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Tea from Sea to Sea!

Dear Friends,

 

I hope you all enjoyed an incredible summer. Mine was a busy one preparing our garden that was part of a Mystery Garden Tour fundraiser in July in support of our community’s botanical garden (175 people visited our garden on a single weekend) as well as attending Pink Days In Bloom fundraising events at local garden centres throughout June and August in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic.  I feel a little sad that summer is winding down and fall is coming on (although fall is my favourite season), but I’m delighted to be back at my blog and glad you are here visiting with me today.  It’s so heartwarming to be able to share with you all about a special tea that happened earlier this season.  It took months of planning, but was well worth the result.

On June 8th, a group of fellow breast cancer survivors and supporters celebrated “Pink Tree Day in the Park”.  The day was chosen to mark the Centennial Anniversary of our city’s beloved Bowring Park.  It also kicked off the Pink Days In Bloom fundraising season, an initiative that has grown from our small community here in Newfoundland throughout Atlantic Canada and beyond.  I am very happy about that!  Much gratitude to Proven Winners for this beautiful idea and the Invincibelle Spirit Campaign that donates $1.00 from the sale of every pink Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea to the Breast Cancer Research (BRC) Foundation in the United States.  I had the pleasure of meeting some of the wonderful and caring people behind the campaign in June 2013 when I was invited to the amazing Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan to share with their major growers about Pink Days In Bloom in Newfoundland. 

“Pink Tree Day in the Park” began with the dedication of a special Pink Days In Bloom bench, together with a pink-blossoming tree, at a heartfelt ceremony to honour the lives of those touched by breast cancer. This everlasting gift has created a beautiful and serene rest area where park visitors, especially those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer, can find an especially meaningful place for reflection and rejuvenation, and to feel embraced within the park’s tranquil surroundings.
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A group of my fellow breast cancer survivors were the first persons to enjoy the new bench in Bowring Park! The Victorian-style bench was donated to the park in support of Pink Days In Bloom by a group of community-minded and kind-hearted business owners: New Victorian Homes, MacIntyre Homes and Renovations Inc., Ray Gushue Construction Ltd., Austin’s Contracting Inc., and J and P Contracting Inc.  A brass plaque inscribed with the names of the contributors is installed on the bench as a permanent “Thank You” to commemorate the occasion and to raise awareness. I will always be grateful for their kind gift.

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The occasion served also as a reminder of the importance of trees and gardens in our daily lives for healthy and beautiful living. I am thrilled that our city’s mayor, Dennis O’Keefe, and the founding chair of the Bowring Park Foundation, Bruce Templeton, were able to be there to help to cut the ribbon on the bench.  Olivia, the sweet Newfoundland, wore a pink flower in her ear. I think she instinctively knew that something very beautiful was going on!

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The Pink Days In Bloom signature garden fairies named ‘Pink’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Invincibelle’ joined the ceremony.  My friend, Joan, in the white hat helped the mayor to cut the ribbon.  Joan is also a survivor and has led a breast cancer support group, Sharing Our Strength (SOS), in our city for over a dozen years.  She is a beautiful spirit.  Thank you, Joanie, for all that you do every day!

Preview of “PDIB Postcard.pdf”

Aren’t the Pink Days In Bloom fairies lovely!  That’s Pink in the top photo, then Hope and Invincibelle. Their floral crowns were such fun to make, and I just love the way they turned out! I think the fairies love wearing them, too! Thank you to Erin (a.k.a. Pink), Jenn (a.k.a. Hope) and Kierstyn (a.k.a. Invincibelle) for volunteering with Pink Days In Bloom since the beginning in 2012! And, much gratitude to dear Apryl Stead of White Willow Photography for these gorgeous images.  It takes a very special talent to capture the image of a fairy. You must truly BELIEVE!

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My husband’s family donated a pink-flowering tree to the park in memory of my mom-in-law.  She passed away from breast cancer in November, 2009. She was a kindred spirit and I miss her every day. Helping us to do the planting was left to right: Bruce Templeton (founding Chair of the Bowring Park Foundation), Paula Tessier (Community Relations, CBCF-Atlantic), Dennis O’Keefe (Mayor of St. John’s), my husband and me. The maintenance team at the transit company where I work kindly painted our shovels pink!  It was a drizzly day, so tents were generously supplied by Bill Harris Tent Rentals who came through for us in a pinch last-minute and we were grateful to have some shelter from the cool wind.

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

The pink-blossoming tree that we planted on that day is a variety of cherry tree and will bloom in springtime. Spring blossoms represent new life and hope for the future.  The tree came from Pat’s Plants and Gardens, a participant in “The Pink Tree Project” and the first garden nursery in our province to host Pink Days In Bloom.  Pat and I have since become dear friends and I love her dearly. Whenever I get a crazy idea, and I tend to get a lot of them, Pat is always the first to, ahem, ‘volunteer’ her garden centre! Thank you, Pat, for your continued blooming support!  Here’s a little about Pink Days’s In Bloom’s “The Pink Tree Project”.

