Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, Oh What a Beautiful Day"! "I've Got a Wonderful Feeling"...

  Another grand morning today to savor.  Taking time to appreciate the day is one of my favorite passtimes.  This past Sunday, I watched P. Allen Smith's Garden Home on PBS t.v.  That is one gentleman who has a true sense of gardening for the soul, mind and body.  His ideas exhibit harmony, visual aesthetics, atmosphere, texture, variety and fragrance in a broadened scope of ways.  He seems to exhibit attention to detail on a grand scale.

While reading Martha Stewart's blog, I was amazed in the grandeur of her abilities and thoughts in the garden also.  Her most recent discussion was expressing concern for her peony beds that are coming along earlier this year.  The wonderful warm weather we have had this season has been coaxing them along at a faster rate than normal.  Each May, Martha plans and hosts a garden party in and around her peony beds which I can only imagine is none less than spectacular visually and aeromatically.

A garden journal post.

The lovely home of Roger and Lenora
A garden that I think of on a grand scale is that of Lenora.  She has revived and re-invented an area of bare land on a scale that is over-whelming to the hobbyist gardener.  I love her style in garden selections for the feminine attributes in airy, fine foliage, calm pastel sweet arrangements and cool, soothing vignettes in shade gardens.  On the other end of the spectrum her feminine flair  is balanced with full sun heartier varieties in mixed explosions of cheerful color, variety and  statuary depicting the loves of her life, her grandchildren, as well as other ornamentations to send the mind in pleasant inspiration.  Roger keeps the property in impecably maintained condition while Lenora creates gardens that beautify their home with classic taste.
She has taken in information from t.v. programs, seminars, books, etc. and applied what she has learned for quite effective results. She tries and tests ideas on her own with amazing success rates.  She is an inspiration to all with ideas on treatments, placement, soil condition and even care of her hands while engaging in these tasks.  Join me on a tour of her garden as she begins to prepare for her late spring and summer of fine gardening.

I've been working on a few experimentations in photographing Lenora's garden.  While I was there, I took a video with my camera looking up in the crabapple trees with the blue sky as background.  I have so much to learn in creating what comes to mind.  The next time I take a video, I might want to try to mute the background noise of the wind, a passing car, etc., add music and possibly narrate something like:
In all my garden's length and breadth
I like these common things
A sturdy, low branched apple tree
where daily, a finch sings;
The clematis that trims the fence
with garlands of white lace;
The maidenhair and ostrich ferns
That fill each shady space.
The fragrance of quaint mignonete
when touched with evening dew
And best of all, I like grass pinks
Like those my grandmother grew.
-Velma D. Bates


Today was a commemorative day.  I heard  the Honorable Ted Strickland, Governor of Ohio say, in person: "This is the day the Lord hath made".  "Let us rejoice and be glad in it".  This indeed was a beautiful day and it can always be enhanced  with beauty in abundance when taking in the prolific gardens that Lenora tends.   Thank you Lenora, for allowing me to take photos to share.
If I could add one more thought of my imagination about your garden, it would be that you have one very child friendly and represented garden which makes it extra special.  The statuary that you have chosen and placed to represent your three granddaughters standing amongst a spray of flowers as well as the little fisher boy to represent your grandson and his help to you with fish pond care brings one of the sweetest child like songs to mind.
In the opening of the above slide show, I chose your tall hand created yard bird first.  The movie Cinderella made in the 50's is my most beloved fairy tale and Walt Disney movie. 

The movie contains a sound track called: The Music Lesson  Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale/Bad Boy Lucifer/A Message from His Majesty, song sung by Ilene Woods. 

 The beginning of the song is being sung by one of Cinderella's step-sisters off key and tempo, of course.  I could really imagine your yard bird in this character singing "Sweet Nightingale" in a rusty gravely child like voice. 

 Then as Cinderella hears her sister practicing her music lesson, she begins to sing the tune in angelic form.  As she's scrubbing the floor, bubbles are gently rising in the air.  For each bubble Ilene is singing in a round of angelic harmonies that are devinely glorious.  I imagine these harmonies to be coming from the three girl statuaries that grace your garden.  As the music progresses,  Cinderella is splashing in a bucket of water but it could easily be transferred to your garden setting as a toad jumping in the pond that your grandson is exploring.   Due to copyright laws, it wasn't a possibility for my own muse to combine the two, but I hope you can visualize it too and know that your garden brings many thoughts to mind for the viewer and thank you for that. 

Ilene Woods - May 5, 1929-2008
"Never pass up doing a good deed".
I love the idea of a child's garden.  Hopefully, one day I'll have one for my grand children to enjoy and explore. 
Happy gardening to you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gardening on a "whim"

Yesterday, I was browsing the internet for gardening inspiration.  I came across this cute display at Macy's  website in which they used 125 plastic lawn flamingos and 8 hand crafted metal flamingos hanging from pillars down the main aisle of the department store.  Also Macy's on Herald Square in New York City designed wonderfully whimsical displays with this running joke lawn ornament.
I love the use of these flamingos in display.

