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?!?!

Be Socia­ble, Share!

12 Responses to “Philadelphia Flower Show Shopping Finds”

  1. Shady Gardener Says:

    Nice post. I can tell you had a great time. I def­i­nitely need to be look­ing for gar­den shows some­where near me. :-) I know how you feel about gar­den gloves… but I’ve grad­u­ally adapted to them. They do help a lot as far as look­ing “presentable!”

    Yes, pre­sentable is it! I have to admit though that I don’t always fetch the gloves when the spirit moves me to dive right in. But I do pay for it later.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  2. jodi Says:

    Robin, I SO enjoy your posts–informative and fun! Your pur­chases are most delec­table, includ­ing the gloves–I have a pair and really like them too, so the nurs­ery where I got them bet­ter get more in this year. I also like the ones made by West County, for doing heav­ier duty work.
    I’ll not call the ike­bana police on you if you’ll not call them on me. Rules were meant to be bro­ken, right?

    Rules schmules. If it’s pretty, it works, right? If I ever decide to become a com­pet­i­tive Ike­bana arranger, I’ll read the rules. Until then, there is much too much other stuff to be wor­ry­ing about, right?

    Robin at Bumblebee

  3. Kate Says:

    Pro­fuse thanks for shar­ing all your won­der­ful finds with us. I think your Ike­bana arrange­ment is lovely.

    Why do you feel that your plants do bet­ter in a clay pot, I won­der? I’d just like to know is all. I use clay and (shh … plas­tic) and my clay always dries out. Do you have any tips?

    Oh, and love the tip about the gloves and the siz­ing for them. Excellent!

    The clay allows the roots to “breathe.” This, and the aes­thet­ics, is the rea­son I don’t usu­ally like plas­tic pots.

    Yes, plants in clay pots do dry out faster, par­tic­u­larly when they are out­doors. It’s impor­tant to soak a clay pot in water before using it so that the clay doesn’t keep draw­ing the mois­ture from the soil. Some peo­ple say to just “dip it” in water. I pre­fer to soak mine overnight or until I no longer see air bub­bles formed on the sides of the pot. Some high-fired clay pots may not give off many bub­bles. But the inex­pen­sive pots most of us find at the local gar­den cen­ter really need to have this treat­ment. If you find that your clay pot­ted plants are soak­ing up water, just immerse the whole plant–pot and all–in a bucket of tepid water for about five min­utes. Make sure it drains really well.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  4. Kathy (New York) Says:

    Where do you get those Atlas gloves? Have you seen them in a big box store or Tar­get, or can you name some mailorder sources?

    I’m encour­aged that Jodi found these gloves at her local gar­den cen­ter. I haven’t seen them there or any­where else, but I also haven’t been glove shop­ping. A quick search of the big box hard­ware stores and Tar­get came up zero. I did find them at: I don’t know any­thing about this ven­dor though.

    Has any­one else seen them? I might need some more too!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  5. Meems Says:

    Robin, Thanks for shar­ing all your finds with us. I give you an “A” for your Ike­bana dis­play– the snap dragon and the iris look­ing quite per­fect paired together.

    I’m a bit of a glove junky and always look­ing for new ones to try. I have some that I love from Smith and Hawkin but they are a bit pricey and never last as long as I wish. Your punch list is exactly the same as mine for require­ments and the price works for the atlas. It’s a good thing you gave the siz­ing tip– I have large hands too– Oh that I was 5′ 10 to go with them. Big Sigh.
    meems @ HoeandShovel

  6. Mr. McGregor's Daughter Says:

    I love Atlas gloves! I usu­ally buy a cou­ple of pairs at a time as I always wear them out so quickly. I’ve found them at nurs­eries, but never at big box stores.

  7. Brenda Kula Says:

    I too enjoy dig­ging my hands down in the dirt. I don’t like it under­neath my fin­ger­nails, but there is always soap and time cures a lot of things! Terra cotta is a favorite of mine also. It is hard to find inter­est­ing pots, though. And if you do, they want the moon!

  8. RuthieJ Says:

    Good stuff in this post, Robin! Do those Atlas gloves come in pur­ple?
    I love your African vio­lets! I didn’t know there are vari­eties with var­ie­gated leaves. I don’t have a place for them in my house, so you’ll have to post pics occa­sion­ally so I can enjoy yours!

    There were sev­eral col­ors of the gloves that I saw. I don’t recall about the pur­ple though!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  9. Lisa at Greenbow Says:

    Nice finds. It looks as though you hit the jack­pot find­ing those clay pots. They are gor­geous. I like clay pots too. CAn you leave these out­side dur­ing win­ter or do you have to store them? I have run out of stor­age space so I have been buy­ing the glazed pot­tery that you don’t have to store. They look nice sit­ting in the gar­den dur­ing win­ter to add a lit­tle color to the gray landscape.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    I espe­cially liked the clay pots. They were not only unusal look­ing but seemed to have some height to them which I like. Their ver­ti­cal ori­en­ta­tion would be a nice con­trast to most hor­i­zon­tally ori­en­tated clay pots.

  11. mammyt Says:

    these dis­cov­er­ies are always so valu­able. can’t tell you how much they’ve come in handy. thanks.

  12. Linda Belcher Says:

    Love your web­site Robin. I have a con­tact that is to send me some Trail­ers this fall. I have 5 new vio­lets root­ing now.

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available 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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