My friend Erin came for a visit last weekend, we’ve been good friends for years. Since I moved away from Seattle we manage to see each other several times a year, I look forward to the visits for weeks. I hope you all have friends like her, ones you’ve kept in touch with through thick and thin, ones where when you see each other it's like no time has passed at all.
Our shopping trip on Saturday took us to the NW neighborhood of Portland, home to (among other things) the regions only Smith & Hawken. I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that they are closing after 30 years in business. I was surprised to learn that they were purchased by Scott’s, the Miracle-Go people a few years back.
I first saw the Smith & Hawken catalogue when I was a studio apartment dweller in Seattle. I dreamt of one day having a garden and purchasing those fabulous tools and furniture, what a life that would be! On a trip to San Francisco I remember dragging my mother to the store, and when they opened one in Bellevue, WA, I was so thrilled, a location just minutes from my home! But over the years my purchases have never really amounted to much, a container here, a plant there, never an expensive tool or teak furniture, my style ended up not being theirs. Still I loved to go see what was new for the season.
On Saturday the store-closing/bargain-seeking crowd was out full force in Portland. I didn’t even pull my camera out to snap a picture for fear of dropping it, or my handbag, when elbowed by one of these creatures. The funny thing was that the merchandise was only 20% off, hardly frenzy inspiring! I did find a fabulous Aloe that was a must have at under $10. It’s an Aloe vaotsanda x divaricata, or Fire Ranch, and according to the tag it’s hardy to 5 degrees, although don’t know if I trust that.
The aloe is perfect for the smaller container of this s/2 square metal planters that Erin gave me for my birthday! I transplanted a root-bound flax into the larger one…and they look perfect with the apple green rectangle planter (coincidentally from Smith & Hawken) that my friend Julie got us as a wedding gift. Happy planters!
While I will miss Smith & Hawken I can’t help but think that their time had come and gone, unlike a good friendship, which will last forever.