After view­ing the exu­ber­ant dis­plays of flow­ers, plants, con­tain­ers and hardscaping…

…the vis­i­tors to the Philadel­phia Flower Show were prac­ti­cally foam­ing at the mouth in the ven­dor area. I have never seen so many women car­ry­ing around bunches of pussy wil­low in my whole life. They looked like some sort of bizarre reli­gious pro­ces­sion with the waiv­ing branches and the ecsta­tic looks on their faces.

Well, since I have actu­ally planted my very own pussy wil­low bush, I shopped for other things. Here are some of Robin’s Fab­u­lous Flower Show Finds.



A cou­ple of days ago I talked about how I am just mad for Ike­bana, the Japan­ese art of flower arrang­ing. Don’t call the Ike­bana police on me, because I’m quite sure I have bro­ken some Ike­bana rules, but I bought an Ike­bana vase and gave it a try here at home.The trick with this nifty lit­tle vase is a built-in “frog” at the bot­tom and an enclosed water well. I don’t have the source for you, but you can search for Ike­bana sup­plies on the Inter­net and find many sim­i­lar ves­sels for your own Ike­bana creations.



I have always found that my plants are much hap­pier (ergo I am a bet­ter gar­dener) when they are in clay pots. Unfor­tu­nately, it is exceed­ingly dif­fi­cult to find a styl­ish clay pot. They are all so mass-produced look­ing and util­i­tar­ian. So I was just tick­led pink to dis­cover Goff Creek Pot­tery. These pots are about 10″ high and cost $40 each. Goff Creek has many larger pots, includ­ing huge and dec­o­ra­tive urns that go for up to $800. Sadly, there was only so much my hus­band was will­ing to carry for the sake of my gar­den­ing habits.



I also met a won­der­fully charm­ing cou­ple with a tiny lit­tle booth of pot­tery vases. Paula L. Brown-Steedly, at Vir­ginia Clay, is the pot­ter and seems to spe­cial­ize in organic-looking, hand-built clay ves­sels, although she also had a num­ber of thrown and thrown and manip­u­lated ves­sels. I pur­chased these two vases, about 11″ high each, at about $85 and $70. They look fab­u­lous with a sim­ple arrange­ment on my farm­house table.



Do you love African Vio­lets like I do? Well, let me intro­duce you to the Vio­let Gallery. They only had about 20 of their vio­lets on dis­play and for sale. But their cat­a­log is 16 pages of mouse type with HUNDREDS of dif­fer­ent types of vio­lets. I was just crazy about the var­ie­gated vari­eties, but man­aged to restrain myself and only brought home four at $4.95 each. In the cat­a­log, the cost is $6 each. Spec­i­mens are extremely robust. Highly recommended!

I love fash­ion. Unfor­tu­nately, fash­ion and gar­den­ing don’t mix so very well. I mostly wear jeans or shorts, a tank top and sneak­ers. I love the look of those British knee-high boots, but frankly, there is just no need for them here. So I get my jol­lies with gar­den­ing gloves and jus­tify the pur­chases by telling myself how use­ful they are.

But don’t you hate gloves? I would much rather dig my fin­gers into the dirt and rip out those wretched weeds with my own bare fin­ger­nails. Unfor­tu­nately, it’s not quite right to traipse into a focus group room or con­fer­ence room with raggedy and dirty nails. So I have (mostly) learned to use gloves. I pre­fer gloves that don’t feel like gloves–I want them snug, but not tight. Thin, but not flimsy. I don’t like rub­bery bar­ri­ers. I want to be able to FEEL what I’m doing. (Ahem.)



Well any­way. I adore these Atlas Gloves. They are, indeed, soft and sup­ple. I can hardly wait to give them a test drive. At $7 they are a bar­gain. I may have to order in bulk.

BTW, you may notice that these are a size small. Since I am 5’10, I do not have small hands. So if you can­not find these gloves locally and decide to order them, know that they run VERY LARGE.

Isn’t shop­ping so much fun?!?!

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  • Nice post. I can tell you had a great time. I def­i­nitely need to be look­ing for gar­den shows some­where near me. :-) I know how you feel about gar­den gloves… but I’ve grad­u­ally adapted to them. They do help a lot as far as look­ing “presentable!”

    Yes, pre­sentable is it! I have to admit though that I don’t always fetch the gloves when the spirit moves me to dive right in. But I do pay for it later.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  • jodi says:

    Robin, I SO enjoy your posts–informative and fun! Your pur­chases are most delec­table, includ­ing the gloves–I have a pair and really like them too, so the nurs­ery where I got them bet­ter get more in this year. I also like the ones made by West County, for doing heav­ier duty work.
    I’ll not call the ike­bana police on you if you’ll not call them on me. Rules were meant to be bro­ken, right?

