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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Instead of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I missed Garden Bloggers Bloom Day because for most of the week leading up to it I was on the East Coast, in Providence, R.I., for my son Iain's wedding. So instead of trying to play catch-up and post for GBBD, I'm just going to share my happy, albeit hectic, week. There's not much flowering in my garden right now anyway, other than very wet and wind-blown Echinacea purpurea and Sedum Autumn Joy. I came home at the end of Happy Wedding Week to gale-force winds and rain, strange weather more suited to later in the season.

I found some flowers in Providence, I'll show you those. But I'll also start with plants.

This was my airplane carry-on -- a tote bag full of potted starts for my son and new DIL's garden

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and met with Iain and Diana for dinner, and then on Wednesday afternoon they took us to Newport, R.I. to wander around the shops on the waterfront. We were still having a hard time getting acclimated to the new time zone, and in fact, never really did, we were still falling asleep around 2 a.m. the night before we came home. I also didn't take a lot of photos of the wedding, I just wanted to enjoy being with the two of them, plus Nigel and I had to meet all of Diana's family, which, as you can imagine, was pretty stressful for two old introverts who rarely talk about anything other than gardens (me) and computers (Nigel). Therefore, there are photos in this post that will be attributed to others.

A small park and old church next door to our hotel in Providence

At our afternoon meal (I wasn't sure whether it was lunch or dinner, since my time sense was all off), my son Iain made us all laugh with his version of Mr. Napkin Head from the movie The Holiday

On Thursday morning, rather than continuing to eat at the somewhat disappointing hotel restaurant, Nigel and I ventured down the street for breakfast at a little cafe called Ellie's, for lattes and breakfast sandwiches.

The interior of Ellie's


On Thursday was the actual "paperwork" wedding of Iain and Diana, at the North Providence Town Hall, officiated by a justice of the peace. The celebratory wedding, which was scheduled for Saturday, was going to be officiated by a friend of Diana's, who was not actually licensed in Rhode Island. So to get the paperwork correctly filed, they decided to have essentially two weddings. The one on Thursday in front of the J.P. was attended only by Nigel and I, Diana's parents, and Diana's sister Julia.

As you can see from the expression on Diana's face, she's a weeper, but she's also very much a keeper

On Friday evening, after the wedding rehearsal for the bigger celebration set to take place on Saturday, Nigel and I hosted a get-to-know-you party for all the people who had arrived from out of town for the big formal reception (Diana's family are all from Long Island).

Nigel and Brad, one of Iain's "groomsfolk," a good friend from Iain's high school days, at the Friday rehearsal party (photo by 2 1/2-year old Arzu, one of the flower girls)

On Saturday morning Nigel and I went for a walk around Providence.

I like this mural of a young girl opening a magical door

And this one, of a young man tossing a ring in the air, seemed appropriate

This art deco building in downtown Providence is called the Superman building because of its resemblance to the Daily Planet building in the original Superman comic books

We walked along the river that runs through the city, where preparations were underway for a city-wide celebration called WaterFire, set to take place that evening.

Those braziers full of wood would be set ablaze, but we wouldn't be there to see them as we would be at the wedding

Another Providence mural

Barges full of wood and a gondola

Along the riverfront, art with the city as a backdrop

Of course I managed to find a little pocket garden near the river.

There were large swaths of Rudbeckia

As well as lots of tall sunflowers

This building captured my imagination

Plant City was apparently a vegetarian market - we didn't bother to go closer for a better look

Providence recently built and opened a new bow-shaped pedestrian walkway across the river, that makes use of old bridge pylons. Read about it here.

Providence's new pedestrian bridge

View of the city from the bridge

On one side are tiered planters full of grasses that were blowing in the wind

I spotted Miscanthus, Panicum, Calamagrostis, and I think the short, pinkish tufted grass is Eragrostis

At the other end of the bridge was a large concrete walkway with island beds

I'm pretty sure they were intended as rain gardens, as they all dipped in the center, and although the plants on the edges were not especially moisture-loving, the ones in the depression in the center, such as Lobelia cardinalis, were

In the evening we headed out in our rental car to the reception hall at the Meehan Overlook in North Providence.

Flower Girl RaeLynn and Bridesfolk, Diana's sister Abby

Second Flower Girl Arzu, holding up a mask of Diana, created by one of Arzu's moms, one of the Groomsfolk and friend of Iain, Rosalie (who also took the photo)

Here's adorable Arzu in her dress (photo by Rosalie)

Arzu playing with bubbles (photo by Rosalie)

Arzu's favorite greeting -- "I have a dress!" (photo by Rosalie)

Nigel and Arzu, who took a liking to each other (photo by Rosalie) -- the bandaids are adornment

Iain looking quite dapper

Arzu calls him "Uncle Iain"

Diana and her mini-me Arzu -- Diana's simple bouquet was made of flowers from her garden

Arzu's second mom, Elnara, is from Azerbaijan. Arzu's name in Azerbaijani means "wish" or "dream."

