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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