A summer bouquet
July 31st, 2010
I’m back in Seattle as of about 10 days ago.
Can’t quite believe it but being here feels pretty awesome. We’ve been sitting out on our front porch each evening, admiring the sunset, which is silhouetted behind the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound to the west.
I am so torn between missing my beloved friends and garden in Los Angeles and the excitement I feel at being back in Seattle. I’ve been asking this question for four years: Is it possible to be in love with two places at the same time?
As I ponder that “big thought,” I have had to squeeze in time to unpack (ugh), move furniture around to make room for everything in our smallish rental house, and bug my friend Jennifer to find the best dry-cleaner, dog kennel, ethnic restaurants, local grocery stores and more. Thank goodness our dear friends Jennifer and David (and their son Max, our son Alex’s BFF) live only 5 blocks from here. They are a godsend!
Also, I’m working on two lectures for the upcoming Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago – scheduled to take place in a few weeks’ time. Ironically, earlier this week I spent 3 days in Chicago – as a would-be college freshman “mom,” for my son Ben’s orientation at DePaul University. What a cool city!
I’m looking forward to returning to Chi-town in a couple weeks where I will present a lecture on “Ideas from the country’s most inspiring garden centers” and “The female gardener” (with colleague Robin Avni).
In preparation, I’ve been sorting slides and digital images to illustrate my talks. Robin and I met for several hours yesterday to work on our joint presentation, which taps into her trademarked “Mommy to Maven” consumer research.
Yesterday, I also stopped by one of my favorite emporiums, Ravenna Gardens.
Owner Gillian Mathews told me that each Friday her shop receives deliveries of local and sustainably-grown bouquets from Mount Vernon flower farmers Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall of Jello-Mold Farms (they grow gorgeous blooms in a farming community about 90 minutes north of Seattle).
Ravenna Gardens places each one-of-a-kind bunch of blooms in a glass Mason jar, presenting customers with some of the most charming arrangements around. I couldn’t resist bringing one home with me yesterday. It’s sitting on my desk to cheer me up each time I look at it.
I sent a note to Diane to ask about the hard-to-ignore jumbo poppy pod – the largest I’ve ever seen! Here’s her explanation:
A couple of years ago Melissa from Terra Bella handed me a few stems of the chubby poppy (definitely a variety of Papaver somniferum) which she had purchased at the local wholesale house. They had gotten a little old so she couldn’t use them for floral work. I was able to dry them and get viable seed and those are their grandchildren.
That plump pod is a focal point of the bouquet, which also includes Phlox paniculata ‘Natural Feelings ; Scabiosa caucasica ‘Dark Knight’; and Sedum ‘Green Expectations’, ‘Frosty Morn’ and ‘Autumn Joy’. Blue-green Baptisia australis foliage complements the design. What a mid-summer dream!
I’m going to enjoy these flowers for days – and it makes me happy to have that vase on my desk just knowing they were grown locally using earth-friendly practices.