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.