Saturday, September 24, 2016

Showcasing ~

I was browsing through some of my past issues of Victoria and I saw a  picture of a lovely bouquet comprised of all foliage except for one perfect flower.

I thought this was a brilliant idea, so I decided to make my own version and showcase one one lovely late blooming Dahlia...and one little ant.


For the foliage I used all herbs:rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena and rose geranium. Now the kitchen smells wonderful, an added plus.

What an great and easy way to bring the garden inside. This offers up a lot of possibilities during the winter months when flowers in the garden are somewhat scarce but there is always some type of greenery I can use.

Thank you for visiting. I hope there is a bouquet in your day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall changes ~

Even though it is a hot 98 degrees today it is beginning to feel a bit like fall. The evenings are much cooler, out in the garden some of the leaves are starting to drop, flower buds are filling out on the chrysanthemums and the fall-blooming asters are ready to burst forth in bloom.

To add a bit of seasonal interest inside the house I decided to put away all of the silver pieces in my kitchen cupboard and bring out my Franciscian Apple dishes. An apple theme seems appropriate for this time of year and gives me an opportunity to enjoy and use these dishes which are otherwise hidden away.


Before bagging and boxing up silver I add one or two of these silver protection strips, they really help to retard  tarnishing during storage. You can buy them online.


It has been quite a while since I have made any changes in the kitchen, over the summer I got too caught up in gardening and the living room project. This was a lot of fun to do


It's amazing how a few seasonal items can make a room look so different. 
I will probably leave the dishes in place for Halloween and Thanksgiving and just add other holiday touches.


Now I am eyeing the tiered stand next to the sink...time for a change here too.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a lovely day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My plant of the year ~

Something interesting has happened in my front garden this summer. With the hot weather all of the pink roses stopped blooming and what was a predominately pink border is now a blue and purple border.

Due...


mostly to this plant,

Salvia guaranitica commonly known as Salvia Black and Blue. And this I have decided is my Plant of the Year.


I like just about all of the Salvias. I have a lot of them and have made an effort to add even more to the garden this summer. They perform so wonderfully in our hot, dry, climate.

But this one is special.

 The beautiful bright blue flowers are complimented by the almost chartreuse foliage; a magical combination. I cut them almost to the ground last winter and have pruned them drastically through the summer months and they continue to come back again and again with more bloom.


As the weather cools down and fall begins to assert itself all the roses will have a repeat bloom; here in Southern California, we call this our second spring. Then I will cut back the salvias and let the roses shine. But until then they are providing me, the butterflies, and the hummingbirds, with a great deal of pleasure. 



Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a magnificent day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wallpaper ~

Where did August go? It zipped by so fast and I wish I had gotten more accomplished.
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At least I  finally got all of the painting done in the living room. One of the problems when you do things yourself, at your leisure, is that they take a lot longer. With the painting finished I can now move on to...


the wallpaper.

Among the jumble of the room, with all of the furniture pushed together in the middle I made a place for a worktable.  I haven't wallpapered a room this size for a while and I was a bit intimated but the first piece, always the most difficult, went up with ease and so far I haven't had any problems. The hardest part was finding a new wallpaper paste brush, I ended up ordering one on line.


Wallpapering is a very simple endeavor and the paper is forgiving, but there are some things that you need to adhere to. One of these is making sure it goes up straight, especially with a stripped paper such as I am using.  So it is necessary to draw a plumb line every time you turn a corner. There are some fancy devices to do this with but I use the simple method I have always used, a string attached to my seam roller. Don't laugh, it works.


Here are the first couple of pieces. It is such a departure from the elaborate floral I had before. 


This gives you a better idea. I love the simple elegance of it and the fact that it will go with just about any other color. It looks really nice with the drapery fabric. I still haven't picked out any of the upholstery fabric or decided which chairs I will be keeping.



As of today I am past the halfway mark. I hope to have it all finished by next week. Then I will start making the drapes.

Thank you for visiting I hope that you have a very happy day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Road trip ~

Over the weekend my Granddaughter and I went on a short road trip up the coast to Santa Barbara. Our destination was Lotusland, a garden created by the talented, fascinating, and somewhat scandalous Ganna Walska. 

