April 27, 2011

It Rained the Other Day . . .

. . . but it was a warm, misty rain. Slowly but surely summer is closing in.


April 26, 2011

Get Ye to the Stanly Lane Nursery!

Okay, folks. If you are on a quest for mad hott tomato selection in the Bay Area, look no further. Remember Brad of Wild Boar Farms and lilac fame? He's partnered up with D&S Produce to bring you scores of unique varieties of vigorous little seedlings at Stanly Lane Nursery, each with their own mouth-watering descriptions and photographs, for your procuring pleasure. I should have posted this weeks ago, because the sale only goes through May (see hours below), so get to it quick! You don't want to miss this : ).

April 25, 2011

Not My Flower, Not My House

As the title of the post announces, this is not my flower and not my house (not my cat, either, for that matter). But Jane's Flowers in the House Monday caught me off guard, so here it is. The story, at least, is partially mine : ).

My sister and I have a good friend back in Cambridge who LOVES flowers. Her endearingly high strung little kitty Violet, however, loves to DESTROY them. Methodically. With a decisive chop to the stem. Especially tulips.

So when we decided to get some flowers for our friend, we knew we had to send along a sacrificial bloom for Violet as well.  Even during the Easter Floral Madness, the wonderful folks at our favorite local shop, Bow Street Flowers, were kind enough to help us out. Thank you!

Our friend sent photos of Violet's merciless floral treatment. I had the mug shot on file. She looks innocent enough, doesn't she?

April 21, 2011


Ahh, one last glimpse of one of my very favorite flowers, which have just made a graceful exit from the garden landscape. If, like me, you are still hungry for more narcissus, keep an eye on the visual bounty that is the Floret Flower Farm blog. This post here is exactly what I am talking about. Yum yum.

April 17, 2011

Messing Around

Before sending these adorable (and very short) little ranunculus buds off to the all-consuming compost, I couldn't help but make them into something.


April 15, 2011

Ribbons and Bows

Another test run for an upcoming wedding (can't wait!!)- this time it's the silk ribbon treatment up for review. I used whatever flowers I had on hand, and as a result learned that dogwood holds up worse than I'd thought it would, and viburnum better. I wouldn't trust either for an event, but they did the trick for this purpose.

I also provided the couple with some actual samples of the ribbon, because you can never be sure of color on the computer monitor. Another thing photos don't do justice is the amazing feel of this stuff. The more I work with natural silk, the more I love it. Definitely it is not as forgiving or inexpensive as polyester, but its pretty drape and softness is so worth it! And as I've said before, I love how I can sweep all my trimmings right into the compost : ).

April 14, 2011

The Lilac's Fate Part 3 of 3: Cake

Just for fun, I used Ben's new little ramekins to make a (many layered) tall and skinny carrot cake, sugared some of those lilac blossoms, and went all Martha on it. Not too practical, but pretty and delicious. That's the whole point, right? : )

April 13, 2011

News Flash

We interrupt our normal "Fate of the Lilac" coverage for this breaking news: Mom's tree peony, which this year set an unprecedented TWO BUDS, is now in full bloom. That's a combined diameter of 17 inches of fluffy pink goodness, folks.

April 12, 2011

The Lilac's Fate Part 2 of 3: For Oma

This story probably constitutes the most wonderful flower delivery experience of my life.

My sister and I practically grew up with four other siblings, the children of our parents' friends. We've kept in contact over the years, though they're now on different sides of the country with work and study.

When I saw the four of them this Christmas, they arranged for flowers to be sent to their grandmother here in Napa on a random but ongoing basis throughout the year, whenever something awesome came into bloom. Lilac was an obvious candidate.

When Oma opened her door, she looked at the lilac and exclaimed "Oh, [German word] ! My favorite!". And then something to extent of "Those children . . . " with a quiet, contented smile. I was all warm and fuzzy the rest of the day, and still feel happy thinking back on it.

April 11, 2011

The Lilac's Fate Part 1 of 3: A Party

Thanks to my lack of restraint, these ten centerpieces for a happy couple celebrating their engagement at Silverado Vineyards this weekend featured not one, not two, but THREE varieties of local lilac- the aforementioned double dark from Stockton, and the double lavender and classic single from one of Wild Boar Farms' Napa growing grounds. Combine those with sweet peas from Half Moon Bay, ranunculus from Petaluma, viburnum from Stockton, bearded iris from Napa (look for them in the last couple of photographs), and snapdragons from Salinas and you've got a happy little springtime explosion.

 Here are five of ten, packed up in Buck for transport; I had a couple other deliveries and errands in Napa the same morning, so I made two trips. In these photos you can see the dark blue bearded iris, which I almost forgot to add. Good thing their patch in the garden is right by the driveway!

April 10, 2011

Resistance is Futile!!!

There is nothing quite like two buckets brimming with gloriously plump local lilac to blur the line between "want" and "need".

We'll get back to the personal implications of that reality momentarily. But first, let me tell you a tiny bit about Brad of Wild Boar Farms.

Brad knows tomatoes. Loves tomatoes. Appears to eat, sleep, and breathe tomatoes, to the fullest, 10 months of the year. Unfortunately, said tomatoes only generate income for a portion of those 10 months. So to support his tomato habit through the lean Spring, Brad started dealing in lilacs (which he also appears to love). For some years, he "chased the lilac trail" with strategically placed growing grounds all the way up to Lake Tahoe. Apparently that was less romantic than it sounds, so now he roams closer to home, with enough varieties at different elevations and micro regions to extend his season over a few months. Which gets him into tomato time.

I hope to introduce Brad, his farm, and new Napa nursery at greater length in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, back to those two brimming buckets. Even though I had already purchased "enough" nice double dark lilac from Stockton (seen dwarfed in the background, below) to fill my orders, I couldn't resist buying just about everything Brad, fearing rain, had harvested from one of his small lilac patches in Napa the evening before our first meeting.

Don't worry, it went to good use.

April 7, 2011


 Another tiny little bouquet made from flowers leftover from a larger installation last week, using entirely local blooms: lilac from St. Helena, ranunculus from Petaluma, lavender, olive, and hellebores from Napa, scabiosa from Watsonville, and tulips from Arcata. This crop of ranunculus had a rough time with it; I think that persistent, heavy rains we had here in North Bay, followed by an unseasonably hot spell, made for some pretty weak, bloated and botrytis-prone stems. Anyone ever had a similar experience?

April 5, 2011

. . . And, I'm Back

 Well, now, what just happened?? Last thing I remember I was scheduling a Flowers in the House post, and now here I am, a busy week+ later, not even sure what to share first. But I'll begin with these centerpieces for a celebration at Silverado Vineyards, which feature roses and ranunculus from Petaluma, varigated geranium from Half Moon Bay, tulips from Arcata, and olive and spirea from Napa. Now I'm off to catch up on all the happy happenings in blogland! I've missed you!