2008 Garden Show

Kevin and Robin and I went to the 2008  Northwest Garden Show today. It’s a yearly tradition and we always enjoy ourselves. Usually I take a camera and snap lots of pictures. This year, because I’ve mislaid the charger for my camera, I didn’t bring one. It was as pleasant as usual but nothing you can’t imagine from browsing other pictures. The show has seminars and what-not that we never attend; we go to browse the jaw-droppingly large vendor room, and to take in the garden exhibits. There are somewhere around twenty large show gardens meant to simulate what you might do with your backyard. There’s a similar number of container gardens, about the size of a small porch. There’s an ikebana exhibit, and  bonsai, and gardens made from junk by high school students, and tiny box gardens made by elementary school classes.

This year was the first year that I felt so familiar with the show that I recognized that certain styles of the large exhibit gardens were always in the same place on the floor. Every year, there are trends in the gardens. A theme is assigned to each show, but I’m not convinced it really makes the trend. The first year we went, there were a number of fantasy gardens– canopied beds in the midst of forest glades, fairytale picnics, and so on. This year, the trend seemed to be ‘vegetable gardens’. I wonder how pretty the salad garden would be once you started making salad from it? But they did nice things, anyhow. My favorite garden, though, was one that focused on the elements of stone, water and fire. I’m not sure if there was any actual vegetation but it used a lot of polished basalt, with a firepit (complete with fake fire) set in a stone nook among fog-filled pools. It felt like a hot spring retreat build on top of a lava flow. It was beautiful and peaceful.

Every year we daydream about the various garden decor we see in the vendor areas. We’re both in love with water features, and with statuary, and with abstract metal sculpture. There’s a place that sells stone mask thingies to hang on walls. Usually, we also buy a few plants. This year, we picked up a reversible pair of pirate overalls for Robin– sized for 18 months so he should be able to wear them for a good long time if we adjust the straps and roll up the cuffs.

Kevin carried Robin along the ikebana rows. I looked at them from afar while staying with the stroller; they were on a bamboo flooring that the stroller didn’t like. I love looking at ikebana and floral displays. If I’m ever rich, I want to have regular updated floral arrangements.

We came across blank books with sculpted covers. It’s amazing what you can buy at a garden show. Of course, the first year we went there, we bought a painting. Every year, I look for the bird cages that I see so often in the display gardens. I’m a sucker for weird old birdcages. I’d collect them if I could find somebody who sold them. But instead this year, I found somebody who sold these gorgeous textured stoneware teapots. I didn’t get one but teapots and birdcages and clever little boxes all trigger my DO WANT urges. I don’t know why.

Robin was awake and interested for much of the garden show. That was fun. As usual, I left the show enthusiastic about my own garden plans. I think I’m going to do a lot of digging this year.

Why am I so easily worn out?

Still not done with IF thingie, IFers. Sorry. Not forgotten about. Something to do with insecure PHP variables supposedly.

Just planted the everbearing strawberries. They arrived a few days ago, a bit early, and I wanted to get them into dirt and water.

That Carouselchain story is still basically not done. It started out well, went along for a while, and once I started having real trouble with it the writing took a turn for the worse. Now all that’s left is a climax of sorts and I even know what it is but I’m plagued by doubts that it’s lame. I think I should write it anyhow so I can put it in the ‘to be edited’ pile rather than the ‘to be finished’ pile but it’s so easy to find distractions.

While I suddenly seem to have lots of ideas for stuff that is totally experimental or a tried-and-true nonsale (like poetry), Kevin has been gently nudging me on the road of novels. I think I can start up TFN 2 again. I hope. What I think and what turns out to be true have so little in common these days, with regards to my writing.

It continues overcast here. Dante likes to chew on the peat pots I got for my seedlings, sometimes with seedlings inside. I need to get him more officially sanctioned chewbones.

In the name of writing, I’ve been exploring national tourism sites, building a list of ‘well-known features/attractions of a country’.

Cooking, sleeping, very bad housekeeping, American Idol, Disgaea 2, shouting at dogs, visiting seedlings, reading books on decorative painting, thinking about writing, scribbling bad poetry. Running errands. Coughing up breakfast and a lung. That about sums things up. Expect a pregnancy-themed post Monday afternoon, if my doctor actually manages to keep our appointment.

I’m so damn embarrassed by this– by what a gentle person would call writer’s block. So damn ashamed.

Gardening in Renton

I ordered my kitchen garden from Territorial Seed Company today. The gardening I did in Kirkland was really useful in picking stuff out this time around. From experience, I know that I just don’t like growing salad greens. In the space I have easily available, I just don’t think I can grow enough to feel like it’s worthwhile. I want enough of whatever I grow to fuel multiple meals!

So, this year I’ve ordered pumpkins, three varieties, to put in the ground in the remnants of a raised bed a previous tenant left behind. I’ll excavate it and refill it with a topsoil and soil conditioner mix. I think I should be able to fit six plants in without being too greedy. I grow pumpkins because they’re fun; I only regularly eat pumpkin in the seed form. So I have an ornamental variety, a carving variety and a seed-eating variety.

I’ve also ordered tomatoes. I don’t eat tomatoes from the grocery very much but they’re also fun to grow and I absolutely love fried green tomatoes. I have three varieties there as well, a sweet cherry tomato, a medium variety that supposedly grows very well in this area, and an heirloom variety that is supposed to be huge, tasty and ugly. They’re all going to go in some of the large pots I brought with me from Kirkland.

I also have a variety of zucchini and a variety of summer squash, which I grow because they’re fun and I love to eat them up. They also go in large pots.

Finally, I have two varieties of strawberries, an everbearing variety and an alpine. They also go in pots, although I got enough alpine seed to scatter in interesting places around the lawn; they make very very tasty groundcover and the feral ones held their own against the groundcover battle that stole our lawn in Kirkland. From experience, with the pots I have, there will never be enough everbearing at any one time for any amazing cookery, but a handful of them will make an astonishing breakfast picked straight from the vine.

I also decided to order a variety of early jalapeno. I’ve tried and tried to grow peppers every year I’ve been gardening and never succeeded but I had an unallocated medium pot and this was a variety I hadn’t tried before. Hope yadda yadda and maybe the local microclimate will be better!

The orange tree I got has a couple of fruit set, although previous sets all fell off. Since I purchased it a few weeks ago, it’s lost a lot of leaves and yesterday I trimmed off the branches it’d abandoned. The leaf-loss doesn’t worry me much because it was clearly sacrificing leaves and flowers that couldn’t get enough sunshine, from its greedy point of view. I know it’s greedy because the meyer lemon tree right next to it gets the lesser share of sunshine from that window and its pushing up new branches and preparing to bloom even on branches a foot away from the window.

I also have some basil, cilantro, parsley and chives seeded indoors at the moment. And we trimmed the heck out of the apple tree but hopefully it will still produce fruit.