Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tiny Bouquets in Vintage Vases and a Big Contemporary Chandelier

It's been too hot to go outside and look at the flowers, so I decided to bring some inside.

What kind of a bouquet can you make with just four flowers?

Well, if you have one of these vintage lady vases, you can make a lovely little ditty like this:
It looks like a bustle! So fun!

This tiny little pitcher seemed perfect for some buddelia and black-eyed Susans.
Unfortunately it has a hairline crack and all the water leaked out. So I removed the flowers and put them in a ceramic chicken that I bought in 1989. So I guess I can call it a "vintage 80's" vase.

My last vintage vase is actually the first one I did tonight. It's a tiny bouquet to showcase the one yellow/gold Rembrandt dahlia that I have blooming. I just love the color of this dahlia and wanted to be able to admire it close up so I brought out my Knowles 'Modern Plaid' sugar bowl to use as a vase.

After all that vintage, I am now going to show you what I picked out for my new dining room chandelier. I really love this chandy!
I really do not like stark contemporary decorating, but I am growing fond of traditional with a contemporary flair. That is the look I will be shooting for as I replace all of my old furniture. It will be a gradual process. The contractor is supposed to start the middle of next week. He will be replacing all the windows, covering a cedar plank wall with new drywall, re-drywalling the dining room (remember when I removed that wallpaper only to discover that the last contractor skipped a few steps before applying it?), replacing all the plain Jane interior doors and hanging this chandy.

It will be an awful mess---I thought I was done with drywall dust----not looking forward to all the cleanup!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gilding the Lily

I have been such a lazy blogger this week. I have had plenty of time after work to blog, but I just have not felt like it.

Each afternoon I came home from work and did almost nothing, except for this:

My only accomplishment for the whole week was that I finished reading two mysteries and did a bit of denim sewing:

Fortunately I found more energy for the weekend.

Saturday I went in to work for about an hour and then came home and went to Home Depot to look at dining room chandeliers. I didn't find a chandy that I liked, but I did find 8 lily plants--

too bad that it did not even occur to me to take a pic before I planted all of them! It does not take long to get out of the blogging mode! By the way, they were on sale for $4.98 each.

I bought 4 of these dwarf Tango lilies 'Four You'. They are only about a foot high - like the Pixie lilies I have planted along one of my paths.

I did not even know there were dwarf Tangoes, but as soon as I saw them,I had to have them.
These remind me so much of the 'Kentucky' Tango lilies I had this year.

They also had another dwarf asiatic called 'Manhattan'. Even though it's not my favorite color, I bought 4 of those also.
'Manhattan' has a huge pink flower. I planted them all along the path closest to the main arbor. I doubt that these will bloom this late next year. I suspect they were forced into bloom so they could be sold this late in August. The end of August is pretty late for Asiatics to be blooming in Michigan.

While I am on the subject of lilies, do you remember those Pineapple lilies that I bought from Breck's? I planted them in April. One of them has finally bloomed.

It's another big Breck's disappointment this year. I have never had an order from Breck's that was as big a flop as this year's was.

I ordered two of these fairly expensivePineapple Lily bulbs. Here they are today--4 months after planting.

The second one has barely broken through the soil. It's been that same size for weeks. The bloom on the other one is about an inch long.

Nothing like their ad from which I ordered them:

There is not much you can do about false advertising from flower catalogs.........
except stop buying from them.

That's why I bought the lilies from Home Depot this year instead of from Breck's. At least I see what I am paying for before I plop down my hard-earned cash.

I suppose I should write to them and get a refund on all the duds they sent this year....Rembrandt dahlias--only 3 of the six I received even came up, the pineapple lily that barely sprouted................I really hate to be bothered with getting refunds/replacements. I expect to receive quality the first time I order!

I almost finished one of my denim projects today. I will show you that later.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Look at all the 'Broccoli Flowers'!

