Sunday, December 9, 2012


It's not like it's been raining relentlessly...  It's not like it's been depressing and horrible and wet and dark every hour of every day...  Yes, we had a heck of a blistering summer, but autumn had more bright days than not.  All the same, there's a note of melancholy all over...  Is it me alone?  Is it the economy?  Is it the world situation?  Or maybe it's the Zombie Apocalypse.  Or the Fiscal Cliff.  Or the Mayan Calendar.  Could it be the thought that another year just fizzed away?  The happy me has been replaced by a moody moi.  A moi like the protagonist of a black and white French film.  This too shall pass, I'm sure, but in the meantime, dark thoughts will crop up and dark pictures will find their way into my camera, my garden, my world. Little Red Riding Hood will encounter the big bad wolf in the forest...   Oh, snap out of it, you old and tough little gardener, you're not a temptingly delicious morsel anymore!  

Sunday, July 29, 2012


The thermometer has relentlessly topped the hundred degree mark day after day.  Rain has been scarce.  Garden hoses have been used for deep, overnight irrigation once a week.  Shudder to think of the water bill.  No matter.  When a drought and hellish temperatures are combined, there's little hope for many plants.  Unless, of course, they're natives like the ones on this picture.  The monardas have been laughing at the scorching sun.  The amsonias are fresh green and breezy under the hammer of Vulcan and the phlox, albeit a hybrid, is still a native,  cooling the garden with her snow-white pom-poms.  All this accompanied by a multitude of bees, butterflies, goldfinches, hummingbirds.  Natives rule!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


NOW is the time to enjoy what's out there... Sit down, take a deep breath and look around you...  Don't worry about the weeds that need to be pulled, the edges that need to be dug, the spent blooms that need deadheading.  Just breathe...  Inhale... Exhale...  It's summer... It won't last forever except in your memory.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


A friend called it "Shabby Chic"
I'm all for that!

Friday, June 8, 2012


Who said that pink and orange don't go together?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


No, it's not snowing, sleepy head.  Wake up and enjoy the view.  The cherry tree is treating you to its ephemeral show.  By tomorrow it will be gone, so enjoy it today for all it's worth.  A good way to live your life, you know.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Rules were made to be broken, so I'm breaking my own rule.  From the start it's been about MY flowers, MY garden, MY photos.  Then this work of art arrived as a gift.  How to say no to a vanda sent by an artist? 

Marielle Deluna has a vision of her world that defies all preconceived ideas.  Her work is  moody, dramatic, spontaneous, exotic.  With her camera she captures the dark side of the tropics.  The Caribbean sea becomes an inky morass, the palm trees are enveloped in fog.  This is not your grandmother's sunny postcard.  "Wish you were here" becomes  "Enter at your own psychological risk".  It's a trip well worth taken and an excellent reason to breach one more silly dictate. 

Thanks, Marielle, for helping me take a different road.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Every winter, when the darkness and the cold and the inability to at least take a walk in the garden get to me, I promise myself to learn how to make hypertufa planters and bird baths.  Every spring and summer I look at the list of materials, the time constraints, the mess involved, and say to myself, 'no way!'.  Admiring from afar the nifty troughs and statuary, the lovely leaf-shaped bird baths and fountains, this failed sculptress sighs and looks the other way.  And then... the Methodist church down the road had its world-renowned rummage sale!  Denise Boal, an old hand at this kind of rumble, outlined the plan of attack for me, a mere neophyte, and in we went, plodding through the crowds.  Dodging sharp elbows we waded through the maelstrom of old stuff, new stuff, the good, the bad, the ugly.  We saw, we chose, we grabbed, we conquered.  Voilá la piéce de resistance:  A birdbath just as I always dreamt I'd make myself someday!  No schlepping of materials, no mucking up, no fuss, no disappointing results.  Life is good when your dreams come true with a pricetag of fifty cents.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Lucky me!  I'm the happy owner of a full set of Constance Spry's books on flower decorating.  One of the founders of our Garden Club gave them to me when she was moving to the retirement home where she eventually died, after many years of hands-on gardening and teaching.  On reading her books and those of Beverley Nichols where he mentions her, I had this idea of Constance Spry as a little bundle of sweetness and a grandmotherly figure immersed in her world of beauty.  She was indeed all that.  And then much more.  Not surprising as we tend to catalogue human beings into very narrow stereotypes.  This is a very good biography with some very good old pictures.  The kind of book one hesitates to lend in case it never comes back.  So get your own copy. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

MAY DAY 2012

May Day bouquet.

An embarrassment of riches.  And it was a rainy May Day!   Washed my face with "la primera agua de mayo" [the first rain of May] and I will never be wrinkled.  I'm beyond the days of praying to dream with the boy I'd marry but I still repeat the little ditti I learned as a child.  "Primero de mayo/ postrero de abril/ hazme soñar con el hombre/ de mi porvenir".  That's something like "Last day of April/ first day of May/ help me dream of the  man/ I'll spend my life with".  The tradition is to write the names of all the boys you know on little slips of paper and put them under your pillow.  In the morning, before opening your eyes, reach for one of those slips and voilá!  That's the boy you'll marry.  Year after year I put all those pieces of paper under my pillow and year after year I forgot to retrieve one.  And year after year the maid threw them away when she made my bed.  What a waste!  I may have married a millionaire!  Or a politician.  Or a famous artist.  Not that I'm complaining...   

