Monday, May 15, 2017

Pretty ~

Climbing Pinkie rambling with abandon along the deck railing in the back garden.

Such a pretty and such a reliable rose. She seems bred to delight, both in the garden...

and in the house.

We had a delightful surprise of rain today which kept me out of the garden but that was okay as I have been busy working on the new drapes for the entry hall. Sewing on a rainy day is almost as nice as baking. And now I won't have to water for a few days, always a good thing!

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, May 5, 2017

An introduction ~

Just is case you haven't met, I would like to introduce you to Sally...Sally Holmes that is.

Sally Holmes is a vintage rose with large, tightly packed trusses of ivory single 5" flowers of 8 to 12 petals  beautifully complimented by bright yellow stamens. 

This rose can be grown as a large shrub or a small climber. I have been growing her as a climber in this spot along the driveway at the entrance to the front garden for several years. Two years ago I had to drastically prune in order to install the new arbor I made to replace the old one that had fallen apart so she took a real hit. Now, between the rain and another year of growth she is well on her way to a
 complete comeback.

For some reason this rose blooms a bit later than most of my other climbing roses which makes it even more special. And it does have an excellent repeat throughout the season.

Such a pretty Grande Dame of the garden.

Last weekend I spent some time cleaning out my fountains and starting them up again. I have one in the front, which you can see in a couple of these pictures and another in the back garden. I had forgotten how nice it is to be working in the garden to the accompaniment of softly trickling water -small pleasures.

Thank you for visiting.
I wish you a rosy day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A new use for tomato cages ~

I love tomato cages, you know those inexpensive ones you see at the discount stores. They come in several sizes. I never use them for supporting tomatoes because they just aren't big enough. But I have found them useful in other ways. 

 First I paint them with a rust color spray paint so they will blend better into the garden - Camouflage is the name of the color I use. Then I dress them up with finials. For a person like me who thrives on details both in the garden and in decorating, some sort of finial makes an important difference.

 To make the finials this time, I took some old bathroom cabinet door knobs, glued them on the top of pots and  spray painted them in my signature red color.

Very simple

Then set them on top of the over-turned tomato cages. The tension of the wires keeps them in place.

Voila! What I call a Poor Man's Tutor.

In the first picture below I used one as an ornamental way to keep this small and newly planted rose safe from being stepped on. 


here in the vegetable garden I am using one to support climbing string beans. I will plant the bean seeds around the the bottom.

These are 4 foot tall tomato cages with a bottom diameter of 18 inches, but I also use the smaller ones depending on what I plan on using them for. The smaller sizes work well in pots for topiary.

In a casual cottage garden like mine these fit in perfectly, add architectural interest. a pop of color, and are useful. You might want to give one a try.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Baskets in the garden ~

When I am out walking around in my garden checking what needs to be done, what is blooming, or what looks particularly nice that day, I will often stop to deadhead an occasional flower, or pull a weed, then I wander around with it all in my hand until I can trek back to the bin. I had the realization that it would so much more convenient to have some kind of containers, attractive enough to leave sitting throughout the garden, that I could toss it all in.

So a few weeks ago when I stopped by Michael's, to pick up something completely unrelated, and saw wicker laundry baskets on sale for $5.00 I thought these might be just the thing.

I bought 5 of them and tucked them around in various spots. Now I don't have to back track to the trash bin every time I have a hand full of weeds. Every once in a while I will empty them in the compost pile. Because they are made out of wicker they are very light weight, surprisingly strong and won't mind a bit of rain. 

 Being new they are a bit bright, over time they should acquire some patina and won't be as obvious.  I am very fond of baskets and really like the way they look, after all wicker is just dried plant material.

As a bonus, they can be stacked if I do want to store them.

Because my garden is fairly large I could really use a couple more of these...for appearance, cost and effectiveness they are just exactly what I wanted.

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring at it's best ~

In the far back of the garden sits my little vintage greenhouse. Somehow or other, a time long ago, we had it moved on the property - a gift from a friend that didn't want it anymore.

I really don't use it to grow plants but rather to store pots, other gardening containers, and baskets.

It's a cute little structure made even nicer this time of year when the white Lady Banks rose festoons it. This rose like it's sister, the yellow and more well known variety, blooms only once a year in early spring, but like most of the once blooming roses it is so lavish with it's flowers that I really don't mind that it doesn't repeat.

It would be hard to ask for anything prettier than these charming clusters of white flowers tinged at their centers in soft, soft yellow.

When the Lady Banks roses bloom this signals to me that spring has definitely arrived and every year I look forward to this display of nature at it's best.

Thank you for visiting.

May your day be filled with the beauty of spring.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Success! ~

It has taken me a very long time to find the right fabrics for reupholstering the furniture in my living room. I found the perfect fabric for the sofa/canape, a beautiful cream jacquard, right away, then after looking for several weeks I came across the lattice print you can see on the wing chair in the picture below. 

I immediately knew this was the right choice . And when I got the chair back from the upholsterer last week I loved it.

 The big problem and the final piece of my decorating puzzle was what to use on the two matching bergere chairs. My first instinct was to find a solid fabric in the same color or a bit lighter than the lattice print - no go. After sending away for a lot of samples nothing worked. So I decided to try other colors....cream, pale pink, green. It has been weeks now, going on months, and as fabric samples came I couldn't commit to any of them. 

Reupholstered wing chair in lattice print

Now I am so happy that I waited because two days ago, in the mail came a sample of the fabric I was dreaming of. A lovely velvet, called Straw that is as close to perfect as I could have ever hoped for.

You can see below how well it matches the fabric on the wing chair.

Today I ordered it - hooray!

Here you see the combination of fabrics for this room: the floral drapery print, the lattice print, the solid velvet. and the cream jacquard. The very pale pink I am going to use as a accent color on the seat of an antique child's chair. The celadon green on the right I am planning on using for the new drapes in the entry hall. The drapes need to tie in with the living room and the adjoining room. This green does both.

I have to say that this has been one of the most frustrating decorating projects I have ever attempted , mainly because of not being able to find exactly what I wanted and trying to barter with my self over what I thought would be right. What have I learned from this, something I have probably always known, that it is better to wait for the right thing rather than settling and being unhappy with the results...even if it seems to take forever!

As soon as the fabric arrives I will send the chairs off to the upholsterer, then this extended project will finally be done.

Thank you for visiting

I hope you have a successful day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Added pleasures ~

We are experiencing the most glorious weather. That coupled with the rain has resulted in the garden looking absolutely splendid. Everything seems to be bursting forth. Soon it will be hot and I will be complaining so I intend to enjoy all of it while I can.


Mrs B R Cant  antique Tea rose

one of the ways to enjoy it is to bring in flowers, herbs and greenery for bouquets, not only for fresh bouquets, but material that I can dry to use later in dried bouquets. Some flowers such as yarrow, statice and Queen Anne's Lace aren't blooming yet, but the roses, lavender and rosemary are ready for harvest.

If possible and I have the time, I like to make up nose gay bouquets, bind them with ribbon and hang them on door knobs until they dry. It has become a spring tradition for me.

After they have completely dried I will store them in a darken closet until I am ready to use them. They will last this way for a very long time.

It has been quite a while since I have made potpourri but I think I will make some this year. With the recent availability of so many essential oils, which used to be a bit difficult to source, it might be fun and I love anything that adds fragrance to my home. Just another element from the garden to enjoy.

Thank you for visiting

Happy Spring!

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.