Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fall holidays in the kitchen ~

I always enjoy decorating my kitchen for the different holidays. It's such an easy room to have fun with and because I spend so much time in here I really get to enjoy the decorations to the fullest.

I didn't do anything radically different this year, just changed things around a bit. This little witch has been residing in the basement for a couple of years and I decided she was just too cute to languish there, so up she came. I smile every time I look at her.

Across the room on the window shelf I filled up a box with pumpkins and hung a fall wreath in the window. 

On the side cabinet, more pumpkins and fall foliage, after Halloween a little tweaking, such as turning the Jack-o-lantern around and adding a turkey to the mix, will take me all the way to Thanksgiving.

All decked out and ready for the fall holidays!

Thank you for visiting

Have a wonderful day.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Joys of October ~

October in my garden is a very quiet month - not much is blooming, eventually the roses will re-bloom but right now I am depending on foliage for color and interest. 

In the central front garden leaves on the trees are starting to turn brown. Last week, after this picture was taken, I removed all of the Santa Barbara daises planted in the base below the fountain. They are wonderful plants but they  had become very overgrown. My initial l idea when I designed this garden area was to plant miniture pink roses here, something I plan on doing when they are available later in the year. Meanwhile winter annuals will add color.

This is definitely the time when grasses are center stage. I love the way the sunlight filters through and highlights them. In early winter they will be cut  back but for now they add much needed color. These are the very common Pennisetum rubrum, Purple fountain grass. 

October is a time for cutting back, cleaning up, weeding and removing all spent summer annuals. It takes a very short time for me to fill up a wheelbarrow with prunings and clippings. It is also time to thin and divide iris and daylilies.

But the very best thing about October -  planting spring blooming bulbs. Bulbs are such nice garden surprises, popping up so long after you planted them that you have forgotten all about doing it. This year, among other bulbs, I am planting dutch iris, adding to some very old clumps that I put in years ago, they have been so dependable that I tended to overlook what great plants they are. 


Something new are these tin buckets, I am somewhat obsessed with them. I found them at my local dollar store for under $3.00 each. I store my small garden tools in them, and use them for a multitude of other things. The wooden handles make them easy to tote. They also stack when not in use. And, to be truthful, like the wicker laundry baskets I use when weeding, I like the way they look in the garden. 

The next project for October, decorating the house for the fall Holidays, something I aways enjoy.

Thank you for visiting.

Happy October!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A lovely summer evening ~

A warm summer evening

Dinner alfresco

Excellent music cutesy of the LA Philharmonic

It is hard to beat an evening spent at the iconic

Hollywood Bowl

Getting to the Hollywood Bowl from my house used to be a major event and then the parking, oh my the parking! Now though it is a breeze, buses leave from our local park, driving you there, and bringing you home - hassle free, no stress and makes attending concerts as easy as can be.

Thank you for visiting

I hope your summer evenings are full of music and good times.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Hot summer days and French inspirations ~

It has gotten hot. Up until now the early summer months have been rather temperate, but the heat has arrived and will be with us for quite a while. Working in the garden has become more of a chore than a pleasure and requires some planning. I am taking my morning walk earlier so I can get something accomplished outside before the heat of the day sets in.

This leaves a lot of time spent inside of the house and the need to find creative ways to spend the hot indoor afternoons. One of the most fun ways to do this is to change up things, especially in the kitchen, a room I spend so much time in. 

I ordered this tiered stand online a couple of years ago, when it came it was much, much larger than I had expected, it takes quite a bit of space and a lot to fill it so I don't use it very often. The good thing is that it comes apart for storage. 

This time I decided to fill it with all of the various oils and vinegars I have accumulated for making salad dressings. There is something about the beauty of the ordinary that almost makes it artful.

Dressed up with a couple of old doily's, a few vintage white plates, some potted herbs, fresh lemons from my trees, tea towels and my Mother's cruet.

My inspiration for this was something I read about gift suggestions for a traveler to bring home from Paris, all purchased from Monoprix (click to read the article). ordinary french things, all very reasonably priced, but when thoughtfully put together made quit charming.

Although these items are not from Paris the various packaging makes them visually appealing, and fits one of the prime requirement for displaying collections - together. Perhaps Billy Baldwin would be pleased, but even more important I am.


