Thursday, April 23, 2020

Social distancing ~ finding peace in the familiar

Miss Twiggley is spending a lot of time in the windows today, the trees are being trimmed and she finds it very entertaining. As for me, I will just be happy when it is over and quiet is once again restored to the garden. I was hoping to be able to wait until the quarantine was completely over to have this done but several of the trees were getting so out of control it was getting dangerous.

There is something I find so lovely in the contrast between the rusty iron gate and this beautiful pink climbing rose. I don't remember the name of the rose but I know that it was purchased long ago from Roses of Yesterday and Today, they are still in business but at a much reduced standing. I remember how excited I used to be when their incredible catalog came in the mail every year, full of such clear information about each rose, it's classification, and growing habit. I think you can still visit the growing grounds in Watsonville, California.

I purchased this fabric to make drapes for the living room, then changed my mind and the direction I wanted the room to take. I have tons of it and decided that I would use it for new bedroom drapes. It goes well with the soft furnishings in the room and the rug (which I may replace, we will see). I have sent away for lining fabric but with deliveries slow it might take a while for it to come. I plan on using the tasseled cord to trim the drapes. I have used this same trim on other drapes in different rooms, it just seems to go with everything and look pretty. I want to get all of the drapes finished before repainting, that way it should all come together at the same time.

Much to my surprise, because it is very early, the waterlilies in the pond are blooming. Not quite Giverny, but pretty nontheless.

Lastly. Another retro recipe. I made French Breakfast Puffs yesterday. It is a old time recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, and now available online. It is simple and oh so good! Rather like a good crumb doughnut. While still warm the muffins are rolled in melted butter and then in a cinnamon sugar mixture to coat them. I used to make these frequently on weekend mornings for a special treat because they were so fast and easy. They also freeze well.

The Desert Rose dishes are also retro, I like to display them in the kitchen cabinet for the spring and summer months. this Franciscan pattern is still available but no longer made in the United States and sadly isn't the same quality. Although I have had it for a long time I still think it is pretty.

For some reason at this stressful time we are finding our way back to the old and familiar. Skills and new interests are being re-discovered. Old time comfort recipes, games, a return to books, jigsaw puzzles, these things seems to bring comfort, I know they do for me.

Thank you for visiting 

Take care and stay well


Friday, April 17, 2020

Social Distancing ~ A ray of sunshine

I can work outside in the garden for hours but for fatigue nothing does me in like a trip to buy groceries - who would have thought that a trip to the market would be considered an act of bravery.   Considering the way so many people in the service sector, law enforcement, firemen and medical fields  are literally putting their lives on line to keep the country going my self-serving anxiety really is very selfish. I am so very fortunate to be able to stay at home in comfort.


Meanwhile the garden provides me with a lovely ray of sunshine. Well, perhaps not always, the past week was one of constant, unseasonable rain, but then the sun came out and with it a garden full of flowers. Below, my first poppy, seeded like they all seem to, in random unexpected places and seldom where I plant them. Naughty girls!

A few weeks ago, inspired by a member in my gardening group I brought out an old strawberry pot to plant. It became a bit of an challenge because they are so hard to water. In normal times I would have gone to Home Depot and bought a piece of PVC pipe, drilled holes in it and watered it that way... 

...Instead I coiled up a piece of 1/4 inch piece of drip hose, laying it in the pot as I planted and attached it to the irrigation line in this area. The pot should now be watered along with everything else in this bed. It will be interesting to see if this works, so far it is looking good.

Otherwise this week: a new puzzle...

...and a succulent bouquet for the living room. I put this together on one of those rainy days I mentioned, when it was far too wet to work outside. I lined the terrine with a plastic bag, filled it with potting soil, and stuck the cuttings in, this should last for a very long time, or until I tire of it, then I will transplant the cuttings outside.

And lastly, today I want to share with you this beautiful tree rose in the back parterre. I originally had two of them and sadly one died, but this one carries on in such a splendorous manner that I sometimes think it is trying to make up for the lost one.

Like you I am praying for better days ahead when we can meet friends and family without restrictions and with lots of hugs. I also pray for all those people out of work, trying so desperately to get by, and get back to their jobs in a safe manner. And those we have lost in this sad terrible time.

Thank you for visiting.

