Sweet peas from Jello Mold Farm at the Seattle Wholesale Growers' Market

Sweet peas from Everyday Flowers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Sweet peas from Jello Mold Farm

Sweet peas from Everyday Flowers Farm

“Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight,
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers casting at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny wings.”
— John Keats, from “I Stood Tip-Toe Upon a Little Hill”

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I loved seeing the array of colors in the sweet peas at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  Their ruffled petals really do look like flushed wings, as Keats so aptly observed.  And their tendrils look like wayward calligraphic lines, ready to bind those wings from actually taking flight.

I had the opportunity to visit Jello Mold Farm recently and was rewarded by the sight of a greenhouse full of sweet peas.

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I wish I could do a better job capturing sweet peas with my watercolor paints.  Sometimes, even when I paint something over and over, I don’t seem to be improving.  Aargh!

Sweet pea studies ( a few good ones in there)

Sweet pea studies ( a few good ones in there)

Bucket of sweet peas

Bucket of sweet peas

Latest watercolor sketch of sweet pea bouquet

Latest watercolor sketch of sweet pea bouquet

 

 

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

This morning I stopped by the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market after dropping  my daughter off at the airport for an early morning flight.  There were buyers lined up at the door at 6 o’clock when the Market opened.  It has been a while since I last visited and things have changed — new vendors, rearranged spaces, new market manager.  But the selection and quality of the flowers is as spectacular as always.

I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible while I took a few photos.  Here they are:

Peonies

Peonies

Peonies

Peonies

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Calla lilies

Calla lilies

Poppies from Jello Mold Farm

Poppies from Jello Mold Farm

Poppy seed cases

Poppy seed cases

Sweet peas

Sweet peas

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The Georgetown warehouse of the Seattle Wholesale Growers' Market

The Georgetown warehouse of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

“We tend to consider bloom to be the ultimate gift of the garden, but the structure is just as important. For example, the phlox is beautiful in its mass of foliage, even before the blossoms emerge.”
— Stanley Kunitz, from The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden

Kunitz finds metaphors for his poetry writing in his flower garden.  Here is one of its lessons:  “In a poem, the secrets of the poem give it its tension and gift of emerging sense and form, so that it’s not always the flowering in the poem and the specific images that make it memorable, but the tensions and physicality, the rhythms, the underlying song.”

So, too, one of the lessons I’ve learned from the flower growing experts at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is that you can make a spectacular bouquet from stems, twigs, pods, leaves, and things scavenged from nature.  Blooming is definitely not all a plant can offer.  There’s plenty going on in all seasons of the year.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is a farm-owned cooperative with a focus on local, seasonal, and sustainable flowers.  I dropped in last week and was pleased to see that the Market is growing.  It’s expanded its warehouse space and is gearing up for its busiest year yet.

Here are some photos from mid-May at the Market celebrating its “underlying song”:

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Sweet peas

Sweet peas from Jello Mold Farm

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And sweet pea vines

And sweet pea vines

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Calla lilies from Z Callas

Calla lilies from Z Callas

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Holiday Open House at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Holiday Open House at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

The warehouse at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market was awash with holly, greens, and festive floral arrangements for its Holiday Open House this week.  Here are a few photos of some truly inspiring holiday decorations.  Please do try this at home with gleanings from your winter gardens, woods, and trails.

Wreath of densely packed succulents

Wreath of densely packed succulents

The moss softens the texture of this twiggy wreath from Oregon's Best Specialty Growers

The moss softens the texture of this twiggy wreath from Oregon’s Best Specialty Growers

Vintage Santa and holly from J Foss Garden Flowers

Vintage Santa and holly from J Foss Garden Flowers

More woodsy wreaths from Oregon's Best Specialty Growers

More woodsy wreaths from Oregon’s Best Specialty Growers

Garland from scabiosa pods, J Foss Garden Flowers

Garland from scabiosa pods, J Foss Garden Flowers

These potted succulents reminded me of a box of living ornaments

These potted succulents reminded me of a box of living ornaments

More vintage trimmings at J Foss Garden Flowers

More vintage trimmings at J Foss Garden Flowers

Orchids in a white bucket

Orchids in a white bucket

Books for sale -- The 50-Mile Bouquet

Books for sale — The 50-Mile Bouquet

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and twinkling lights

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and colored lights

The Flower Market in November

November 12, 2012

“After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. . . ”
Wallace Stevens

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in November

You can see the change of seasons at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  In November, the wild, glorious, rainbow hues of summer blooms have been replaced by the quieter browns and greens of late autumn.  There is an abundance of twigs and branches and dried grasses with seed pods.  And a hint of the holidays in holly sprigs and branches.  The sculptured forms of plants and flowers seem more evident now that your eye is no longer saturated with color.  This has its own beauty.

Holly from J Foss Garden Flowers

Giant balls of dried hydrangea

Buyer with hydrangea

Globe Amaranthus and grasses from Oregon’s Best Specialty Flowers

I love the colors in these dried flowers — don’t know what they are called

Decorating with tree trunks and rounds

Dahlias the size of dinner plates from Jello Mold Farm

This root/bulb looks like an underwater sea creature amidst the orange pumpkins

Lining up purchases on the loading dock, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Interior, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, in November

Broken sprig of holly on the loading dock

A bucket of flaming yellow dahlias, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and Jello Mold Farm

Dahlia detailed

“They brought me a quilled, yellow dahlia,
Opulent, flaunting.
Round gold
Flung out of a pale green stalk.
Round, ripe gold
Of maturity,
Meticulously frilled and flaming,
A fire-ball of proclamation:
Fecundity decked in staring yellow
For all the world to see.”
— Amy Lowell, from “Autumn”

Seattle’s official flower is the dahlia, and this colorful flower is now blooming all over the city.

