The Amateur Bot-ann-ist Marries John in Her Garden

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My wedding bouquet made for great photo opportunities.
Four weeks ago today I married an amazing man in the back garden. And now—as I sit here writing this—it’s great to publicly admit that we met online and immediately knew we would marry.
Just 6 months after we met, we were married. There, I said it.
This happened because maturity and experience are great things. Middle-aged love is nothing to scoff at either—especially when it brings such joy and happiness.
And in my case, I can’t say enough about the lessons learned from my divorce. I know now that it took a divorce in order for me to truly understand how much marriage and commitment mean to me. Marriage means working together and being a team and I have that now for the first time. It’s what I’ve always wanted and hoped for and it’s such a great feeling knowing now that someone truly has my back and I can count on him to be there. I’m pretty sure he feels the same way too.
Maurice helping to roll out the garden carpet.

Getting ready for our noontime wedding was a lot of fun. Up until the last minute we’d planned to get married that day in a government office but then I realized we could just do it at home. Why not?

Planted topiary ball with Bromeliad and Ficus. Made to come indoors over the winter. Will keep you updated on how it holds up indoors as a houseplant planting.

Of course I tried to clean up the back garden as much as possible. I added a few pretty things to make it look better too, but overall, we didn’t really intend for it to be a big affair so not much was added. I did make this topiary though.

Two of the fur balls thinking all of the hub-bub was about them—since it usually is all about them.

The night before the ceremony I packed for Alaska and straightened the house.

Since John didn’t move in with me until after our honeymoon, that night, we both had a lot of time to think about our new life together and what it would be like in the future.

My mind was so busy thinking about packing I knew I just had to be me no matter what.

Oh why did I wait until the last minute?

That’s when I rushed out and bought some flowers to arrange at 9pm. That’s just the kind of thing that I do.

Having fun with my own selfie.

The morning of the wedding I had my hair and makeup done. It felt amazing and I’m so happy I did so.

When you plan a noontime wedding, that doesn’t mean you have a ton of time to get ready. I know that now. But of course, I pulled it all together.

John and I are oddballs. If you don’t know that about me yet, then you must be new to my blog or else you haven’t been paying attention.

John and I only invited a handful of important people. We hadn’t really thought a lot about wedding photography so many of these pictures were just shot by iPhone by my nieces.

Look! My head is exploding with flowers!

My flowers were designed by a dear friend who has an amazing touch. (Quinn in the City Flowers).

I had asked Quinn to go “over the top” and I’m pretty sure she nailed it.

Yes, I really do laugh loudly. Am I channeling Phyllis Diller? Maybe…
On my wedding day, I was very happy and we had a little secret too.
The look on my face terrifies me. I look a lot like my paternal great-grandmother who I take after in so many ways. I guess it makes sense.
My eldest niece, seen here on the left, was the minister of our ceremony. We kept that a secret from my family until after the ceremony. It was such a great idea and it made the event so much more meaningful.
That’s not to say that her younger sister (on the right) wasn’t involved too. She made sure we had lots of photos and provided plenty of laughs.
I love my girls.
Probably one of my favorite pictures from our special day. I know. I’m weird. I already told you I was though…

Afterwards, our little group met both of our mothers for a special dessert at one of my favorite restaurants in Portland.

Yes, we didn’t invite our moms to our wedding. They’ve been through it all before so we did things differently and they didn’t mind at all.

Trust me, it worked very well and they both loved seeing us all dressed up while we ate Boccone Dolce.

John looking at me thinking, “We pulled it off, our moms are both stuffed, now let’s get the heck out of here and head to Alaska!!”

And with that, we were off to Alaska!

Wordless Wednesday: Kissing the Sky, the Earth, and all the Flora

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Columnar Apple. 
Lunaria annua.  
Acer japonica ‘Villa Taranto’. 
Anemone nemorosa ‘Green Fingers’.
Clematis alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’. 
Dodecatheon poeticum.  
Unfurling fern seen during a walk.  
A canopy of Japanese maple trees.
Primula veris.
Dicentra ‘Hearts Desire’.

Filoli (Woodside, CA): Part I, Arrangements, Doors & Gates

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Located in Woodside, CA the Filioli Estate was built between 1915-1917 by Willliam Bowers Bourn II and his wife Agnes Moody Bourn. The estate has a total of 654 acres, 16 of which are formal gardens.
Filoli was first on my list of gardens to visit during this trip to California.
Floral arrangement in Visitor’s Center.
In the newly constructed visitor center I was stuck by this massive floral arrangement and noted that the materials used were garden materials instead of stark and showy exotics so I was thrilled when I discovered that the arrangements throughout the interiors were made with flowers from the cutting garden on the estate.
When you enter the main house, you will see this orchid planter. It’s massive size does nothing to dwarf the beauty of its contents.
In another room nearby an arrangement is seen on a table with Delphinium and Dutch Iris (Iris x hollandica) from the garden. As a matter of fact, all of the rooms in the house had amazing arrangements in them—though the ikebana-inspired piece was truly my least favorite since it really disappointed me.
Of coures there are a few houseplants too like this Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)—a classic for any dark interior.
A pair of Boston ferns (Nephrolenpis) on two of the largest plant stands I’ve ever seen.
Out back, past the larger formal gardens you’ll find the cutting garden. It’s in two parts with one being protected, while the other is out in the open.
Then there are the many garden doors and gateways at Filoli…

Hope you enjoyed the brief tour of these few pieces and parts.

Stay tuned for more…

Official Website: Filoli
Wikipedia: Filoli Estate

Fall’s 3 Muses: Aconitum, Anemone, Aster

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I always find myself wanting more and more of these three plants every September, and yet for some reason, every year, I forget to add new members to their ranks.

Aconitum columbianum. Plant grown from seed.
This year I actually subtracted from our Anemones by ridding the backyard of the weedy, tall, and white ‘Honorine Jobert’. When a plant begins pushing me around, I have to step up and tell it to, “Step off.” That Anemone stepped off alright, and stepped right into the yard debris bin.
Luckily I have this other little beauty to look at right now and it isn’t taking over 1/4 of my garden like the other one did.
Anemone hupenhensis var. Japonica. Purchased plant.

Then there are the Asters. Am I the only one here that thinks there are too many to keep track of? Don’t they begin to all look and sound alike? I just cannot tell them apart, besides, I forget far more of them than I remember.

I think this one I will remember though. It is new to our garden this year and I grew it from seed. I almost threw it away before I left for California because I thought it was maybe a weed. I am so glad now that I let it stay! It is a North American native too.

Aster azureus, Aster oolentangiensi, or Symphyotrichum oolentangiensis. Plant grown from seed.
I thought I would add that my Ikebana a Day project on my other blog is going well. I am still assessing the value it’s having upon my day-to-day affairs, and so far, it seems to have been a great idea.
Soon I will be beginning Ikebana classes and that will improve the quality of my work and the attention I will be able to pay to my materials. So far, the arrangements have been based upon availability and ease and I want that to change. The pieces have felt a lot like sketches and that has been a fun way to warm up for the rest of the year. Overall, I truly want to see if this practice will make me feel better and, in a way, it already seems to be keeping me happier.

For some reason I am really behind on the written copy for the other blog—since I should explain what I am up to in greater depth—but I will get to that soon. I still have 11.5 months left, right? A Year of Ikebana. (I think it has to do with collecting seeds. I have been dramatically slowed down by that annual process!)