Friday, April 30, 2010

More from the garden...

I am a bit worn out today and haven't tackled the garden like I had wanted to. There are still more hostas to divide and spread around. My hostas are huge, as you will see in a few minutes. They are the star of the summer garden. As you may have noticed, there are a lot of mature trees on my property. Most of the yard is covered by varying degrees of shade, so hostas do very well here. I have collected several varieties, but there are over 300 out there. I find that kind of diversity in one species amazing.

All images today are from the back yard. My gardening philosophy is based on the concept of creating garden "rooms" to divide the space and create some intimacy. One of the best books on this is by P. Allen Smith, and is called My Garden Home. It is a wonderful reference and a feast for the eyes.

So here is where we left off yesterday. This is the entry from the side (secret) garden to the back yard. I used the existing trees to help define the rooms. All flower beds, except the large center one in back, were planted around the trees. Due to the deep shade here, grass is sparse.

Looking west toward the house. They cypress tree (on your left) helps define the patio area. Beds curve around the foundation of the house.

Here is a view looking back toward the secret garden. This area is so large, I add a few more perennials each year, but mostly it is filled with wildlings.

This is what you see when entering the back yard and turning right toward the house. The sunroom is on the left. The patio is also on the left, though out of this picture.

View from the patio looking out across the yard. We have no direct neighbors to the south, just a low field, so it feels private out on the patio.

From the western edge of the yard looking across the main room, bordered by 2 large flower beds.

Another young clematis striving upward.

Newer plantings of hosta 'francee williams'. This one gets quite large in time.

A drift of Hosta 'gold standard' along the edge of a bed. This produces incredibly sweet smelling white flower stalks in August and spreads readily. This is one of the varieties that I have been dividing and moving.

Hosta 'hyacintha' is one of the smaller blue-ish varieties.

This is one of the dwarf varieties whose name I forgot. Its margins are yellow.

Hosta 'albomarginata' is the common white tipped hosta.

A tiny treasure nestled among the foliage.
I hope this has not been disappointing to you. Looking at these pictures today, I am feeling a bit sheepish. My thought are racing with criticisms : "The grass is too patchy. The edges of the beds not clearly enough defined (something I have been working on). I should have used the weed whacker before taking all these pictures. I should have staged the patio." As with any other project I have, this one, too, is on-going. It certainly keeps me busy and fulfilled, imperfections and all. As new developments arise (like the blooming of the roses), I will keep you posted. Thank you for indulging me!
Until next time...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garden vignettes

For the past two days, I have spent most of my waking hours in the garden. My hands ache from all the weed pulling and edging around the beds. There are 10 flower beds in my yard, so the chores never end! I am hosting a partial tour of the garden today (with more to come tomorrow). Please join me as I point out the highlights and current attractions of my garden.

Here we are outside the front fence looking in.

Celi is waiting at the gate. She just loves company (sometimes she loves them too much)! A grapevine cut from the woods forms an arbor over the gate. I recently planted a pink and white clematis to twine around it.

Tea light lanterns hang from the grapevine to welcome guests at night. More lanterns grace the porch.

The fledgling clematis is beginning its ascent.

A close up of the planting in the front bed shows daylilies, roses, irises, and ribbon grass.

Peach and burgundy irises and chives are reaching their peak. Also visible are shasta daisies, blazing stars, daylilies, and some self-seeded virginia creeper.
Detail of bearded iris.

View from the front porch. Beyond the little drive lies an acre lawn and our woods, barely visible in the background.

The gate at the side garden. A bank of thriving 'patriot' hostas graces the base of an ash tree.

The east side patio. A sprawling ash holds court behind the sitting area. Winter creeper and virginia creeper cover its dual trunks.

Random pretties upon an rustic table.

From the back yard looking toward the sitting area. The area is bordered by a semicircle of yew bushes that one day will grow together to enclose the space. It will be my very own secret garden!

Another clematis in the back yard. This color is just gorgeous and the blooms are several inches wide.

Well ladies, that is it for today. I hope you have enjoyed the tour. Stay tuned for more from my garden, coming soon.
Until next time...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A sad day

Ryan Hammett: 10/31/89-4/28/08
Today is the second anniversary of the death of my son Ryan. He was 18 when he took his own life. After much turmoil, he is at last at peace. I miss him dearly and hope you will permit me this occasion to mourn his passing again. Two years later, this poem by W.H. Auden still cuts to the heart of my grief.

Stop all the clocks,
cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking
with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos
and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin,
let the mourners come.
Let the aeroplanes circle
moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky
the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks
of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen
wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South,
my East and West,
My working week
and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight,
my talk, my song;
I thought that love
would last for ever:
I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now:
put out every one;
Pack up the moon
and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean
and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever
come to any good.