My twin sisters-in-law came over last week and that is what one of them said as she got out of car and saw this driveway planting. She is not fond of Sedumn Autumn Joy. They remind her of broccoli.

I, on the other hand, love SAJ! I spent two summers removing all of the sedum 'coral carpet' (super invasive) from this area. I replanted it with SAJ because I love its light green color against the dark green yews and it requires almost no attention all summer.

It is one of the few perennials I know of that looks good all summer.

As people walk up to my front door, they are surrounded by SAJ.

I also have it on the opposite side of the driveway:

It is just beginning to turn pink. By next week, this entire area will be a sea of light pink!

You know what that means. When the sedumn AJ turns pink, autumn is not far behind. We had a high of 68 degrees today.

There is one negative to SAJ. When it turns pink, the bees love it. There will be dozens of bees in this area next week.

Last year I got stung by a bee on this SAJ in the arbor garden.
Every time I walked down the path, my knee would hit the plant. One day a bee got annoyed and stung me right in the knee--Ouch!

I am not looking forward to a repeat of that, so I moved the SAJ from this area last Sunday and replaced it with the Elijah Blue grass I bought in May.
I have never had this grass before, so I don't know if it will survive the winter. If not, I will have to come up with something else next year.

When the SAJ turns pink I will show you some of the other areas whereI have it planted. Oh, did I forget to mention that I have over a HUNDRED of these plants? Probably even two hundred...I should count them someday.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DH Takes Me to Paradise....

Paradise, Michigan, that is.

It's a tiny town in the upper peninsula. Not to be confused with Hell, Michigan, which is in the lower peninsula. Really...I don't make this stuff up....just google it if you are skeptical.

We have been on vacation for the past four days. (You probably did not even know I was gone since I had entries all set to automatically post)

Paradise was having its annual wild blueberry festival.
We found a parking spot about a block from the main entrance and walked down to this craft show,
which was right on the shores of Lake Superior.

While walking around, we spotted these cute little dogs being pushed in a baby stroller! Talk about the good life...
I remarked on their cuteness to the man pushing them. He told me how he had adopted them from a shelter. The cutie in the center is named Zoey! How cool is that? I asked him if I could take a picture and he was nice enough to allow me to do so.

We decided to find something to buy that we could use in the garden as a memento of the time we spent in Paradise.

DH was quite impressed with this booth featuring stainless steel whirligigs.

I decided to pick one in the same colors as the cannas that are now blooming.

It was our only purchase.

We were hoping they would have blueberry ice cream for sale, but we did not see any blueberry anything! The church across the street was advertising pasties for dinner...pasties are a UP speciality of beef and veggies in a sort of pie crust pastry...but what do they have to do with blueberries?
Photo credit and you can find the recipe for UP pasties here.

We were a little disappointed in the lack of blueberry culinary concoctions. Maybe they had some in a different part of town. We drove through the tiny town, but saw nothing to suggest that they did.

We decided we were thirsty and drove another dozen miles to a brewery at Tahquamenon Falls. We have been to this place a few times and know that they offer four different brews that change frequently. I was hoping they would have some blueberry ale to coincide with the festival.

This time I was not disappointed!

DH got a pint while I ordered just a 1/2 pint.
I was surprised that I drank the whole glass! I am not a beer lover, but this was delicious...the two blueberries at the bottom were an extra special treat.
On the way back, we stopped at this quaint little quilt shop. DH really liked the moose quilt on the back wall. If only we had a cottage up north--I could make a moose quilt for the bed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Deck-or-ating Again

About this time every year, I rearrange the deck. It was windy Monday afternoon so I decided to move most of my plants to the lattice area to give them a bit of protection. Canna blooms are prone to toppling over on windy days.

I decided that the bright yellow potting bench would be the focal point. It was nice to make the silver artemesia floral arrangements under the shade of the big pine tree.

