Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Shades of blue. . . . and travel ahead!

 This will be a busy week around the cottage and garden as we'll be leaving
 early next week for that first big overseas trip since the pandemic arrived!

Thankfully, I seem to be over the food poisoning episode, a really debilitating
 two weeks, and now feel up for all the preparations required for a long
 distance flight and spending time with my much missed family and friends
 in England.

MEMORIAL DAY weekend flew by even though we did little out of the ordinary.
Still staying cautious and away from crowds with travel coming up, we enjoyed 
the garden which is lovely right now. 
There were a few surprises. 
Sitting on the porch yesterday afternoon enjoying a cup of tea, a beautiful
 large deer bounded across the lawn in the sunshine.  A baby bunny nibbled
 on our freshly mown lawn.  A chipmunk flashed by my feet when I took a
 break on the back deck, while the usual large family of squirrels were
 omnipresent under the bird feeders. Butterflies are back and quite a few
 bees, both lovely to see. Birds have hidden nests in our shrubs and I hear
 babies chirping. The 'dawn chorus' is awesome and I love opening the
 windows early to listen as the sun comes up.

I've been cutting some hydrangeas to enjoy indoors, sharing some with
 my new next door neighbors. With the intense heat we are having (it feels like
 mid-summer) and which will reach 100F on Thursday, the lovely blue flowers
 will be struggling in the sun even though we'll be watering daily.

Here's to a pleasant week ahead everyone.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Dahlia dreams -

Have you ever stood in your garden and wished you were a tall
and graceful flower?

The dahlia plants have all returned and are growing by leaps and bounds.
We have rain today and this one is opening as a bi-color bloom which I
find quite unusual. I believe it's named 'Fireworks'. The plants are already
 tall so I've staked them with bamboo canes and tied them with soft 
natural garden twine.
My mother grew beauties in her garden, the large dinner plate
versions. . . . . they were a childhood favorite.

"She is surrounded by stalks of dahlias, orange and yellow and pale
 red, with leaves so big you could write your life story on each one.  
She looks like a flower in the garden, just like her mother said."

Alice Hoffman ~ American Author 


Memorial Day weekend is here and our local weather forecast looks
 good for outdoor activities and cookouts.  Do remember the real meaning
 of this holiday though.

To all my British family and friends, may the upcoming Jubilee celebration
be special.  We will miss it by a few days. . . . . .but won't miss the 
huge crowds.
This year Her Majesty The Queen became the first British Monarch to
 celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the
 people..............God Save Our Queen.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Glorious Garden Days -

First I must just say that nothing we can write will take away from the
 horrific happening in Texas this week. Our hearts are heavy with grief, 
broken from sorrow, and full of great sadness for so many families and
 friends of the departed little children, their teachers and others still
 fighting to survive their injuries. Home and school is where we always
 hoped our children would be safe. Sadly, far too many times now, we
 have come to realize there really is nowhere completely safe
 for anyone.

  This week has been another busy time in the garden, much to do before
we go overseas. I'm just sharing a few photos here after some heavy rain
early in the week followed by cloudy, cooler days which have made such
a huge difference in growth of flowering plants and shrubs.
Note the late Easter lilies are now in bloom and the gardenia's perfume is
filling the air. Clematis, rhododendron, roses, hosta, and my favorite
blue hydrangeas are blooming and adding color to all that greenery!

Yesterday we mulched the front beds. Note the new, quite large and
 heavy, stone rabbits flopped by the bird bath - recent fun gift from a friend.
The waiting empty pots will be planted up with Summer herbs when we
 return from England, just too much work to expect someone to water them
 daily if it's stifling hot whilst we're away!

My bout with food poisoning is hopefully over after 11 days!  Eating is still
 requiring care and hesitancy when deciding what to add back into my diet.
  Have to say, bland steamed white rice has become a delicacy. . . . . . . who 
would have thought that possible!

Stay well. Enjoy nature. Be grateful. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Holding my breath!


I spoke too soon in my last post!
No sooner was I humming merrily about how I was back
 in the saddle, I fell off the horse and spent this weekend dealing
 with the food poisoning for another 48 hours. 
This required sticking with the BRAT diet and losing another
 1.5 lbs from near starvation. I never knew how enjoyable
 a bowl of freshly steamed plain white rice could be, or a slice of
toast with no butter, marmalade. . . . .or anything else!
I also slept more than usual - going to bed early was easier
than staying up hungry!

So, not quite back 'in the pink' of health but getting there slowly.

Old Town, Alexandria waterfront when the sun came out.

Somehow, although nauseated, I managed to walk through IKEA at
 Potomac Mills, Virginia during a quick stop on the way home to Raleigh.

Arriving back to a garden gone mad in just four days.
The 'weekend from hell' made me even more grateful for my
home and garden.


