Friday, March 31, 2023

We're "in bloom" down south!

One outdoor day was missed due to rain and being busy with other things, but yesterday I was out "beating the bounds" and overwhelmed by the early blooming garden. Our mild winter with no snow or damaging ice storms means the garden is ahead of schedule. I was really surprised when I rounded the house to the side gate arbor to find the 'trumpet vine' covered in blooms!  I had cut this busy clambering member of the crossvine family Bignonia capreolata 'Tangerine Beauty'  down to the ground just before Christmas!  We always wind outdoor lights around the structure and many were no longer working. To remove the old ones and add replacements I needed to get the vine off!  

On looking up this vine online I was shocked to see the price of a rather small one gallon potted one is $50.00 - however I do know it will never die or stop growing so one wouldn't be throwing money away. Mine was planted about 20 years ago, when the arbor was constructed. It has been cut back constantly as it has a propensity to travel. . . . . . . .all over the garden, even up the house which I don't want so I cut off those babies when I see them heading that way.

Tangerine Beauty Crossvine

"A colorful staple for trellises, archways, fences and arbors, the Tangerine Beauty Crossvine boasts showy, bright orange-yellow flowers that last from spring through fall. Plus, it’s more low-maintenance than other vine varieties, clinging easily to whatever area you choose in your landscape with blankets of green foliage and bright blooms. It’s vigorous, strong and fast-growing."

"The Tangerine Beauty thrives wherever it’s located, even on the ground – especially since it’s highly resistant to serious insect and disease problems. Its adaptability is second to none, this semi-evergreen vine tolerates heavy shade, poor soils and cold winters."

Bags of mulch awaiting and calling to us!
Spanish bluebells opening, no leaves appear to have been nibbled
 by the deer population this year, however.................
..........guess who arrived in the back garden last evening, a grey fox!

Some of you will recall we had foxes with litters of five in our garden
 for several years. Being this is the time (March/April) for birthing I'm
 hoping this was a mom perhaps looking for a home, and we may see
 her family soon. Favorite places for hiding the babies previously were
 under the potting shed and once under the gazebo, both easy to
 view from our kitchen and living room windows. 

Early blooming azaleas - many more to come and perhaps opening
 over the weekend with some light rain in the forecast.
I will share them later.

Last but not least, my favorite hosta popped through this week and
 is growing fast and unfurling those beautiful leaves. I'm hoping the
 deer, or other hungry nibblers, don't discover it!

Have a great weekend. . . . . . north, south, east or west!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Lovely Season -

Keeping busy preparing for Easter as springtime envelopes the landscape. Bluebells are ringing........narcissi perfume the air in that rare, brief loveliness of the last cool days before the intense heat arrives here in the southeast.

Not quite 'hopping' along as the influx of rabbits seem to be doing, but enjoying the 
days leading up to Easter as all around the garden bursts forth with fresh new
 color and loveliness.  Staying busy meeting up in person with friends 
'misplaced' over the years for one reason or another - springtime often brings
 that, fresh new starts after Winter hibernation. I'll be back soon to share
 azaleas, garden birds. . . . . . . and some travel plans for this year!

Monday, March 20, 2023

SPRING is here!


"Spring drew on. . . . and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps."        ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre ~

Weekend flowers & bunnies 

Black-capped chickadee on front porch 

Grey squirrel on bird bath - Spanish bluebell leaves

If 'Hope" traversed my garden last night she would have perhaps been scared away by 'ghosts!'  Such a very cold night was forecast, 28F.  Concern for plants and shrubs, even the leafing trees, was high. At dusk we went out and covered the hydrangeas in front of the porch, and the peonies which are already showing growth. I keep old shower curtain liners handy for this thankfully infrequent job, they seem to do well . . . . but do appear as ghostly white mounds in the night garden! I whipped them off this morning after the sun had warmed us up above freezing, and thankfully the sun is full and brilliant now and it will soon reach 53F.  One more night of freezing temps and then we'll be over the hump I think. 

Tonight we'll light the last fire. Our hearth served us well as always over winter. Yesterday we started our clean out of the leaves remaining in the front garden beds - we'll be off to purchase mulch soon to freshen them and keep the weeds controlled. As I write the street sweeper truck has driven by - really good to see the cul-de-sac swept clean to welcome the first day of Spring. Wishing you a happy one.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Wearing and eating the green -


 Somewhat of a low key St. Patrick's Day here.
Fighting one's way to the bar in the American version of an Irish pub
is hard enough on a regular day, doing it this evening would likely be an act
of futility . . . . . . especially as it will be raining and any outdoor seating
 for the overflow of patrons unpleasant. 
Instead, I made my usual pistachio muffins. They are also perfect
to bake for Easter.

If you would like the easy recipe click below - 
where I shared my version before and readers tried and liked.

Sending you good wishes for a fun St. Patrick's Day.
I'm off to don a greenish sweater and my only emeralds. They are set in a
lovely pair of silver earrings, crafted by an English jeweler in my brother's
 French village, far from Ireland, a country we truly love and hope
 to visit again  . . . . .  and where Bob will continue the ancestry search for
 his paternal grandfather's family from County Kerry.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Procrastination. . . . getting tasks done!

