Friday, July 29, 2011

Starts With The Letter D

Disgraced Dog.

Caught up to his heiny in Nika's bag of kibbles.
(Again!! ~ gg)


Darling Dog.

In hiding.  Worried she did something wrong too and will get no dinner. 
(Like that would ever happen?~ gg)


Accidentally mowed down in our neighbor's yard because it's too hot to mow till dusk and after a certain point, dusk becomes dark.
(Sorry Nelda!)


What is it? I've had it on my wall for years.
(I have no idea... a buoy?)


Because it's sweet and juicy and cool to the taste. And, as you can tell from this post; it's too hot to think clearly here.  
(Yum! ... and pasta salad?!?)

Delirious, that's the word. I'm delirious.

Hmmm, what else starts with D ... drink! I'm off to ice one.

Enjoy your weekend.
xo Jane
(and gg :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wedding Belle Blues

I must confess my heart went out to last Saturday's bride who desperately wanted to be married outdoors.  She lives in Colorado in the mountains, so home was her first choice.  California or the family beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware were runners up. But her mother is handicapped and wasn't going to be climbing any mountain or fording any stream.  A private club in Chevy Chase, Maryland was the venue. Period.

At least there was a chance of fresh air and blue skies when the plans were made for the rooftop terrace, but temps in the 115 heat index range made outside an impossibility.

So inside it was.  Dark carved dining room chairs filled the ballroom. Heavy swags of fabric ballooned above the  windows, and ficus trees with fairy lights stood in for the stars, kind of.

We did our best to lighten it up.  Piles of hydrangea, cylinders filled with sand and shells or moss and pine cones gathered from her beloved mountains adorned the mantles.

The tables had simple centers of hydrangea and green and white tree ivy.

They had brought a sackful of rocks  from home that were scattered about the tables.

We placed urns and vases full of branches and tree ivy and flowers about, made it as bright and summery as possible but....

We couldn't give her fresh air or sunshine or her heart's desires.

And chandeliers, no matter how many or how bright, are not the milky way.

 Not even close.

Unsolicited advice to the bride and groom from your florist:
 Go forth into the world together, forsaking all air conditioning  (except when visiting the east coast), kick off your shoes, tear off your tie, let down your hair and don't look back.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Flowers In The Hot House

I can not tell a lie ... I brought home a handful of flowers from work on Saturday.  Hydrangeas, both hot pink and some of the beautiful blue/green we had used in Saturday's wedding.

The blue went in the living room and a short stem of the pink adorned the 'what's it for shelf' in the bedroom.

Random moment: a birthday card for GG from our friend Beth.  Now you know her other name.( But she'll always be GG to us)

 I watered early in the day and even managed to cut down some plants who had seen better days.
 Then I just had enough energy to pick a small bouquet of blooming oreganos, lambs ear and one geranium blossom to dress up the kitchen.  I guess a little goes a long way.

Please notice extremely lovely garden tomatoes not found in our garden.  We have reaped about 10 cherry tomatoes so far this summer.  Thus we are forced to haunt every farmers market we can find, spending a small fortune on our favorite Cherokee Purples. The jalapeno is ours, she said proudly.  We've had better summers.

But never hotter.

So leave me a comment, link up or just holler and I'll be by to visit you.  I hope your air conditioning  works better than ours does.

 xo Jane

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What Are You Doing Monday? Wanna Come Over?

The thermometer outside the shop on Friday read 120F/ 50C.  Inside we toiled away on a wedding for a crying bride.  She was heartbroken her ceremony would have to be moved inside.  I told her we didn't want to see her in the  Sunday headlines" Twelve Dead At -----'s Wedding. She laughed, I heaved a sigh of relief.  I imagined myself darting out to place flowers and ribbons on the chairs seconds before the bride was about to walk out the door to the ROOF garden.  Roof=heat x two.

Is it crazy to do Flowers In The Hot House this Monday? Is it too hot to even keep flowers alive?  Or for my friends across the ocean too wet to even pick them?

