Window Boxes of Newburyport

I had a very busy and enjoyable weekend.  The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston was hosting their annual Art-in-Bloom event this past weekend.  My daughter, Brittany, and I try to go every year. Being that she is an art major and I am a floral designer, the Art-in-Bloom event is perfect for us.  Even with our busy schedules we managed to go on Saturday afternoon and were thrilled, as usual, with the floral displays.  I am waiting for Brittany to send me the photos she took with her new fancy camera and, hopefully, I will be sharing that visit with you soon.

The next day my husband, Tom, and I took a Sunday drive to Newburyport, MA to take in the scenery and get a little exercise by walking around the downtown area.  We love visiting Newburyport and always seem to have a good time.  On this visit, I decided to take photos of the various window boxes that lined the downtown streets.  I am constantly amazed at the effect the ocean air has on plants and flowers.  There is just something about the salt in the air that makes the flowers grow better!  The inspiration of the flower boxes alone made the trip worth it for me!

Here's a mini tour of the window boxes of Newburyport:

Don't you love the colors?
I wanted to give proper credit to the businesses who create these beautiful window boxes.  After all, they did all the work or they hired someone else to do the work.  In either case, bravo for them!  Any place that values beauty in the marketplace, I am all for!

 This window box was on the corner of the building.  It was hard to get a  good shot without getting the column in the way, but the display is lovely anyway. 

 I am partial to this color combination and I love the grays of the pussy willow mixed in with the blues of the grape hyacinths and the purples and whites of the pansies.

 I thought this window at Starbucks was architecturally interesting and framed the window box nicely.

 The window boxes of this shop were not as elaborate as others I saw but, the decorated storefront behind the window box really made for a beautiful and interesting picture.  The whole scene drew you into the store.  I'm sure that is what the shopkeeper was hoping for!

 Although these are not window boxes per se, they are container gardens nonetheless.  I loved the color combination of yellow and blue.  The purple/blue hyacinths really anchor the container, I think.

 More container planters...more pussy willows, pansies...lovely

This pizza place hit the mark with their window box, don't you think?  The pink tulips with all the purples, blues and greens are extremely vibrant and eye-catching.

So, after viewing all the the window boxes and containers, which one is your favorite?  If I had to choose, I think it would be the first photograph of the Coldwell Banker real estate office.  The colors are striking and the multiple window boxes make a great statement.  The different textures of the plants used, as was the case with many of the Newburyport window boxes, adds a lot of interest and composition. 

Now it's time for me to get going and decorate the window boxes at my barn. I don't know what has been taking me so long!  I thank Newburyport for the inspiration!

Spring Surprises!

Well, the very last bit of snow left my yard two days ago.  It took that long for the snow pile in front of my kitchen window to finally melt away.  That was where much of the snow that landed on my driveway was deposited by the plow.  The bulk of the rest of the snow was completely gone last week, thank heavens!  Finally, I could see grass and my flower beds, as disheveled as they may have been.  To my amazement, sprouting out of the ground were some bulb flowers I was hoping to see this spring but, not at all sure I would.

I am not very good about planting bulbs in the fall.  For some reason, I never get around to it and when spring finally arrives, I am very upset with myself for my neglect especially when I see beautiful daffodils and tulips blooming in other yards in the neighborhood.

However, look what showed its pretty face in my garden this spring!

These purple/blue hyacinths and the little white hyacinths were given to me as gifts last year during the winter and early spring months.  I decided to forego conventional wisdom (I've read where forced bulbs will not bloom again.) and planted them in my garden anyway... just to see what would happen.

To my amazement, the hyacinths lived through the winter and were even blooming again!  There may be some mini daffodils in there, as well.  I'm not sure yet.  It's too early to tell.

Do you remember these beauties from my post on March 11, 2015?  

Well, I saved the plants from that design
and placed them in the garage for safe-
                                                                                  My friend, Joni, had given me this hyacinth in
                                                                                  January for my birthday.  When it was done
                                                                                  blooming, I put it in the garage also, hoping to
                                                                                  remember to plant it in the spring when the
                                                                                  ground was workable again.

So here they are.  I dug a hole deep enough to cover all of the bulb and some of the greenery.  I think bulbs need to be planted deeper than the depth of a typical plastic flower pot. Next, of course, I filled in the hole with dirt.  I did not cut off the greenery.  Evidently, it is very important to the strength of the bulb and its future productivity.  The greenery does look messy but, usually other plants will fill in around the browned greens and cover them up as the summer progresses.

Here, I have planted two hyacinths and three mini daffodil bulbs.  Maybe I will be lucky again and they will bloom next spring!

