Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kindness and Respect

The negative events in the news reinforce my resolve to keep a positive attitude.  We are what we think and say ... therefore, I will think encouraging thoughts and do my best to spread as much kindness as I can.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

We can condemn violence and hate, without participating in it.  

Love to you all!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Finding Myself ... As a Doll

I never know exactly what I'll find when doing an Internet search.  Earlier this summer, I was looking for a sweater pattern to knit ... and, in the search results, I found this image:

Blythe doll

It was like coming face-to-face with myself in doll form.  Long dark hair, big brown eyes ... she's even wearing an over-sized bulky sweater.  She looks an awful lot like Wednesday Addams, who was my second favorite character on The Addams Family.  (It will be no surprise to you that I adored her mother Morticia above all other characters.)

See what I mean?  Look at that resemblance.  (Forgive the grainy photo-of-a-photo.  I stole it from my mom's FB page.)


(After I found the photo of the doll, I went hunting for more info on Blythe dolls.  One article that I read said that Blythe dolls were originally thought to be too scary-looking for children.  That would not have been the case with this girl when she was a child, I assure you.)  

Even though I got distracted during my search for a sweater pattern, I eventually did find one that I could work with ... a bulky, basic, knit-in-the-round-from-the-top-down turtleneck.  I improvised the seed stitch and cables to make it more interesting.  The yarn came from a yummy soft wool sweater that I bought at Goodwill.  (Original pattern is HERE.)

Here are instructions for unraveling a sweater to harvest the yarn.

Anyway ..... this post went completely off track ..... kind of like my original search for the elusive sweater pattern.  I will leave it this way, though, because it totally represents who I am.

So, let me ask ... Do you stay on track when you hunt for something, or do you veer off course, too?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia

Last month, my friend Sharon, the Goth Gardener, sent me a link to an article about a program at Woodlands, a garden cemetery in West Philadelphia.  (more about this in a minute)  Later that week, I came across another mention of Woodlands as I was reading a fascinating article in the Southern Garden History Society Newsletter.  That article referenced another article about Woodlands ... this definitely appeared to be a very significant place, and in all of my research about garden cemeteries I had NEVER before come across any mention of Woodlands.

Entrance to Woodlands Cemetery

William Hamilton (1745-1813) inherited 300 acres of land near on the Schuylkill River west of Philadelphia.  The Woodlands was recognized throughout post-revolutionary America as a leading example of English taste in architecture and landscape gardening. (source)  Hamilton created a landscape full of rare plants and trees, gathered from plant explorers and through his network of significant botanical associates (Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Bartram, etc.)  "There was not a rare plant in Europe, Asia, Africa, from China and the islands in the South Sea, of which has had any account, which he had not procured."  His 1813 obituary noted, "The study of botany was the principal amusement of his life."  (source)

"In 1840, local investors bought the intact core of the estate to transform the grounds into a rural cemetery.  Still active today, Woodlands Cemetery retains two of Hamilton's 18th-century buildings, elaborate Victorian funerary monuments, curving green contours and majestic trees."  (source)

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to visit Woodlands for a couple of hours, while I was near Philadelphia on my way to the National Clean Plant Network-Roses annual meeting at Longwood Gardens.  (More about what I learned at this meeting in a future post.)  I went there specifically to see the results of the Grave Gardener project, where gardeners adopt, plant, and tend cradle graves in the cemetery.  (A cradle grave has a large headstone and footstone, connected by curbing to create a space that is perfect for use as a planting enclosure.  For more about cradle graves, click HERE.)

The Grave Gardener program at Woodlands is in its second year, and it has proved to be very popular.  (150 gardeners were chosen for 2017, from a pool of 250 applications.)  There is a list of approved plants that can be used, most of which have historical significance.  Grave Gardeners are encouraged to research the people in the graves that they tend, which can create a true relationship between the gardener and the "residents". 

"There's two groups of people," says the executive director of the cemetery.  "There are the ones that think this is the coolest thing ever, like when you tell them you do this, and there's the ones that think it's the weirdest thing ever."  (source)   (All of you already know which group I belong to.)

The monuments and the landscape at Woodlands are spectacular.  Located in West Philadelphia, surrounded on all sides by modern buildings, Woodlands' 54 acres is an quiet place of beauty and calm.  The cemetery founders were keenly aware that their enterprise saved this unique place from industrial and residential development in what was then a streetcar suburb.  (source)

While Woodlands has an amazing collection of trees in its landscape, fifteen of which qualify as state champion trees, it doesn't have much else.  There is grass, a lot of grass ... no shrubs or perennials to speak of ... and only one rose that I could find, located in a landscaped area near the mansion.  No telling exactly how old the rose is, but it appears to be an old once-bloomer.  (and I totally forgot to snap a photo of it.)

