Sunday, March 24, 2024

Through the garden gate.........

. . . . . . . on the first days of Spring.

Spring has arrived, its beauty already brightening up the landscape.   

This Magnolia liliflora in the garden by the gate was planted 16 years ago when quite small, just 18" in its garden center pot. It's now about 20 feet tall. A moderately fast grower until about 20 years of age, it should top out around 25 feet with a 20 ft. spread. One of the earliest multi-stemmed flowering trees in the USA, it blooms from late winter and is a beautiful first indicator of spring, with flowers opening before the green leaves appear. . . . . . .I think you will agree it's very lovely.

The trumpet vine I've left on the arbor over winter as it supports a plethora of pollinators and wildlife, including hummingirds. It looks healthy and is making preparations to bloom soon, however, being such a vigorous plant, it will need to be cut back to the ground next fall to keep it in check.........and allow a touch up paint job on the woodwork. The John Cabot climbing rose is making its way to the top of the arch also, despite pruning it back some weeks ago. I will let it do its thing this spring as it is a beautiful hardy rose.

The backyard drainage issue was worked on a couple of weeks back and hopefully will correct the water runoff during heavy rains. Water rushes under the fence from the neighbor above whose back yard slopes down. I've just found a photo taken at Easter 2001 when the fence, also the potting shed, were both installed. Guess they've done well for 23 years. . . . . . and there's Bob, still with hair (shhh!!!!) with granddaughter Jasmin who's now 27. Where did all those years go?

Cool, rainy days are welcomed in springtime. I embrace them knowing that the torrid heat and humidity we must learn to live with in this area are not far behind. 
The gazebo, my favorite spot once mosquitoes arrive, well actually at any time, still stands. Its cedar 'bones' quite sturdy although the roofing shakes may have to be replaced some day - no leaks but they are well-chewed by squirrels.
The deck will be getting a makeover come May - when our builder is scheduled! The 20 year old Brazilian hardwood, Ipe, showing age, will be replaced by lower maintenance Trex composite deck boards, steps and metal railings that will hold up better and give a refreshing new look. I've already purchased a new patio umbrella, previous one broke off in a bad storm recently, so will put that up soon.

As we know, if maintaining a garden, no matter the size, the upkeep is never ending as outdoor structures can never really be a hundred percent weather resistant!  I won't even get into too tall, aging trees and massive shrubs. . . . . . that's another 'through the garden gate' story for later.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Family and the Secretary ~

A Saturday morning memoir ~

Those days are gone. My life is different now. I miss much and managed to do much more in times gone by. I'm not a fan of aging. I wish I had more energy, that my legs and arms were stronger, my feet more sure and comfy where planted. My memory though still good doesn't always give me a word immediately. Names are sometimes forgotten. I look things up but I don't ask Siri. 

I sleep upstairs in my 'room with a view' and let my better half enjoy the master bedroom downstairs. I have to have the light on and read for a while in bed or I can't fall asleep. He falls asleep when his head hits the pillow, snores and changes position a lot. I never seem to move once I'm sleeping soundly. I wake up with hair flattened on the same side every morning. I like my bed and always say "goodnight" to my long gone, much missed Mum. I recall in her later years, long after my Dad died, when she told me snuggling into her bed was the best part of her day. She lived to be 91. She looks down on me from the photos on the wall, a child with her siblings in one, age 21 in another, and as a bridesmaid - and the dressmaker of all four gowns - at a sister's wedding in another. Sepia photos of children in lace up boots. Girls with hair bows, a boy in short trousers, grandmother holding her second set of twins. Five children in four years! The historic part of my maternal English family. I remember them all and feel their absence every day.

The antique secretary once belonged to a North Carolina country doctor. The piece is sturdy, weighs a ton, probably mahogany, the paint was done prior to my purchase from SuzAnna's Antiques. I love it and will never part with it. It's the first thing I see when I wake each morning. It holds my collection of favorite books and a mishmash of items. I change or move around things on the shelves and padded bulletin boards I made. I store paper goods, pieces of my life. . . .and secrets inside.

In earlier days, which really weren't that long ago, I so enjoyed what friends and I called 'treasure hunting' - mostly shopping and collecting vintage and some true antiques. Come Spring I was anxious to get going with gathering new pieces for my booth at SuzAnna's Antiques. I shared a fun space with my dear friend Vanessa. We loved those special days, buying, displaying and selling, and the camaraderie of the other dealers.  

~ SuzAnna's Booth 2011 ~
I still have several items shown here in my home 

Today I came across an old blog post about those days. It included this list I made in March 2011 -

SuzAnna's Antiques is really warming up now that Spring is here................soon I'll share more pics of the treasures available........meanwhile I'm off to a huge neighborhood yard sale this morning. 
My shopping hunting list for my booth includes ~
  • Chandeliers for glitter and glamour - French would be best
  • Small furniture items in need of love and new homes
  • Ironstone Platters, must be crazed, cracks add character
  • Antique silver flatware/trays - unpolished of course
  • Old beautiful linens for tables and beds 
  • Shells, coral, barnacles - for seaside decor
  • Old bound books - fun to read and play with
..............and whatever else catches my eye. 

This Saturday morning is dull. It rained in the night and there's no sun yet to dry things up. But no snow as in the northeast. That said, the sun has just popped out which always helps when life seems somewhat downhearted. Bob's eye surgery Tuesday went well however he does not have restored clear vision yet!  We are hoping this will improve with time. . . . . . .we are great believers in healing takes time.

~ Pieces of the past ~