Thursday, March 26, 2020

Practicing social distancing ~ zen and the art of gardening

I was weeding the other day which I find very relaxing and zen-like (it is my favorite gardening activity) when I remembered the title of a long ago book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I don't have a motorcycle to maintain but I do maintain a garden that is full of weeds. I decided that a state of zen isn't a bad place to be right now, Hooray for weeds!

The crabapple allee along my driveway is just coming into bloom. I have never been able to capture how pretty it is with a photo. These trees are not supposed to do well in our area but so far they haven't found out...and I am not telling them!

My new gym.
 A couple of weeks ago when it became apparent that going to the gym was not a good idea I ordered a set of exercise bands from Amazon, now I think they are all sold out. I already had the weights. So now an area of my living room has now become the 'gym' where I can exercise and do yoga. When it gets warm enough I will move out to my deck, but for right now this is fine. 

 The white Lady Banks rose, Rosa banksiae 'Alba Plena' is covering the old greenhouse in blooms. The flowers are larger and a more typical rose form than the yellow and more common Lady Banks which lags a bit in its bloom time behind this one. I have both of them, to me they always say, "Spring in here".

Pasta has been completely sold out in our markets so yesterday on a lark I decided to get out my old pasta machine and make some. I can't remember when I did this last, and now I know why - it was a bit of a chore. However, it did turn out well and there is nothing better than fresh pasta. I put together a sauce from a couple of foraged tomatoes from a bush that had over-wintered in the garden. It really was quite a nice dinner. I vacuum packed and froze the rest (it made a huge amount) for later.

Lastly, I will leave you with this lovely yellow iris in bloom, I don't know it's name but it is extremely hardy, prolific, and repeat blooming. It is like a ray of sunshine and who doesn't need a ray of sunshine right now.

Thank you for visiting, I hope that you are following the guidelines and keeping safe. This is a very stressful and difficult time for our country but most people seem to be rising to the occasion and realizing how important the way they behave is effecting us all.

Take care and stay well


Thursday, March 19, 2020

At home - practicing self-distancing.

I have lived in my home far too many decades than I wish to admit to and I can never remember a time that I have appreciated it more than now. My home not only offers me a sanctuary and a place of peace but a way to spend the day - gardens in particular always need attention and now I certainly have the time to give it some much needed care.

Like the salvia pictured above this lovely Rose of Sharon is also putting on quite a show. You just can't spend time in a garden and not feel some sense of promise, even in times such as these.

Other than gardening there are a couple of other activities that I am currently enjoying. I always have
 a small jigsaw puzzle like the one below set out on a table, but I think that I am going to order a larger one to get me through the next few weeks. Amazon has some great ones. They are fun to do during that random moment of boredom. 


I ordered this French language series from The The Great Courses over a year ago and never got around to taking it out of the package. I have been studying french for quite a while and I think this
will be helpful in increasing my french language skills. Now I am kind of happy that I saved it. I also have a course on photography, but that will be for later. 

So between books, gardening, leaning new skills, and home projects (I am building a new gate) the days are going by quickly. I can only hope and pray that this  illness which is devastating the world will be over soon and we can go back to our normal activities without fear.

Meanwhile in the midst of lilac is blooming.

Peace, stay well and take care.

Thank you for visiting


Thursday, March 12, 2020

March news ~

~ March news ~

A new bouquet.

The altromerias are starting to bloom in the garden. Each year they are more abundant as they easily re-seed, often in the most unexpected places. Mine are all in shades of pink but I just planted a  yellow one that I hope will take hold and provide me with pale yellow blooms. They make the most beautiful and long lasting bouquets.

A new needlework project

I have started crocheting this afghan for my daughter. The room it will be going in is decorated in shades of gray and white. I really enjoy having a needlework project to pick up at that odd moment - or when watching television. This pattern is so simple that it requires little attention allowing the mind to a nice way.

New lily bulbs

I wasn't going to plant any more lily bulbs this year but these were on sale and I couldn't resist. I am not sure where they are going but I will manage to tuck them in somewhere. They are the tall variety which I prefer and the colors are so pretty.

A new little friend

I have developed a bit of an addiction for gnomes. I have a special enclosed, and somewhat secluded area in the garden for them them - a secret gnome village. I put them out in the spring along with my umbrellas and store them away in the fall. I have been trying to think of a name for this village and my sister suggested
Adrienne's Folly and right she is, it is a folly...but they are so cute! And this little guy holding a butterfly was absolutely irresistible.

A new return to the past

I have recently realized how much I miss having a few hens clucking and scratching about, it is almost a dozen years since this chicken coop in the far, far back of the garden has been occupied. Although it is basically still in okay shape it needs a some repairs and I want to add a roof to keep it dry in rainy weather. I hope to have it ready for this springs crop of new chicks.

