Hit the pause button and your heart will sing!

Picture this! Inside a greenhouse bubble, with piles of pine, spruce, white pine, blue spruce, cedar, hemlock, and dogwood boughs in piles around you.

Christmas carols waft along the air from a tape deck in the corner.

Sandwiches, fruit, Christmas cookies, hot mulled cider on a sideboard at the end.

And a long table with clippers, dried flowers, gilded cones and flowers lay waiting.

This is the world of Kim Keckes (424-2622) at Christmas time. Her wonderful property is usually the home of fabulous summer organic vegetables and cut wildflowers. But her greenhouse, at this time of year, supports a few herbs and host flower perennials, but mostly Christmas greens.

Kim hosted Thursday noonish a table centrepiece creation workshop, and those in attendance had made the decision to put their lives on hold for a couple of hours. Stop the hustle. Bury the bustle. Pick up sheers and consider the shape of a branch.

Kim taught us kindly, giving tips on cutting our branches, and blending six or seven different kinds of greenery into our tins of wet floral oasis. We pushed and pulled and stood back to admire, adjusting a piece here or there. We added the brilliance of dogwood, just a branch or three (floral decorating does not happen in pairs, we learned), and then perhaps a cone wired in place, or a red bow, or tinsel. Or, maybe a candle. We could certainly choose.

What made this fabulous? Its simplicity. Kim’s hospitality. Kim’s knowledge about how to cut, how long the boughs would last, how a twist here or there would change the shape. She gave a zip of gold paint to this or that for zest. We watched. We learned. We copied.

We also talked about each other’s businesses a little, but not too much. We shared the agony of a colleague’s contract decision. We supported. We snipped and stood back, sipping cider.

This just may be the most important part of the entire season for me. A Christmas greens workshop right in the middle of preparation bedlam. What could be better?


Thanks, Kim.

and on another note…

Many have called to follow up on last week’s article about the enormous Organization Project for the David Busby Centre. The website for the David Busby Centre “Clean Sweep” organizational extravaganza is now under construction at www.

You can log on to volunteer, to offer an item or two, to find out what’s on the needs list, or to just check out the progress. Thank you, Katie Whissel, for putting this together!

and another…

Believe it or not, the auction of the late prolific artist Margot Anderson’s unsold work was an unqualified success. Her husband Wayne wrote to say that the total funds raised for the RVH cancer centre totalled $16,000. With the exception of $1.79 for a receipt book, the entire cost of the affair was volunteered… auctioneer, hall, refreshments, promotion, time… all in the name of a woman whose art was well respected.

Thank you, Margot!