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Liz

PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead

My awesome new friend Liz Klose made her hat especially for “Pink Tree Day in the Park”! A delicate china teacup and saucer are perched at the very top of this beauty – I mean you, Liz! :-). Even the teacup is filled with flowers! She wore it the entire day and without even needing to see a chiropractor afterwards!  Now, that is stamina in my books! Liz is the Director of Memorial University’s Botanical Garden in St. John’s.  This year, the Botanical Garden joined Pink Days In Bloom and celebrated Canada Garden Days by planting a pink-flowering plant in support. Friends of The Garden (affectionately known as FOG) held a summer-long plant sale at The Garden in support of Pink Days In Bloom and CBCF-Atlantic.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of plants with pink-ribbon twists inserted in their pots is being donated for innovative breast cancer research and programs. FOG will host their annual two-hour plant sale at The Garden on Saturday, September 6th between 10 am and Noon and will also have a vendor table at our local Some Good Market on September 13th in support! FOG volunteers have been working hard all season long!  Thank you!

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My co-worker Joan watched the tree-planting ceremony from the warmth of the tea deck. My young neighbour Julie, on the left, later served us tea!  Her summer job was working with Red Oak Catering who catered our delicious tea.

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PHOTO:  Apryl Stead

Olivia, the Newfoundland, is certainly loved! She gets a hug at the end of the ceremony for being such a good girl. Newfoundlands are such gentle beings. They’re easy to love.

The bench and tree dedication was immediately followed by a celebratory Pink Days in Bloom “Sea-to-Sea Champagne Tea” FUNdraiser complete with magnificent musical performances by very talented vocalist Adam Hunt and pianist David Chafe of Newman Sound Men’s Choir. Harpist Vanessa Goodyear soothed our souls with her lyrical harp notes during the meal.  The sound equipment was generously provided by Canadian AV Inc.  It was so nice of them all!

The elegant décor was a gift from the beautiful Sue Sharpe (By Sharpe Design).  Our delightful and humorous guest speaker was Bruce Templeton (Author of “The Man in the Red Suit and soon to be launched “The Man with the White Beard). Both of Bruce’s books are published by Creative Book Publishing and are an inspiring, heart-touching read with an important message:  It’s not your presents that count; it’s your presence.  A portion of the proceeds from Bruce’s Christmas book sales help vaccinate children in various parts of the world against the dreaded polio disease. For every book sold, three children are vaccinated against polio. I’ve already bought no less than 14 copies of his book “The Man in the Red Suit” and have given them to friends, neighbours, co-workers and family on my ‘good list’ for Christmas. Let’s see, 14 books = 42 children who have been vaccinated! It feels good to know that.

During the Pink Days In Bloom tea, there were pretty park views all around, prizes and surprises, too!  We enjoyed a delectable menu prepared especially for us by Red Oak Catering that included steaming pots of tasty teas, fresh fruit salad, a selection of satisfying savouries, tiers of luscious house-made pastries and sweets, scrumptious fresh-baked scones with jam and cream, and delectable English trifle. What a fancy feast! YUM!

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And, here’s the really special part:  At the very same hour that we were dedicating the bench and pink tree, and celebrating over tea and champagne here in Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast, the incredible staff and friends at the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, on the country’s west coast, planted a pink ‘sister’ tree in their hotel garden and hosted a Pink Days in Bloom Tea of their own in their world-famous Tea Lobby in support of CBCF – BC/Yukon.  Monies raised in support of CBCF in each region stay in the respective regions, which is a good thing. The fundraisers help support community programs where we live.

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Thank you Rebecca and team at The Empress for all your hard work!  And, thank you to Helijet for partnering with The Empress in The Pink Tree Project. Breast cancer survivor Karen Sabourin and her daughter Laurel helped plant the “Tree of Hope” in the Empress Garden! Aren’t these ladies adorable!

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This photo just makes me smile! 🙂

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Everyone who made a donation in someone’s honour got to write the name of the person on a tag and hang it on The Empress’ new Tree of Hope.  Photos of The Empress’ world-famous tea lobby are below.  You can see more photos here at my blog post “The Elegant Empress”.  I have always LOVED “The Elegant Empress” and now I love ‘her’ more than ever for being part of this initiative.

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Empress PDIB Tea Tray

The Empress’ culinary team outdid themselves!  WoW! Look at all those luscious pink desserts!

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Empress message of hope

Guests were invited to sign The Empress’ Book of Hope and write an encouraging message.  This is truly a beautiful idea.

