Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The greenhouse ~

In the back of the garden sits this little green house. I use it mostly to store extra pots and wicker baskets. Years ago a friend offered it to us if we could find a way to move it from their property to ours; obviously we did.

So here it sits, tucked away covered with this glorious climbing rose, making it almost hard to find this time of year.

The rose, Rosa Banksiae 'Alba Plena' is  the lesser known variety of the famous yellow form, Lady Banks (which happens in my garden to be growing right along side her sister; it was planted here many decades ago by the former owners of the garden). I planted the white one a few years ago when I first came across it and it has done quite well in this location.

The flowers bloom in multiples down long, slender, torn-less  stems. It is once blooming and has little scent, but in my opinion the lavish abundance and beauty while in bloom makes it worthy of a spot in any garden.

There are some things that make you realize the changing of the seasons, when I walk out and see this rose in flower I know that spring is at it's peak and summer is soon here.

As cute as the greenhouse is, as soon as the rose finishes blooming and I can cut it back a bit, I want to do a few minor repairs, re-glazing in some windows, and definitely, a new coat of paint. There is always something to take care of in a garden!


Today I finally planted the last of the new dahlia tubers. I went a little overboard with purchasing too many and did that thing that obsessive gardeners do - walking around the garden searching for a spot to plant. It took a while but they are all planted and with care should thrive and grow.

Thank you for visiting.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Looking out ~

"It is not possible for a house to own a spirit without owning windows with flowers."

Mehmet Mural Ilclan


One of my greatest pleasures is being able to look out a window and see my garden. I am fortunate in having garden views from almost every room in my house - some of course better than others.

kalanchoe "flap jack" and ivy geranium

I took these pictures one afternoon from the windows in my entry hall and living room. The sun was shining, the roses were starting to bloom and in my opinion it looked quite lovely. The bonus from this view, all of the imperfections, notably weeds, were unnoticeable and the flowers were glorious.

roses and golden euronymous

Actually in a design sense this is a good thing to do, as it gives you an opportunity to see and judge a garden from a completely different perspective. I have made several changes in my landscape based on observations made this way.

But the best part is just to be able to enjoy the beauty of the plantings. We talk about borrowed landscape in garden design, well I consider windows with garden views as borrowed enrichment to interior design.

Bewitched hybrid tea rose

I love to bring flowers into the house for bouquets and often do so but it isn't quite so necessary when right outside the window you can see this!

I hope that your day is filled with glorious views.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Needlepoint pillows ~

While I am watching television I like to have some type of needle work to do, crocheting, knitting, or my favorite: needlepoint. I like needlepoint the best because it is so mindless and takes little concentration other than occasionally changing yarn - no counting of stitches or following a pattern.  It was once described to me as, "idiots delight".

I always make the finished canvas into a pillow, like the cat pillow below; it is one of my favorites. I can't quite decide where to put the other two finished pieces above but eventually I will find a spot.


My latest needlepoint project has been this rose pillow. It will be a pillow for a chair in my living room. I have almost dreaded getting it finished because I didn't have a new canvas to work on. I prefer buying kits, they come imprinted and with all of the yarn. But I think because of the lost popularity of needlepoint, kits with pretty designs have become hard to find. I had had this one for quite a while before I started it

So I was really thrilled when I saw this pink hydrangea at JoAnne's. I think is it lovely and the colors are perfect for several rooms in my home. I ordered it on line and it came yesterday; tonight I can get started on it. They take quite a long time for me to finish but that's okay this is one activity where I don't mind a slow pace. Meanwhile I will be keeping my eye out for another kit...or maybe next time I will try buying a blank canvas and designing my own - who knows. 


"Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie..."

George Herbert
(April 1593 - March 1633)

I has been a lovely spring day for working outside but I have had tree trimmers here all day making noise and a mess in the garden. The result is that I have had to stay inside, going out occasionally to check on what they are doing. I heard lately of a gardener who left home for a while and came back to see that the wrong tree had been cut to the ground. Horrors! Actually, they are doing a really good job and the results are going to be positive.

Thank you for visiting.

I wish you a wonderful Spring day!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring and the March Garden ~


"Nothing is so beautiful as spring -
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush."

Gerard Manly Hopkins
March is here and with it the first days of spring. The garden is full of potential, but as Hopkins so beautifully put it - weeds abound - and because of our recent rain they seem more abundant than usual. I have been trying to convince myself that the large crop of weeds seemingly  popping up everywhere indicates that my soil must be good - a fanciful idea but it seems like a more positive approach.

Aside from the weeds there are some nice vignettes to be found in the March garden. So I thought I would share a few with you.