Happy tea time to my lovely friend Marilyn - an expert on teas from
 around the world -  who celebrates her birthday today.

A while to go before Easter but getting ready to do just a little decorating.
After all, I have rabbits, eggs, assorted bits and bobs which only come out to play at Easter. The cottage needs a good Spring clean but not until we cease lighting the fire - burning wood makes such a lot of dust. Once this cold spell is over, and the chocolate eggs are a sweet memory, cleaning will be done, along with gardening, both jobs requiring a lot of time and bending . . . . . and I am procrastinating.

I admit to becoming rather lethargic since the start of the year. Procrastination was never really on the list of my temperament traits, well not that I can remember. I've always been a busy person who completed what I started. Temperament refers to personality traits that determine how someone reacts to the world.Quiet or rambunctious? Easygoing or apprehensive? The traits of temperament are mostly innate, we are born with them, but they can also be influenced by an individual's family, culture or life's experiences.There is no right or wrong temperament—we are all unique in our style of thinking and interacting with the world.

I read an article about making one's daily work - and yes, even we retirees seem to have a lot to do - much more complicated and busier that it should be. If you feel you are procrastinating and having difficulty taking action, first sit down and do some deep breathing. Once relaxed, focus your thoughts on what's the most important thing requiring attention today and choose that one task. Get going on that task, perhaps telling yourself you'll just work on it for a few minutes. The good thing is you will most likely keep going much longer once started, you may even complete the entire task and can pat yourself on the back!

As you might have realized, the task for me today, after the other tasks of 
 making soup and baking St. Patrick's Day pistachio green muffins. . . . . .
. . . . . . . .was writing this blog post. 
Now, as I close here, I feel really good.

Of course I did do other things today including -
Pulling weeds along the driveway
Feeding and watering the neighbor's cat 
Writing e-mails
Rearranging flowers
Cleaning out the freezer
Making supper - off to do that right now

If you're up north in New England and digging out my thoughts
 are with you, especially those of you who received up to 35 inches
of new snow yesterday. Dear Jeanne in New Hampshire, we are
thinking of you . . . . . take care, leave that task to someone with a plow!

Monday, March 13, 2023

March madness!

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: 
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."


Saturday was a beautiful day and really felt like spring had settled in. . . . . 

. . . . . . but Mother Nature, often fickle, surprised us early Sunday morning
 with the first, and probably only, light fall of snow of winter '22-'23.  
It was fun watching the flakes fall for about 30 minutes.
The birds arrived and we scattered extra seed along the porch rail and
 on the ground. It was all over quickly, the remainder of the day doused
 with a dreary, cold drizzle.
Our winter in this area is now officially the third warmest ever according to
records. I had missed snow and really cold days, however have to admit it
was enjoyable not having to deal with bad weather.

I started this post a few days back mainly to share the weekend flowers 
brought home on Friday, however was distracted by other happenings. . . .the
 story of my life lately. 
Easter decor needs to be attended to - the white rabbits are out of the attic 
waiting patiently in their boxes. I will get onto that job this week . . . . . following
 a few bits of green going up for St. Patrick's Day of course!
 The cute fuzzy green bunny was a gift from granddaughter Jasmin last
 week. I added a couple of new felted bunnies - one shown here - 'acquired'
at the lovely shop named ACQUISITIONS where I swoon each time
 I set foot through the doorway.

Shop, showroom and warehouse ~
Raleigh, North Carolina

I'll be sharing more on this awesome shop soon.
Have a fantastic week wherever you hang your Easter Bonnet . . . . 
or cold weather beanie!

Monday, March 6, 2023

Pink Tones, Blue Skies and Moonlight -

Yesterday the sky was an incredible blue - what we call Carolina Blue in
 North Carolina. Cloudless, no wind, brilliant sunshine, and by mid-afternoon 
the perfect, for me, temperature of 70F. I sat on the porch just to breathe
in the air. It felt hot through my too heavy clothes. Wandered the garden
 taking photos of new shoots poking up, a few blossoms already on
 the azaleas, leaves unfurling on the hydrangeas, tiny frilled buds on
 the fig and Japanese maple trees. 
Thoughts of a damaging frost come to mind these early pre-spring days.
 It will get chilly at night, down to around freezing on Wednesday and 
Thursday - fingers will be crossed.
Please be kind to our gardens Mother Nature.

........... and then last evening, as the sun went down, the bright moon
was framed in the branches of an oak tree, lighting the magnolia's
pink blossoms, turning the sky to different shades of blue.
A perfect afternoon became an even more perfect early evening.

We are all like the bright moon; we still have our darker side.
Khalil Gibran

Friday, March 3, 2023

My pre-Spring garden today -

Thankfully the light rain showers, with very little wind, of yesterday
 and early this morning helped rather than hindered the garden blooms.
So, sharing many of the current colorful blooms outside the windows today,
all of which are definitely ahead of recent years when our winters were
 much colder than this one.

Thanks so much for all the generous comments on my previous post about 
reaching my sixteenth anniversary of starting my blog.
You are the best of friends.

Hugs - and have a great weekend.