Saturday, October 5, 2013

AN EYE-CANDY, SOUL-SATISFYING BOOK: NATURAL COMPANIONS

Every now and then a book comes along that just speaks to your soul and I recently came across one. Actually, I should say that one recently came across to me because I encountered it as I was discharging books at our circulation desk - the cover was so stunning that I was compelled to stop for a moment and open it. I was immediately sucked in by the sheer beauty of the photography.  This simple action led to several remarkable events which I will soon describe.  First let me show you the book:






Natural Companions:   The Garden Lover's Guide to Plant Combinations

Written by Ken Druse
Botanical Photography by Ellen Hovercamp








Isn't that a stunning cover?  In my opinion, the photographer and the author make a very good team. Mr. Druse provides a lot of useful information without being overwhelming.  The author has a  relaxed writing style that is easy to read and makes you want to read more -- not always a simple thing to do in non-fiction writing.  The book is divided into sections by themes, such as color, foliage, fragrance, and includes photographs of gardens from different climates that exemplify that section's theme.

The photography is amazing and while the outside garden shots are admittedly lovely, the knock-out shots are the compilations and pairings of varied species the photographer has achieved through her scanning technique which is described in the book.  I contacted Ellen Hoverkamp, the botanical photographer, and asked her permission to post some of her images here and she very nicely agreed.   Just look at some of these!!









I do not often ooze awed excitement but this book and photography have inspired me so much I just felt I had to share.  Click here to link to Ellen Hoverkamp's blog where you can see even more of her work.

Now, the experience part:  Of course I had to bring the book home to explore thoroughly...but not alone.  I took it with me the next tme I visited my mother.  My mother has always been an avid gardener as was her mother. Both had beautiful gardens and I spent much of my childhood visiting gardens and nurseries (...flashback image of a childhood spent pulling a little red wagon through multitudes of nurseries!!).  Well, I spent an entire afternoon going through the book, page by page, with my mother.   She and I oohed and aahed every time we turned the page!  We read the captions.  We read some of the explanations.  We perused the identification schematics that told us what we were looking at.  And we were captivated.  Together.  It was a very soul-satisfying day and at some point my mother wondered aloud if she "might be able to put something like (one of the groupings) together".  I said, "Why not?!"  The following week I came to visit bearing Asters, Autumn Joy Sedum, and Japanese Anenomes I had gathered from my yard as well as a couple Autumn bouquets from the local grocery flower shop.  I also brought miscellaneous odd containers for her to choose from.  We spent another pleasant day playing with the flowers.  No rules.  Just fun.  We called it Flower Therapy and we had a blast together.  Here are some of our creations:













We had such fun together!  Before I sign off though, here are a couple floral arrangement tips I would like to share.
  • After my father saw the Anenomes I brought he shared a tip from his gardening friend:  Quickly dip the newly cut Anenome stems into boiling hot water and then into cool.  The flowers will last longer in the arrangement.
  • From one of the Garden Club ladies who bring weekly arrangements to our library (yay Garden Club ladies!!):  Tulips will last longer and stand straighter in your arrangement if you simply drop a copper penny into the vase.  I have tried this and it does work!!

If you have a tip to share I would love to hear it.  Please share it by typing it into the comment section below. To do so, click on the area where it either says "no comments," "1 comment," etc and type your tip in the box that pops up .  I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG REALLY?! or, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

I have not posted anything at all since, OMG, March 2012!! Where did that time go and why the disconnect?

Besides helping with the downsizing and relocation of three households, the thing that really did me in was that the library I work at underwent a massive reconstruct in which we more than doubled the size of our building.  This went on during THE HOTTEST SUMMER of all time and we REMAINED in the building with NO AC, listening to this all day:

video


Needless to say, this scenario essentially disabled all of my thought processes and sent my ability to focus into "duh" mode both at work and after. I have been crafting (all right, lets be honest, knitting) as a lifeline to sanity but was completely incapable of composing a legible sentence, written or otherwise.

I must confess that I completely dropped the ball where this blog stood since I simply couldn't handle it all.  I wasn't alone though - my colleagues also ceased their library blogs and we removed the links from our library home page (so if you find links that don't work anymore that is why).  So, I am on my own and hopefully I will be back at this more consistently again.

Oddly, while this has all happened, according to my statistics page, my blog has lived on in cyberspace and has been receiving hits and comments.  Thank you!!  The 3 most popular posts have been:


In addition, amazingly, a recent hit led to an award of a badge (see the icon/link to the left under "About Me") from the HGTV Design Happens blogger, Keri Sanders, who appreciated the craftiness of my Prescription Bottle Matchbox project (click the badge to link her post).  I am so honored to be recognized by HGTV's Design Happens blog and awarded this badge!

This recognition combined with the fact that the library and various households are settling down, and with that the restoration of my sanity (albeit oddly slow), is spurring me back into blogging action.  Thank you for the continuous support and numerous emails!