Friday, October 31, 2008

November starts tomorrow

Well, here it is another month gone,
with November starting tomorrow.
Where has this year gone to?

We had cold temps this week, in the high 40's,
feeling like it was in the low 40's with the windchill factor.
No frost for us though, like some of you have had.

Here are a couple of frosty pictures
from the beginning of December last year.

Louis Phillipe is the name of the rose.

* * * * * *


November is a spinner

Spinning in the mist,

Weaving such a lovely web

Of gold and amethyst.

In among the shadows

She pins till close of day,

Then quietly she folds her hands

And puts her work away.

Margaret Rose

* * * * * *

Enjoy getting ready for the holiday season.

Try not to stress over things.

Live each day with love, laughter and as much grace and hope as possible.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Going With the Flow

Well, here it is the end of today. It was a gray, damp, dreary day for the most part. Then the sun came out and the skies cleared. The breeze picked up and it feels cooler than it did yesterday, which felt like summer again. I had thought I was going to working in my potting area, but woke up with a sore throat and aching all over, so decided to just more or less take it easy indoors. I did go out to water a plant that needed a good drink, and to my delight saw three Homere blooms, so picked them and brought them indoors. Their scent and color sweetly lifting my spirits.

Yesterday was three years since Wilma blasted over us. We lost our power around 11 p.m. the night before she hit and it wasn't restored until 13 days later. She hit the coast of FL on the west side as a cat. 3 with winds 120 mph. She was a huge hurricane and she blasted us from the evening before until around 2 p.m. the next day. We had sustained winds of 110 mph with higher gusts. We even had a small tornado pass right over head and it sounded just like they say, a freight train. We had gone through Frances and Jeanne the year before, being on the edge of the eye with both, this time we went through the eye. We went out in the eye to get some tarp up over our shed that had a pine come down into it. Right as DH was finishing I said hurry, here comes the back half, you could sense the change coming. We no sooner got indoors that the winds started again with a fury and the back half was worse that the front half. I was terrified. But, the storm passed, our little cottage survived and when we went outside to start taking care of things we had to come back in for flannel shirts as the temp had dropped about 30 or more degrees and was now 58. We basically camped out for the next two weeks as did a lot of FL, some folks for even longer while they waited for power to come back on.

Here's the shed with the tree in it. Our back neighbor said she watched the tree going back and forth in the winds until it just went into the shed. When DH started cutting off the top limbs of tree and parts of the trunk at the top, the tree rose up out of the shed. We left part of it and used it for support for one end of an awning that we put up on the east side of shed, after DH restored it.

After restoration.

This next picture is inside the area.
Stainless steel sink we found curb-side shopping when a restaurant was remodeling.
It is 10 1/2 ft. long by about 24" deep.
DH made braces underneath to hold it up.
You can see a garden window that I use
for a mini greenhouse for starting seeds.

Here is a close up view.
The wrought iron leaf thing on the wall is a wall planter that holds pots. We found this on the next block curbside with a pile of stuff left from a yard sale they had had.
I set two bird houses on two of the pot holders. All the bird houses were made by DH.
They all lost their tree homes.
The round piece is a French table top made up of pieces of bamboo. A friend who has an antique shop asked me if I wanted it as they were just going to throw it away. The base had a lot of termite damage, but the top was fine, just some peeling paint.

That's it for going with the flow. We don't know what each day may bring.
Hopefully we learn and grow from our experiences.



Life isn't measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the number of moments that take our breath away.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Secret Garden

Here is the shed which faces west into the secret garden.
It looked so naked sitting there after just being plopped down.
I want to put some kind of window in the shed for more light inside

and to be able to see out from inside.
A paned window of some sort.

We may have one in our stash of 'stuff'.

We had the awning and the iron supports in our stash.
Sometimes it does pay to keep some stuff around. : -)

We had a satellite dish at one time but as you will see,
it gets turned into a birdbath, after we no longer used it.

Here the space is a little more grown in.

Here is yet another view looking northeast.

Another view looking east.
We still haven't added the awning yet.

Now the awning is up and blue pea vine and roses are starting to cover it.

We changed the area and made a path go from main garden area
through the iron supports.
You can see the old satellite dish now turned bird bath.
We collected the shells at the beach. DH glued them down all around the edge,
painted the inside black.
The lady is no longer standing up there
as raccoons knocked her over one night and her head and arm got knocked off.

Here is a close up of the door with it's ornamentation,
which was part of a screen door at one time.

This picture is just inside the awning area to the right/south of door.
This is our grotto area.