    Rules schmules. If it’s pretty, it works, right? If I ever decide to become a com­pet­i­tive Ike­bana arranger, I’ll read the rules. Until then, there is much too much other stuff to be wor­ry­ing about, right?

    Robin at Bumblebee

  • Kate says:

    Pro­fuse thanks for shar­ing all your won­der­ful finds with us. I think your Ike­bana arrange­ment is lovely.

    Why do you feel that your plants do bet­ter in a clay pot, I won­der? I’d just like to know is all. I use clay and (shh … plas­tic) and my clay always dries out. Do you have any tips?

    Oh, and love the tip about the gloves and the siz­ing for them. Excellent!

    The clay allows the roots to “breathe.” This, and the aes­thet­ics, is the rea­son I don’t usu­ally like plas­tic pots.

    Yes, plants in clay pots do dry out faster, par­tic­u­larly when they are out­doors. It’s impor­tant to soak a clay pot in water before using it so that the clay doesn’t keep draw­ing the mois­ture from the soil. Some peo­ple say to just “dip it” in water. I pre­fer to soak mine overnight or until I no longer see air bub­bles formed on the sides of the pot. Some high-fired clay pots may not give off many bub­bles. But the inex­pen­sive pots most of us find at the local gar­den cen­ter really need to have this treat­ment. If you find that your clay pot­ted plants are soak­ing up water, just immerse the whole plant–pot and all–in a bucket of tepid water for about five min­utes. Make sure it drains really well.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  • Where do you get those Atlas gloves? Have you seen them in a big box store or Tar­get, or can you name some mailorder sources?

    I’m encour­aged that Jodi found these gloves at her local gar­den cen­ter. I haven’t seen them there or any­where else, but I also haven’t been glove shop­ping. A quick search of the big box hard­ware stores and Tar­get came up zero. I did find them at: I don’t know any­thing about this ven­dor though.

    Has any­one else seen them? I might need some more too!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  • Meems says:

    Robin, Thanks for shar­ing all your finds with us. I give you an “A” for your Ike­bana dis­play– the snap dragon and the iris look­ing quite per­fect paired together.

    I’m a bit of a glove junky and always look­ing for new ones to try. I have some that I love from Smith and Hawkin but they are a bit pricey and never last as long as I wish. Your punch list is exactly the same as mine for require­ments and the price works for the atlas. It’s a good thing you gave the siz­ing tip– I have large hands too– Oh that I was 5′ 10 to go with them. Big Sigh.
    meems @ HoeandShovel

  • I love Atlas gloves! I usu­ally buy a cou­ple of pairs at a time as I always wear them out so quickly. I’ve found them at nurs­eries, but never at big box stores.

  • Brenda Kula says:

    I too enjoy dig­ging my hands down in the dirt. I don’t like it under­neath my fin­ger­nails, but there is always soap and time cures a lot of things! Terra cotta is a favorite of mine also. It is hard to find inter­est­ing pots, though. And if you do, they want the moon!

  • RuthieJ says:

    Good stuff in this post, Robin! Do those Atlas gloves come in pur­ple?
    I love your African vio­lets! I didn’t know there are vari­eties with var­ie­gated leaves. I don’t have a place for them in my house, so you’ll have to post pics occa­sion­ally so I can enjoy yours!

    There were sev­eral col­ors of the gloves that I saw. I don’t recall about the pur­ple though!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  • Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Nice finds. It looks as though you hit the jack­pot find­ing those clay pots. They are gor­geous. I like clay pots too. CAn you leave these out­side dur­ing win­ter or do you have to store them? I have run out of stor­age space so I have been buy­ing the glazed pot­tery that you don’t have to store. They look nice sit­ting in the gar­den dur­ing win­ter to add a lit­tle color to the gray landscape.

  • Jennifer says:

    I espe­cially liked the clay pots. They were not only unusal look­ing but seemed to have some height to them which I like. Their ver­ti­cal ori­en­ta­tion would be a nice con­trast to most hor­i­zon­tally ori­en­tated clay pots.

  • mammyt says:

    these dis­cov­er­ies are always so valu­able. can’t tell you how much they’ve come in handy. thanks.

  • Love your web­site Robin. I have a con­tact that is to send me some Trail­ers this fall. I have 5 new vio­lets root­ing now.

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