Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I have always, as long as I can remember had an affinity with plants. I grew up in Michigan searching the ponds and fields with the neighbor boys to see what we could find, snapping turtles, garter snakes, frogs but I always noticed the plants too. My first cultivated garden was a small patch of wild strawberry plants I dug in a field and transplanted. A neighbor man took pity on me and gave me starts from his garden, I had them running everywhere in no time flat as strawberries tend to do. The wild ones are bitter and unpalatable but I thought with a little love maybe I could change that. Our fences were chain link or as we called them there, cyclone so there was no privacy but I soon found they made a nice support for morning glories.

My girlfriend called on Sunday for an impromptu poached egg at our favorite spot in the village that turned into an impromptu day at The Huntington in Pasadena. There is a botanic illustration show in one of the galleries.....

Not JUST botanic illustration but renderings of our California natives, I love these plants more than I can say, they are like longtime friends, it was lovely. The work spanned the ages some dating back to the early 1900's.  Some of the watercolors were scientific and some were drop dead gorgeous, showing the plants in different seasons. Look, this artist painted the shade where you will find this ribes growing, in the shade of the towering oaks. 

*some of you have my silverwork representing this beautiful gooseberry.

 The same artist's beautiful rendition of the Toyon, note the shadows.

*The name Hollywood came from the mislabeling of this plant which is not in fact a member of the Holly family.

Oh boy I coveted this woodcut, I want it! I'm not really sure why they included this, it does not qualify as a botanic illustration but I am so glad it was there, I had to go back and look at it several times. This artist had to have lived in the desert to get it this right. The desert comes alive at night, the Joshua Trees the stars, that moon, swoonalicious!!

Many of the offerings looked like this, pretty, stamped, sealed illustration of the Indian Paintbrush a lot of you will be familiar with.

*for you locals...many of these are on loan from R.S.A.B.G.

I loved watching how others reacted too.
My girlfriend and I gushed over some of these pretty hard and a kidered lady came up and gushed along with us telling us she was a watercolorist too.

Don't you just love it, the shooting stars! It was painted by someone in the 1900's who loved it as much as I do. Some of these artists were involved in the Arts and Crafts movement, you could easily see this on a piece of Rookwood or on a copper desk set.

Naturally the poppies were well represented.

The Huntington is in full bloom, it's a riot, too much really, fussy and overflowing with color.

Sometimes the beauty is found in overlaying shades of green and the way the light plays with the leaves.

The conversation turned from plants we love to plants we despise, the list went something like this and I had no idea she frowned on the same ones I did...

Bird of paradise
Jade plant
Palm tree
Canna and Calla Lily
we could not agree on Lily of the Nile,,,,thumbs down for me

We tried to examine just why we reacted to these plants the way we do and decided they were popular during the trying, teen times of our lives, now known as "The Nandina Years" :)

Countless people took pictures, many with their phones, this lady was ready with her camera and hat.

The cactus collection is my favorite, with SO many oddities, low hanging fruit.

Beautiful don't you think?

 Grrrrr take me to your leader

Taking a rest whilst sipping, new header series, hummingbird on the blooming aloe. (that one's on my list too btw)

The ties that bind, there is nothing like friendship.

I have been busy with custom work which causes the shop to go fallow but a girl can only do so much.

So what I want to know is, what plants do you despise since you might be planning your garden. Which ones will I never find you growing? I'm thinking this could be fun since you all live here and there.

xoxo Ro

*ps, the bracelet design above is officially closed, let's see what else I can make.


  1. I so love being able to 'come along' on your jaunts, Ro. (The photo of you both with flowers in your hair is my favorite!)

    I think you would love my mum's stump work (embroidery). She mostly does botanical pieces, rather like the paintings in that gallery.

    Um. Least favorite plant. I had to really think about this one. Mine are more weeds, really: stinging nettles and thistles. Stinging nettles because the sting lasts for aaaages and we nearly always ended up walking through patches when we were kids.

    And thistles. Hate 'em. Let's just say there was a big hill. A bike. And a very large patch of thistles at the bottom of the hill.


    1. Oh, snapdragons used to freak me out a little when I was a kid...not that that stopped me from incessantly poking and prodding them to watch them SNAP!

  2. You chose the ouch factor! Remember stepping on thistles barefoot, the bottom of your foot would itch for hours.

    Stinging nettles, are very strange an sneaky.

    My mother grew snapdragons, we liked to make them talk, funny to be freaked out but thats a kid for ya :)


  3. NO:
    Begonias (I like other people's, but I can NEVER keep them alive)
    Ornamental grasses--I refuse to plant these when I have SO MUCH ground to mow!!!

    YES to
    Bachelor Buttons

  4. Oh, Ro, your day looks be-yew-ti-fullllllllll. I would have loved that outing, too--thank you for sharing. You two deserved a day blessed with flowers like that!!

    The new banner is stunning.

    Ohhhhhhhh, the shooting stars and Indian paintbrush....always favorites to discover in the wild....

    And the succulents--oh boy!! I would go explore there, too!!

    Again, THANK you for this grand march around the garden....

  5. I like a girl that, speaks her mind and has the passion!

    Petunias smell like horses! on my x list too!

    1. Oh yes Huntington is a MUST, the largest cacti collection in the world me thinks, it's astounding, H-O-T sub level, I always have my umbrella.

  6. What gorgeous pictures! Looks like a really fun day. Those cacti are incredible.
    And your banner!!! Seriously WOW.

    I have an irrational dislike of the gerber daisy. Everyone loves them and I just DON'T.
    Other than that I'm pretty easy going about plants :)

  7. He heee, easy going, I LOVE that! Gerbera daises look robotic, I'm with you!

    My friend is a nurseryman and he loves em all....all plants great and small.

    I told my husband once if he ever had an inkling to bring home those mums from the grocery store, he should think twice......you have to get the ground rules established.

  8. WOW what wonderful pictures...a great day for sure. I loved, loved your sharing.
    favorite flowers, shrubs, trees, ground cover, I love them all, its in my blood and the dirt is under my skin. (I'm a plant nursery daughter...heh heh)
    I must confess tho, since all my poor medical issues, and waiting to get back to our home...I have been not been playing in the dirt.
    thank you sweet friend, for sharing. I loved it!!
    ~oh and HOW STUNNING your custom piece bracelet is~
    I'm drooling. seeing it in the raw yesterday, then how it looks today...

    1. You are a nice lady and to love them all even the variegated spider plant?

      You will be back in the garden soon and back to your paradise and I will miss you.

      It was a long way from here to there.

      I made a burro yesterday :)

    2. yup, even the variegated spider plant, with its little cute babies hanging all over and down.
      (very retro 70's you know!)

  9. Botanicals inside & outside!! And wow, that cactus garden! These days I am smitten by so many plants visiting nurseries & researching natural areas & other people's gardens on walks that it's hard to think of a plant I don't like. BUT I won't be planting any petunias :) xoxo

    1. I bet you're a kid in a candy shop and having a blast this spring, I'm so happy for you!

      I don't plant them either but I sort of like that miniature variety.

      Happy spring!! xoxo

  10. that purple-green "fruit" - how strange is that!?!
    't'would make for an unusual jewelry design....

    all those photos....thanks for the tour!

    my favourite, of course: the clover chain headdresses.

  11. The cactus garden is huge and sunken, I always feel like I'm underwater with all those strange and beautiful things.

    I asked those young girls if I could take their picture and had to move them to better light, their mom was getting nervous, the girls asked if they could see the shots, I showed them to mom too, they loved them so much they asked their dad to snap a few with his phone. California girls!