Those unable to join us in person for the Pink Days In Bloom tea on June 8th, in either Bowring Park or at The Empress, could still share in the event through a virtual tea.  Whether at the office, the kitchen table or by the pool, one could simply pick up their cup in support and pledge online to help fund breast cancer research and community programs.  For Twitter lovers, tweets about their tea experience at hashtag (#PinkDaysInBloom) could be seen displayed on a screen outside the Tea Lobby at The Empress.  I really liked that idea, too.  It helped to bring everyone closer together.

I hope you enjoy the following photos of our Pink Days In Bloom’s “Pink Tree Day in the Park ” Tea. Some of the photos were taken on The Bungalow’s tea deck.  It was a cold, damp day in June but we hardly noticed!  The tenting and heaters on the deck made it cozy for guests who sat outside. And, the deck looked dreamy, too, thanks to Sue and her team!

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

Isn’t this a superb way to do a seating chart!  Many thanks to the lovely Sue Sharpe, By Sharpe Design, who contributed her design services for the tea.  Many of the photos were taken by the talented Apryl Stead, White Willow Photography. Thank you, Apryl, for sharing the day with us and helping us to remember every moment through your glorious images!

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

Jessica Smith, the amazing floral designer at By Sharpe Design, artfully arranged numerous delightful bouquets like this one!  Jessica’s wedding bouquets are simply divine and make me want to get married all over again just so I can carry one of her out-of-this-world bouquets. I do love flowers!

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

I love my old Apple Blossom china. It is one of my favourite vintage china patterns. I used what I’ve managed to collect over the years on the tea tables, along with nearly all my pink transferware plus my teapot collection (about 30 pots in all gathered from antique shops, flea markets, garage sales – you name it) and dozens of vintage teacups (about 70 in total, I think). I can’t think of a more inspiring occasion to use pretty delicate china!  I never knew I had so many pieces until I started to dig them out of the nooks and crannies of the cupboards. It seems they were just begging to be used!  I borrowed the tiered sweet trays from my darling friend Marie who once operated the most elegant tea room.  We all miss your teas, Marie, my dear!

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This is one of my favourite teapots.Bungalowroom

A survivor friend captured the room’s interior just before everyone was seated. Do you see the Victoria Magazine placed on the seat of each chair? My neighbour Joanne did an exceptionally kind deed for me several years ago when I was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.  She organized a team of her gardening gal pals who cared for my garden when I could not. From June through September that year, they would unlatch the garden gate and let themselves in like little sprites flitting about weeding and watering to their heart’s content.  I wrote a story about my kindly garden fairies and their thoughtful deed. It appeared in Victoria’s Special Spring Gardening Issue in March. “Victoria” sent a copy of the issue for each tea guest at our fundraiser and I read an excerpt from the story during my little tea talk. You just never know sometimes what can grow from a seed of kindness…My real-life garden fairies inspired more than they, or even I, could have ever imagined!
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A survivor friend captured photographer extraordinaire Apryl working her magic behind the camera lense.
Victoria Magazines on chairs at Sea-to-Sea Tea
The tea deck looked very inviting. I have loved “Victoria” since the very beginning and have every copy of the magazine since it was first published in the 1980’s.  Doesn’t the spring cover complement the pink decor beautifully!
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Inside the Grand Hall of Bowring Park’s Bungalow was equally welcoming!
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I also used my set of 18 pink heart-shaped teacups for this day! I plan on using them again soon.

Heart Teacup

  I purchased the teacups several years ago online from Roses and Teacups. I wonder if they still stock them.
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 I like how the brew looks inside the heart-shaped cup, don’t you?
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

Pots of tea filled with the tasty ‘Empress Blend’ were served at the tea tables compliments of The Empress!