And that is the new news for March!

I hope your spring is full of fun new ideas and projects.

Take care and stay well.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

In the pink ~

Each year I look forward to February, it is the month that the magnolia trees bloom. Pink is my favorite color in the garden and these lovely trees, along with some shrubs blooming this month, give my garden a wonderful supply of many tints of pink.

I thought they would be worth a featured post...

I have two of these magnolia trees, one in the front garden and one in the back garden, they are so lovely when in bloom and make surprisingly good cut flowers. 

In the far, far back along the lavender walkway this abundantly blooming pink flowered shrub  provides a great focal point.  Unfortunately it's name escapes me, but it is quite common. It makes great fresh and dried flowers for bouquets. For a couple of years now I have been selectively pruning it to create a small tree.

And of course there are the camellias, scattered throughout the garden in pink, white and red, they are very old and have become mid-sized trees. 

And the last, and maybe my favorite, loropetalum along the sidewalk. Blooming for several weeks the color of the bright pink flowers will be followed burgundy colored foliage, giving this shrub year around interest.

And just to make sure I keep all of the lovely pink color coming in the garden, bulbs to plant for summer bloom.

I hope this post finds you "in the pink".

Thank you for visiting.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

~ Happy Valentine's Day ~ 

Love from the garden. 


Friday, February 7, 2020

Valentine's Day redux ~

Over the last weekend I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she was telling me how she had decorated her dining room for Valentine's Day, she asked how I was decorating for the holiday, until then I really hadn't thought about it, it seems to have crept up so quickly. Her call inspired me to spend the rest of the day putting my home into a romantic Valentine's Day mood.
Since I didn't do anything radically different this year I thought in this post it would be nice to share with you a redux of former Valentine's Day photos, such as of this adorable birdhouse, which I eventually incorporated into a wreath.

Here it is hanging in the kitchen window, this year it is in the media room.

One year I gathered all of my vintage valentines and put them on display in the guest bedroom. This bedroom has since been redecorated but I still have all of the valentines, and the Laura Ashley drapes.

A Valentine's Day vignette a couple of years ago in the kitchen, using some of my favorite dishes, vintage valentines, and yummy looking faux treats.

And finally, a valentine herb wreath made using a wire coat hanger, the wreath in my current blog header was made the same way. I used heavier wire to make the heart form for the large wreath birdhouse wreath.

Valentine's Day seems to come so quickly, it is fun to find ways to make it more enjoyable. I hope that you too are bringing this holiday celebrating love into your home

Thank you for visiting


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Après la Fête ~

For a long time I  had the idea of painting a woman walking through a flower filled meadow at sunrise after an elegant party. I finally did a sketch on canvas, then got involved in other things. The canvas sat on my easel for a long time, periodically I would work on it, put it away to work on something else, then put it back on the easel where I frequently walked by thinking, 'I really must do something about her".

She finally caught my complete attention last fall, but it was holiday time and there were other more interesting things to do. At the end of December when all the excitement was over I begin working on the painting in earnest. It takes me a long time to finish any painting and this was no different but lo and behold after many corrections and changes one day I put down my brush and said to myself, "she is done"!

I usually don't custom frame things, it's more fun just to pop them into empty frames I keep for this purpose, then when I want something different to look at change them out. However I became very attached to my mystery lady and I decided to have her framed for my bedroom. I just got her back a couple of days ago and hung her this morning, now I don't have to feel a bit guilty every time I walk by my workroom and see her forlornly sitting on the easel.

So here she is, varnished, framed, and hung in my bedroom:  Après la Fête  (After the Party).

Thank you for visiting I hope you have a beautiful day.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Bringing in winter ~

Everything always looks so bare when all of the holiday decorations have been put away.I like a clean slate for my decorations so I put most of my usual decor items in storage for the season. January offers a chance to bring things out again but also change it up a bit for the rest of the winter months.

In the living room on the library table behind the couch I put my rabbits back but added some books, a flower arrangement and a new little brass candlestick. the open book is One Year in Art. Every day offers a new painting with a quote to go with it, I love this kind of thing, it's fun to turn the page each day and see what wonders it brings. The bouquet is mostly succulents with some flowers added for additional color.

On the little french credenza nothing seems to work but a floral arrangement. For this I used fresh eucalyptus leaves and evergreens from Trader Joe's, these will dry and last for quite a while. I included some other dried material and silk peonies for interest.

It is pretty monotone but I think it has a winter feel.

And finally, in the entry, an arrangement of dried material along with porcelain birds, books, a Moroccan covered container, a pair of brass candlesticks and framed welcome to my house in french graphic I made a few years back. These candlesticks and the one on the library table were Christmas gifts from my brother.

Now I definitely feel winterized!