Take care and stay well


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Social distancing ~ finding a place of calm

The past week here has been a very rainy one, unusual for this time of year in Southern California. Rain is always welcome but it does curtail working in the garden, something I find very therapeutic, especially in these days. Next week is supposed to be sunnier and then I will be scrambling to make up for lost time.

The picture below was taken during a rare sunny moment last week. It is my blooming Purple Robe Locust tree. I bought this tree without knowing anything about it, desperate to replace a wonderful old shade tree that sadly died. I wanted a tree that would grow quickly, but not get too tall, this variety is supposed to peek at 30 to 40 feet. I planted it from a potted 6 foot plant, this is it's third year and I am so pleased with it especially with the wonderful panticles of blooms which have gotten better each year.

 Cookies are my favorite comfort food, when my children were home making them seemed to be an everyday affair, now with just me I don't make them that frequently but I do always have a few tucked away in the freezer, taken out and put in the microwave for a few seconds and they taste fresh baked. My choice this time was my absolute favorite, chocolate chip, made with the traditional Nestles recipe but with extra walnuts. Yum

A sign of hope and better times, my clematis have started to bloom, they seem to be extra vigorous this year. I long ago forgot most of the names, I am hopeless in tagging plants. But the flowers are so pretty and very large...and the luscious color! This one has been planted to scramble up a climbing rose next to the pavilion in the back garden.

 Like just about everyone else with a sewing machine I  have been making facial masks. I was just able to eke out enough supplies for my family.They should be finished for drop-off tomorrow just in time for the mandatory face mask ruling in our area.

I am finding many ways to enjoy these days of isolation,and this fountain filled with this very common succulent has always been a favorite but I don't remember it blooming before. I enjoy the contrast of the color of the succulent against the wall of green ficus vine. The alstromeria self seeded below is a nice addition.

Lastly, I didn't do any Easter decorating this year except for hanging this wreath in the kitchen window, weeks before the crisis of the Corona virus started. I am glad that I did because it has added a reminder of this holiday of rebirth and redemption which I hope we will soon be seeing in our beloved country and around the world. 

Thank you for visiting. Take care and stay well


Friday, April 3, 2020

Social distancing ~ finding a place of normalcy

With the world in chaos it is such a blessing to be able to retreat a bit into a place of normalcy.

One of those places of calm for me, besides the garden, is my kitchen. I have had the urge for some reason to go back in time and make old recipes of the long ago past. Last week it was pasta, and this week it is baking a cake that I used to make with great frequency when my family was young, probably because it was no-fuss, fast, easy, and I always had the ingredients on hand.

 Velvet Crumb Cake, is an old-timey recipe that used to always be featured on the Bisquick box. Bisquick can be hard to find now but I had a brand new package in my pantry. (I won't include the recipe because it is so easy to find on line.) Some things, if they are good enough, never seem to go out of fashion and this cake is certainly good enough.

If you can get your hands on a box of Bisquick you might want to give it a try, it is the broiled topping that really elevates this cake - yummy!

And back to the garden.

Many of my climbing roses are in full bloom and one of the loveliest is the antique rose, Glorie de Dijon. I remember wanting this rose and having to search for it for quite a while before I found it - all that effort has paid off when each spring it absolutely covers itself in bloom. 

I took two pictures of it this morning, one below looking toward the house... 

...and this one looking out toward the street, I couldn't decide which one to post so I put up both of them and will let you decide which view you like best.

English gardeners have ferneries, rockeries, and stumperies so I decided that I could have a seedery, a word I made up to describe what has become the place on my back deck where I am propagating lots and lots of seeds this year. I could have put it all in the greenhouse but I find it better to keep young seedlings closer to make sure they get the proper care. Some seedlings are just beginning to emerge and others are almost ready to plant out. I still have quite a few summer blooming annual seeds to start and I have also started some cuttings under the cloches on the window shelf. 

Lastly, I will leave you with another picture I took this morning. I love iris and there are so many glorious types with color patterns that are almost impossible to imagine, although I love them all my favorite goes back to the quite ordinary Grandma's Purple, I have them spread throughout the garden, you see them below along the path adjacent to the pond. Last year I made a point of  radically dividing them which has resulted in longer stems and more profuse flowers. 

Thank you for visiting I hope no matter where you live you and your family are keeping safe and healthy.

Take care.