Yikes!!! Where did the week go? It's Wordless Wednesday, again!

Hints of fall are all around.

Take some time to stop and enjoy the changing season, it happpnes all too quickly!


The park has two faces

The park had two faces today. Looking up towards the Pavilion I saw blue skies and puffy white clouds. At the same time I could hear the gentle rumble of thunder in the distance. Grey skies where slowly moving in across the sky, appearing over the trees of the central lawn. No one seemed in a hurry to leave the park. Those stretched out on blankets with books gave little notice to the threat of rain and kids continued to kick balls and toss Frisbees without care.

Breathing deeply I felt like I could take in the first hints of fall. It's a transition day when the air is cool enough to promise no more will we have to tolerate days of 90 degrees, but the sun was still bright enough to be quite warm. Flowers are starting to peter out but fall foliage is still waiting to makes its appearance.

I am ready for fall, running with a jacket, sipping hot tea after working in the garden to warm my chilled hands and seeing new colors in the garden.


Porch Daze

There is something so romantic, so seductive and so peaceful about porches. They invite us to relax in the early morning hours and watch the sun rise, or enjoy a glass of wine in the evening with friends. On rainy days they provide an outside escape, and in the heat of the summer they are the perfect cool, shaded retreat. Is there anything better than watching the rain within the shelter of a good porch?

A well designed and appointed porch, for me, makes a home. My next house must have a porch that lets me soak in the early morning sun and enjoy the shade of the evening. My condo, where I am now, is divine. There is a courtyard garden with a beautiful fountain and lovely architectural details inside and out. But what closed the deal was the covered patio off the family room. The patio’s ledges are topped with potted plants, the high back chairs are a restful place to recover from a morning run or just sit and listen to the sound of the fountain and singing birds.

My spot for morning coffee and quiet time with a book at the Reynolds Mansion.
On a recent trip to Asheville, I stayed at the Reynolds Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn. The historic 1847 mansion is rich in history including ties to the Hope diamond. The meals where decadent, the rooms wonderfully comfy and the decor spot on. Our hosts ensured every bit of our trip to Asheville was perfect.

But what I will remember the most and with great fondness was the porch that wrapped around three sides of the house and the chair where I settled in each morning with a book and fresh cup of coffee. Now, if only I could get myself to have the same routine at my own home each morning- every day would feel like vacation.


The Colorful Garden

Reaching the level of garden greatness, when color is a constant companion is no small accomplishment. When I was new at this hobby, AKA obsession, I thought all the articles on creating year-round color in the garden were a bit much. I mean, how hard could it be, we are planting flowers, right?!? Then I wised up and realized color in all seasons takes planning, a good eye for design and a willingness to go beyond your comfort zone.

My earliest gardens were full of perennials and accentuated with a few annuals. The spring and summer were awash with color. But fall was a little ho-hum. The autumn months improved considerably when I learned to leave spent flower heads on plants which look great in the fall and winter and I started to incorporate small shrubs with good fall foliage.

Color is also in our garden accessories. These gardens have great color, eye-popping color due in part to garden decor and structures. These gardens have many valuable lessons to share with us. The color in the garden is not solely dependent on the garden elements; rather the elements highlight and accentuate. The accents are much like a good supporting actress who does not take center stage but makes the film complete.

The accents should be in keeping with the garden. A quirky garden fairy would look pretty daft in a Japanese meditation garden. 

Garden elements let us express a bit more of our creative, whimsical side. Just like a person is not always calm, serious or gregarious, a garden too can have a many qualities. But just like a person you want to spend time with, a garden's qualities should work well together to create an environment that brings peace, joy, comfort, happiness or thoughtfulness.

Delicate glass balls add elegance and color in a secret, shady spot.

Architectural structures are color coordinated with the planting.

Mums and blue vessel in a Chicago garden.