Monday, January 25, 2021

A revisit ~

The month of January has completely escaped me, so much has happened it has been hard to keep up. Besides world shaking events, and minor in comparison, I have had to replace both my water heater and my stove. Finding available appliances right now in these pandemic times has become quite difficult. The water heater was easy but the stove requires certain dimensions to fit in the space. So, for the next month or so I will be trying to get by without an oven, harder than it sounds.

But before January is completely over I wanted to share with you a revisit to some of my favorite pictures from last years posts. 


 After all of the Christmas decorations have been put away, everything always looks bare but this little vignette in the kitchen helped to perk things up.

The winter mantle. I did something similiar this year but a little better, I hope to share it with you in an up-coming post.

A bouquet of red roses for Valentine's Day.

A bountiful basket of spring blooms.

Climbing Pinkie by the pond in its first flush of bloom.

The rear deck on a summer eve at dusk.

ending with my favorite picture of the year, early morning in the bedroom.

I hope this year is a better one than the last. I look forward to conquering the pandemic and
the new leadership in our country that will somehow be able to return us back into what we should be, the "united" states of America. We have seen too many years of hate and division.

Thank you for visiting


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The most wonderous time of the year ~

Here it is, just a few days before Christmas, with everything so different this year it is hard to believe that it is almost here. Without so many of the usual markers...classes to go to, friends to entertain, family gatherings... time  has become so strange that it has become somewhat difficult to keep track of the days.

But it is indeed the holiday season, and time to decorate the house for Christmas. Since I cannot have my traditional family Christmas Eve dinner, there will be no one but Miss Twiggley and I here to enjoy it so I decided to do a scaled back version. Though not as elaborate, I have found that it has lifted my spirits and with that in mind I decided to share with you in this post some of  my favorite decorations from the past, some I repeated this year and some not.

Below, last years flower tree, one of my favorites and one I will probably repeat next year. 

All of the Santas in the kitchen a yearly must do, but sadly not this one.

2019 mantle designed to match the tree I showed in the first picture, again one of my favorites. Next year I think I will try to imitate a mantle Sharon Santoni did on her blog: A French Country home. You can see it on Instagram. It was almost totally evergreens and really spectacular.

I started collecting these Christmas fairies by John Roberts four years ago. I have been adding to my collection every year. I find them a charming and a whimsical  addition to tuck in here and there. 

And who can resist sweets during the holidays even if some of them are faux.

And last, the holiday window in my kitchen which I did again this year. I love this scene and never have found a better way add the spirit of the holiday to the room I spend the most time in. 

I hope that all of you are able to find joy in this season, with the new year we have some very positive things to look forward to and hopefully by Christmas 2021 we will be able to gather safely again with family and friends to enjoy the happiest and most wonderous time of the year.

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

And now Christmas ~

Fall in it's glory starts late in Southern California, it is just in the past week or so that the leaves have begun to change color and drop in my garden. Of course we don't have the dramatic leaf color changes that take place in cooler climates but the difference is notable, and even though few flowers are blooming it has become my favorite time of year.

The child's bench below is awash in fallen magnolia leaves, I should rake them for the compost pile but I like they way they look so I will leave them for a while 

The Crepe Myrtle tree growing beside the pond looked particularly pretty this morning with all of it's leaves turned to gold. Pretty as it is, it does created the additional work of skimming the fallen leaves out of the water - well worth it though.

This weeping mulberry tree is starting to show one of it's most lovely features, the wonderfully distorted trunk. As the leaves drop it is revealed until next spring when it once again becomes a giant cascade of green.

Out in the front garden the red umbrellas, and the gnome walkway have all been stored away for the winter. Here another Crepe Myrtle and Magnolia tree are providing color and interest to the landscape.

And now that fall is fully here in my temperate zone it is time to think about winter and of course...


I won't be doing as much decorating this year as I will be the only one to see it. But it still gives me pleasure, and I will be able to share some of it with all of you!

Take care, stay safe.