I did a little something similar a few years back as a take on the kitchy coral bird.

For what ever reason people seem to like to make this bright coral bird the brunt of their joke.  I don't get it.  I'd like to think of this as an American icon standing guard over Desi and Lucy's pull out patio area as they traveled across country out west with a 16' trailer in tow.
Depending on how you use these little creatures, they can lend a certain feeling.  Here I think they add brightness and cheer to the little garden area at the front door in a retro way.  I love the idea of bringing this theme inside and use some vintage USA and McCoy pottery vases for additional cheerful color.
I think the use of the flamingo can look quite elegant as a garden element as in these beautiful  Macy's displays.

I'm really loving the shades of coral together.
As you begin to ponder your desires for your flower garden this summer,  you may find a touch of whimsy to bring more lightness to your heart as you enjoy your garden!
Have a great spring as it's extending with so much grandeur this year!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A great day and a garden that Tasha would love.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  I spent it on a relaxing ride with Lenora to the Blue Jacket Dairy,  makers of great tasting high quality artisan cheese in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Lenora had seen the owners of this dairy and their cheese  production featured on the t.v. program, Our Ohio.  We thought it might be nice to take a ride there and check out what it had to offer. 
When we arrived,
 the attendant cheerfully set out several cheeses for us to try.  I particularly liked the Lemon Jewel Quark and the Dill Cheese Curd and brought them home.  Some of her other samples included Chevre, Ludlow and Feta.  Some made of goat's milk that were a little more rich in taste. 

Chevre cheese hanging to allow the whey to drain off.

 While in Bellefontaine, we followed route 245 toward Ohio Caverns east of West Liberty and found historical home sites of  Gen. A.S. and Col. Donald Piatt, brothers who were quite prominent in the area and held ranks as commanding officers in the civil war.  After returning home from the war they built homes located not far from the Mad River known as the Mac-O-Chee castles.  Mac-O-Chee translates as  "The Smiling Vallley" in Shawnee.   Gen. A.S. Piatt built his 30 room home in the Norman-French style Chataeu and his brother Col. Donald Piatt built a house in Flemish style Chateau approximately 1864.  We didn't get to go in and look at these interesting old  homes since they are only open on weekends.  To the south of the castles are two very old tombs built on the side of a fairly steep hill.  A lot of history in this area, such as, the French and Indian War of 1812,  Daniel Boone and several head indians.  This was the capital of the Shawnee and seven nations.  Prisoners were brought to the area to run the gauntlet.  We'd definitely like to go back to take everything in and learn more about the sites we saw.
We walked up the back drive to this house to get a closer look.

Very old cemetery.

We headed back to West Liberty for lunch.
We had chicken salad and green salad with apples, pecans, feta and a tasty poppy seed dressing with delicious muffin.

Just before eating at the cafe we went into the neat general store.
A place where one can still get seeds in bulk.  I purchased sunflower and bachelor buttons seeds to plant.
This advertisement clock has been hanging here for a while.  Notice the phone number.  It simply says 208.

A really great, fun day.  Can't wait to go back and check it out further.  All the home made natural cheese and the long ago history of the area leads me to post what I would add as an entry in my Gardner's Journal.
A Gardener's Journal Update.

A featured garden is that of  Bo and Dawn who owned an amazing old federal style home a few years back.  It was so wonderful because they started with neglected dry ground and turned it into something I think the renouned gardener, Tasha Tudor, would love and admire.  When I think of Dawn and the garden she created to compliment their home of the past and the introduction of books to her son; which resulted in his love for books and learning today, also brought to mind the love of nature, gardening and kind care that Tasha Tudor realized in her own garden and way of life.

Tasha Tudor - August 28, 1915 - June 18, 2008
 I like the idea of paying homage to Tasha through the visual photos of  Dawn's flower garden and Bo's craftsmenship in fensed in yard for the pets they loved.
Tasha Tudor lived in Vermont.  She raised goats, made cheese, sewed her own clothing and grew what she ate.  Her son built a classic style home complete with thatched roof to the "T" in 1970 for her to live in.
She was an American illustrator of children's literature.  Her books feature simple captivating and often rhyming text accompanied by enchanting detailed and realistic drawings with soft colors.  (Information taken from the Wilkipedia Encyclopedia). 


The home of  Bo and Dawn some time ago.
I think the maroonish red leaves of the ornamental tree enhances the front of the house quite handsomely.

They began with a hard, dry field type yard and little by little turned it into an amazing lawn.
Bo built the nice wooden fence and Dawn carefully placed stepping stones she collected from farm fields to use as a walk to her back door.  A great deal of work began.  The lawn is already nicely seeded, fertilized and watered.

Dawn placed touches that brought softness and grace to her garden.

Everything so healthy, free from pests and disease.
A beautiful garden that eventually filled the whole cleared area in mass.  Dawn labeled her plants for reference, she had bird houses here and there and nurtured an atmosphere of a home loved and cared for.

