Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You Just Never Know . . .

You just never know what you will find 'curb-side' shopping. DH has been doing this since he was a kid, but back then I don't know if it was called that. We did it in Spain and that's where we got out turned beechwood headboard and footboard. We've been doing it ever since and will probably keep on shopping this way until we no longer are able to.

This year we did not 'do' Christmas, except for my setting up our small tree and our nativity scene. I set out the stockings for decoration and told DH that's what they were for. The Monday before Christmas when we were coming home from doing errands, DH spied a 'pile' on the street southwest of us. So, while I unloaded groceries, he walked over there and when he came back, he was hiding something behind his back. He said, I'll just stick these in your stocking, and we both laughed.

Below is what he got. The white candle is honeysuckle, the red one is some berry scent, and I just love the two mosaic votive candle holders. The candles had never been lit.

It is truly amazing what people will throw away, for one reason or another. There are treasures out there, there are lots of recyclable materials as well. We 'hate' to see stuff go to the landfill.

One of these days, I need to go around taking pictures of all that I can remember that we've found.

Have a wonderful new year, and don't be afraid to stop and check out a curb-side pile when you see one.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More color from Plum Cottage Gardens

Hello everyone. Here it is almost the new year. Unbelievable.

We are still having warm temps, had a little rain
and I've been enjoying working in our gardens.

Here are the latest blooms taken over the past few days.

Have a wonderful 2009.



The first two pictures are of Louis Phillipe.
A very hardy rose for down here.
I am thoroughly enjoying my new camera
that I got last March.
Love the details I can get with it.

Click on the pictures in the blog to see larger pictures.

I am not sure what this is. I sure like it though.
The first picture was taken on the 27th, the next on the 29th.

The next two are of Crepuscule again. I just love this rose.

The next pictures are of the rose Cocktail.

The home gardener is part scientist,
part artist,
part philosopher,
part plowman.
He modifies the climate around his home.

John R. Whiting

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Blooms

Good afternoon everyone.
I went out with my camera this morning
to see what all was in bloom.
What a nice surprise to see the different flowers
basking in our mild temps.

Hope those of you covered with snow will enjoy all the color,
and be inspired and encouraged.
Pretty soon you'll have your lovely gardens again,
and I'll be sweltering in the heat and humidity.

Again have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2009.

* * * * * *

May we all learn from the past,

look forward to the future,

and live mindfully,

each moment,

of every single day

that we are blessed with.

Love and hugs to all of you ~ FlowerLady

* * * * * *


Blue Mist

Cocktail rose

Cocktail again.

White Ducher

The next two picture are also of Ducher.
I thought the speckles were really neat.


Louis Phillipe


The next three pictures are of flame vine blooms.

The next two pictures are of a weed.
I always call them paintbrushes,
but that might not be correct.

Vincent Godsiff

The next two pictures are of an unknown ground cover.
The first one with the blooms closed,
the second one after they have started to open.

* * * * * *

Flowers construct the most charming geometries:

circles like the sun,

ovals, cones, curlicues

and a variety of triangular eccentricities,

which when viewed with the eye of a magnifying glass

seem a Lilliputian frieze of psychedelic silhouettes.

Duane Michals, The Vanishing Act

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Cottage Christmas

It is hard to believe Christmas is here once again.
This year I just set up our small tree and our nativity.

I usually do more and we have a large tree as well,
but we are in the middle of doing some remodeling
and this is what I felt like doing this year.

The tree is decorated with mostly hand made ornaments
from a swap I was involved in for several years
and some I've made along with ones made by DH's mother,
plus a few antiques.
Lots of loving memories go through my mind as I decorate the tree.

The Nativity scene started with the little 'mud' figurines that DH and I got
when we were living in Spain our second married Christmas.
We got the Holy Family, the three wisemen and a donkey and a cow.
The angels and all the others have been added over the years.
DH made the creche some years ago.
I lay fresh rosemary sprigs in it before I set it up.
In the two silver salt and pepper shakers
is frankincense in one and myrrh in the other.

May you all have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful 2009.


Here is another Christmas posting on my website 'O Holy Night'

Christmas Goodies

Here are the 'goodies' I made this year.
Four new recipes which I will post here.
DH and I enjoyed all four.

The peanut butter bars are really yummy!

Delicious Raspberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars

"One of my favorite cookie bar recipes."


* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup rolled oats
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.

2. Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats.
Rub in the butter using your hands
or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture.
Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge.
Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top,
and lightly press it into the jam.

3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven,
or until lightly browned.
Allow to cool before cutting into bars.


Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread

SUBMITTED BY: Grace Yaskovic
"Grace Yaskovic from Branchville, New Jersey picks poppy seeds to perk up her lemony cookies. 'A sprinkling of sugar adds a sparkling sweetness,' she notes."


* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons sugar


1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar.
Stir in poppy seeds and lemon juice.
Gradually add flour; mix well.
Divide dough into four portions.
On a lightly floured surface,
roll out each portion into a 4-in. circle.
Transfer to ungreased baking sheets.
Cut each circle into six wedges.
Prick dough with a fork. Sprinkle with sugar.

2. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Cool for 4 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Break into wedges when cool.


Peanut Butter Bars I


"These peanut butter bars taste just like peanut butter cups."

READY IN 1 Hr 25 Min
Original recipe yield 1 - 9x13 inch pan


* 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
* 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 cup peanut butter
* 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 4 tablespoons peanut butter


1. In a medium bowl,
mix together the butter or margarine,
graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar,
and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended.
Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a metal bowl over simmering water,
or in the microwave,
melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter,
stirring occasionally until smooth.
Spread over the prepared crust.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.


Orange Cranberry Drops

"A delicious orange cookie with dried cranberries. Beautiful and tasty!"

Original recipe yield:
3 dozen


* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 egg
* 3 tablespoons orange juice
* 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
* 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup dried cranberries (I used a dried cherry/berry blend)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F(190 degrees C).
Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl,
cream together the white sugar, brown sugar, and butter.
Stir in the egg, orange juice, orange extract, and orange zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt;
mix into the orange mixture. Stir in the dried cranberries.
Drop cookie dough by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart,
on the prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown.
Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes,
then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

Dracaena fragrans

Good morning everyone.

This post came about because this plant is in full bloom right now,
blooming at night and the scent is so strong
I can hardly stand it and I love nice strong scents.
This one is a bit overwhelming with so many blossoms though.

So, I took some pictures and found some info to share here.


Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant, Cornstalk Dracaena)
is a flowering plant species in the family Ruscaceae,
that resembles a corn stalk in habitus.

It is native to West Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Dracaena fragrans has rosettes of glossy, green leaves, broadly striped
and banded with light green and yellow down the center.

It is a slow growing pole shrub
and the leaves can reach up to
3 feet (1 m) long by 4 inches (10 cm) wide.
When plants are grown in the ground,
they can reach about 20 foot tall (over 6 m)
but their growth is limited when they are potted.

Cornstalk Dracaen has white flowers that are highly fragrant,
hence the specific name fragans.
They are popular with insects,
and in the Neotropics get rarely visited by a few generalist hummingbird species
like the Sapphire-spangled Emerald.

Dracaena fragrans is propagated by cutting off segments of old canes
so that they are 3-8 inches long.
These are allowed to dry off and inserted into moist sand
until they have rooted and new growth comes from old leaf scars.

Fragrans can be either grown as a low shrub form,
by rooting tip cuttings,
or a tree form, by rooting mature canes.

The 'Massangeana" variety is the most popular,
due to its dramatic yellow variegation running down the center of its leaves.

The temperature requirements for fragrans is a comfortable 75 degrees
and the water requirements are low.
Dracaenas are one of the plants used in the NASA Clean Air Study
and has shown to help remove Formaldehyde.

Dracaenas have wide leaves that do accumulate dust.
Wipe leaves regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust.
Although most Dracaenas have few problems with pest,
occasionally mealy bug and scale can attack the plant.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Story of the Four Candles

This is a beautiful story.
Appropriate for the Christmas season.


The four candles burn slowly.
The ambiance was so soft you
The first one said:

"I am Peace!
However, nobody can keep me lit. I will go out."
It’s flame rapidly diminishes and goes out completely.

The second one says:
"I am faith!
Most of all I am no longer indispensable,
it doesn’t make any sense that I stay lit any longer."
When it finished talking, a breeze softly blew on it putting it out.

Sadly the third candle spoke in it's turn:
”I am love! I haven’t got the strength to stay lit.
People put me aside and don’t understand my importance.
They even forget to love those who are nearest to them ."
And waiting no longer it goes out.

A child enters the room and sees three candles not burning.
“Why are you not burning?
You are supposed to stay lit till the end."
Saying this, the child begins to cry.

Then the fourth candle said:
”Don’t be afraid,
while I am still burning we can re-light the other candles,
I am Hope!"

With shining eyes, the child took the candle of hope and lit the other candles.


Be of good courage,

and he shall strengthen your heart,

all ye that hope in the LORD.

Psalms 31:24

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December Blooms

Dear Friends,

While a lot of you are having snow,
ice storms and cold, bleak weather,
we are having mild temps.
This is when plants grow best
without the summer's heat frying everything in sight.
My gardens are NOT really at their best,
as I've lots of work to do in them,
but there are flowers all around
in spite of what needs to be done.

I went out this morning and took some pictures.
Hope they brighten your days,
and give you something to look forward to
with your own gardens come spring.

At least you all get to take a break,
gardening here is a 365 days a year happening.

Enjoy ~ FlowerLady


This is my shed's garden.

Tomato blossoms.

Phillipine violet

Morning glories.

Same mgs from a different angle.

La Marne roses.

La Marne roses again.

Hibiscus, not sure what kind.

This is a double purple datura bloom about to open.
Probably will be tomorrow.

Same bloom, different view.
Notice two more buds near the base of this bloom.

Angel wing begonias.


"From December to March,
there are for many of us three gardens -

the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."

Katherine S. White