Welcome, come in, relax & sit a spell…

My home and garden…I want them both to reflect not only me but also the places I have been and the places I lived over the many years of my life…so here I am, surrounded by all the things from my travels that make me happy.

Make an entrance…It’s all in the details…the little things that make a garden and home a welcome place to be.  eng entry

Close your eyes for a few seconds, envision the perfect entry to your home, to your garden…What do you see? Whatever you imagined, it probably felt comfortable, charming and just plain welcoming. As in the photo, right, the blooming garden invites and the stone path pulls you in deeper towards the front door.

bluedoorHere, the blue gate opens to a winding used brick path that beckons a visitor to wander and enjoy the garden before reaching the front door. A charming cottage garden with a blissful place to roost.

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Some may like a more formal, boxwood edged brick path entry to a home with an entry porch for sitting.

 

I enjoy creating vignettes that make a visitor want to stop for a few moments to appreciate an ‘off the beaten path’ approach to an entry.

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A gravel path, a colorful bench, a number of blooming containers welcome and awaken your inspiration. Planting in pots gives gardeners the advantage of being able to enjoy many different colors, textures and scents as well as being able to move their pots around as blooms begin to fade…switch out with pots of evergreens and autumn blooms as the season changes to fall and winter. Remember to be consistent with watering and feeding containers…cottage entry

The cottage, right, shows another long blooming garden option that makes one want to linger outside enjoying the perennial display. So much more interesting than just GRASS!!

The entry path to my little house, below, is a mix of gravel and slate stones, pots of lavender, my lemon trees a gardenia for fragrance and 2 red chairs to bring attention to it all…Planted around the stones is thyme that creates even more fragrance as a visitor brushes past. Solar lights twinkle throughout the evening bringing attention to containers…

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“I GO TO

NATURE TO BE SOOTHED AND HEALED AND TO HAVE MY SENSES PUT IN ORDER”

‘Heart to Heart’…your heart is a muscle and needs a regular workout or it becomes unfit as we age…Regular exercise, such as aerobic, is essential for your heart health…at least 30 minutes a day. To make it easy, break it into 10 minute chunks and do it at a pace that leaves you warm [sweaty] and breathless! Unless you’re in really great shape! Another aspect of exercising is going outdoors…take a BRISK walk for 10 minutes, walk with your dog for even longer if you can. Give your garden extra attention…working outside for at least 45 minutes to an hour several days a week helps to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Especially the sweating part! Walking up to 3000 steps a day will help with joint pain and improved physical function. So get moving and please, drink plenty of water.

Boost Your Bones…A calcium-rich diet is essential for strong bones. Continue to exercise, get out in the sun for 10 minutes [with no sunscreen] for added source of Vitamin D, and include plenty of milk, yogurt and cheese in your diet.

Skin Deep...Toxins, alcohol, and UV rays as we know add to aging…wrinkles and saggy skin. UGGG!

Good nutrition helps skin stay firm…Salmon and citrus and fruits & green vegetables are key ingredients to healthy skin…’course a really nice organic moisturizer can also help!! Especially rose hip oil applied on the beginnings of wrinkle spots.

IT’S MIND OVER MATTER!

My mind over plenty of garden matter…FullSizeRender(71)The illustration shows my favorite way of making compost piles…for all that garden matter that should be recycled! It’s so simple using wire fencing and posts. A stone path leads to the spot and I choose to plant rosemary as an evergreen accent and comfrey to take in all the nutrients from the compost liquids that seep into the ground. The comfrey leaves are an excellent source for garden care as well as having great healing aspects! Colorful vines and/or crawling vegetables could also claim the fence as support.

white gardenDo the White Thing…I love my ‘Moon Garden’…years ago I started designing white and silver gardens for clients after studying the white garden planted by Vita Sackville-West at her home in England during the 1930’s.

                                                        A white garden, with accents of silver plants exudes a dreamy quality on long summer nights.   OFullSizeRender(72)n a night with a full moon, the silvery light shines and makes the white garden sparkle…

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Celebrate Summer…with summer and sparkling wines: Sauvigon Blanc, Prosecco, Rose’, and Champagne! These wines are quite refreshing and pair well with lighter summer meals. FullSizeRender(68)

Another way to use blackberries…pastry wrapped over fresh blueberries, a bit of sugar and some

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butter…top with cream!!

Look closely at the back of the photo near the

woods, 2 fawns, still with spots, came for dinner tonight…

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From Holly and me, enjoy a glass!

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Summer is the time for pure indulgence…

Through the window of dawn the garden is a haven of inspiration, color and fragrance…A bit later, sunbeams dance across the table filling the room with welcoming cheerybook brightness.

My little home in the woods is surrounded by tall hardwood trees and swaying pines making it shady most of the day…Beneath the trees, which keep me cool and refreshed, an aromatic tisane of lavender, rosemary and thyme grows.

Alongside the butterflies, hummingbirds, dragonflies and birds, imagination takes flight over the buddleias, phlox black-eyed Susans and coneflowers…IMG_3024

Closing my eyes, I ride along with the beneficial creatures alive and thriving and surviving in my garden…soaring over the colors and world alive beneath us. A few weeks ago I decided my garden needed a new vertical element to enclose part of the perennial area.

