Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What's blooming ~

Clean up in the garden continues. Our abundance of rain has been wonderful but has limited working outside. And, with all of the lovely rain comes lots and lots of lovely weeds, resulting in quite a bit more work.

Still I am very appreciative to see what appears to be an end to our drought. The garden appreciates this too and with all of the extra moisture I anticipate an amazing spring this year.

So, although the garden is still quite bare I thought I would share what is blooming, starting with  Alstroemerias. 

I have been noticing that the clumps were especially vigorous this year and today when I went out to work, next to the stairs leading down from the deck, I found these first blooms. Alstromerias pop up everywhere in my garden, they have naturalized and spread into in the most unexpected places but always welcome for their vigor and the flowers which are extraordinary for cutting. Every year it is a pleasure to see them coming into bloom.


This charming clump of daisies  under an old apple tree in the front garden have been blooming for several weeks. Last summer I thought the intense heat had done them in but they survived  and make me happy every time I walk by them. I love daisy-type flowers and really need to plant more of them.


 In the back gravel garden the lantana and rosemary make a nice combination. I use quite a bit of lantana in the garden but this one is the only one blooming now - the rest have been cut back and are just beginning to show green growth.


Finally, in my little tour are the camellias. The white camellias are in full glory. I have lots of different camellias but these old fashion, large white ones are definitely my favorite.


In a couple of weeks the bulbs should start blooming and some of the early roses. This is really my favorite time as a gardener - pruning back, cleaning up and then the anticipation of what will follow...how will the new roses perform; will all of the bulbs I planted last fall make a good showing; have I lost anything over the winter months...all questions to be answered with time. The Garden is a never ending source of learning, beauty and satisfaction.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Something pretty ~

There are certain places in my home where nothing looks as good as a bouquet. Not a small bouquet but a big, old fashion, lavish one. I like to bring in cut flowers from the garden but these arrangements need to be large and I don't want to spend the time, or if nothing is blooming in the garden, the money, to make new ones all the time.

This is when dried flowers are very useful - besides I just like the way they look, and they last for a very long time.

So...
when I wanted to make an arrangement to put on the small credenza in the living room today, I raided my cache of dried flowers. Cut from the garden throughout the last growing season they have been hung and kept in a closet to dry. 


Then, I made a quick trip to the nearby bridal path for some fresh eucalyptus. A great filler, it is best to use fresh and left to dry in the vase. 


. The colors in the bouquet reflect the colors I am using in the room...shades of cream, gold, moss green, and rose.


I am pleased with the way it turned out. Flowers add so much to a home; fresh or dried, I like them both.

This little credenza and mirror are my favorite pieces of furniture. Bought together many years ago from a women with the most beautiful collection of antiques. I really treasure them. The two Corday figures were a gift from my brother.


When spring arrives I will be cutting more things to dry for next year. I think it would  be interesting to make a floral arrangement using  herbs...rosemary, lavender and sage come to mind, with maybe a few roses mixed in for color. Wouldn't it would smell wonderful! Oh, and I definitely need to plant more hydrangeas they dry so beautifully.

Have a happy day..

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tiny treasures ~

 In the midst of winter you wouldn't think there would be much going on in the garden, but it is one of the busiest times for me. It is the time I do my annual clean-up: pruning, spreading chicken manure and refreshing the beds with mulch. Every week the bin is full to overflowing with debris that is either too big or not appropriate for the compost pile.

Aside from lots of work there are also some real treats to be found, what I call tiny treasures -plants that could easily overlooked because they are small and delicate, but because nothing much else is blooming and with the garden so bare they really capture attention. It is their time to shine.


One of my favorite tiny treasures, along with violets and Forget-me-nots, is the bulb, Leucojum, commonly called Summer Snowflake.

I have them planted in semi-shade along one of the pathways in the back garden where they happily come back each year and have now formed large clumps. They keep company with this large cherub figure - the first garden ornament I ever purchased many years ago. 


This past Sunday, on a glorious sunny day following a week of rain, I found them in full bloom. (The cherub seems to be musing about something, maybe it is his lack of clothes.)


How something that appears so delicate can survive and flourish in the garden is always a surprise to me, and it is also one of the things about gardening that gives me joy - a gardener gets so many wonderful surprises.


Wishing you a few good surprises in your day.

Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The gift of rain ~

We have been getting a great deal of rain over the last weeks. Our very long drought in California finally seems to have ended. Hopefully this will continue.I imagine that, like me, other people and gardeners throughout the state are breathing a huge sigh of relief.
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Rain is really something you don't appreciate unless you go through extended dry periods as we have. It is not only that plant life is effected, but everything gets so dirty. Plants, trees and even the exteriors of houses benefit from a good rain to wash off all of the accumulated dirt, grime and dust.

Now everything seems to sparkle and it is wonderful.


I took these pictures of the front garden from my entry hall - still unfinished, but that is for another post - after a day of very heavy rain, in the afternoon the sun came out and it was almost magical.

I am in the midst of the annual pruning and clean-up of the garden so it looks quite bare and everything that was flowering has been cut back. Even so, the rain lends a freshness that makes everything look appealing.


In a few months, or even weeks, this will all be grown in again and look quite different. If we continue to have more rain it should be a very beautiful spring; quite unlike the springs of the past few years.

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I am so proud of two of my family members that are marching in The Women's March today. My granddaughter in Los Angeles, and my niece in Washington D.C. Although I am not able to be there I am with you in spirit.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A bit of an obsession ~


I have a bit of an obsession with crystal - chandeliers, stemware, vases, and especially candlesticks. 
I love the sparkle, shimmer and the way that under certain condition the light shines through and refracts in a spectrum of clean, clear, colors.

A favorite is just about anything made by Fostoria. a company that went out of business decades ago. Some of their patterns, the most famous which was Americana, are only glass but so beautifully molded that they have all of the appearance of crystal, but are sturdy enough for everyday use. For the past few years I have slowly collected quite a few pieces of Americana stemware and plates and I enjoy using it everyday.

So last week, at a time of boredom, when it was too rainy to work in the garden, I went online to check out Fostoria candlesticks. And, I found these.



This pattern is called Navarre Baroque. I fell in love. They even had had all eight of the original prisms. 


I knew immediately that I would put them on my kitchen table along with this lovely bowl that I treasure - it was a wedding gift to my parents from my grandparents. They are of the same Art Deco period  and go together beautifully


What I didn't expect when I placed them on the table was the way that the morning sun would shine in through the window and create such a wonderful effect of illumination. I tried to capture it with my camera but like with trying to truly capture so many beautiful things it wasn't possible. 

Even without lighting the candles these light up my kitchen and add a special glow to my breakfast.

I really should be downsizing but so far I am not very good at it. Maybe later.

Thank you for visiting.

I hope you have some sparkle and shimmer in your day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A little winter color ~

Between it being winter and the time for annual pruning there is not much to look at in my garden this time of year. Most of the perennials and shrubs have been cut back and the roses are mere sticks. I have planted some winter/spring annuals and bulbs but they haven't begun to make much of a showing yet.

The wonderful exception to this are the camellias. 
This is when they decide to put on their annual show and it couldn't be more welcome.


The camellias in my garden are very, very old, inherited from the previous owners of the house. They have become quite tall, trees rather than shrubs and when they bloom, covered in flowers.

Here growing in what I call my Camellia Allee, a protected area on the north side of the house, is a robust and lovely pink camellia. I also have them in other colors, solid and bi-colored. But these traditional pink ones are hard to beat. White however are my personal favorites, ala Coco Chanel.


This simple bouquet shows what nice cut flowers they make. I think there is something about a bouquet that elevates any room and it is nice to be able to step outside and pick flowers from your own garden.


Wishing you a day filled with bouquets.

Thank you for visiting

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A least favorite thing to do ~

Here it is the beginning of a new year and while everyone seems to be making wonderful and thoughtful New Year resolutions my time has been spent doing one of the things I least like to do.

Making ruffles

Now in the grand scale of things making ruffles is really not that horrible but it does require yards and yards of fabric and it is very time consuming. Years ago I found out that the best way to do this is to lay down crochet thread and use the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to sew over it. Then pull the crochet thread to form the ruffles.


The reason for all of this, making a new table covering for the little round table in my living room. With the new color scheme the old one no longer fit in.

After a lengthy search I found both the fabric and the decorative cord online. I wanted something to  match the color in the new wallpaper with a rosy-pink accent to tie in with the drapes...this is pretty close.


And here we are...all finished.


I like using this table to display wedding photographs, I think it adds warmth and personality to the room and since they remind me of some of the happiest days in my life I  just enjoying looking at them.

What's next...making pillows to match the newly upholstered davenport, they will absolutely have no ruffles!

Thank you for visiting