Quick notes, stuff and such: I have so much to do this week.

  • My "Chippy" chipmunk appeared this morning, first time since last Fall
  • Hydrangeas are in blue bloom, must water daily as it's so hot
  • Daylilies budding early
  • Mosquitoes have arrived and are biting, grrrrr!
  • Boston ivy running rampant in back yard
  • Peonies over, sad but they were lovely for a while
  • Meeting friend for a Bon Voyage tea today - she's off to Paris next week
  • My baby brother in France is 70 today, "Happy Birthday John" 
  • Choosing clothes to pack for England - always a hard job
  • Planning to travel light - but never do!
  • However, no hair dryer, straightener or camera (using iPhone) being packed this time - that helps
  • Short wash and go haircuts are the best for travel 
  • Should I take a sunhat - of course, and I have a packable one
  • Losing over 7 lbs feels really good but doing it this way wasn't fun
  • Just discovered COVID test required to come back to US costs £100 each!
  • Need a root canal soon, dentist discovered a problem when cleaning, darn it!
  • This morning I made plain oatmeal and had a teeny tiny cup of coffee, first in a week, fingers crossed!

Friday, May 20, 2022

Back in the saddle!

I've slept so much since coming home that I've really not taken in what's
 happened in the garden while away for just four days!
The trees are fully out.  Shrubs are much larger, and the undergrowth - ivy
 of several types, wild ginger with its white flowers, and other nameless
 greenery, has run rampant.  
The climbing roses climbed higher on the back fence along with jasmine
 and honeysuckle, and Boston ivy and more jasmine are smothering the
 side fence - perfume is heavy and lovely. 
However, I do wonder why I planted those cute little ivy plants years
 back, along with the wild ginger, both now so prolific and hard to control.
Bob moans about them every year when he heads out to attack them
with shears and brute strength when pulling out the yards of ivy.

On a sad note - something visited the finch nest in the hanging basket on
 the porch whilst we were away. It's completely empty, all four newly laid
 eggs gone, no sign of anything remaining which makes me think that
perhaps the large black snake is around again. . . . . . . that makes
 me nervous!

Shadows and light. . . . . . . .as the sun glares down.

Unbelievably hot temperatures today - just reached 96F
 here at 2:30 pm and will continue in the 90's throughout
 the weekend. Have the garden hoses at the ready as I'm sure
my outdoor time will be taken up watering early each day, and
cooling off in the gazebo in a caftan, sandals with a cool glass 
  in the evenings. Thankfully I'm feeling back to normal but will
stay on the BRAT diet one more day just to be sure! 

Enjoy your weekend and thanks so much to everyone who 
wished me well again. 
Whilst pondering life in the gazebo, or perhaps inside in the
a/c, I will get busy with preparations to travel again.
Yes, after so long and so many cancelations due to COVID,
we plan to take flight in two weeks time and will, at long last,
be heading across the pond to England to visit my family and 
friends. Haven't seen them in 3 years, the longest time I've 
spent away from home in almost 60 years!
Fingers are crossed that hopefully it will work out.

My "home sweet home"

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Traveling woes!


Visiting a large city one chooses good restaurants where enjoyable
 food in a comfortable setting is expected.
Sadly, we must have picked a bad one along the way this time and
I ended up with food poisoning!  Bob and I never ordered the same 
items and he was fine. 
Sunday I felt 'off', Monday very sick, and Tuesday so ill I just
longed to get home. The drive was awful and when we drove
into our driveway I headed straight for the house while Bob
unpacked the car. I drank lots of water, showered and slept for hours. 
The scale showed I had lost 6 pounds since leaving home on Friday! 
Yesterday I started on the BRAT diet, recommended for getting one's
 digestive system back on track - 48 hours of just bananas, rice, 
applesauce and dry toast.

Just had breakfast - banana and unsweetened applesauce.
no coffee, but a cup of decaf tea.

Still feel weak, tired and fuzzy but hoping another day and I'll
be much better.
New pretty blue bowls - a 4-piece set found at IKEA.

Friday, May 13, 2022

On the road again!

Leaving you with a few photos taken this week as we head north
 to Washington D.C. and Virginia for a few days. . . . . . and 
a change of scenery.  Weather forecast somewhat disappointing
for the weekend - packing a rain jacket and pair of short 
Chelsea boots and I think they'll be worn a lot!
May is a strange month with such changeable weather.

Yes, the finches managed to quickly build a nest and lay eggs despite
 us shooing them off the hanging basket, smart little feathered friends! 
There were actually four this morning when I took a peek.

Managed to cut several peonies to enjoy in the house this week -
a few remaining in the garden but will be gone soon. . . . . . .if only the
gorgeous blooms would last longer!

