Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Against the odds ~

The odds of successfully growing Clematis in our arid climate aren't very good. Nevertheless they were very fashionable here a few years ago and I of course succumbed and planted quite a few.

I have since come to my senses and no longer give into the temptation to plant more each year. The ones I do have perform fairly well but it is a bit of an uphill battle and now, especially considering our drought, when I put in new plants I try to pick things that fit better into our environment.

An exception to all the above is this wonderful Clematis Jackmanii you see below.

Each year with little care it scampers happily up the climbing rose by the front deck.

I must have picked just the right spot when I planted this. how else can I explain how well it performs.

Each flower is huge and such a wonderful color. 

Simply beautiful.

Thank you for visiting. I hope your day is full of wonder.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Options ~

I have wanted a birdcage stand for a while so when my brother found this one for me I was very pleased. I was sure I knew what I was going to do with it; use it as a plant stand on the back deck.  First it needed a coat of black paint to match the outdoor table and chairs.

I does make a nice fern stand...but then I got another idea, one I think I like even better.

Using it to hold a chalkboard. So I made a new chalkboard to fit it.

Chalkboards are so much fun and I can think of all sorts of messages to put on this one.

Of course the fern looks nice too, so I will probably change them out...which reminds me, somewhere in the barn there is an antique birdcage and I saw this one planted with succulents on Pinterest. What could be more fitting and this is truly lovely.

Who would think there would be so many options for a old birdcage stand.


It seems that I haven't posted for a long time. I have been finishing up the drapes, building a little rock retaining wall, and trying to solve computer and telephone problems. Sometimes life seems to get in the way of blogging.

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cups of pink perfection ~

I have been so occupied making drapes that I haven't taken time to post, but this afternoon when I went outside I saw that my new David Austin, Alnwick roses are blooming for the first time.

They are so glorious I had to share them with you.

Perfect cups of pink perfection!

I have four bushes of these planted under the back deck, with luck and care they should only get better ~ such a lovely promise for the future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Making drapes ~

Over the past few days I have been working on the new drapes for the guest room.
It has been a while since I have made drapes and I had forgotten what a chore it is to work with such large pieces of fabric.

So far I have the decorator fabric all cut out and sewn together in two large panels.

Now I will cut out and assemble the lining. The lining is much easier because there is no pattern to match. 

Next, I will sew the lining and the drapery fabric together, put on the headings, attach my gorgeous fringe trim, make the pleats, and attach the rings.

Then, voila! They will be ready to hang.

After this making these the new cover and pillows for the daybed should be a breeze.

Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Early morning ~

Early May morning in the garden
and the first blooms of this yellow iris, apply named,
Shoot the Moon.

I bought the rhizomes at a 75% discount late last winter out of a sale basket at my local Armstong's garden center.

I really think I got the best of the deal.

I hope your weekend is going well.
Mine is being spent weeding, and sewing on the drapes for the guest bedroom.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

DIY frustrations ~

I am finally getting back to the guestroom. I started this project several months ago. It's not that I didn't want to get it finished but other more important things seemed to get in the way, such as the holidays, engagement parties, annual pruning, and must needed changes in the garden related to the drought.

So far I have completed painting the room, rehung the doors on their beautiful new brass hinges, installed new ceiling moldings, and had the chandelier hung. But like all home decoration projects there have been difficulties one doesn't anticipate such as what happened today...

I have the drapery fabric, the lining, and a gorgeous trim but before I start making the drapes I have to hang the new drapery rod. You would think this would be a simple, quick affair, unfortunately NO! I discovered that putting up an eight foot drapery rod on your own is not an easy thing to do.  

I won't go into the nasty details but somehow I ended up with a rather large hole in the plaster which I made while trying to extract a molly bolt I had not positioned correctly...thank goodness for Spackle.

I was eventually able to get one...yes only one, of the brackets installed, the other will have to wait to tomorrow as I have had enough frustration for one day Now at least I have some idea what I am doing and I expect it to go better tomorrow. 

Meanwhile I want to share a close-up of my beautiful new chandelier with you.

 This is definitely the star of the room...at least until I get the drapes finished.

DIY projects are not always fun and easy.

Thank you for visiting. Remind me to tell you about the new retaining wall, another project.

PS. It is the next day and both of the brackets and the rod are up. Hooray! Now I can start sewing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Something new for something old ~

It's funny how sometimes you can see something old in a new light.
It was that way with this plant. 

I have grown Phlomis fruticosa, commonly called Jerusalem Sage, in my garden for what seems like forever.  It so interesting to look at and has the additional advantage of being very drought tolerant. When is blooms it is glorious, as you can see below. It pretty well covers itself with theses very attractive bright yellow whorls of flowers, followed by wonderful seed pods.
I think it is a great addition to any temperate garden.

Here I have it growing in the front garden with Lavender and a pink Austin rose...pretty!

But until a lovely lady in my gardening class brought in a charming bouquet containing Phlomis it had never occurred to me to use it as a cut flower.


I went online for more information about this common plant and found that not only is it an excellent cut flower but the seed heads dry well. And you know how much I like to find new kinds of things to dry for winter bouquets.

There is also a pink version which I simply must try.

 Now in my garden Phlomis has a few additional values. And I have found that there is much to learn,  even about the most ordinary plants.

Thank you Alice!

And, thank you for visiting.

I hope you are having a sunshine filled day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Alternatives ~

It's time to think about planting summer vegetables. 

I have an enclosed potager with raised beds where I usually plant vegetables but with our severe drought and watering restrictions I decided to leave it fallow this year.

As an alternative...

I am going to incorporate a few vegetables into the border below the deck. (I can't resist sowing a few of my favorite zinnia seeds too...aren't zinnias vegetables?)

Here it is last winter with lettuce but it should work well with summer vegetables too.

 The massed planting of Stock will be replaced by  pole beans, eggplants and summer squash. 

My new edging will be bush beans,

Tomatoes, I only bought determinate varieties to save space, plus one cherry tomato, will find homes
among the roses and boxwood.

The best part is this is all right outside my kitchen door, for the first time I will have a real kitchen garden!

Meanwhile I am praying mightily for rain!