But It Fell In My Shopping Cart

miniature roses in a flower pot

It had to happen eventually.  I am a very flower-hungry gardener.  In the middle of a cold, gray February.  And there was a whole stack of miniature roses in front of the check-out at the store.


Does anyone else feel sheepish over buying gift plants for themselves?  Valentine's and Mother's Day are my downfall because that is when the miniature roses pile onto the stands at any grocery or Walmart in the US.  This tiny rose was clearly meant for the Valentine's Day gift market, but a rose is a rose is a... It fell into my shopping cart somehow, as others have before!

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Iced Landscape

Icy, road and trees

Over the last twenty-four hours, we've seen (or heard) freezing drizzle, thunder and lightning, rain, freezing rain, snow and, late this afternoon, some sunshine.  The results are a treacherously beautiful landscape.  Every tree feathered with white, every twig and every blade of grass cased in ice.  Also a deserted street, as even the post office seems to have decided it wasn't wise to come out.  After all, most of the white in these photos isn't snow, but ice.


Meantime, I did creep out carefully with my camera, as I didn't want to miss the beauty...

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In a Vase: Foraged

seed pot with dried stems for In a Vase on Monday

Definitely foraged.


To be honest, I don't know what any one of these bits of dried material is, except that the stem with the elegantly curved leaf looks rather like a pin oak (Quercus palustris).  Everything was cut from the bare winter twigs at the southeast corner of our new property, where there is a little thicket and, just below it, the roadside ditch.


The berries are quite intriguing, dry drupes now mostly blackened, presumably by the cold.  Our realtor gave me the common name when we looked at the property, but I promptly forgot it.  There were so many other things to think about!  They - the berries, that is - grow on vines clambering over the partially derelict barbed wire on the west side of the yard.


The pot is one I made for my sister a couple of years ago.  Not a vase, except by present use, it was designed as a seed pot especially for her carefully harvested nasturtium seeds, selected for color and vigor.  It fits neatly into the hand but still holds plenty of seeds.  I believe her most recent batch is still in the bottom of the pot.  I managed to grab it and slip it into the truck bed as I left our house in Arizona - one salvage job among many.  (We came near to losing a great deal of what we owned and even much of what we had made with our own hands.  For a brief timeline of the past two months, please see my last post.)  At one point we had to collect spilled seeds from all over the bottom of the bed liner,  but back they went into the pot, which, thankfully, remained intact through thick and thin and a couple of rides on a tow truck.  When she suggested I use it for today's vase, I thought it just the thing for dried material.  I like the way the small mouth holds the stems and twigs...


Well, I am finally back to posting for In a Vase on Monday - thanks to the ever-inspiring Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Do check her post for many more links to winter (and perhaps summer) vases!

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A New Home

It has been two months since my last post here.


The day after that post I began making emergency calls to get my beloved horses out to stay safely in a boarding facility.  One week later I sat outside an emergency room and posted to Instagram about our sudden departure from home as our mother's tactics had sent my sister into a medical emergency.  ER staff warned us not to go back, especially not alone, as they felt the situation could easily spiral out of control, perhaps even become violent, so that was our unintended move-out date.  Over the next week, I arranged to get the rest of our stuff out and into storage.  We had agreed to delay our move-in date so the sellers could have more time to move out and clean things up, so we spent the intervening week in AirBnbs in lovely Tucson, AZ.  On the day after Christmas we finally got a first glimpse of the home we had purchased in Las Cruces - necessarily sight-unseen because of the family situation we were trying to escape - and found that, in essence, we had no home.  As it stood it was unlivable, nor was the neighborhood any better.  Two weeks ago we drove out of Las Cruces headed to the Midwest.  Three days ago we moved into our own little home, a clean, fresh, minuscule house on a few acres bounded only by some barbed wire and a road below.

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In a Vase: A Touch of Silver

rose Sterling Silver

Well, it is Monday again, time for In a Vase on Monday with Cathy! 


Today's vase was a hurriedly contrived affair: one stem of rose 'Sterling Silver' collected, set in a vase, and photographed as the sun was setting.  'Sterling Silver' has flowered magnificently this autumn.  Many blooms are just a bit dry as I haven't been watering heavily; but this bud was near-perfect with the help of our recent rainfall.  And the scent is incomparable: a full, sweet fragrance, unmistakably rose and as quiet and graceful as the color of the blooms.


The vase is one I nearly discarded but have since decided is perhaps worth keeping around.  The top was fluted in much the same manner as I would flute a pie crust, pinching the clay inward and out with my fingers.


I am hoping to be able to replace 'Sterling Silver' in the new garden, but I'm unsure whether I can get another.  Growers seem to be phasing it out in favor of lavenders reliable in a wider range of climates.  Perhaps I can't blame them, remembering how it sulked in my first garden - defoliated by black spot each summer and nipped by cold in winter.  For all that, I find it is a very special rose here in the desert, having grown far larger than expected, and being healthy and free-flowering.  And it is a superbly beautiful rose.

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