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!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Let's have a Tete a Tete ~

I love daffodils, they are one of the bulbs that we can grow in our warm winter climate without any fuss or bother; to me they are such happy flowers. They do not naturalize as readily here as in cooler zones but with luck they will come back and increase. Such is the case with one of my favorite daffodils, the miniature variety, Tete a Tete.

My driveway is long, in the old style with an open divider down much of the center, I have spent lots of time trying to make it look appealing and not resemble a runway. Some of my experiments with it have been unsuccessful, but miniature daffodils are happy and thrive in this location.

Since I drive over it, anything planted here needs to be both heat tolerant, and low growing. Currently, the daffodils are inter-planted with dwarf junipers, trailing verbena, thyme and succulents. It is watered with drip irrigation. 

I have had trouble finding Tete a Tete bulbs in the past but this year they were readily available so I also planted them in other parts of the garden -  along the edges of paths where with their diminutive size they won't get lost. But here in the driveway is my favorite spot for them.

The delight is short lived but well worth it. 

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Nursery Hopping ~

Whenever I drive up to see my sister in Carmel, California I look forward to doing a little nursery hopping along the way, and after I arrive.

My first stop is always at Seaside Gardens in Carpenteria, a coastal town just a few miles south of Santa Barbara. I can't remember how I found out about this wonderful nursery but it is a destination point for me every time I drive up Highway 101.

Seaside Gardens has beautiful display areas, and offers all kinds of plants. Above is a section of their cottage gardens plants. However, because of very stringent water restrictions in this coastal area the amount of succulents you find here is amazing.

Beautifully displayed and arranged for your selection.

Once I arrive on the Monterey Pennisula, at the first chance I head for two wonderful nursery's, both located on Carmel Valley Road, in Carmel. 

The first is Valley Hills...

...the second is Griggs. They are only a few mile apart and strangely owned by the same people, but seem to have slightly different merchandise.

Carmel is such a beautiful spot to visit and it is nice to be able to bring home a few reminders of my trip. I was very restrained this time, I only bought two plants: Salvia Waverly, with white and pale pink blooms and a Tobiuchina, better know as Princess Flower...oh! and a beautiful pack of burgundy Dahlias with pink splashes which I can hardly wait to see bloom.

It was a great trip, I am so fortunate to have a sister that lives in such a lovely place which gives me to opportunity to visit and enjoy. 

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Odds and ends ~

Last week after my gardening class I stopped by the local Armstrong's and was very lucky to find some plants that are usually a bit difficult to find in pony packs: Imperial Stock, that's the tall and extremely fragrant variety, I am hoping that it might act like a perennial in my garden, and cleome, which I grew last year and loved.

I also picked up some more common things: alyssum, loved for it's fragrance and rambling charm, some succulents for my driveway median, and another lavender to fill out the lavender walk at the far back of the garden.

It is early in the gardening year I am still cutting back and cleaning up, but a few things are starting to bloom. The flowering pear, a baby still, is looking good and these very dependable succulents are pretty with their coral-pink blooms and foliage.

And across the garden, although the trees are still bare, the lavender is blooming and the first of the alstroemeria flowers are starting to open up.

My final purchase for the week, was a gift to myself of a new cordless blower. I have an electric blower, it is old, heavy and I hate dragging the cord around, subsequently it never gets used. But this new, powerful and light weight blower - it only weighs a little over 5 pounds - is a gem, and makes cleaning my decks, garage and pathways so much easier then sweeping.

I am taking a road trip up to Carmel, California next week to visit my Sister. so I have been rushing to get everything that I bought planted before I go. It is supposed to rain which will give everything off to a good start. Some of my daffodils are starting to bloom, it will be fun to come home after a week away to see the changes in the garden.

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A winter highlight ~

In the early months of the year my garden is at the lowest ebb of bloom - the deciduous trees have finally lost all of their leaves leaving bare branches, the perennials, including most of the roses, have been cut back, and it is a bit early for bulbs. Still, it is fairly lush compared to cold winter areas where snow covers the ground.

So, except for our lack or rain I really have no reason to complain, in factI like this much better than the torrid summer...even if I have more color in the garden then.


 there is one exception, and that is my camellias. Planted here many years ago by the previous owners they have become small trees and every year at this time they offer up their beautiful flowers. And my favorite of them all, the white camellias.

The flowers are abundant, in a creamy white with yellow stamens.

Such a welcome sight when everything else seems so bare to me.

When I pick a few to bring in the house I am always reminded that white camellias were Coco Chanel's favorite flower. She enjoyed them both in the fresh and artificial form. It appears that in my fondness for them I am in pretty good company!

Thank you for visiting

I hope the day brings you some unexpected beauty.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A perfect start to the day ~

Every morning is a little different for me depending on what I have lined up for the day, but my perfect morning starts with...


a few minutes of yoga - sun salutations to limber up, clear my mind, and give me an energy boost.

Then out for my morning walk. I always try to get in at least two miles. Walking every day is the basis for all of the other fitness activities I enjoy. A daily walk is so important for good health and it is so easy to do. You don't need a gym or any equipment other than good shoes and it can be a time  to get in a little meditation or listen to a book or music. I like to listen to Coffee Break French podcasts.

Then coming home to Miss Twiggley and a simple breakfast, always with a pot of freshly brewed tea, soft music, I favor Mozart in the early hours of the day, and something else very important - the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, I feel very deprived if I don't get to do the puzzle.

Everybody has their own routine but for me this is a blissful way to start the day.

It is the simple things in life that make it so enjoyable don't you think?

I hope that your life is full of lovely mornings

Thank you for visiting.