Friday, December 31, 2010


Well, what a month! It felt like Winter long before Winter even officially got here. The temps in my garden didn't get above freezing for almost a week in the middle of the month, so for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, everything was frozen and sad. The little Violas were the only things even making an attempt at blooming, but they were having a very hard time.

In the midst of the freezing days, we had rain and amazing ice designs were created. I found them very interesting.

And then one of my poor chickie dudes was sick for a couple of days. I was afraid that she would die, so, of course, I had to worry and fret over her. But she is absolutely fine now. I don't know what the problem was; I am just thankful that she is back to her beautiful self.

The Winter Equinox brought with it a total lunar eclipse. How cool is that! I did happen to be awake in the wee hours of that morning, so, braving the cold, I went outside to see if I could see the eclipse, but the sky was solid clouds. Oh, well. One time in California, I watched an amazing lunar eclipse, so that memory will be enough for now.

I have had lots and lots and lots of birds coming to my bird feeder. It hangs just outside my sliding glass door/window and I love to watch the birds come and go. Maybe the birds take the place of the flowers for the Winter. What do you think?

The snow. Oh, the snow. Like so many others, I had my share of snow on the 25th. We got almost 6 inches, which is rare for this place. And this time of year. There is still plenty of snow on the ground. But the temperatures aren't supposed to dip into freezing tonight and there is rain forecast for tomorrow, so I'm guessing that most of the snow will disappear over the week-end.

I love my birdbath ... in any weather! With snow on it, it makes me think of some delicious confection or dessert. It's a little chilly out to sit at my table and chairs, but in about 3 months, I'm sure I'll be back out there again.

The entrance to my woods makes me think of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

I kept my nephews and little niece for a few days earlier this week while my sister and her husband went on their annual anniversary trip. Of course, the nephews enjoyed the snow. I bought snow sleds for them to use and they sure did use them! It was fun having a little girl around the house again, as my little girls are now pretty much grown up. See you next year!

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Warm and cozy...

Most of the year I am drawn to blue. (As if you couldn't tell.) But when December comes, I crave red. There really is not a lot in my garden to give me red. A few rose hips here and there. Maybe the leaves of a Nandina. And, of course, the Cardinals. Perhaps I should plant a holly bush.

Usually I have a blue toile tablecloth on my table and I like that very much. But when Winter comes, blue becomes a little more cold than peaceful, so I pull out my red toile tablecloth to make things seem cozier.

My sister gave me the variegated Hoya. It is so nice to think of her when I see this plant. The pot and saucer were also given to me. Normally the Hoya resides in my laundry room, but I think it needs to be on my table for now.

Julie gave me the little pitcher with the poem on it. It reads:

When this you see, remember me
And bear me in your mind;
Let all the World say what they will
Speak of me as you find.

Hmmm. Even with the red tablecloth, I still can't keep away from blue, can I?

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Did I ever tell you that I don't like the cold? Well, I don't. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I grew up and lived in Southern California for so long where, like, 63 degrees is cold.

My freshman year in college I attended a small college in Texas, where I worked on the landscape crew. Which is outside work. I remember lying in bed one Winter morning, listening to the weather forecast and hearing that the high for the day was going to be 11 degrees. I just wept.

I like to think I am much more mature now. Yes, I am whining and being wimpy right now. But let me get it out and then the rest of the Winter (and the rest of this Fall!), I'll not complain about the cold. I'll simply refer you back to this post if you want to hear me feel sorry for myself.

{This chicken is molting, so I hope she stays warm enough.}

Today the high was about 31 degrees. But with the windchill, it was about 11 degrees. (Well, maybe a tiny bit higher than that. But not much.) I didn't weep. I put on my work clothes and set about covering much of my chickens' house with plastic so the poor little girls wouldn't get too cold. (How do you like my high tech way of holding the cover over their yard? [Clothespins, if you can't tell.])

Apparently, it's not the cold so much that bothers the chickens but the wind disrupting their feathers from holding their body heat. So the plastic barrier should stop most of the wind. I left part of the top uncovered so they could have the fresh air that they need. (You can click on the picture for a larger view.) I don't think my chickens like the cold any more than I do. They haven't gone out of their house much since it snowed. I can't say that I blame them.

Have a beautiful day! And stay warm!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


So, last night we were driving home from our friends' house and I was sorta looking out the window, but not really, and then all of a sudden, I realized that there was snow on the ground and on the trees. We were still about forty minutes away from home, heading north-east, so I could only imagine what we would find when we arrived home. Sure enough, we had snow, too!

Of course, this morning I (and Julie) had to go out and take pictures. Everything is so different in the snow. Cleaner and fresher. And the architectural-ness of plants and objects is emphasized by the whiting out of color.

I like my birdbath in the snow. But, then again, I like my birdbath all the time.

I do think color is important in the snow, though. For example, look how gorgeous the red hips of the Ballerina rose are in the snow. And I love seeing the Cardinals in the snow.

The white of the snow also shows off the blue of my treasured pot filled with Johnnies.

The Johnnies in a flowerbed have been all but covered in the snow. But don't you just love the blue and white together?

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dropping temperatures....

Hello, again. All of my Thanksgiving guests have returned home, so now my house is quiet again. And empty. But for one wonderful week, I loved having everyone here. My garden is becoming quiet and empty (sorta), too. The temperatures have dropped below freezing most of the nights this past week, which, of course, has affected my garden.

