Monday, September 17, 2018

My garden flowers and gardens as autobiography

"A garden wall without a climbing rose, or a well-trained peach, is as meaningless to a gardener as a blank canvas is to an artist." Daniel Frogg, garden designer, 1955.
Or, I might add, a climbing flowering vine such as my purple clematis.
I planted this two inch tall Jackmani clematis in February 2018 and it is 5 feet tall now.
The same day I planted a periwinkle blue clematis, which remains 2 inches tall and has not had a flower yet. I have hopes for next season for it.
I have long thought that the books on our shelves and the plants we choose for our gardens have a touch of autobiography in them. For example, my gardens and stacks of books are not very neat, which expresses something about me. I prefer the creative and artistic aspects of gardening to house cleaning, which continually needs to be repeated. I have a book in my collection with a title I love, "A Gentle Plea for Chaos".
I have a statue of the Virgin Mary in my garden which I bought years ago with money I earned from my writing, a treat for me. My younger son gave me a Buddha statue so Buddha and Mary reside in my garden in peaceful harmony.

I like plants that birds, bees and butterflies like. Yes I do like all creatures great and small. Except for gophers and snails and slugs. Even garden snakes and bats are welcome in my garden.
Here is a quote to this point: "A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one's personal history and that of one's friends, interwoven with one's tastes, preferences and character, and constitutes a sort of unwritten, but withall manifest, autobiography. Show me your garden, provided it be your own, and I will tell you what you are like." From "The Gardens that I Love" by Alfred Austin, 1835-1913.

Above is my orange clock vine, a vigorous vine which quickly reached six feet tall on the fence and ten feet wide, and then spreads along the ground covering an additional five foot square area. I do love flowering shrubs and trees, including my lilac, 3 hydrangeas, 3 clematis, Strawberry tree and Red magnolia, soon to be joined by one or two camellias. I have a large old Cantua, the national flower of Chile, which my friend who moved here from Chile ordered for me. When she was a child in Chile a Cantua bloomed outside her second story bedroom.

I have small sculptures in my garden, yes, I like happy and pretty things. Smiling stylized suns hanging on the fence, including the one in the above photo, with jasmine growing up to it. Of course a bird bath and bird feeders. I could go on but don't want to bore you. Do you think your garden expresses a bit of who you are?


Saturday, September 8, 2018

What Bounce and I are doing in September

Do you see Bounce's feet in his new snuggly bed?
I need help; Bounce is chewing up and tearing up his new bed. Do you have suggestions for a new stronger bed for him? I saw K-9 Ballistics and Chew Guard Beds, have you used them or other beds?
Above photo is to show me in one of my many hats, since I mention wearing hats in this post. This was taken in April 2017 with two of my sweet friends, Terry and Wei, celebrating my birthday on the patio of a favorite restaurant.
                                               SEPTEMBER FUN
On another note I realize that September is offering me quite a few events to attend. My church is starting a new group this month, with a luncheon for widows. This is a group no one wants to be in, being a widow, but I am excited to meet some people in the same sometimes leaky boat. These are people I can be honest with and tell them I am sad, which I sometimes/often am.
I signed up to go to a luncheon which is a benefit for a local group that takes seniors who are home bound out to lunch and to events. We can wear fun hats to the lunch, which I like. I am a hat lady. They protect our skin from the sun and I have quite an array of pretty ones.
Bible study is starting again once a week and this session is 10 weeks of reading the Psalms and the book we will use, "Discovering Hope in the Psalms" has pages to color in it. I have crayons and pencils at the ready.
The Senior Follies is this month too, and I have gone about 5 years in a row. Two of my friends sing and dance in it and they are very talented.
Oh, and the local Greek festival at their church on September 7-9, I love the food and music. Plus across the street is a book sale to benefit the public library. How convenient is that? Food and music and words to feed the mind, body and soul.
Is your September busy too?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Poems in my neigbhor's yard and my husband

The photo above is of a poetry holder in my neighbor's yard. Isn't that a brilliant idea? He or she changes the poems about once a month and they are always a treat to read as Bounce and I take our walks.
Below is a favorite poem, not from the neighbor's posting, but one I like. Today would have been my husband Will's 71st birthday and I am thinking of him and how his candle glowed amidst the winds of life.

CANDLE AGAINST THE WIND
​​​​​​​
I know that I have life
​​​​​​​only insofar as I have love.
​​​​​​​I have not love
​​​​​​​except it comes from Thee.
​​​​​​​Help me, please, to carry
​​​​​​​this candle against the Wind.
written by ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Wendell Berry

Monday, August 13, 2018

Cat napping, bureau I painted and star gazer lily, all on patio

Here is my cat Fluffy napping on my patio near a large zucchini from my garden, a star gazer lily growing in a pot, and the bureau I painted. Just things from my days on the patio.
The above photo shows the old bureau which looks fine as knotty pine but heirloom white fits with the bed frame and nightstand so I did a painting project and changed the color to white.

