Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Gardening Awaits... Pretty n' Preppy Painterly Inspirations

Gardening-anticipation...almost as nice as the actual act of gardening...
...and the additional joys of "being in" the garden as well...however...

...our kitchen garden out here on the island is still in-winter-mode...
(The above paintings were gleaned from the Wikimedia Commons site)

Ahh... today out here on this island the temperature was 84 degrees and it was so bright blue skies n' sunny, gosh! Um, hmm, IS this actually the month of March still? Wow...

Every March that comes around, I so very much want to get out there and get gardening!

Every March or early April I'm so thankful that I didn't. Why? Because inevitably there's some last-minute frost or late deep drop in the temperatures or battering burst of wind that would have wrecked havoc with my tender plantings, barely-up seedlings and whatever else I planted out there in the raised beds of our kitchen garden which features a bed for herbs, a bed for vegetables, a bed for cutting flowers and a variety of tomatoes in large pots scattered around.

While the kitchen garden tends to need a fair amount of tending, conversly, the small rose garden my late mother planted always does best when I actually do very little to it; I just trim back the winter's deadening and let it come back to life as it will. Bushes of red and pink roses are grounded by lantana that gives a riotious burst of yellow and adds its bevvy of butterfly groupies to the more staid and formalized roses framing a concrete bird bath backed by the front double stairway's morning glory vines. I have left my mother's simple but effective rose bed design intact for obviously sentimental reasons.

Each stage of Spring comes around diligently on our island showcasing beautifully nature's internal clockwork: the marsh turns from its wintery rust hues into vibrant greens, the trumpet and confederate vines begin to give pops of color among the trees and roadsides, muscadine grapes leaves have a deeper green tinge to them and the flowers, oh the flowers... commence...

Soon, soon I'll be picking up the trowel and gently pushing the old wheelbarrow around but until then, I can look at inspiring paintings of gardens and dream that one day maybe I'll have a garden just a tiny bit like these perhaps...or more likely I'll just have these small sections to keep tending amidst this lawn, woods and marsh fringe. Small yes, but pleasant and quite full and quite fulfilling in their own ways.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Daffodil-hues...Spring 2011's Offerings Perfect for Preppies

Cheerful, casual bold yellow is trending "hot n' sunny" this Spring...

A yellow tie from Vineyard Vines brightens a button-down shirt

Throw on a great yellow-hued hat from Orvis anytime, anywhere

Smiles abound in a delightful yellow child's cardigan from Lilly Pulitzer

Let's not forget the dogs in Ralph Lauren's Polo offering for them

Brighten your wake-up day via this L.L.Bean alarm clock

Brighten up someone else's day with a Cranes note in bold coloring

Set a casually-cheerful table with Fiesta available at Belk

Splash yellow brightening around a room inspired by Southern Living

Ah... bold, bright and cheerful yellow....how wonderful to see it pop up this Spring season not just outdoors with the daffodils but also with the latest fun fashion, decor' and other product offerings for these coming warmer weather months of 2011.

Personally, I'm a light, buttery yellow kinda' gal but this current bright yellow is a lot of fun!
I would so wear this elegant yet still-can-be-casual in a way dress offering from Kate Spade that begins the pictorial above! In fact, I'd wear everything in the current website front page of Kate Spade's website...check it out and you'll get a whole lotta' bold yellow inspiration.
Have fun with focusing this trend in a casual, daily-living type of way!

Besides having daffodils in your yard and in vases within the house, why not enjoy this fresh vibrant yellow trend in a variety of other ways?

Sometimes pictures do indeed speak louder than words, thus the pictoral gallery above is for your Spring 2011 Bold Yellow Trending Perusal.....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Daffodils...One Preppy's Musings

Pretty Miss Daffy-down-Dilly of the children's daffodil nursery rhyme
So enjoying bouquets of daffodils here on the island this spring

Two Springs Ago... daffodils by Westminster Abbey in London and...

...last Spring, daffodils foreground, the Eiffel Tower in the background

Lachlan enjoying floral-elegance Parisian styled... tres' jolie, oui?!

And again in Paris- right down from our hotel, so daffodil pretty

This past Saturday: island daffodils for a community fundraiser party

Could there be any better harbinger of early Spring than the cheery sunlight-bright and whimsically trumpet-like daffodil?

Heralding the warming of weather, daffodils have ever-captured the imagination of painters, poets, photographers, children's book illustrators, fashion designers and textile designers and interior designers and jewelry designers and porcelain designers and...so forth and so on.

Daffodils are a solid part of what I think of as the creative-life ethos. Things pretty, things artistic, things uniquely designed and inspiring. Even their scent is distinctive: hard to describe but a lot less floral-ly than other spring flowers.

There hasn't been a time in my life when I haven't really adored the delightful daffodil.

My earliest memory of being conscious of daffodils was an illustration of a pretty lady named "Daffy-down-Dilly" in a children's' nursery rhyme book we had. The rhyme went like this: Daffy-down-Dilly/Has come to town/With a yellow petticoat/And a pretty green gown/Daffy-down-Dilly.

Later on, much later on, I would go on into adulthood having my own gardens surrounding cottages (three so far: NC, UT and now here in SC) into which I planted and continue to plant various bulbs. Out in Park City, Utah on a steep mountainside, I had (so far) the most daffodils. Both in the small yard of our tiny restored miner's cottage and across the way in a grassy lot. I also enjoy potting them for indoors winter blooming.

