Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pink, Purple, Yellow Braided Rug

I have a Lazy Boy sofa and loveseat that I bought 18 years ago in a pink/purple/blue/yellow/green floral pattern. They are made by  Lazy Boy, but they are not big and bulky and they do not recline.  I loved this set when I bought it.  But now I am very tired of it! It's been 18 years--how long should a person have to live with the same pattern?  However, this sofa/loveseat is in my living room and nobody ever sits on it except for my Christmas party when I have so many people that they need to use this room. The sofa and loveseat are in perfect condition....not a wear spot in either. I had planned to get rid of both sofas and buy new, and replace the carpet, but after looking around, I have price shock!

The Big Kahuna just put carpet in two small bedrooms and it was over $2,000.  I wanted the same carpet throughout the house--3 bedrooms, family room, dining room, living room.  The family room carpet is showing wear and needs to be replaced. The living room and dining room have the same 18-yr old carpet, but those rooms are used way less and the carpet looks brand new. 
I just cannot justify buying new carpet or new sofas for the living room, yet I want to change the look.  So I have been searching for rugs.  Two days ago I found this one in an 8' x 10' size for roughly $270, which is way better than the $4,000+ to replace the furniture and carpet!

  My sofas have some pink, purple, and yellow just as this braided rug has.
Do you think this braided rug works for the cottagey look I like for my green walled, white-beamed living room?  It is so hard to tell from a small picture. I have been searching the net for a week for something a bit more muted, but I can't find anything.  Sometimes the pics look brighter than they really are.  The other 8' x 10' rugs I have found are very expensive--like $1,000+ each. FORGET IT--I am not spending that much on a rug to place over the carpet!! I had wanted to get rid of the pink color scheme, but instead I may have to embrace the pastels and go with this rug.

I would love to get your opinions before I order.

Speaking of ordering, most of you know that I hate to shop and I order almost all of my clothing on line. I have ordered every month for a few years, causing DH to be slightly annoyed.  He said he wished he could get just one credit card statement without a charge from Company CC.  So I have been trying since April to be his fairy godmother and  make his wish come true. I had no idea it would such a difficult task.

  Is it really my fault that I placed two orders on the same day and one hit on the June bill and the second on the July bill? ( I guess they don't charge until it ships and one of the orders did not ship until a few days after the first order, causing it to be on the July bill.)  DH says it does not matter when I ordered, just which month it hits the credit card. That's ridiculous! But I can play his little game. After all, I am not addicted to ordering or anything like that.  So I  have been waiting it out.

  Here it is August 30 and I have not ordered one single item in nearly three months (it helped that they have not had much I liked). I think I have waited long enough.   So today I ordered this jacket:

It was in the outlet and I used a free shipping coupon, so the price was quite reasonable.  Not as reasonable as I used to buy jackets.  They have raised outlet prices considerably in the last year.  So I just order less items.  Anyway I am looking forward to getting a new item to wear for fall (actually I ordered two jackets). :)

Since I ordered it on Aug. 30, it can't possibly hit the August credit card bill, can it????? Boy, that would really tick me off!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Last Recap of the Creative Container Plantings for 2011

The cordalyine/Sedona/Kale container when planted around the 1st of June:

and now:

The Sedona coleus really took over, smothering out the blue salvia and the orange Gazania.  The Purple Heart survived, though I wish it had grown a bit larger. I would love to see it sticking out from the coleus.

Nonetheless, I really like this container.  I have kept the Sedona coleus flowers cut off all summer, but now that the end is near, I am letting them bloom.

Here is one of the garage urns when I planted them (that arrow is showing the where the Tropicanna is).  Do you remember that I said many of you would be surprised to see these urns in August?
 You have to admit, they look a lot different--from the front, you can barely see the urn today.
I want to see a bit more of the urn, so I went out and cut off some of the gorgeous Ipomea 'Rusty Red'.  I highly recommend this ipomea.  The outer leaves are rusty red while the under leaves are bright purple.  Cool!

The big striped leaves are what became of that little sprout in the first picture.

I nestled a pot of dahlias in the container where the black dahlia didn't grow.
I like the dahlia color with the Tropicanna leaves.  I am about 80% happy with these urns.  I wish the Trebbiano dahlia had not died out, but I think it's a bit too tall for these urns.  Next year I will probably plant something shorter.

