I haven’t always had a love affair with irises. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve forever found them beautiful, but I mostly admired them in other people’s gardens. All that changed nearly two summers ago when our third grand child was born… a precious baby girl who was given the name Iris. When she entered our lives I admit, I became a bit of a fanatic.
Two days after her birth, while reading the newspaper I noticed that a local iris group was having a rhizome sale. Well, you can bet I quickly got myself ready for the day and headed out with Mr. Hollyhocks accompanying me to do some shopping. When we arrived at the community center for the sale I excitedly eyed the many tables set up with hundreds of baskets of rhizomes displayed, along with a beautiful photograph of each iris in bloom attached to the baskets. My husband decided to go for a walk while I shopped and came back thirty minutes later to find me with several grocery bags full of rhizomes and I had only covered half of the room. Yeah… and this is when I was quietly and lovingly given an intervention, a reminder that each rhizome cost anywhere from four to eight dollars, depending on the variety, and I had already bagged up about three hundred dollars worth. Even though I reminded him that I was buying rhizomes not only for me but for my daughter in law and her mom, I quickly realized (even with my new infatuation) that I was going off the deep end. Next came the painful task of choosing which ones to put back. In the end I spent a little over a hundred dollars and potted up one container for my daughter in law, another for her mother, and the third, for me. Last year I bought about a dozen more and planted them in my garden in the fall and this year I can report that I’ve shown great restraint and haven’t purchased any. I think I’ve got myself under control!
The last two Mother’s Days we’ve gone to a local Iris garden to wander, admire and picnic among these incredible beauties.You can understand my obsession, right? It’s all because of this little blossom! Tell me, gardening friends, have you ever had to have a gardening intervention? Be honest!
This week Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate are expecting their third baby; Prince George started school; and the twentieth anniversary of Diana’s death was just a little over a week ago. With all of this news regarding the Royal Family lately I thought I’d revisit my photos from our trip to London just this last spring and share.
The palace has been a Royal residence since the 17th century. Queen Victoria was born here and lived here until 1837. Princess Diana lived at the palace from 1981 – 1997. Currently it is home to Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, George and Charlotte, as well as to Prince Harry.
Parts of the palace were open for touring and we were able to get tickets and go right in to see the King’s State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartment, and the exhibit of Diana’s dresses.
I considered it quite a treat to view the sunken garden that was designed this year to honor Princess Diana. Isn’t it magnificent?
Throughout Kensington Gardens there are ponds and lakes, walking trails, benches, stately trees, an Italian garden, the serpentine galleries, statues and memorials, and the Princess Diana Playground with a Peter Pan theme (I longed to go in but adults without children with them are not permitted in the gate). I peeked as much as I could though, and found it enchanting. This is the full scale pirate ship which serves as a climbing area for children. There are swings, slides, a sensory trail and more.This is the Albert Memorial. The Diana Memorial Fountain, built in 2004, is a lovely, restful spot where people can sit and put their feet in the water.We were at the park for a good portion of a day and still didn’t see everything there is to see in this magical place. There’s always next time!
As you can well see, the day we visited was cloudy and dark and my photos didn’t come out as well as I would have liked. The first photo, the seventh, and the eighth came right off the internet.
Daffy Down Dilly has come to town in a yellow petticoat and a green gown! ~Nathanial HawthorneDriving on a winding country road, and passing statuesque pines, and hills covered in emerald carpet, I thought to myself that this is exactly how spring is supposed to feel. Fresh, alive, and absolutely bursting with blooms! Yes, the drive to Daffodil Hill in Amador County is almost as pretty as the historical ranch itself.Fields of daffodils, farm animals and peacocks greet visitors upon arrival. Meandering through trails you’ll come across’s the original 1880s barn, old wagon wheels, gold rush mining equipment, and antique farm implements. There is no entrance fee, but donations are accepted and there is a small souvenir shop to purchase something special. Daffodil Hill in Volcano has been owned by the McLaughlin Family since 1887. Ancestors bought it from Pete Denzer, who had planted a few daffodils to remember his home country of Holland. The McLaughlin’s continued to plant daffodils through the years, and now plant several thousand bulbs annually. It is estimated that there are 300,000 daffodils blooming now. What a sight to behold!