Original Peacock entrance gates

 The property was purchased in 1941 by Madame Walska, a former Polish opera singer and her sixth and final husband. Their marriage shorty ended but she lived on at Lotusland spending the next 43 years creating one of the world's most famous exotic gardens. Comprised of 37 acres it is divided into seperate spaces featuring cactus, succulents, a Japanese garden, cycads, aloes, ferns, palms, bromeliads, an Australian garden and of course the famous lotus pond.


Zoe on the mosaic rock path
Mosaic paths, shards of blue bottle glass edgings, antique statuary, and shells, shells, shells, adorn the garden.
.



The original house is located in the midst of the cactus garden.



 Steps away down another footpath is the shade garden with it's huge baskets of plants cascading in grand and ethereal splendor.


In some parts of the garden you almost expect dinosaurs to appear...

Aloe garden
.
...turn another corner and you happen on the lotus pond.

Years ago the original  lap pool was filled in and converted to the lotus pond. The lotus had almost
finished blooming but the sea of seed pods was quite amazing.


Wouldn't this be a lovely place to have breakfast in the morning or sit in the twilight of early evening. 



Madame Ganna Walska died at 97 in 1984 maintaining her passion for the garden up until the end of her life. Her last and final creation, the cycad  garden, was financed by auctioning off  her jewelry collection for a reported one million dollars in the late 1970's. After her death Lotusland became a nonprofit botanic garden. It is truly one of California's treasures.

We had a great day!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The pinks of late summer and a ghost story ~


 At the end of this deck I got a nasty surprise a few days ago. In the middle of the night I heard the water turn on. At first I thought it was one of my micro-sprinkler units but after ten minutes, the duration they are set to go on for, and I didn't hear the water turn off I knew I had to go out and see what was going on. At 3:30 in the morning this had little appeal. But I got up from bed, took out a flashlight and made my way outside. When I stepped off the last step it was into a pool of water and water was gushing everywhere. It took me a while to figure out that it was coming from a hose. Somehow, someway, the faucet had been turned on full blast. It was an easy fix, I just turned it off. The mystery is how it got turned on.

When I did a Google search the next morning I found several explanations for this happening. The first raccoons. Yes, they can turn on faucets and I do have a raccoon family that frequents the garden. The second, water pressure can build up in an old faucet and cause it to twist itself on. Of course it could have been a ghost, but all of the ghosts here are far too nice to play such a trick.

I will be installing a new faucet, one that I hope will be pressure resistant, raccoon and ghost proof.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now to the pinks of late summer.



Pink is my favorite color in the garden but rare in the late summer when yellow seems to predominate. However I do have some pretty pink blooms I wanted to share with you.  Above, some zinnias I started from seed, they stand up well to our hot summers.


 Two Chinese Pagoda crepe myrtles, lovely, and so dependable, one in the front garden and one in the back garden bordering the pond.


And...

 the dahlias, this one just started blooming this week. The flowers are very large and such a luscious shade of pink.


Lastly, with it's puffs of pink bloom the incredible gomphrena, Fire Works.


 I have also added several  new pink salvias this year but that is for another post.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Benches ~

Along my driveway I have a little cracked concrete area that I originally created for a bench. The funny thing is that I have had just about everything else here but a bench. First I had a decorative wheelbarrow filled with flowers, it was very charming but after a while the wood rotted and I wasn't able to find a replacement. Then recently, a large planter filled with succulents, which looked nice through the cooler weather but didn't really stand up to our increasingly hot summer months.

 I finally decided to do what I had originally intended and put a bench here. I found the perfect bench online at Home Depot. It took a while for me to get around to putting it together, not easy for one person alone to do as the pieces were heavy and awkward to deal with, at one point I just sat down and laughed at myself and how incompetent I must look struggling with this thing.


But I got it done and it looks great, so great in fact...



 that I ordered another one to replace a rather worn wooden bench I already had in another spot farther down the driveway.

Right here.



I like the idea that they match and being made of aluminum neither of them will ever rot away or need to be repainted every year.

Visitors to my garden should certainly be able to find a place to sit!

Thank you for visiting.

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.
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 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.