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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
We also drank Buckingham Palace tea, a blend that I learned from the tea vendor, Britannia Teas, is served at the Queen of England’s annual garden party.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
These dainty twin teapots belong to my friend Marie.  I love their petite size.  Would you prefer regular or decaffeinated tea?
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Sue and Jessica filled romantic moss-lined birdcages and mason jars wrapped in lace and twine with bouquets of fresh blossom that looked as though they came straight from the garden!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Vintage teapots make lovely vases!  A confetti of pink rose petals sprinkled over the tables was a tender touch.
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
The English trifle was delicious and a big hit.  It looked decadent in a wine glass and topped off with a fresh mint leaf. It was gobbled up in no time!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
The prizes were colourful and useful!  I hand picked most of them myself. Many thanks to all who contributed to the auction table. Can you see the glass flower peeking out of the watering can from behind the cushions?  Liz made it from glass bobs n’ bits – again, Pinterest inspired!  She makes tons of them and they are for sale as part of fundraising at MUN Botanical Garden.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
My friend Pat won this delightful grouping.  She was thrilled to win it and I was thrilled for her.  Maybe I’ll get to sip some tea from a pretty pink-striped mug soon. Hint. Hint.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
The table favours were custom made by my friend Maria who owns and operates a catering company called Petite Sweet. There are swans in Bowring Park, so I thought it would be fitting to have swan cookies on the tables as take-aways.  Of course some pink-tree cookies had to be included!  Honestly, Maria can create anything from cookie dough! She never ceases to amaze me.  I am very lucky and blessed to have so many supportive and talenteded friends.
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 PHOTO CREDIT: Linda Ryan, “Beautiful Ideas” Blog
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Jessica and Sue’s floral arrangements in vintage teapots were oh-so-sweet, a perfect complement to the tea tables.
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Liz brought greetings on behalf of Memorial University’s Botanical Garden and personally invited everyone to their first Pink Days In Bloom during Canada’s Garden Days at The Garden. She shared with us a hilarious story about the trials of making that incredible hat – but stories told at the tea, stay at the tea! Lol  And, there were many funny stories!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Meet Gina, one of my real-life garden fairies who tended my garden along with my neighbour Joanne and two more of their gal pals.  Gina’s talented sister, Vanessa, played her harp for us while we sipped our tea. What a magical time! I love this picture! Can you tell how much fun we all had!
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 PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead
Gail Pearcey and her husband Bruce are shown here having a laugh during the meal. Gail is the dedicated President of Friends of the Garden.  The group is affectionately known as FOG. They are hard-working and knowledgeable volunteers who help out at Memorial University’s Botanical Garden.  There are all sorts of things to be done at The Garden, so if you’re willing to volunteer some time, they have a job for you!
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PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead
Everyone got in the pink spirit and wore the prettiest tea hats and fascinators.  Many of them gathered together on the Friday evening before the tea at Joanie’s house and made their headpieces themselves!  They thought they would surprise me. Mission accomplished!  🙂 There is nothing so pretty as a sea of tea hats, especially for a Pink Days In Bloom Sea-to-Sea Champagne Tea!  Well done, ladies.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead
This is one of my favourite photos from that day.  This group of breast cancer survivors really know how to have fun! They always make me laugh.  Laughter really IS infectious, isn’t it!  And, I think it’s true what ‘they’ say, “Laughter is the best medicine.”
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Jane wins a prize!  Don’t you just love that fuschia hat on her!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
YES! Debbie wins a prize! Just look at those stunning hats!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Debbie was excited to take home these sunny indoor/outdoor cushions, perfect for relaxing on the summer patio.
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Kelli-Rae high-fives Sondria (seated).  Sondria actually won the prize! Can you imagine Kelli-Rae’s reaction if she had won! Lol  Priceless!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
I adore Sherry’s hat! The colour is gorgeous on her.  And, Barb’s fascinator is a beauty!  We had so many laughs! The entire day was a collection of beautiful moments.
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Sherry and Sharon are best friends. These beautiful women together lead a local support group, S.H.E. (Sharing. Hoping. Empowering), for women in our area with metastatic breast cancer.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Sondria was enjoying a lucky streak and won twice!  What’s a girl to do! I think I will ask her to buy me a lottery ticket. Sondria spearheaded the One out of Nine Project, a series of photographs depicting brave local women and their individual journeys through breast cancer.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Lenora’s going to enjoy some ‘me time’ watching great movies!  That’s ‘Invincibelle’ the Pink Days In Bloom garden fairy flitting out the door from the tea deck into the Grand Hall! You have to be fast to catch a fairy’s image on camera!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
I cart this dress form around to all the Pink Days In Bloom fundraisers throughout the year.  I bought the frame at Winners and the colourful bra at Wal-mart.  I added some silk flowers, pretty beaded leaves, faux ferns and a combination of velvet and sparkly sheer ribbons…Voila! Some Pinterest inspired beauty!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Dress Form
And, another… I use them often as props for fundraising events. This won has lots of tulle and even butterflies.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Maria made this gorgeous tiered cake adorned with cherry blossoms.  My mom-in-law, Ethel’s, photo was perched at the top of the cake in her honour. After she passed away from breast cancer in 2009, I was diagnosed just four months later. I have carried her in my heart every step along the Pink Days In Bloom path. I think she would have loved Pink Days In Bloom!
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I asked Joanie to help me cut the cake that was served as the final dessert course at the close of the celebration tea!
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“Pink Tree Day in the Park” was an enchanting afternoon of cake, champagne, cherry blossoms and hope. It was truly a joyous celebration of life!
Cheers to survivors
Cheers to breast cancer survivors everywhere and to those who love and support them!
Empress PDIB tea friends
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It was a uniquely beautiful and touching ‘sea-to-sea sipper’, bringing people across the country even closer together in making a difference and working towards a common goal – a future without breast cancer. Pink Days In Bloom is flourishing throughout Atlantic Canada.  The dream is that it, along with “The Pink Tree Project”, will continue to branch out across Canada and together we will grow a future without breast cancer.
Join a growing movement
As many of you have come to know, Pink Days In Bloom is not JUST about FUNdraising, it’s about celebrating being together and helping one another get through the challenges. Having  breast cancer, or any life-threatening disease, is a time when we need that more than ever. Just to know someone cares means the world some days. I have met such an incredible circle of outstanding, brave women throughout this journey.
Thank You to everyone everywhere for being part of “Pink Tree Day in the Park” and “Sea-to-Sea Tea”, for reaching out, embracing others, sharing your hearts and demonstrating your support in so many ways.  It was a perfect day! We are already looking forward to next time…I hope you can join us!
National Tree Day is September 24th.  Planting a pink tree? Why not make it pink! There are lots of good reasons.

