lunes, 24 de noviembre de 2014

In a Vase on Monday - Darling bud of... November?

This Monday's pickings are slim: a simple William Shakespeare rose with ivy in a bud vase.  This combination brought to mind the first few lines of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 ("Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May").  Funny how the brain works.

The bud vase

 For natural lighting, the vase is in front of a window atop a WWII military trunk that has been around the world quite a few times.

Sometimes simple is better.

Once again, I'm linking with Rambling In the Garden's In a Vase on Monday meme, where garden bloggers post photos of arrangements with flowers and greenery from their gardens.  Stop by!

sábado, 22 de noviembre de 2014

Fall Foliage

We planted two large trees last February, a Pyrus calleryana and a Ginkgo Biloba, and this is their first display of autumnal color.  It's not much, but here in LaMancha there isn't much in the way of fall foliage anyway.

Ginkgo and Pyrus

Parthenocissus tricuspidata is starting to cover the stone-faced retaining wall by the garage. 

The variation in color is spectacular.

Here, it's interesting to see how the overlayer is red and the underlayer is yellow. 

 On the other side of the wall, fall color is provided by Parthenocissus, nandina domestica, abelia and a little mum.

 Migrating cranes flying over my house are another sure sign that autumn is well underway.

I'm linking up with Christina at My Hesperides Garden for Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day.  
Stop by to see her wonderful Italian garden.

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2014

In a Vase on Monday - Fall Milk Bottle

No, the milk bottle is not falling.  It is a vintage milk bottle filled with fall color.  Parthenocissus tricuspidata and some sprigs from a thornless blackberry accompany the unreal orange tones of Meilland's Baby Romantica (a gift from my babies one Mother's Day).

I believe that The Deerfoot Farms dairy was located on Deerfoot Rd in Southborough, Massachusetts.  The bottle was found in my grandmother's root cellar, in perfect condition even though it has to be more than 60 years old.

This vase is my contribution to Rambling in the Garden's In a Vase on Monday meme.

sábado, 15 de noviembre de 2014

Bloom Day, November 2014

Once again, I am joining other garden bloggers for Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens, where bloggers from all over the world post photos of what is blooming in their gardens on the 15th of each month.

Like any other November, the pickin's in my garden are quite slim right now.  We had our first frost last week, and it has been raining on and off for the past couple of days.  So, no I have a frog in my throat.  Lovely

The amazing color of Benjamin Britten


Winchester Cathedral

Abraham Darby

Abraham Darby is not done yet!

William Shakespeare

The Shephardess

The back yard, glistening after a rain

A rainbow, seen from the kitchen porch

And me?  Well, I'm keeping my toes up by the fire until my throat gets better. 

What's blooming today in your garden?

miércoles, 12 de noviembre de 2014

Baby Steps

If you know me or have read an earlier post from this year, then you know I broke several vertebrae and ribs in a riding accident this past spring.  As you can imagine, for months now my gardening has been limited to dead-heading my roses and little else.

Pilates classes three times a week have been my saving grace.  After just two months  of perserverence, my flexibility has improved and so has my strength.  I still refrain from lifting heavy weights, but this weekend  I did dome digging and planting for the first time in nearly seven months, and I feel great!

After a good rain, the clay soil was soft.  I started out simple by planting some honeysuckle clippings in shallow holes made with a hoe.  It was just a baby step, but so rewarding!

The next day, I had no pain, so I tried digging deeper holes with a shovel to plant ivy, cerastium and salvia along the south-east side of our property, which is really an eyesore.  The following photo was taken from our kitchen porch, where you can see the neighboring property - a bank foreclosure (lots of those around here).


You can see how poor the soil is here, and how tough the growing conditions are.  I mean, even the weeds have a hard time growing in this soil!  In the next photo, you can see what I had planted last spring: cypreses, teucrium and iris.

A picture worth a thousand words!  Here you can see the mechanics involved in gardening in La Mancha: clay that is so hard that it cannot be dug - instead it is chipped away at with a pick-axe (when dry) or "sliced" with a shovel (when wet); chicken wire along the perimeter fence to keep the rabbits out, plus chicken wire cylinders around all susceptible plants (see bottoms of cypreses); soil ammendments; drip irrigation so everything survives.

Below, things are starting to look better already with new ivy, more teucrium and compost.  The salvia in the center looks huge because it was still stuck in its pot.

This is how it is starting to look from the living room balcony.  I am exhausted (didn't even clean up after myself), but so excited to see some green in this barren part of the yard!

Just a few baby steps, but I’m in no hurry…  

lunes, 10 de noviembre de 2014

Monday's Vase (ahem, coffee pot)

Here's another flower arrangement post.  I hope that's not too boring.

Even after our first frosts this week, the roses in my garden are still producing the last odds and ends for the year.  The most productive right now is Madame Alfred Carrière, but unfortunately most of her blooms face outwards onto my neighbor's property (lucky him).  In its third year, I really need to get it onto an arch to train it away from the boundary fence.

So, once again, I am participating with Rambling in the Garden's "In a Vase on Monday" post.  This week, my humble arrangement includes roses from Madame Alfred Carrière, La Sevillana and Pat Austin, along with spent abelia blooms.

The "vase" is actually a Japanese coffee pot that my grandmother brought back from Yokohama, where my grandparents, mother and aunt lived after WWII.  My grandfather was stationed in occupied Japan for five years with the Army Corps of Engineers during the reconstruction.

Yes, that is La Sevillana's actual color.  No color enhancing used here.


I am a bit nervous about using the coffee pot.  The hand-painted porcelain hasn't got a single crack or coffee stain and it honestly looks like it has never been used.  As a child, I remember seeing it in a china cabinet, although never on the table.

But, I think it is important to use precious, inherited belongings instead of leaving them locked up in a glass case.  They bring back fond memories, which are much more priceless than cold china.  I'm sure my grandmother would feel the same.

lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2014

Flower arrangements

I know nothing about flower arrangements - a pure and simple fact.  It is hard, however, to make beautiful flowers look ugly!

On the weekends when I have a bit more time to breathe, I usually wake up early to cut flowers, herbs or even twigs to bring indoors.  Just a few are enough to make me happy.  A dear friend of mine, Gema, took this photo at my house on Saturday and pinned it (no great feat - she has 20,693 pins!).  Somehow, things often look better from someone else's perspective...

Abraham Darby, Pierre de Ronsard, salvia

¡Un besito Gemita!

Update: just found a site where gardeners post their flower arrangements each Monday (