Below is another view looking north/west.
We put the lattice up to make it more private.

That's it for now.
This gives you an idea of how it looks in our secret garden.
We also have a jacuzzi and an outdoor shower in this secret garden behind our cottage.
That area isn't quite photo worthy yet.

Thanks for looking.



A small garden, accordingly, gives its owner a far greater

opportunity to express himself ...

in a garden any man
may be an artist,

may experiment with all the subtleties or

simplicities of line, mass, color, and composition,

and taste the god-like joys of the creator.

H. G. Dwight, Gardens and Gardening, Atlantic Monthly, 1912

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Space Transformation

This project started the beginning of 2000. It's amazing looking back on pictures, because with time something new comes to be. We took down the old metal shed, ordered a new one getting permits for it and a larger one at the back of the property.

The old metal shed had a thunbergia vine with beautiful blue flowers growing up over it and that I had to dig up and plant somewhere else and it hasn't bloomed since. I am still hopeful though.

This is a picture after the shed is gone.
We also moved the clothesline pole, and the heavy cement base that it sits in.

Here is the new shed. It is 6x8.
The rocks are going to be a border for the garden
and as a deterrent to keep critters from going under the shed.

This is the back side.
You can see that we put an awning out over the door going into shed.
The rocks were left over from drain field work. We used some elsewhere and moved the rest.

You can see the other shed right back of property.
You can also see into the secret garden and the old siding on the house.
DH laid all the rocks. We eventually took out that metal section of fencing.

Here is a picture of the back in 2004.
We made a lattice ceiling and walls and call it a grotto,
where orchids and other plants are growing.

Here's a picture taken in 2004. We changed the color of shutters
when we painted our cottage a plum color, a year or so later.

The next two pictures were taken in 2007.

You can see the door leading into the 'secret' garden.
It is really nice and peaceful back there.

I will post more pictures of the door side of the shed
and some of the secret garden as well in another post.


The home gardener is part scientist, part artist,

part philosopher, part plowman.

He modifies the climate around his home.

John R. Whiting

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good morning everyone.

Finally our weather has turned a little cooler and is not so humid. We both worked outside yesterday on some projects. It just felt so good to be out there, not being blasted by the sun overhead.

Yesterday I even chatted with a relatively new online friend who called from Idaho and it was fun. We talked about crafts, living in small homes and gardening. I am thankful for all the friends made through forums.

This morning I got a newsletter from Terry Hershey. 'He is an inspirational speaker and author who reminds us to slow down and Embrace the Sacred Present.' His web site can be found here:
Terry Hershey

Since I've mentioned decluttering and getting rid of stuff, the following piece from this newsletter seemed right to start off the week.



Sometimes in life we have to become less to be more.

We become whole people, not on the basis of what we accumulate,

but by getting rid of everything that is not really us,

everything false and inauthentic.

Harold Kushner

Saturday, October 18, 2008

American Star Thistle - centaurea americana

C. americana is a pretty annual that grows 5 to 6 feet high. It bears large flowers, 4-5 inches across, in white, pink or purple.

I got seeds in a seed swap last fall for this wonderful plant, and what a treat to see these blooms. I did not know if they would grow down here in our hot and steamy climate, but they did. I started the seeds in the fall and this was my reward come May.

This is also called Basket Flower and it's obvious why.

The actual flower is the plant's highest fulfilment,

and are not
here exclusively for herbaria,

county floras and plant

they are here first of all for delight.

John Ruskin

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sweet Songs of Mockingbirds

Oh what sweet songs the mockingbirds do sing.

Now that the temperature and humidity have dropped somewhat, and the sun is not blasting down from overhead, the neighborhood mockingbirds are singing so much more. It's a sign that the long hot summer is over and we are in store for nice weather for about the next six months or so.

These birds are very territorial so you don't want to get in their space, especially when it's mating season and they have their nests. They are natural pest controllers. They are monogamous. Their songs are amazing. Hearing them makes me feel happy.

Below is a video of one singing.

The sound of birds stops the noise in my mind.

Carly Simon

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saw my first hummingbird for this season.

Yesterday morning I was washing dishes, looking out back into our secret garden as I did so. There is a firebush or hamelia patens planted in the hedge that surrounds this garden. Butterflies love it and so do hummingbirds. I get so excited every time I see a hummingbird. Only got one picture last year and it wasn't that great. I hope to get some good ones this time.

I need to plant more things to draw them to our property.

Here is the picture from last year.