Something unusual happens to one of my plants when it freezes. It looks very odd to walk outside in the mornings and see this:

The sap of my Salvia coccinea turns to ice and bursts the stems open. As the day warms, the white ice will disappear, leaving behind the damaged stalks. Do you think the icy sap looks like cotton candy?

These Salvias have completely blackened now and I plan to pull them all out next week. I have a few Violas with which to replace some of them, but other places in the garden will be left blank for the Winter.

Salvia coccinea reseeds itself very well in my garden, so I have very little doubt that as things warm up next year, a new crop of these hummingbird favorites will start to show up.

The Violas are affected by the dropping temperatures, too. I like the way they hunker down against the cold and then revive again when it warms up. Hey, that sounds kind of like me!

One of my Catmint plants has one stalk with blooms on it. Maybe it didn't get the memo that the garden is shutting down for the season. Good for it.

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, November 26, 2010


I started my blog one year and one day ago. And in that year, I have done 305 posts. (Whew!) I have enjoyed the focus on my garden that daily blogging has given me. But now it's time for a change. I have had a part-time job for a couple of months now, so my time is a little more limited. I will miss blogging every day, but I think that's a change I need to make. Working has given me less time in the garden, so I'll need to use some of my previous blogging time to actually be in my garden. I'd also like to be able to spend a little more time visiting other garden blogs because I love seeing other gardens and hearing about different plants. And then there is my other blog, Ruth's Plants, that I would like to work on occasionally as well. So, I will miss talking to you every day, but I will still be here, probably at least every week, and hopefully even more often than that.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day...

Well, Kirstin turned 21 today. It seems not so long ago that she was just my little, bitty baby girl and now she has grown into a beautiful young lady.

I am so very proud of her. And I love her so very much. Words cannot describe what she means to me.

Most of my siblings and their families came to my house for Thanksgiving. The food was delicious, thanks in part to Kirstin's cooking skills, and we all enjoyed being together again. There are quite a few of Kirstin's and Julie's cousins here, including Danielle, who likes Kirstin very much. Actually, all of Kirstin's cousins like her very much.

I love the table decorations I do for the Thanksgiving meal each year. I think the table is so pretty and sparkly. And very Fall-ish. Julie took this poetic picture of one of my candle holders.

One of my favorite flower pots is this "pumpkin," which I found several years ago. Every Fall I plant Violas in it.

I think it fits Thanksgiving Day very well.

Have a beautiful day!
"Thankfulness is the soil in which joy flourishes."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today, as I was hurrying and scurrying about, I thought about the things for which I am thankful. And I came to realize something: they are things that are beautiful to me.

I am thankful for the people who love me. And for friendly people. I am thankful for the wild birds that come to my feeder and for my three dear chickens. For the charming hummingbirds that come to visit. And for many of the creatures that share my land.

I am thankful for clouds. And for the rain that waters my garden. Ah, my garden. I am so thankful for my garden and for the plants that I have. For sunrises and sunsets and seasons.

I am thankful for my blue and white transferware dishes, for my gorgeous fabrics, those in quilts and those yet to be in quilts. I am thankful for my cozy bed, for the bed frame and dresser and vanity to match which I inherited from a great aunt.

I'm also thankful for intangibles like courage and wisdom, joy and peace, when they come into my life. And there are so many, many more beautiful things for which I am thankful. Including you who read my blog.

And I do hope you have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another acquisition...

O.K., so what do you think? Pretty wild, huh? I saw this Variegated False Holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki') at Southern States a couple of days ago and was intrigued. But I didn't buy it. I was "good" and went home and did my research first. Then I bought it today.

It should grow in my (evil) clay soil. And it is supposed to grow slowly so I might grow it in a container for awhile. (Read: "I don't know where to plant it yet.") It will to produce white flowers, just not many of them. The thing is, and this is what convinced me to buy it, the flowers are fragrant. And I love fragrant flowers.

Yep, those leaves are pretty prickly. And it can get to be a fairly large shrub. However, I am confident that my pruning abilities will keep it at bay.

The new growth is rather colorful, isn't it? And after the blooms, there are black berries for the birds. Even with all these other pluses, it's the mature foliage that I find most interesting.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watching the chickens go by...

Today in the midst of my frantic Thanksgiving Day/week preparations, I took a break. I sat on the steps of my shed and watched my chickens peck and scratch as they "free-ranged." They spend most of their time in a fenced area to protect them, but there is no greenery left in their yard. So, when I am outside, I will let them out to wander as they will. They like to stay close to me, often following me if I go to the other side of the garden. I find it very cute. And today it was peaceful to just sit and watch my chickens.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


One of the reasons I moved to North Carolina was the Cardinals. I didn't have Cardinals in California and when I would visit N.C., I found them enchanting. Yeah, I know. Rather strange to back up all your worldly possessions and move across the country because of a pretty bird. There were other reasons, too. Really. There were. I do love to see the Cardinals, though. They are beautiful birds. I used to think the female was plain, but the more I see the females, the more I think they are just as pretty as the males in their way. This female was sitting in the Rose of Sharon bush outside my bedroom window this morning. (Just so you know: the clothesline is not as close as it looks in the picture.) Isn't she lovely?

Have a beautiful day!