My sister and her husband holding up bride and groom masks

After the wedding came Bridesfolk and Groomsfolk speeches. To Nigel's relief he wasn't called upon to speak. Iain's good friends who have all known him since high school shared funny and at times heart-warming stories of life with Iain. The last ten years have had their ups and downs and I'm so glad he has had such good friends for support back east.

Brad's speech included a funny story about Halloween, always one of Iain's favorite holidays

Scott told a story about being part of an underground newspaper in high school that was Iain's brainchild

For some reason I didn't get a photo of Rosalie's speechifying, but I did take a photo of her from Friday night's party

Diana (center) and her sisters/Bridesfolk, Abby (left) and Julia (right) (photo by Diana)

There are (fortunately) no photos of me, I'm not much of a selfie-taker. But for the wedding I did make a fun little fascinator. I bought a witch hat from Michael's last year at Halloween, which I altered by adding some colorful feathers and a flower with a battery-powered fiber-optic center that lit up.

Brave soul Nigel models my fascinator

After a brief visit to Iain and Diana's house on Sunday morning to say good-bye, we headed to Boston's Logan Airport Hilton for one last overnight stay before boarding our plane for home.

View from the Hilton

The shore of Lake Ontario from our plane

The opposite shore of Lake Ontario

Finally, the welcome sight of Mt. Rainier as it rises above the clouds

Lake Washington as our plane descends into SeaTac airport

Of course, now I am still jet-lagged despite never acclimating to East Coast time. It was a stressful, exhilarating week full of meeting new people, eating at odd times, etc. Nigel was back at work the very next day and we still haven't caught up on our sleep. Maybe by the weekend we'll get that chance.


  1. It looks like everyone had a good time at a fun filled wedding.

  2. I've never been to Providence but it looks like a beautiful city (something that could never be said of LA). I loved the murals and the bridge walk. More importantly, the wedding was charming in all respects. Those bride and groom face masks are priceless. Tiring as it may have been, I expect you're going to enjoy memories of the trip and the ceremonies forever.

  3. Oh I enjoyed this post ! Such a lovely happy family. Los Angeles City Hall (an iconic LA building) was the exterior for the Daily Planet in the Superman 50's era TV show.Back then everything was filmed in LA it seems. So when you posted the view from the Logan Hilton on IG I thought I recognized it-I've stayed there a few times-so damn convenient. Most convenient airport hotel ever.

  4. Congratulations! What fun, even if it was hugely exhausting. So I have to ask, what was the purpose of the braziers on the river? Was something specific being celebrated?

    1. The braziers were part of a yearly celebration called WaterFire. They light them at night and play music very loudly. There's a link to some info about it in the post. It was the same night as the wedding so we didn't see it, but they did close off some streets, which made driving back to our hotel challenging.

  5. Providence looks like a beautiful city. Ellie's diner ambiance is inviting (with fresh cut flowers!) and the pedestrian bridge is stunning. The mass grass planting is so well done.
    Thanks for sharing this happy family event, and congratulations. I must say though, I would have loved to see you model the fascinator yourself... it's not too late :-D

  6. Any city with a river running through it makes me so envious. Are the newlyweds going to live there? Loved this post, and congratulations to you and your marvelous family. My DIL is one of the joys of my life, and it looks like you got lucky too.

  7. So happy to see this post, Alison. Congratulations to you all. I swear, we were just sitting on the Flingers Bus a few days ago talking about this upcoming event waaaay in the future. Glad you made it through--and trust you had a marvelous time. Happy family, happy life. Cheers, you little introvert you, my kind of girl. xo

  8. The happy couple look very happy indeed. Joy to them.

    Too bad Plant City was just selling the edible kind.

  9. It looks like a wonderful trip. So, you moved away from your son, my son did the opposite! He lives in RI, recently moved out of Providence, but works at Brown. My daughter loved it when she visited him. All the wonderful places to eat and incredible buildings to photograph! I haven't been able to visit yet.

  10. Congratulations to all and best wishes to the bride and groom. Looks like a wonderful wedding, with plenty of creativity and laughter as well as love. Providence is an interesting city - Judy went to college there, and we've visited a couple of times. Also some fascinating local political history - did anybody tell you about the former mayor, Buddy Ciancci, who went to prison but then got re-elected anyways, only to be indicted and jailed a second time?

  11. Big congrats to the happy couple! Providence looks like a great place. We have friends there, and now I want to visit... Little Arzu could easily have a future as a portrait photographer - she got a great shot of Nigel and Brad! Loved both the picture of her in her nice dress and the bride and groom masks. What a fun idea! Great post, Alison! :D

  12. What a great week! Congratulations to Ian and Diana. You must be exhausted!


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