Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New borders ~

The removal of the big shade tree last year required some changes in the back garden, including a new gravel sitting area and two new borders lining the brick pathway that bisects the garden.

Last year the two new borders looked like this:
This spring they look like this:

Looking into the new border from the driveway

Looking out onto the gravel driveway.

After a spring rain

What you can't see in these pictures is the new gravel sitting area to the left of the path. I eventually want to plant a new shade tree here but I must wait a bit. Meanwhile an umbrella does the job, I hope to share this spot with you in a later post.
Since I took these picture the larkspur has put on quite a show, this is the first time I have ever had what I considered enough larkspur. I will be cutting lots of it to dry before I pull it out to plant my zinnia seedlings. Zinnias are wonderful annuals for our hot, hot summers.

Thank you for visiting

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bird feeders ~

I have never had bird feeders in my garden before, I was always convinced that in our mild climate the garden alone provided plenty of food for the visiting birds and over the years I have tried to plant things that would facilitate that. 

Then I recently read that hanging bird feeders outside of your windows was a good way to keep house cats entertained...and to feed wild birds at the same time.

So, in what begin as an attempt to have a happier Miss Tiggley, I now have several bird feeders in the garden...outside of the bay window in the entry hall...

another by the kitchen...

and for Mother's Day I received a very charming humming bird feeder as a gift.

I decided to put this one by the Tree Man to keep him company, Miss Twiggley and I can also watch the action from the office

I really did this for Miss Twiggley and it certainly is keeping her entertained, but I can't tell you how much I am enjoying watching the birds too. Now I must get a book on the birds of our area so I can start to identify these wonderful creatures.

I just filled the humming bird feeder this morning, I wonder how long it will be before they discover it...we will see!

Thank you for visiting

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A summer project ~

I have always enjoyed my living room but in the past few years it has become very dated.The vintage Laura Ashley floral wallpaper is still quite lovely but way too busy for what is happened in interiors today. I didn't really realize what a muddle it all was until I took this picture.
The whole space needs to be uncluttered, simplified, and lightened up.

At first I was just going to strip off the existing wallpaper and paint the walls but the curved ceiling, one of the best features of the room, is best set off with a bit of pattern. Instead I choose the cream striped wallpaper  you see below. The fabric will be used for the new drapes. My plan is for a soft, subtle and more elegant room, with a lot less clutter.

All of the furniture including the settee below (which needs some explanation) will be reupholstered with fabrics in various shades and textures of cream. Raspberry will be my accent color.

And now for what might possibly end up being a good choice or a major mistake.

This french settee was my Mother's pride. I will never forget her delight on the day many years ago when it was delivered. I am planning on using it in the living room. This might be a huge error on my part but I think I can tone it down by adding a long, soft cushion; using a casual linen fabric to upholster it in, and doing away with all of the elaborate tucking.

A few days ago I ordered the wallpaper, when it comes I can start picking out paint colors and dismantling the room. It will be a lot of work and will take quite a while but I think it will be worth the effort. I will keep you up to date on the progress.

At least I will have something to do this summer when it is too hot to work outside in the garden and if everything goes really well it might be finished for the holidays.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Simple joys ~

There is something about going out in the garden in the morning with your secateurs and a basket to  pick a few things for the house. Nothing too fancy or exotic, certainly not my bearded iris which I can't bear to cut, but just a few ordinary flowers that are blooming at the moment.

Recently I have been experimenting with foliage and flowers for cutting, things like Santa Barbara Daisies, that I didn't think would last or be good for bouquets. I have been surprised and it has broaden the range of materials.

Here is today's bounty: a few of the waning roses, larkspur, phomius, lantana, valerian, altromeria, and what appears to be a species salvia. 

These look so pretty to me simply placed in the basket that I hate to disturb them, but after a good soaking in a bucket of water they will make nice bouquets.

Simple joys are best.

Thank you for visiting

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Here today, gone tomorrow ~

Rosa, 'Old Blush', also known as 'Parsons' Pink China, and by several other names, is a China rose derived from Rosa chinensis, and is generally accepted as the first East Asian rose to reach Europe; this in the mid-eighteenth century.

