Gardening is a lot like quilting

It's all about color and contrast. But, first, can you believe that I have things like this, blooming in my yard at the beginning of February???

I don't know what this is. Somehow, I managed to get the pot that didn't have a tag and I couldn't remember anything except it started with the letter A, but haven't been able to find a plant that starts with A and looks like this in any of my books. Anyway, it reminds me of a turk's cap, so for the last year, that's how I've treated it and it seems to like it. I'll go back to the same nursery this spring and see if they have another so I can at least get the name of it.. It would be nice to be able to tell folks what it is, right?

Like quilting, gardening is about color and contrast. Remember a week or so ago, I talked about using different shades and shapes of leaves? This is an example, albeit a premature example of one. My roses are going nuts, tho, so I can't help but share them. That red just pops from the kitchen window when I look out at my garden.

And, in quilting, we add a bit of light colored or neutral fabric as contrast with darker colors. Later, these greens will take over and overshadow the lighter colored iris and variegated liriopi, but those two lighter colors will still give a glow to the center of the grouping, with the darker greens surrounding and bright pink flox heads to top it all off.

And, here, I planted some of the same variegated liriopi under my dark camelia bush to brighten up an otherwise dark spot.

I do that same thing in my quilting. Light, dark, shade, color, scale. It's the same principle. Color. Combination. That's what makes a quilt. That's what makes a painting. That's what makes a garden. That's even what makes a grouping of objects on the mantle.


Today is the 50th birthday celebration of a co-worker. Okay, so 1961 must have been a very boring year because there are a whole bunch of us that were born in 1962 and we're turning 50 this year.

Except we won't be celebrating my birthday at work. Rob asked me the other day what I wanted him to do special for my 50th birthday and I said nothing and he looked a bit offended and advised me in no uncertain terms that he expects a big deal when it's his turn.

I'm never going to get the birthday thing. If I haven't gotten it by now, I'm never going to get it, right? My experience of birthdays is that most of the celebrating is about the people other than the one having the birthday.

Or, maybe it's because I expect too much from people. I want them to celebrate every success, not just the success of surviving another year. I want to celebrate every day I survive, not just the 365th day.

I don't get why I feel this way and neither does anybody else. So, birthdays continue to be uncomfortable. And, the quietest gestures, from people that really care, are the only acknowledgments I really want. People that care enough to celebrate all 365 days of surviving with me.

My only plan to mark the day is to begin a new quilt. Even though I'm committed not to start anything new, I've given myself permission to bend that rule for this. I've almost picked my pattern and I have it narrowed down to a couple fabric groups. I've been reading about a bunch of folks that are making themselves a special 50th bday quilt. And, I liked that idea. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Okay, so that's it. Quilting, gardening...oh, and cooking. I got real ambitious this morning and got up and made a lasagna. And, it looks so good. It's definitely the night to show up uninvited for supper. But, if you do, you should know that I left all the dishes, rinsed and stacked , ready for you to wash, dry and put away ('cause that's what happens to folks that show up unexpected.)



regan said...

So glad you are joining in the fun, Lane! It seems there are quite a few of us turning 50 this year! And yeah, I just want a quiet dinner out.....no party, no noise, no mess to clean up later! Jeez....sounds like I'm old! HA!

birdmommy said...

Tell Rob that he's a very lucky man to have you - especially about the birthday thing!
My husband wants a big party for his 40th, but he doesn't want to be involved in the planning or guest list or anything. Apparently the amount of stress and frustration this party causes me is an indication of how much I love him (or something like that). I prefer to show my affection by appreciating the little things he does every day. This whole party thing is making me feel like if the party isn't amazing, it's because I don't love him enough.

lw said...

I also don't get the whole party thing, and prefer a quiet birthday.


Shevvy said...

I have a problem with birthdays but for different reasons. They bring back a lot of memories of the people that should have been there and making a fuss when I was young how didn't.

That being said, my 40th was fun, but I had to do all the organising for myself including going to collect the birthday cake! I was so embarrassed about that I pretended it was for someone else!

It would mean a great deal to me if someone else did it for me, but it is such a big deal in my head now that I would probably have a total meltdown if it ever happened!

Coloradolady said...

I did not know this was your 50 year too!!! Mine Too!!

I am going sky diving in June with some of my classmates I have not seen in 32 years!! We all are doing this for a celebration sort of thing...the big 5-0

My daughter says I won't do it.....I say I WANT to do it, and Plan to do it but just hope I can ACTUALLY do it!! To me, this is the real sense of living on the edge....so I am planning on that.

Besides that....I don't expect much else....Birthdays are pretty low key around here....my DH is not a planner or the thought just does not cross his mind....wish he was more like Rob sometimes! Be appreciative of that rare man...he is a gem and a keeper...but then so are YOU!!!

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

It looks like a foxglove, I don't actually 'do' gardening but that's what it reminds me of!

Anonymous said...

Lane -I think the flower is an Althea, also called Rose of Sharon.


Tim Latimer said...

Can't believe the garden! Its so cold here in MI....
The flower is Abutilon

viridian said...

I don't know your flower, but I am hunkering down and working on my Dear Jane quilt for my 50th and 51st year.

Anonymous said...

I'm not into the birthday thing either. Maybe it's because one time some co-workers threw a surprise BD party for me and I was uncomfortable the whole evening. I wasn't dressed right, didn't enjoy their games, drinking, etc. I'd rather be surprised by someone inviting me out to lunch and no celebration. But that's me. Thanks for sharing.

Quilter Steph said...

I, too, am making lasagna for dinner tonight. In the oven now. For my big 5 0 b'day, I went to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. It was quite lovely. And I bought the one thing that I wanted from Paris...a Hermes scarf...from THE store itself. That was -7- years ago and I tell myself every day that I have to go back. My 25th wedding anniversary is coming up in a few years. I keep telling my husband that I want to spend 4/16/14 at the foot of the Eiffel tower!

Kate said...

There just can not be a better model for color than nature - the bright colors have evolved to attract bees and birds to pollinate - the plants ability to procreate depends on the success of the flower to stand out... or the male bird to attract a mate! Great post, Lane.

sally said...

I celebrated my 50th with a trip (paid for by my sisters and mother who accompanied me) to Houston quilt festival. Awesome. (They are not quilters but indulged me even tho I left them behind so I could wander the show at a quick pace so as to see EVERYTHING in the 2 days that we had there.)I still plan a 50th yr quilt. Want to make 50 patches and make each one somehow representative of something that happened each year. For instance, sew onto one square my metal eyepatch I wore after serious accident when I was 6 yrs old. Good way to display little memoriblia (spelling....) saved over all these 50 yrs....

Elizabeth said...

Have you got any lasagna left-overs?

Birthdays are a conundrum. I have a winter birthday. A three-weeks-after-Christmas-everybody's-partied-out-and-broke birthday. My sister's birthday is in July and growing up, it seemed like she always got all the cool stuff and my birthday got forgotten. A lot.

For me, I don't mind being in the background. My blog persona, the show-off know-it-all who has something to say about everything, is the me I am inside. But the public me is very quiet and happy not to be the center of attention. However, I think that everyone should feel special one day a year. They should be remembered and celebrated and be the center of attention. Clearly, I have unrealistic expectations.

I think that doing something for yourself on your birthday is truly the only way not to be disappointed. If you want to be left alone, take the day off and spend it with the people you love doing the things that you love. I think it is OK to have one day be all about you.

xo -E