Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More Potting Shed Progress

I spent most of Sunday afternoon spreading pea gravel around the
potting shed enclosure.  This shed sits in a private little area behind
our garage and away from the backyard.  It's one spot that gets a
fair amount of sunshine, so many plants are happier here than in
other areas of our shady yard.  

It was really hot and humid when I did this, but being as stubborn
as I am, I finished with all the pea gravel I had.  I still need to go 
back and get some more.  I am a sort of design as I go type of gal,
so things evolve as the ideas spring forth.  I am having fun with
this project and have lots more ideas too.

I planted a small English ivy plant on either side of the potting shed
doors.  When we lived in Idaho, I had ivy growing all over my shed.
It was magical.  Once the ivy gets going, it very quickly climbs up
the walls.  

The theme of this area is renewal, restore, repurpose.  I have pulled bits
and pieces from storage closets and the inside of the shed.  Some things
belonged to me, some to my Mama.  All are welcome and so far are
happy together.  It makes me smile to see well loved, well worn items
taking on a new life.

Two tiny tops from succulents and now living in a thrift shop sugar
bowl.  I am nurturing them and whispering softly ....  grow, grow!

There is a ligustrum tucked into a corner and I have placed a small
bistro table and chairs under it's branches.  A little bird feeder hangs from
its branches.  Just a quiet little spot to spend time with nature.  I will warn 
you though, this is tropical South Texas, so y'all will need to use
some bug spray!  Use as much as you need.  I have plenty ;-)

I want to put some grass between the pavers in front of the shed doors.
I think it will add another layer of interest and help to keep it looking
somewhat tidy too.

Well, that's what is going on right now.  I have lots more plans, so
I will be checking in with y'all again real soon with more whimsey
and fun!

Big Texas Hugs, Y'all!

Susann and Bentley

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Resurrection of the Potting Shed

Just before Hurricane Harvey, David and I rushed to get everything 
around the house as secure as possible.  Our little garden shed, tucked 
behind our garage in a private little enclave, became the catch-all 
for everything related to the yard.  

Despite the eight straight hours of category 4 hurricane winds, this
little shed was safe and sound.  It wasn't even missing a shingle from
it's roof.  I love this little shed even more now.  It's a tough little haven.

I have spent quite a bit of time fussing around the patio and the 
veranda, and this little shed was being ignored.  I spent yesterday
and this morning beginning the clean up around it and giving it 
the tender loving care it deserves.  

I raked and cleaned little beds.  I replanted a sad rose bush.  I put down
new mulch.  

I put some herbs in pots and added some flowers for color too.

It's a start.  I am trying to keep this spot functional as well as pretty.  I am careful to
work one area at a time so that I don't give up in frustration.  The next thing I need to
do is get rid of the poison ivy that has decided to grow up the fence that separates this
area from the rest of the yard.  I went on YouTube and learned the best way to do
this without exposing myself to any of the dreaded oil that causes the rash.
I keep telling myself ~ I am brave.  I can do this!  Wish me luck.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, May 7, 2018

Star Jasmine and a Garden Path

I planted some star jasmine today.  It's behind some azaleas on the side
of the house that is on one of the walls that forms a courtyard around 
our patio.  It is small right now, but the owner of my favorite nursery
assured me that it is a fast grower.  It smells heavenly already.

This is the flagstone path leading from the guest room to the patio.
It's mostly shady until late afternoon and even then the sun is filtered
because of the big oaks.  I have this area fairly complete now, and then
it's on to complete the area around those big oaks. 

I tend to get overwhelmed with caring for such a big yard and so 
much landscaping.  It's really best for me to complete one area and then
on to the next and to devote a couple of hours a day on the work.  If
I spend too much time looking at the big picture, I just want to throw
up my hands and walk away.  So far, this plan is working for me.

I will have more to show you later this week.  I hope that the weather
has become more spring like for you.  It certainly has here, in fact it's
starting to feel like summer.  Not sure if I am thrilled about that ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Friday, May 4, 2018

It's Been A Very Tough Week

Last Friday, the younger sister of my very dear friend went into hospice.
Kathy and I have remained friends since childhood, despite the many 
moves and years since then.  We go back all the way to our Barbie doll
days.   Of course, years ago life was so much easier and what we
perceived as a problem back then, is nothing when viewing it from
a rear view mirror.  When we are young, we don't anticipate the death
of our grandparents, parents or aunts and uncles.  We certainly never
anticipate the death of a sibling or of a friend our own age.

The years go by so quickly, and even more so the older we get.
It's hard to believe that just one week ago, Kathy's younger sister
went into hospice because her lung cancer had spread so rapidly,
and her remaining days were few.  Kathy and I spoke on the phone
and texted one another daily.  We said prayers.  We hoped for the
best.  We were unwilling to accept that the end could be so near.

Yesterday, Kathy's sister passed away.  Too soon.  So final.  It's

As many times as I have been confronted with the death of a loved
one in the past eight years, I have not hardened to it's pain.  What I
have learned is that we are never guaranteed a tomorrow.  We spend 
so much of our lives planning for the future and longing for things
that are meaningless.  We spend hours of our lives worrying about
things that never happen.  We fret about what other's think or say
about us.  We often strive to live a life that we perceive is expected.


Don't waste anymore!  Live each day with intent.  Forget about
the petty arguments or trying to impress others, or the myriad of
unimportant silliness we often cling to.  Call your good friends.
Buy the flowers.  Appreciate all the good things in your life, and
trust me, there are good things.  Stop complaining.  Be grateful.
Decide to be a little ray of sunshine to everyone you meet
everyday.  It's all over far too fast, and none of us can afford to
waste a moment of this precious life.

