Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rudbeckias and updates ~

It has been hot, hot, hot here for the past couple of weeks. Between the intense heat and watering restrictions it is surprising that anything survives but some hardy plants such as Rudbeckias, better known as Black-eyed Susan, defy the odds.
 I took this picture in the morning after coming home from my walk, I was pleased with was how pretty these Rudbeckias were.  I planted them in several places in the garden because they stand up so well to torrid conditions and I hoped that they would take center stage in this spot when the roses stopped blooming. They seem to have done just that.

And now for an update on the living room project.

 I am still sanding and painting woodwork but hope to finish this week, then I can start wallpapering.

Putting together fabric possibilities is really fun. These are all from different manufactures but they goes well together.

 I have already purchased the fabric on the bottom right for the living room drapes and the solid rose colored one is my current favorite for the entry hall drapes. The others...for accents.

 The entry hall is done. All painted, including the ceiling details and the new molding. I don't think anything adds more to a room then decorative molding.

As for Miss Twiggley she doesn't worry about painting, (although she did manage to get paint on her tail) political conventions, or keeping the garden watered, but she does care about comfort. Her favorite activity right now is sprawling out in front of an air conditioning vent and snoozing the day away. 

I think life as a cat must be very pleasant indeed.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Side tracked ~

Repairs, repairs, repairs. 

I am right in the middle of redecorating the living room and entry hall but needs must and while Juan, who does lots of work for me had the time, I decided to have him paint one of the out buildings. Little did I know what it would lead to.

This building was originally a chicken coop, then a storage shed, a playhouse and now back to a storage shed again.

New battens helped to cover up and protect  the widening seams in the wood exterior but we quickly realized that one of the walls would need to be replaced.

Years of termites and wood rot had taken a toil. I don't know what was holding it up.

New studs, new plywood and we are in good shape again.

All done!

Fresh and clean and I hope good for another few years.

Now back to the main project...the living room!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A different kind of dinner plate ~

I love Dahlias.

They are so pretty and come in such a wonderful variety of colors, sizes and shapes and
right now they are starting to put on quite a show in my garden.

 Most of them winter-over without being dug up in our warm climate but a few of them mysteriously disappear. So each year I add a few. A friend of mine planted some beautiful purple dahlias which I don't have. I am experiencing a little bit of "dahlia envy". I plan to remedy that by planting some deep purple dahlias next year.

Not purple but a luscious lavender and

... a gorgeous yellow; the blooms on both easily reaching 6 inches. Early in the morning with the early sun shining through it is amazing.

 I stake all of my plants, starting out early when they are quite small. In the past I have not been as rigorous about doing this but I have found that there is nothing more distressing in the garden then trying to tie up a large dahlia plant that has fallen over...and they never look as nice again.

Although you can't tell here, this is another of the dinner plate dahlias, thus called because of their size of the flowers.

Cutting the flowers keeps the plant blooming for a longer period of time. It is important to deadhead and of course this is a great reason for cutting them for flower arrangements.

The dahlia below is one of my favorites, I don't know the name but I bought it while on a trip to Carmel, California. It isn't a huge flower about 3 to 4 inches wide but the color variation is wonderful and it is very prolific bloomer.

In the past I have had some difficulty with the vase life of these beautiful flowers, for this arrangement I followed the advise below. I just made it today so we will see how long they last, I hope for a while because they really brighten up my kitchen. They are just so pretty.


How to Cut and Arrange Dahlias

Although it's great to enjoy the blooms directly in the garden, cutting dahlia flowers for bouquets actually produces more flowers. Be sure to deadhead any spent blooms.

The best time to cut flowers, including dahlias, is in the cool of the morning. Snip horizontally with a pruners or scissors, taking stems long enough for your bouquet. Choose flowers that are open or nearly open because the buds will not open once they're cut.

You should cut as much length as you need for your bouquet, but try to make the cut just above a set of leaf nodes and side buds. New shoots will grow from those nodes.

After you've harvested dahlia flowers, make a fresh horizontal cut at the bottom of the stem and place the cut ends in about 2-3 inches of very hot (not quite boiling) water. Let the stems stay in the water for at least one hour. This hot-water treatment conditions the stems so the blooms will last four to six days.