Here is the big cobalt blue container that I was so gaga over when I planted it.

Unfortunately the big Tropicanna 'Gold' in the back (which you can't see in the pic above) did not get very big. So that was a huge disappointment. The entire color scheme was based on those striped leaves.
Luckily I happen to have a big pot of Tropicanna 'Gold' to show you what I had planned.
Aren't the leaves beautiful?  You can see that this container is about to flower. As with all the Tropicannas, the flowers are an orange shade.  Anyway......

If I put this container behind the cobalt blue container, you get a good idea of what I wanted this planting to look like.

I also expected more out of the yellow daises--taller and wider. There is some blue salvia in there, but it did not do well either.
What I did NOT expect was that the gorgeous yellow/green filler plant I chose ( Duranta erecta Golden Dewdrop 'Gold Edge'  ) would end up producing these 2-inch needle spikes!  I kid you not -- these things are sharper than my quilting needles! Ouch!!! As lovely as the foliage is,  I won't be using  Duranta erecta Golden Dewdrop 'Gold Edge'   again.

All in all, I am not all that gaga over this container.

Remember this sorry sight of the deck rail container with yellowed nasturtiums last week after it had no water for 4 days? 

 I cut the yellow off and in just a bit over a week's time it looks fairly decent.
Are nasturtiums known for yellowing of leaves?  It does seem that I have a lot of them on all of the nasturtiums I grew from seed this year.  I am forever picking off yellow leaves. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Have Been Coveting a Limelight Hydrangea

Almost every garden blog I go to lately is showcasing their Proven Winner  hydrangea 'Limelight'.  I passed up this hydrangea in June and have been regretting it ever since.

So when I went looking this weekend and found one for $35, I grabbed it. Is that expensive?  I thought it was, but I really wanted this one.

Once I got it home, I could not find a place to plant it.  I have mentioned my nearly pure rock garden soil before. Where I wanted to put this plant, I could not dig deep enough. So I found a place I could dig near the smaller arbor and put it there--in front of a shrub and between two pine trees.

I was not happy -- it was just not the right spot.

So  Sunday morning  I asked DH if he could try to dig a deep enough hole near the big arbor where I really wanted it. Being the good sport he is, he came out to dig. First he removed these asters.
which was really a shame as they were looking good this year with only about a foot of ratty foliage at the bottom.  Nonetheless, they had to go to make room for the hydrangea.  I can be heartless when on a mission! :)

After digging down about six inches,  he hit  pure rock.  I told him (3 times) to forget it (I know how miserable it is to try to dig through limestone). I would just have to leave 'Limelight" where I had planted it Saturday

He said that maybe if I filled the hole with water and let it sink in, he may be able to dig deeper.  So I did that--twice.  I don't know if it was the water or just the 15-minute break waiting for the water to go down....but somehow my amazing husband dug a hole deep enough and I was able to replant 'Limelight'. I was thrilled to no end!

I think this is the perfect spot for this hydrangea.

I did not even know it turns a burgundy color in the fall!  The one I bought is already turning to burgundy.

I am now really happy with the placement of this hydrangea.  Thank you DH!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Breck's Response

Here is my email:

Dear Customer Service,

I have put off sending this email for months, but after another dud Breck's order, I feel I must let you know of my disappointment in the last few orders from your company.

The only order number I have is this one:

Order Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I don't know the others.

I only know that the dahlias, Elephant Ears and Pineapple Lilies I have received from you have not been of the quality I expected. Of the entire Elephant Ear order I placed last year, only two common green EE's survived. Of the Pineapple lilies,one had a tiny bloom last year and the other barely came up. This year, neither came up. I have ordered two Rembrandt dahlia collections and the only surviving dahlias I have are the common purple/white dahlias and the gorgeous red/purple centers from two years ago (I am very happy with the red/purple Rembrandts). I also loved the red/white and the gold/red varieties, but they have all died.

This year I ordered 3 dahlias. I LOVE Myrtle's Folly. Both came up and I am very pleased. I also like Trebbiano, but only one of them came up. Neither of the Santa Claus tubers came up.

I write a garden blog and I have blogged about the duds (as well as the outstanding items) I have received. I have posted pictures of the dahlia tubers (some very tiny and shriveled) as well as what has/has not bloomed. If you care, you can read my latest post here:
It show pictures of all the items I have mentioned above.

