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It’s autumn as you can see from the bouquet above – time to reassess, move forward, change direction, start anew.  For me, it’s time to take a hiatus from this blog. But not without thanking readers and advertisers and commenters, all of whom have encouraged, supported, challenged, and inspired me over the nearly five years of writing my blog.

I’ve written nearly a thousand posts, received nearly 3,000 comments, and I won’t even begin to think about how many photos I’ve taken to come up with the ones I shared here on the blog. At some times during the year, mostly early spring and mid-fall, Plant Talk received more than 40,000 hits a month…that was the encouraging part….as well as having many of the very best nurseries in the Northwest advertise right here…

But the world of blogs is changing as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook – and probably several more that I know even less about – take their place. And there are just too many blogs! I think the future of blogs lies with a collective voice, blogs that several or more authors contribute to, with a particular point of view or aesthetic – like my favorite one, Gardenista, for which I’ve written, and hope to write more for.

But more than that, I plan to concentrate on writing for Pacific Northwest magazine in the Seattle Times (lots of great garden stories coming up in 2015), for Garden Design magazine (I’ll be reviewing books for them) and I have a story coming up in Dwell next year. I’ll continue to interview authors for my “Book City” column in Crosscut (an interview with Dan Savage coming up later this month…) That and running a yoga studio in Langley and teaching four classes a week is where I need to direct my energies. For now.

Many thanks – you’ve made blogging a creative, interactive endeavor and for that I’m grateful..It was fun….

Ever since Weyerhaeuser announced they are selling their Federal Way campus and moving to Pioneer Square, I’ve been worried about the impact on the Rhododendron Species Foundation and the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Will they survive in their present location?

Here’s the latest – a reassuring press release from the RSF:

“With the surprising news of the impending relocation of the headquarters of the Weyerhaeuser Company from their Federal Way corporate campus to their new site in Seattle in 2016, many people are expressing concern over the fate of two of the Pacific Northwest’s finest public gardens – the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (RSBG) and the Pacific Bonsai Collection. Both of these independently funded, 501c3, non-profit organizations currently lease land on the Weyerhaeuser campus and both are Puget Sound institutions, each featuring a world-class collection and beautiful display gardens.

The good news is that these two organizations and their display gardens are NOT moving, will not be moving, and have no reason to move. Weyerhaeuser spokesperson, Anthony Chavez says,

“The Bonsai and Rhododendron Gardens will not be affected by the announcement of moving our corporate headquarters to Seattle.” They are both completely independent of the Weyerhaeuser Company and so will still be located in the exact same place where you have enjoyed them for so many years, in Federal Way at the intersection of Highway 18 and I-5. The hours are the same, the gardens are the same, nothing has changed and they are open for business!

The RSF Conservatory in autumn….

“Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan” will be published in October by Rizzoli, but there’s a satisfyingly long excerpt in the current issue of Vanity Fair. Marella was a friend of the Kennedy’s, and the swan in the title refers to her being one of Truman Capote’s special friends. She and her husband Gianni collected art and built homes   around the world to suit their collections.  Marella saw her life as making homes and gardens, after an aging Countess explained to her “All one needs to catch a husband may be a bed, but it takes a whole house to keep one!” Those were different times…..

Yet the allure of gardens remains the same through the years, and the most moving part of the excerpt is Marella’s description of her current, and perhaps last, garden in Morocco. As with so many of us, the garden closest to her heart reminds her of her childhood garden.

“Of all the gardens I have created, I would say that Ain Kassimou is the one that comes closest to my idea of happiness,” writes Marella. “Somestimes, as I wander here alone or in someone’s company, my imagination flies back to the garden of my childhood, in Florence. I used to sneak out of my bed at night and wander down to the end of the garden. Just for the thrill of it. In the darkness I could hear all the invisible presences. That’s when I first became aware that gardens breathe and are alive, just as we are. One is never really “done” with a garden, just as one is never “done” with life. Day by day and step by step, one just keeps on finding new and clever ways to make them flourish, both in sunshine and in storm.”