New reading + knitting space!


Although I may have contracted a case of the Summer Lazies which is preventing me from finishing up either of my projected end-of-month reads on schedule (apologies to E.L. Fay and Caroline for my tardy posts on Pamuk's Snow and Duras's Hiroshima mon amour), the end of July is not without bookish excitement. We've been spending a lot of time out on the trails lately, but what we were really missing was a way to spend time outdoors while still being at home. David and my place is quite urban, a small condo with no yard or outdoor space, and while there are a number of pretty parks nearby, it's just not the same as being able to chill at home and enjoy the nice weather with a book or a knitting project.


Enter my mom, a passionate gardener, who as a delayed Partnership Celebration gift generously offered to set us up with a couple of beautiful planters full of plants, as well as a set of chairs and a little table for our small, until-now-under-utilized porch area. The three of us made a trip to the nursery and had great fun selecting the large orange planter and the grouping of plants inside it, which include a delicate Japanese maple, two Pieris (otherwise known as andromeda), a lily turf, and a couple starters of cascading rosemary and cascading thyme (with which we can cook!). Here's a shot of the thyme, already making its way over the edge of the orange pot:


We already had the two smaller blue pots, and when I got my heart set on finding an oak-leaf hydrangea for one of them, my mom searched high and low for a healthy-looking example. She found the beautiful one you see here at her local farmer's market (this is taken from the other side of the arrangement, from the direction visible when we leave or arrive at our house):


Into the other blue pot we transplanted some yellow dahlias that were a Partnership Celebration gift from David's aunt and uncle, and which are flourishing in their new location (which is awkward to photograph, so you'll just have to take my word). David and I have been grooving on having this new extension to our living space, especially now that the warm and sunny weather has FINALLY arrived in Portland. We've been sitting out here every evening, sipping a glass of wine or tea and chatting, reading, knitting (me), or blogging. It's really reinvigorated my enjoyment of our house.


I've never been much of a gardener, but I have to say that having this beautiful area has made me appreciate much more the appeal of working with plants. Every morning before work I go out and water them, and observe the little differences in their condition one day to the next. They seem pretty happy; as you can see above, the lily turf has started putting up a spear of purple flowers, the thyme is flowering, and (although you can't see it) there are a ton of buds almost ready to flower on the dahlias. I feel a surprising affection for all our new flora.


Even better, since I've been watering our new plants with vitamin-enhanced water (to decrease transplant shock, or so my mother tells me), I've started using up the leftover water on our houseplants. One of them (above), which has never flowered before, suddenly put up a spear of these beautiful orange-pink flowers. Cool!

Anyway, this is something that's really increased my quality of life of late, so thought I would share. It's extra-special because we had such loving and expert help setting it all up, so thanks to my mom for her help, and for having the great idea in the first place.



Cross-posted with slight differences to Family Trunk Project.


  • Great gift from Mom! I am a gardener and know the joys that plants can bring. The nurturing. The beauty they return to us for our efforts. And what a great space you have created here! An urban oasis. Happy for you.

  • It looks gorgeous! And of course oak leaf hydrangea was your heart's desire. I still mourn the loss of the massive one we left behind when we sold our old house. I am still hunting for the right specimen for the new place. Cheers!

  • I also can't quite seem to get snow finished. I'm still just chipping away at it.

  • peux-tu me prêter un peu ta mère?????
    C'est magnifique et j'espère que vous aurez une belle arrière-saison pour en profiter un maximum.
    J'aime bien aussi passer la soirée sur ma terrasse à lire; je lis aussi un livre de Pamuk en ce moment, "Mon nom est Rouge". Tu l'as lu? j'aime bien le fait d'avoir plusieurs narrateurs, mais je trouve tous les détails sur les dessins, les enluminures un peu fastidieux au bout d'un moment.

  • What a lovely new space, and there is something so optimistic about new plants. Those planters look gorgeous. There's something so life-enhancing about having lovely plants exhaling sweet air around you, breathing all their goodness out while you sit relaxing and drinking it all in.

  • what a lovely garden that is all,all the best stu

  • Don't worry... Enjoy your lovely spot.

  • Such a beautiful space! And I love the idea of a Partnership Celebration! When we went to Portland a couple of years ago I'm sure I drove my husband crazy with my constant exclaiming about the flora there. You are so fortunate to live in such a lush environment!

  • Thanks, everyone! We're really enjoying it. :-)

  • How delightful! I have a brown thumb, but I just bought a little potted plant at Home Depot for my room, and if I can keep it alive I'll try my luck with a larger one. ;) I also finally found a reasonably priced, comfy outdoor chair, so now if we can just kill off all the mosquitos, I'll be able to enjoy our yard!

  • What a beautiful container garden! It's amazing what a difference it makes to a space and its enjoyment. I m jealous of your Japanese maple. I would so love to have one but they are not hardy here and I don't have a good space to keep it healthy indoors over the winter. When fall comes and it turns bright red, please share a photo :)

  • What a beautiful space! I'm jealous.

  • How lovely! My apartment building (an old house) has a single tiny porch that I fixed up a bit. Your post inspires me!

  • Thanks for the continuing nice words, y'all! We're psyched. :-)

  • Your reading space looks wonderful! I love the photos with so much green in them, and such fabulous light. I wonder, though, if that Pamuk novel makes the best reading company for your new space? Based on your twitter comments, it seems not ... :)

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    link to Wolves 2011 reading list
    link to more disgust bibliography