Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Just Called To Say I Love You

Good Morning.  I've been totally MIA.  What with work, THE wedding to watch, dog walking, cooking dinner and snatching some time with GG, I haven't had a moment.

So a little bowl of flowers to say I'm sorry I haven't been by to visit.  As you can see the mock orange is in bloom and that in itself is another distraction.

And before you ask, no, I didn't think the bouquet was too small.  I thought it was pure enchantment with its emphasis on lily of the valley.

My garden is carrying on and as I run in and out the door, I see irises and  Miss Kim lilac, lavender about to burst, roses, wygelia and lots and lots of weeds.  And then some more weeds.

Sunday we have our yearly visitors from Switzerland.  But in between eating and talking I hope there's some lawn mowing and gardening and picture taking.  

So tell me, did you love it all?  The church flowers, the dress, the suddenly famous frowning flower girl ?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Secretive Garden

Here in the states a strange holiday called Professional Administrators Day came hard on the heels of Easter.  It's actually been changed from day to week since the bosses have to remember to make the calls to request flowers for the people who take care of their business all year long. This can cause problems.  Sometimes they have their wives call.  If I catch the phone I suggest to the wives they might want to get a little something for themselves too, since they're doing the actual ordering......

Anyhoo, after 2 days of this I came crawling home and wanted to hide in the house until I was presentable and able to face conversation.  But as I sank down on my doorstep to check out the mail, I realized I was totally hidden from view and surrounded by glorious scents. Directly in from of me was a broom in full bloom, far too big for its space, but a fantastic shield.
 Over to my immediate left is a delightfully invasive patch of the pink lily of the valley, wafting sweetness my way.

And to top it off, to the right is a gardenia topiary I plopped in a pot on Sunday. Blooming away and smelling like the 3rd circle of heaven.

I ducked inside, got my book and the Lab, and we hung out until we were all chill and ready to face the world again.

Is this what they mean by aroma therapy?  Because I'm smiling again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Got Flowers?

I barely do.  I don't know why I was all worried that posting the day after Easter might be too much for y'all.  Apparently I forgot I was a florist and when I finally walked out of the shop on Saturday, flowers for my own house would be far from my mind.

But I do have a garden and it has a few things blooming that make me swoon.  Pink lily of the valley?  Oh, yeah.

Sweet dreams are made of these.

Red honeysuckle, lilac and a few sweet peas.

The peonies are from work and were tightly closed on Saturday night.  After an Easter Sunday with highs in the 80s, I was giving them oxygen to keep them alive for a picture.  But the bedside care is so worth it.  Walking into a room and getting a whiff of these is head turning, mind blowing, stop you in your tracks delicious.

And lambs ear. No scent, just softness. Sigh.

Have I forgotten anything?

You were wondering if the Easter Bunny came through?  You know he did.

That's what I've got.  You?

xo Jane

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweet Nothings

Whether you live across the pond or across the street.  Whether you go to the park or you go to church.  Whether you barbeque or roast your lamb.  I wish you all a Happy Easter.  Or, if you don't celebrate this holiday, a beautiful Sunday filled with delicious food, close friends, and  something rich and mildly fattening for dessert.

And I hope to be invited into your houses on Monday.  Don't forget to save me a little something sweet.

xo Jane

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This Is What It Sounds Like.....

Hello you, it's Nika here.  Jane's in the shower and GG's still asleep.  I've got a  very few minutes to tell you about last nights' walk.  What I heard and ( what I thought).

"OMG it's so warm out I can't believe I'm in flip flops at 9:00 at night". ( Can you step it up and stop shuffling along in those shower shoes?)

"Look at that sky, it's so beautiful, a true midnight blue". ( Don't look up, heads down, smell the ground, we're hunting rabbits.)

"What are you looking at"?  "Trying to see if its a star or a satellite or a plane". ( OMG, who cares, are there any rabbits on the hill?)

"Where are you"?  " Back here. I can't stop smelling this lilac.  Is the smell even more intense at night"? (Rabbits have a strong scent. So do squirrels)

"Good dog Nika ". " What a pretty dog, so clean and shiny after her bath". ( Can't believe she gave me a bath yesterday, what's the matter with a quick dip in flood waters, a little mud never hurt anybody.  Neat freaks.)

"Next Monday is Flowers In The House. Do you think people will want to do it?  It's Easter Monday".
"I'm sure they will,everybody will have a little something pretty about, flowers, plants, chocolate...

 ( Please tell her you're going to do it so I don't have to hear another word ab_____SQUIRREL!!!!)

( By the by, this is Jane's cat, she likes pictures of flowers too. We do try to keep her happy..)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When You're Feeling Sad And Lonely......

Surefire ways to beat the blues:
  1. Get a pedicure in a bright spring PINK
  2. Wash your kitchen windows and let the sunshine in
  3. Put fresh sheets of the bed and fluff up your pillows so it looks inviting
  4. Unpack your box of Pineapple Lilies, Ranunculus Cafe bulbs and pull the plastic wrapping and damp paper off your passion vine, guaranteed to be a perennial in your climate.
  5. Run around the house debating where to plant it, decide to wait for GG to weigh in.
  6. Walk down to your mall listening to country music. Go into shock because you forgot it's spring break and there are 2,000,000 8th graders in the food court.
  7. Run through the food court and go into Nordstrom and buy yourself a new  pair of Jack Purcell kicks in washed out purple.
  8. Buy 2 new books.
  9. Have coffee with a friend.
  10. Look up and marvel.