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Want to know what’s coming up next? Like Pink Days In Bloom on Facebook and follow along onTwitter.

If you’re in the area on November 2nd, I’d love for you to join us at “The Little Christmas Fair”.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for coming by! I hope you have a lovely weekend. See you soon!

Linda

 

I’m excited to be joining Pink SaturdaySaturday Show OffMosaic Monday, Busy Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Mod Mix MondayInspiration Monday, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tuesdays at Our Home, Inspire Me Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, The Scoop, A Return To Loveliness,  Tea Time Tuesday, Tweak it Tuesday and Tea Time, Wordless Wednesday, WoW Us Wednesday, Wake Up WednesdayCottage Style Party, A Return to Loveliness, What’s It WednesdayThe Homemaking Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Thursday Favourite Things, Tablescape ThursdayFeathered Nest Friday Simple and Sweet Fridays, Show and Tell Friday, Home Sweet Home and What To Do Weekends, and am thankful for all these wonderful blogs and kindred spirits!

Pink Trees and Cherry Tea!

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Happy Spring,

Dear Friends!

Today, I am steeping one of my favourite teas – Kyoto Cherry Rose scented with natural cherry and rose flavours.  It is pale yellow in colour with a heavenly aroma and sweet taste.

Would you like a cuppa in my prized vintage China pattern? “Apple Blossom” is a stunning profusion of pink-petaled apple trees.  I LOVE this pattern!  I found it when I wasn’t looking at a roadside antiques barn while vacationing on Prince Edward Island a few summers ago! It was such a thrilling and unexpected find. Isn’t that always the way! I think I must have danced right out the door with my newspaper-wrapped bundles of joy! I hope one day to stumble across a matching teapot to complete the set.  I will just have to keep on treasure hunting…

I LOVE this pattern’s history in that it was insightfully commissioned in the early 1960’s by the Chair of Nova Scotia’s Apple Blossom Festival, then in just its second year. This enduring pattern is an artist’s rendition of springtime in Annapolis Valley when the apple blossoms are exploding all over the countryside. All these years later, the festival remains a much-loved annual tradition there.

I LOVE, too, pink-flowering trees! But you probably could have guessed that already? Each spring, I make a special pilgrimage to a particular street in the heart of our city that is lined with gracious century-old homes on handsome, mature lots.  One home on the street stands out from the rest.  Along its perimeter marches a legion of stately Japanese Cherry trees.  Their entangled branches, thickly laden with exquisite fluffy pink blooms, reach way out over the hefty black fence that rings the property, and bend down to the street like low-hanging frothy clouds of cotton candy!  Delicious, pure pink abundance!  My feet and heart always dance together at the sight.  It makes my day every time!

P1070224Wherever these frothy pink specimens grow in abundance, there is an intense ‘Bloom Watch’ and visitors queue by the hundreds to see the magic of the cherry trees unfurl in a fleeting spectacular show of renewal. Their pink vapour of nature’s perfection fill the landscapes with intense beauty, wonderment and emotion.

To the Japanese, the fallen petals of the cherry blossom symbolize a soldier who has died in battle long before his time. But Spring blooms also represent strength, rebirth and hope for the future…

Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow!” She was so right about that. To plant pink trees is to beautify our communities and to help grow a future without breast cancer…I believe! The seeds of Pink Days In Bloom’s “The Pink Tree Project” in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic Region are just beginning to be sowed…

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time already may know that I am a breast cancer “Thriver” and that when I was on medical leave a few years ago recovering from treatments, I decided to combine my love of gardening with the overwhelming need to do something, anything, to help fight this disease in some way…