I moved the glider that has occupied this space all summer to the opposite side. I used the hanging basket hooks for baskets that I use for floral arrangements. To fill in the space below the baskets, I wired on two twig wreaths.
The chairs and bench that used to be in this area was moved down to the opposite end of the deck--near the buddelia bush--so that I can enjoy all the butterflies that love to hang out here. Can you see the butterflies?

There are always 4 or 5 of them on the Butterfly Bush every time I walk by. Today one of them brushed against my hand as it flew away. Here I caught a Monarch in flight! That was exciting.

Remember those bright yellow louvers that were behind the glider? I moved them way down to the far end of the deck.

Then I added a scarecrow in front of the doors and the white bench. I tossed a pinwheel quilt over the bench and moved the clown canna to this end. It just seemed to go so well with that quilt.

I am sure I will change it again--at least one more time before the season ends.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It Took One Hour to Make This Change

Obedient plant at 11:00 AM today. It's the little white specks you see amid the Black-eyed Susans.

Here is a close up so you can better appreciate the nothingness of this plant in my garden.
I have seen this plant in other gardens where it has a bigger head and looks much nicer. In my garden it never gets much better than this---until today...

Obedient plant at NOON today:
Don't you think it looks so much better here? LOL. I am off work today and I decided there is nothing I like about this plant, so I dug it all out!

Now I have this big empty spot to plant something that I will enjoy more.
I have no idea what yet. I may leave it bare until next spring. This is a prime spot in the garden--right up front and I need to think about what to put here. I want something that has more WOW factor than the wimpy Obedient plant.

Here is a long shot view after the removal. To me it looks so much more neat and tidy.

Did you notice that the Black-eyed Susans are much more full than the last time I showed them to you? I think they are at their peak now. I have removed most of the the stray volunteers. I really enjoy them in big clumps. I think it will be really nice if that area I showed you a few days ago fills in....it is way at the end of the above pic. You can see a ton of BES's there now. Once they fill in, though, that area will wrap around another 10 feet or so into the woods and, I hope, be quite spectacular in late August.

Have I shown you this pine tree trunk full of Black-eyed Susans? It seems like I have. I moved it in front of the old wagon wheel a few weeks ago. It seems to work well in this woodland area.

I am posting this pretty late to link to Jean's Blooming Tuesday. But I will anyway. I hope to have time later tonight to check out all the other gardens. My days are so full when I am off work, that I can hardly find the time to post. There are a zillion and one things that I have to fit in to the extra 8 hours. Usually I post at 5:00 a.m., but today I slept in until 6:30 a.m. and then got up and scrubbed the floors and the bathtub so I would be sure to get that in. At 9:00 a.m., we had to go to a window showroom to pick out the type of windows we want installed. The contractor should be able to do the inside work in about two weeks.

Tomorrow I hope to show you some changes I made on the deck yesterday.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heliopsis Through The Slats & Butterflies on the Buddleia

Not much to say in this post. You can't have a garden blog without a few pics of butterflies on the butterfly bush. I just stood on the deck and snapped as they landed.

It has been so hot lately that I decided to read this book

I am hoping that reading a novel set in the winter will make me feel cooler!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Phlox Mt. Fujiyama Begins to Bloom & RICH Buttery Crust Lemon Bar Recipe

My last phlox to bloom is the white, Mt. Fujiyama. I purchased it in 1990 from Spring Hill. I only know this because I still have the bag it came in!

I like it because it is a bright white with nice sized heads.

I am getting down to very few flowers left to bloom!

Last Sunday we had a family picnic and I made these lemon bars:

Lemon Bars

2 cups flour
2 sticks margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar

6 eggs, beaten
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
1/8 + 1/4 cup flour
9 Tbsp lemon juice – (I used 3 large lemons – also used the zest)

powdered sugar

Combine the 3 crust ingredients in a mixer until well blended and press into a 9 X 13 pan.

Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes

remove from oven. Combine the filling ingredients with the mixer and pour over top of the baked crust.

Return to oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool and cut into squares.

These bars have a butter-cookie crust and a tart sweet richness. They are delicious.
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