Wednesday, April 29, 2009

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea

Glen and I just spent our 34th anniversary in southern California, our favorite shorter drive destination. Janae just blogged about how old she is. I'm sure that she would admit we act much older. We chose a gardening theme for our anniversary as well as dinner with friends rather than just we two. We had a wonderful time!

Our first stop was this small nursery which we had read about in "Sunset" magazine. I think that if we had it to do over again, we might have been small garden nursery owners. We seem to visit one each week!

All nurseries need something to draw one in, in hopes they will buy. This is what I bought.

A beautiful blue pot with a wavy top and a blue sage plant that the bees LOVE!

After another visit to a favorite nursery of Glen's, we parked the car at Mira Costa College and boarded a red double-decker bus. This was my first attempt at taking a long arm self portrait as we zipped onward to Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Pretty good considering the breeze (note self-grown toupee whipping back) and the dodging of low hanging branches. I was pretty relieved when we went under the freeway instead of hopping onto the 5. Imagine that breeze! A toupee with roots might even blow off!

The bus brought us to the playground of the elementary school in Cardiff and the Encinitas Garden Festival. Lucky children, all of them, who grew up with this view of the ocean at recess. Weather wise, it was a perfect day. Will call and our tickets were at the end of this line of vendors, so we browsed on our way in and out. More about that later.

We then boarded another double-decker bus to take us up the hill to begin the Encinitas Garden Tour.
The bright blooms above might look like poppies, but surprisingly they are blooming succulents.

It was a walking tour in a lovely neighborhood. Most homes were built to take advantage of an ocean view. The gardens were small but lovely. It was fun to see how each home used their space. I'm including several pictures of vegetable gardens which used ways rather than tilling the flat ground.

These tiered planters formed a corner of the yard overlooking a grassy area.

It's possible to plant a garden anywhere, even in a 3-4 foot walkway from the back to the front of the house. This planter was built right next to the house, leaving just enough room to walk between it and the fence. I'm a bit worried about enough hours of sun!

This garden was in the backyard of two connected geodesic dome homes. Very utilitarian with a compost pile in a hole in the ground. Part of the charm of the tour was the variety.

What a great way to control and use a sunny slope.

These are some of our favorite homes.

Glen found his outdoor heater in someone's backyard. How did that happen! It was standing next to an amazing fireplace.

These next two little houses occupied the same lot and were FOR SALE! If I were rich I would be tempted to have a second house near the ocean with a guest house for all of you.

Before leaving Cardiff, I just had to take a couple of pictures of these "garden chairs." I feel inspired to go flea market hunting for old chairs, I really do.

We did ride the bus back to the parking lot with the following plants.

Glen was ecstatic to find an Australian woolly bush. He has been looking since seeing one at Quail Gardens two years ago. It's that prickly one in the background. If you touch it, you will find it is not prickly at all, but soft to the touch and as Glen would say, "Like silk."

I picked red and pink kangaroo paw plants to keep my golden ones on their toes.

We were ready for food so stopped at Pelly's, our favorite place to eat in Carlsbad.

I found this Pelly on the Oceanside Pier. When I cropped out the man who kept trying to pet him, I somehow saved him gray scale even though the background was all blues.

After lunch, a nap. After cleaning up, a late dinner at Norte's with Randy and Christy.

The next morning found us at the Oceanside Pier.

We can't leave for home without walking the pier!

As we walk the pier, Glen listens as I lament, "We should have moved to San Diego County when we were first married. We talked about it then. We should have just done it!"

The Flower Fields were still in bloom which surprised us. We've always been to see them in March. We didn't pay to go inside, but found a wonderful walkway above the garden with lookouts.

Glen also found this tree in bloom on the walkway. Perhaps it will take the place of the woolly bush on his list of garden wants.

We drove back down the hill and took this picture from the bottom looking up.

Glen also requested a shot of this plant on a stand (like his coleus up high) before jumping in the car and heading for home. You may find something similar in front of my house next year!

It was a great trip. I know you thought we were showing our age, garden show and dinner with friends to celebrate 34 years, but it suited us just fine!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

100 degrees and counting

Monday morning task - attempt to put shade cover over the greenhouse without a fence walker. Partially succeed. With swamp cooler running, greenhouse stays temperate.

Monday afternoon - as it continues to heat up, I check on the gerbera daisies who are wilting in the hot sun. Daisies join the tomatoes in the greenhouse.

Tuesday morning - decide to pull out the shade cloth for the garden as well. No need to walk the fence and mission accomplished. Gardening in Arizona continues to be a challenge.

