Sunday, March 2, 2014

a talk of coming Life

So,a few weeks ago, after one of my longish days was winding down, I had the privilege to venture to our sister town of Dunbarton in order to meet with some incredibly special people.  It was dark by the time I left the shop and mid-winter flakes had started to dance down Route 13--flirting first with the trees and then with the disappearing pavement.  It was quiet--not a lot of traffic, and I had Totem--my youngest--keeping me company in the backseat.  I must say I love how snowfall tickles the spirit of my inner adventurer :)  

Totem and I approached the 1790's sprawling farm house.  Their home sits close to the road and acts as a friendly doorway to something special.  The snow was getting heavier, and in the dark I couldn't see the fields behind, but I knew they were there!  For years now I have craned my neck with a cheerful toot of the horn--smiling at the sweet glow of goodness coming from their farm.  Ken and Susan moved into the homestead the summer of '69 and began pouring their love into the land.  Here's a picture of their home in the spring, during the day :)

I call my friends, "the original hippies"--they did it first and they do it right.  The respect, the repurposing, the ingenuity, the organic, the wholesome, the pure.  That has been their story at Chanticleer Garden for over 40 years.  They raised a family on those principals and they live them every day.

Ken reminds me a bit of a cheerful, mad-scientists--tall and thin, wire frame glasses and white hair that manages to rebel ever so slightly against the ponytail.  It seems his eyes always hold a twinkle from a gem of an idea you wish he'd share--and more than likely he will.  He told me his love of gardening started as a boy living on a city lot in the Midwest.  His mother loved the idea of a garden, but young Ken found himself continuously trying to fix his mother's bad gardening habits--he was good at it!  In fact, he really came to love it.

Susan is the Woman, the Wife, the Mother, the Grandmother, the Teacher, the Friend that every woman admires!  She has incredible beauty & strength, as well as an inspiring love for the earth that causes her to pine terribly for the sun and the soil in the dead of winter.  Her inner clock counts quietly and waits for the days to lengthen so she can once again get dirty!  

Upon arrival, I paused at the door just for a moment--we had caught them at a late supper.  After a quick knock, I was soon sitting in their toasty space with a plateful of homemade food--some of it from their garden.  Ken and Susan's home--as well as their garden-- makes you feel all safe and cozy.  Susan had Totem giggling on the floor of their living room while Ken and I sat at the table.  They had invited me to come and talk about New Life… was time to buy seeds!  

Now, to back up a bit….I had stumbled upon Ken and Susan the summer after I opened Apotheca.  I was making a flower delivery and spied their land--that glow of goodness I had mentioned is palpable.  

the back fields

Every summer they put their labors of love in a lovely nutshell by offering the edible, the beautiful, and the beautifully edible on a flower cart just outside their front door.  

The Flower Cart

I was hooked.  Soon Ken was bringing blooms to the shop for us to buy, and before long Susan was making frequent deliveries during the summer, fall, and even winter months; and has become a dear friend.  Anytime she finds something odd or peculiar she knows I will love it!  Some of my absolute favorite blooms from their gardens are the Tree Peonies…they are absolute magic!  (See below along with other Chanticleer Blooms in a Bedford Village Inn wedding centerpiece).

Now, back to the Koerber's Kitchen Table… this particular evening, mixed in with the warmth of their home and their familiar hospitality, there was an air of serious business.  Ken wanted me to become more proactive about buying flowers locally--and he was right, I needed to.  So while we chit-chatted and laughed for a bit, I was keenly aware of the Seed Catalog heavily placed at the corner of the table.  

After a few more friendly thoughts shared and warm bites of goodness, Ken finally reached for it.  I felt a little butterfly of gratitude as well as frustration with myself for not having done this sooner!  What a gift of an opportunity to have them willing to plant specific items for Apotheca and for our brides!  The first order of business was Dahlias…Ken and Susan have become a tad famous in these here parts for their delectable dinner plate dahlias.  They are incredibly gorgeous and truly the size of a plate!  Susan graced our cooler with them several times last season, and we were able to use the blooms in a few weddings as well as a New Hampshire Magazine event.  Currently in their basement they have the Dahlia Waiting Grounds….to the untrained eye it may seem like a graveyard, but in fact these rows of contorted and disfigured bulbs hold the promise of spring and ultimately late summer where they will once again laugh in the face of anyone who doubted that something so ugly could become so beautiful!  (see below to follow their grotesque potential to fruition!)

the valley of basement bulbs hiding out, waiting for spring!

dinner plate dahlias!

I told Ken about color palette requests from our summer brides, and we took that conversation into the snap dragons and the zinnias.  From there we talked about staples: vibernum, hydrangea, herbs, buplerum, and then some new and some riskier items that we will leave for later exploration!  Ken was up for the challenge of it all.  I could see the gears turning and then I could feel the connections being made.  So simple!  Request and supply!  What a beautiful thing.  Of course part of the fun is seeing what happens when nature and expertise collide.  I could feel the commitment being made on both our parts.  His to work on growing them, mine to more purposefully incorporate their seasonal beauties into our summer palettes.  Communication is the key!  Funny how that seems true with nearly everything.  SO.  Not to be all long winded--but I am SUPER excited to be featuring the blooms of Chanticleer Gardens even more vigorously this summer season.  I realize it is a ways off as of yet, but longer days and bluer skies will be here before we know it!

Ken on his tractor!