The generous McLaughlin Family gives us all an enormous gift by opening up their private ranch each year for a few weeks to let the public traipse around the gardens and trails, picnic under shade trees, and soak up all that spring in the country offers. We are undeniably grateful!The stunning photo above came right off Daffodil Hill’s Facebook page. They ask that you check the page or call daily to make sure the ranch is open. Rainy weather closes the ranch until the trails dry out. Make a day of your visit by stopping in the nearby little towns of Amador and Sutter Creek. Both are fun to visit and get a bite to eat.
What a lovely place to celebrate the arrival of spring!
Located just 30 miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, and surrounded by a nature preserve, lies the grand estate and sixteen acre gardens called Filoli. The word Filoli was made up by the original owner of the estate, Mr. William Bourn, and it stands for FI-ght for a just cause; LO-ve your fellow man; and LI-ve a good life.
This was my fourth visit to this little bit of heaven and I don’t imagine anyone could ever tire of wandering through the immaculate grounds, taking in all of the boundless beauty and learning of the history of this impressive place. Donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975, the country estate and the gardens are open to the public for exploring, self touring or guided tours. We toured the home, and it quite something to see, but my focus here is the spectacular gardens. Have a look!To learn about the history of Filoli, upcoming events, and planning a trip, I encourage you to visit Filoli‘s informative website, and then, just as soon as you can, treat yourself to a visit to this exquisite jewel. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
“A living reminder that peace begins in the hearts of each one of us – in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Daily, each one of us has an opportunity to make our world a better place.” ~ Sylvia Villalobos
Sylvia Villalobos is the founder of the International World Peace Rose Garden Organization. In downtown Sacramento at Capitol Park, this rose garden was established in 2003. Created as a sanctuary of peace, love, and inspiration for people of all nations, cultures, and religions, it is dedicated to women, children and families.As we enter the garden, walkways lead to a courtyard which has a fountain as its centerpiece. Benches are scattered throughout the garden, and all throughout are inspirational messages of peace created by Sacramento area grade school children. There’s the golden dome of the capitol peeking out behind the trees.Oh, that first mad flower frenzy of blossoms in a rose garden at springtime! Isn’t it exquisite? Here there are approximately 650 varieties featured; each one putting on their finest show!I was absolutely captivated on this day with the beauty of the roses, the heavenly fragrance perfuming the air, and heartfelt messages of peace all around.
May peace be with you.
I had the pleasure of galavanting about in a favorite nursery with a very dear gardening friend today. Actually, gardening is only one thing of hundreds that we have in common. We spent a total of five hours together, having wonderful conversations, solving world problems, catching up with each other. Time went by quickly. Prior to today it had been three of four weeks since I’d been in a nursery. Way too long, especially for this time of year when it seems the whole world is bursting with color as it awakens from its winter slumber.
So there we were at Green Acres Nursery conversing and leisurely admiring it all, oohing and ahhing over the colors, the fragrances…well, everything. Here are some of the things that caught our eyes.
Summer Gold Japanese MapleDogwood
Evergreen Clematis, AvalancheDelphinumCoral Bells ColumbinesDianthusThunbergia will always remind me of a favorite nursery my sister and I used to go to when she lived in Huntington Beach. The fences at the charming nursery there were completely covered in this vine!PansyFuchiasPelargoniumI have a fondness for Coleus and plant them each spring in memory of my mother who loved them.Happy Hydrangeas. Mine are nowhere near ready to bloom.
HostasA year ago this rhododendron called Purple Gem caught my eye at a nursery; I bought three of them right then and there. Mine will probably be blooming in another few weeks. I hope they look as good as these!WisteriaIt was so hard to resist taking one (or three!) of each home with us, but the two of us shopped with great restraint. I had a few things on my list and left with only those few things, knowing that I need to finish a few projects first before I delve into another. Browsing through nurseries is such a treat anytime, but this time of year especially. My kind of candy store!