Saturday, August 27, 2011

In Which We All Visit Suzannes

That's Suzanne's pond, above. Restful, as is everything here at Bear Haven, her country place. The Prince is still having a royal sleep out in the tool shed, one of several guest "rooms" on the 50 some acre property. There's also the pool house, an open air mosquito netted perch; the air stream trailer with the Ralph Lauren sheets; and the turquoise and white cabin cruiser overlooking the pool, the closest it comes to water. It's mainly used for cocktails on the deck.

We were coming for the weekend anyway, so the hurricane is just a bonus.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Let There Be Light!

One is sometimes grateful that things around here move at the pace of a mortally wounded snail. Isn't one?

It gives one a chance to be ...creative.   The chandelier that dangles from the back porch ceiling, as example A, was a thrift shop find (with the addition of some glass grapes and various baubles), that was once (rather alarmingly) wired.

As we have no electricity on the porch -- see, we've been waiting for this electrician that does a lot of work at the Capitol to show up. It's been a few years, but I'm told it will be worth it-- I pulled the wiring and stuck votives in the crystal cups. While less convenient than flipping a switch, candles are so much more romantic.

Which leads us to example B.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting Potted

On this morning's tour of the back forty I noticed that the 6-foot banana tree was crowded behind the hydrangea so I put down my coffee on the twisted stone path, shifted the jasmine a few inches to the left, picked up the banana and dropped it in the space. Then  I sat on the back porch, finished that cup of coffee, and considered  the new arrangement. I think I like it, but if it disagrees with me later I'll just move the tree again. It only took, more or less, 47 seconds.

My garden, or much of it, shifts around this way because it's in a collection of pots and urns and assorted odd containers. Most are boring, but some are interesting--in design and sometimes story -- like the old plaster birdbath (which really needs work, I suddenly notice), and the Victorian umbrella stand that we bought from a couple of gay guys who were arrested for selling someone some weed and needed to scrape together the cash for a lawyer, and the terracotta cat that The Prince and I toted back from Mexico City several decades ago (the one that in an earlier post that is appearing in the bird cage).  Oh yes, and the bird cage. .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Oddly, what first occurred to me when the room shook and blurred and I heard a grinding metal noise that wrenched my guts, was that it was akin to the first time Baby moved in my belly. While it was happening to me, I had no control. Unlike indigestion, which is irritating but clearly belongs there because of the fried chicken or whatnot. I felt I was being tossed and rolled by something alien. Which I suppose I was.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For the Birds

Vinnie and Shakira have a new house. Letting them fly free, I finally decided, was a disastrous move. I've endured seven months of cleaning up bird shirt and nursing half-eaten palms (WHY don't they like lettuce and broccoli? The books say they should). Enough.

The issue with their original cage (the lovely Victorian number that baby bought me for Christmas that inspired this whole...bird thing) is that Vinnie pretty quickly found that she could wriggle through the bars.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Solar Powered

Solar powered lanterns have hit the hardware store a little sooner than expected. Shortly they'll be hanging everywhere. I suppose that's nice. Lots of little moons lighting little yards. But selfishly, I wanted to have them before they became as common as dirt and on sale for $8.99. Ah well, she who drags her feet...

They're still enchanting, however. I've suspended one from a cherry tree branch that arches over the dining table and a second from the mock orange which droops over the pond.

Still in procrastination mode, but ABOUT TO BEGIN WORK. Unless something happens to distract me...please....

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tradescantia Pallida - Mind the Gaps

I just flipped through 42 googlets on the care and feeding and propagation of the wandering jew, the plant least likely to require any instructions whatsoever. There were many more but even though I am in FULL PROCRASTINATION MODE, I was getting bored.

I have been growing tradescantia pallida (as it's more haughtily called) since 1972 (or thereabouts) when Stan and Betty Gottlieb gave me a sprig snipped on a trip to Jamaica or Trinidad or Aruba.  I stuck it in one of the many potted avocado plants that lined the windowsill of the New York apartment I shared with my husband once removed (The Pre-Prince) and it grew.

Avocado plants raised from pits (stick a couple of toothpicks in the sides and balance on a glass of water until roots emerge) do not fruit. They are useful as screens however, in this case softening an unglamorous view of Columbus Avenue, and as starter plants for budding gardeners since the process is so stupidly simple and....transparent. 


" The arbor's design is based on a sixteenth-century arbor design by French architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau. Under the shade of the wisteria roof, water pours from the mouth of a lead river god into a pool decorated with lead cattails. On the wall to the south is an inscription from Dante."
-Dumbarton Oaks Website

It is so bleeding hot. That white glare filtering through the arbor's walls is the sun coming to get us, me and The Prince and Carol gasping like landed fish at the unseen end of the pond.  Great idea to trollop about Dumbarton Oaks on (yet another) sweltering summer afternoon. They said it would rain.
I proclaim that I would like something like this under the back porch. As the porch has a floor, we can't have vine covered barrel arches overhead (and God forbid more wisteria), but we do have lovely beams and the walls are brick, and there's a similar greenish glow from the garden that's reflected in the French doors that lead to the home's grotto level (as I'd like to think of it).  There could be a fountain mounted on the far wall that would spout into a somewhat smaller pool and maybe we could fit a little bistro table and chairs? 

Wine, cheese, some grapes maybe...

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