Wreath of the Day – A Mother’s Legacy

Back in the early 1970’s, past President Jackie Blombach and her late mother did a craft project together, using nuts to piece together holiday wreaths. The wreaths existed happily for many seasons but this past week she dismantled the materials to use during our wreath project.  As she attached some of these materials to the wreath below, she noted that the decorations hadn’t been touched by anyone other than her mother for over forty years. The Victorian della Robbia confection below is worthy of its history.

Monday, May 14 – Thursday, May 24 – England: Chelsea & the English Gardens of the Bohemians

Join Pacific Horticulture May 14 – 24, 2018 and discover the extraordinary gardens of England’s bohemians, the artistic set made up of writers, philosophers, intellectuals, and artists in the early 20th century. We’ll explore the masterful gardens at Sissinghurst Castle created by Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson, and Charleston’s walled garden (pictured) created by the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant while spending a half a day at its famed annual literary festival. We’ll also visit Farley Farmhouse, Nymans, and Virginia Wolfe’s home and garden, Monk’s House. This area of southern England also includes one of its greatest gardens, Great Dixter designed by Sir Christopher Lloyd. It and other gardens in this region will be on the itinerary, including lunch and a tour of the gardens at Gravetye Manor.

Back in London, we’ll enjoy a walking tour of the Bloomsbury district where these intellectuals lived and visit some of its most famous Garden Squares followed by high tea. Our trip culminates at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on the exclusive “members only” day. This tour will be escorted by PHS board member, Linda McKendry.

Registration for this tour is now open. For complete itinerary details and information about booking this trip click on to http://www.sterlingtoursltd.com/Chelsea2018.html

Wreath of the Day – Devil’s Claw

Member Glenda Mattes brought in some unique pods called Devil’s Claws (Harpagophytum procumbens) , sent to her by cousins in Lincoln County, Kansas. The pods, according to Wikipedia, are in the sesame family and are native to southern Africa. You can see an example put to good use in the wreath below. They are the pincer-like thin items on either side of the middle of the wreath.


Thursday, December 21 – Winter Solstice with The Trustees

The Trustees are celebrating the Winter Solstice on December 21 at a number of different venues. Appleton Farms in Hamilton and Ipswich is the site of a Winter Solstice Walk from 5 – 6:30, and Fruitlands Solstice Stroll in Harvard from 4:30 – 6:30 features a candlelit walk followed by hot chocolate and s’mores around the outdoor firepit. The Old Manse in Concord hosts Illumination Night with hot cider and rum, and Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich is where you’ll get to attend the somewhat strenuous Dunes to Tavern Solstice Stroll (6:30 – 9:30).  Powisset Farm in Dover will hold Mindfulness on the Farm (bring a mat), as well as a Fondue Dinner,  and for those near Governor Hutchinson’s Field in Milton, enjoy a fire dance performance at Solstice Illumination Night from 6 – 8. Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough holds a Farmstead Solstice Stroll, and both Francis William Bird Park in Walpole and the Ward Reservation in Andover and North Andover are putting on Winter Solstice Celebrations.  Fees and times vary, so to check them all out visit www.thetrustees.org.

Wreath of the Day – Don’t Forget Hanukkah

We love celebrating all the winter holidays, and we do many “non-specific” wreaths with a winter theme, or a gilded look, but some of our most successful stress the blue and silver of Hanukkah.  The work below symbolizes the holiday of lights very well.

Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm – Bradley Estate Holly Daze Open House

Saturday and Sundays at the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, Massachusetts feature the Bradley Estate Holly Daze Open Houses with each room of the Estate decorated on a seasonal garden theme with family-oriented holiday music and games, hot drinks and festive cookies. Music by local youth and adult artists, and decorations by area garden club members and scout groups. Members of The Trustees of Reservations $5, nonmembers $10, children free. For more information call 508-636-4693 x 5003, or email bradley@thetrustees.org.

Wreath of the Day – Carnival Glass

We store some of our leftover supplies from year to year at our storage unit in Brighton – primarily extra ribbon, wire, tools, easels, tables, and picks. For a while, we had an oversupply of glass balls in a variety of hues. Glass balls can be useful when a shot of color is needed in a wreath, but because we are mostly known for our natural decorations, we use them sparingly.  A buying moratorium was called on glass balls in 2017, which we complied with until we spotted the new carnival glass balls, and also an iridescent peridot color which we felt we couldn’t live without.  Once again we stored our extra glass ornaments, but we are happy to continue exploring new materials in our designs.  Below is a wreath which incorporated the carnival glass balls in a design for a customer who will hang the wreath on her Victorian home.

Wednesday, December 27, 10:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 3:00 pm – Owls of the World – Who’s Watching You?

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster presents its annual Owls of the World event on Wednesday, December 27 at three times, 10, 12:30, and 3. Have you ever seen an owl up close? Join naturalist Marcia Wilson and photographer Mark Wilson as they introduce you to live owls of New England and beyond…including the Great Horned Owl, the Snowy Owl and the Eurasian Eagle Owl. The owls you will see, due to injury or mishap, are unable to survive in the wild. Learn about their field marks and natural history. Everyone is treated to a hooting lesson, as well as tips on attracting and protecting the owls near you. $15 at the door, online $10 for Museum members, $12 for nonmembers. Photo from www.eyesonowls.com. Reservations are required at http://www.ccmnh.org/Events/Owls-of-the-World-2017

Wreath of the Day – Sharpest Knife in the Drawer

During wreath making, we cut ribbon, we cut wire, we cut branches, we trim dried materials – we clip and snip at a furious pace, and by the end of the week our tools are dull and pitted. This season, wonderful neighbors Jim and Jennifer Hill, who own the fabulous KitchenWares by Blackstones store at 215 Newbury Street, played Santa and delivered over gift certificates for free sharpening. Because our tools were in storage and not accessible until just before we started, we decided to take advantage of this kindness at the end of the week, so that next year we will begin the season with the sharpest tools available.  We encourage you to visit https://www.kitchenwaresboston.com/ or, if you stop in for holiday shopping, take a moment to thank them for their generosity. Their sister store is Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill, another spot we highly recommend. The wreath pictured below, with its abundance of lotus pods, pine cones, milkweed and peony pods, and other more exotic dried materials, would not be possible without good clippers.

Friday, December 22, 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 7:00 pm – Sparkle!

Sparkle! Enjoy Blithewold’s marshmallow-roasting-Christmas-carol-singing-cocoa-sipping-strolling-through-the-twinkling-garden-paths-fun-for-the-whole-family event at the Gardens located at 101 Ferry Road in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Free Hot Cocoa. S’mores kits are 1 for $2, and 3 for $5 (a part of the proceeds benefits the Boy Scouts). Carol-singing around the fire performances at 6 and 7 pm.

The beautifully illuminated Gardens and lavishly decorated Mansion are fragile and can suffer from too many visitors. This year they’ve set up 3 Sparkle sessions at 5 pm, 6 pm and 7 pm that will help us better control the flow of traffic and help preserve the House and Grounds.

Pre-registration is required:
Member Adult $2
Member Child (3 years and older) $1
Member Family (2 Adults and 2 Kids) $5
Non-Member Adult $16
Non-Member Child (3 years and older) $3
Non-Member Family (2 Adults and 2 Kids) $36

Please select your arrival time during registration. Admission to the Mansion is included. To register call 401-253-2707, or visit https://www.blithewold.org/sparkle-an-outdoor-family-event/