The flowers you see to the side are the last of my Oakleaf hydrangeas, slowly they are turning color on the bush and now are a lovely chartreuse and red. I almost prefer this to the white color of them when they first bloom.

Thank you for visiting have a happy day.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Miss Twiggley ~

Miss Twiggley on the mantle

Cats have a real talent for appearing in a spot that seems to highlight their beauty.

Miss Twiggley has done just this when she allowed me to take a picture of her beautifully posed in a setting that she seems made for. Of course there are the other times when she is flopped over on her back, tummy exposed, looking like a furry dust mop...but she really seems to prefer elegance.

Have a happy day.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Oak Leaf Hydrangeas ~

When I first started gardening here at Rose Arbors I had great success with hydrangeas, but in recent years with the drastic change in weather and our increasingly hot climate that has changed. Oh yes, they still bloom but not with the lushness of prior times. There is however one wonderful exception, this Oak Leaf Hydrangea that takes pride of place under an avocado tree in the front garden

The flowers are creamy white, elongated and sweetly fragrant, like all hydrangeas they persist on the bush to enjoy for several weeks. 

It does not repeat bloom but it does put on a nice show in the fall when the foliage turns red. I will prune it back severely in late winter.

For some reason until last year I made no attempt to cut the flowers, what a shame, because once I did so I found that they made wonderful long-lasting fragrant fresh bouquets and like all hydrangeas, make great dried flowers, retaining most of their creamy white color.

I have enjoyed these so much and I hope that by sharing them with you you might want to give Oak Leaf Hydrangeas a try in your garden, I don't think they will disappoint you.

Thank you for visiting.


Friday, June 7, 2019

Dried flowers ~

As anyone who has read my blog before knows, I love dried flowers. Now don't get me wrong, I totally enjoy bouquets of fresh flowers, but in certain situations where I want the effect to last, nothing in my opinion beats the flexibility and longevity you can get using dried material. 

Thus when I wanted an arrangement to last for the next few weeks on the mantle in the living room it was the natural thing for me to use some of the dried flowers from the cache of last years harvest - I am just beginning to cut flowers to process for this year.

In this arrangement I used eucalyptus, olive and pepper branches,Heavenly Bamboo seed clusters and white Oakleaf hydrangeas - soft and simple which is what I wanted. I have never used the heavenly bamboo seed clusters before, they turned a really lovely, rich golden color when dried. It's fun to try new flowers and foliage to see how they will dry, I have had some surprises and some disappointments. I only dry by hanging so it is a very easy procedure.

I  grow different types of flowers for drying: yarrow, statice, Queen Annes Lace, and of course roses. This year for the first time I am growing actual Strawflowers which I seeded a few months ago and just recently planted out in the garden, I have high hopes that these will provide me with colorful accents in future dried bouquets.  

The wonderful Erin of  Floret Flower Farm offers lots of different Strawflower seeds and other flower seeds to grow for drying plus an extensive variety of other annual seeds and bulbs all shown to you along with tutorials on her beautiful website.

 Meanwhile, today when I walked into Trader Joe's I saw the seasonal peonies had arrived, how could I resist. Fresh is best but dried flowers have a place in my heart and home too.

Thank you for visiting

Have a lovely day.


Monday, May 6, 2019

Enjoying the garden ~

In all of the years I have been gardening here at Rose Arbors I can never remember a season that has brought so much beauty as this spring; it is of course due to our abundant winter rainfall.

I don't expect we will see much more heavy rain this year but last week during the night we were blessed with a nice sprinkle. In the morning I went out and took these pictures. There is nothing like the sparkle and freshness of rain to enhance the beauty of a garden. And this year because of the super bloom - oh my!

An early morning view from the deck.

The lavender walk in the far back more wild reaches of the garden, augmented with poppies seeded by the wind.

A lovely example of David Austin's Ambridge rose in a front border.

A gravel pathway, higgly-piggly with bloom.

Alongside the pond in the back, roses and foxgloves, two of my favorite flowers combine together.

Valerian, in the deck border, I pull it out every year, then wish I hadn't, then it surprises me and comes back. I just recently read that it makes a good cut flower, but I haven't tried it yet, maybe this weekend.

Image result for black and white images of flowers in a line

 It will get hot again this summer I have no doubt and gardening will become more of an effort and less of a pleasure but right now I am really enjoying my garden

Je suis très chanceux

(I am so lucky)