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0001GpHere are several links to some of the articles about Pink Days In Bloom in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic Region that appeared in our local newspaper last year. It’s a bit of a story and I think these next few articles probably best summarize how the seed was first planted and how it has continued to grow and flourish with the support of an amazing group of like-minded, dedicated volunteers and a caring business community:
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PHOTO:  Pink Days In Bloom’s Signature Garden Faeries ‘Hope’ and ‘Invincibelle’ with O’Brien’s Boat Tours‘ mermaid mascot, Miss Shell, during ‘Pink Days In Bloom On the Sea!’ in the Town of Bay Bulls last summer…
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The Empress Hotel’s world- famous Tea Lobby is a glorious place to enjoy a spot of tea!  You can see some photos of this grand lady in my previous post, THE ELEGANT EMPRESS.
During “Pink Tree Day in the Park” and “Tea Sea-to-Sea” on June 8, at the same hour that we will be planting a pink-flowering tree in Bowring Park, one of our city’s most cherished parks, here St. John’s, Newfoundland on Canada’s East Coast, our dear friends at The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia on the Country’s West Coast will also plant a pink “sister” tree on their hotel grounds.
And, while we are celebrating and FUNdRaising over tea and champagne at The Bungalow, The Empress team will host a Pink Days In Bloom Tea of their own and “Sip in Support”. Isn’t that AWESOME!  
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On June 8th, you, too, can pick up your cup in support, whether on your iPad, in the office, at the kitchen table, by the pool or wherever you happen to be via a Virtual Tea!  I would love it if you could join us. Simply brew your favourite cuppa and click:  cbcf.org/GetInvolved/Donate.  Ask your family, friends and co-workers to join in, too. It’s that easy!
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For TWITTER LOVERS:  On June 8th, Tweet about your tea experience at #PinkDaysInBloom and your Tweets can be seen by guests of The Empress on a screen near their world-famous Tea Lobby, bringing us all even closer together in ‘growing’ a future without breast cancer!
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I am so excited about this next beautiful event! THANK YOU to our dear friends at The Empress for sharing in the cause! Please show them your LOVE! ‘Like’ The Empress on Facebook. Or, visit them at Fairmont.com/Empress-Victoria to discover their fabulous get-away packages and legendary afternoon teas…If you haven’t visited The Empress and Victoria yet, it’s a must to add to your bucket list!
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Read all about this exciting and meaningful event below! I hope it will help explain why I have been away from my blog these past few months!
I have met so many beautiful people on this journey. Thank you Proven Winners for the ‘Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea’ – a tough plant that is working hard to find a cure, to all the committed volunteers and amazing supporters.  Without you, it would not be possible.  It means so very much to me and so many others. XO  I hope you will join us wherever you are on June 8th for pink trees and cherry tea and for HOPE, AWARENESS AND SUPPORT!
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I hope you enjoy the photos of pretty china and the pink tree cookies made by my sweet friend Maria of Petite Sweet! Thank you so much for taking precious time out of your day to visit with me. Please leave your beautiful footprint to let me know that yo were here, and so I can visit you in return!  XO
Wishing you a beautiful day and Happy Mother’s Day weekend,

Linda

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P1070144P1070147P1070151P1070163P1070153A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water. – Ancient Chinese proverb

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Hope yours is a blue-sky kind of day…

I’m happy to be sharing today in honour of Mother’s Day at Inspiration Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Return to LovelinessMartha’s Favourite, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Do Tell Tuesday, What’s It Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, Wake UpWednesdayWhat We Accomplished Wednesday, Before and After WednesdayHope in Every SeasonCottage Style Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Simple and Sweet FridayFeathered Nest Friday,  Show and Tell Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Shabbilicious Friday, Saturday Show OffWhat To Do WeekendsPink SaturdayThe Charm of Home, Bouquet of Talent!

Life Can Be A Walk in the Park!

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” ― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

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Dear Friends,

Thank you for dropping by.  I hope you can spare a little time to come for a walk in the park with me.  It is a bright and invigorating day and so I am bringing my camera along to capture some of the winter beauty…

“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.”   ~George Macauley Trevelyan

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Our small city of St. John’s, Newfoundland of about 100,000 people is touted to be the oldest city in North America (I’m not sure how factual the claim because I once visited St. Augustine, Florida and I believe this, too, is their claim).  I do know that St. John’s is steeped in history with a colourful culture and a warm, fun-loving people.  Here’s an introduction to some of the flavour of our city:

 COLOURFUL ST. JOHN’S

Bowring Park is a well-loved destination here and is synonymous with the beloved literary figure Peter Pan! Are you curious to know more while we walk? It’s a bit of a story…

P1050697The Bowring family has had a long history with Newfoundland since the early 1800’s when first Benjamin Bowring came from England with his family to set up shop as a watchmaker and jeweller.  His wife later set up a small dry goods shop which evolved into a general department store. Five generations of the Bowring family would branch out, very successfully, and build a global empire of trade and shipping including oil tankers, cargo fleets, passenger liners as well as a coastal mail service.  In 1911, to commemorate their 100 years of successful business in Newfoundland, the Bowring family dedicated 50 acres of parkland to the City; today Bowring Park encompasses over 200 acres.

