Today is a happy day- for me, because I had a special day at home cuddling baby Tate (after he slept for a whole 5.5 hours straight last night!), and for you, because I am not only going to be sharing one of my favorite Portland shops, but I am simultaneously going to be giving you the best new baby gift idea ever. Courtesy of my best friends.
Let's start with the shop. So there is this amazing nursery and gallery in Portland called Artemisia Garden Nursery and Gallery. Not only are the owners some of the nicest people, they have stocked their store and nursery with an ecclectic mix of plants, geodes, mobiles, art, glassware, ceramics, and so much more. Not to mention the fact that since they are also a full-fledged nursery, you can explore the plants in the adjoining outdoor nursery. Artemisia is officially one of my go-to stores for gifts (and, when I finally save the money to professionally landscape my backyard, I have a secret dream of hiring Amy and Michael, Artemisia's owners, to do it. I feel like they would understand my dreams of an entry gate featuring E.E. Cummings poetry and my Alice-in-Wonderland inspired idea of insetting mirrors on the fence to reflect the flowers as they bloom.) Anyway, I digress.
So the first time I walked in, I must have spent at least an hour and half walking through the tiny indoor shop. It is literally jam-packed with beautiful treasure items. The more you look, the more you see. For one friend, I purchased a teeny-tiny handmade salt dish, complete with tiny spoon. For another, I purchased (and carried on a plane all the way to Washington D.C.) one of Artemisia's amazing "moss balls":
For Melissa's wedding shower, I found some beautiful champagne flutes. And hanging from the window in my kitchen is one of their seashell plant holder container things (not a great description, I admit, so here is a picture of one):
The seashell is suspended from a 2 foot long wire, so it literally floats in your window (or wherever you might choose to put it). The terrarium on my bookcase is also from Artemisia.
Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time (and money) at Artemisia.
So now that you know about the shop, let's move on to the gift idea. I call it Tate's Tree.
As you might have gathered, I have a group of five girlfriends who are pretty much the best girlfriends you could ask for. They are the kind of girlfriends you watch in movies and think "yeah right, friends like that don't really exist in real life". And then you learn about my friends, and you realize that, in fact, they do. The kind of friends that send you gifts for no reason and don't even need to include a card. Or send you audio cassette tape letters from Italy. Or make you t-shirts that say "I am Awesome" when your self-esteem has taken a hit. Or sleep outside, on the sidewalk, in order to go to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Truly, they are really remarkable, smart, fun women whom I love.
So you can imagine that among all the gifts Zach and I have received as congratulations for Tate, the one that these girls thought up and had delivered was one of the best.
Friends, have you ever heard of an espaliered fruit tree? It is a fruit tree that grow flat vertically, like flat against a wall. And sometimes, there are ones that feature a variety of fruit on one tree. These trees are typically very expensive, especially if they are established, because in order to have one tree with three, four, five or six different types of fruit on it, you have to successfully graft each fruit variety. And as Zach can tell you, successful grafting is not easy.
So you can imagine my shock, my surprise, my wonder, when Michael from Artemisia hand-delivered this to our family: Yes, its true. It is an espaliered apple tree, with five different branches that each grow a different type of apple. The lovely note that came with it said "For Tate, with a branch from each of us", and was signed by my five best friends. The five types of apples include gravenstein, granny smith, fuji, red delicious, and yellow delicious (and the variety will ensure that Tate makes the most delicious apple pies). Isn't this an amazing gift, friends? First, just the idea of a tree as a gift for a new baby is such a thoughtful sentiment. Something that grows and changes as your baby grows and changes, that marks the passing of time with its height and its fruit and the seasons. But to then take that beautiful idea even one step further- to think of such a meaningful way to represent these wonderful women in my life, and in Tate's life, with such a special tree... well, I was so touched (and not at all surprised that the girls would think this up).
So there it is. The best gift idea ever. A tree. And not just any tree, but a tree that carries some meaning. Here is Tate by his tree...