Once the cut stems have been conditioned, strip off all leaves that would be below the water line in your vase. This is true for all flower arrangements, not just dahlias. When leaves stay under water, they decay and release bacteria that shorten the vase life of the flowers.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a beautiful, flower-filled day. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Entry Hall ~

Entry Hall

The ceiling in the entry hall is low, by painting the center white and carrying the wall paint up onto the ceiling it gives it the illusion of more height. 

I did this with the help of one my very favorite products, painter's tape. It is a bit time consuming but used correctly it results in a very accurate edge.

Step # 1
Here is how the ceiling looks with the addition of the painted border, done of course with painter's tape. Nice but a little boring.

Another border, this time using metallic gold it's getting interesting.

This is so much fun to do, it is almost magical.

After the paint dries and you pull off the tape you have this lovely embellishment and I think a much more interesting ceiling.

Now that the painting is finished  I am looking for the drapery fabric, the main contender so far is Norfolk Vintage Rose by Waverly. I am waiting for the sample to come so I can decide. I hope it is right because I have already picked out the most beautiful, luxurious fringe to trim the drapes. I love the details.

Norfolk Vintage Rose 

Thank you for visiting, I hope you are having a wonderful summer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Busy days ~

The past couple of weeks have been very busy, I started  the redecoration of my living room and entry hall. I have been planning this for quite a while. I loved the floral Laura Ashley wallpaper but it had become dated and all of the upholstered pieces had become very worn. The rooms definitely needed a new look

All of the furniture has been heaped into the center of the room until I can sort it out and decide what I will keep and have reupholstered and what I will get rid of. I want a much more spartan feel so I know that I won't be using everything. 

I had help in stripping the wallpaper and with painting the ceiling. I thought I might feel a little sad when we started stripping the wallpaper...but not at all. I bought the electric steam wallpaper stripper you see sitting on the table at Home Depot, it was a well spent $50.00 but even then it took several days and a couple of people to remove the paper and oh, what a mess!

It's finally gone, down to the original 1927 walls, I think the room already has a lighter feel.

The ceiling, the ceiling surround and the fireplace have been painted in Raffia Cream, by Behr, The shutters and all of the wood trim will be in Decorator White another Behr paint. After I get the trim painted I can start putting up the wallpaper.

Wallpaper and drapery fabric

It is a start but there is a lot to do before the room is livable again...making the drapes, picking out upholstery fabric and all of the other small details. I am hoping to have it all together in time for the holidays.

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Potager ~

In a far back corner of the garden I have a small potager. It is basically comprised of two 4X8 feet raised beds which I made of recycled concrete blocks.

For the past couple of summers because of the drought I haven't planted any vegetables here and it had really gotten to look sad. Here it is earlier this spring, weedy, neglected, and in need of attention.

If nothing else I decided to clean it up, get the poor scarecrow new outfit and maybe plant a couple of tomatoes.

Six weeks later and here is the result of the few changes I made...

First of all Mr Scarecrow got a new outfit.


 I ended up planting tomatoes, squash and bush beans. I added a one cup mixture I had read about on line, of Epson salts, bone meal and sugar to each tomato plant, it is supposed to make them more productive with sweeter tomatoes. I thought it would be fun to experiment. I mulched the beds with straw to help retain moisture and deter weeds.

  It is now a few week later and I have already been eating some of the squash.  The tomato plants are covered with little fruit but is it will be a week or so before any of them are ready to pick. It's nice to have my little potager up and functioning again.

Thank you for visiting

Friday, June 3, 2016

Quack quack ~

On a trip to Costco last week I saw this set of ducks for the garden.
I immediately knew that I couldn't leave without them...they were so cute!

I love garden ornaments I think they add so much to a garden, but I try to control myself  because they can be overdone,  These however would be perfect...waddling down a walkway or in a border.

 So I bought a set.

I had trouble finding a place to put them because they looked good everywhere

I finally decided the best spot would be in the front garden.


So adorable in fact that the next day I went back and bought another I have a whole family.

Quack, quack.

If you are interested these are probably still available at your local Costco, but don't blame me if you come home with a whole flock.

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Larkspur ~

It is a lovely holiday weekend here, in Southern California, sunny but not too warm. Perfect weather for gardening.

Last week I took out all of my Larkspurs. I have never had such an abundance of them before. Over the past weeks I have picked several bouquets, some fresh for the house and others for drying. 

This is the last bouquet. So pretty and so fleeting. But of course that is one of the things that gardeners must learn to accept. I scattered lots of seeds while I was pulling them out so I am hoping that next year their bloom will be equally luxurious.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you are enjoying the long weekend.