Every time I go to a new town and visit their cemetery, I see things that I have never seen before.  At Woodlands, I found unique monuments and at least one cast iron fence that was new to me.

I wanted to stay at Woodlands for a while longer, because there was still so much to see, but it was getting late, we were hot and thirsty, and we had to get on the road to meet friends for dinner.

I will conclude this post with my favorite images from Woodlands.  These three mausoleums were in the farthest corner of the cemetery, built into a hill, on a footpath away from the road, tucked in the shade of enormous trees.  It was an incredibly peaceful spot!

I thought of Goth Gardener when I saw this, and I know that she will agree that it is a perfect place for one's eternal rest.

If you have time to get sucked into a wonderful, enlightening Internet rabbit hole, click on the links in this post to read the articles.  I was amazed at the significance of William Hamilton, and you probably will be, too. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Snapshot: His and Hers

I am sitting in our Family Room on this lovely Sunday morning, trying to get used to my new laptop.  (My former one is eight years old, the battery won't charge, I can't buy a new battery for it, and it ran out of disk space.)  

Anyway .... this morning, I was struck by how differently my husband and I keep our individual spaces.  He sits on the left end of the sofa, I'm either on the right end or in the far leather chair, where Ruby is in this photo.  (None of the photos in this post are staged.  They represent real life on display, and fortunately, the place is fairly tidy right now.)

This is how my husband's end table always looks.  It contains only what belongs there, no extraneous junk, no piles.

Mine, on the other hand, looks like a photo from an "I Spy" book ... with a heaping assortment of whatever I'm working on at the time.  

We see three pairs of reading glasses, knitting supplies (a cable needle, a counter, two pairs of scissors, and needle caps, because I'm making a sweater, which Instagram followers have seen, and I'm actively using these things most evenings), hair stuff (a clip, bobby pins, and an elastic hair tie), a pile of bracelets, a mechanical pencil, a pile of magazines and books topped by my iPad, an external hard drive, and a few other random things.  What you don't see is a pile of books on the floor beside the leather chair.

I try really hard to not pile things, but it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle.  From time to time, I go through the stuff and put away the things that I know I'm not using.  The table gets a bit tidier as a result, but it's only temporary.

Sunday Snapshots are posts devoted to moments in time that represent glimpses into everyday life in Hartwood, or wherever else I happen to be at the time. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Barn Garden Progress

When we last saw the 15' x 18' expansion of the Barn Garden earlier this week, I had marked it off and laid landscape fabric in the area.  

The next step was to add an edge.  In this case, salvaged 4x4 fence posts from our dwindling stash, cut to size and fastened with ground spikes.  They're not beautiful, but they do their job ... keeping the mulch IN and most of the creeping weeds OUT. 

The final step, in this part of the process, was to add a generous layer of mulch.

The combination of landscape fabric and mulch will block the light to the grass underneath, and most of it should die within the next few weeks.  By the time summer is waning and temperatures begin to cool, the area will be ready to plant.  What am I planting here, you ask?

Some of them are:

"Talcott Noisette" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery.

"Tutta's Noisette" from Rose Petals Nursery.

"Ryland Rose" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery.

"Lathrop Noisette" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery

"Woodbine Rose" from cuttings at a cemetery in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

"Isaacs Rose" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery

For now, these babies will continue to live safely in their little pots ... where I can give them a lot of attention, till the weather is favorable for them to live in the ground on their own.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Driving Past Our House, and Going Back in Time

As I was hunting for the satellite image on Google Maps that I used in yesterday's post, I got distracted by the street view of our property.  I can tell exactly when the photos were taken, based on the scene that they show ... late October, 2012.

Our neighbor's property was for sale.  Wonderful new neighbors have been here for three years now.

I don't recognize this car.

That pile of stuff underneath the tarp is the freshly-cut slabs of our fallen oak tree.  THIS post shows how it was done by the sawmill crew.

Their equipment tore the yard up a bit, but not too badly.

This was right before I closed my retail nursery.  The sign was still up.

Next stop, Hartwood Winery next door.  That's their driveway on the right.

I'm such a junkie when it comes to reference and archived material.  I have to handle Google Maps carefully, otherwise I could get lost for days searching addresses and wandering far-off streets.

Have you played on Google Maps and checked out your house?

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