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Placed under the baptismal font in the Sanctuary 
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Flowering the Cross by the children of Saint Matthew Lutheran Church.  I'm betting they'll remember this for the rest of their lives.  And as usual, the boys really get into it.   

Monday, May 7, 2012


Easter Sunday at Furball Cottage

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012


May brought the showers that April neglected and the garden at Furball Cottage erupted in happy greens!  How lucky for me to have such a view while having breakfast, paying bills, looking for a recipe, playing 'words with friends' or just simply looking out and praising God.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


In my world, every day is Earth Day

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It was such a mild winter that the camellias were fooled into  believing that Furball Cottage had moved south.  The three bushes in back and the one in front exploded in a riot of cool reds and hot pinks; so many blossoms that the boughs bent down  to the ground.  Last Sunday, with  temperatures close to 90 degrees in April, some of the branches came into the house to fill an old glass vase with their overblown beauty.  It was the best way to admire their spectacular show and to make sure that at least some of them would survive a little longer without the bruising and burning of the hot, unseasonal sun.  Drought has set in.  Who knows what next year will be like.  In the meantime, here they are, in all their splendor, filling the room with unequaled beauty.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Arisaema sikokianum.  Welcome to Furball Cottage, Miss Arisaema, as I'd given up on you.  For three years I  checked under the white pine close to the 'wet spot' and nothing happened.  Then yesterday, while on groundhog patrol, I stumbled upon you.  Asian arums bloom earlier than the natives and you are an exotic wonder.  I'm hoping no creature will find you yummy and that you will give me many years of happy surprises.  Thank you for agreeing to live and bloom at Furball Cottage.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


One of the benefits of being involved with the Philadelphia International Flower Show is the goodies friends and fellow gardeners share during the week.  Too much of one thing?  No problem, I can take some home with me.  This time it was a tray of little clay pots planted with succulents.  Brought seven home and placed them on the sunny porch in balmy weather.  As it's cooled down considerably, I've been able to use the glass cloches I bough a bazillion years ago and most of the time are just garden decoration.  Glad I never got rid of them.  A gardener is always a hoarder by necessity and disposition. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


It hadn't rained for days.  Woke up before sunrise to the soothing sound of raindrops.  Thank you!  From my bedroom window the world felt like an aquarium and I was a  happy minnow.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chaste Tree

Did you know?  Is it true?  Does it really mean that
 Chaste tree.  I know.  It's true.  And it really means that.  Yerba Luisa is the name I knew when I lived in my little tropical island.   The tradition is that a new bride receives a plant started from a slip from the bush her mother-in-law received from her mother-in-law and so on and so forth.  Planted by the front or back door, the beauty of the flowers is testimony to the beauty of the marriage.  Get it?  Your tree'd better be looking good...  Wonderful fragrant pinnated leaves, flower spikes that look like sprinkles from heaven.  My Greek neighbor explained that in her hilly country women place branches under their mattresses so that their husbands don't wander.  Another matrimonial tradition half around the world.  Grab a handful of leaves early in the morning, crush them and rub the perfumed bunch on your arms and neck and you will be lucky for the rest of the day.  Don't ask, just do it. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good Advice

What, no flowers? 
You got that right. 
Remember to sip a little wine and smell the roses.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rescue Flowers

Well, there are rescue dogs and rescue cats, so why not rescue flowers?  Turning into my driveway yesterday noticed three little clusters of grape hyacynths blooming in the grass strip between the road and the sidewalk.  They were technically on neighbor Jane's property but I know she wouldn't have minded if I lifted them.  In a couple of days the mow-and-blow guys will start their inexorable tour of death and would have decapitated these sweet little things.  So here they are, alive and blooming in a Japanese bonsai tray and will be carefully transplanted to a suitable spot where they will grow and thrive and show their lovely blue hues for springs to come.  A good deed always leaves a great feeling in you heart.  Doesn't it?

Sunday, March 11, 2012


After a week's relentless bombarment of Hawaiian colors and sounds at the Philadelphia Flower Show, it's been soothing to re-enter the grissaille world of late winter.  Point-and-shoot in hand, I've tried to capture the essence of these fleeting days before the busyness of Spring.  Who'd have thought that this tropical flower would be pining for subdued skies and denunded branches?


                                          Hello, Spring!



About Me

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Moorestown, New Jersey, United States
Let's talk about our gardens. Let's talk about all the flowers and critters that thrive within the confines of our personal paradises. Let's talk about those we love and love us back, although once in a while they scratch us and make us bleed a little. Just to remind us that we are alive. Those roses and cats and people that thrive in our gardens... How important... How important they are...