For the past many weeks my Climbing Old Blush, a sport of the original bush rose, has looked like this:

Climbing Old Blush viewed from the back deck.

Glorious to behold. 

Now with our recently warm days the blooms are mostly gone. More will follow but nothing to equal the splendor of this. The good thing is that Old Blush blooms for a long time, starting in the winter months then reaching the crescendo you see here in spring.

Gardeners must learn to accept the ephemeral.

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Little pleasures ~

I wanted to share a few little pleasures from my week.


A new summer bag, delivered to my doorstep a couple of days ago all the way from China.

I like straw bags for the summer months, they seem to go with everything and their casualness fits the way I dress when it is hot. For the past few years I have had trouble finding one. A Google search brought this one to me. It was so inexpensive I really thought I would end up donating it to the local thrift store but it came and it is perfect, a very nice surprise. The new sunglasses, found at Marshall's, are tortoise shell colored and over-sized just like I prefer...

The bounty of this beautiful Eden rose, so plentiful in bloom that it allows me the pleasure of  making lush, long stemmed bouquets to take to friends...

...Planting Zinnia seeds.

 Zinnias are my favorite summer flowers they stand up and perform throughout our hot, hot, weather and grace the garden with bursts of color. I prefer the pink types and Giant Enchantress is my favorite, tall, with large candy-pink blooms, it is hard to miss in the garden.

There are few things that give more pleasure than starting a new book. I love to read books about living in Paris, this book by Kate Betts has gotten good reviews and looks very interesting. And talk about pleasure, who doesn't dream about the pleasure of living for a while in Paris.

Miss Twiggley...what gives her pleasure...falling asleep on the window seat in the bay window while watching birds visit the bird feeder outside. 

Little does she know the pleasure that she gives me.

I hope your days are filled with little pleasures too.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Climbing Pinkie ~

When I replanted the border beneath my back deck I knew that I wanted a climbing rose to go around the deck across the railing. Preferably a pink rose that would be easy to train, stand up in the heat, easy care, and long blooming.

I immediately decided on Climbing Pinkie. Climbing Pinkie, a polyantha rose, was first introduced by Amstrong in 1952, It is a sport of another one of my favorite roses, China Doll. 

 The reason this decision was so easy to make was that I already had a Climbing Pinkie planted in the back garden. It is trained to go over the bridge by the pond and has
 all of the qualities I was looking for.

Every year, without fail it performs in this magical way. The first flush of bloom is the heaviest but it continues to flower through the summer months on into winter. Training this rose is made easier because it has few thorns and very pliable canes. 

Below you see the new planting around the deck this spring in it's second year of bloom. By next year I think it will have made it's way completely around.

But not only is Climbing Pinkie beautiful in the garden it is also great for instant, very long lasting bouquet. What more could you ask for.

If you are interested in planting a Climbing Pinkie you can order one on line at The Antique Rose Emporium

Thank you for visiting.

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tiered stand ~

With the arrival of Spring I thought it was time to make a few decorative changes in the kitchen.
 I decided to start by putting up one of my tiered stands. This stand is huge, if I would have known how large it really was I probable wouldn't have purchased it. The good news it very easily comes apart for storage...each tier fitting within the other.

I took it out, screwed it together and then...hmmm, what to put in it. I have pinned so many ideas for tiered stands that I should be an expert, but like with so many other things, I'm not. 

Then I remembered an adorable vintage tea set, a gift one Christmas from my brother, currently languishing in a closet; time to get it out and enjoy it.

I would put together a tea station. Why not, I love tea and brew a pot every morning, it would be nice to have everything in one central place.

It was fun to gather it all: different teas, napkins, accessories and two charming books on tea. The books given to me by very nice people...thank you again Ralph and Barbara, and you too Jerry. I dressed it up a with some lace and potted herbs.

Now I can pick a selection of tea, brew a pot, and read about it all at the same time! And, it looks rather nice.

I love an easy solution to a problem and if you really get stymied, sitting down with a cup of tea always helps.

Thank you for visiting.