Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring has arrived ~


A few years ago, in what was my first attempt to cut back on water usage and minimize garden maintenance, I took out a very large, intensely planted 25x100 foot perennial  border running along my driveway. 
I replaced it with a meandering gravel path, pink antique roses, four flowering ornamental crabapple trees and mulch.



This, I must say, was one of my better ideas.


This area is now almost completely maintenance free and it is all on a drip system so it uses comparatively little water.


But the best part is every spring when the crabapple trees bloom - they are quite spectacular and grow more so every year as they continue to mature.


The trees are under-planted at the base with Santa Barbara daisies and a very common purple geranium. Between the two I have something blooming almost year around. Then if I am very lucky the pink roses start blooming, as they are doing this year, along with the apple trees.


It is such a delight when occasionally something turns out even better than you had hoped for.

Happy gardening!

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The saga of Piggy wiggy ~


A while back I took a pottery class. I wasn't really interested in making pots but I did have fun making a few sculpted things, such as rabbit finials for the garden.

And, the series of roosters behind my stove. 

  
Then I decided why not make something I had really wanted for a long time, and that was a
plaque of a pig head - like the ones that you see outside of meat markets in European cities. I would have preferred a wonderful antique one but that simply wasn't going to happen.

Instead I made Piggy Wiggy

With all of the details...grape leaves, bows, etc. he took a long time to make and I was told that he might not make it through all of the firings. He did fine for the first firing but poor Piggy Wiggy cracked in the second firing.



But he was so cute and so much work that I brought him home and pretty much forgot about him. Then last week, while spring cleaning I came across him, took him out, and decided that I would put him up even though he wasn't perfect, that the imperfection lent him a certain patina.

So here he is now where he was intended to be. Mounted on the hood above the stove.
I added a wreath I made from apple twigs to frame him.


He might not be perfect but he does have a certain charm and now I don't even notice the crack.


oink...oink!


Thank you for visiting.

I hope that you have a wonderful surprise in your day.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Summer favorites ~ Dahlias

Have I ever mentioned that I like dahlias? 
Well I really, really, like them.


They are gorgeous and come in so many colors and forms. I bought the ones you see blooming below last summer, at one of my favorite garden shops in Carmel, California while on a visit to my sister a few years ago. They are very generous with their charming puffs of pink and yellow flowers. The only caveat - as with all dahlias, early staking, they are very brittle and there is nothing more difficult than trying to tie back up a large dahlia that has collapsed.


Every year I plant a few more tubers, most come back every year but I usually loose a few. So this year when they were available I indulged myself.
Most of them I purchased from Home Depot but I also sent away for some rarer types, such as Cafe au lait, which is an indescribable pink/buff/white color.  

Since I favor pinks in the garden, they are pretty much all shades of pink, purple, a striking maroon and a couple of yellows.


Not only are dahlias nice in the garden but they also make splendid bouquets. In fact some of the flowers are so large that they make a bouquet in themselves.

I managed to get all of these planted last week. Now all I have to do is wait for them to sprout and  not forget to stake them early. I hope that here at Rose Arbors this will be the best summer for Dahlias ever!


Life is always better with a garden.

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Decisions, decisions and the finished canape ~

Some of you might remember that I showed you this picture of my Mother's canape when I first posted about updating my living room It had been stored away for several years with the idea that eventually, when I got around to redecorating my living room, I would use it.

This is a very elaborate and formal piece of furniture and it has been a major effort and a a bit of a departure from what I usually do, to design the room so it would fit in stylistically. I knew from the beginning that to make it look a little more casual I would do away with the button back, add a long, soft down cushion... 

and,
 I definitely wanted it in cream colored fabric to match the stripes in the new wallpaper.



Later, for the throw pillows I  was inspired by a picture I saw in a magazine - trimmed in pink and green brush fringe they add a slight pop of color.  I made the floral pillow in the center out of the same fabric as the drapes.

And this is the final result. 


I am very pleased with how it looks. I love the cotton Jacquard fabric. I was originally going to use cotton duck but when this fabric sample came in the mail I was smitten.

So....one down and two to go. I have picked out a lovely lattice print in a pale caramel color for the wing chair and footstool and I am hoping that the upholsterer will be able to start on it next week. But I still am undecided on which of the fabrics below to use for the remaining two bergere chairs. My favorite today, the pale celedon green sample in middle below. But I am also very tempted by the cream colored velvet on the far right.


