Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Flowers, Gardens, The Fabulous Beekman Boys and Me

What do frilly hydrangea, fancy brick pavers, packs of petunias, hordes of herbs, the fabulous Beekman Boys, Blooming Hill and what seemed like thousands of people all have in common?  We were at Leesburg's annual spring flower and garden fling this past weekend, of course!  And, as usual, it was the most happening place to be on a sunny and finally mild spring weekend.

In spite of a little rain during set-up, early Friday evening, the sun shined down on the crowds that walked through the streets, browsed the booths, sampled sweets and treats and most importantly, just enjoyed themselves. Besides, what would a Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival be, without a little rain somewhere in the forecast, anyway?

Aside from seeing dear friends and making new friends, there are always too many flowers, trees, bushes and plants to choose from which makes it all the more fun to come, plan and dream away a garden of delights for your own backyard.

One of the highlights for me was meeting the Beekman boys as they breezed through the be-decked booths and bricked sidewalks on their way to their own booth for a book signing session of their newest cookbook. They were kind enough to stop and talk to Peter and me.  Cordial and gracious, they smiled, made some small talk and complimented us on our coordinating Blooming Hill purple t-shirts.  While I took it as a compliment, because I thought we really did look nice, if not a little tired at the end of two days of greeting and talking with our parade of customers, Peter just had to say, "My wife made me wear this."  They chuckled, shook our hands, said they enjoyed meeting us, then continued on their way down the street.

I only wish that I had my camera at the ready so I could have taken a picture of the Beekman Boys and me.  I would have had Peter take the picture since he did not like his purple shirt, anyway! But, sadly, I only thought of a photo op once the Beekman Boys had left our booth and were far down the street.  I thought it a bit tacky to chase after them, although I did consider it for a minute or two.  Alas, I'll just have to catch them again on the Food channel!

All in all, the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival is one of my most favorite weekends of the entire year.  It's always a fun couple of days filled with gardening talk and ideas and a wonderful way to come together, friends and strangers alike, and celebrate the gift of flora and fauna, remember Earth Day and pay a Virginia-style homage to Spring.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lavender--The Color of Spring!

 The lavender field, last summer.
The herb garden, last spring and not even close to looking like this yet.
Spring at last!...Spring at last!  This was my mantra throughout the past weekend. I found myself dreaming about the colorful days this season will finally bring, of course, all the while remaining in denial concerning the hot and humid weather still to come as well.  At least the weather was finally turning warmer, here in Northern Virginia. But, I'm holding my breath since the gardens still seem to be asleep, or at least waking up grudgingly.  How I long to see the lavenders turn green and almost take flight into a purple haze in the warm sunshine. So much so, that I went out and bought myself some cans of lavender spray paint to spruce a few things up around the old farmlet.  If Mother Nature would let the lavenders sleep a little longer, then I would just have to take matters into my own hands.

 Tucker was very trusting to be sitting that close to me.
Oh yeah, that is waaaaaay better.
It started out innocently enough, on Saturday.  First, I thought the pink bike that stands in the front yard under a Yoshino Cherry Tree, not quite ready to bloom, really did need a fresh coat of paint and since we call ourselves a lavender farm, why not paint it lavender!  While touching it up, I got a little tingle of excitement in the tip of my fingers and my eye glimpsed a folkart iron structure flapping its wings out in the still groggy lavender field.  Perhaps a little lavender paint might spur those plants to sit up and take notice.

Turning into lavender.
And then, of course, since this bird looked so good, I thought I should stroll down the hill and touch up the crane (metal bird) that greets visitors as they enter Blooming Hill.  What would be the harm in turning a vertigree and rust colored jumble of steel into a lovely shade of lavender feathered bliss?

Happiness, indeed!
Suddenly, in my hands, I found a 'bluebird of happiness' who was looking a little sad.  Once he got a new coat of lavender paint it was literally transformed from happiness to deliriously happy!  I was in "the zone". Spray paint can in hand, I was truly on my way to putting color in my yard my own way.

Light purple flight of fancy.
I could feel the spirit of my mother pulsing through me, spurring me on as only she could have done, as I made my way through metal bird stakes and rusty garden angels.  When I was growing up, she loved to paint things in the garden to give them a dose of wit and whimsy, making them unique garden pieces.  Well, okay, so maybe she went a little too far at times--especially with bright yellow paint and her tie-dyed wooden spool tables that dotted the green lawn. But, she never shied away from a painting adventure when it came to sprucing up a drab piece of something to make it a piece that people would certainly notice, for good or for bad.

Even the pump could not escape my lavender dreams.
Anyway, I digress as usual, but I really did feel my mother's presence, standing somewhere over my shoulder, happy in her lavender 1970's "Here Comes the Judge" Flip Wilson sweatshirt, approving my every lavender move.  After all, lavender was her favorite color while lilacs were her favorite flower.  I'll give her that one since we lived in the suburbs of Chicago and growing lavender can be a bit of a challenge there.

I ran out of lavender spray paint but fortunately, I found a can of vibrant dark purple, hidden deep in the bowls of the garage behind the paint cabinet.  I wondered who put it there, so out of sight, that I really had to hunt for it as I grew a little more desperate since, I wasn't over my painting binge, quite yet.

Well on their way to ooohhh, la laaaaa!
Then, rearmed and reinforced with a new paint supply, I looked expectantly around to see what else could use a fresh coat of purple that hinted at what will eventually be a field of naturally hued lavender and purple plants. A couple of weathered metal butterflies were begging to be infused with new life via a purple face-lift!  How could I deny them?!  Somewhere around the third old watering can sitting innocently enough around the yard, it hit me--and there wasn't a mirror anywhere to be found to even think of chanting "Mirror, mirror, on the wall. I am my mother, afterall!"  I had become my mother.
Don't worry.  I have been forbidden to even think about spray painting Peter's beloved Gazebo lavender, purple or any other color that may spring to mind.  But, I'm not promising anything when it comes to the armillary (thing with arrow) in the foreground!

Oh well--it was inevitable.  I just couldn't help myself.  Perhaps it is genetic. Maybe the urge to spray paint something really does carry through the female line of my family, although my sister would probably argue that point.  However, I suspect Peter is very thankful that we have a son! Anyway, I still have some vibrant dark purple paint left and when I run out of that, there is always the hardware store in town stocked with a plethora of spray paint to help continue my lavender/purple habit foray right up until bloom time.