Back from Vacation!

I've been away on vacation with very limited internet access.  While that is kind of wonderful in its own way, posting to my blog was near impossible.  I wish I had been prepared and savvy enough to have found a host blogger while I was away but, I have to admit I wasn't.  I'll be working on that in the future.

I can share a neat thing that happened on my vacation, however.  My husband and I often find some kind of take-out and bring it to a rest area along Cape Cod Canal.  The view is beautiful and it is something we have done for years.  We decided to do this one day last week and were surprised at how many cars were in the parking lot when we arrived.  To my best recollection, it has never been that full before.  When we parked, there were dozens of people sitting in lawn chairs facing the canal.   We soon discovered, by asking some of the seated people, that a ship called the Charles W. Morgan was going to be making a voyage down the Cape Cod Canal in honor of the canal's 100th year anniversary.  Upon a quick google search we learned that the Charles W. Morgan is the last American whaling ship and usually finds its home in Mytic Seaport, Connecticut.  How lucky we felt to have happened upon it!

Here are some of the majestic photos we took.
 I did some more research and found that the Charles W. Morgan was built in 1841 and was a whaling ship for 80 years.  During that time it went on 37 voyages around the world.  Pretty impressive!

I will get back to posting designs and events but I thought this was a neat story too!

The Joy of Free Plants

You probably think I am talking about the free plants you get from a garden club plant swap or those you get when your neighbor needs to divide her irises and she hands you a clump.  Maybe you think I mean the free plants you get when you divide your own crowded perennials.  Although all of these are terrific examples of receiving free plants, I am not talking about those kinds of free plants.  I'm talking about the plants that miraculously arrive without you knowing where they came from; the ones my mother says, "grow where God planted them".  I'm talking about the plants that arrive from the seeds of last year's garden.  It is always a joyful surprise when I find a tiny seedling sprouting up somewhere unexpectedly in my garden and I had nothing to do with how they got there.  I suppose I hold some responsibility for their arrival since I planted the original flowers but, you know what I mean.

Of course, you have to be somewhat of a laissez-faire kind of gardener to really enjoy the random way seeds spread themselves all over the place.  You can not be a control freak or one who loves uniformity, not that there is anything wrong with those qualities.  One of my keenest desires is to have a perfectly manicured lawn and garden but since there is little chance of that happening soon, I am going to enjoy the beauty of my casual garden!

Here are a few examples of the "miraculous" plants that have shown up in my garden this year:

This is a cleome plant that "appeared" with the dianthus and ageratum I planted in early June.  I have no idea what color the flowers will be but, most likely, they will be pink.  Although I planted a purple variety last summer, I think most seeds revert to the dominate color, which should be pink.

Falling over the granite paver is Verbena Bonariensis.  I absolutely love this plant.  I discovered it about 8-10 years ago and have purchased a plant or two every year since then for my entry garden.  Reseeding always happens from the previous year's planting.  However, I never know where exactly they will show up! 


Here is a Helebores plant and a Hosta.  They just popped up out of no where!  I'll probably be transplanting them to a more useful spot next spring.


This is a foxglove that reseeded itself behind my picket fence garden.  If I had seen it earlier in the season, I would have transplanted it back into that garden.  I'll leave it be until next spring now.   No need stressing it out, at this point.

Here is another example of a cleome that sprouted up on its own. It's looking pretty healthy! 
This is a lettuce plant that managed to grow in a pot that was left out all winter.  I couldn't believe it had made it through the harsh winter we experienced last year!

Here we have a tiny portulaca and celosia plant.  They sprouted up in an old flower pot also.  I have no idea if they will grow and blossom this season but, I'm enjoying watching their development anyway!

As I said, some gardeners would not be at all happy with these straggler plants.  They can get in the way of a well-planned garden design.  I certainly understand where these gardeners are coming from.  They often show up in the most annoying places and  can clash with a color scheme but, I can't bring myself, in most cases, to tear them out.  If they are really intrusive, as early as possible, I will try transplanting them to a more desirable spot.  Otherwise, I leave them where they are to see what happens! 

Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil Salad

I really wanted to use my own homegrown basil somehow, just to say I did.  I find it intriguing to use herbs from the garden in recipes but, I do not have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to knowing what herb works well in which recipe.  However, it was a hot night and I knew my husband loved the mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil combination so, I decided to create a salad from a variation of an appetizer recipe I recently discovered.