 Take a minute to contemplate and then  cast your vote please. Remember if you say yes  it will give me an opportunity to sit quietly inside, editing pics, prattling away, visiting other blogs , making nice with Mr. Linky.

It's up to you.  Don't be coy.

Now I'm off to get ready for work.  Looking forward to loading and unloading the flowers on a day that promises to be even hotter than yesterday..........not.

xoxo Jane

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And Then We Went To Heaven

There are places I have visited that resonate in my heart. In a Goldilocks fashion,each one has felt " just right" to me. Fire Island,NY where I have summered with my friend Larry for over 20 years in an assortment of houses, one more charming than the next. The house on Lake Ariel where Anne and John were married, and our friends Geoff and Chuck's farm in Maryland with it's 5 acres acres of gardens  filled with  shrieking peacocks and  guinea hens running in circles.

Chaticleer garden in Wayne , Pennsylvania is another source of magic for me.  Set on the former estate of the Rosengarten family, it offers 35 acres of romantically planted gardens to roam.

On Sunday, wearing sunscreen and hats, carrying bottles of water and of course a camera we roamed.   We met the ex,Tony and his partner Meredith, in the shade of Annie's house.  For two hours we chatted and strolled and perspired and sat in chairs under vine covered trellises. We saw living arches, and "pool tables" and potting sheds and a "ruin" garden and lotus in bloom.  That alone was worth the slight sunburn and Meredith's  touch of heatstroke ( at least I hope so). 

It is rumored that today our temperature will hit 110 degrees.  My garden will be off limits for me. So I'm going to cruise back here today and remember what it felt like walking and talking with friends in a little slice of heaven on earth.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Then You Better Put a Ring On It

Friday morning we said goodbye to Starbucks and drove up up up through Pennsylvania to the Poconocs and Lake Ariel.

May and June had been very rainy and they said summer had only arrived a week before we did.  Everything was so green, the skies so blue, the breezes cool and, as promised, the cake was orange.

 Cleverly ignoring all my advice they decided to prepare most of the food themselves.  So brothers and sisters flocked to the big white kitchen and as fans whirled over head  they marinated 30 pounds of flank steak, peeled and roasted pounds of shrimp, prepared sesame noodles and orzo pasta salads, threaded balls of marinated mozzarella and cherry tomatoes on skewers, chopped endless vegetables and cubed loaves of bread for a bread salad and made a good dent in the 12 gallons of vodka.  I'm betting there is no cranberry juice available in Pennsylvania at the moment.

The only food prepared outside the kitchen was the cake, a platter of beautiful wedding cookies and several poached salmon that were served with a dill sauce and capers.

We were invited for 5:30, there was an hour and half of cocktails and appetizers before Anne's oldest brother Doug led her down the stairs of the cottage across the lawn and down to the dock through  a small crowd of beaming relatives and friends.

It was a short and sweet ceremony, the lake was calm, the sun lit them from behind and from the house to the right a baby cried.  So did we.

Then there was music and dancing on the wrap around porch.  People filled plates and sat outside at tables, in vintage wicker chairs or on the big wooden porch swing.

We made it until midnight.  The rest are made of sterner stuff and the party continued till 4:00am.

The next day was full of swimming and kayaking, eating and more eating and further consumption of the vodka.  The beer and the jagermeister were all gone.  We all got to know one another a little better and I got an hour nap in the big front bedroom with an old quilt on the bed and breezes blowing in through the windows.

Sunday morning we packed up and left the celebrants behind in the beautiful house by the green lake  and drove down, down, down to Philadelphia for further adventures and iced lattes and hotter temps.

It was the best of times.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Orange You Glad I'm Giving You A Sneak Peek?

I got a call this morning from the boss, er I mean the bride, telling me to make her bouquet very tiny. Good God, she's 5' 10" and big boned.  I'm tiny.  She's a presence. A force of nature.

And to make her Matron Of Honour's bouquet even tinier. Use only 3 flowers.


She's got the big fun roses and the mini sunflowers.  I tucked in a few hypericum berries and a ruffle of lady's mantle.  She be loving the chartreuse too.

