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December 17, 2006
Blog PictureAaaaalllllmost the shortest day and then we begin the long climb back towards the sun.... Frost, wind, cold, and dark..... And here in Oregon sometimes it is so dark AND wet that you feel like you are living inside a toilet tank.......

The best thing I read recently about this time of year and why we (and our ancestors) celebrate now is by Pete Wells in the December Food and Wine magazine. The essay is entitled, "Holiday Blues."

He says, "Those ancient Germans, dressed in furs with their hair done in styles that must have appalled the Romans, knew one thing in their bones: The shortest day of the year called for a huge party. Observations of the Solstice throughout Europe were so intense that the Church didn't even try to stamp them out. Instead, in the fourth century A.D. Pope Julius I announced that, from then on, Christmas would be held on December 25, around the same time as those pagan celebrations rebelling against winter's darkest hour. In other words, we don't get depressed at this time of year because of the holidays. We have holidays at this time of year because we are depressed. I find this immensely comforting somehow. The problem's not me, and it's not society either. It's the planet. When I miss my subway stop because I'm preoccupied by grim thoughts, I remind myself that tree-worshipping pagans felt the same way, more or less. And that they figured out the cure: light a bonfire, roast meat, get loaded and hunker down with the people you know best..."

Ain't that a great sentiment???

My picture today is Karamel Antike, the new garden rose we have. What a trooper because here it is dark and nasty, as noted above, yet this rose is blooming on nice long stems with round golden buds that open up into this incredible revelation!

Keep warm, watch out for falling trees, and see you at the market!

Sandra

Caring for the Aged
December 12, 2006
Blog PictureOur old, old cherry tree in the back yard suffered another pruning job again today. This Bing Cherry tree is probably about as old as the house (1922) and has a wonderful, sculptured trunk that adds great beauty to our back yard.

Unfortunately it also has fungus growths, dying limbs, my neighbor's vines climbing on it, and it's just old.

Jim wants to take it out but I'm stubborn and so I called Collier Arbor Care and they took a look at it, and then today they came and worked on it.

The tree pruner guy who was climbing around in it said he wanted to wait until spring to see if a certain part of it would leaf out because it was hard to tell if it was alive or dead.

I guess I really sympathize with this tree because I feel like that some days!

Maybe the older we get the more we respect old things - this tree pruner was a very young man (cute too) who told me in dire but sympathetic terms about root rot and how the branch suckers which I took to be a sign of vigor are really the trees last gasps! So maybe it will have to come out eventually.

I'm not giving up yet though.

While they were working I noticed our resident Anna's hummingbird was working the feeder we put out last week. I'm happy all the sawing, chipping and general disruption didn't get in its way.

So even in my teeny Portland yard there is a lot going on.

The picture today is our new rose Talea+. We're seeing a first crop now and we'll have a good amount of it come spring. It should be a pretty rose for weddings. I looked at the bunch I took home closely and noticed that the inside of the petal is a butter yellow, and the outside of the petal is pale pink. It reminds me of our old rose Osiana, but trendier, hipper and updated.

Unlike the cherry tree! (or me!)

Hope to see you tomorrow at market!

Sandra

Dinner Party
December 12, 2006
Blog PictureI was finally energized and had a dinner party Saturday for our old friends Deborah and Robert from college days. My husband Jim had gotten together with Robert a few months ago and made some wine in the basement (from a kit) so it was now time to bottle it.

We had butternut squash (home grown!), rice, waldorf salad, and braised pheasant from Jim's hunting expedition, stretched out with chicken. For dessert, lime mousse from the Silver Palate cookbook. Yum!!!!

Deborah and I sat on the comfy sofa in the basement and watched them bottle and cork the wine. So now they have a big box of red something and we have a big box of Australian cab/something. As you can see I was really paying attention!!!

The accompanying picture I took today at the flower market - the big white rose on the top right is Avalanche, then coming down clockwise we have Bridal White, Prima Donna, Champagne, Vendela, and our new rose, Talea+. This is a buttery peachy cream rose, like an updated version of Osiana.

