Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stone plants

The other week when we bought our annuals for the garden, I visited the Cactus portion of our favourite greenhouse, Belgian Nurseries, to see what they had in the way of Stone plants, aka Lithops. They are succulents native to southern Africa and are aptly named due to their stone-like appearance. They avoid being eaten in their native habitat by blending in with the surrounding rocks. I bought a couple a few years ago and have always meant to get more, as I love their appearance and the fact that you rarely have to water them.  Once a year, in the spring, the outer leaves dry up and give way to one or more new leaf pairs. Although they are supposed to flower, with small daisy-like blossoms, they don't get enough light in the window where I keep them.

The originals revealing new leaves

Christie Antique Show

Even though we would have liked nothing better than to sleep in yesterday morning, we got up early, were picked up by friends, and went down to the Christie Conservation area to attend the biannual Christie Antique show.  The others have been a few times, but it was my first visit.  There was a large line-up of cars on the road to get into the site, but it moved quickly, and we were parked and walking around with loads of other curious shoppers in no time at all.

A shopping we will go...
There are hundreds of dealers and a vast array of items to look at.  We don't always go to these events with specific purchases in mind, but rather, see if anything catches our eye.  Oh, and the people watching is fabulous!

A side of beef?
It's also interesting to see what's trendy in the world of collectors. The above cow with the cutout side is NOT what I would call trendy, but it did bring a smile to my face.  Can you just imagine bringing that home for your special someone?  Sheesh!

Sportsman's throne
There's a lot of folk art, which always intrigues me, and the above is a case-in-point. It had everything a sportsman could possibly desire - a snowshoe, fishing rods, antlers, all combined to make a very special Muskoka chair.  Again, sheesh!

Colourful cookware and people
Not everything there is so…special.  The cookware above was very retro, very colourful and made for a great photo-op with the surrounding people in their equally colourful jackets. It would look great in a kitchen that had lots of Fiestaware and le Creuset.

What you looking' at?
I loved the warm colours of the above sideboard and the assorted knick-knacks on its shelves.  I didn't notice the look I was getting from the lady beside it, until I uploaded it onto my computer. "Don't worry lady, I'm not going to bite!"

Hmm, where would this look good?
Although I didn't take a lot of pictures, I did find I was drawn to certain colours and certain themes.  The above would belong with the "Sheesh" theme. I just can't imagine where someone would put something like that, but I certainly appreciate its originality.

Orange bird

Orange truck

Orange vase
On a sunny but cool day, after a long, cold winter, the colour orange is one way of bringing some warmth into my life.  I think the next time I go, I'm going to decide on a theme before-hand and just take pictures related to that theme.  The only problem is that there are so many ideas to choose from. I did end up buying a few things, and got some good deals…

Turtle shell
I've always liked when people have decorations around their houses and gardens taken from nature - shells, antlers, bones etc., so when I saw the above turtle shell, I knew I had to have it.  Where it will go is another question altogether.

Retro pottery
The above is a vase from West Germany with a very '60s look.  Friend of ours collect these and have brought them to my attention.  There weren't a lot around that I could see, but this one was colourful and immediately caught my eye.  I didn't buy it immediately, deciding to let fate determine whether I got it or not.  So, when we were about to leave, I went back to the vendor, noticed it was still there and decided it was meant to be.

Riviera pottery
The bargain of the day was the above stack of Riviera plates, saucers and bowls, all for $35.  They are made by the same company that made Fiesta and Harlequin, but are hard to find. There war some chips on some of the pieces, but that is to be expected as the shape has made them very fragile.  Hence the difficulty in finding them.  The vendor took my e-mail as he said he had a couple of bowls and a platter at home that he would be willing to let me have for a good price. I like the scalloped rims and the bright cheery colours. They're perfect for serving food at parties or for putting under potted plants.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Current garden favourites

The spring flowers are rapidly disappearing, but there's a greenness in the garden that is full of promise.  We still have some flowering shrubs flaunting their colour - Azalea, Viburnum, and of course the Redbud graced us with it's frothy pink clusters, but now is the time to look at some of the subtleties and textures that necessitate a closer look.

Primula veris
We have many of these dazzlers throughout the front garden and they are gradually spreading. Their bright yellow flowers radiate out atop a rigid stem, and due to their relatively low height they look particularly good at the front of the garden beds.


Epimediums are hardy perennials that flower in the spring. The flowers are borne on delicate stems that rid cup above the bronze-colored leaves. Flowers are spider-like with four petals and come in a range of colours - we have four different kinds, three of which are shown above. The leaves become more reddish in the fall, making them a very attractive ground cover.


Euphorbia or spurge are heat- and drought-tolerant plants that often have rigid stems and somewhat bizarre floral structures.  Even when they are not in flower, they provide architectural interest. The lower image is a close-up of the flowers of the common Donkey Tail Spurge.