Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I Bought (and Was Tempted to Buy) at The Tacoma Home and Garden Show

Peter checks out an interesting chandelier, made out of a metal bun basket hung upside down and wired for electricity, using crystal punch cups instead of drop crystals. Actually, I think it also had drop crystals too. We both admired its clever repurposing.

No, I didn't buy Peter The Outlaw Gardener at the show. Hehe. But I did meet him there. And I have definitely benefited from his free advice about plants. We made the rounds of the show together, checking out several plant sellers' booths, as well as vendors of garden decor. You can check out Peter's post here.

The first place we stopped was the Bark and Garden booth. They have the best displays of conifers, put together like a tapestry.

Besides an assortment of cute little Tillandsias, aka air plants, I also bought a gorgeous conifer, destined for my new front garden. I fell in love. Only after I got home and Googled it did I discover that in full sun its golden needles may have a tendency to scorch. So I'm just going to have to pair it with another larger, perhaps blue-needled, conifer to shelter it somewhat from the sun.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Sunlight Lace'

What sun-starved PNWer wouldn't fall for something this golden-hued?
Last year on one of our trips to Valley Nursery in Poulsbo, I got a good look at Abies pinsapo 'Glauca,' which I think would make a good companion to this golden conifer. I've been Pinning lots of plants that I'd love to have for the new front garden, so you can get a good look at A. pinsapo 'Glauca' here. Do you have any experience growing either of these, or of conifers in general? Do you have any advice for me? I'm a conifer newbie.

I'd like to put at least one other gold-needled evergreen in that same bed, not close by, but several feet away, as a color echo. Peter bought a beautiful pine at the show, Pinus sylvestris 'Gold Coin.'

Pinus sylvestris 'Gold Coin'

Sorry it's out of focus, but the color is right.
Maybe Bark and Garden will bring more to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, which is only a week away.

I'd show photos of the four air plants I got, but I've already put two of them on display in the house. When I got home from the show I also set to Googling ways to display them. Do you have any Tillandsias? How do you display them? This is my first foray into growing them. I hope they thrive. They were well marked with the type, fortunately. Here's what I bought: T. butzii, T. bulbosa, T. aeranthos, and T. abdita. Don't worry, they're going to get a post of their own.

There were several artists selling their work at the show too. One that particularly caught my attention was Blackwaters Metal, who make rusty welded metal art. Peter and I both bought a hanging bat, only $15, a great price. I need to find a good spot for it. Maybe I'll hang it from the roof of the new greenhouse, which is almost finished. Be patient, it will get its own post soon as well.

Here's a few more items from the Blackwaters Metal booth.

A row of pileated woodpeckers

Green Man

Garden Goddess

Rusty metal lion

I've always been a great lover of mosaic art. I've tried it, and it's not easy. Peter and I both admired the very talented work of Carman of Mad Mozaics. Not only was her work beautiful, but she herself was friendly and more than willing to share details about her process.

I might have been more tempted to buy this mosaiced torso if it had been more colorful.

I love the variety of items in this mosaic heart.

These leaping fish on a piece of slate were very tempting. They'd make a great decoration to my stream, don't you think?
This is the perfect time of year for planting lily bulbs, so B&D Lilies and The Lily Pad are usually a fixture at the late winter garden shows. They both usually also have booths at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. But neither Peter nor I wanted to wait a week to buy, we both love lilies too much.

Since they were bulbs and not very photogenic, and also because I've already planted them in the front bed, I won't bore you with photos. But here's a list of what I bought:

From B&D Lilies -- Lily 'Chocolate Canary' and 'Saltarello'
From The Lily Pad -- Peach Eremurus and Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'

Goodness, that's really all I bought! I could have sworn I bought more. I'll just have to make up for it at the flower show next week.


  1. It looks as if you had a great time, what a lovely thing to do on a winter's day. I don't usually like conifers but I love that 'Sunlight Lace' and what a perfect name for it. I love the golden pine too. They would both bring a little bit of sunshine into a wintery garden. And you bought a peach Eremurus? I look forward to seeing that in bloom. Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgandy' I have and it is gorgeous.

  2. Seeing this post has gotten me even more excited for the garden show! I love the metal art, I think I've seen them at the garden show before. I love the bat! I've been buying a conifer here and there lately too, but still don't know much about them.

  3. It must be very exciting to see such lovely conifer displays at this time of the year… 'Gold Coin' has been on my list of wanna haves for awhile! I have 'Saltarello' and am very pleased with it's color! Larry

  4. I usually wait until the HPSO spring sale to buy my lilies...but I may also get mine earlier this year...April is so late to be planting them...they are always so much happier when planted in Jan/Feb. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Those conifers are gorgeous and I look forward to seeing what you do with them in your garden! I'll bet you can guess what I'm really drooling over, though: Blackwater Metals, where have you been all my gardening life?

  6. Looks like you had a grand time with so many wonderful garden things. I especially like the photos at the metal booth, very interesting. xo

  7. I hope you had as much fun as I did playing at the show with you! As for the plant advice; you know I just make stuff up, right? You're such a good gardener that you actually already know everything. I have a smaller specimen of 'Sunlight Lace' (still in the pot, surprise, surprise) but when I put it in partial sun, it eventually lost it's intense color. We have different "full sun" here than they do in places farther from the water. Could you move Lacey (her new name?) around in her pot to see how much sun she can take in your situation before you plant her?

  8. I love 'Sunlight Lace', what a gorgeous plant. I know it wouldn't survive life here, but I shall admire it from afar. Every time I see a display of conifers artfully arranged I start to lose my head. Usually the prices bring me back to reality.

    Love the metal art, we're contemplating doing an abstract sculpture with some of the metal Carl has collected over the years. (Ok, abstract sculpture sounds pretty high falutin', let's say junk display instead, lol.) The metal bat is really cool.

    I have enough scrap glass here to mosaic my car, but haven't gotten around to figuring out what I want to do with it. That is an art all of it's own.

    How fun to be able to attend the show with Peter, I'm sure you had a wonderful time.

  9. Conifers are the easiest plants in my garden. The only thing they do wrong is sometimes grow a little too fast. You're gonna love 'em.

  10. Oh, I love when the PNW people get to go to the Shows and bring back photos.

    I remember when we all fancied outselves as mosaicists, a short-lived notion. I still have containers full of artsy bits that need sticking to something if only to make room.

    Trying to stay warm here. Weather moderates in a few days.

  11. I love all of the items you have featured: the colorful conifers, the metal art and the mosaics.
    Well be missing the Seattle garden show this year, only the second we've missed since they started. Oh, well, there's always next year.

  12. That conifer is gorgeous! I am so jealous.

  13. I checked your Pinterest page, Alison. There are a LOT of great ideas there. I'll be very interested to see your front garden once you get started - an empty space like that can be daunting, can't it? I've been thinking of signing up with Pinterest myself in an effort to organize my own 2014 garden plans.

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  15. I worked the Tacoma Home Show for a few years a life time ago. The best THC though was the year they brought in the Vintage Market. Year before last? And adding that to the Flower and Garden Show was great last year. Conifers are such magical beings in the garden in winter. Are you ready to plant?!

  16. What a super day out Alison and you came home with some lovely plants. I'm not experienced enough to give advice on plants but wish you well on your hunt for companions.
    Those mosaics are lovely - I'd be hard pushed to resist buying one of those too.

  17. What fun! Love those mosaics, too! Shows like this are sooo tempting. :o)


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