My cousins Sally and Jack came into the market today. Sally is the daughter of Joe Peterkort, Jr., who is no longer with us. He was the main person working the flower market and helping the florists get their roses. Things were different then - he lay awake nights worrying about his customers and whether there would be enough roses for everybody. Back in his time there was a real shortage of roses during holidays such as Valentines and Mother's Day.

Our Uncle Frank Peterkort turns 90 this week! Congratulations!!!

Flower Vans are Easy Targets??
December 5, 2006
Blog PictureAs related in today's Oregonian column by Steve Duin (metro section) Flowers by Dorcas has been ticketed by the city several times lately for offenses that, well, seem extremely minor to me. If you missed the story, Duin interviewed Gerhard of Dorcas who noted that when their delivery van was in the shop they rented a replacement.

It's a rental, right? So they put a temporary hand-written sign on the van saying "Flowers by Dorcas." Oops, they got a ticket! Meanwhile, many other more serious offenses to civilization are happening all over downtown, many of them nearby at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

But no, in keeping with the city's unfriendliness to small business, they are ticketing a floral van with a temporary sign! (This happened more than once.)

This is the kind of stuff that really burns me up. Doesn't the city have better things to do?

Here's a nice flower picture to make up for my vituperative tone!!!!!!!!! This is Karamel Antike, a rose which we planted this fall and I have the first ones on display down at our market stall. Hope to see you there tomorrow!!!! Sandra

Red & White & sometimes other colors
December 4, 2006
It must be getting closer to Christmas - red spray roses are in demand; if you need some you should order. On some days we are already sold out. Also true with some of the shorter red roses, also white.

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I am thankful that some other colors are also interesting to people. We are having a big sale on orange asiatic lilies due to oversupply after Thanksgiving. One customer today was putting them with the peach rose Prima Donna. It was pretty and different.

I am also thankful for Oprah, whose magazine often shows roses. This month she is featuring a couple of floral designers, one of whom does a mantle in Leonidas roses. Now that is something different.

Over Thanksgiving dinner we were talking with some of the family members who don't work in the flower business, and explaining that rose color descriptions are really important. For instance, is a red a "blue" red or a "yellow" red? Is it more purple or more scarlet? On Friday someone asked for a Coke Red rose. That is a color I am interested in. But does it have more orange or more brown?

The picture above is a rose called "Ranuncula" (which we do not grow) but it is interesting and very different. I saw this bunch at a flower stall in London this summer.

Stay warm!!!!!

Off to the (Holiday) Races...
December 1, 2006
Blog PictureThe calendar turned a page to December 1, somebody blew the starter's whistle, and everybody said, time to go to the flower market and load up on poinsettias and wreaths!

It was busy today in the grower's market, people were buying lots of Koida and Clackamas poinsettias in a wild array of colors including purple with glitter! Barb at Teufel Holly Farm was selling wreaths like mad. We were not left out, we sold many boxes of holly today. Also, red and white roses were in great demand.

Primitivo is on vacation, gone to Mexico for a week with his wife to see his mother, so Norman is driving the truck and working with me. That's fun, usually Norm is the sub when I am on vacation so we are rarely both there at the same time. So everybody can watch the sibling games in action - I'm the oldest but he's the boss! What fun!

Janice and Doug of Broadway Floral were in the market today getting ready for their annual Lights on Broadway promotion. They survived the infill of their block all around them and now they are a jewel box surrounded by a big condo project.

Today we had our first bunches of our new yellow garden rose, Karamel Antike. I need to take them home to see how they look when they open up. Of course in the winter they look different than they will in the summer, but it is fun to have something new in December! We planted late this year!

In case you are wondering about my picture in today's blog, that is one of the wild floral creations (with baby dolls!) that I saw at the Hortifair in Amsterdam last month. To see more please look at "News" in this web site. I will feature these floral creations all during the month of December!

Have a great weekend!!

Sandra

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