Art of the Garden in Everett

blue willow rope coil

blue willow rope coil

Katherine will be showing four baskets at the upcoming exhibit “Art of the Garden” presented by the Arts Council of Snohomish County at the Gallery at the historic Monte Cristo in Everett, Washington July 8-August 19, 2010. Over fifty artists will display work inspired by the garden or to bring the garden into the home. There will be work in a wide variety of mediums including glass, ceramics, painting , photography, and basketry. You can see the full list of artists on the Arts Council website.

Irish willow potato basket

Irish potato basket

Katherine’s work includes this traditional Irish potato basket form made from some of the colorful willows we grow on the farm. The basket at the top of the post is a Scottish rope coil made from Salix daphnoides; an interesting looking blue willow that is difficult to work with. She also included a basket that is not only made from the garden, but one you can use to harvest the garden.

willow flower gathering basket

willow garden basket

There will be an opening reception on Thursday, July 8 from 5 to 8pm to meet the artists and see the work. The event is free to the public. The gallery is located at 1507 Wall Street in downtown Everett. Hours are Monday-Friday 10-5 and Saturday 11-4. The art work is for sale.

willow tray

willow tray


seed catalogs

seed catalogs photo by Dunbar Gardens

It’s the end of January and I should be ordering seeds for the garden. I have a pile of catalogs on my desk to sort through, but there are a few that I go back to each year. Here are some of my favorite retail seed companies:

  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine – Johnny’s has been my favorite seed catalog for quite a few years. Their catalog is informative without resorting to hyperbolic descriptions of new varieties. They offer varieties that grow well in our northern latitudes and seed is always of good quality. They are actively involved in breeding and trialing of seeds. To top it off that they are becoming an employee owned business.
  • Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, Oregon – WGS is a great catalog for salad and leafy greens. I like the great selection of organic lettuce seeds.  They also have the best Delicata squash variety I have grown. Best bet is to order on-line because they don’t usually send out their print catalog until spring since they are mostly wholesale. One of the interesting aspects of WGS is that they grow their seed crops as part of a working organic vegetable farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
  • Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, Oregon – Territorial has made a name for themselves catering to the needs of Pacific Northwest gardeners. Lately it seems they have expanded their reach, so you have to use discretion when choosing seeds from their catalog.
  • High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott, Vermont – This is a growing company with a commitment to organic agriculture. They only offer seeds grown organically, but they offer a wide selection from open pollinated to newer hybrids. Good service and a nice website, too. High Mowing is one of the companies that is starting to ask if you would prefer to view their catalog on-line rather than automatically sending you a print copy.
  • Seeds from Italy in Winchester, Mass. – This catalog is run by a gentleman who imports mostly seeds from the Italian seed company Franchi. There are some good vegetables to be found here. If you like vegetables like broccoli raab, escarole, radicchio, romano beans there are quite a few varieties to choose from. Also, Italian seed packets tend to be quite large.
  • Fedco Seeds in Waterville, Maine – Fedco is a cooperative seed company that offers seeds for colder northern climates. Good prices because of the wide range of packet sizes, lots of organic, open pollinated, and heirloom choices. There is a great DIY quality to this business.

weaving a willow garden basket

I photographed Katherine weaving a willow garden basket in October, 2007. Recently I picked out 15 of them for a set that I posted to our account. The photos were taken in one of our barns on the farm.You can see some of the dried basketry willow from our farm behind Katherine. There is also a selection of finished baskets. The amazing detail is that our cat Spike only appears in one photo!

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To be clear, Katherine doesn’t normally work here. These photos were taken for a magazine article that appeared in the April 2008 issue of Romantic Homes. The issue had a focus on “ways to shop green” and “French style”. Katherine was the featured artisan in an article entitled “A Basket Case”. The editor asked us to provide some photos of Katherine at work and on our farm. They did a nice job of taking what we sent and cropping it for a nice mix of images.

Jacqueline deMontravel wrote in the article, “Shopping with a basket is as classic and stylish as a designer bag that warrants a waiting list. As the trend catches on, such style will do more than liven up grocery aisles, it will benefit the world….Katherine says”It’s a purchase for something local, making an investment for a well-made item.”” Well in the photos we took she is weaving a garden basket, but maybe you’ll get the idea!