Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas greetings ~

I hope your holidays are full of joy, love, and happiness.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Last little tree and Miss Twiggley ~

This year I came very close to putting nothing but twinkle lights on this little tree in the entry hall, but instead I went with white and sparkly.

 I love the way that the lights reflect in the clear glass balls and inhances the glitter of the other ornaments.

A miniature sled filled with gifts rounds the out the vignette.

And, to end this post - Miss Twiggley gave me quite a fright last week, she was very ill. After numerous trips, first to the emergency clinic and then to her regular doctor, lots of tests and finally the proper medication, she is finally feeling better and ready to pose for her Christmas picture.

Having her well is the best Christmas present I could hope for.

~ Merry Christmas ~


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A rainy day Christmas craft ~

What do you do on a rainy weekend in December when you are pretty well caught up on your Christmas to-do list.

Make your Christmas cards of course.

I started making my Christmas cards a couple of years ago, I thought it would be fun. I use photos I take of my decorations, usually my tree, as shown below, but this year I chose a close-up of the wreath I made a couple of years ago for the window in the family room.

 I personally love getting cards that are a bit more personalized. Throughout the year I also occasionally make cards for thank you notes and other occasions, for these I usually use garden or flower pictures.

I have the photos printed up at my local UPS store, they are great to work with and very helpful in getting them just the way I want. The blank cards I purchase at Michael's or on-line, they come in different colors and sizes. I use a paper cutter to cut out the matting. then affix it all with a glue stick. Easy. 

Below are the cards for Christmas 2019, ready to be slipped in the mail.

It is really too bad that the Christmas season passes so quickly because there are so many fun things to do and it is hard to fit it all in.

Thank you for visiting 

~ Merry Christmas ~


Saturday, December 7, 2019

The finishing touch ~

I finished my Christmas decorating the day before Thanksgiving and I am pleased with how festive it looks but a little something more was needed - I wanted a touch of Christmas in the dining room. I gave some thought to adding greenery to the chandelier but decided instead to hang a wreath on the mirror. 

I used young, pliable branches from my crabapple trees to make the base for the wreath, it's rather fun to weave them together and and they give a nice lasting, but naturalistic effect.

Then I found a very delicate and sparkly garland at Michaels, I simply wound it around the base and added a ribbon. Easy, pretty and something I can use over again. I store all of my wreaths in large plastic bags in the basement.

With the decorating finished I must now give some thought to making my cards, and buying gifts of course.

I hope all of your holiday plans are going well.

Thank you for stopping by.

~ Merry Christmas ~


Sunday, December 1, 2019

A favorite time ~

In many ways winter has become my favorite time in the garden. Strange, because there is little blooming, most of the trees are bare and color subdued. But the clear skies, bright atmospheric conditions and occasional rain lends a brilliance and sharpness to the landscape.

So it was that after a day of rain on Thanksgiving the next morning when I came back from walking I simply had to take some pictures.

In the back garden beside the pond one of the crepe myrtle trees is slowly loosing its leaves, but in such a beautiful way.

The view from my back deck, with the brick pathway still wet, no flowers, just the color of green against the blue sky.

Out in the front along the driveway a little sitting area, in the warmer months an umbrella shelters the spot but it has been put away for the cooler seasons. A talented friend made me the containers on the table. The Hopseed bushes in the background are glistening with raindrops

Here are some of the Paperwhites I spoke about in a previous post, bravely blooming although a little battered by the rain. The Honeyburst locust tree is almost completely denuded but will explode next spring with lovely chartreuse foliage.

And lastly, a view of the bridge and beyond.

I have always read that the bones of a garden are very, very important and it is now is this season that they can be seen and accessed without distraction. Maybe it is this simplicity that so appeals to me, 

Like always this time in the garden will slowly end and once again the roses will bloom and it will be time to think of spring and summer color. I for one am looking forward to seeing the results of all of the wildflower seeds I have sown. The ever changing ways of a garden are one of the most magical things in the life of a gardener.

Now I must get back to Christmas plans.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving full of love and joy...and maybe a bit of turkey.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Flowers, flowers, flowers ~

A couple of days ago with the help of Chris, who helps me in the garden, I brought the containers of my Christmas decorations up from the basement. They are now sitting on the back deck covered with plastic to protect them from the rain (yes, we had a rain storm - hooray, I can turn off the sprinklers for a while). Next week I will slowly start bringing Christmas into the house, right now I am mulling over what I want to do this year.

