Village Shopping

When I was a kid, and later young adult, a special outing with my mother was about 45 minutes away from home to a “village of shops.”  First stop was the soap store that smelled so good with all of their fragrant soaps and bath items. I loved going into the pewter store for unique jewelry. In the leather store the smell and feel of incredible handbags that would last “forever” were alluring as we would look for a bag we could afford. My mother and I always enjoyed the small shops with casual classic clothing for ladies that were unique and wonderful.  Our shopping was a day-long event that included lunch out.  At home, we would unpack our bags and re-live the fun we had finding our new treasures!

As I walk through our own Gift Shop/Fashion Boutique, the treasured memory of those days spent together at the village shops returns to me, and I look forward to sharing similar moments with my own daughter.

Trick or Treat

Trick or treating is the finish to Halloween.  But candy is truly secondary to what happens in preparation and celebration of Halloween. Planning and decorating is what leads up to prowling the neighborhood, going door to door, costumed in this year’s alter-ego. This is really what seems to signify Halloween for kids and adults alike: decorating. Houses are decorated. Interiors of homes are decorated. Costumes decorate our bodies.

 

The pumpkin is probably the most used item and image in decorating. The carving of the Jack O’Lantern is a timed honored tradition for display on Halloween evening. My parents would be in charge of the carving to safe-guard us kids from any carving accidents. As kids, we had the fantastic fun of emptying the pumpkin brains (fibrous strands and seeds). Using spoons and our bare hands, we dove into the stringy and slippery mess of ‘pumpkin guts’ and ripped out as much as we could, shrieking “ewe” all the while!

 

Designs ranged from kinda scary to goofy and funny faces. Add the flickering candle and we had a masterpiece to greet our fellow trick or treaters!

 

If you haven’t carved a pumpkin in awhile, why not renew this tradition this year?  Be creative. Have fun. And have a Happy Halloween!

Keeping Memories Alive

A little over a year ago, a very close family member passed away after a long illness. One of the ways we decided to keep his memory alive is by planting flowers. We started by planting fall bulbs for spring blooms. It was October when we dug into the dirt and prepared the soil. We shared stories, laughed a lot and cried a little. Bulbs in place, we more or less forgot about them over the following 6 months.

And then a beautiful and remarkable thing happened in the spring…the plants began to push through the ground, push aside the remnants of the winter and bring a joyful reminder of our loved one.   As we watched the plants grow and eventually bloom, so did the memories in our hearts. Our memories came alive once again as we remembered who we planted these bulbs for and why.

Love sprang up from the ground and toward the sky!

Signs of the Times

I remember the fun I used to have as a kid, running around the neighborhood and riding our bikes after school this time of year. The school day wasn’t too hot and it was still light so we could stay outside until dinnertime. Kickball and hide ‘n seek kept most of the neighborhood kids busy, while shooting hoops, riding our bikes and just taking a walk would fill the time if only a few of us were available.The houses in the neighborhood took on a new look. Early fall decorations of pumpkins, mums and door wreathes were popping up all over to remind us of the holidays that were coming. Holidays that delighted us as kids because of the delicacies we were assured of. Halloween gave promise of candy as we dressed in homemade costumes to go door to door gleefully proclaiming “trick or treat!” Thanksgiving brought the roasted turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Christmas signaled gifts and more sweets, closely followed by the New Year and the promise of bright futures.

Yes, this is a time to pay attention. The hints are all around us of the changes in the seasons. These are special days that signal celebrations just over the horizon.

   

Design Ideas

I love to watch the home renovation shows to see, in a matter of minutes, a home transformed from a disaster to a showpiece. I also love to look at how people decorate.  Color, content, shapes. If I enjoy what I see, I try to determine if “I could do something as nice as that…”

Here at The Garden, we try to make decorating easy for you. Since so much of what is on display is for sale, it practically becomes a paint by numbers in creating or re-creating a display in your own home. Plants, pots, decoration pieces…we want you to be happy with your display at your home…and we want you to look good!

    

Our talented staff is more than happy to answer your questions and help create something beautiful for you at your home.

Magic is in the Air

There is something magical about plants, isn’t there?  Whether you watch a plant grow from a seed or plant a seedling, the magic of growth is undeniable. This picture alone makes you think of the story of Jack and the beanstalk. The stem seems to be reaching up to the sky, tall enough to climb!

But the magic is really in the benefits that plants can bring to us…especially if you spend a lot of time indoors and you have plants indoors too. Plants can help filter the indoor air we breathe. Seeing and tending for plants can help us to relax and reduce stress as we take in the beauty of nature. It is also shown we become more caring and compassionate as a result of caring for plants.