God Bless,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I Am So Busy All The Time

Someone recently asked me how I fill my days.  I have no problem at 
all staying busy.  My only problem is that the days never seem long enough
and they race by at such incredible speed.  Each season brings it's own 
tasks, and spring is always especially busy.  I have been working out in the
garden each day, as weather permits.  It hasn't been all that hot here, but
it has been very breezy.  

I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be
done, but I have been retraining myself to focus on one project at a 
time.  I am also trying to keep things less complicated, because I 
know that once the hot weather moves in, I will have little interest in
spending too much time working outside.

There is so much green in the backyard, which I love, but I want some
color too.  I have been focusing on keeping much of that color in pots
rather than in the ground.  I seem to have better luck this way.

This is a very large cement bird bath that sits between two big oaks
next to our patio.  There is a crack in the bowl and I decided to fill it with
flowers rather than patch the hole.  I have to be careful about standing 
water because I don't want to encourage the mosquitoes.  We have someone
come and fog the garden and we also purchased a Dynatrap.  Too soon to
see if that is effective.  I will let y'all know one way or the other.

This is one of three hummingbird feeders.  Two other feeders are hanging
off the edge of the veranda.  We have lots of hummers this year and I have
been so busy keeping the feeders clean and full.  They are a joy to watch,
but wow are they ever territorial!  

Still working on the miniature English cottage kitchen.  I am having so
much fun curating it, and look forward to sharing it with you.  In addition
to that, I am writing my first book.  As soon as it is published, I will 
divulge the title.  

Now if I could just find a way to make the days stretch a bit!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 26, 2018

500th Tablescape Thursday Celebration!

Shortly after I started blogging, I learned about the fabulous Between Naps
on the Porch blog written by another Susan, and also her Tablescape Thursday.
As I recall, it was Brenda from Cozy Little House, who told me to check it out.
Well, I instantly fell in love with BNOTP, and was completely smitten with
all of Susan's wonderful tablescapes.  

Every Thursday, Susan brings us her own stunning tablescapes,  as well as
providing a platform where others can share their own creations.  It is all so
inspiring and so much fun too.  Today, Between Naps on the Porch is 
celebrating it's 500th Tablescape Thursday!  Wow!!!  Congratulations to
Susan and a big thank you too for so many happy Thursdays.  

In honor of this special occasion, I went through my own archives to
share photos from posts I shared with this party.  I hope you enjoy them 
as much as I have enjoyed creating these scenes.

One thing that is so much fun about tablescapes , is that they allow you to 
change with the seasons and holidays.  

This setting was so cozy for Fall.

I carved out a pie pumpkin and used it as a bowl to serve a squash soup.
The table was set outside in the beautiful Idaho Autumn.

More Fall decor.

Here is a Springtime table on the patio.

Tea on the veranda.

Appetizer Saturday night on the kitchen counter.  This has become a
tradition in our house because it allows us to snack while watching

Tea and a good book in the family room.

Tea in the kitchen.

Eggs and soldiers in the English fashion.

Celebrating the 4th of July ~ Texas style!

Breakfast in bed.

Or breakfast in the kitchen.

Easter table

Cocktails on the veranda.

Dinner on the patio.  You can almost hear the cicadas in the background.

I decorate in miniature too, as you can see in the photo below.

Once again, thank you Susan for pushing me to be creative and for
giving us all so many helpful hints and so much inspiration.
Please join me in visiting Between Naps on the Porch today and
honoring 10 years and 500 Tablescape Thursdays!!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

News About My Garden

I know that many of you are still covered in snow, and have cabin
fever.  I feel a bit guilty that I have moaned about our cold weather
when it is not at all as bad as what y'all have endured.  I suppose it's
just that when you make the commitment to live in South Texas,
you are expecting it to be warm in March and April.  

The weather here has been a bit warmer, but the winds have been
terrible.  It's been as though Hurricane Harvey had been hiding behind
a bush and decided to come out and lash at us once again!  Speaking of
Harvey, I have weeds in my yard that I never had before and I swear it
is all Harvey's fault ;-)  There is some hope though.  Our magnificent
and huge Magnolia tree out in the front yard was battered so hard by
Harvey that I was afraid we would loose it.  Recently, it's leaves were
turning yellow and falling to the ground.  This is not uncommon in the
spring, as magnolia's are not like deciduous trees that drop their leaves
in the fall.  Magnolias stay green and just replace some leaves.  Ours
was dropping yellow leaves like crazy.  My husband even started to
worry.  I assured him that this was a normal event for a Southern
Magnolia and that I had faith that our beloved tree would return to
it's former glory.

The other evening as Bentley and I were returning home from
our walk, I looked at the tree closely.  The bottom third of the tree was
covered with more magnolia buds than I have ever seen on it before.
Each branch was glorified in these buds, but the most encouraging 
sign was a few tiny buds way up at the top of the tree and some new
tiny green leaves.  The top third of the tree's branches had their leaves
stripped off by the hurricane, but miraculous new growth is appearing.
I ran inside to deliver the good news to David.  Nature in all it's glory
had once again returned with the hope of spring.  I'm so happy!

I purchased a hibiscus at my favorite local nursery.  I put it in a big
pot next to the chaise lounge.  Looking at this beautiful flower makes
me long to mix up a tropical drink of some sort!

I tend to put a lot of colorful vincas in pots around the patio.  They 
seem to be one of the few flowers that not only can stand the hot
and oppressive heat that will soon arrive, but also seem to thrive in it.

That's all for now.  For those of you who have not yet seen spring,
please feel free to enjoy the few photos I have so far.  It will happen
for you too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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