Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Oak Leaf Hydrangeas ~

When I first started gardening here at Rose Arbors I had great success with hydrangeas, but in recent years with the drastic change in weather and our increasingly hot climate that has changed. Oh yes, they still bloom but not with the lushness of prior times. There is however one wonderful exception, this Oak Leaf Hydrangea that takes pride of place under an avocado tree in the front garden

The flowers are creamy white, elongated and sweetly fragrant, like all hydrangeas they persist on the bush to enjoy for several weeks. 

It does not repeat bloom but it does put on a nice show in the fall when the foliage turns red. I will prune it back severely in late winter.

For some reason until last year I made no attempt to cut the flowers, what a shame, because once I did so I found that they made wonderful long-lasting fragrant fresh bouquets and like all hydrangeas, make great dried flowers, retaining most of their creamy white color.

I have enjoyed these so much and I hope that by sharing them with you you might want to give Oak Leaf Hydrangeas a try in your garden, I don't think they will disappoint you.

Thank you for visiting.


Friday, June 7, 2019

Dried flowers ~

As anyone who has read my blog before knows, I love dried flowers. Now don't get me wrong, I totally enjoy bouquets of fresh flowers, but in certain situations where I want the effect to last, nothing in my opinion beats the flexibility and longevity you can get using dried material. 

Thus when I wanted an arrangement to last for the next few weeks on the mantle in the living room it was the natural thing for me to use some of the dried flowers from the cache of last years harvest - I am just beginning to cut flowers to process for this year.

In this arrangement I used eucalyptus, olive and pepper branches,Heavenly Bamboo seed clusters and white Oakleaf hydrangeas - soft and simple which is what I wanted. I have never used the heavenly bamboo seed clusters before, they turned a really lovely, rich golden color when dried. It's fun to try new flowers and foliage to see how they will dry, I have had some surprises and some disappointments. I only dry by hanging so it is a very easy procedure.

I  grow different types of flowers for drying: yarrow, statice, Queen Annes Lace, and of course roses. This year for the first time I am growing actual Strawflowers which I seeded a few months ago and just recently planted out in the garden, I have high hopes that these will provide me with colorful accents in future dried bouquets.  

The wonderful Erin of  Floret Flower Farm offers lots of different Strawflower seeds and other flower seeds to grow for drying plus an extensive variety of other annual seeds and bulbs all shown to you along with tutorials on her beautiful website.

 Meanwhile, today when I walked into Trader Joe's I saw the seasonal peonies had arrived, how could I resist. Fresh is best but dried flowers have a place in my heart and home too.

Thank you for visiting

Have a lovely day.


Monday, May 6, 2019

Enjoying the garden ~

In all of the years I have been gardening here at Rose Arbors I can never remember a season that has brought so much beauty as this spring; it is of course due to our abundant winter rainfall.

I don't expect we will see much more heavy rain this year but last week during the night we were blessed with a nice sprinkle. In the morning I went out and took these pictures. There is nothing like the sparkle and freshness of rain to enhance the beauty of a garden. And this year because of the super bloom - oh my!

An early morning view from the deck.

The lavender walk in the far back more wild reaches of the garden, augmented with poppies seeded by the wind.

A lovely example of David Austin's Ambridge rose in a front border.

A gravel pathway, higgly-piggly with bloom.

Alongside the pond in the back, roses and foxgloves, two of my favorite flowers combine together.

Valerian, in the deck border, I pull it out every year, then wish I hadn't, then it surprises me and comes back. I just recently read that it makes a good cut flower, but I haven't tried it yet, maybe this weekend.

Image result for black and white images of flowers in a line

 It will get hot again this summer I have no doubt and gardening will become more of an effort and less of a pleasure but right now I am really enjoying my garden

Je suis très chanceux

(I am so lucky)


Monday, April 29, 2019

Updated office ~

A few months ago I begin an update of my office. Like most of the other home projects I have tackled it has involved endless amounts of time, just finding the right fabric, trim, wallpaper and hardware has taken forever; currently I am waiting for back-ordered switch plates and trying to find cushion fabric for the two chairs. But now that it is done, except for the aforementioned details, I wanted to share the results with you.


 My favorite part, the wall behind my desk. I love it for its elegance. And best of all I was finally able to find a place for my Mother's wall scones and porcelain figures.

The backs of the shelves on the opposite wall are now wallpapered in a soft damask wallpaper that matches the paint - a detail that I enjoy.

Once I finished making the drapes they were a bit tricky to hang. I ended up using a length of PVC pipe and closet rod hangers. Not only was this very inexpensive but quite effective in dealing with the span - the valance hides the rod.

. Dividing the room with the tie-back drapes adds pattern and color, it also seems to make the space look larger. I love the fabric and was able to get the last few yards before it was discontinued. Fringe, well what can I say, I have a real love affair with passementerie and have some type of trim on all of the window treatments I have made. 

This poor chair is waiting patiently for me to find the right fabric to recover the cushion  The grape vine and faux berry drapery tie backs are hard to see in this photo, they were recycled from the entry hall remodel of a couple of years ago, I always had the feeling I would reuse them somewhere. 

