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus
Mukdenia rossii. 
Camellia 'Black Magic'.
Japanese Spurge, Pachysandra terminalis. 
Yellow Stream Violet, Viola glabella.
Spurge 'Blackbird', Euphorbia 'Blackbird'.
Helleborus.
Helleborus with Ranunculus 'Brazen Hussy'. 
Aquilegia with Clematis heracleifolia. 
Sulphur Heart Persian Ivy, Hedera colchica 'Sulpher Heart'.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Terra firma in springtime...

A Phalaenopsis orchid given to me as a gift last Christmas (2011) has finally re-bloomed. 
Like the above orchid, I'm currently in the process of re-blooming too. It seriously took my being able to accept that I had to simply shut my own eyes, let go (trusting that I would be caught by something), and finally I allowed myself to fall backwards—yes, I guess back into my own life. 

So what if I went to that moment kicking and screaming? I made it. 

If I told you what happened next, well this wouldn't be a garden blog any longer. 
A lovely organic leek I sliced for fresh potato and leek soup on St. Patrick's Day, 2013. 
Cooking has again become popular around here and I'm happily creating and trying new things. I'm learning to make the basics, while appreciating the bountiful produce that's appearing as the season changes.

Being gluten-free is easy most of the time, but then you find recipes such as the one for the cake seen below, and you just have to make a cake to share with your friends.
Though not a garden, or even a plant, I had to share my leprechaun trap cake with everyone. Although no leprechauns were hurt, we did attract some pixies. (See below.)
I wish this had been a gluten-free cake, but it wasn't. I think that it turned out well except for my poor handling of the frosting. Someday soon I will master buttercream and this cake will look more like it's covered in grass. (That's why it's here. I knew there was a reason! Grass!)
The pixies are French so they could have cared less about the rainbow and pot of gold. Note that one has a ladybug on its thigh and the other has what looks to be a snail. No, oops, I mean escargot. 
 Like other gardeners I am excited for spring and I am feeling very playful and happy again.
The vintage ceramic potatoes make for nice vases on St. Patrick's Day too. 
I really miss ikebana classes a lot but due to the divorce I've had to cut such things from my life for now. In the meantime, I'm doing the best I can and it's not so bad at all.
Vintage hanging ceramic indoor planter with an Aligator fern (Microsorum musifolium).
The fact that I'll be moving sometime during the next few months has finally sunk in and I'm looking at my plants much differently now. Although I have not yet found a place to call home, I'm finally getting excited about it.
Epiphyllum grown from seed. I like to call this move "doing the Icarus". 
Someday soon, I hope to see many of my houseplants bloom—like this Epi cactus!

Well, stay tuned since it's moving with me. I have no idea how many years it will take, but I will wait for it.
Green mums in a small vintage liquour glass inherited from my family. 
These past few weeks I've quietly sat back a bit to think about my life, my garden, my plants, and who I am and who I want to be now. I started this blog when I was obviously a different person, living a different married life. It was full of chronic illness, unhappiness, and for a time, troubled foster children.

When things changed for me over a year ago, I was shown by many of my gardening friends that I belonged here. 

I learned that lesson rather quickly, but I didn't know how to start over. I have no shame in admitting I needed to find my own way. I've learned some incredible things about myself during the last two months. The serendipity I've experienced has given me a kind of hope.
My niece Chelsea glam'd me up for an event.  
Yes, then there are the things you need to do for yourself. My marriage did not make me feel very beautiful at all. Let me tell you now, if you feel that way yourself, get out. It is the most important lesson I've learned. The people you surround yourself with should always help to make you feel like the beautiful person you are and sometimes that's just not what happens. 

My nieces helped me to really understand this recently and I'm proud of them. When you help to raise a child, and then they come over to spend hours making you look pretty—after you've not looked so great for nearly a decade—it does something to you. To say that my niece Chelsea made me look beautiful one Sunday to prove a point to me is an understatement. She's been telling me for years she missed me, and that she wanted the world to see the woman she sees, and I have to say the kid's got a great eye. I just wasn't seeing it. 

She proved her point, and as an aunt, it was the first time I'd sat back to be school'd by one of my nieces and it was so worth it.
Oh weird! Downtown Portland. I remember this place...
Trust me when I say that I'm not giving up gardening. I'm very much going to continue blogging too. I just need a little more time to adjust. There are many changes afoot.

There is direction too—and maybe even a plan (possibly a very detailed plan).

I'm over the shock and pain of having fallen blindly. I survived and I've planted my feel solidly on the ground. It's new where I'm standing but I'm certain it's terra firma. In characteristic Ann fashion I'm standing a bit uncomfortably in the middle of an empty field and I've covered my eyes with one hand while with the other I reach into my pocket for seeds.

I am throwing out the seeds. I am casting them blindly in every direction, and if you look closely, you'll notice I'm coyly smiling. If you listen, across the distance, you'll hear me laughing again. It's not loud, but it's happy at least.

So take that springtime! I'm ready for you this year.

Let's get this party started.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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