Thursday, April 29, 2010

More CHARLESTON Gardens & a LOVE Story

I went to Charleston, South Carolina last Tuesday, and was fortunate to have my youngest beloved daughter in tow. She was finishing some exams from school, but graced me with her presence there and back.
Plus her whininess about me taking too many pictures,
and her car is broken down,
and she works too hard,
and she's irritated with her boyfriend.
That is me above, it was a windy Spring day that day, so we dressed in layers and set off down Church St. I am standing in front of St. Philips church by their beautiful white climbing roses. I will show you some general garden sightings , and include a poignant love story that we happened upon as we were leaving Charleston.
Alright, let me show you round....
Here is a beautiful grave marker that was in St. Philips church with an angel.

A common scene everywhere is large planters in front of almost every home. Land is at a premium here, almost no front yards, typically side yard gardens, and then these planters in front to welcome.
Also the true Charleston wrought iron and wood slat benches and planters, this was outside of Mrs. Whaley's home, a famous garden that she wrote a book about. An apparent feisty Charlestonian.
No, I have not seen it yet, the garden in back.
The residents also plant around light poles, trees in front, anything that doesn't move gets some small plants or ivy encircling it. I'll bet if I stood there long enough some gardener would come out and throw dirt around my feet , surround me with flowers and vines, and make me a landscape accent.
There people are serious , rabid gardeners !
I love that.
The residents also grow flowering vines around every wrought iron fixture and railing they can. Here is Confederate Jasmine, very common here. The steps are marble behind it.
Here is more, the funny thing I always consider, is that soon this will have fragrant flowers, which in turn attracts lots of bees, wasps, hornets, etc. So when you go in and out of your door at that blooming time,
it is a mad battle to get out fast and in fast as to not get stung.
Or they go in the back entrance.
I am guessing no one actually uses this entrance, but it is beautiful. Sometimes things can't be beautiful and useful in landscaping...come to think of it in all kinds of areas. But I could go off on that concept for another few paragraphs , so I will let you ponder it there. I need to keep showing you some pretty sights and get to my love story still.
 Peek inside.

I'm seeing a lot more hanging plaques in the vines, in the inner gardens here.

This was a shot of a front entry of a mansion on the Battery.

I really liked the drak green from the plants against the white wood around this home. White climbing roses too.

I better stop here, and tell you the poignant love story we heard from a couple as we were leaving. We had just gone to the candy store, to get some chocolate for the drive home. As we were walking in the parking lot, to my car...we both spotted an older couple holding hands. That sight always mesmerizes me , of any couple, of any age...but older couples have to surpass the view of younger ones , simply from the rarity of it.
I decided to stop them in their tracks.
After all, obvious love...needs to be noticed and acknowledged, I try to do that often.
So I came up behind them, said " Excuse me, can I take a picture of you two holding hands ? " I then explained I write this blog on Charleston, etc., and I would love a picture of them in it , if that was alright with them ?
They agreed, it was difficult at first, as I have an inexpensive digital camera, and it would not focus while they walked. So , I asked them to stop...and still keep holding hands.
Director Gina wanted this shot perfect.
They obliged,
here it is :
Aren't they too cute, very attractive couple. Too romantic and poignant. After this shot, I walked up , with my daughter...smiled and thanked them very much. Then I asked, " How long have you two been married ? "
Expecting 45+ years or so...I would say they were an attractive couple in their late 60's-early 70's. Their answer took me by surprise.
He responded 2 years, and she told him ," No, not two yet...but 1 1/2 years."
I quickly recovered from my surprise , ( thank goodness I can be quick on my toes sometimes ), and said, " Well you two are newlyweds ! "
They smiled, agreed, kept holding hands and looking at each other...and let me tell you...those cartoons with Daffy Duck or Mickey Mouse...and they show the heart pounding out of their chest and growing larger for effect ?
That is how they looked at each other, especially him towards her. I could see his eyes shining behind his sunglasses !! I was enthralled with them.
He told me more.
They had been high school sweethearts, some 30 + years ago they were in love back then. And now they were reunited and officially married. I wanted to ask them more, I was assuming their spouses had passed away from previous marriages...but we were late getting back to Columbia, and my daughter had to get her car from the repair shop.
I just told them ' Congratulations and thanks so much. "
I tore me and my sappy romantic tendencies, put them into my my daughter and we drove home.
We both kept smiling and talking about them.
Love is so precious , so valuable.
Their evident love made our trip memorable.
I also told my daughter , that we had blessed them as well...for noticing and acknowledging it.

I will have more pictures from that day in other entries.

I hope you have a great day, I hope you see an act of evident love,

" O taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him ! " Psalm 34:8-9

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The MYSTERY of the BUBBLING Birdbath

I came home yesterday, from a trip for the day to Charleston to take more pictures for this blog...and what I had waiting at home for me was a mystery.
My husband had sealed and repainted a cracked birdbath/fountain that we had...he had painted it black like I want for my ' Charleston ' look.

On closer inspection , I detect the presence of bubbles, lots of bubbles.