Tuesday afternoon - I feel like Ornery Onion as temperature reaches 100 degrees for the first time in 2009. Anyone want to guess how many over 100 degree days there will this year?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Butterflies and being shutter shy

We finally made our trip to see the butterflies at the Desert Botanical Garden on Saturday morning. Our previous attempt got stopped cold when I checked the web site before leaving and found "Reservations required to enter the garden." I guess there has been a great deal of excitement because of the Chihuly glass exhibit amongst the plants, so new rules. As all the grandchildren were already gathered, we went to the bird store instead and listened to those noisy macaws, silent grays, and cooing lovebirds. Then we went to the Easter Pageant at the temple.

Sadie wore her flower dress in hopes of attracting butterflies. We set free our last group of painted lady butterflies before leaving the house. Heather had covered herself in flowers hoping to attract a butterfly, which she did! One was so attracted it became a hitchhiker riding all the way with us in the car and making a somewhat shaky get away in the parking lot of the gardens after we finally found a parking spot.

Now confident in her butterfly attracting ways, Heather chose to disregard the "Do not touch the butterflies" sign. The docent also required that she relinquish grandma's flowers which she had brought with her before entering the Butterfly Pavilion.

Andrew had arrived home from California so joined us on our outing. I think his boys had missed him! I was lucky to get a shot with every one's eyes showing (well, maybe not Andrew's:) Their photog mom has made them shutter shy!

After butterflies, we stopped for a picture with a glass sculpture on our way back to the entrance. Toby wasn't too sure about the butterflies and held grandpa's hand tightly in the pavilion. Sadie loved the butterflies, but it not so sure about the glass. I really think that she had just run out of steam and it was starting to get pretty hot.

TJ is always a good sport to go along. He told me that the only plant he likes is the Venus fly trap!

Smart Heather knew how to beat the heat! Raymond tried to find a bit a shade, too, but the umbrella was a bit small.

We did a pretty good job of keeping track of everyone, something about an adult in front and another in back of the group.

The front of the group found a shady bench and luckily grandma had a drink of water for everyone.

Grandpa's lap always makes Sadie feel better. A stop at McDonalds on the way home made everyone feel better.

Ruby found some glass plants on the way out. Desert plants and glass - who knew it would be such an attraction.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Heather's dress and friendship

On one of my many trips to Provo (perhaps the one when Raymond was born) I found myself at Borders. As I cruised an unfamiliar store I passed the magazine rack which I usually ignore at home. This caught my eye, an eye which couldn't believe what it had found. A high quality magazine devoted to smocking with complete patterns for each project along with gorgeous photography. "Australian Smocking & Embroidery" magazine became my new delightful pleasure. When I returned home and went online to subscribe, I felt really cheated that this magazine had been in existence so long without my knowledge. This led to the purchase some back issues as well. Now I anxiously await the delivery, from far away Australia, of my copy of this magazine each quarter. I have used it to create blessing gowns and rompers. That first magazine cover also prompted me to make this beautiful dress for Heather. It was my first attempt to smock and sew silk and the magazines multi-sized patterns allowed me to procrastinate finishing it for a couple of years before it finally became Heather's Easter dress.

I first learned to smock while a young mother in Bountiful. One of the blessings of my life occurred with the arrival of two other young mothers in the two houses across the street. We created a triangle of friendship and love and babysitting and support. I honestly don't know how I would have made it through newborns and toddlers, breast infections, knee surgery and everyday lack of adult conversation without these two beautiful women. Sharon also became my inspiration for painting and sewing myself out of the mundane of everyday. She fueled my passion for decorative painting and English smocking. She passed on what she learned at her painting lessons (and even some woodworking) and patiently taught me how to smock clothing like they do in the South. She was my Georgia peach and far better than a breath of sunshine.

Robert and Sharon Starling, Cindy and Charlie Skewes
Bountiful, Utah house about 1979
(Ignore Cindy's tongue - she was always creating waves)

Sharon recently tracked me down on my Facebook account created for me by my daughter. (My daughter-in-law created this blog for me as a birthday present - the present that keeps on giving.) It felt so good to be in touch again, but I also found myself regretting the years spent out of touch. Our children had grown, grand babies been born, and we had aged without each other. Where were the blogs and instant messaging when we could have used them? So, after I publish this post, I will then go on Sharon's wall and tell her to check out pictures of the dress I created because of her gentle guidance years ago. I will share with my friend.