Sunday, January 27, 2008

Goldleaf Birch, Mountain Driftwood and other new items.

We've been adding new products at a furious pace in the last few weeks and here are some of the highlights.

Goldleaf Birch Branches - whether you are a fan or foe of the Donald Trump School of Decorating, these are worth considering.

I'm wary of anything that is painted or dyed, and for good reason - paint often cracks and chips, and far too many dyed branches can leave you looking like you spent the afternoon playing with sidewalk chalk (or juggling charcoal briquettes, as happened to me with some black bamboo we received once).  With typical wariness, we ordered some Goldleaf Birch Branches to check out, and I was extremely impressed. These branches have a spectacular metallic gold finish, that doesn't chip, even after being opened, as shown above. The result looks likes something that could have been produced by Michael Aram or some artisan goldsmith.

Mountain Driftwood Sticks - the perfect accent for that empty nook.
Mountain Driftwood Sticks have spent years, if not decades weathering in the California mountains. Here we took a dozen or so branches and shaped them into a graceful curve.

Pussy Willow Branches - get them while you can, and don't say we didn't warn you when they're gone come spring.
It's that time of year again! When we have them, Pussy Willow Branches are one of our most popular products. Pussy Willow has to be shipped fresh as once dry the catkins won't survive the abuse of shipping. Get yours now, drop them into a dry vase and enjoy them for years to come - or hold your peace until January 2009. While we put a lot of work into whipping our products into shape for you, Pussy Willow easily takes the crown as our most labor-intensive item. Once we are done inspecting every branch to ensure there are enough catkins (and chuck the 25% or so that don't make the cut), the really tough work starts - we pull off the shells that cover almost every catkin - after all, catkins are what make Pussy Willows more than mere willow branches.

English Dried Lavender - shorter and and more stout than the French, but more colorful. 

The French Dried Lavender will be out until the next crop is harvested in July, so we've switched our dried lavender over to the English variety. These bundles are quite a bit shorter than the French Dried Lavender, but more deeply colored.
Burned Bamboo and Bamboo Leaves - naturally, a great combination.

We've gotten a few inquiries about Bamboo Leaves, and we finally found some really nice and natural looking ones that have been dyed and preserved. Combine that with some Burned Bamboo - lightly singed to highlight the joints - and you have a complete display that will make all the bamboo poles sitting alone in vases across the country feel naked.  They are displayed here with Protea Repens.

Prairie Willow, aka Purple Heirloom Pussy Willow - an unexpected addition, but we just might keep them.

We'll confess, we actually had Pussy Willow a week or two before it appeared on the site. We'd collected a long list of email addresses from customers who wanted to be notified as soon as we had Pussy Willow available, and we gave them a chance to get it first, before it went up on the site. The response was greater than we had anticipated and we were counting on a second round to arrive from the farm so we could fill the orders fast - unfortunately, there was a mix-up and we received Prairie Willow instead. Now we're kind of glad we got it, although we never like sending those emails telling customers their orders will arrive later than anticipated. Prairie Willow has light colored branches covered with tiny, purplish catkins, and are definitely a great alternative to the standard Pussy Willow.

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