Monthly Archives: February 2015


As the temperature dips to 8 below outside I am taking some time to appreciate the promise of things to come all around inside  the house. Stay warm out there my friends!

Pink azaleas in budpink azalea

tiny leaves on an akebia vine being forcedakebia quinata vine

dark and dramatic buds on a crab apple branchcrab apple buds

fothergilla flower opening  upfothergilla

quince cuttings trying to rootquince

red budredbud

Tinkerbelle lilac budtinkerbelle lilacs

Tulips growing in the kitchenDSC_0154

Cyclamen buds unfurlingcyclamen

sweet pea seedlingDSC_0147

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How it all went down

Can I just tell you  that today was not my day,,,,here is the long version of  how it all went down.

Yesterday I had to be in Boston very early for some appointments with my daughter Faith. The commute is never an easy one , but for this one we got the added bonus of a snowstorm. Hurray! Yippee! Go ME! Anyway, we left super early and drove with 900,00 if our besties along the Pike for over 2.5 hours and arrived thankfully on time,

She had a few tests and lab work then a doctors appointment , then we drove on back home ( only 1.5 hours this time ) and I hustled to get my flower arrangement packed and ready for Flora in Winter Part II at Tower Hill Botanic Garden  before driving back to Boston for a meeting at Dana Faber . The arrangement has to be dropped off  by 11 this morning and then I have to get ready to go BACK to Boston, this time for fun ,tonight.

All was good , or so I thought.

First off Wil, who does the dishes here when he is home, ( a rule I enforce even if it means there are always dishes in the sink) informed me that the dishwasher was not working. Of course the sink is full, as is the  still dirty dishwasher but there is no time for either of us to deal with this now. Moving on.


I went in to check on the flowers  and discovered one of the little containers had been leaking and now the flowers in it were dead . It of course was the moss covered one so I had to uncover it, then frantically search for a replacement vase AND more flowers, which a voice I am trying to ignore in  my head keeps telling me “there aren’t any”

My stress level was already high when I walked out in the kitchen and decided to take one second to wash the dishes in the sink before using it to deal with the flowers, and promptly shattered a glass whose shards covered not only the kitchen floor but flew into the mudroom , hallway, and dining room too. Great. Just perfect.

I had no choice but to stop and sweep, vac , the wash the floors because dogs don’t wear shoes . It is hovering around 20 below zero so I can’t swish them outside and they are not well behaved and do not frankly care if I tell them to get out of the kitchen even if it means bloody paws. So, sweep, vac, wash etc..then back to flowers.

Two of the leaves are quite limp and the water loving fern is crispy beyond help. I put the leaves in a warm water bath a go to see what I can find to fill in. Nothing. Zilch.  I now have to fit in a trip to the store.

Last night, in a move I can only describe as brilliant, I had sent Bill down to the basement when we got home to cut a little birch stand for me in case I needed it, well guess what?  The replacement vase is taller than the one that broke throwing the balance all off so I grabbed the stand to lift the second piece and crossed my fingers. I quickly packed the stuff back into the box  and ran to the store  hoping they would have cyclamen, which they did. I dash to the express lane where the lady in front of me  who clearly has more than 12 items is also in possession of large  produce bag filled with a mixed variety of apples   so each apple has to be taken out individually and weighed  ,then ever so gently put back in one at a time.  ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH. Some people deserve a quick karate chop to the throat, but I just clenched my jaw and tried to remain calm as the minutes ticked by  and I found myself daydreaming that snow caved in her roof. There, now that feels better.

After checkout , bags in hand  I head to Tower Hill  .It is 10:45.

I go there just in time to set up, and honestly my woes are nothing compared to what is going on there. To start with they are dealing with all the snow ( canceled events, constant shoveling and de-icing of entry ways,lack of space to pile any more etc) , then they had a pipe burst and flood the library, then just for fun someone flushed a roll of paper towels down a toilet and now Service Master trucks are everywhere  and the sound of industrial  vacuums fills the air.   I quietly placed my stuff, tiptoeing around staff that are certainly dealing with more than their fair share of  sh*t and went on my merry way hoping a.) they don’t have to move my piece given how shakily I had to put it together, and b.) nothing dies (please please please  flower gods)!

Anyway here are some photos taken with my phone as the camera never made it into the car in all the craziness. Now I am off to pack and let me tell you how much I am awaiting that first drink!IMG_20150206_105033663 IMG_20150206_105039537 IMG_20150206_105103961


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So, we got some snow

So……..we got a little  snow. Just where is that “sarcasm” font I so desperately need? Last week here in New England we had a good old fashioned blizzard. High winds causing white outs and massive drifts of snow, tidal flooding on the coast , and  inland( where I live) a total o f 34 inches of snow. That would be  a lot…… gobs,loads, heaps, mounds, or as my kids would say a crap-ton of snow.

Right on it’s heels was another storm that all day the weather people were describing as ” bad, but not anything like last week”.

Ahem, and excuse me, but high winds , drifting snow and a total of 20 inches is also a crap ton, especially when added on to the other 34. That is 54 inches of snow in 9 days. The roads are terrible. At each intersection the snow mounds block drivers from seeing if it is safe to go, so you have to just gun it  , spin into traffic and hope for the best. It took me 2.5 hours today to run an errand that should have taken maybe an hour.

As a general rule , I like snow. I like winter and I don’t mind shoveling at all. It has been bitter cold but we have still been out walking and up until last week I was getting some pruning done in the garden and cutting lots of branches for forcing. Today that all came to an end.

I am in the process of designing another arrangement for Tower Hill ‘s Flora in Winter Part 2, and I had the sudden inspiration to add a nest to the top of a forced branch of quince and knew just where in the yard I could find one. Problem was 50+ inches of drifted  snow.  I had to clamber over the fence gate  and can I just say I was glad no one was around with a  camera? The snow is fluffy and deep and one step over the gate caused my left leg to sink while my right leg was in no way ready to join it. It was a  smidge on the uncomfortable side until I launched myself over and into the drift behind the gate. There was a flock of robins enjoying the berries in the holly bushes back there and I wonder what they were thinking as they watched me flounder around like an idiot. It took me quite some time to make a path and get to the nest, and it occurred to me on the way that I may be done pruning and cutting for a while.

Luckily before the storm I had the wherewithal to go out and cut some more azaleas ( pink this time)  , some cherry and apple branches, and some akebia vines to add to the stock of stuff  already inside.

So what am I making this week? As always , container first. I hollowed out a section of a birch log and after inserting a small glass vase in it added some moss, and lichen.DSC_0054 In front of it will sit a squat little vase I found at a local consignment place that has three tiny openings , which is also now covered in moss and lichen. Into the containers will go quince branches, cyclamen flowers from an indoor  plant, lily of the valley  that was forced in my window, begonia leaves, something vine-y ( my choices are dark green ivy, just leafing- out honeysuckle or the akebia or a combination thereof), forced muscari ( grape hyacinths)  and the birds nest. More pics to follow in a few days.DSC_0066

Also ,for my talk on Sunday I deconstructed the arrangement from last week and will use some of the components make a cute little pail full of  chamaecyparis, euonymous, lavender, euphorbia, lindera and some fresh forsythia and azalea branches. It will be  a sweet reminder that spring is just around the corner,

Oh, did I tell you? More snow is expected on Thursday and yet another storm is making it’s way here for Sunday.

Huzzah!or should I say Uncle?

Meanwhile here are a few pictures of what is blooming inside herehyc

quince branch

quince branch

azaleas in the window

azaleas in the window

forced cherry

forced cherry


morning glory

morning glory



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