Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is This The Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?

Monday is the 4th of July.  Our plans this year were simple.  We would ditch our yearly party in favor of a fun quiet day off. Maybe go to someone else's party for a switch.

No frantic weeding, mowing, cooking, cleaning, prettying everything up and then at midnight taking down tents, rinsing out recycling, reloading the dishwasher, hunting feverishly for one forgotten slice of blueberry pie.

Just a nice day at home, a shower and showing up somewhere to be entertained.  But......the pregnant sister in law wants to come over, they can't grill on their condo's terrace,she mentioned bringing brats and German potato salad.  Just family she said.  Who says no to family and sausage?

The Major and A. want to join in the fun, no problem, they live across the street. Family by proximity? And A. makes a kick ass basil lemonade.  We're up to 6 now.

Oops, I just got a call from our garden mentors, Geoff and Chuck from the farm.  They want to come and they'll bring a blueberry pie baked with their own blueberries, and farm fresh eggs, maybe a tomato or two.  What can you say but "6:30 or 7:00 sound good"?

If they're baking they must be family, right?

But that is it folks.  For real. 8 people. No more.

Unless one of you are  going to be in town.  Then all bets are off and we'll resume the feverish weeding, mowing, watering, cooking, cleaning.

Because for sure you are family. Let me know what you'll be bringing.  Ok?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

United Nations Of Flowers

After work last night I worked in the garden.  Thunder was booming, the skies were dark, it was raining elsewhere. To the south of us, to the east of us, people were running  wildly into apartment buildings and bookstores.  They were buying umbrellas for $5.00 from street corner vendors, they were covering their heads with newspapers.  Here, I was still watering and looking wistfully up into the sky.  Nothing.

The flowers glow in this strange light.  I'm reminded why I every spring I buy a white mandevilla vine.

And a gardenia.

And why the white echinacea are my favorite.

But my most favorite of all is this little succulent (?) with it's tiny, intense purple blooms. 

We had it in this pot last year and to our extreme delight it has returned.  Does anyone know it's name?  I would like to know how to address it as I whisper sweet nothings in its ear.

Thank you all for participating in Flowers In The House.  And thanks to all who couldn't attend but sent regrets.  We hope to see you next month.

We've been christened by Marie at 66 square feet.  She proclaimed us a global floral chain.  The chain has expanded to include South Africa and  another gardener from Brooklyn.  Australia chimed in as did Ireland and of course England, plus many American friends and one from Canada.  Our very own floral united nations.  Let's see what other countries we can get to join us next month.  I know there are flowers in many casas we haven't visited yet.  Here's to inclusion.

 xo Jane

Monday, June 27, 2011

Flowers In The Summer House

What I always seem to forget about Sundays is that we are rarely in the house.  We're in the garden, at the grocery store or hanging  about at Starbucks drinking coffee and reading the papers. But flowers were never far from my mind.

 In the afternoon we went to see Midnight In Paris. We left in a dreamy mood having spent an hour and a half hanging out with the likes of Gertrude Stein and Zelda Fitzgerald.  

So  flowers in white and greens with a touch of black seemed appropriate.

The kitchen got a little jam jar full of white nigella, black scabiosa, lambs ears and bits of mountain mint.

The dining room went uptown with white zinnias, Tibet roses, a hugely scented peony, Queen Anne's lace and more of the scabiosa plus bronze fennel, crazy green allium flowers and a bit of grapevine.

The blue vase is right next to the computer, as ever I wish you could take just one deep breath....

And this?  This one perfect peony?  It resides nowhere and everywhere.  We move it wherever we go. 

Bliss in a bowl.

I'll be bringing it with me to your houses, be there soon.

xoxo Jane

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hollaback Girls ( And Boys)

Are you home this Monday?  My vacation weeks, the last two weeks of August seem very far away.  I could use a little break.

So if you're not at the beach or diving into a cool lake, wanna do Flowers In The House ?

You know the drill, pluck a few blossoms, plop them in a jar or a bottle you found while traveling the shores of a forgotten beach.  Maybe you have a cool plant you want to show us, or some flowers on your picnic table.  Then you amble over here, leave a comment, link up through Mr. Linky with your information.  Then go and visit all the other houses.  Make a new friend, leave a comment, have something iced to drink.

We have acquired some new friends here in blogland and I hope they'll join us too.

Give us a hollaback if you'll be receiving visitors this Monday.

And have a fabulous weekend.

xo Jane

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Through Rose Colored Glasses

I walked the garden after work.   I didn't look down at the weeds or the mayhem created by the fig tree's fall from grace.

I looked at what was blooming instead of what wasn't.

There is much that is pink.  Am I wild about those mauve lilies?  No,but I'm wild about the friend who gave them to me so they stay.