Ok, back to my hyacinth garden.  Even though I loved that the hyacinths had made an appearance among my daffodils, (I somehow had managed to get them in the ground one fall a few years ago.) I realized the garden needed some more color.  So, I purchased some pansies, the perfect early spring flower, to fill in among the bulbs.

I loved these large pansies I found at Market Basket, of all places!

The blue of the hyacinths pairs well with the yellow pansy.

I had to go back to Market Basket to get one more flat of the large pansies.  I had underestimated how many I would need.

I think I was right.  More was definitely better when it came to pansies in the garden!
Hopefully, my experience will give you incentive to plant the spring bulbs you receive as gifts at Easter and other spring occasions.  Oh, that reminds me...I still have two Easter Lilies that need to be planted.
Maybe tomorrow...
Side note:  While I was preparing this post it actually snowed overnight in areas of Massachusetts, not in my area (Yay!!) but I'm thinking I will hold off planting my Easter Lilies for another week.  The hyacinths and daffodils I planted already should be fine; they are pretty hardy!!

Burlap Wine Banner

I have been trying to think of new items to make for my Etsy Shop, DesignsandEvents, and since I have had success with my stenciled wine favor bags, I decided to make this burlap wine banner to coordinate with them.

I wanted to make another banner with "Tasting" on it to match this banner for someone who might want to host a wine tasting party.
However,  I started to wonder if a better choice might be a "Cheese" banner.  At the moment I only have enough fabric to make one more banner, otherwise I would have made both.

So, I decided to ask my friends on Facebook for their opinions.  Should I make a "Tasting" one or a "Cheese" one?  So far, I have one vote for "Tasting."

I'll let you know what the end result of my survey is.  I'd love to hear from you on this subject if you have an opinion also.
Have a Happy Weekend!


My Trip to Arizona Continued

I wanted to follow-up on my trip to Arizona, as I said I would.  Next week it will be back to business as usual.   I promise.

 After staying in Scottsdale for the first part of our trip, we rented a car and drove two hours north to Sedona.  We had reservations at the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, which definitely had the look and feel of the area of Sedona.  It was a very comfortable place to stay, very laid back and friendly.
 This was the view from the parking lot, so different from New England.  I had never seen such red rocks before!  I believe this mountain was called Courthouse Rock.  Other "rocks" to see in Sedona are Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Coffee Pot Rock and Snoopy Rock.  Yes, Snoopy Rock looks like Snoopy sleeping on his doghouse!

I thought I would be remiss if I didn't show a few photos of cactus.  Interesting plants, aren't they?

 This cactus was blooming.  Do you see the yellow flowers on the tips of the plant?

There were all sorts of flowering trees and shrubs blooming everywhere in Sedona, which surprised me for some reason.  Wisteria has always been a favorite of mine and to my delight there were wisteria trees all over the place!
As we drove down Route 179 and navigated the many rotaries along the way, we discovered just how beautiful and interesting Sedona really is.  There are tons of different rock formations everywhere.  All of them were unique and different from one another.

We had heard about the Church of the Holy Cross from a cab driver in Scottsdale and decided we had to visit it.  Luckily, the church was very well marked and easy to find.  It was clear by the amount of traffic we encountered trying to get to the church that is one of the biggest attractions in Sedona.

  It's hard to tell from this photo but, the view out the windows of the church was extraordinary!

After seeing the Church of the Holy Cross, we decided it was time to take an official tour of Sedona. Neither  of us had ever been there before and we have had great luck taking similar tours in other cities. We ended up taking a Boynton Canyon tour with the Red Rock Magic Trolley.  We rode in an open trolley that served water and cookies...not a bad deal! We got to see a home that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz once owned, Thunder Mountain (the mountain that inspired Walt Disney to create the theme park ride!) and Jordan Park to name a few. We also learned all sorts of interesting facts about Sedona.  Sedona was once where many westerns with filmed with a real live western town and everything.  Unfortunately, with the decline of interest in westerns, the town was torn down.  It appears that John Wayne was a regular visitor in Sedona, as well.

This photo was taken at Jordan Park along the route of our tour.

To be honest with you, my husband and I didn't find many restaurants that were terrific in terms of cuisine.  They were average at best.  Of course, both of us had colds so, perhaps, nothing would have tasted great :) We did, however, happen upon this restaurant, Cucina Rustica.  It is a local favorite with a local celebrity chef.  The experience was great!  The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very romantic with outdoor fireplaces and twinkling lights...very nice.  (And did you notice the wisteria?)

Finally, on the day before we were supposed to leave to come home, we drove two and a half hours north and visited the Grand Canyon.

Pictures really do not do the Canyon justice but...

I got to check it off my bucket list!  Going to the Grand Canyon was breathtaking and spectacular!  There is no other way to describe it!
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