Susan in the Garden

 (Dear Spring…we're waiting!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

San Francisco Artists Part 1

During our recent trip to San Francisco we stumbled upon a fantastic "Flea Market" on San Francisco's Treasure Island.  The Island itself has an interesting history and is claimed to be haunted...that aside, we had a great day breathing in the  Pacific air, and found some wonderful people who create wonderful things!  First off, we met Adam of Gneiss Wood.  

"While most people see driftwood on the beach as discarded, lost, or even litter, Adam hears a story.  He wonders about where the wood came from and its journey onward.  Adam is an Oakland-based artist with a love for breathing new life and energy into old wooden materials.  Adam's original work is inspired by things that open the heart--nature, poetry, mindfulness, and love." 

After finding Adam, Pierre and I agreed, we could go home happy (however, our treasures on Treasure Island didn't stop there!).  Adam's work is just gorgeous, and his spirit backs it up.  We brought back to Apotheca a beautiful collection, and all but one of his wonderful pieces have found new homes.  
(Take heart! We have placed a new order with him and should be getting it in a couple of weeks!)

Next we found another beautifully sincere soul named Scott of Origin Recycled Goods

Scott is perhaps the sweetest person we met in California, and hearing the story of how he started sitting at a sewing machine 
full time was great!  

 Allow me the synopsis: A while back Scott started getting serious about his footprint on this planet...among several other changes, he sold his car, and bought a bike.  Shortly after that purchase he began pedaling a whole lot, and started stock piling a collection of blown tire tubes--it felt wrong to throw them away, so he started sewing them together instead!  Before too long, he quit the job he went to college for and now sews full time.  He has a fantastic collection of wallets, ipad cases, belts, and bags.  
We are proudly featuring a sampling at Apotheca!

Thank you Scott and Adam for sharing your love with us!  

Next I'll introduce you to Lisa Inez...a super joyful individual that had all three of us mesmerized by her studio tagline is: 
"welcome to my little place of artful goodness".  
Need I say more?

  Well, it's Monday and I have to get some laundry done.  
Enjoy the sunshine! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We're thrilled to be featured on Well Wed Magazine's Blog and Facebook!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keeping Things Interesting

Change happens at Apotheca every day.  Whether it's a new customer, a new gift item, a new local artist display, or a whole new look, it sure keeps things interesting!  

 Some of you may remember these from a few years ago.

Our most recent project, the flower cooler updates, have certainly been a challenge, and we so appreciate all the interest and patience shown by our wonderful customers as they peek in at the progress and work their way around our projects!  Really, we must have the most awesome customer/friend base around! 

Stay tuned for new pictures as our updates come to a least for now! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two Friends Meet Again

Yesterday we went to the amazing League of New Hampshire Craftsman Fair.  It is just spectacular to see so many talented people flanked by the fruits of hours and hours spent honing their craft and perfecting their art.  Something special happened while I was there  yesterday and I wanted to share it, but first some background:

When we first opened the shop, I was in search of a potter.  I prayed for a potter, someone of the earth, someone with unique wares, someone who was good--not just in craft but in spirit.

My mom and I were driving through Northwood, New Hampshire when I spied a sign that led me to the work of a Mr. Jon Zentner.  I didn't meet Jon that day, but I met his pots.  They were incredible.  So much texture, unpredictable interest, and yes, an amazing earthy quality. I was to later learn that this comes from wood firing with knowledge and fabulously intuitive technique.  

When I finally did meet Jon it was a memorable opportunity!  He was a very tall man in stature but with a gentle, humble spirit, full of peace and--for reasons I'm not sure how to articulate--he was a someone that left an impression.  His presence in a room inspired a person to be a little think a little listen dig a little deeper into the clay...what ever your clay might be.  Jon Zenter died in 2008 and is missed by so many. 

So here I am, 2012 in Sunapee surrounded by beautiful things...but there is one collection of objects I just can't shake. They involve some pieces of pottery at the booth of Becca and Nathan Webb of TwoPotters. 

I had left their gorgeous display of wares, circled around a couple times, walked clear back to the opposite end of the fair, but still couldn't shake it.  Finally, credit card in hand, Cochlea and I walked back.  I had to buy one of their butter keepers.  Standing there, hemming and hawing in front of three fantastic options...a drip of glaze and fabulously messy spackle on the back of one of the pieces caught my eye..."Jon Zenter"--his name popped into my spirit.  Instantly I knew that somehow, in whatever large or small way, there was a piece of Jon in this clay.  I turned to Becca Webb, "Did you know a man named Jon Zenter."  "Yes, we did".  I didn't ask details.  

Perhaps I formed my own conclusions right or wrong about the relationship among the potters...but as I paid for the butter keeper I thought to myself, how beautiful to be an live forever. When you pour yourself openly into a love of creating, that love spills onto other people.  You share with each other through inspiration, motivation,  interpretation, evolution, one way or another your creative endeavors live on long after you are gone.  Thank you, Jon and thank you, Becca and Nathan Webb.  My Jon Zentner Syrup Keeper is so happy to have the company of TwoPotters' Butter Keeper. 

Two Friends meet again, this time on my shelf.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


Mother's Day is fast upon us, and the shoppe is a-buzz, so don't wait too long to get your orders in!  We are happy to help you send flowers to the woman in your life - mother, mentor, care-giver! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming in May - Soap Making Class!!

Have you ever wondered how to make your own Back to Basics, honest-to-goodness, handmade soap?? 

Gail Palmer of Village Soaps and Scents will teach you how!  After class, you'll bring home a bar of soap and be ready to start a new tradition!

Saturday, May 26th

10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Ages 12 and up; maximum of 8 students

$30 materials included
Must preregister 497.4940

More classes and events offered on our website Calendar of Events!