The late great interior designer Eleanor McMillan Brown declared that every room should have some yellow in it and I concur wholeheartedly!

In North Carolina, we not only had a buttery yellow master bedroom and bath bordered with glossy white wood molding trim, we also had our cottage house's exterior painted yellow flanked by a white Victorian columned n' curlicued-trim porch. Viva yellow....yes....

Endearing daffodils further into my personal psyche' was the poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth. Unforgettable are his last lines, "And then my heart with pleasure fills/And dances with the daffodils."

But also in his first stanza are the verses, "When at once I saw a crowd,/A host of golden daffodils;/Beside the lake, beneath the trees,/Fluttering and dancing in the breeze" which so reminds me of the above picture from James and my jaunt over to London two springs ago where we were walking along a park near Westminster Abbey and seemingly-suddenly were treated to a dazzling spread of daffodils across the already brilliant green lawn which is so indicative of English parks.

Another trip to England, a few years earlier with my late mother, found me enjoying the picturesque Lake District with her where we stopped by Wordsworth's cottage and may have even walked along the very pathway wherein he was inspired to write this poem as he took a walk with his sister one day back in 1804.

Last spring, James and I spent a week thoroughly enjoying Paris. The only flowering happening then was forsythia bushes and loads of daffodils.....very lovely against the soft gray skies, architecturally-trimmed dark green boxwood bushes and the black ironwork that is structuring this iconic city of light. I always enjoy the bareness of winter and early spring: the simplicity and honesty of such distillment contrasted to the plethora of imagery, layering and colors which is later spring on into summer and autumn. All seasons are wonderful but there is something about Early-Spring that's both quietly restive to me and yet oddly inspiring as well.

Also inspiring is how the daffodil flower can be both casual-elegant and utterly-elegant.

The best way to describe this is to talk about two of the pictures above: one is of an arrangement example from a wonderful fundraiser which a community volunteer group I belong to just did via a party by the marsh- daffodils plunked into large glass Mason canning jars weighted by gilded oyster shells. The other is from one of my Paris trip pictures- a huge ornate urn dripping with daffodils. Both lovely, and such very different ways in which daffodils can be enjoyed.

Ah, so please do enjoy the daffodils of this springtime....I literally can't get enough of them!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Orchids...One Preppy's Musings

A cascade of orchid reblooms... so pretty in the living room
This orchid decided to rebloom last night much to my surprised delight

Two dormant orchids waiting on the windowsill...ready to get their sun-fill

Ah, orchids... the most elegant of houseplants, the most interesting of things growing within a glassed conservatory, the most unique plant to stumble upon in the wild... at least in this particular Preppy's opinion.

I've always been a big fan of orchids set down in a porcelain cache pot and put near a window.

One of the first things I did after moving into my husband's house he had purchased while in college was, as Mrs. Ivy, to procure and place a few orchids around that cottage's interior. Twelve years later, I put these orchids and a couple more into the back of my sports utility vehicle, along with some other plants, to drive from North Carolina all the way out to Park City, Utah. They moved-in with us into a darling restored miner's cottage perched there below a resort's ski runs and above the town's main street. One particular orchid which I had placed on a table by one of the two large windows in the front of the cottage kept reblooming and reblooming- such a happy camper.

In the rush to, within a week's notice, leave my life on the mountain to go with two suitcases in hand back to this island in order to help out my mother who passed away five weeks later, I did find a quick moment to take this particular orchid two houses down to a friend's for safe-keeping.

Months later, as I was then helping out my father here after my mother's passing with his household and own health issues, I finally returned to Utah to find out that......sigh.....my friend's dog had jumped up on the cabinet where she had placed my orchid, turn it out of its container and....partially eaten it.

Such an unnecessary demise for such a wonderful orchid.

A wonderful orchid....book...is The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean. It's a fascinating story and a nice change-up from all of the usual how-to books on orchids.

Orchids add so much to the interiors of places n' spaces and they're fairly easy to maintain. It's when they go dormant for awhile that many people think the plant's dead and toss it away. What a shame. All it needs is to be tucked away in a darkened, but not dark, area of the house and watered and...eventually it'll bloom on back into the pretty pageant of color and design that it is..... I let mine rest for a bit when they go dormant and then coax them back into blooming a couple of months later by placing them back into or near the big dining room window where warmth from the slanted afternoon sun does its work as well as my work with more frequent watering at that point.

The above photos are of some of the orchids I have here which rebloom time after time. They are all several years old at this point. What fun it is to see them rebloom again and again and again!

One day on down the timeline of my life, I may start a Save the Orchids non-profit organization where me and a few volunteers accept people's finished-blooming-for-now orchids to save them from being throw away into the trash or dump heap. We'll bring them to my dream house which is essentially a rambeling cottage with an elegant small English steel and glass conservatory attached to it in the back near the herb and kitchen garden area. In this conservatory will be rows of tables with copper liners and gravel to set the potted orchids onto. We'll keep track of the orchid-owners and alert them when their orchid reblooms. They can come pick it up or choose to donate it to a hospital, classroom etc or let it stay there among its fellow orchids.

Doesn't this sound like a good idea?

Ah, orchids....always such natural grace and beauty amongst us....indoors and outside as well.