So, after restoring the old tile flooring, stripping the wallpaper and painting, installing new recessed lighting, mirrors, wall sconces, hardware, drapery...and oh yes! finding the perfect area rug and beautiful new writing desk this is the result.


...and after. 

 I absolutely love walking into this room now.

Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Golden mornings ~

When I woke up this morning the sun was just beginning to rise casting the whole garden in a golden hue. It was so lovely that I wanted to make an attempt to capture it with my camera and share it with you.

I planted this Honey Burst Locust tree hoping that the new, brilliant yellow foliage, would appear as the same time that the yellow Lady Banks rose on the arbor behind it was blooming, I added the Euonymus later. This lovely synchrony won't last long, the rose is once blooming and the leaves on the tree will turn green, but the sight as it is right now always thrills me.

Here at the pond, the early morning sunlight seems to make the water glisten, up close the fish are darting about making little waves among the newly blooming water lilies. The smaller tree over-hanging the edge is really a shrub that I have pruned into a tree form, it sports chartreuse foliage all year and is still covered with it's orange, winter berries - during the warm months it has lots of small purple flowers.

This is one of those times as a gardener that I forget the work, the frustrations, the disappointments and just feel so lucky!

Thank you for visiting.

Happy Spring!


Monday, April 8, 2019

Joys from the garden ~

 One of the more common place plants in my garden, but one I couldn't do without, is Limonium, better know as Sea Lavender. It is a dependable and hearty plant, I grow it for it's beauty and because it dries so well. 


Today, while weeding near a patch and inspired by it's lush blooms, I put down my trowel, cut some, came into the house and made a dried bouquet.

 I bought this straw tote last summer to make a flower arrangement for the kitchen, I wanted it to look like I had just returned from a farmer's market and casually hung it on the door, filled with flowers.

So I filled it with fresh rosemary and Limonium, then added some other things from my cache of dried flowers...roses, queen anne's lace and oak leaf hydrangeas. The fresh flowers will dry perfectly and mesh in with the previously dried ones, this bouquet should last for as long as I continue to enjoy it.

Just another joy and delight from the garden.

Thank you for visiting.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Seeds and spring ~

Spring has definitely arrived in Southern California!

With so much going on it was hard to find one picture I wanted to share with you, I decided to post nasturtiums because in my garden they are so emblematic of early spring. For the next few weeks they will romp gloriously through the borders, wane, and then be ready to be pulled out to make way for other plantings, faithfully returning next year.


I have been planting lots of annual seeds, hoping to get a head start on flowers for summer color.I usually wait too long, this year I think I have started early enough to have plants ready to put out in the garden by June.

 Up to now I have been using little peat pots to start the seeds, but decided that these would be more efficient to use for any seedlings that needed pricking out and potting up before planting in the garden, or for starting larger seeds, such as sunflowers.

So this morning I made a trip to Home Depot and bought a commercial Pro-Hex starting tray to use for planting the rest of the seeds. It is all a fun experiment to see which way is the best and it will probably work out to be some combination of the two.

So far, in the peat pot tray I planted earlier, the strawflowers and gomphrenas seeds have began to sprout. I am growing them for both garden color and to use in dried bouquets.

No spring flowers in the picture above - the contrast of the succulents growing in this fountain against the wall covered in creeping ficus caught my eye this morning, I though it was so pretty I had to take a picture. 

Thank you for visiting

Happy Spring! 


Monday, March 18, 2019

It's beginning to look like spring ~

Last month seemed to zoom by without my posting. I was busy with other projects and winter clean-up in the garden.

But today when I went out this morning I felt the need to take some pictures. Although the garden is still quite bare, it is being to look like spring.

We had a very rainy winter which has been wonderful, the extra water has added so much lushness to the garden. Everything seems to be bigger this year and I expect this to be an exception spring.

For now I must be content with the early bloomers, the magnolias are beautiful and so are the purple hibiscus, which never seem to be out of flower. I have two of them and a few weeks ago I planted another.

Bulbs are the highlight right now. Usually when they are in full bloom we get an unseasonably hot spell that shortens their flowering but this year the temperatures have been lower and the bloom period much longer. These dwarf daffodils are planted in my driveway median, they are low enough for the car to drive over. I love them combined with the low growing purple verbena. 


An update

The office project has taken quite a bit of my time and with the exception  of the details is finally complete. I will be posting more about it later but I wanted to share one of the parts I like the most, the wall behind my desk. The sconces were my Mother's, I saved them knowing that eventually I would find a spot for them. The mirror is from my brother's shop, it was damaged but I was able to repair it. I am also in love with the new cabinet door pulls, they were an extravagance but in my opinion well worth it.

 I have been waiting for the trim to finish the drapes, it came yesterday, I hope to get it sewn on in the next couple of days. Two chairs that need cushions replaced, switch plates covers to install and drapes to hang, then it should all be done. Hooray! 

Thank you for visiting