The formula is quite simple:

Seed + Soil + Rain/Nutrients + Sunshine = MAGIC

Wearing Autumn

 

Like so many of us, autumn is a favorite time of year for me. The blooming and changing colors of gold, orange, red, and brown signify a change for each of us. Time to prepare for shorter and colder days. Our days in reality don’t get shorter, but they feel as if they are. Our bodies and minds so clearly respond to daylight as they too begin a process of reducing on energy.

This time of year, a favorite past time of my mother and I would be to take a drive and pick out our favorite shades of the changing colors of the leaves and joyfully pick what we would want to wear in that particular color.

“That gold would be a perfect sweater!”
“I’d love a dress that color red!”

 

It was our way of being in harmony with the changing colors of nature…and each other.

Next time you are out, take an extra moment to enjoy the changing colors of autumn and pick a color or two that you would like to wear.  If you want to experience all the colors of the season at one time…stop by THE GARDEN to enjoy the flowers, scents and maybe pick out a sweater in gold or a dress in a shade of red.

My Summer Vacation

I remember as a kid, returning to school and having to write an essay on what I did during my summer vacation. Those essays always filled me with dread. Most certainly, everyone else would have something more interesting to say than what my family and I did during my summer vacation.  Typically we spent the summer at home. I look back on those summers and realize they were a magical time spent with the people who love me and that I love….namely, my family.

Summertime is garden-time. Mom always planted a vegetable garden. My brother and I were often in charge of the weeding and watering of the garden. Our efforts also entitled us to the picking of the ripe fruits and vegetables for the family dinner table. Mom loved beefsteak tomatoes, they were practically a meal unto themselves! Maintaining the gardens around the house were also part of our summertime domain. Mom loved lots of flowers. She always felt plants provide beauty to everything they touch.

Mid-summer we would drive to upstate New York to stay at the family cottage nestled on a remote lake for a week or two. Mom, Dad, four kids and our grandmother stayed in a two bedroom cottage with one bathroom, a small black and white TV (with only occasional reception) and a telephone for emergencies. But it was heaven on earth! Swimming in the lake, rowing, taking walks, collecting wild flowers, catching fireflies and reading lots of books. When all else failed, a deck of cards came out to pass the time.

Summers are different now. The family is spread out and no longer spends time together as we used to. But a few things remain the same…such as the love we have for one another, catching fireflies is still fun, and plants still provide beauty to everything they touch.

Raindrops Keep Falling

It seems as if we have had our share of the rain this year…haven’t we? And I have to admit that the rain can be so very soothing.

I learned as youngster to always have a book with me in case of down time. Being a kid, that usually meant being able to read while waiting for my parents. When I babysat, a book was essential to pass the time after those I was watching went to bed. During summer vacation, we never had a reason to be bored because if we were unable to be outside to play, we had a book to read. I have fond memories of reading while listening to the summer rain fall on the roof, among the trees and on the water at the lake that we spent a lot of time at growing up. The pitter patter of the rain is so soothing in its repetition. After the rain stops, there is nothing more beautiful than the shimmer it leaves behind on all the plants and trees.

Even here at The Garden, when the rain stops, the plant and flowers look beautiful as they shine with wetness in the light. We all take a moment from time to time to appreciate this.

Gazing at beauty never gets old, does it?

Favorite Things

They say a song or an image or a scent can transport you to a different place and time by the intensity of the memory associated with that song, image or scent. Hearing the ABBA song “Dancing Queen” reminds me of a ski trip I took in high school with some friends to Jack Frost Mountain in Pennsylvania.  I had never been on skis before, but my friends and I were up for the adventure. Jack Frost had speakers on the mountain and I remember hearing “Dancing Queen” as I soared down the slope. My heart was racing as I sang and prayed to stay upright and in one piece!

The rainbow is an image that reminds me of a loved one who loved to draw. His illness was taking his life, but many of the pictures he created in his last months had a rainbow incorporated into the drawing and/or painting. Seeing a rainbow immediately reminds me of my loved one and the many years we spent together.

For some the scent of a turkey dinner is all they need to be transported to a family holiday dinner and being surrounded by loved ones. For me it is the scent of fresh lavender. My mother loved lavender and could not get enough of its soothing fragrance. If a cleaning solution (i.e. laundry detergent and/or fabric softener) had a lavender fragrance, you can bet my mother would purchase it. But I loved best going out to the garden where we had a large patch of lavender growing, to cut a bunch and bring indoors for our family to enjoy the calming fragrance.

Close your eyes.  Go ahead close them…and think about a few of YOUR favorite things!