The magnolias are winding down, but daffodils are at their peek. Alstroemerias are starting their long bloom period. They have seeded all over the garden, surprising me in the most unexpected places, but always welcome.

 Inside the roundel in the front garden the Santa Barbara daisies are giving a pretty showing. When I first designed this space I was going to plant roses around the base of the fountain, I put the daisies in until I decided on which roses to plant. They have done so well that I have left them here.

I have them planted in many places because the are such garden workhorses and wonderful fillers - seemingly growing anywhere in all type of conditions. These geese seem very happy romping amongst them.

And the pièce de résistance of my March garden: the  Pink Tabebuia tree combined with the Chinese Fringe bushes in the street side garden. This was definitely one of my best planting ideas and I look forward to when this lovely combination blooms each year.

Spring is such a wonderful time of the year, when so much seems possible and everyday offers something new. I wish that it lasted for a longer period of time, but then I suppose it wouldn't be so special.

Thank you for visiting.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Miss Twiggley and friends ~

Miss Twiggley what are you so fascinated by outside the window?


Lots and lots of birds.

Here to get a bite to eat and provide you with entertainment...all at a safe distance.

I put up this birdfeeder for Miss Twiggley. She is an indoor cat and  somewhere I read that a birdfeeder outside a window where a cat can easily see it is a good way to entertain and provide stimulation for indoor cats. Little did I realize that since this feeder hangs outside a window in my study where I use my computer it would also provide me with so much pleasure - they are so interesting to observe. 

 Miss Twiggley agrees, she can literally spend hours here and meows to me her complaints when the feeder is empty and the birds stop coming.
More rain is coming through over the next couple of days. This afternoon I planted my tomatoes, a nice rain should get them off to a good start.

Have a happy day!

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Charming in coral ~

 Everyday in the garden now is a preview of what will soon be a riot of bloom.
My newly planted roses are starting to break dormancy and fill out with leaves, only one bush is still sulking; but I continue to have hope. And all of the established roses are starting to form buds.

DiscidiousTrees are still bare, but the ornamental crabapple trees are showing dots of pink buds which will soon open to flowers; the fig trees are covered with emerging leaves and some of the apple trees are in bloom. Daffodils are blooming along with freesias and the old iris, Granny's Purple. So there is a lot going on. But today I want to pay homage to a plant that has supplied my garden with color and interest through most of the winter months.

It is this wonderful Kalanchoe. I don't know which one it is - there are tons of them - but I do know that it is very common, probably because it is such a garden-worthy plant and easy to grow.

 I first came across this plant when someone gave me a cutting. It propagates readily, and grows quickly into large clumps. I have them located in several areas of the garden, planted in places where other things have trouble thriving.

 ...along the driveway near the front gates

I primarily grow them for their interesting foliage but for several months during their bloom period they out do themselves with these coral-pink, bell shaped flowers. So pretty!

I often include succulents in bouquets, they are so long lasting, but this is the first time I thought to make a bouquet of succulent flowers. Like the foliage the flowers have been long lasting, added a touch of beauty to my living room...and makes me wonder,
why didn't I think of this before!

We are supposed to get more rain this week, every drop helps. I haven't had to irrigate for the past two weeks and if we get another nice rain I will be able to stretch it out even longer. Hooray!
I offer a special congratulations to the young people of America as they take a stand today on a very
 important issue. If this is any indication I have very positive hopes that our future is in good hands.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Slip cover dilemma ~

When I redecorated my living room last year I moved the existing sofa into the media room. I gave some thought to getting a new one, but this is a very soft, cushy, comfortable piece of furniture - perfect for lolling in. It is also a nice length to lie down on for a cat nap. However if I was going to use it, it needed an updated look.

I have never used a slip cover before but it seemed like a good solution: It would give me the look I wanted, and be easy to take off and clean.

...after the cushions have been covered

So, I ordered a slip cover. It was the right color and I fell in love with the ruffle and the bows. But when it came and I put it on the sofa it didn't looked messy when I tried to put it over the four loose cushions and pulled loose every time I sat on it.

...before with the old upholstery cushions 

I could have sent it back but I still liked the color and the style, I decided that by making slip covers for the four cushions separately I could get it to fit better. So, I went online, found a really good color match for the fabric...

And made the cushion covers. They have Velcro closings so I can take them off to be washed. Easy! In the picture below you can't see the two back cushions but they are covered also. 

Now I am very pleased with how it looks and when I sit down the fabric stays in place and doesn't get rumpled. As far as slip-covers, the next time I think I will just make the whole thing to begin with...even with ruffles and bows!

A little extra work, but definitely worth it.

Thank you for visiting.

Have a happy day!