Here are the ingredients.
My own basil!

Tomatoes from the grocery store but, locally grown I believe.

Olivia's Organics Spring Mix

Dragone Mozzarella Cheese

Now for the construction.
First I placed a handful of spring mix on each plate.  There were only two of us so, only two plates!
(I had a ton of salad mix leftover so, hopefully you have more people to feed than I did.)

 Next I placed two slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the lettuce.  The slices were a little thicker than a 1/4".

Oh, I guess I forgot to take a picture of the tomato step.  However, you can see I placed a whole slice of the tomato on top of the mozzarella.  On top of that I added three basil leaves.
For the finished product, I drizzled a balsamic vinegar glaze over the whole salad.  This is Monari Federzoni Glaze which I purchased from Shaw's Market.  It is delicious!
As a matter of fact, the whole salad was yummy.  It was the perfect fresh side dish for our dinner.  The rest of the dinner was meat and potatoes, if I must give full disclosure!
Tomato Mozzarella Basil Dinner Salad
5 oz. Spring Salad Mix
16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
2 Medium Tomatoes
12 Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
Follow the above instructions.
These ingredients should easily serve 4 people.

Nantucket Window Boxes

As I had said in my last post, I was away for the 4th of July holiday.  Over the weekend, my family and I traveled to Nantucket for a one-day trip.  While waiting for the ferry to arrive for our trip back to the mainland, I shot some quick photos of these window boxes.  They decorate the shop fronts that line the cobblestone streets next to the loading area of the ferry boats.

                      This window box was my favorite.  What a cool idea to use half a large flag bunting under the window box.  The colors and the flags are just great and go along with the theme of the shop so well!
This window box was more subdued but very pleasant and very "Nantucket".  The pink geraniums are a nice accent next to the blue window trim and the pink roses on the trellis add that "Cape Cod" feel, as well.

This window box was my least favorite but the ferry was coming and I ran out of time to find a prettier one.  I would say this shop only got a C for effort!

More Fourth of July Designs

I have been away for the 4th holiday with very poor internet reception, so I wasn't able to post anything until today.  I  know the 4th of July holiday is over but, it just so happens that I decorated my side yard in red, white and blue and thought I would share my "4th of July" inspired design with you anyway.

I like to create "rooms" outside during the summer, since our summers in the Northeast are quite short.  We don't have a great amount of time to truly enjoy the outdoors as much as we'd like.  So, when the good weather is here, I like things to look pretty!
 I started the design with these red plastic adirdondack chairs from Lowes and then added the blue and white rug, also from Lowes.  It was a great deal!  I found the outdoor pillows at Homegoods and loved the chevron print mixed with the floral print.  The flower planters I have been creating since early summer, keeping them in the same color palette as the chairs and pillows.  The planters are featured in my previous posts, if you want to take a closer look at them.

 Next I found this red and white chevron fabric at JoAnn Fabrics for the table cloth.  I thought it was "just enough" and not too, too busy. It didn't hurt that it followed the theme of my chevron pillows, as well.  The other elements such as the flag star, red, white and blue bucket and other little metal buckets were items I had saved from last year.  I think I purchased them from The Christmas Tree Shop.
This outdoor design was done relatively inexpensively and, as you can see, has added so much to my modest deck.  I hope you are inspired to create your own outdoor room!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Fourth of July!!!

I hope you enjoy a great holiday with friends, family, festive food, lots of fun and fireworks!

My Garden Update

A few weeks ago I posted pictures of my side garden with the red begonias, blue lobelia, blue Browallia, foxglove, Jacob's Ladder, yellow and red snapdragons and purple cleome.
As you can see the foxglove and jacob's ladder are past their first blooming.  I am not sure if they will have another smaller one or not.  Only time will tell. I need to go into the garden and trim those two plants back and see what happens.  However, the yellow and red snapdragons have come alive a bit, which helps fill in the back of the garden.

I wasn't thrilled with the color of the red snapdragons at first.  I thought it was too burgundy for the garden but, maybe it's ok if the colors aren't matchy, matchy.  As long as they are healthy and blooming, I'm happy!

There's one purple cleome starting to makes it move on the bottom left of the photo.  In a few weeks it should be as tall as the yellow snapdragons to fill in even more.

 Here is a photo of my beloved browallia.  For some reason I just love this plant.  It looks like little blue/purple stars in the garden!  And it loves the shade which is great for my yard with all of its trees!

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