November 3rd, 2018 by Celia

Dried Flowers and Rose Headbands at Bella Flora

I wrote about Bella Flora, the studio-shop of Elaine Falbo in this post. I spent an afternoon taking pictures there last June and am now just having time to post them.

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November 3rd, 2018 by Celia

Bella Flora: A Plant-Filled Space


Bella Flora is a magical studio-shop filled with both unique vintage finds and handcrafted botanical decor and adroments. I was drawn into the shop by the beautiful glassware, textiles, lush house plants and by the roses.
Dried rose buds are strewn everywhere! I’m not kidding. Lucky for me, I wandered in Bella Flora in early summer when creatress and shop owner Elaine Falbo was making dozens of rosebud headbands, which she sells at the Oregon Country Fair.

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June 1st, 2018 by Celia

Plant Offering at Laurelhurst Park and Dying Peonies

Laurelhurst Park is one of of my favorite places in Portland. You never know what you are going to see there. Unicycles, acro-yogis, people doing Qi Gong, musicians: likely. Another likely occurrence is smatterings of little plant offerings.
What I call plant offerings or plant art are purposeful meaningful arrangements of picked plants bits and nature things. They can be seen on the ground under a shrub or tree, or on a stump. Often, I see them in tree hallows.

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July 17th, 2016 by Celia

Salmonberries on Memorial Day at Oxbow Park

salmon berry
 Yeah, salmonberries are yummy. We had our fill on Memorial Day in Oxbow park.
Here are some pics from our first hike of the summer. Oxbow park is a very accessible park for families, but it has a wild and spacious feel. It has everything you’d expect; there’s an old growth forest, the meandering Sandy river, and wildflower meadows to picnic. Here’s to a summer filled with berries and adventures!
rob and wolfie in woods oxbow

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June 13th, 2016 by Celia

The Beauty of the End of May Flowers

grand dame rose bud
These photos are from a couple of weeks ago, and the plants have already drastically changed since. I want to post these before they have gone to seed, wilted and died. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but summer is basically here and the plants are growing leaps and bounds.
What is most striking now is the contrast between the flowers and the shades of grey skies we’ve been having. The plants don’t care if it’s cool and rainy. And I don’t care either. Everyone else is inside, but 62 degrees with a sprinkling of rain and a cool breeze doesn’t keep Wolfie and I inside. We go right along with our plans of digging dirt, poking at bugs and playing with the plants. There’s so much to look at!
peach agastache


top: Grand Dame rose bud

above: Apache sunset agastache

(numbered starting below)

  1. south facing view of NE 16th Ave between Wygant St. and Going St.
  2. native columbine
  3. massive purple alliums
  4. these yellow flowered Fraggle-like mint family plants (PLEASE help me with the name)—-> FOUND the name, it’s Jerusalem sage, Phlomis spp.
  5. my wooden planter with succulents, violas, and lotus vine
  6. succulent with offspring; hen and chicks?
  7. Lamb’s ears
  8. red-purple heuchera
  9. emerging echinacea
  10. delicate rose


16th ave

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June 10th, 2016 by Celia

Irving Park Splash Pad Fun

touching water
Portland is home to some great kid-friendly water features. The summer here is hot, long and surprisingly dry, so play-in fountains and splash pads are definitely a perk.
Last weekend it was 100 degrees! That’s hot for the Pacific Northwest. Irving Park splash pad was a great place to play because it has many gentle yet fun fountains and sprayers, and it’s shaded by a few massive maples which dapple the sun.
As you can see, Wolfgang had a blast.
Wishing you all a summer of sun, water and fun…

