Flakes, Bizarres and Piccotees…

Flakes and Bizarres has me squirming as it could possibly be descriptive of my sporadic dating life.  When one adds in Piccotees we are talking about Dianthus or carnation varietals.  This is a relief because I’m not quite ready to write that other blog entry.  Carnations have a bad reputation and I don’t mean the naughty, slightly wild good kind of bad reputation.  I’m in agreement when confronted with the my man has enough testosterone to send flowers to, note the white carnation head on that beer.

yes, you really can order this online

Santa Venetia Middle School memories also surfaced of the long stem red and white variety.  Valentine’s Day, a fundraiser for something, the popular kids could and did send the other popular kids a single carnation which naturally would be delivered during class.  While I had ingenuity to end up in the director’s office of Marin Ballet for tormenting my best friend’s twin sister I had not thought to coordinate with her on the sending of said long stem beauties to each other thus in a round about way raising our social status.   Note, my second best friend at the time was the school librarian.

And if that’s not enough Katy Perry when embarking on her World Tour 2011 said “no carnations” when it came to her requested pink dressing room decor.

The point of delving into all of the above is that I adore old fashioned varietals of Dianthus so named by the Greek botanist Theophrastus.  I like to visualize him strolling through a fragrant garden wrapped in  his toga,  Crocs on his feet.  They were made of leather in those days.  It felt like a forever wait to see my Chomley Farran bloom.  Really just over a year ago not realizing that I was at the rare plant table I picked up three of those plants, parted with $38.85 plus tax and went home to bide my time.

your man, my man Theophrastus

The Chomley Farran falls under the varietal Bizarre and according to Annie’s Annuals they were popular during the 1700’s – 1800’s.  More currently, perhaps something to do with the floral industry carnations have been assigned symbolic value.  A mixed hue carnation has associations with unrequited love.  They are a bi-color smoky lavender with streaks of hot pink with a faint spicy clove scent.  Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Dianthus coryophyllus or Chomley Farran

I’m having fun with them as a cut flower.  Annie’s website currently says that this plant is not available but I do know that they have other varietals that I will soon be adding to my garden.

Episode 110…

Growing a Greener World’s latest episode featured our local Annie’s Annuals.  The overview of the nursery full of eye candy and information will get you there if you’re not already a regular.  This particular episode also features Urban Tilth a community garden in Richmond with the philosophy  of come forage.

Here is a link to Growing a Greener World’s website where you can watch the episode in entirety or check your local PBS schedule.


Also check out http://urbantilth.org

A Day Spent at My Happy Place…

This weekend  the Art in the Garden event at Annie’s Annuals is happening.  Friday I took my borrowed display wall, purple cafe chairs matched with an orange table over to the nursery, congratulating myself  as I drove off on the early setup.  Naturally this was after determining that I needed to overnight a few supplies for my Epson 9800 in order to catch up on printing.

Fortified with Coast Roast I had planned on stopping this morning to pick up breakfast on top of allowing myself an hour for tweaking the display.  Seemingly all of a sudden it’s after 9:00 am so I sped over to Richmond to find my booth had vanished.  Not vanished exactly, once I had my surreal moment I spied my shelving, table and chairs behind another artist’s elaborate setup.  This made me think not “What would Jesus do?” but rather “What would Cassie do?” a friend of mine.  While Cassie’s route was much more satisfying in my mind, I took the high road and with the help of a couple of the guys at the nursery relocated myself with mere minutes to spare.

Space number two at Art in the Garden

Space number two was located next to a bed that contained the most fragrant rose.  Once engaged in my artist’s demo which consisted of sitting and drinking yet another cup of coffee I cajoled the resident dog Rosie into greeting me.  She felt comfortable enough to leave a big pile of dog poop next to the magazine rack holding unframed prints while someone was looking through them.  Fragrance of another sort but once again Elayne (from Annie’s) came to my rescue.  As the sun started to break through the cloud cover I retrieved the sunscreen from my messenger bag and gave my feet a liberal misting of hairspray.  It was the right shape and size but not the correct product.  One of those slightly askew days.

There is a wonderful ceramicist also participating in Art in the Garden who drove up from Mexico, car packed with work.  I could not resist this sculptural piece which also functions as a planter.  I’m amusing myself by placing it by our hot tub and just waiting for Henry to notice.  Thanks Cathey Lopez!

