April 28, 2010

Soaking It Up

I can't say how happy and honored I feel to be a part of Design*Sponge today!!! For those few readers who are new to D*S (Mom? Grandma?), check it out! For those making their way here via D*S, welcome!

Incidentally, this photo shows how we've been whittling down our belongings (pictured here) in preparation for the imminent cross-country road trip back to Napa. Turns out that in a pinch cardboard boxes make surprisingly functional (and pretty) furniture.

WTF, Mate?

 I know, I know, what do you expect to happen when spring arrives in Vermont two weeks ahead of schedule? Even so, this late April slush squall strikes me as a bit unjust.  I'd wager the weighted-down peonies (top), tulips (above left and bottom), and lilacs (above right) would tend to agree. Cross your fingers for their speedy recovery.

April 27, 2010

Flowers in the Shadows


The lengthening daylight is casting flowers in unexpected places: houseplants along the cupboards, a vase arrangement stretched across the table, and grape hyacinth blossoms on the curtains.

April 26, 2010

Junk and Open

Few word combinations get me as excited as consistently as "junk" and "open". This shop (called Junk and  . . . something- it was covered by junk) had my heart doing little flip flops as soon as I saw the front porch. A jumble of potentially very valuable items (antique steamer trunk) and very kitschy items (plant stand covered in fake ivy) is a good sign for bargain shoppers like me. But since we're packing everything we own into Buck the Subaru in about a month, I contained myself and came home with just this set of retro kitchen canisters (below).

April 23, 2010

Ivory Tower

I finally made it up to campus to explore Billings Hall (above). I had no idea it would be so beautiful! I guess Goodnow is not the only fantastic old academic building out there, after all.

April 18, 2010

Enough Already!

Okay, most of you are probably pretty tired of hearing about these adopted amaryllis, and bubblegum pink is not really my favorite color either. But as long as the little troopers keep blooming and blooming and blooming like this I feel like I have some sort of duty to keep sharing . . .

April 15, 2010

Teeming Green

The intensity of spring's growth is beginning to seem almost violent around here: armies of hosta (above), swords of Solomon's seal and tansy, and little fists of fern fiddle heads (below). It's as if every plant knows it has only a few short months to grow and reproduce before admitting defeat, once again, to a long harsh winter.

The rapid pace of it all makes me a little anxious and homesick for California's more subtle seasonal changes. Botanist Lester Rowntree (1879-1979) describes this milder but still varied climate in her 1936 field guide to native plants suitable for gardens, Hardy Californians:
"Tourists in California often complain that there are no seasons. 'How you must miss the seasonal changes!' they commiserate us. Let them turn [plant] collectors. They will soon find that while in the lowlands Nature perhaps does not express her changes of tense in such emphatic terms as in the East, they are in the grip of the seasons here just as surely as in the climes where winter is for skating and summer for swimming.
"Water is California's greatest benediction and it controls the inception and the intensity of the seasons. Drought has enforced a summer's rest upon growing things. The chaparral-covered slopes with their many variations in texture and in shadings of greens and browns, wait for rain. The live-oak dappled hills are drowsy slopes of pale gold velvet. " (Hardy Californians, 1936)
Which helps explain why, when Vermont is getting ready to fight the good fight against Old Man Winter with this teeming, wet, green advance:

The Californian in me is feeling ready for something a little more golden and sleepy:

Good Morning!

April 11, 2010

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy

We're lucky to live in an apartment previously occupied by a professional landscaper, who stocked the garden well with awesome flowering trees and perennials. Just keeping the back yard from reverting to a thicket keeps me pretty busy, which is how I missed this star magnolia hiding on the front bank under a tangle of weeds (above).

When it comes to magnolias, I share the sentiment expressed by England's beloved horticulturalist Christopher Lloyd  in this observation:
"Magnolias bud up in autumn and give you plenty of opportunity for gloating anticipation. Pride comes before a fall, but then we all know that and allow for it and gloat just the same. My buds on my magnolia; yummy, yummy, yummy."
So, in an attempt to make up some valuable lost gloating time, I brought in a few blossoms to be enjoyed up close (below).

Thanks, landscaper guy!

April 10, 2010

Rabbit Food

Those of you Out West might recognize this humble little plant, Claytonia perfoliata (above). I always knew it as "Miner's Lettuce", and refered to it as such in my childhood 4-H presentation, "Wild Greens for Your Bunny".  Well, this stuff (as well as some other "weeds" included in that presentation, come to think of it) goes for a pretty penny here in Vermont (below left). But it's a small price to pay for fresh greens in our little burrito-like wrap thingys (below right). Which were amazing.

A totally different type of rabbit food came via the post this week. I had been feeling extremely nostalgic for some chocolate malt egg candies, even going so far as to cave in and buy some malt balls from the bulk section (which it turns out are not the same). Luckily, the Easter Bunny sent these just in time (below).

And of course the tissue paper packaging looked great with those amaryllis (below).

Thanks, E. B. !

April 7, 2010

Ta Da!

Here they are in all their full blown glory, backed up by some awesome, early forsythia. Not too bad for the food waste cove. Not bad at all. Coincidentally, these guys look great with the card my mom sent for Easter (below).

Mom always finds the best cards.

April 5, 2010

Urban Flower Farming

The first "crop" of salvaged amaryllis is looking pretty promising here in our little kitchen growing grounds (above). Most buds are still in that exciting "I'm green now but just you wait" stage, but some are beginning to reveal a little color (below).