-W.H. Auden (1907-1973)

In my grief, I made several pieces of art to express the loss and keep me connected to Ryan. The one above is called "The Ties That Bind." It is a mixed media piece using bits of Ryan's clothing and things I found when cleaning out his bedroom. He often asked me to sew patches on his jeans and jackets, so it seemed appropos that I would take to that task once again for his sake.

This corner of my bedroom, the one I have never shown you, is an altar to Ryan and to everyone else whom I have lost. There are bits of my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my grandfather assembled here. If you are a feng shui practitioner, this might mean something to you; it is in the family tradition sector of the ba-gua.

The hand-quilted piece is called "Seeping" and was made to illustrate the way awareness of death drips slowly into one's consciuosness. It was made with a pair of Ryan's pants appliqued on silk and burlap. The dried flowers are from his memorial service.

This is the most recent piece I made using an old box and found objects along with some photos, acrylic paint, wire, and silk organza. I have not yet named it.

Art making has been a wonderful outlet for processing feelings. This blog was created as a way of distracting myself and surrounding myself with beauty, to balance out the darkness that comes at times. And so all of you who visit and leave comments have become a part of my healing. I am so grateful for your presence in my life. Thank you for being with me on my journey. Peace and love to you all today.

Until next tme...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fern love

Ferns have always been a source of delight for me. Perhaps it is their steadfast greenness or the filigree of their fronds or maybe even the company they keep (hostas, astilbes). They also thrive in the relative coolness of deep shade, a place I seek out in the stifling summer heat. Whatever the reason, ferns bring me joy. I am convinced that a ferny glade is where colonies of fairies dwell.

As you may know by now, I have a propensity for taking natural motifs and using them in my decorating schemes. My bedroom is a place where the fern reigns as queen among the linens. Two years ago I was inspired by an issue of Country Home to paint my old desk and assemble a corner that pays homage to this primitive, but elegant, form of plant life. Ferns were widespread when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They evolved along with cycads (like palms) and gymnosperms (like gingkos) eons ahead of flowering plants.

The desk is painted a greyish cream, called "urban putty", from Sherwin Williams. I drew and cut stencils out of cardboard, which I then painted on with artist acrylic paints. The desk is serving as a bedside table in this small room.

Fronds picked from the garden this morning and pressed into floating frames continue the theme.

A chair from the garden brings more of the outdoors in.

A close up of some of my other favorite things--- rocks and balls of string.

Detail of drawer fronts.

Bamboo shades and simple curtains blend with the natural elements.

The top of the bookcase holds more of the same... glass, natural objects, and ferns.

I find all the textures and colors and nature-inspired accents to be quite restful, making them perfect for a bedroom.

Here is the inspiration for my desk from April 2008 Country Home magazine. I would love to have wicker covered bottles like the ones shown here to use as vases or even just to hang on the wall.

Another image from that article on using ferns in decorating. I had been pressing plants long before seeing this article. That was a skill I mastered back in my days as a botany student. Pale greens and white are a classic combination any time of the year.

Wishing you a joyful spring day, filled with thoughts as green and tender as an unfurling frond.

Until next time...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Sunday

image: elle decor france

Wishing you the sweetest of days as you draw the weekend to a close and prepare for the coming week.

Until next time...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Enchanting, romantic bedrooms

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been enchanted with canopied beds. Back then it was little rosebud prints against a white background that really did it for me. Mine was ruffled and printed with blue roses. Naturally, my style has grown up along with me. These days I prefer simple lengths of gauzy mosquito netting or sheer voile in the palest of shades. They seem to float above the bed, giving the illusion that the bed might just drift off on a passing cloud or sail on the breeze to far-off lands and distant times. In my dreams, the bed always has a veil draped over it.

There is a hint of mystery associated with a canopy, along with a sense of safe enclosure from the outside world. All one's cares are left at the bedroom's threshhold. With swaths of fabric to engulf the sleeper, the bed becomes a world unto itself.

Come with me and let your imagination soar. These images from Marie Claire Maison will leave you spellbound.

Notice how sweetly the light is filtered here.

This bed becomes completely enclosed by its canopy. Letting down the flap would be a pleasurable part of my bedtime ritual.

I could imagine waking gently in this room to the streaming sunlight and a creamy cocoon around me.
I like that the ornate bed in this opulent room is quite simply dressed.

The minimalist approach can still be cozy and friendly, as seen here.

As I retire for the night, I will keep these bedrooms in my mind's eye, ensuring myself the sweetest of dreams. Wishing you a blissful night.

Until next time...



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