Note in the second photo above the can of Rustoleum Heirloom White satin spray paint for the top coat (I used two cans) and the Zinsser 123 Bulls Eye water based Primer (I used half a quart, with brush and roller and several coats). Both of these dried quickly and the spray paint gave a nice smooth coat. Before I began I used tack cloth which I had not used before and it seems a great thing to use before painting as it picks up tiny things which would mar the paint.
Above is the completed bureau which was knotty pine before.
I have had these lilies several years growing in a pot on my patio, I think they are star gazer lilies.
Flowers always get me to smile, what about you? I hope you like these lilies.
P.S. For you who noticed my previous post about my root canal, the follow up visit was gentle and no pain afterward. With the first root canal appointment when the roots/nerves were removed I was in pain afterward and stayed home for three days. The pain pills were to take every eight hours and they only worked for three hours, ouch. I also could take one or two Tylenol, and in addition took antibiotics for 7 days to prevent infection. The good news is I feel great now! 



Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The pain of root canal and the joy of the garden

Hi friends, I had a root canal done last Thursday, July 26 and brother, for 3 days I was in pain. The pain med that I could take every 8 hours worked for 3 hours and then for 5 hours I was hurting. Round the clock. Anyway, poor poor me, I am feeling much better today. In mid-August I go in for part two, which consists of the specialist dentist (endodontist) checking her work and sealing it up if all is well. So think good thoughts for me.

I decided to balance this pity party with some favorite garden quotes. There are so many, thousands really. Above photo is Canterbury Bells from my garden a few years ago. I like all bell flowers, and well, all flowers.
Here is a garden quote by a man after my own heart, William Coles, who wrote in 1657 "A house though otherwise beautiful, yet if it hath no garden belonging to it is more like a prison than a house."
I enjoy my twice daily walks with Bounce and love the variety of gardens we see, but once in a while I see a sad front yard with no plants or trees or flowers and think it could do with some sprucing up.
Sir Robert Lorimer wrote in On Scottish Gardens, in 1898 "A garden is a sort of sanctuary, a chamber roofed by heaven ... to wander in, to cherish, to dream through undisturbed ... a little pleasaunce of the soul, by whose wicket the world can be shut out."
Don't you love that word "pleasaunce"?
Above is a bonus photo of Bounce, also called Wonder Dog, Prince, Mr. Bounce, Bouncey and Bouncer. You can see by his shirt he likes flowers too.
Usually when I am in my garden I find it so soothing, peaceful and pretty that I live in the now at those moments, and find plenty of things to do. At this summer time of the year I cut off spent flowers and do some watering and soak in the beauty. Oh that new yellow rose I planted, what a lovely color.
 "A chamber roofed by heaven", I like that.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I am inspired by Miss Norma, age 90 who had a year of adventure



I bought this book about a 90 year old lady who sets out on a grand adventure. I had lots of smiles and some tears while reading "Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying YES to Life", many of the tears being happy tears. Does anyone else cry when they hear about a beautiful moment?
Now that I am a senior citizen, and have had close family members die in the past few years, I find myself thinking about mortality and this book hit the spot for me. Norma's last year was beautiful and full of good things and experiences.
Miss Norma is 90 and when her doctor gives her a terminal diagnosis she tells him “I am 90, I'm hitting the road”, whereupon she sets out to travel for a year to places she chooses with her son and his wife in their thirty six foot mobile home. 
They have five star adventures everywhere and her final year was filled with fun and things new to them all, including a balloon ride, eating oysters in New Orleans, a zip line ride in North Carolina and riding a horse for the first time at age 90. Instead of a few months of harrowing treatments followed by death Norma had adventures with her loved ones and gained a bit of fame with TV interviews and official welcomes. They visited places she chose including Bar Harbor, Mackinaw City, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. It turns out her family had ties to President Ford and they got a personal tour of the USS Gerald R. Ford in the shipyard as it prepared to be launched. Tim and Ramie live in their RV year round and consider Baja California, Mexico, the closest thing to a home, and Norma visited there too.
For a shy lady she truly blossomed and Tim and Ramie were glad they chose to take Norma with them in her year of being 90. And don’t forget their standard poodle Ringo who cherished Norma too. Tim contrasted his mom’s happy final year to the tough final months of his dad who a year earlier chose painful treatment and stayed home.
I bought the hard cover book and enjoyed the many color photographs.The cover is a photo of the real Norma and Ringo.
Hats off to Norma and to Tim and Ramie as they spent a year making many dreams come true. Tim wrote that he got to know his mom in ways he never had before. This journey was a gift for each of them, and I enjoyed it too.
This book reminded me to think about how I spend my day. Am I kind, thoughtful, prayerful, with some fun or adventure sprinkled in? Am I trying new things? That is my aim. Now that I am retired and a widow it is easy to me to get stuck in my comfortable rut, so this book offers a good inspiration for me. How about you? Are you trying new things?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Kitchen improvements, new counter, sink, dishwasher

The new kitchen counter is installed, hurray. I have the use of my kitchen again. The counter is quartz Silestone, Kona Beige. I decided to have the back splash of the same stone. I had the counter extended to include my built in dishwasher so the counter is longer. Soon I will paint the white strip at the end of the counter.
I kept the solid wood cabinets which my husband painted. The roses are from my Bonica Floribunda rose bush, which is about six feet wide and six feet tall and I planted it in 1998. The sink is an undermount, something I had not heard of before designing the area. It means the stone overhangs the sink edges so it is easy to clean the counter. The sink is extra deep and my dog can swim laps in it, almost. Not really, 3 inches deep water is plenty deep; he likes baths.
This is a closeup of the Kona Beige counter which shows the pattern. I am taking a needed rest from kitchen and home improvements. Next up is a new wall oven, but not yet. Time to chillax, as they say.