 Whichever fabric I choose Miss Twiggle doesn't care. Her only interest is whether or not it is soft and comfy. To make sure she would be welcome on such a light colored piece of furniture I sprayed it with Scotch Guard.


Thank you for visiting.

I hope you have a glorious day. Meow.



Friday, February 24, 2017

Spring is growing close ~

There are many signs in the garden that winter is ending and spring is growing near.

An example - the early apples trees are blooming. 
You don't really think of apple trees in Southern California, but if you plant the low chill varieties they do quite well.

I am very fond of them and have quite a few scattered around the garden, including an allee of ornamental crabapples which will bloom much later in the season. I grow the fruiting apples for their form, the fruit of course, and how exquisite they are in bloom.


I like them best as seen here, when they are leafing out but still covered with blossoms. 


In the far back along a fence I planted a row of apple trees to block out a neighboring house, it works and it is also quite lovely, especially when in bloom.


One of the nice things about the trees in the front adjacent to the sidewalk, is that I get to share the fruit with people walking by. Gardens are for sharing, don't you think.


Thank you for visiting.

I hope you enjoy the beauty in your day

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What's blooming ~

Clean up in the garden continues. Our abundance of rain has been wonderful but has limited working outside. And, with all of the lovely rain comes lots and lots of lovely weeds, resulting in quite a bit more work.

Still I am very appreciative to see what appears to be an end to our drought. The garden appreciates this too and with all of the extra moisture I anticipate an amazing spring this year.

So, although the garden is still quite bare I thought I would share what is blooming, starting with  Alstroemerias. 

I have been noticing that the clumps were especially vigorous this year and today when I went out to work, next to the stairs leading down from the deck, I found these first blooms. Alstromerias pop up everywhere in my garden, they have naturalized and spread into in the most unexpected places but always welcome for their vigor and the flowers which are extraordinary for cutting. Every year it is a pleasure to see them coming into bloom.


This charming clump of daisies  under an old apple tree in the front garden have been blooming for several weeks. Last summer I thought the intense heat had done them in but they survived  and make me happy every time I walk by them. I love daisy-type flowers and really need to plant more of them.


 In the back gravel garden the lantana and rosemary make a nice combination. I use quite a bit of lantana in the garden but this one is the only one blooming now - the rest have been cut back and are just beginning to show green growth.


Finally, in my little tour are the camellias. The white camellias are in full glory. I have lots of different camellias but these old fashion, large white ones are definitely my favorite.


In a couple of weeks the bulbs should start blooming and some of the early roses. This is really my favorite time as a gardener - pruning back, cleaning up and then the anticipation of what will follow...how will the new roses perform; will all of the bulbs I planted last fall make a good showing; have I lost anything over the winter months...all questions to be answered with time. The Garden is a never ending source of learning, beauty and satisfaction.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Something pretty ~

There are certain places in my home where nothing looks as good as a bouquet. Not a small bouquet but a big, old fashion, lavish one. I like to bring in cut flowers from the garden but these arrangements need to be large and I don't want to spend the time, or if nothing is blooming in the garden, the money, to make new ones all the time.

This is when dried flowers are very useful - besides I just like the way they look, and they last for a very long time.

So...
when I wanted to make an arrangement to put on the small credenza in the living room today, I raided my cache of dried flowers. Cut from the garden throughout the last growing season they have been hung and kept in a closet to dry. 


Then, I made a quick trip to the nearby bridal path for some fresh eucalyptus. A great filler, it is best to use fresh and left to dry in the vase. 


. The colors in the bouquet reflect the colors I am using in the room...shades of cream, gold, moss green, and rose.


I am pleased with the way it turned out. Flowers add so much to a home; fresh or dried, I like them both.

This little credenza and mirror are my favorite pieces of furniture. Bought together many years ago from a women with the most beautiful collection of antiques. I really treasure them. The two Corday figures were a gift from my brother.


When spring arrives I will be cutting more things to dry for next year. I think it would  be interesting to make a floral arrangement using  herbs...rosemary, lavender and sage come to mind, with maybe a few roses mixed in for color. Wouldn't it would smell wonderful! Oh, and I definitely need to plant more hydrangeas they dry so beautifully.

Have a happy day..