 The little fountain actually worked when I plugged it in. Each year I wonder if 
it's going to give up, it's so old now!  If it keeps going I feel we will too!

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A posy is enough -

Peonies are beautiful. Hanging their heavily petalled heads in the garden
their deep green leaves often become a resting place, and a piece of twirled
 garden twine is sometimes necessary to stop them from toppling over.  

To catch their astounding, heady fragrance, at least one must be cut,
brought indoors, and set in a tiny vase of fresh water to perfume 
a room. Mine is in the dining room - cut as my gift to myself, along
 with a few roses and honeysuckle.

The sun forsook us on Sunday leaving heavy cloud cover but no rain,
 just very chilly and rather grey. Somewhat unusual for Mother's Day which
often is hot and from what I recall always sunny.

It was still a special day though and at last I was able to go to
the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. It was truly amazing!  Attending
with granddaughter Jasmin made it extra special as we had visited Arles, 
Provence together several years ago so this brought back many happy
 memories of that time in France.

Another busy week here as we will be taking a trip out of town.
Enjoy your week - I'll see you later.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mother's Day -

Wishing you a lovely day. . . . . . . . and recalling
 with love mothers no longer here to be celebrated in
 person, but always remembered, such as my own.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Pretty in Pink + Wildlife!

This has been another crazy, far too busy week. 
The garden took up a lot of time.
Household things went wrong and kept us on our toes.
Appointments had to be kept.
Hair cut - shorter as weather heating up.
Purchased an iPhone 13 Pro Max, love it.
Food shopping and cooking for company.
Cat sitting again for my neighbor.

I'm hoping for a weekend where I can just sit a while, gather my senses
 and make plans for what looks like an even more hectic week ahead as we
will be taking a little trip.

I'm going to Van Gogh The Immersive Experience on
 Mother's Day with granddaughter Jasmin.
We love Van Gogh's work and I visited his last home in Auvers-sur-Oise
 at the Auberge Ravoux (click to read and view photos from that visit.)
 Also took Jasmin to Arles, Provence several years ago where we visited
 his yellow house, climbed the stairs to his bedroom, and other locations
 where he painted his remarkable canvasses.

"Glance up at the glimmering heavens of The Starry 
Night, admire the Almond Blossoms bursting into flower. 
Take a step into the world of Van Gogh's most iconic
 works of art and experience what it is to be inside a painting!"

Beside the pink roses, the pink peonies have also bloomed this week and
 many other plants and shrubs are filling out with lush leaves and buds.

Our weather has been fine with hot days reaching almost 90F but low humidity, 
and no mosquitoes yet which was great for working outside.  This will change
 soon of course and later today bad weather is expected with possible severe storms . . . . . .

. . . . . . .hopefully not upsetting my little baby bunny.
I prepared him for rain yesterday by accidentally watering him with
the garden hose!

Speaking of arriving wildlife. . . . . I also have Charlie gecko
 back on the front porch which makes me think he hibernated 
nearby all winter.
He was bright green before jumping on my new chair cushion where
he immediately changed to brown to blend in, wonderful camouflage!

Yes, all is very green here. This week I also cleaned out the potting shed
 with a little help.  As mentioned before, April and May are beautiful months
 in this part of America and gardening keeps us so busy.

Enjoy your Mother's Day weekend.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Beautiful May morning -

I don't know why Blogger plays around with us just when all is
 running smoothly.
I haven't been able post here for a week and quite honestly,
 thought my poor little blog had died and gone wherever old blogs go!
Now it's back, I'm able to post, however commenting formats on
 other blogs seems to have changed and I'm not certain if 
comments I've left have ever published.
So, if you're wondering where I've been here's at least a few pix 
showing I'm mostly at home, working nonstop on house and garden
stuff. . . . . . always so much to do once Spring arrives and Nature goes
 berserk in the garden.
 In between I've been my daughter's taxi service several times a week
 for a month to get her to PT and doctor appts. Following a big shoulder
 surgery she was unable to drive, thankfully she now is permitted to
 get behind the wheel again.

The garden is looking awesome and we are getting kind compliments 
from passersby and neighbors.
Above is the back where roses, jasmine, honeysuckle are vigorously 
clambering and blooming. . . . . . . the evening perfume is especially 

Mowing days come around quickly now!

Peonies already budding - hoping to have showtime soon!

Snippets from the garden.

New cushions for the porch chairs - all got a good wash 
this weekend when I removed everything to the lawn and got busy
 with the garden hose.  The pollen is just about over at long last.

Gentle rain last night washed everything else - a clean start to another
 busy week. April and May are the loveliest, and busiest, months
 for gardening here in the southeast US. . . . before the intense heat 
and humidity hit and things start to require constant watering to
 keep growing and remain green.

Hope your week will be great.