And I did make the MOH's small, I used orange floribunda roses and a few tiny stems of  crocosmia, and more of the lady's mantle.  Oh and one random dahlia bud I found on the table.

 I just saw the picture and I realized I had used three Gypsy Curiosa roses too.  Do they count?

The flowers are already stunned  that they're sitting on my table and not in a cooler somewhere.  Wait till they take their road trip.

I was so swept up in the moment I rushed out and bought a little orange cardigan for the wedding.  I hear it gets cool at night.  I vaguely remember cool.

This post was just interrupted by my friend Larry from NYC  calling to send his love to the bride and fill me in on all the NY gossip. It has occurred to me I'm bringing so many well wishes and love and hugs to the bride I might have to pack an extra bag.

My head's a spinning. I'm off to pack for the lake and the mountains and some big fun.

xo Jane

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To Be Or Not To Be.....

I received a text last night that the bride and groom to be had arrived at the lake house and were sitting on the dock enjoying a cocktail.  They were looking forward to us joining them.

I suggested they enjoy the peace and quiet while they had a chance.  But I also thought what  a perfect place for them to be,watching the sun set  and then ambling into the kitchen to cook something delicious for dinner.

I can't wait to join them.  But I won't be joining them for cocktails:)  If you're a new, or just a forgetful reader, perhaps you don't know I don't drink. I did. With great enjoyment and vigour.  But shortly after Anne and I opened our flowershop I realized I had a choice: drink or be a true partner.  I decided to concentrate on my day life rather than my night life.  It was a good decision, one I have never regretted making.

And a wonderful part of that decision was I only lost one friend.  Everybody else was only an arms length away. 

We've continued to celebrate holidays, go on vacations, work together and now, apparently attend one another's weddings.

I  feel v. grateful that I'm available, aware and alive to enjoy every moment of our lives together.

And I look forward to toasting their happiness with a glass of sparking water in hand and love in my heart.


I feel I have to add a P.S. I'm not promoting not drinking here.  I had a problem and I found a solution that worked for me.  I stopped. It wasn't easy early on, but my life got better so much faster it was clear as a bell that I was better off  without it.

Many people in my life drink.  They drink responsibly.  I'm an all or nothing kind of woman.  So nothing it is!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

An Independent Woman

It seems to be a quiet weekend in blogland.  I've been locked in at work for the past 2 days doing weddings and parties.

My weekend consists of today because I'm going in to work Monday.  One designer and the owners are on vacation.   I'll work thru Thursday and then GG and I leave for Lake Ariel in Pennsylvania where one of my best friends gets married on Friday at her family's summer house, under a full moon.

We'll bring the bouquet and a boutonniere for the groom.  Big fun roses and mini sunflowers are the requested flowers.  She's big fun herself.  A tall redhead who's favorite color is orange.  A fabulous cook and baker, seamstress and all around problem solver.  " You know what you ought to do?" is her favorite way to start a sentence.  More often than not she's right.  This has aggravated me for many years.

We had a business together in the late 80's ,early 90's. The two of us, with help from an constantly revolving cast of friends, could " knockout some work" as the redhead puts it.  We knocked it out with music blasting and friends going on coffee runs, writing cards, answering phones and occasionally doing deliveries for us. 

Then I got divorced and the recession got to be too much for us.  We closed American County Flowers and I went to work for the shop I'm still with and she runs her own floral business out of her home.  She also works one day in the shop with us because, apparently, I still need to be told what I need to do.

She's a very independent woman who was happy as a single woman, dating on occasion, "Cause a girl's got to eat" but content as could be in the world she had created for herself.  What a shock to all of us but mostly her that she met such a wonderful man and will marry him in less than a week.

He too  has a million projects going at once, loves to cook, has 4 grown children from a previous marriage who think she hung the moon.  Even in the midst on moving her VERY full apartment into his small house, they have time to plant 16 tomato plants, throw parties, build a greenhouse and plan a wedding.