My husband said something must be in the paint, it will go away by in the morning.
So, I wake up, look outside and see about 6:40 AM,
It was very dark, but shining like a bright ' Hello ", was my bubbling birdbath.
Look at all the bubbles !!! Lots of additional bubbling went on through the night.
I got my husband up later, told him ' Houston , we have a problem." Like the astronauts do to the space station, he comes down the stairs and sees this...
We both just stare out and laugh, but I did tell him I am worried about my birds, and also about Maxine who thinks this is her drinking watering hole.
Our little boy looks out the big window too , and goes,
" Well, at least the birds will have their privacy when they take a bath. "
That made my day.

My husband called a lab at his office and asked what made this bubble ? They tell him it is the surfactant in the paint, and quite possibly will stop in a few days when it works out of the paint, and also it may not work for a birdbath ( duh ), as it is not meant to be under water.
I was still pleased he had painted it for me and lifted the 100 + lb. basin off of there and up there by himself...very romantic.
But I did fuss at him to not hurt himself,
He ignored me as usual.
I guess I will now have to go get the birds a little shower curtain for privacy once the bubbles dissipate.
Have a wonderful , warm day,

P.S. I have more pictures from my trip to Charleston to show in a few entries coming up.

" Show me your ways O LORD, ;
Teach me your paths." Psalm 25:4

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Some FRONT Yard Accents in My LOST & FOUND Garden

I wanted to show you some accents I have around my garden areas, front yard this time. Nothing spectacular , but I like them , I especially like when I envision them getting know when the bushes fill out more ( box woods that I can trim ) , and when the flowers are large and in full bloom ? Many of these images are small beds I planted last year , or the year they have much maturing...but do have promise.
Sort of like me...and you I bet. 

The above is one of a pair of window boxes my husband made me for our front porch. We have a brick house built in 1950 , and we live in a downtown historic neighborhood.
Yards are not large here, and I would say in this neighborhood over 50-60 % of the owners have yardmen.
Except us.
I'm the yard-lady.
 Here is a large decorative arbor my husband built about 6 years ago. I first had rose vines on here, which did not do well. Then I had a confederate jasmine that died ( believe it or not ), and now finally this Carolina Jessamine is taking off after about 3-4 years of nothing. I think the heavy rains we had over the Winter helped this baby.
Close up

Here is one of two dog statues  I have in the front.See my small stash of old bricks I found behind ?
I'm a old clay brick hound.
Here is the one to the left that has a broken nose, which is the reason I bought the pair. I loved his chipped off nose.
Ignore the stickers my son put on the arbor...he's in trouble for that.
I paint , or get my professional better half, to paint my statues black, like Charleston, SC statues typically are.
Here is a glimpse over our brick wall, of a small bed I planted so when people are walking down the sidewalk they have something nice to look at.
That is Maxine demonstrating how to walk past the garden.

I decided one day to plant around our front tree, encircle it with boxwood holly bushes, , use concrete stacker from my backyard retaining wall that had been around another garden,then add soil and flowers..and voila..I had a garden. 
I think it looks better than these photos, which appear to be washed out.  The ones on the bottom are more true to the colors.The squirrels make a mess in this garden, and some male dogs have killed two bushes to the other side. I put some fencing around it to help some with that ( losing battle ).
 I love the hanging basket we nailed to the tree. I told my husband I wanted to do that and he thought it was a completely dumb idea. I in turn got huffy and told him , " Who is your gardener ?"
 He loved it as soon as he came home later and I had it filled with flowers.
I wanted to say , " Told you so...", come to think of it ...maybe I did...but I have had some dumb gardening ideas before...I think us gardeners always have to try anyway when we have a bright idea.
There's a lot  to be said for trying landscape ideas, and if they look dumb or out of place to us later...tear it apart and use some of the plants and items somewhere else.

Imagination is a person's greatest design tool.
That is a broken half of a statue I put into another planter w/ shells around it. Never discard broken statues as you can use the pieces often in other planters.
Here is our entry fountain by the front door. I love to see fountains by front door entrances.
One of my side beds I made in the front last Summer. This guy has a huge crack down his head, I loved that about him too.
I made this round circular bed after dreaming about doing it for awhile ( yes , I do dream about my gardens ), and I found some old clay bricks , and bought some more holly bushes, replanted some other holly bushes from  other areas, encircled it with monkey grass and planted flowers and ground cover inside the dividing areas. Then I put Mrs. Garden of Good & Evil statue ( painted black ), as the focal point.
 Can you tell I love this little garden ! It will looks so good in about 2-3 years. The funny memory I have about making this garden, was all the days I worked on it, plus planting the large bushes to the left of mailman who I love to see because he always calls me ' Darlin' "...well he walks by, I am pouring sweat, dirt all over me, on the ground planting...he goes, " Hello Darlin', I know you could afford a yardman to do all that hard work, you just must be one of those people that like to do that themselves, right ? "
I smile back at him and say he had it partially right, I do like to do it myself.
Oh, I purposefully did not bury the bricks a little in the ground, just ever so slightly this time, as I want them to border my dirt inside for my plants. Time alone will sink them some.

These lovely snapdragons came back after the Winter. I was so happy about that !
I will do an entry about my back garden accents next.
Many blessings and peace to you today,

" The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. " Psalm 33:5