A flash of harmless lightning,

A mist of rainbow dyes,

The burnished sunbeams brightening

From flower to flower he flies.

John Banister Tabbs
Humming Bird

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Small home living

Today there is something to be said about living in smaller homes. As prices skyrocket, these little places are easier to keep cool, warm, and furnish. We first moved into our little cottage, which was built around 1950, in 1973, after DH did his 4 year tour of duty for the US Navy. It was smaller than the apt. we had been living in while stationed in Spain for a little over 3 years.

We were told back when we first moved in by family and friends, that we ought to just tear it down and build new. We did not want to do that. We did not want to have a huge mortgage and we are so glad we did not heed their advice.

Living in a small home has challenges, but challenges are part of what keeps life interesting instead of dull. Probably the biggest challenge to all who live in a small place is storage, and over the years we've been dealing with this issue, especially as we've become pack rats to some degree.

These days we are working on getting rid of what is not necessary, usable, sentimental, or adds beauty and joy to our surroundings. We aren't getting any younger and want to pare down our belongings, giving us more space, and freedom.

Small homes are cozy, some unique, they can be fun, and easy to care for. Not many people want to live in a house that's less than 2000 sq. ft., which is what is considered a small home these days. Our cottage is around 750 sq. ft. Living this way is not for everyone. But, with the way things are these days, so uncertain, we are thankful for our little place that is paid for, is easy to keep cool/warm, it's furnished and I try to keep the clutter and dust to a minimum. (I'd rather be out in the gardens.) :-)

Every day is a new day to appreciate what we have been blessed with, regardless of the size of our homes.

May our lives be filled with thankfulness and may we see the beauty that surrounds us each day.



How true it is that, if we are cheerful and contented,

all nature smiles,

the air seems more balmy, the sky clearer,

the earth has a brighter green,

the flowers are more fragrant,

and the sun, moon, and stars all appear
more beautiful,

and seem to rejoice with us.

Orison Swett Marden

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cooking with Roses

I was just asked if my hybrid musk roses produce edible hips. I had to do a Google search and found that Ballerina does produce some small ones. I have other roses that produce hips as well, but I've never done anything with them.

I have read before about making rose water and sugared rose petals and after reading the article on the web page below, I'd like to try something using the rose hips and or petals. I will let you know if/when I do.

I have dried lots of rose petals and used them in potpourri, filling sachets or filling containers with them to scent rooms. Talking about this makes me want to make some more potpourri with more of my dried rose petals as I've got some very nice essential oils to add to the mix and the holidays are right around the corner.

I found a wonderful web page about cooking with roses. Do take a look as it is very interesting.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hybrid Musk Roses

Hybrid Musk roses are wonderful shrub roses, introduced in the early 1900's.

For more information: Hybrid Musk Roses

I have several and enjoy them all.

Below are the ones that I have growing now.


Ballerina ~ 1937

Felicia ~ 1928

Penelope ~ 1924

Prosperity ~ 1919

I also have Lavender Lassie but no pictures yet.


I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
Emma Goldman

Amazing Grace

Grace ~ Lovingkindness


Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD:

let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.


Amazing Grace ~ piano with nature sounds.
A beautiful piece.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Slow Me Down

Slow me down, Lord

Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles

with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art of taking minute vacations

-- of slowing down to look at a flower,

to chat with a friend, to pat a dog,

to read a few lines from a good book.

Slow me down, Lord,

and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring values

that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

Wilferd Arlan Peterson


A Few More Cool Colors

Below is the Blue Pea vine flower
along with Alamo vine flower.

This is Chicory, grown from seed.
I now have it planted in the main garden and it's doing well.
Since I have more seeds I plan to get them started
and planted in other flower beds.

This is a Bird of Paradise.

This is another passion vine that grows wild,
variety unknown.

That's it for now. I have a few more but no decent pictures yet.
Mexican Bush sage, Queen's Wreath vine, still a baby.
St. Vincent Lilac vine, seedlings.
I just planted seeds of the Vitex tree.

Happy Gardening.



The actual flower is the plant's highest fulfilment,
and are not here exclusively for herbaria,
county floras and plant geography:
they are here first of all for delight.
John Ruskin

Still more cools.

Goodness, it's looking like I have a lot more cool colors that I thought.
I love them.

Below are Vanda orchids, that grow wild around the property.
I wish all orchids were that hardy.

This beauty is a Ground Orchid.
I hope it's as hardy as the Vanda's above.

This is an unknown ground cover.

Texas Sage

This is Plumbago.

Still a few more to come.