Two world wars wiped out much of the Bowring fleet.  Following the Second World War, the main business of the company in Newfoundland became retailing.  For many years, the company operated its famous department store on Water Street in St. John’s (I remember it well – my husband and I still have many of the Christmas ornaments we bought there when we were first married).  The stylish downtown store was later expanded into a chain of “little shops”.  These were the basis for the nation-wide chain of 50 plus beautiful Bowring stores that exist today.  Interestingly, the company logo “Terra Nova” was a Bowring ship that was chartered by the British Navy for Admiral Scott’s famous journey to the Antarctic in 1911, although the stores are no longer  connected with the Bowring family. The chain is currently celebrating 200 years of business in Newfoundland and Bowring remains one my favourite places to shop. 

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In summer, Bowring Park is popular for its splash pad, playgrounds, day camps, tennis courts, skate parks, soccer, swimming, picnics, beautiful trees and plant conservatory, concerts in the outdoor ampitheatre, weddings and even lawn bowling!  In wintertime, citizens enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and, on occasion, horse-drawn sleigh rides. For over a decade, the Annual Festival of Christmas Music and Lights has been attended by thousands. Many residents have fond memories of their childhood and family outings in Bowring Park. Does anyone recall learning to skate on Fountain Pond? 
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My favourite feature of the park, apart from the majestic swans and rustic fencing and benches, is a playful statue of Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up.  He can be seen from the entrance to the park, near the main gates, and stands confidently high atop a bronze tree-trunk, beckoning believers…You can almost hear the playful notes of his pipe as he charms the faeries and woodland animals to him. He is, undoubtedly, one of the park’s most enchanting centerpieces. The park belongs to Peter Pan, the idea of magic, the young and the forever young-at-heart.
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Although Peter Pan symbolizes the innocence, wonder and joy of eternal youth, how the statue came to be in our park is especially sad. Look closely and you will see the inscription:
“Presented to the Children of Newfoundland by Sir Edgar R. Bowring
in Memory of a Dear Little Girl Who Loved The Park..”
 A second inscription on the opposite side of the statue reads simply:
“Betty Munn”.  
All who are familiar with the park perhaps know from their parents or teachers, the story of Betty Munn …
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Sir Edgar Bowring was a partner in the thriving family business, Bowring Brothers.  He was also a politician and philanthropist.  Betty was Sir Edgar’s granddaughter. On February 23, 1918, Betty and her father, John Munn (also a managing director of Bowring Brothers), boarded a Bowring-owned vessel S.S. Florizel bound for Nova Scotia and New York.  They were to meet Betty’s grandmother, Mrs. Munn, in Halifax and all three were to head south where they would spend the winter months due to Mrs. Munn’s ill health. Tragically, their voyage would be cut short.  Later that same night during a fierce winter storm, the Florizel crashed into rocks off the coast of Newfoundland.  Sorrowfully, of the 138 passengers, 94 perished in the icy Atlantic Ocean.  Among them was young Betty who was nearly 4 years of age.  Sir Edgar’s sweet grandchild would never have the chance to grow up…In loving memory of little Betty, Sir Edgar commissioned leading British sculptor Sir George Frampton to create a likeness of his original Peter Pan statue located in London’s Kensington Gardens to stand in beloved Bowring Park.
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Delicate faeries dance around the middle of the tree trunk on their climb to the top.
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Peter Pan has stood nobly in Bowring Park, fuelling imaginations, since he was first gifted to us on August 29, 1925 as part of a dedicated “Children’s Day”.  It was reported that several thousand children were present for the much-anticipated unveiling of Peter Pan and the festivities that would follow the ceremony. The Mayor of the day, Tasker Cook, encouraged the children to “learn to know him and love him with all your hearts…”  Frampton, too, attended the ceremony and noted to the crowds  that “... the animals and fairies on the statue are listening to the pipes of Pan, one of the mice is completing his toilet before going up to listen to the music, (and) the squirrel is discussing political matters with two of the fairies”. 

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Replicas of Frampton’s Peter Pan statue, cast from the original mold, can be found around the world including: Liverpool’s Sefton Park, the Gardens of Egmont Palace in Brussels, Toronto’s Glenn Gould Park, Queen’s Gardens in Perth, Australia and Rutgers University’s Johnson Park in Camden, New Jersey.  Frampton commented that his Bowring Park version of Peter was superior in location to his statue in London’s Kensington Gardens due to “the wholly natural surroundings and flowing river being more in keeping with the spirit of Peter and particularly animals and faeries…”   If you have seen the other statues of Peter Pan, I would love for you to share them with us…

The enormous resplendent linden tree located in the park near Peter Pan fell during Hurricane Igor on September 21, 2010.  It had been planted nearly a century earlier by England’s Duke of Connaught when Bowring Park was opened on July 15, 1914.  Since Igor, a class of local elementary school students helped our Mayor plant a new linden tree in its place.

