To spring! And back again.

Here at the house, the endless sanding and painting continues. But, how many posts about sanding and painting can I inflict on you? I have to live every stroke … but you don’t. (You are saying, “No, no! More about painting, please!!” Well, too bad. You’ll get over it.) Today I am going to write about spring. Or at least, the harbinger of spring in these parts—the annual Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Eric always makes sure two tickets to the show are stashed in my Christmas stocking. In the bleak grayness of December, it’s the best gift ever because it holds all the promise of the new year.

We hit the display gardens first. This year, sorry to say, we weren’t wowed by any of them. Oh well … some years got it, some years don’t. (Last year we found our inspiration for a new conifer garden, so I can’t expect that every year!)

Like the Home Show or the Puyallup Fair, most of the vendors are the same from year to year. One of my favorites is Whidbey Island’s Bob Bowling Rustics, fanciful little outbuildings made from recycled building materials. I aspire to own one someday … when we have more space. (It’s hard to take good photos when dodging the crowd.)

Bob Bowling Rustics

We picked out a new ceramic night light for the bathroom. How night lights relate to a garden show is not obvious to me … except this one has a ginkgo leaf motif.

ginkgo night light

Among the plant vendors we unexpectedly found a coral-bark Japanese maple ‘bene kawa,’ which is the little tree we lost in last January’s ice storm.

ice storm 1/2012

Bene kawas are hard to come by these days. They seem to have gone out of style with most growers, so we were delighted to find someone who still provides them. We snapped up a baby bene … not sure where he’ll go, but there’s always room for one more.

And then … I saw it, its golden needles glowing across the crowded room—the object of my plant lust for several years: a Chief Joseph lodgepole pine!! These guys are almost impossible to find if you’re not in the landscape trade. I peeked at the little guy’s price tag, just for a split second. I’m pretty sure it was upwards of $300. I turned the tag back over so fast, I’m not entirely positive. That’s nuts, right? I walked away. “Talk me down from this ledge,” I begged Eric. I successfully put Joe out of my mind. Until … I saw more Chief Josephs dead ahead! And one of these beauties could be mine at the bargain price of $220! Funny how that works, isn’t it? You walk away from something exorbitant and then see a price only slightly less ridiculous and—bam—your wallet falls open. Yes, Joe came home with us. (I am not sorry.) So did a cut-out steel kitty.

Garden show goodies

Lacy think steely kitty looks a lot like her! Look at those ears!

Lacy and steely kitty

False springs have a way of coming to an abrupt end. When we got home, the house felt chilly. Our elderly oil furnace had run out of fuel! When that happens, the old girl won’t restart without coaxing from a furnace technician … preferably one who’s on overtime because it’s a weekend. I might add, this isn’t the greatest time to buy oil, at $4.45/gal. I guess I had that comin’ after splurging on Chief Joe. That’s just the way life works!



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