Did I believe those tiny bulbs I planted this spring and almost forgot about ( thank god for rain) would turn into a potfull of pineapple lilies?  No, but how fabulous are they? ( no thanks to me)

Did I expect the African foxgloves to reseed and return ( wherever they damn well wanted)?  No, but I scattered seeds and crossed my fingers.

Do I mean to have fields of yarrow in various shades of pastels? No, but what a tough little bugger this plant is, surviving drought, visiting dogs, and careless postmen.  This yarrow rocks!

As does this one growing among the monarda and hydrangea.

And did I expect to round the corner and find the fig bound and tied with secured with an ingenious assortment of stakes and wire and garden hose?  Well ,yes actually, because GG was home alone for 2 hours and she had a plan. And let's be honest, you all expected it too, didn't you?

So this is how my garden grows, with lucky rainfalls, and windfalls and gifts from friends and a v. clever G.F.

Glass overflowing:)

xo Jane

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Porridge Please Sir

Hi y'all, it's me Nika.  If you don't know who I am, read here and here. 

If I'm sounding very southern tonight, it's the weather swear to God.  I'm actually from Connecticut, but now I live in Virginia.  It's hot here, the nights are sultry and filled with fireflies and lightening. Sometimes it's scary to take a walk, the skies are rumbling, I don't know if it's thunder or a plane, but it's noisy and I have to keep turning around to see what's in back of me.

But then I quickly turn around to see what I can see in front of me. last night it was a CAT!!!  I took GG on quite a run down that little alley, jajajajaja.  I would never hurt another animal, but I sure like to chase them.  

And my daily walks/ runs have been increased because GG took me to see some quack, er vet, who claimed I had gained 7 and a 1/2 pounds since last year.  Excuse me????   He also said that is why I've had problems with my hip, getting up and sitting down. Well, no worries,  like anybody is going to tell me to sit to get a treat anymore. And the whole neighborhood knows.  Ron? From across the street ? Who started " Bone Sunday"? Well he's changing it up to "Carrot Sunday".  Hello?  Carrot Sunday?  Who gets out of bed for a carrot?  Not this Lab.

So if anyone would like a nice Lab who will clean up your table scraps, doesn't snore very loudly at all, and will keep all the squirrell and rabbits off your property, comment here.  Have leash will travel.

P.S. Don't worry, the cat's not part of the deal.

P.P.S. Don't fret about the fig tree, you know those 2 are gonna get that tree standing again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Big Storm Knocked It Over

I spoke too soon about our figs.  And I neglected to go into detail about how much rain we have had these past four days.  Apparently last night's deluge tipped the scales, and the fig tree.

I can't tell you how surreal it was to go out on the back deck this morning and see the fig, sprawled out on the grass.  Where is the red current bush and the black and blue sage? Buried?  Who knew figs had such a shallow root system?  Not us.

Suggestions?  Condolences?  We did buy some new blueberry bushes we might need a new tree.

It was as tall as the house.  At least the house is still standing.

Glass half full.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

And I've Seen Rain

If only I hadn't promised myself to stay off the topic of weather.  Belinda has awarded me dual citizenship because she says I am as obsessed with the topic as any Brit.

So I can't tell you about the thunderstorms and lightening that have surrounded us and lit up the skies for the past two nights.  Of course this also relieves me of the topic of the plaster falling from the kitchen ceiling. 

But I can show you the pictures I downloaded this morning of the garden after the rain.  I wondered where GG had disappeared to last night as I was making dinner. Now I know.  She is clearly obsessed with the purple outside / green inside beans. Not many make it into the kitchen proper, they're too good eaten off the bush.

And the figs are back. GG has taken down the maple tree in the back yard and the figs are lapping up the sunshine again.

A little corner of the path planted with oregano rotundifolium.  It spills, it thrills and it smells like a Mediterranean island.

Until I saw this picture I had no idea we had a tiny watermelon growing on the fence.  As soon I I saw this download I rushed out into the garden to see for myself.  It's true, it's true, the sugar babies are on the way.

I hope your weekend is filled with unplanned moments and a mouthful of fresh fruit.

xo jane

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Some of my favorites things are brought to me by birds or the wind or a fortuitous drive down a different street on the way to work.

Nigella sative, planted last year in a different part of the garden.  Never bloomed,  I was sad.  Oops, there it is.

  Nicotiana,  green, grows tall, a good cut flower.  We had it last summer, it has returned.  V. welcome.

One of two concrete urns, empty but eager, found at a yard sale last Saturday.  23.00 the pair.  It's good to leave for work early in the summer.

And my favorite surprise?  A little  welcome token on the front door from GG.  A few of her onions and some lavender.