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The Peter Pan Festival, with the focus on children and the wonderment of childhood, was a magical time in Bowring Park: music and children’s performers, skateboard demonstrations, inflatable rides, sport challenges, car shows, multicultural concerts, fun food, bingo and more.  The Peter Pan soapbox races were a highlight, “… open exclusively to drivers with valid Bowring Park drivers licenses, which are issued only to people between the ages of 7 and 14…”
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Paul Russellafter having visited Bowring Park in 2005, described his Peter Pan festival experience in the British newspaper The Telegraph“One thing I have noticed since moving to Newfoundland, two years ago, is the focus on the family. Everything here is geared towards the family. Newfoundlanders possess an immense love for the family, and their children are very precious to them. All activities are family-oriented, and children are the focus of most of those activities. Here the children come first, something that appears to be less and less the case in this day and age.”  
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The Peter Pan festival began in August 29, 2000 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Sir Edgar’s gift to the park. Sadly, the much-loved festival is no longer active for reasons I don’t know.  
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Russell further wrote, “Pan, the boy who never grew up, could be used as a metaphor for the people of Newfoundland.  They are, in the best possible way, an innocent people.  Newfoundlanders have a reputation the world over for their warmth and friendliness…” I love this!

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How blessed we are to have been graced with this beautiful park and its charming statuary.  Peter Pan is, indeed, magical. P1050711

DID YOU KNOW?  Sir Edgar Frampton’s original sculpture of Peter Pan ‘magically appeared’ in London’s Kensington Gardens on May 1, 1912. The statue was erected in secret overnight at the expense of J. M. Barrie, the author and creator of Peter Pan. The next day, an advert by Barrie appeared in the British newspaper The Times: “There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning.  Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine, they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around…”  

Barrie chose the exact location of the statue in Kensington Gardens.  It was lovingly placed there because Peter made his first appearance in literature in Barrie’s novel “The Little White Bird” which is set in Kensington Gardens. It was also in the Gardens where Barrie spent cherished time with the children who inspired his creation of Peter Pan.

P1050702A peace dove tucks itself in under a crevice in the bronze tree trunk. Did you spot the inscription to the right?

The network of serene walking trails and attractive bridges feature magnificent views complete with flower beds, a rose garden, waterfalls, duck families and graceful swans.  Indeed, countless children have had their picture taken by the Duck Pond feeding the ducks.  Through the years, the park as become deeply rooted in the lives of those who live here.

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I hope you enjoy seeing the details of the statue.  A collection of faeries, mice, squirrels, rabbits, birds, frogs and salamanders climb their way up the tree trunk to Peter Pan listening to the notes of his magical flute…

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DID YOU KNOW?  It is recommended that you not feed bread to the ducks and birds.  Bread has little nutritional value and its high salt content dehydrates the birds.  It also promotes bacterial growth in the ponds and rivers.  By purchasing healthy duck food, you will be doing the birds and their environment a favour.  Duck food is available at various Marie’s MinMarts around the city for just $1.00 a bag; 100% of the proceeds from the feed sales is forwarded to the Bowring Park Foundation in support of the park. 🙂

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DID YOU KNOW? The statue of Peter Pan is probably about 10-feet high. The widespread popular appeal of his Peter Pan statue led Frampton to produce a 18.5″ bronze reduction of the main figure expected to bring at auction £50kBowring Park will proudly celebrate its centennial birthday next year. Wouldn’t you love to have your very own miniature of Peter Pan to commemorate the anniversary? Hmmm….Special celebrations are being planned by the Bowring Park Foundation for the park and its patrons.  We will all look forward to the party!

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Bowring Park is a gift to all who visit, the crown jewel of our city.  If you live near a beautiful park, I hope you will enjoy a walk there very soon. Oh, and remember to bring your camera and share the beauty…

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An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.  ~Henry David Thoreau.

Wasn’t that a beautiful walk?  Shall we go inside where it’s cozy?  I hope you have a little more time to join me in a hot cuppa.  I am using some of my prized teacups in your honour today. This stunning tea set was a ‘surprise gift’ to me by a dear friend.  I’d be delighted to share that story with you on another day, if you wish…Now, how would you like your tea?

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I am thrilled to be sharing at Mop It Up Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, What’s It Wednesday,  What We Accomplished Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, Pearls and Lace ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayFeathered Nest Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Saturday Show Off, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Sunny Simple Sunday, Seasonal Sunday,  Sunlit Sunday, Home Sweet Home, Open House,  Be Inspired, You’re Going to Love It!

Sources: Bowring Park Foundation, Newfoundland Tourism, The Telegraph, Bowring.com

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