It will be interesting watching a 50 something woman adjust to a long term relationship with a constant companion.  There are even grandchildren to  factor in.  And the question of what would she like to be called.

I can assure you it's not going to be grandma!

More will be revealed, to her and to us.  But as all her friends say,  we now know there truly is someone for everyone.  Just keep yours eyes wide open and your hair colored.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Pie Stands Alone

Thank you all for your cursory reading of my last post, I know you want to get to the meat and potatoes of our 4th.  And apologies to my vegan/ vegetarian friends because there was meat, and a grill and lots of heat.

 You have to overlook the quality of the photos. Imagine me ducking between groups of laughing, talking people, carrying platters of German and Spanish sausage to the table, the inevitable hamburgers and our specialty, baby back ribs that had been dry rubbed with an assortment of spices then slow cooked for 2 hours in a 300degree oven.  Just a few turns over hot coals and they are ready to eat.  There were bowls of German potato salad, my black bean and rice salad, grilled corn, its husks all black and steamy ready to be pulled off and the tender corn underneath waiting to be slathered with butter, S&P and eaten with many groans of " This is the best corn I've had this summer". 

Needless to say, keeping hordes of hungry people away from the table while I took a few carefully posed photos was a no go.  I got the ribs, I got the corn and then I got out of the way.

After hours of messy eating we cleaned ourselves and the table and walked up the hill to watch the fireworks. Many complained of feeling a little "full" and the short walk there and back was a struggle.

But once we had returned and the bowls of watermelon, plates of brownies and ice cream, and the piece de resistance, the blueberry pie were placed on the table, the complaints were forgotten. Appetites mysteriously returned.

We sat back down and ate some more and told tall tales surrounded by panting dogs, loud neighborhood fireworks and watched over by the first moon flower of the summer.

If I ever don't have a party again on the 4th, I'll do it with the same people, in our yard, with 2 grills going and labs begging, glasses of basil lemonade and bites of juicy watermelon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An Alternative Universe

I needed a quick nap after work and the remains of the blueberry pie before I could sit down and read your latest and write one of my own.

Happy July 5th, a great day.  All I had to do was show up at work and arrange flowers.  Yesterday, since we were not officially having a party we could just chill.

No need to pick bouquets and place them around the house. Or vacuum, dust , and clean kitchen and bathroom.  Why bother, the housekeeper comes on Tuesday.

Totally not necessary to drag the table and chairs and umbrella and lights out into the garden.

Eight people can eat comfortably on the little patio.  Oh, the numbers went up to 10 for dinner and 3 more for dessert?

No worries.  As soon as GG finishes mowing our lawn and our neighbor's, she'll run across the street and borrow  a grill so she can cook ambidextrously. 

Better go and borrow an extra cooler because here comes Mark ( thought he was in Pakistan) with several cases of beer. Thank God we  doubled up on the ice. Might need an extra chair also because it's starting to look like we'll be feeding eleven.

  Oh, you brought your dog!  I was worried we would only have one hot breathed lab pushing its beseeching head between our legs at the table.

Better now.

Next up: the food we would have eaten if we had a party.

In the garden.  With friends and family.  On the 4th of July.

xo jane

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Afternoon Delight

I just popped outside to remind myself why I was inside.  It's bloody hot and humid out. ( Though this isn't keeping GG from digging out the maple tree stump.)

As I stood there for a minute I agreed it was too hot  for me ,but just as I was about to come inside I noticed a big commotion around the verbena bonariensis. Two finches were perched on a stem taking turns eating.  I ran inside to get my camera but they had flown off by the time I returned.

But all about me in the front yard,( and that verbena has insinuated itself where ever it pleased,) were butterflies and bumble bees and honey bees and little white moths, flitting from flower to flower.  Forgetting the heat ( and Noel Coward ) I ran around in the noonday sun, snapping picture after picture of them.

But they were far to clever and fast so I have nothing to show and just a memory to share.  But it was light and lovely and if you peer closely at this picture you just might see a butterfly and a bee.

Or you might think I have a slight case of heat stroke.  Both would be correct.