My free time is limited so I have no desire to look up past order numbers, etc. to write for a refund. I am sure you have all that information on your own computer system.

Please look at this post and do whatever you feel is right.

Thank you.

In less than 24 hours, I received this response:

Thank you for your email. I apologize for the inconvenience. We do not keep credit card information on file, so we have issued a refund check for the items requested in the amount of $27.98, $24.44, $14.98 and $10.64. Please allow two to three weeks for check processing.
If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

It's a cold response. I say "cold" because it is a form reply with  no mention of my particular problems.    I would have liked them to  write a sentence or two addressing my particular order...perhaps a little affirmation that the tiny dahlia tubers were certainly not what I should have received. It leaves me wondering if everyone gets a handful of crappy items interspersed with the quality items. Most people probably don't bother complaining, so they don't have to refund anything.

But in the end, they stood behind their product and sent a refund for the inferior items. 

So those of you who have emailed me wanting to know if you should order from them, I still say yes, give it a try.  They have some great items that I would have never been able to find where I live.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Breck's Duds

After my recent post gushing about the GORGEOUS Myrtle's Folly dahlia from Breck's and the sad fact that neither of two Santa Claus dahlias came up, many of you commented that I should contact Breck's.  You are all correct. I need to do that.  I had a dud order last year from Breck's, which I told you about and this year only 50% of the dahlias I ordered came up.  That is really not acceptable, so I decided to take precious hours of my free time to search last year's orders and posts to see what the Duds were so I could contact Breck's to let them know of my dissatisfaction.

In the past, they have been wonderful about replacement orders. I can't fault them for that. With no questions asked, they have replaced or credited any plant that did not perform as they said it would.  My big peeve is that I don't want to have to take the time to write and complain--I am getting older--my time on this earth is limited and I really don't want to waste a minute of it complaining to Breck's. I want their products to perform as stated. But you are all correct in saying that I really should write to them and let them know that I have not been happy.  So I have spent the better part of two days of my after-work-hours searching my blog to find out what I ordered and what died.

In 2010, I was thrilled to get this Pineapple Lily bloom, even though it was nothing like the catalog picture. The second pineapple lily barely came up, but I had high hopes for this year.

Fast forward to 2011- I have been waiting so long for the Pineapple Lilies to come back, that the pots have gotten moldy from watering.  It is now almost mid-August and nothing has appeared.
I hate to admit that I have wasted my hard-earned money yet AGAIN on Breck's products!

In 2010 I also ordered this Rembrandt dahlia collection.

and only 3 of the six I received even came up. I was not surprised as they sent some pretty small shriveled up tubers and all but one of the survivors was the uninspring  purple/white dahlias that I had plenty of from the order I received  of the same collection I placed in 2009.

In 2010 I also ordered a collection of six Elephant Ears - I really only ordered the collection because I wanted a huge black EE and I got a tiny little thing that I could barely see in the planter (If you want to see the mini Elephant Ears, you can click here to read this post from last year.) .  Again I thought it would perform better in 2011.  WRONG --It did not even come back this year. 

 I have only two common green Elephant Ears that survived from the collection of six.
They are nice, but I already have tons of plain old green Elephant Ears that I got a Walmart--see pic below.

So the Breck's Elephant Ear collection was another total waste of money.

From my order this spring of 2 dahlias from 3 varieties, :

2 Santa Claus dahlia tubers and 1 Trebbiano dahlia tuber did not even come up. So I had the same 50% success rate, that I had with last year's order of dahlias.  NOT acceptable.
Here are the two urns with Trebbianos. As you can see the one on the right has no dahlia.
So my plan to have matching urns flanking the garage did not happen.

Last year the Rembrandt dahlia collection I ordered produced this gorgeous red/white specimen:
I have been waiting anxiously all this year for this dahlia to reappear.  Today my last dahlia bloomed and it is not this one.  Another dud.

The 50% first year success rate for Breck's dahlias ends up being just 25% after two years.  I am so disappointed that I have not ordered anything from this company for fall delivery.

So I am planning to send an email to Breck's this weekend with a link to this post. I will let you know what happens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Blooming Tuesday and I Have Very Little to Show You

When this white phlox blooms, it means the end is near.

I do have one bloom on the Endless Summer oops! Forever and Ever hydrangea. I have three Endless Summers and so far (3 yrs) they  have all been duds.

