Friday, June 17, 2011

The gift of flowers

We lived for five years in British Columbia before we moved back to Ontario. While we lived in B.C., my grandmother mailed me some iris rhizomes. She had two types of old fashioned irises which we dug up and moved back with us to Ontario. My grandmother passed away a while back, but I think of her every time "her" irises bloom. No matter how many spectacular modern hybrid irises I get, hers holds a special place in my heart.
This is the larger one, the other is yellow and I thought I had taken a picture of it, but I was obviously hallucinating.

Another flower that holds a place in my heart is my blue columbine. It's not a showy new hybrid, it's actually a wild flower in other parts of the country. Our local columbine is red and yellow.
How this "wild" blue columbine came to be in my garden is an interesting story that still makes me wonder. After we had moved back to Ontario, a very dear friend of ours, Lily,  mailed us a packet of seeds she had purchase while touring Butchart Gardens outside of Victoria. I read the packet instructions and very carefully followed them. Nothing germinated. I tried the alternative planting instructions. Nothing. After two years of trying I gave up and tossed the rest of the seeds in a patch of garden and proceeded to forget about them. A few years later, our friend Lily died. That same year, the blue columbines flowered. I think of her often, but she seems especially close when her flowers bloom.

Does anyone else have flowers that mean more to them than just how decorative and beautiful they are?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where do I keep it all

Well, this is not going to be a pretty post. And I certainly don't claim to be the most organized person, in fact I mostly feel one step ahead of chaos. But for what it's worth, here is where I store it all. Actually, here is some of the places I store it all, I have things tucked in everywhere, and that is very hard to photograph.

First off, the most obvious places, the china cabinets and side boards.
In this side board I have quite a bit of the smaller dishes in Petit Point and the large china platters are stored in each of the doors, as well as a few of the larger silver serving pieces.

In the other side board I store my Tranquillity china and most of my Richelieu in the doors at each end. In the drawers I have an assortment of odds and ends and in the bottom drawer I have linens. Mostly smaller tablecloths and some napkins.

After that, the bulk of my stuff is stored in totes and on shelves. There are recesses on each side of our fireplace (for wood) that holds a couple of totes each. At one end is my Vanborough and a tote full of linen tablecloths and at the other end is the Belmont and the Monteigne china.

The sets are the easiest to keep track of, the silver trays, bowls, candleholders, chafing dishes, cake stands, etc is much harder. I've recently devised a system, crude, but it seems to work. I put a sheet of paper with a letter on it in the end of the tote and then I write down what's in the tote on a piece of paper with the corresponding letter as the heading. I keep all the papers in one book and just need to look through my lists to see which tote the item I want is in. I used to have to pull out all the totes until I found what I wanted.

I guess I should actually show my china cabinets. lol 

I keep most of my set of Lavender Rose in a kitchen cupboard. It's the one we usually pull out for impromptu tablesettings.

The rest is on shelves in two different storage rooms. Unfortunately, we don't have a basement, only a four foot crawl space which is alright for seasonal items only. Some of the shelving is too hard to get a good picture of, but here's one to give an idea of what a mess they all are.
Well, that's pretty much my system, if it can be called a system. I hope it's of some help to someone, but I feel more like I'm needing help.