An out building did not go without the same meticulous care and creativity.  Old licesnse plates were displayed depicting the year of  Bo and Dawn's birth.  A horse shoe on the door for luck.
Dawn and Bo created a very lovely home and garden to visit.
Thank you for allowing me to share your photos.  Your garden will always be remembered as one of the most lovely I've seen.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Road trip to "Sweet Owen", KY

Yesterday, my sister, Jean and I left for a day together to take in the new outlet stores in Mason, Ohio and then on to re-visit a home site of our dad and mom in Owenton, Kentucky.
We leisurely browsed the shops looking at shoes, clothing and kitchen goods.   We took in for future reference what the outlet mall had to offer.  The air felt a little cool but still a nice day to be out and take it in.  We strolled the whole mall, it seemed, very quickly as we filled our time with reminiscent stories of home life and growing up.  Jean is eight years older than I am and me being the youngest child, I believe I had a life of less exertion and stress of daily living to a couple of five children. 
After leaving the outlet mall we headed our way and set our sights on a ride to Owenton, to the childhood home of our dad and  home of our dad and mom just after dad's retirement.
After a time we reached our exit 57 to Sparta and Warsaw, Kentucky.  When you get off at the Sparta exit and begin the ascent up the Sparta hill toward Owenton, you get a sense of the countryside and why Owenton is known as "sweet Owen".  Like everything, nothing stays the same.  Everything has to change with the times, thoughts and needs of today's existance. So apartments are built where old houses once stood, pre-fab homes are scattered on sections of land that only knew a grazing cow or horse or wild honeysuckle vine.  Small family owned businesses like farm implement sales, flower and plant shops or occasional junk/antique shops also sprinkle the land.  As we arrived onto our old street, our grandparent's homestead has been replaced with such as a pre-manufactured small house.  The clang of an old bell placed on a wooden gate will not be that couple's announcement that someone has come callin'.  A small trailer beside them where our uncle lived is a small plot of green grass with a sign stated by hand, for sale.  As we proceeded to our folks home, trees had grown over powering the land even though they had been trimmed.  Black diamonds no longer embellished the white shutters that our dad had made by hand to place on the house that he spent time with cups of coffee and cigarettes in the wee hours of the morning designing and creating.  The yard was no longer impecably kept and his barn had been replaced with two small houses.  Lastly, the house of our aunt that sat on top of a small hill will never allow anyone to engulf the aroma of coal smoldering from it's chimney venting the exhalation of the iron wood burning stove that heated it year in and year out or the squeaking of the chains holding the porch swing that inherited many hours of ponder and calm repose or hand clap tap rhythm of a song come to mind.  The plot of weeds engulfing her land will be the only benefitters of the memory of her home made jam cake setting thoughtfully and tenderly under a covered cake stand.  The berries in which to make the jam collected along the fence row of the cemetery where her parents, my grandparents and other family members are burried.
After we gazed over these properties for a moment we headed to Elk Creek Lodge for lunch in their winery/cafe.

Jean and  me taking in the view and surroundings of Elk Creek Winery after having lunch.  In the background is the home of the original owner of the establishment and since turned bed and breakfast.  The property also entertains headliners in an amphitheatre below with golf course in the distance.
Jean and I took a closer look inside this grascious, well decorated bed and breakfast home.  It was exceptional with large rock fireplace and gathering room, immense kitchen with views of rolling ridges.  Upstairs were four large king size bedrooms with their own decks and large baths.  The entire basement was finished in hunting memorabilia with bar area, large rock fireplace, and sitting area with a distinctly itlian twist.
We left the Elk Creek Winery and headed back toward town for a little tour and then on to our final destination to view graves of our departed relatives.
The Owen County Courthouse refurbished.
The Owen County jail.

Interesting, I went to Tippecanoe High School before attending Owen County High School.
Used to be original site of the People's Bank.

Owenton was always a quiet little town of generations of folks that knew one another and waved at everyone and anyone.  They mainly made a living tobacco farming.  The area is filled with twisting, turning roads in countryside too numerous to count.  To give you an idea, a few photos follow from the area and surrounding areas of the lifestyle that our grandparents and dad may have known and is long gone and replaced.

A neighboring town of Wheatley.  Owen County was first surveyed in 1783.  Owenton is the county seat of Owen County and it's population today is about 10, 500.  It's motto is:  Pretty-quiet-close.

Circa 1890-1900

The Falls City steam river boat that traveled from Frankfort to Louisville, Ky. carrying goods about 1908.

A group of wheat thrashers heading out to work.

A general store.
Inside the general store.  Looks like it might have a christmas decoration hanging.

An old one room school house.  Dad was born in 1914 and went through third grade.
Jackson family plot.
A dedication to my Dad and Mom and your young life together.

Our Dad and Mother
Thank you Jean for going with me.  Thank you for everything.
Related Posts with Thumbnails