 11. And say to yourself what a wonderful world.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shine A Little Light On It

I started to write this last night, then had to rush off to Tini and Nirmal's for dinner.  After a night of fun and food, bejeweled saris and Swarovski crystals I thought the sadness would melt away,but no. My heart is still hurting so I have to write it out again.

Our neighbors, the Major and his partner are putting their house up for sale this week.  They are desirous of more free time.  Hours spent in the yard weeding and mowing are not for them.  Not even the lure of a cookout at the end of a day spent outside can keep them here.  Golf courses and gyms cry out for their spare time.  They started looking at apartments to rent yesterday.

And of course we'll see them and spend time together.  But there is a difference between setting up a play date and being able to run back and forth across the street, borrowing, lending, eating cannoli's on a sunny Sunday afternoon or a bowl  of soup on a rainy evening.  The intimacy that  can come with proximity is a precious commodity.

GG is helping in their garden, edging the beds in brick pavers, weeding and sowing.  There is a new yellow striped umbrella to look at and pots bursting with blossoms.  Potential buyers should find it charming.  I don't know how they can leave it now that it looks better that it ever has.  But I'm a homebody.  Word.

I'm also a  human word processor.  I process my feelings by writing and talking them out.  Thanks for letting me spill them out here.  Now I'm off to do some home chores.  I'll start inside and make my way outside.  The sun is shining and birds are singing and all is almost right with my world.

Anybody wanna buy a house?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Dilettante Gardener

That's right, once again I'm hooking up with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at May Dream Gardens.  Though I'm not a garden blogger, I am a blogger who gardens so I hope my offerings are acceptable. I had hoped to show a little more seriously than last month, but my hopes were dashed.

It was a question of devoting some serious time getting perfect flower pictures, looking up their Latin names, sharpening my pencils and getting down to  blogging business or mowing the lawn.  The lawn won. If you were my neighbor you would be grateful.

But it's spring, a perfect time for frivolity and flowers.  So with the smell of freshly mowed grass drifting in through the open windows, a sunny day still lingering, let's take a stroll.

Take a deep breath of the Koreanspice viburnum ( ahem, viburnum carlesii), its sharp,spicy scent fills the backyard.

   Around the left side of the house in our faux shade garden two little favorites.  Epimedium, no clue what species, any ideas?  And the lovely brunnera nacrophylla, the false forget me not, spreading everywhere, and welcome to every inch it takes.

 In a front bed a small clump of narcissus bridal crown, and our ornamental plum, prunus cerisifera,a vision in pink and burgandy.

Around the corner a clump of creeping phlox.(P. Subulth), in its second year, just starting to spread and a glimpse of muscari.

And a very welcome visitor under the back deck.

Sweeter than all the roses.

But now come on inside and I'll show you why I really love to garden.

Because you can take it with you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Rose Is A Rose Is ......

 I feel like the New York Times. Correction: it was incorrectly reported the first surgery on GG's knee was for her ACL. It was a repair of her ruptured patella tendon.  The ACL surgery was apparently a piece of cake.  And as I recall it was in comparison.  GG worked the day after her ACL surgery.....albeit rather groggily.

 That said, we have gone carnation crazy at the shop.  You'd think I'd try to keep that quiet but no, not me.  Shouting it from the rooftops I am.  Customers come in, pause and say, I thought you didn't carry carnations.  Come on lady, take a gander.  Here's a fully blasted open garden rose all ruffly and damask scented.

Beautiful, no?

And here's a few of our new carnations from Holland.  All ruffly and smelling of spices.

 Beautiful, no?  If you didn't know what they were wouldn't you find them desirable?

A carnation by any other name would be -----?

Please fill in the blank.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Waxing Philosophical

There are a few garden chores I dread.  Weeding the path that leads us down the side on the house past the raised beds is #1.

It's a sweet path put together by GG in the spring of 2005.  She was at home recovering from surgery (the 1st surgery) on her knee.  She took a hit from either side while playing rugby and as she went down and heard the sound of the ACL tearing, she thought to herself " that's the end of my life as I know it".

Serious surgery, serious pain meds.  I didn't expect to arrive home from work and find her constructing a path of salvaged stones and bricks we had dug up around the house.  Probably doesn't surprise any of you though. But there she was, day after day, in a cast, on crutches, pain meds discarded, neighbors and children and dogs flooding the yard and GG working away.

What are you gonna do?  Weed, even if it takes 3 days.  And be happy that both surgeries were successful and she went on to work as a supervisor at a garden design and build firm and learned how to properly lay a path, that requires little or no maintenance.

And then decided she could do even more with her life and went back to school.  3 years later, 2 more paths, now she'll graduate in May.