Sometimes it's good to just take a step back and let life unfold as it will.  I couldn't have scripted it any better.

xo Jane

Monday, June 13, 2011

Once Upon A Time

A 3:00pm wedding on a 93degree Sunday in June can be quite a challenge no matter how cute the house and garden.

An outside bar must be kept well stocked with much chilled water and wine. And reading material should be close at hand to distract the guests.

If you are a friend and florist you might worry that the chuppah flowers will wilt in the heat so you decorate minimally.

If you are a flower girl what starts out all fun and games,

can quickly lead to restlessness and an urge to go join the other children blowing bubbles in the back of the yard.

But if you are a bride and a bride, even if one of you is very pregnant, the heat is incidental.

You don't perspire, you glow.  Love, laughter and a few tears have quite a way of bringing your body temperature down.

And as in any good fairy tale, the day always ends in someone's air conditioned house with music, food, champagne and of course, a cake .

Oh, and the news that it's a boy.

Congratulations and much love to the brides.  Thanks for inviting us to share your special day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Girls Who Played With Fire ( And Flour)

 Yes, you're right.  I do need to be watering the garden and unloading the dishwasher.  We have just 5 hours until we need to be dressed and ready to go to the wedding.  But....

Did you know that the German Girl is a grill goddess?  Animal, vegetable, carbohydrate, she'll concoct a marinade and throw it on a fire.  This leaves me free to make a salad, pour her a drink and sneak off to do a little reading.

 She was marinaded and ready to grill last night when I realized we had no bread.  No baguette, no pita, no tortillas, no nothing.  And I like a little something, something with my meal. 

A quick internet search and voila, a recipe for flour tortillas.  Yes, this did put dinner off for another hour, but when we sat down at the table with our grilled steak, chopped salsa/ salad and homemade tortillas.....we were dos tranquilla mujeres.

Next time we'll cook them directly on the grill.  I know what girls like.


And fire.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, June 10, 2011

And Now, The Weather

While we were rained.  Not the all out thunderstorms, accompanied by lightening and golf ball sized hail that much of the east coast got.  Just rain.  I didn't even hear it.

But when I walked outside this morning the garden was wet, the soil was dark and the leaves were glistening.
That was me you saw down on her knees singing Halleluia.

In vegetable news, the peas are holding on, in this weather I know not how.  The raspberries are ripe, we have hail size onions,  the beans and edamame are flowering and the watermelon is wandering about and thinking about climbing up the fence.  And I spied a tomato.

Two more days of work and then we'll find ourselves in another garden.  This one belongs to our friends Sarah and Mary.  They own a teeny tiny 1860 pink farmhouse that was transplanted onto an equally small triangular corner in Washington D.C. many years ago. This is their first spring/ summer here and the little garden is a constant source of delight.

They will be married under a chuppah.  I'll get to make 2 bridal bouquets and a "halo" for Sarah's 5 year old daughter Parker. There will be the usual cast of female rugby players, many doctors, family of the brides, children and a florist and her GF.

 Love is a many splendored thing.  As is marriage equality.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How Hot?

100+ in the shade hot.

Eat a strawberry popsickle hot.

Cut up a watermelon hot.

Feed a few pieces of it to the dog hot.

Give your hot dog a shower in the vegetable garden hot.
Stay inside and change your header hot.  ( Thank you GG)

Look at pics from cooler days ( 95) hot.

And stay inside till dark.


Because it's too darn hot.

P.S. you know what else was really hot?  All of you old and new who came to the house party.  And still keep coming.  Our door is never locked:)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Flowers In The House Summer Style

We had a long and lovely weekend.  But the house is now empty. The Hai has returned to Connecticut, back to his boat and his lab and his computer.  Nirmal's mother has flown back to India, but has promised to return in March to meet her first grandchild. She left me with some new authors to read and foods to recreate.  I gave her a taste for iced lattes and majolica plates.  We'll be doing a little junking this spring. An unexpected but very welcome new friend was made.

We brought home  food, water and wine from the party and I begged an arrangement from Tini.  I usually don't like actual "arrangements" in the house but take a gander at these garden roses, and the sweet peas and the lilac....imagine the scent.  And the peony........oh my God.

The rest of the house is flowers as usual.  Tiny bouquets from the garden, on the kitchen windowsill.  Some needed inspiration for the endless time we spend at the sink, especially this weekend..

Also in the living room, an air plant residing in a bowl of shells and beach glass.

In the bedroom some hydrangea from the garden on my latest estate sale purchase.  A little wooden shelf for $8.00?,  not even a question.

I'll see this as I lay in bed tonight.

And my go to for the loo?  Always an orchid.

Now I'm off to water the garden and sip some more espresso. 
I promise to wash the dirt off before I come to your house:)

xo Jane