Ms. Indie

I had a visit from a very old client, and a great friend yesterday, December 30.  We have known each other a very long time; we have a relationship that has endured.  She is self effacing to a fault, and equally independent in her thinking and her gardening. This is a long way of saying we have been reliable friends for decades.  The moment she walked in the door, I could not take my eyes off her handbag. Did I know she made things such as this? No.  I persuaded her to let Jenny photograph it.  This hand knitted handbag is studded with no end of buttons and beads and holiday bits arranged in what amounts to a very personal celebration of the Christmas season.

My friend SW is very reserved.  Should you challenge that reserve, and should she decide to respond,  you would be graced with a completely unique and utterly independent view of the world.  Her landscape and garden is entirely of her own invention, but for some occasional coaching from me.  I see her infrequently; we have no regular social relationship.  But I am always happy to see her.  Her holiday visit-unexpected, and welcome.  We instantly had a topic of conversation.  I wanted to talk about that bag.  Nothing interests me more than heartfelt and original expression.   

Creative people of the utterly independent sort make my world a vastly better place to be.  People like SW expose me to ideas I would not otherwise be able to access.  As for you, Ms. Indie, your hand knitted and hand decorated holiday handbag is beyond gorgeous.  

I find it hard to believe that people do not flag her down in the grocery store or the library to talk to her about it, but she says not.  That might be attributable to shyness, or the reluctance to address a stranger.  I find any truly individual expression worthy of interest and acknowledgement.  This is one person’s vision and represention of the idea of celebration.  It has a quirky, funny, and visionary quality about it.   

Each button and bead has been collected with an idea in mind. The back of the bag has fewer B and B’s-I forgot to ask if she adds to this bag as she finds things she likes.  The holiday light bulbs sewn into the fringe-this is more than enough fun to make me laugh out loud.  The top of the bag reads just like a thick coating of snow.   

The handles, spirals and side decoration are skillfully fashioned.  Love that pink with the red.

Getting a good look at this bag was a treat.  I will confess I am a fan of handbags.  There are so many made with great style and interesting materials.  A daily bag permits me to haul around what I feel need carry.  This includes my camera, and may include a three inch pot of this, or a cutting from a troubled plant.  My orange bag is old and worn, and I would replace it with exactly the same bag if it were still being made, or if I could find a vintage copy in better shape than mine.  So far, no luck.  I love the color, and greatly appreciate the rubber bottom- the dirt from a garden wipes right off.  A gift of a clutch encrusted with rhinestone flowers I have yet to carry-I just look at it.  Would I carry a bag such as this-absolutely. This is much more than a place to stash a wallet and keys. It is a celebration she carries with her the entire month of December.   

 SW actually had another reason to stop by-she had a New Year’s gift for me.  The yummiest colored warmest hand wool and mohair knit mittens it has ever been my pleasure to own.  Of course I had to test drive them.  Not only are they comfortable and very warm, I could focus and push the shutter on my camera wearing them.

I am always glad that my Christmas gifts routinely include warm winter gear.  New coat, new boots, new hats-and now new mittens.  I hate being cooped up inside all winter-my friends know that.  New winter clothes help me gear up for the longest part of the gardening year.  Am I ready for winter, for the New Year?  Yes I am, in part thanks to you, Ms. Indie. 

 

 

The 2011 Garden: 24 Moments

I took this photograph in January of 2011.  How different my garden looks today.  In fact, my garden looks different most every day.  I tried very hard to pick only one picture to represent the garden each month-that was too much pressure.  Given that I have 23 pictures dead ahead, I will quit typing, but for this.  My garden gives much back to me.  I could not do without it. 

January 2011

February 2011

February 2011

March 2011


March 2011

April 2011

April 2011

 May 2011


May 2011

June 2011

June 2011

July 2011

July 2011

August 2011

August 2011

 September 2011

 September 2011

October 2011

October 2011

November 2011

November 2011

December 2011

December 2011

A Last Look

winter containers with flame willow and bleached leaf stems

lacquered birch twigs and lavender eucalyptus

curly flame willow and aouthern magnolia stems

boxwood pyramid

 stone mason’s Christmas gift to his wife

winter arrangement with mixed eucalyptus

holiday front door

red twig dogwood and Michigan holly

 holiday packages wrapped by Jenny

Next To The Last Look

I finally got back to check out and take pictures of the last of the holiday and winter work we did this season.  Some time and the dispassionate light of day can reveal a detail not quite right, but by and large I was happy with what I saw.  This contemporary version of the traditional red and green holiday is vividly colored.  The tall thin steel topiary forms are strung with chartreuse and white lights, and chartreuse glass ornaments.  I will have to go back at dusk to take more pictures.


Lots of red picks, and lots of oregonia makes for lots of pop.  Their collection of Italian pots from Francesca del Re is beautiful.   

A concrete pot at the corner of the garage features an elongated steel topiary form dressed in a swirl of similar lights and ornaments, a pair of red and chartreuse ornaments and chartreuse glitter picks.  Sassy, this. 

This creamy taupe house and front door gets quite a visual boost from these winter containers.  That vivid splash of color is a great chaser for the winter blues.

I landscaped this newly renovated house last year.  The window box centerpieces are a deliberate play on the form and color of the PJM rhododendrons below the box.  A little white pops the merlot colored eucalyptus. 


This closer look at a companion window box on the side tells the same tale.  Just simple and amply proportioned.

I posted some cell phone pictures of this project which were probably just fine.  But I especially liked the look here.  It is a substantial walk from the drivecourt to the front door; the “welcome to our home” is equally substantive.  The green sinamay affixed to the arch looks like pistachio meringue.  

The brick face of a garage is a narrow, but important spot.  This client drives out and up to this every day.  A combination of materials that will withstand the winter weather, and entertain the eye was the order of the day.  There are better than great odds that these pussy willow stems will bloom in the spring-willow has a very special will to live.  

A giant limestone wall and fireplace mantel is greatly warmed by a holiday expression.

 Winter is a dark time in my zone.  This picture was taken at 4:20 in the afternoon.  The douglas fir reads every bit as dark as the chocolate stained concrete pots. The tallest stems-flame willow.  The shorter stems-pussy willow.  The combination is is subtly celebratory.  If you have not filled your pots yet for winter, you are not too late to the party.  A celebration can be any time you choose.