Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Visiting Spooner and Scholz Farms Pumpkin Patches

On a sunny weekend earlier this month, we made our annual visit to the pumpkin patches.  Spooner is a larger patch that has all kinds of attractions, a gift shop, numerous food vendors, corn maze, etc. and is a bit like a country fair for the entire month of October.  Sholz is a smaller operation with attractions mainly geared for younger children and more farm animals.  They both have their charms.

This guy doesn't look very scary.

Does this look like a monster to you?  

A reminder of simpler times.  Of course, then there weren't so many fiberglass bovines wandering around.

These fun squash and gourd arrangements dotted the landscape at Spooner Farms.

It's really all about the pumpkins.  I just heard on the radio that American Halloween traditions, adapted from  original  Celtic and Scottish practices (turnips carved into jack-o-lanterns/squash is a new world plant) have now made it back across the pond. Halloween is now the largest retail sales holiday in Great Britain.  There is a push to sell all of the pumpkins by Halloween as there is no Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, etc. to follow All Hallows Eve.

Looks as if the animals escaped from the circus train and have taken over the lavender garden.

 Speaking of the old days...

New and old seem to mix well at this time of year!

These guys are destined for the pumpkin slingshot.

I didn't know that this was called pumpkin chucking until recently..  

This year's targets are much more attractive than the disintegrating Winnebago that had been used in previous years.  Looks like many of these can be reused.

I can never resist taking pictures of the gourds and squash!

Squash are edible as well as being ornamental. 

Gourds, not so much. 

Still am amused by warty pumpkins, new to me last year. 

concrete boots would be a great door stop!

You know, a bit of concealer and a nice foundation would make a world of difference...

Scholz displays are a  more geared to younger children.

There are lots of cute photo op cutouts.

Someone is having fun!

Look smug now, Tom.  Thanksgiving is coming.

What do you think of this warm fall weather?  It's not baaaad at all!

I would go on but fear making an ass of myself.  Oops too late. 

Where exactly is Cinderella supposed to sit?

Daisy is certainly curvaceous! 

I went around gathering gourds and pumpkins to use on my table as usual but decided to use things already around the house.  The glossy glass pumpkin just in front/right of the candle holder in the center was this years addition from the Glass Eye Studio Sale. 

However you spend your Halloween, I hope it's full of treats and no unpleasant tricks!  Happy All Hallows Eve, Happy All Saints, Happy Dia de los Muertos!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Branches Garden Center: A First Visit

Yesterday's post featured a couple of pictures from Branches Garden Center in Auburn.  Today, we'll take a tour of this gem.  Only a ten minute drive from work, I've passed it several times but always on the way to something else and without time to check it out. On the weekend, we had a little extra time, were passing by and decided to stop.

From the chartreuse fence and mailbox near the entrance, I could tell that this was going to be an interesting place. The purple-painted window frame with matching impatiens was also some kind of wonderful.  Notice the hardy cyclamen on the right.

There were quite a few nice ornamental kale and cabbage arrangements, some in unusual containers like this blue and white speckled enamel  canning pot.

The place was decked out for autumn with pumpkins and scarecrows.

Purple, chartreuse, and orange thrill me.  I hope that there's another O.K.& C. challenge next year!

How could one not enjoy looking at this all winter?

Swoon!  May have to check back to see if this one is still there!

Those spheres would make great hanging sempervivum balls. 

Wouldn't mind having this re-worked for natural gas in my kitchen.

Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' was a nice surprise.  The one on the left may have to come home with me as those creamy leaves with green freckles are swell!

More autumn goodness.  Branches isn't a huge nursery but they pack a lot into their space, the atmosphere is laid back and the people working there were extremely friendly.  I was welcomed warmly and asked several times by different folks, even though they were bust with tasks,  if I needed help in finding anything.

Branches has a location in The Commons (formerly Sea-Tac Mall) in Federal Way.  It would be interesting to see how they differ.

A respectable selection of plants outdoors, especially for the end of October. 

Gazebo that could be covered in thick plastic in  winter and used as a greenhouse.

Evergreens really shine in the winter.

There's a bit of everything here!

These glazed birdbath/fountains were new to me.  Fun!

Watching the bubbles in the glassed in openings on the side of this fountain is mesmerizing. Although, from a very early age, I've thought that opening the lid of a washing machine and watching the agitator go back and forth was the coolest thing in the world.  My sisters tell me that I used to watch and say, "Wash, wash, wash, wash."  Therefore, you may wish to take my opinion with a grain of salt as I still sometimes watch the washer even though we now have one of those front loading, low water use, things.  They put that clear window in the front for a reason, right?

Using a broken pot inside an intact one is a great idea.  

Do you have a plant that needs coddling?  It might be interesting to plant Echinops (Globe Thistle,) Globemallow, and Globe Flowers in it and see if anyone made the connection.  (Globe - "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands.) It would much more subtle than the globe that sits in the big hand chair in my garden.

A waterless water feature. 

More pots.

What a fun use of a bonsai pot.  This place is full of ideas!

Someone is a bit tired from the busy and hot summer.  

She was introduced as  Hedera Helix but said that we could just call her by her nickname, Ivy.

Another great combination idea. 

The big surprise for me was the extensive indoor gift area which has started shifting gears for the holiday season.  It looks as if there are themed sections of the gift shop and the trees are decorated to fit each area.

 Tillandsias anyone?  

Finally, truly hardy agaves for any climate!

The use of these rustic potting benches throughout the nursery adds continuity and they're for sale to boot.

There was a large section of women's attire, lotions, potions,  lots of food gifts, and just about anything else you can think of.

Miniature/fairy gardens seem to be all the rage these days and Branches has lots of supplies!

these were made by blowing placing the hot glass atop the wood which was undoubtedly soaked in water.  The glass vases could be lifted off to reveal the burned top of the wood. I've seen these done with rocks before but not wood and like the idea.  The larger one reminds me a bit of a certain area of female anatomy.  Do you suppose that putting a glass head on top would be a bit much?

There's no escaping the Seahawks these days.  Wish I understood the game but not enough to actually learn about it.

While this was my first visit to Branches, it won't be my last.  May have to go back for a couple of plants soon and am looking forward to seeing their plant selection through the winter, spring, and beyond!  For more information, check out their website here.