We never know where we'll go when life as we know it ends.  But if we take our time we just might find  treasure hidden among the weeds and the ruins.

Thus ends today's sermon.
Go forth and play!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

She Can't Help It,The Girl Can't Help It

No way, no how was I leaving work yesterday without a few blossoms of local lilac.  Their fragrance had been calling to me all day long, every time I opened the cooler doors, every time I placed a few in an arrangement. 

It had been a long busy day, make that week, but the lilac had my head spinning.  I was equally seduced by the new green floribunda cabbage rose sweetly named Eclair.  Its price is mind blowing but so is its color.

I quickly filled a mason jar, unwilling to let the lilacs sit without water while we made a quick stop at a book store and Whole Foods.  A few sweet peas from Japan also made their into the mix. How do these things happen?

Okay, and maybe one coral charm peony.  But who amongst us wouldn't have done the same?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday Was Thursday

Yesterday was a perfect day off, if like me you enjoy a day spent cleaning and hanging new shower curtains.  If you love time spent outside on a sunny 70 degree day wrestling with the remains of morning glory on a chain link fence and  attempting to remove weeds growing in a brick path.  And if you have 2 hours to devote to a phone conversation with a friend you've known since you were 15.  Oh, and if you like to indulge in a nap or two. 

I struggled to get a picture of the ornamental plum in its glory, without featuring the large hotel that looms over our house and to give you an idea of what I mean by small ( but charming).

Does this give you a clue how to find us?  We'll be open for dining al fresco soon.  And don't forget to stop by for a lemonade on a Sunday afternoon after you've finished doing the museums.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Party's Over

Hmm, maybe working your day off isn't such a good idea.  Too much work can make one a little tired and cranky.....but luckily come Thursday I'll be relaxing in the privacy of my own garden.

Today was rainy and blustery with flowers in shades of blues and whites. Security  and barometric pressure were high, and much time was spent sitting on the dock of the bay watching the clouds roll away.

But inside was festive with flowers and flags greeting a visiting president.

Not a drop of water was spilled or a dollar of our 2,000,000.00 insurance policy needed.

One exhales deeply while exiting, then drives to the nearest Starbucks.  At least if that one is me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

And On The 7th Day........

We rested . Well, what I mean by rested is I did no garden work at all, I strolled around and picked a few pansies, some epimedium and one fat white camellia bloom.  Meanwhile GG mowed the lawn.

We grocery shopped, read the Times, bought a stack of amethyst and iris towels, apparently purple really is the new red for us. And as I sit writing this GG is hanging new blinds in the loo.

Tomorrow will be 74 degrees.  Unfortunately I offered to work tomorrow.  We have a house to decorate in 
a Fragonard-ish style plus the party on Tuesday.  As soon as I heard the weather report I cursed my control freak ways.

My pre school report card read that I was so busy making sure everyone got their work done I had no time to do my own.  I've apparently turned that into a career plus.

Speaking of cursing , a pretty steady stream of them is coming from our bathroom right now.  I best be off to offer some unsolicited help.

May you all have a warm and sunny Monday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Peace Train Take This Country

On Friday we did a walk through of the newly opened USIP. the United States Peace Center.  I've been watching the buildings' progress for the last year and as it neared completion it took my breath away.

We're doing the flowers for a dinner next Tuesday and the walk through combined business with my own personal pleasure. Kudos to the secret service who watched me wander off from a briefing to take a few pictures. ( How important to the briefing was the florist anyway?)

Inside: miles of limestone and windows: outside: our nation's cherry trees, newly planted in the foreground and  40 years old in the back, combined with a partly sunny day spelled bloggers bliss.

The institute's ambition is as lofty as it's architecture: to promote peace in a time of war.  I think that's a dream we all can live with.

Friday, April 1, 2011

How Can It Be Wrong When It Tastes So Right?

For any of you who read the scintillating exchange between GG and myself in yesterdays comments you may wonder: what did those two have for dinner....

You would be correct in thinking we hadn't been to the store since last Saturday night, so what was there to cook?

A bastardized version of French onion soup perhaps?  Correct! 

Thinly slice 4 onions, if you only have red onions use those, what the hell.  At a very low heat (like 'low') cook them slowly in a hunk of butter with a splash of olive oil , season with S&P, thyme, 2 bay leaves .  After 25 minutes add a cup of red wine, cook wine off, maybe 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions are dry(no liquid left) add 3 Tablespoons of flour, stir frequently for about 15 minutes(remember: low heat), then add 2 quarts of beef stock.  Or just 1 quart of stock and 1 of water if that's all you have.  Now turn up heat and simmer merrily away for 15 or 20 minutes.

Of course you don't have a  baguette so take any bread you have and toast it, then cover toast with cheese of your choice. Jalapeno jack and Parmesan for me, mozzarella and jalapeno jack for GG.  Pop back in oven till cheese melts and maybe browns. Fill soup bowl, add toasted bread, garnish with dill if that's all you have around, take a picture, take a spoonful. If it's too hot, blow on spoon and try again.

It will be delicious, you might need another bowl.

My apologies to Julia Child.