 I am still enjoying the autumnal decor. The arrangement of pumpkins in my entry hall below is one of my favorites.

But this post wasn't really going to be about holiday decorations but about flowers. First, flowers that because of their ordinariness are easy to disregard, in my garden Paperwhite narcissist fall into this category. In the past I have almost regarded them as weeds, pulling them out of the beds with abandon. This year I am looking at these dependable bulbs with new regard. With our change in climate many things I use to grow with ease have become difficult giving me a new appreciation for these bulbs that flourish without care, return with great vigor, look pretty, smell wonderful, flower at a time when there is not much else blooming and are good cut flowers - I mean really, what more could you ask for. 

They will still need to be divided on a regular basis as they tend to form large clumps, but my new plan is to plant the extra bulbs in the far back more casual reaches of the garden where they can adapt, do their thing...and await the results.

Now, wildflowers.

 I have a friend with a beautiful garden that has the most wonderful display of wildflowers every year. I have never done this but decided that it might be fun to try. I bought lots of packages of wildflower seeds, mixed them all together with some sand and have been sowing them in several areas. It will be interesting to see what happens; I have dreams of lots wildflowers this late winter and spring.


 a flower arrangement adding color and life to the living room, the very, very last of the hydrangeas, mixed in with privet and smoke bush foliage. 

Thank you for visiting.

I hope all of your holiday preparations are going well.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Little backdoor herb garden ~

Last year instead of planting a large winter vegetable garden I just planted lettuces in pots near the kitchen. I called it my "little pathway garden". It worked out well - Instead of walking to the far, far back garden on cold and dark winter nights I was able to go down just a couple of steps and pick all the fresh lettuce I needed for salads and sandwiches.

This year I will be doing the same thing but I decided that it would be nice to add some winter herbs. Many herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender and oregano do well year around in our climate and grow in abundance in my garden, but parsley, chives and tarragon, and to a certain extent sage, languish in our hot months, so for me at least, it is better to treat them as winter annuals and enjoy them at their freshest then. So...

...all that was required was a trip to the garden center and then back home to get them potted up!


I now have a little backdoor herb garden, planted with some of my favorite cooking herbs, lots of parsley, tarragon, sage, a small pot of mint, to add to teas, and plenty of chives for baked potatoes and omelets, all just outside my backdoor. Besides the convenience I rather like the way it looks.

Now I must get busy and finish planting bulbs, I should have gotten them all in by the end of October so I am running a bit late. By the end of the day they should all be safely tucked in.

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


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Porch ~

 ~ Happy Halloween ~

I had fun decorating the porch this year for the fall holidays, here it is for Halloween but by changing the banner and adding a turkey or two, it will take me through until Thanksgiving.

The pumpkins I planted in my raised vegetable beds this summer didn't do as well as I had hoped - next year I will plant them in another location - but they were the perfect size for filling this container.

The banner is new and the wreath is old as are the wooden pumpkins, but I think it all works pretty well together, I hope the trick-or-treaters like it.

Now all I have to do is get some candy!

I hope your Halloween is a fun and not too scary one.

Thank you for visiting


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fall holidays in the kitchen ~

I always enjoy decorating my kitchen for the different holidays. It's such an easy room to have fun with and because I spend so much time in here I really get to enjoy the decorations to the fullest.

I didn't do anything radically different this year, just changed things around a bit. This little witch has been residing in the basement for a couple of years and I decided she was just too cute to languish there, so up she came. I smile every time I look at her.

Across the room on the window shelf I filled up a box with pumpkins and hung a fall wreath in the window. 

On the side cabinet, more pumpkins and fall foliage, after Halloween a little tweaking, such as turning the Jack-o-lantern around and adding a turkey to the mix, will take me all the way to Thanksgiving.

All decked out and ready for the fall holidays!

Thank you for visiting

Have a wonderful day.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Joys of October ~

October in my garden is a very quiet month - not much is blooming, eventually the roses will re-bloom but right now I am depending on foliage for color and interest. 

In the central front garden leaves on the trees are starting to turn brown. Last week, after this picture was taken, I removed all of the Santa Barbara daises planted in the base below the fountain. They are wonderful plants but they  had become very overgrown. My initial l idea when I designed this garden area was to plant miniture pink roses here, something I plan on doing when they are available later in the year. Meanwhile winter annuals will add color.

This is definitely the time when grasses are center stage. I love the way the sunlight filters through and highlights them. In early winter they will be cut  back but for now they add much needed color. These are the very common Pennisetum rubrum, Purple fountain grass. 

