Ode to the Oscars: If They Were Flowers Botanical Stars Shine on the First Annual ‘Conservatory Awards’ Red Carpet…

March 8th, 2010 § 9 comments § permalink

Dress by Agapanthus, ‘Lily of the Nile’ © Michaela TGE

As worn by ethereal Rachel McAdams © Steve Gratnitz/Wireimage via Yahoo.com

The great Bard Shakespeare once wrote that “all the world’s a stage”. Well, the thought certainly crossed my mind today as I worked, surrounded by hundreds of surreal beauties inhabiting a small greenhouse temporarily under my care. Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony was attended by some of the most beautifully dressed women in the world, yet none more spectacular than the least of the lovely ladies I encountered in the conservatory today.

So as the watering wand drifted from delicate bud to flamboyant blossom, my inner paparazzo got the best of me. Snap. Snap. Snap. At each and every turn I spotted a starlet resembling one I remembered from the night before. Look there’s Demi’s dress! Oh my God, that must be Helen Mirren’s silver gown. Aisle after aisle, it was a breathless whirlwind of divas and ingenues; with diamond dewdrops-a-sparkling and heady perfume filling the air. What a rush. Best dressed? Why, I simply can not decide. They are all beauties to my eye. So you be the judge. Who is the winner here? And who did I miss as I spun my star-struck head this way and that?

Dress by Pelargonium filifolium © Michaela TGE

As worn by delicate beauty Zoe Kravitz © Steve Granitz/Wireimage via Yahoo.com

Dress by Fuchsia ‘Angel’s Kiss’ © Michaela TGE

As worn by the stunning Queen Latifa © Steve Granitz/Wireimage via Yahoo.com

Silvery dress by Kalachoe pumila © Michaela TGE

As worn by elegant Helen Mirren © Jason Merritt/ Getty via Yahoo.com

Gorgeous ruffled gown by Begonia panasoffkee © Michaela TGE

As worn by ever fabulous Demi Moore © John Shearer/Getty Images via Yahoo.com

Dress by Impatiens namchabarwensis © Michaela TGE

As worn by alluring Mo’Nique © Kevin Mazur/Wireimage via Yahoo.com

Dress by Amaryllis ‘Ema’s Grans’ © Michaela TGE

As worn by radiant Jane Seymour © Frazer Harrison/Getty via Yahoo.com

Dress by Streptocarpus ‘Black panther’ © Michaela TGE

As worn by the mysterious Kristin Stewart © Steve Grantiz/Wireimage via Yahoo.com

Dress by Phalenopsis, The Moth Orchid © Michaela TGE

As worn by the exquisite Meryl Streep © Jason Merritt/Getty Images via Yahoo.com

Dress by Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’ image via White Flower Farm

As worn by ravishing Penelope Cruz © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via Yahoo.com

Dress, (detail), by Begonia parviflora © Michaela TGE

As worn by triumphant beauty Sandra Bullock © Jason Merritt/Getty Images via Yahoo.com

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The Old School House Plantery …… Vermont Growers with an Internet Following for Rare Garden, Greenhouse and House Plants…

June 26th, 2009 § Comments Off on The Old School House Plantery …… Vermont Growers with an Internet Following for Rare Garden, Greenhouse and House Plants… § permalink

Aisles of unusual and rare plants at the Old School House Plantery, Brattleboro, Vermont.

Impatiens zombensis (click to enlarge photo)

During the recent, prolonged rainy period in Vermont, John and Diane Miller of The Old Schoolhouse Plantery in West Brattleboro, kindly invited me over to have a look inside their greenhouse. I pass by the Millers nearly everyday on my way to and from other gardens, and I must admit that I have been observing them with great curiosity ever since I noticed the excellent pruning of their apple trees last year. As readers of this blog may have noticed, I do have a slight obsession with artful pruning. Eventually, I got around to stopping in to meet the Millers, and once invited inside their greenhouse I was even more delighted. Although the square footage of their space is modest, the building is absolutely overflowing with gorgeous, rare plants. Tropicals, tender perennials, flowering annuals, houseplants, ferns, succulents; the list of what John and Diane have managed to propagate in this deceptively simple jewel-box goes on and on.

Originally from Great Britain, both John and Diane are passionate, educated gardeners with a contagious enthusiasm for the rare plants they grow. Diane has a doctorate in herbal medicine, and John holds a college degree in horticulture from the UK. The Millers operate the Old Schoolhouse Plantery as a retail business from their home in Vermont, and although locals have discovered the horticultural treasures at this little greenhouse, most of John and Diane’s serious plant collectors have found them online. It seems that once a rare plant enthusiast is seduced by the beautiful and elusive blue  Impatiens namchabarwensis, or bewitched by the tiny bright pink flowers and toothy leaf margins of Impatiens zombensis, there can be no substitute. Unfortunately, mail-order sources for unusual plants such as these are hard to come by. The true collector of rare plants has taken to the internet, Googling and Ebaying their way to the hard-to-find horticultural prizes. Many customers of this cottage-business have found John and Diane by typing the latin names of rare specimen plants into search engines. They then follow links to Ebay or Etsy and purchase their treasures from the Old Schoolhouse Plantery through online-shops. In addition to her propagation skills, Diane is also a skilled artisan, and she sells her hand-crafted goods as well as rare plants on an Etsy shop called Eclecticasia.

Although this introductory post is brief, I will be back with more coverage of the fascinating work going on at The Old Schoolhouse Plantery soon.  Fuchsias, Begonias, Impatiens and other exotic beauties are just the beginning of what you will see here.  John has generously offered to share the process of creating a fuchsia standard, (pictured at bottom), and I am keen to learn more about Diane’s handcrafted flower pots.

Many thanks to the Millers for their time and generosity. If you find yourself wandering through southern Vermont on a road-trip, do check out their little treasure-chest of a greenhouse at 350 Hinesburg Road in Brattleboro, Vermont. The Old Schoolhouse Plantery will be unveiling a new website soon, but until then, their plants can be viewed and purchased online at the  Etsy link above.

impatiens-namchabarwensisImpatiens namchabarwensis , (rare blue diamond impatiens)

fuchsia-standard1/2 standard Fuchsia, ‘Mrs. Lovell Swisher’

Article and photos: copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardner’s Eden

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