Thank you for visiting


Friday, November 20, 2020

Fall vegetable planting ~

For the past few years I have been trying different ways to plant winter vegetables and herbs near my backdoor. On cold, dark, winter nights going to the far back of the garden to pick things is not very appealing, especially with racoons and cayotes wandering about.

This year I am trying something new. The boxwood planted in my three containers on the deck had seen better days, I pulled them out, and replanted the pots with a combination of lettuces mixed in with pansies, I also added a few miniature daffodil bulbs for additional interest in early spring.

Across the way in two window box containers I planted a variety of  herbs: parsley, sage, chives, winter savory and thyme.

It is amazing how fast leaf lettuce grows, I only planted these a week ago from pony packs and they are already getting big enough to pick a few leaves for a salad. Besides being eatable they are very decorative and I love having a place to plant pansies that would otherwise be lost in my large garden.

Below is the bouquet I made for my gardening class Zoom meeting last week. It contains some of the few flowers still blooming in my garden in these waning fall days.

Last, I leave you with the window in the media/library room decorated for the fall holidays. Previously my little witch took center stage but after Halloween this sparkly turkey replaced her.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving holiday. It certainly will be a very different one this year for so many people, including me...I will be having a Zoom dinner with my family as we try to keep healthy and safe.

Thank you for visiting.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Slipcover, seeds and seasonal decorations ~

I finally completed something that I have wanted to get done for a long time - a new slipcover for the bench in my entry hall. I already had the fabric and was finally prompted to tackle it because the old pale pink fabric didn't match the two newly upholstered chairs in the other part of the area. Making a slipcover instead of having the bench reupholstered allowed a more casual look and the ruffle (which I love).

You might notice the clock which fits perfectly into the niche. It has been in my family for many, many years. Because I have the original receipt I know that it was bought on monthly payments from a shop on White Chapel in London for two pounds. One of the few items that my relatives brought with them when they immigrated to America, it must have been very precious to them, it certainly is to me. 

I have been harvesting lots of seeds to plant next spring and have been looking for a good way to organize and package them until planting time. I came across a Pinterest post with the perfect solution - simple origami seed packets. You can use any type of paper you want and make them in suitable sizes. I used plain white paper to make them easier to label. 

They are so much better than the envelopes that I was using before, and so compact that I can fit several different packets in old jam jars to stack on a shelf in my kitchen pantry...I knew I was saving these jars for something, they are just too cute to throw away, and now I know what it was.

I leave you with this picture of  the fall decorations across from the aforementioned bench in my entry hall. The crows will fly away after Halloween but everything else will stay in place until Thanksgiving.

 Thank you for visiting, stay safe, follow the CDC guidelines, wear your mask,


Don't forget to vote! It has never been so important.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Fall decorating ~

This is my first attempt at putting up a blog post with the new Blogger format. So far it is going okay but I expect to run into some hurdles so I intend to keep it very succinct and hope I can manage to present something worth looking at.


Last week I spent some time decorating the house for the fall holidays, at first I questioned doing it at all because with social distancing I am the only one that's going to see it, I decided to go ahead, it was nice to continue on with a traditional activity. I am so glad that I did, just looking at the decorations has given me a lot of pleasure, a touchstone with the past, and hopefully a look to the future when life will be normal again.

Above, in the office is one of the ghosts. I  put them on several of the large mirrors throughout the house, it is amazing how something simple can be so much fun. I think this was originally a Martha Stewart idea. After Halloween I will take them all down and leave everything else until after Thanksgiving.

In the kitchen I once again filled a box with pumpkins, fall foliage, and hung a wreath in the window.

The living room mantle holds more pumpkins and lots of dried flowers and foliage, embellished with
   antique lace, ribbons and another little ghost.

The decorations in the kitchen cabinet are very similiar to what I have done before, it just seems to always work. I love this big jack-o-lantern, after Halloween I will turn him around and leave the whole vignette up for Thanksgiving.

Last of all, a dried floral arrangement in the living room and of course another little ghost.

I have no idea how this post is going to look when I press the publish button, I know that I have a lot more to learn about the new format but at least I have been able to share with you a bit of what has been happening here at Rose Arbors.

