Of Cabbages and Queens

October 7, 2012

“Each autumn the cabbages mock the raised-collar style from the time of Marie Antoinette.  Or Marie Antoinette had an eye for cabbages.  Who can say whether history is influenced by botany or vice versa? . . . Yesterday the market was full of decapitated Antoinettes.”
— Georgi Gospodinov, Natural Novel

Cabbage with focal black & white effect

19th century portrait of Marie Antoinette by Evert A. Duykinck

I just had to go out on a cabbage-hunting expedition after finding today’s quote!

Cabbage leaf in the raised-collar style

Detail of cabbage leaf

How about these extra-frilly collars on this ornamental cabbage?






Jello Mold Farm in Winter

February 7, 2012

Fuchsia-colored snowberries with a dusting of frost

The winter flower beds at Jello Mold Farm were a full palette of browns.  These fuchsia-colored snowberries were an exception.  Here are some other gems from my stroll through the flower beds:


Bowed seed head of sunflower

Shriveled rose hips

Spiky artichoke

These artichoke leaves fall in a lovely cascade.

Desiccated Chinese lanterns

Frosty ornamental cabbages under netting

Chestnut in hand

Chestnut cluster on tree

Decomposing squash

These broken gourds look like broken dinosaur eggs!


Hoar Frosted World

January 29, 2012

“The frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind.”
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Frosty flowers in a winter garden

“Thick blows my frosty
breath abroad;
and tree and house,
and hill and lake,
are frosted like
a wedding cake.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson

The frost-gilded world is magical.  It’s amazing that a gray palette can be so varied and interesting!  Here are some photos from a cold winter morning in Seattle:

Our bushes

Frosty paths at Green Lake

Delicate leaf skeleton in the grass

Frosted purple cabbage

Green cabbage rimed in white

Frosted seed head

Frosted flowers in a winter garden

Another view, new focus

Single frosted flower

Purples and Greens

October 10, 2011

I am seeing a lot of purple-green color combinations in nature right now.    I think it is a particularly pleasing juxtaposition.

Purple calla lilies in a neighbor's yard

Purple calla lilies

Edged in green, Barberry bush


Foliage at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

Ornamental cabbage, Sky Nursery

Purple and green is also a favorite color scheme in quilts.  Here is one I made several years ago:

Kansas City Star Quilt

Saturday Farmers’ Market

February 26, 2011

Seattle’s University District Farmers’ Market runs Saturdays year-round.  Here is what the market is like on a winter Saturday in February.  I saw pattern and color everywhere.

“Elegance is natural when you follow the principle of repetition.”
     —  Susan Vreeland, Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Unusual mushrooms for sale

Jams colored like stained-glass windows

Handmade soaps

Carrots and cabbages

Rustic-looking beets

Root vegetables

Early spring daffodils and tulips

Most of Seattle’s neighborhood farmers’ markets have closed for the season, but the University Market goes year round.  I stopped by yesterday to see the seasonal produce.  I was especially taken with the large cabbage roses that were being made into bouquets with flowers.  The vendors were bundled in sweaters, caps, and gloves against the chill, but it still was a lively place.


Buckets full of cabbage roses ready to be made into bouquets


More rose cabbages


Finding the perfect pear


These green cauliflowers resembled seashells


Selecting a squash from the pile


Performer plucks the banjo