In the photo, you can see a black metal arch, not terribly expensive or overly decorative but serviceable none the less. This also adds a bit of enclosure for this part of the garden. I’ve planted a pale pink climbing rose mixed with a lavender clematis that will find their way up and over the arch inviting even more beneficials into the garden. Now, I see the hummingbirds land there for a moment…surveying their realm before swooping down to take a sip of nectar. I so enjoy watching all this…As bees gather nectar from the roses and phlox, dragonflies dart about, occasionally landing on a stone that I set in the birdbath for just that purpose. The sun flirts with the leaves, making patterns in light and shade on the grass. Breathing deeply, the captivating fragrance released by my garden of blooms on the impetuous wind fills me with delight as I feel and just enjoy the rustling rhythms of nature.

QUOI de neuf ? [what’s new?] Friends, here and there are forever and here my girlies are taking a moment to surprise me with a July birthday…a FRENCH theme, of course.IMG_0795

And, Viola…one of the “girls” found some vintage hats in the attic and brought them out for us to wear and talk about…where they were worn, when, what they saw and such! Pourquoi pas?

4999F6E1-0FAE-40C0-9358-9D62996BB859Left, Another girlie friends group in Texas at Cynthia Chippendale’s restaurant…we drank lots of wine, ate pissalidaire [a French style pizza]  and talked for several hours about all the great times we had with our homes and gardening workshops for over 20 years.

Friendships are among the few things that ultimately keep us going in life…”No Man is an Island”…mine are ‘deep in my heart’ dear to me and I hope to enjoy them for many more years. Have you talked to a friend today?

 HomeIMG_1704My days are spent between inside and out, between sunlight and shade. Lived in rhythm with the seasons, nature, ever present, determines the nuances of colors and fragrance as the weeks go by…The hours spent during spring and summer eating outside becomes a ritual in the flowery shade of an arbor, beneath a trellis, a blooming tree, or vine covered veranda. Here, food is experienced as a way of better appreciating the wonders of nature…free of showy luxury!

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Beauty in rustic simplicity…And for those who want a bit more luxury, this charming spot is simple to create with the draped table and a few accessories. Daily life becomes a continuous celebration…look and feel and touch each new thing you find…rediscover the pleasure of making a garden spot, choosing blooms for bouquets, cooking without hurrying: taking time simply to live and enjoy.

 

 

Fruits for good health: Lemons…during the off season when my own Meyer lemons are not ready, I often buy a bag of fresh organic lemons while shopping at Whole Foods market. These lemons are untreated. Most citrus is waxed heavily or sprayed with a preservative. INSTEAD, to preserve the lemons, I put them in a bowl and cover them with fresh water…this can go in the refrigerator if you choose to…and I change the water daily. This method is used in many Mediterranean countries where lemons are grown and used extensively in cooking. For some this may seem like a chore but really…it only takes a minute or two.

Laundry fresh…for whiter whites, and a fresh clean scent, put cut lemon peels in a small mesh or muslin bag and tie securely, toss into washing machine and let stay through the entire cycle.

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Blackberries: one of my many favorite fruits…I chose to plant several thornless varieties last year. Now, the second year growth shown here is astounding…already the canes are trying to reach the top of the garden shed and are producing about a quart a day of juicy ripe fruits. EEEEK…what to do??

Blackberries are fairly easy to grow, prune and train…but many gardeners are often intimidated by berries. Given the premium price of these fruits at the market, growing your own is well worth the effort. So it always comes down to the pruning part…how to do it?? The best time for pruning blackberries is late winter, when the plants are bare and it’s easy to determine the healthy purple canes from the brown [or dead] ones. Cut away all the dead canes first and then take a look at the healthy ones where buds are just starting. Each bud on a cane will usually send out a “fruiting” shoot later in the season. Just picture the main canes forming a fountain shape from the center plant. You want a few main canes coming out of the ground that will grow along the fence line. These NEW side shoots are where blooms and berries form. The canes, which grow along the fence on a horizontal plane, should be supported to bear the weight of up to 20 pounds of fruit. Either use a fence for growing or the 2 wire method of growing. Fence

Shown here is old style ‘hogwire’ fencing, the simple way to start.

Blackberries usually are ripe and ready in early to mid July dependent upon temperatures, sunny days and rainfall. Start looking for healthy plants that might go on sale soon. Prepare to plant several bushes this fall for a good head start next spring. [Everyone knows this is best time to plant!!]

Blackberries are perfect fresh off the vine or in cobblers and other treats…I found a special recipe that combines two favorite flavors…A time to INDULGE!

Lavender Blackberry Ice Cream… Use your favorite vanilla ice cream base to start. As you prepare do the following: Combine 1 1/2 cups of whole organic milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 Tblsp dried lavender, and 1 cup of slightly smashed blackberries in a saucepan. Stir constantly and when mixture begins to bubble around edges, remove from heat and let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture into a bowl using a mesh sieve or cheesecloth. use this mixture combined with your cream base and prepare in your ice cream maker as usual. This is divine!

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Another rustic spot for garden enjoyment and INDULGENCE…What a nice spot for lounging, having a meal or taking a nap. This garden ‘gazebo’combines wood beams, several old doors and windows, a stone floor and it all topped with a roof of galvanized metal panels…I imagine time spent here writing and reading…even if it does start to rain!

 

A little garden whimsy…What a great idea if you happen to have this type of fencing around your garden.  crystalsFor old wire style fencing, just adapt the way you hang the stones. You could also do this on a trellis frame and use it as a colorful and vertical accent in your garden.

 

 

 

 

No grass to cut or unannounced visitors…IMAGINE!!

From Holly and me, enjoy and INDULGE…IMG_2916castle

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