Take care
Stay well

and thank you for visiting.


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Misc ~

Following the advise of members in my gardening group, I cut back my Clematis in late spring after their first bloom. I could see the vines were growing again but was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning to see new flowers. With such hot weather I don't expect to see a lavish display but I am really enjoying those I have been blessed with. 

On the other hand, I have a very generous crop of pumpkins. I planted the seeds in the far back area of the garden, near the compost pile, they spread out in all directions and have really taken over. I planted two kinds of seeds, Cinderella pumpkins and the giant variety and have lots of both to share come later in autumn.

A friend who is a most gifted writer recently came up with the phrase, "Sloth Dressing" to describe what many people, limited to social interaction, stuck at home, all combined with the summer heat, are wearing right now. I thought it was a perfect description of my current at home apparel which is limited to comfort and ease - to me that is a dress, something I can wear both in the house and outside to water and maybe pull a few weeds in passing. The dress below is my answer, I have made this dress many, many times over the years and it fits my needs perfectly, it is not fashionable, elegant, or  flattering, but I really don't care on days I am at home alone with no one to see but Miss Twiggley and functionibility and freshness takes precedence. I like it so much that yesterday I went through my fabric stash and cut out another one to make.

Pampas grass can be a real garden thug, luckily I picked the perfect place to plant this one. It is a dwarf which makes it more manageable and because it is planted in a good spot hasn't given me anything but pleasure, especially this time of year when it blooms. I cut it back every year and the results have certainly been worth that bit of effort. If I can ever find another one I know exactly where I would put it...I might try making a division of this one and see what happens.

Below is the bouquet I made to share with my class on our Zoom meeting. The earlier lavish abundance of flowers in my garden has peaked but I was able to come up with some Dahlias, Roses, Lantana, Ruillia, and Salvia. I look forward to the cooler weather of fall when I will have more to choose from.

Sometimes I think it is rather silly of me to be posting about gardens, dresses, and bouquets when so much is happening around us right now, but we all need some diversion just because it is all so over whelming. I long for the days when this will be past us.

Thank you for visiting

Take care, stay well, and VOTE


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Garden stalwarts ~

It is hot!


We have been experiencing some very hot weather, 100+ degrees everyday for the past week. Just keeping the garden watered and trying to protect heat sensitive plants is taking most of my gardening time. This is complicated because with our continuing drought conditions water is precious and must be used judiciously. 

So, it is at this time that I really appreciate one of the garden stalwarts: Lantana.

Heat  just doesn't seem to phase Lantana. It is common and used  everywhere here, along freeways in street medians,  in commercial plantings, and of course home gardens, in many ways it is so ubiquitous that it can be overlooked for it's beauty. It is a  drought tolerant, tough, tough, plant, I cut all of mine back almost to the ground every year and they return bigger and better than before, just in time to provide some color in high summer when it is needed most.

In my garden I have both trailing and bush Lantana,
  trailing yellow borders a portion of my driveway and softens the gravel garden. I have  used white trailing Lantana in the new area in the back under trees, it does't grow as densely which allows inter-planting without taking over.

Lantana color choices used to be limited, now we have more to select from and blended colors - pink and yellow, shown in the picture above (my favorite) and yellow combined with orange which clamors over one over my driveway pillars in the street garden. There is also one with variegated leaves.

This is one of my favorite pictures, I love the contrast between one of  the stone pillars, original to the house, and the orange/yellow Lantana flowers. A very rabid grower now reaching over 6 feet, last winter I cut it to the ground - hardy indeed!

And now my Op-Ed moment....

Between the hot weather and all of the other problems our country is dealing with it is nice to have something to depend on, even if it is common and ordinary. I will take calm, dependability, and ordinary, over what is happening now, any day. I am so looking forward to Fall when the heat is over, the virus manageable, and (hopefully) a new leadership and direction for our country that combines the best of the old with innovations and ideas for the future.

 Democracy is a very fragile thing, once lost almost impossible to regain.

Thank you for visiting


~ Don't forget to vote and if possible do it early.~