Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Welcome To My Secret Garden

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!  I was
very busy all weekend.  Despite the blistering heat, I made more additions
to the garden around my potting shed.  This garden and shed are 
separated from the rest of the yard and this separation made me feel 
that I could create my own secret garden.  I have tried to make it into
more of a cottage garden, because y'all know that I still love the
cottage style.

I hung more bird feeders.  We have lots of songbirds here, especially in
the morning.  I love to listen to them as I am watering and snipping off
the spent blooms.  It's such a cheerful time of day.  Last evening I noticed
that several birds had discovered the feeders which makes me to happy!

I was at Hobby Lobby on Saturday and could not resist this farm fresh sign.  We recently
bought an older pick-up truck.  Not as old as this one, but it's a rugged truck and I have
fallen in love with it.  We bought a new full size Ford Expedition last fall.  It's
great and we love all the bells and whistles, but we love a rugged pick-up that will
easily haul plants and gravel and withstand the rigors of oil field back roads.  So
now we have the best of both worlds.  Oh and there is the Jeep Wrangler too.
I named the new pick-up "Trigger", after Roy Rogers' famous Palomino.  We call
the Expedition "The Wagon", because we think of it as a station wagon.  The
Jeep has always been called "Langiappe", the Cajun expression for a little
something extra.  It's my baby.

Here is the bistro table and chairs in the secret garden.  I painted and
hung these little bird feeders, but instead of seed inside, there are
LED lights to bring a little glow to the area in the evening.

Here is a new star jasmine, freshly planted.  I am encouraging it
to grow as fast as it can :-)

Some vinca surrounding the bird bath.  I hope the birds start using it.

That's it for now from the garden.   I still have more plans, but they will
have to wait for another day.  Yesterday we took everything out of the
potting shed and reorganized it.  Huge job!  It would have been much
easier in cooler weather, but I was born with the "get the job done" gene.
David had to keep reminding me not to overdo in the heat, but of course
I did.  So today I will stay inside and work on another project in the
cool house.  

That's it for now.  Love you guys!!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

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


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