After view­ing the exu­ber­ant dis­plays of flow­ers, plants, con­tain­ers and hardscaping…

…the vis­i­tors to the Philadel­phia Flower Show were prac­ti­cally foam­ing at the mouth in the ven­dor area. I have never seen so many women car­ry­ing around bunches of pussy wil­low in my whole life. They looked like some sort of bizarre reli­gious pro­ces­sion with the waiv­ing branches and the ecsta­tic looks on their faces.

Well, since I have actu­ally planted my very own pussy wil­low bush, I shopped for other things. Here are some of Robin’s Fab­u­lous Flower Show Finds.



A cou­ple of days ago I talked about how I am just mad for Ike­bana, the Japan­ese art of flower arrang­ing. Don’t call the Ike­bana police on me, because I’m quite sure I have bro­ken some Ike­bana rules, but I bought an Ike­bana vase and gave it a try here at home.The trick with this nifty lit­tle vase is a built-in “frog” at the bot­tom and an enclosed water well. I don’t have the source for you, but you can search for Ike­bana sup­plies on the Inter­net and find many sim­i­lar ves­sels for your own Ike­bana creations.



I have always found that my plants are much hap­pier (ergo I am a bet­ter gar­dener) when they are in clay pots. Unfor­tu­nately, it is exceed­ingly dif­fi­cult to find a styl­ish clay pot. They are all so mass-produced look­ing and util­i­tar­ian. So I was just tick­led pink to dis­cover Goff Creek Pot­tery. These pots are about 10″ high and cost $40 each. Goff Creek has many larger pots, includ­ing huge and dec­o­ra­tive urns that go for up to $800. Sadly, there was only so much my hus­band was will­ing to carry for the sake of my gar­den­ing habits.



I also met a won­der­fully charm­ing cou­ple with a tiny lit­tle booth of pot­tery vases. Paula L. Brown-Steedly, at Vir­ginia Clay, is the pot­ter and seems to spe­cial­ize in organic-looking, hand-built clay ves­sels, although she also had a num­ber of thrown and thrown and manip­u­lated ves­sels. I pur­chased these two vases, about 11″ high each, at about $85 and $70. They look fab­u­lous with a sim­ple arrange­ment on my farm­house table.



Do you love African Vio­lets like I do? Well, let me intro­duce you to the Vio­let Gallery. They only had about 20 of their vio­lets on dis­play and for sale. But their cat­a­log is 16 pages of mouse type with HUNDREDS of dif­fer­ent types of vio­lets. I was just crazy about the var­ie­gated vari­eties, but man­aged to restrain myself and only brought home four at $4.95 each. In the cat­a­log, the cost is $6 each. Spec­i­mens are extremely robust. Highly recommended!

I love fash­ion. Unfor­tu­nately, fash­ion and gar­den­ing don’t mix so very well. I mostly wear jeans or shorts, a tank top and sneak­ers. I love the look of those British knee-high boots, but frankly, there is just no need for them here. So I get my jol­lies with gar­den­ing gloves and jus­tify the pur­chases by telling myself how use­ful they are.

But don’t you hate gloves? I would much rather dig my fin­gers into the dirt and rip out those wretched weeds with my own bare fin­ger­nails. Unfor­tu­nately, it’s not quite right to traipse into a focus group room or con­fer­ence room with raggedy and dirty nails. So I have (mostly) learned to use gloves. I pre­fer gloves that don’t feel like gloves–I want them snug, but not tight. Thin, but not flimsy. I don’t like rub­bery bar­ri­ers. I want to be able to FEEL what I’m doing. (Ahem.)



Well any­way. I adore these Atlas Gloves. They are, indeed, soft and sup­ple. I can hardly wait to give them a test drive. At $7 they are a bar­gain. I may have to order in bulk.

BTW, you may notice that these are a size small. Since I am 5’10, I do not have small hands. So if you can­not find these gloves locally and decide to order them, know that they run VERY LARGE.

Isn’t shop­ping so much fun?!?!


Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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