September 13, 2011

Succulent Centerpiece

Succulent Centerpiece

Recently I was reminded of this project that had been lingering in my thoughts for a long-time. I wanted one of those cool, modern, plant centerpieces, made up of succulents and cactus, where the plants were kind of tumbling out of the pot. The recent inspiration came from my sister, who took some amazing photos at a San Francisco garden center, Flora Grubb. Looking at their site, not only do they have the centerpiece inspiration, they are also showcasing glass globes filled with air plants. This store looks like my kind of place!

Right after the injection of inspiration, I visited Olbrich Gardens, here in Madison. They too were featuring these succulent centerpieces and in their little garden shop, they were selling some very cool succulents. SB bought me a couple and then with a little searching I found a nice pot and a few more plants to fill-out they arrangement.

I didn’t want to fill it too full to start, so that each plant would have some space to expand. The only thing that may be missing is a couple of carefully placed stones.

Succulent Centerpiece
September 12, 2011

A Unique Tree (Shrub)

Unique Panicle Hydrangea

Ta da! Introducing our Unique Panicle Hydrangea! (It is the little plant closest to the camera.) After trips to two arboretums and a city garden, plus many hours wandering local garden stores, we finally settled on a tree for the front yard. Tree may not be the right term, since it is more of a shrub, but it will grow as a single or double trunk and develop an umbrella of foliage, much like a tree.

As my search for the perfect tree continued, I realized that the space I had for the tree could only handle something about six to eight feet wide and tall, which is a very small tree. Second, the spot is full sun, all day, and true trees that enjoy full sun tend to want to get much larger than six feet, which totally makes sense with all that solar energy. Finally, this is our butterfly garden, so having a flowering something that attracts wings, is just added benefit.

Thanks to everyone for their tree advice, especially Rosemarie, who wandered both arboretums with me and her husband, Matt, who can spot a paniculata from 1000 yards.

As you can see from the photo above, the rest of the garden is coming together as well. SB spent the past week digging out grass and filling-in with new dirt, mulch and edging. My Mom donated the mature peonies and peegee hydrangea from her garden to anchor ours. I can’t wait until next summer, to see this garden develop. The photo below are the blooms from a mature unique panicle hydrangea, they start green, go to pink and then finally to white.

September 6, 2011

The Final Blanket

Sunshine Throw

With the Sunshine Throw, I officially close the 2011 Blanket Challenge. This blanket, so nicely modeled by Lola, is blanket number eight and is a beauty. There are two geeky knitting things that make the sunshine throw special. First, it uses a slip stitch technique to work two colors at once, creating the illusion of the decreasing and increasing vertical lines. Second, it has a two strand i-cord border that gives the edge a nice bulkiness and texture. Everything about this pattern came together perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and am excited to give it to a knitting friend/new mom.

As for the timing on finishing this blanket, it just makes me sad. I had planned for this blanket to take me a month, which would have meant that I met my goal of eight blankets in six months. Instead, life, work, the house and summer got in the way and it took me two months to finish. At the five month mark I had completed seven blankets and had just one to go. Success seemed like a sure thing. Oh well, I don’t regret any of the non-knitting things I did. All told, in seven months I completed eight blankets, which is still more than one a month.

Here is one of the happy recipients. He says this is the best blanket he’s ever had. The first day with the blanket he was already picking out a name for it. Last I heard the blanket was “Blue McQueen”.

Zander and his blanket



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