October is a time for cutting back, cleaning up, weeding and removing all spent summer annuals. It takes a very short time for me to fill up a wheelbarrow with prunings and clippings. It is also time to thin and divide iris and daylilies.

But the very best thing about October -  planting spring blooming bulbs. Bulbs are such nice garden surprises, popping up so long after you planted them that you have forgotten all about doing it. This year, among other bulbs, I am planting dutch iris, adding to some very old clumps that I put in years ago, they have been so dependable that I tended to overlook what great plants they are. 


Something new are these tin buckets, I am somewhat obsessed with them. I found them at my local dollar store for under $3.00 each. I store my small garden tools in them, and use them for a multitude of other things. The wooden handles make them easy to tote. They also stack when not in use. And, to be truthful, like the wicker laundry baskets I use when weeding, I like the way they look in the garden. 

The next project for October, decorating the house for the fall Holidays, something I aways enjoy.

Thank you for visiting.

Happy October!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A lovely summer evening ~

A warm summer evening

Dinner alfresco

Excellent music cutesy of the LA Philharmonic

It is hard to beat an evening spent at the iconic

Hollywood Bowl

Getting to the Hollywood Bowl from my house used to be a major event and then the parking, oh my the parking! Now though it is a breeze, buses leave from our local park, driving you there, and bringing you home - hassle free, no stress and makes attending concerts as easy as can be.

Thank you for visiting

I hope your summer evenings are full of music and good times.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Hot summer days and French inspirations ~

It has gotten hot. Up until now the early summer months have been rather temperate, but the heat has arrived and will be with us for quite a while. Working in the garden has become more of a chore than a pleasure and requires some planning. I am taking my morning walk earlier so I can get something accomplished outside before the heat of the day sets in.

This leaves a lot of time spent inside of the house and the need to find creative ways to spend the hot indoor afternoons. One of the most fun ways to do this is to change up things, especially in the kitchen, a room I spend so much time in. 

I ordered this tiered stand online a couple of years ago, when it came it was much, much larger than I had expected, it takes quite a bit of space and a lot to fill it so I don't use it very often. The good thing is that it comes apart for storage. 

This time I decided to fill it with all of the various oils and vinegars I have accumulated for making salad dressings. There is something about the beauty of the ordinary that almost makes it artful.

Dressed up with a couple of old doily's, a few vintage white plates, some potted herbs, fresh lemons from my trees, tea towels and my Mother's cruet.

My inspiration for this was something I read about gift suggestions for a traveler to bring home from Paris, all purchased from Monoprix (click to read the article). ordinary french things, all very reasonably priced, but when thoughtfully put together made quit charming.

Although these items are not from Paris the various packaging makes them visually appealing, and fits one of the prime requirement for displaying collections - together. Perhaps Billy Baldwin would be pleased, but even more important I am.


The flowers you see to the side are the last of my Oakleaf hydrangeas, slowly they are turning color on the bush and now are a lovely chartreuse and red. I almost prefer this to the white color of them when they first bloom.

Thank you for visiting have a happy day.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Miss Twiggley ~

Miss Twiggley on the mantle

Cats have a real talent for appearing in a spot that seems to highlight their beauty.

Miss Twiggley has done just this when she allowed me to take a picture of her beautifully posed in a setting that she seems made for. Of course there are the other times when she is flopped over on her back, tummy exposed, looking like a furry dust mop...but she really seems to prefer elegance.

Have a happy day.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Oak Leaf Hydrangeas ~

When I first started gardening here at Rose Arbors I had great success with hydrangeas, but in recent years with the drastic change in weather and our increasingly hot climate that has changed. Oh yes, they still bloom but not with the lushness of prior times. There is however one wonderful exception, this Oak Leaf Hydrangea that takes pride of place under an avocado tree in the front garden

The flowers are creamy white, elongated and sweetly fragrant, like all hydrangeas they persist on the bush to enjoy for several weeks. 

It does not repeat bloom but it does put on a nice show in the fall when the foliage turns red. I will prune it back severely in late winter.

For some reason until last year I made no attempt to cut the flowers, what a shame, because once I did so I found that they made wonderful long-lasting fragrant fresh bouquets and like all hydrangeas, make great dried flowers, retaining most of their creamy white color.

I have enjoyed these so much and I hope that by sharing them with you you might want to give Oak Leaf Hydrangeas a try in your garden, I don't think they will disappoint you.

Thank you for visiting.