The ceramic sculptural renderings of Cathey Lopez

fragrant and beautiful

Art in the Garden…

Next weekend come say “hello” and peruse the artwork of 19 other local artists in addition to my botanical imagery.  Yes, I’m happy to say I’m one of the twenty artists participating this year!  Green or brown thumb I promise, in fact guarantee that you will be inspired by Annie’s Annuals gardenista offerings and their photo worthy  gardens.  The only demo I will be doing involves lounging but it sounds like there are more active pursuits in the works.  My only concern is that it will be a tad dangerous (not to self, just checkbook) to spend a weekend there.

The best directions for finding the nursery from any direction are listed on Annie’s website which is http://www.anniesannuals.com


honeybee on papaver

Are you a bee keeper or a bee haver?  This was the query posed by beekeeper Diana Sylvestre at Annie’s Annuals yesterday.  If one wishes and opts for being a bee haver the prospect of keeping bees sounded far less high maintenance than I would have suspected.  Diana is certainly a beekeeper but it’s not all about the honey for her.  She maintains rooftop hives in Oakland as well as hives in Glen Ellen all around her day job.   Naturally there were a number of questions regarding colony collapse and mites. I just read about a study conducted in India which suggests that a factor in colony collapse might  be environmental “electropollution”  which translates to the cell phones we all cannot live without despite having done so for years.  She also mentioned, which got a laugh that once she was asked to confirm that the variable hues of honey was due to bee poop. Probably just the thought would horrify a bee. Bees are fascinating, ordered and very clean creatures.  If only my life were that organized!   I’m presently working on getting set up for my girls (the pullets) but who knows?  Maybe next Spring there could be a couple of hives on my roof.

As a side note, Annie’s Annuals plant signage which always contains the perfect amount of information has a new addition.  When you walk through the nursery look for the little bee stickers.  They mean you have found an addition to your garden that will most likely be very attractive to honeybees and native bee species.

Is a subterranean lifestyle for you?

Who can say that they were born in the town of Graefenroda?   Apparently gnomes are able to make that claim.  This cage dancer of a gnome was spotted at Annie’s Annuals, just one of the quirky details that makes that place intriguing.  I am partial to the mythical creatures myself, what’s not to like about someone who goes around doing the random good deed without drawing attention to themselves.  What’s difficult in finding gnomes is the good design factor.  I know I don’t want a tacky gnome hanging around.  But, there’s just not much out there that I’m aware of.

Philippe Stark designed a series of gnome side tables in 2000 that I still find entertaining.These tables will set you back around $300.00.  That’s a commitment.  I also can’t help wondering if the black one is the gnome equivalent of the distasteful lawn jockey.  The gold lame or Liberace version (my words not Philippe Starks) also has its appeal.

Almost conceptual in nature are the urban gnomes designed by the British (prices were in pounds) company Vitamin.  I see stark minimalist landscaping with these guys which is not my style but appreciated when viewed.

Disclaimer: The only gnome image that I shot is the one found at Annie’s Annuals.

Context, or Happy Mother’s Day to me…

con.text (kon-tekst)  the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.

Not so traditional when it comes to Mother’s Day.  I’ll skip the brunch, thank you.  Being a single parent for the past eleven years my concept of  perfection on Mother’s Day is for it to be child free, the luxury of some hours to myself.   The stars aligned this year and I headed with my friend Jennifer over to Annie’s Annuals for their Mother’s Day Tea Party.  This nursery defines going to one’s happy place.  Sadly when we arrived  the game of  musical chairs (for a gift certificate, woot!) was already in session not that this stopped us from having a wonderful and minus two tween boys afternoon.   I cannot get enough of Papavers this time of year.  The selection in my own garden are in the inky dark purple range.  While at Annie’s I took these shots of their ‘Ladybird’ Poppy, three different views if you will.  It’s sort of late to be planting but the variegated red and black is enticing.

Spring forward…

Have to get these babies in the ground so I can return asap, party or no party!The Modesto Garden Club was present in full force.  I loved this woman’s sense of style, especially that her hair was like an exotic orchid bloom.Chilly with looming rain clouds, not a problem.The fabulous Annie in profile with unintentional product placement.

Spectacular signage was sighted.

Naturally at the Spring Party there was dancing.