I got two magazines yesterday. The covers of both scream of fall decorating and baking.

Wouldn't you love to welcome guests with this entrance?

Here is something more manageable -- replant a container with mums.  I never do that. I wonder why...a nice planting of mums would last until early November.  I really should replant the big garage urns with mums.....hmmmmmmmmmmmm....I will have to give that some serious thought.

I love this--simply gorgeous!

Don't forget to visit Jean, our Bloooming Tuesday hostess, to see what everyone else has today.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Nesting Weekend

I am making the most of my last two days before going back to work.  On Saturday we enjoyed a light lunch of tomato sandwich/orange juice and potato chips at this table on the deck.
I used the orange table runner and orange plates to go with the new canna blooms. I moved two coordinating cannas to the back of the table just for lunch, then moved them back to their current living quarters.
I love to do quick and easy tables when we are home to enjoy the deck.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday making stuffed pasta shells - six meals of them to be exact.  I have already put 4 meals in the freezer.  That new freezer is almost full. DH has been stocking up with meat specials for the past three weeks.  I think we have enough steak and pork roasts to last until spring.

I also spent  a few hours Saturday in the main gardens cutting down dead foliage while DH cut the grass and raked up a ton of crabapples from the tree in the front yard.  I snapped this picture just as he was turning to chat with a neighbor who stopped  while driving by to ask him a question about some work gossip.  DH hates gossip of any kind and always evades the questions.

Late this morning I was looking out the bedroom window with my camera trying to capture a picture of the dozens of grackles (medium-sized blackbirds) that were passing through.  I didn't get a good bird pic, but I did capture this red fox as it was passing through my yard.
We have finally spotted the fox the neighbor's were talking about last week. I am just glad I was not working outside when he/she passed through.

I went out early this morning to make a purple flower bouquet as I intended to do a purple Al Fresco table for tonight's dinner using these items:
 As it turned out it has been cool and  raining all day.  That worked out fine with me. Forced to stay indoors,  I decided to tie the quilt you see behind this table. I hated the way the back looked with the machine quilting, so I put on a new back to cover the ugliness and am tying it together.

I work on the quilt for a while

then I snuggle up with the quilt to take a break and read a chapter in my latest novel.
Life is good--so far it's been a perfect day.

update: Immediately after posting this, it began to hail and thunder .
and then the local severe weather alarm went off...not sure if you can hear it in this video, but you will certainly hear the big crack of thunder at the end!
I love this weather when I am safely at home with DH!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Can't Leave them Alone for More than a Day

Thank you all for your comments over the past five days.  I have been out of town  without computer access so have not been able to answer as I usually try to do (had all my posts set to go before I left). I did read and appreciate every single comment. It was one of the first things I did after I got home. You know how I miss all you when I am away!
When I got home yesterday  afternoon my poor deck plants were pathetic. They have had no water or attention since last Sunday.  I think it did rain on Wednesday, but that was not enough for my pampered babies. They are used to getting a mega load of water every day. Most of the plants on the sunny side of the deck were near death.  I gave them all a good drink of water and they perked up nicely after a few hours, but a lot of the foliage was still yellow and  sickly looking.

How sad is this?
I went out this morning and cut off the yellowed leaves. It is looking pretty sparse, but I  think it will bounce back.

I also  cut off most of the drooping flowers from this big dahlia container, but the bottom foliage is beyond repair.

so I cut it off and then moved a big peach canna to cover its na*ked bottom.
 There. That's so much better.

I did have a few new blooms while I was gone.

This is my most interesting canna. I bought it as Picasso, but I don't think it is Picasso.  Whatever it is, it's so unusual with it's orange/yellow combination petals.  Most of the yellow section have orange dots all over.

My Peruvian Daffodil also put out it's second bloom:
 At least this year the flower was not half eaten by insects.  I am disappointed though as I had hoped for at least half a dozen flower stalks shooting out this watering can.

 I have another dahlia blooming. I can't remember the name of this peachy/yellow flower. It is probably on my blog somewhere, but I don't feel like looking for it.  :)
So after a few hours of work, the deck is looking OK, not good anymore, just OK. I knew all the plants would suffer if we did not get enough rain while I was gone, but I can't live to take care of the plants. So now I will just have to do the best I can with what I have left.

I am looking forward to catching up on all your blogs.
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