Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fall florals ~

The dried arrangement I made for the credenza in my living room was getting rather tatty and it really didn't look right for the fall season, Nothing else works as well here as a large bouquet. So I decided to make another one that would be more reflective of autumn and this is the result.

Although they are not as fashionable as in the past, I love dried flower arrangements, partially because they last so long. I love fresh flowers but I am too lazy, too busy, and too fugal to constantly be making large arrangements and that is what is necessary for this space.

For this I used lots of eucalyptus, it is such a good filler and dries beautifully, various hydrangeas, including oak leaf, queen annes lace, twigs, grass seed-heads, dried peonies and some berries.

I will keep this through the fall and put it away for the Christmas holiday season.


The little ghosts are only here visiting until Halloween. I have several of them throughout the house and I smile every time I walk into a room and see one. It is amazing how much fun you can get out of a bit of paper!

I hope that you are enjoying the cooler weather and the lovely autumn season. Here in Southern California it is so nice to finally have a respite from the heat.

Thank you for visiting


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Autumn mantle ~

The month of September seems to have flown by and being busy with other obligations I have been a very lazy blogger. I realized the other day just how long it had been since I had put up a new post.

Now with the beginning of the lovely fall season, my favorite time of the year, I am excited to add some autumnal touches to the house and I wanted to share them with you.

In the past I haven't done any fall decorating in my living room - the colors just didn't seem to suit, but since redecorating the room  I now  have a new color palette to work with. Last year I did a small arrangement on the coffee table but this year I decided to do something more elaborate on the mantle.

I was trying for something soft in tone that would reflect the celadon green color in the chairs and drapes. I found the perfect ribbon at Michaels along with the amaranthus. I already had the pumpkins, gourds and seed pods.

This mantle and a large arrangement of  eucalyptus, twigs, berries and other dried plant material on the petite credenza across the room is enough to add a pleasing touch of autumn for me to enjoy throughout the season...and next, well that would be Christmas!

Thank you for visiting I hope you are enjoying the change of seasons.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Pretty pink ~

I  love pink flowers, but normally this time of the year they very limited in my garden,  the more saturated and brighter colored flowers seem to deal better with the heat. This summer has been an exception with this lovely combination of Gomphrena "Fireworks" and Purple Coneflowers in one of the back borders.

I have planted Gomphrenas for several years now but last year was the first time I planted Coneflowers, they are considered perennials but in my climate zone I really didn't expect them to come back, so it was a nice surprise when they did. When I saw they were thriving I of course added more, hopefully next year they will increase and look even prettier.

I love the way that the little puffs of gomphrenas rise airily above the larger coneflowers, really complimenting each other. 


And now for a complete switch in topic. I have been looking for the perfect blush color for a long time and I finally have found it,  NARS powder blush Exibit A. It is so intense that is frankly scary at first glance and I never would have tried it if I hadn't read about it. (The sales clerk at Nordstom's couldn't believe I was buying it). The trick of using it is to pick up the smallest particles with a fan blush. Done this way it gives the most wonderful, natural, pink glow. I use so little that I fully expect this to last me forever.

I still haven't found a signature fragrance but now I do have the perfect blush.
Thank you for visiting I hope you have a colorful day filled with lots of pretty blooms.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Grass be gone! ~

I love the look of an expansive green lawn and grass is relatively easy to maintain, but it takes a lot of water to really look nice. So late last spring I decided to take out the remaining rather patchy grass in the rear garden and replace it with planting areas and mulch.

I planted a flowering pear  (Ovrus calleryana) tree and a Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) tree here a couple of years ago to add more shade to a very hot and sunny garden. At the time I ws thinking that if I ever took out the grass I would enlarge the basins under the trees for planting and as you can see that is what I did. I installed drip irigation for watering ease and water conservation.

You can see how it turned out in the before and after pictures below.





This is definitely a work in progress, I will be adding more plants, including white trailing lantana and perhaps a brick or gravel pad...maybe even a small meadow of native grasses for the bench to sit on. There is always something creative to do in a garden!

Thank you for visiting have a happy day. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Summer heat ~

This has been a very discouraging summer in Southern California for a gardener. The heat has been constant and relentless. Over one weekend the temperatures reached 120 degrees, literally burning the leaves on plants, even established trees and shrubs succumbed. Watering can only do so much when the rays of the sun are so intense.

But instead of showing you my poor burnt plants I am going to share one that doesn't seem to be affected and looks as good this year as any - Crepe Myrtle.

These lovely trees seem to ignore the extreme heat; they have no burnt foliage and are in full bloom.

I have two Pink Pagoda Crepe Myrtle trees, one in the front garden, above and one in the back garden bordering the pond. 

When everything else is looking so exhausted and damaged at least this is one spot of beauty that I can look upon.

Crepe Myrtles come in various varieties, including shrubby types I have been testing one in my garden called, Early Bird White, it has performed well and I plan on planting more of them this fall to replace less heat tolerant shrubs.

Gardens, like life, are always changing. There is no denial that our weather is getting much hotter. This means that I as a gardener must adapt. I am compiling a list of plants that can withstand the higher temperatures and intense sun with the intention to make changes that will allow my garden to still look lush and thrive.

Wish me luck!

And, thank you for visiting

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Perfume bottle painting ~

I had a little framed print on a wall in the bathroom, one day I looked at it and realized that it was so faded from the sun that I could hardly tell what the picture was. That's when I decided to paint a picture to replace it.

 I love perfume bottles and have a small collection which lead me to decided that a painting of a perfume bottle would be very appropriate for a lady's bathroom. So I picked one of my favorites...

First the set up and then the sketch...

 Along the way I decided to replace the single rose with a spray of the Hybrid Musk rose "Kathleen" which was blooming in my garden at the time. I thought it improved the composition.
I work very slowly, and get side tracked on other obligations and projects, from the sketch to the almost finished painting you see below took me several weeks.


finished, framed, and hung. 

 Picking out frames is always hard for me, rather like picking out wallpaper, you never really know how it is going to look until it's done. I had fretted about my decision but when I picked it up I was very happy with how it all came together. 

Now back to working on the arbor, since I have made friends with the impact driver it is going much better, the canopy which is the most difficult part, is almost complete. From paint brush to power tools is quite a switch.

I hope you have a lovely day

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy Fourth of July

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing free speech.” 

Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 25, 2018

Apples ~

The first few days of summer seem like a unusual time to be talking about apples. I associate apples with the cool seasons, but this, strange as it seems, is when my apple trees are bearing.

Over the years I have planted quite a few apple trees, both the ornamental type which only produce small fruit for birds and regular apple trees. I planted them all for aesthetic reasons - I like the way they look. The ornamental crab apple alee lining my driveway is a joy of beauty in spring when they are covered in blossoms. The fruit bearing trees are pretty in bloom too, as in the photo below. But what I really love is their structure,

This tree planted at the street-side is now heavy with ripe fruit. I noticed the other day that all of the apples on the bottom of the tree are gone, whisked away by people walking by. Sometimes people come to the door and politely ask if they can pick some. but mostly they disappear which is fine by me, I think it is nice that others enjoy them.

There is still lots of fruit near the top, maybe I should set a ladder next to the tree so that people can reach them but that would probably lead to a host of problems.

They are really quite beautiful against the early morning sky.

Applesauce anyone?

I leave you with this quote I read today.

These things I warmly wish for you:
someone to love, some work to do, a bit o' sun, a bit o' cheer
and a guardian angel always near.

from an Irish blessing.