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Silks at Print and Dye Workshop

Korean pogoji

Korean pogoji

Marjie Moser’s Print and Dye Workshop hangs out over the Deerfield River in Shelburne Falls. She prints and dyes fabrics like this silk Korean pogoji. Koreans beautifully wrap their gifts, including food gifts, and they traditionally wrap them in silk like this pogoji. The traditional silk wrap resembles  our patchwork but all the silks are carefully chosen, creatively arranged and then beautifully and meticulously sewn with finely finished seams. One can hardly see which is the ‘good’ side and which is not.

My friend Marjie Moser who made this beautiful silk adornment uses it as a window hanging where it resembles a glowing stained glass window. The walls are covered with silk scarves that she has artfully dyes. Some of the scarves are dyed and use actual flowers from the Bridge of Flowers to create the patterning.

There are many other printed items in the shop from heavy cotton dish towels with charming designs like a view of The Bridge of Flowers, tote bags, and cards.

Marjie Moser's handprinted card

Marjie Moser’s handprinted card

Marjie is an artist. She has an eye for color and design and a fine hand for execution. Check out the website her husband created for the Print and Dye Workshop – or stop in and see for yourself.

A Cry for Help

My  friend Peter who reads this blog, and others, responded to the review of Covering Ground by Barbara Ellis with the following post and request.

 “I need some gardeners’ advice. The two photos show the side area of our house. It was cleared and a lawn (of sorts) planted before we bought the place. We do not use the area, and our dogs don’t go down there either. Its value is in providing a respite with open space (neighbors here are just crazy about trees – someday we’ll have a hurricane and they’ll change their tune) and abundant sunlight. My questions: 1. What can be planted to secure the slope (on the left, below the low stone wall)? We’d thought a sea of azaleas would work.

2.) For the larger sloping lawn area to the right, we’d like to replace the grass with a sweep or mass of something colorful and fragrant. We thought lavender would be lovely. Ideas? 3.) There is a rock outcropping that steps down from the corner of the house. So far the soil has been supporting weeds which require hand cutting or the use of a weed whacker. Surely there’s something that likes to grow in among rocks and has more charm and grace than the current weed population. Again, ideas?

This is the dullest elevation of the house, and we do have plans to visually break up its massiveness. But the photographs are taken from the right-of-way we’ve granted for neighbors to walk to the beach. We see no harm in planting something they might enjoy as they walk by, and color, texture and fragrance might divert them from spending too much time looking at the house’s bulkiness.

I am a reluctant slave to the lawn mower. We use a battery mulching mower and it takes three chargings to mow everything. You have written that ground covers that lessen the lawn area also reduce one’s carbon footprint. At the moment we have rather big feet, clown feet apparently, and look to your readers for ideas that will lower our shoe shoe size.”

I will add from my own knowledge of this house, that the distance between the right of way and the house is 96 feet, and the house is not as monumental as it appears in the photo. It is a modest and charming one story house built in the 1950s in the modern style. On this side of the house is an entry into the finished basement – a very comfortable guest room and bath.

Never Give Up

Today I have a guest posting from my friend Peter Beck, who is less than devoted to making a complex garden, but who appreciates and encourages gardeners enthusiastically.

Six years ago neighbors Mary Kay and Earl Pope, tired of their annual carting of several enormous and weighty agapanthus indoors, gave three plants to us. The plants were indeed enormous and weighty, and they only grew larger and heavier. Eventually we transplanted the agapanthus into five pots. The size of the pots never diminished, the number of pots simply increased (and presumably will continue to increase).

At the time we were given the plants, we were also given very explicit instructions for their care during the winter sojourn indoors. Among many detailed responsibilities assigned us, that hiatus was to be a series of controlled diminutions of natural light, eventually leaving them in near darkness. And watering dwindled down to a monthly drink. We dutifully followed the instructions year after year and the plants always revived beautifully in the summer and flaunted lush and healthy foliage.

But we never had a single bloom. No rollicking pompoms floated above our plants.
Last fall we sold the Massachusetts house and brought the agapanthus to Connecticut. Exhausted from the move, we simply left the plants on the terrace until the first frost, when we brought them indoors to winter in full sunlight in the living room. And we watered them regularly and basically violated every command we’d been given for their proper care.

Today we were noting that our daffodils were blooming and that the forsythia seemed on the verge of bursting forth in full force. And then we noticed something indoors, on the agapanthus. A bloom. Not a great bloom, nor a big bloom, nor anything like what we’d expected. Well, truth be told, we’d given up on expecting anything and were more than content with the plants’ robust leaves and exuberant green color.

So here we are, having violated the rules and we’re rewarded with a bloom! We’d be inclined to conclude, “so much for expert gardening advice” but think the culprit really is our human inability to fully appreciate that plants appear to have minds of their own and can be maddeningly fickle, and that there’s a reason so much (or so many) in this world are viewed with a shrug as “late bloomers”. Or maybe it’s that persistence pays.

Nonetheless I choose to take this as a significant sign of good things to come. I call my agapanthus “Michelle” and she is lovely.