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April 27th, 2016 by Celia

A Mid-April Plant Update at Our NEW House

lily of the valley
April has been a truly spring-like experience here in Portland. Cool and rainy one day, blazing hot the next (mid 80’s!). Luckily for me, I thrive off of inclement weather. I love the excitement in the changes in pressure, humidity, temperature and precipitation, especially when they are all seemingly changing in one day.
Many other people I know aren’t so lucky. For others, the constant wishy-washy-ness of spring is annoying at best, and downright migraine or depression-inducing at worst. As an East Asian medicine practitioner (fancy name for acupuncturist), I wonder why some people find the winds of spring so disturbing, and what we can do to lessen the blow.
One way to arm yourself against the changes of spring weather is to dress in layers, and always have a scarf around your neck. From a Chinese perspective, Wind can enter the body through the back of the head, where the base of the skull and neck meet, on either side of the spine. These little divots are even named “Wind Pool”, because it’s where wind gathers. Keep a scarf covering those Wind Pools!
Another antidote to the discomforts is purely aesthetic: GO LOOK AT PLANTS. Their leaves are filling up with juicy chlorophyl, their flowers are showing off and attracting early pollinators with blues, purples and whites. Everyday they seem to gain a little more resilience, their roots go a little deeper, and their leaves are opening up to catch their food in the way of sunlight.
Yeah, plants eat sun. It must be pretty yummy stuff, that sun.
So make like a plant and play with opening up to the increasing rays, even if it is intermixed with withstanding a bit of rain and windy cold.
heuchera and forgetmenot
On March 25th, we moved to a new house. A house of our own! Woohoo! After 5.5 years of renting, we bought a house and are slowing sinking in our roots.
The first thing I did was not unpack (I did some, but not all). I planted the two dozen or so plants I transplanted from our apartment. They HAD to get into the ground, in my opinion. Later I can move them, or build the beds that they are a part of.
Now they are starting to flourish, although it will be a couple of years before they are really established. I feel that we will do the same. Our house is a MAJOR fixer. We have a lot to do to be able to fully inhabit it. But it has good bones (that’s what all owners of fixers say to make themselves feel better;) and we love it.
The neighbors and location is our favorite part. There are 21 kids just going up and down the street, half of them are 3 and under. Wolfgang already has so much fun playing with the neighbors.
Our yard is so so so small. I can’t believe that I ever fell in love with a house with such a small yard, considering how important gardening and being outdoors is to me. There is a major bonus: the house is on a corner, which means that there’s a lot of space in the parking strip to plant. Even with such a small lot, I know that we can fit in at least half a dozen trees, lots of shrubs and tons of plants.
Another plant positive point is that my house plants are doing really well here. There is much better air flow, and the it’s a lot dryer here. Our apartment was like a sponge, it was so damp and moldy. At our new house, we all can breath, including the plants.
Back to the plants:
Above: purple heuchera and forget-me-nots.
  • big leaf hydrangea, hopefully it will be able to flower this year (it never flowered at the apartment)
  • some funny new lily of the valley plants; their leaves and flowers came in a different rates
  • close up of that pretty purple huechera
big leaf hydrangea
garden sage in a cup
purple heuchera


January 30th, 2016 by Celia

2016: A Year of House Plants

scented geranium
This year I intend to reacquaint with and revive my house plants. They are in desperate need of assistance.


Is it strange that I make New Years’ resolutions for my plants? If you consider that our house plants are a reflection of ourselves and our home life, then no, it’s not weird at all.

above: pineapple scented geranium (wintering over inside)


  • plants in the south-facing window seat
  • Spanish thyme (also wintering over inside)
  • African violet
  • Monstera
  • coleus (wintering inside) with an un-known plant in front
  • Paphiopedilum Raisin Pie, an orchid hybrid

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May 24th, 2015 by Celia

Mother’s Day Hike at Triple Falls

triple falls
I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll keep it painfully simple. Here are pics from a Mother’s Day hike with Rob and Wolfie:
Triple Falls
Oneonta Gorge
Petting Bishop’s caps
Hanging out in the grass with Papa (x2)
Big waterfall (x2)
Colombia river gorge
Snugly baby listening to waterfall (x2)

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March 4th, 2015 by Celia

One Silver Maple and a Plea for the Invasives

silver maple3
Sometimes I head out for a walk with my camera and to my surprise, nothing calls to be photographed. Or, I take out my camera, focus on my subject but not take a photo. It just doesn’t work out.
Last week this happened to me twice. But there was one thing that did speak to me; the trees. The trees in my neighborhood are big, old and charterer-laden. One block had lots of massive silver maples and this one in particular was an interesting subject.
The tree itself is a nice one, no doubt, but I was impressed by the variety of other plants which called it home. It seemed to have a little ecosystem of its own. The silver maple was covered in vibrant English Ivy, ferns and a lovely array of blue-green algae.

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