These dark dahlias are almost black, Jello Mold Farm and the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market — posterized photo

Dahlia from Jello Mold Farm

A bucket full of white dahlias, Jello Mold Farm and the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Dahlias in a white bucket

Such variety!

More dahlias from Jello Mold Farm at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit of my watercolor sketches at the Elisabeth C Miller Library

An exhibit of my watercolor sketches is now on display at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.  The exhibit, which runs through September 28, is available for viewing during the library’s normal visiting hours.  Please check this link for hours and driving directions.

I spent a delightful couple of hours yesterday morning with a group of six women who drove down from Bow, Washington to see the show.  This is the first time I’ve actually met new friends through my blog, and they are each kindred spirits — some painters, a couple of librarians, some with ties to the Midwest, fellow travelers.   I am touched that they made the effort to see my work and it was a real pleasure to meet them.

Magnificent bouquet from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

I was also very honored to see a stunning bouquet from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market delivered to the Miller Library to celebrate my show.  The bouquet is so beautiful, and it is such a thoughtful gesture of support from my friends at the Market.  The bouquet was quite a showpiece of local, seasonal blooms — I was tickled to see a stem of blackberries tucked in among the flowers and greens!

Display cases show sample blog posts, some photographs, and tools of my trade — watercolor sets and journals.

The framed watercolors are arranged by season — spring, summer, fall and winter.

I invite you all to stop by the Miller Library to see my show.  And to spend some time visiting this wonderful horticultural resource in the city.  Tomorrow’s blog post will take you along the trails of the Union Bay Natural Area adjacent to the Miller Library.  And Friday’s post will introduce you to the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, also part of the Center for Urban Horticulture.  I’ll close here with some photographs from the demonstration gardens.

Datura

This purple trumpet flower is called “the devil’s trumpet,” or datura

Bed of sneezeweed

Sneezeweed, so much variety in one bed

Hostas

Lilies

I loved the range of colors here, too.

A hanging curtain of green

Looking through the curtain

Grape leaves like stained glass

Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm checks an order at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

You have to get up early to catch the action at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  The doors open at 6 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and by 6:30 a.m. the warehouse is already a whirl of activity.  Florists and buyers arrive at sunrise for the freshest blooms.  I can image the local growers on the road in the pre-dawn darkness hurrying to get their flowers to market in time for this buying rush.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is open to the public on Fridays from 10 – 2 (small fee for admission)

Ready to load up the car with new purchases

The back of another florist’s truck

This has obviously been a good year for our local flower growers, and it is gratifying to see the market flourishing.  Summer is a season of abundance in the flower fields, and inside the warehouse was a bounteous array of choices for bouquets and floral arrangements.  Here are some photos:

The morning sun casts a shadow through the open warehouse door.

Nicole, the front desk manager, greets buyers and keeps the operations flowing.

Oregon Coastal Flowers section of the warehouse

Such an assortment of colors and textures for unique floral arrangements

Deep purple calla lilies lined up for purchase, Oregon Coastal Flowers

Buckets of calla lilies, Oregon Coastal Flowers

Floral lamp shades, J Foss Garden Flowers

Green and orange gladioli, J Foss Garden Flowers

Calla lilies await wrapping

Wrapped and ready to go

Wrapping supplies

A buyer backs up to the loading dock for her purchases

Dahlias in yellow bucket

Sneezeweed assortment in brown wrapping paper

Eremurus

Check out counter

Fallen blossoms and petals on the loading dock

Scabiosa, Jello Mold Farm

The loading dock at 7:30 a.m. — the early morning rush was over.

Calla lilies in a bucket, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market will soon be celebrating its one-year anniversary, and I stopped by the warehouse to photograph some of its current offerings of fresh, seasonal blooms.  The market is a producer’s cooperative that supports Washington, Oregon and Alaska flower farmers and provides a place for them to sell directly to Seattle area florists, event planners, stylists, and other buyers of flowers.

Several of the Seattle Wholesale growers, including Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm, have recently been featured in a new book, The 50 Mile Bouquet by Debra Prinzing.  This book captures an exciting time in the floral industry, when more and more buyers are demanding locally and sustainably grown flowers.

Every visit to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is a feast for my eyes, and this one was as rewarding as ever.  Here are a few photos:

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is housed in an old warehouse.

A big selection of twigs and branches for floral arrangements

Budding branches of purple leaf plum for spring bouquets

Cylindrical bark containers

I love these twiggy wreaths!

Moss, buds, and twigs give rustic texture to this wreath.

The first-of-the-season sweet peas

Passionale daffodil and yellow specialty daffodils

Bucket of Passionale daffodils

Bucket of Frittelaria Assyriaca

Blooming branches

Stool, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Pussy willows and polka dots

Pussy willow and polka dots

Colorful Calla Lilies

September 3, 2011

Calla lilies at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

I’d never seen so many colors of calla lilies in one place before my visit to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market — creamy white, yellow, peach, burgundy, and such a deep purple that it was almost black.  (The dark ones were a challenge to photograph.)  These were the bounty of Z Callas, a specialty grower from Oregon.

I took so many photos of the calla lilies that I decided they needed their own post.  I just love the curvy, sensuous lines of this elegant flower.

Calla lilies at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Luscious, creamy calla lilies

Yellow calla lilies against dark purple ones

All the colors of a sunset in these calla lilies

Calla lilies

Purple calla lilies