Around Here 7/22/15

Here we are in late July, already half way through our summer season. With our water restrictions from the drought, coupled with our high temperatures, many of my garden beds are looking a bit bedraggled and some of my shrubs are sporting some deer damage. However, I want to focus on and share a few areas around here that are still putting on their own spectacular show, not quite ready to call it quits just yet.

IMG_4986Blooming in this shady spot in front of the fountain is Hydrangea Limelight. Blossoms start out chartreuse, then turn creamy white, and finally deep rose by autumn.

IMG_4987Putting on a show behind the bench and picket fence we have a few roses, some spindly double hollyhocks, black eyed Susan’s, and cleome.

IMG_4983This just makes me smile! It looks like my statue of Saint Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners, is holding a Shasta daisy.

IMG_4924Echinops, black eyed Susans, Shasta daisies, and pink Veronica, along with pink sapanaria and verbena light up this garden bed. I love this combination of tough, hardy, drought tolerant perennials. Together, they are a sight to behold.

 

IMG_4779Here’s a happy little corner with pots of shrubs that overflow with purple wave petunias, alyssum, bacopa, dianthus and lobelia.

IMG_4953And many thanks to these two swallow tail butterflies who provided great entertainment to our grand babies and us on Sunday morning for at least fifteen minutes with their dancing, swooping and chasing. Thank you all for the sensational show!

Gather ye Roses

IMG_4840When my sons were very young we lived in Sacramento, and one of our favorite past times was to pack up the children and drive to McKinley Park in East Sacramento. There, we would feed the ducks, play at the playground, picnic under the many stately shade trees, and visit the enchanting rose garden. IMG_4841Now, many years later and living quite a distance further away, I still love to take a drive to visit this park that holds a special place in my heart. Through the years, the playground was completely rebuilt (and then recently even rebuilt again due to a fire), the duck pond has been refurbished and the rose garden too, has been ever so lovingly refreshed. IMG_4843

IMG_4842In 2012 work was completed on the rose beds, benches, and irrigation, and even half of the 1200 rose bushes were replaced. In spite of the busy roads and neighborhood surrounding it, a peaceful and beautiful sanctuary, just bursting with colorful climbers, floribundas, hybrid tea roses, and grandifloras beckons you. Go ahead, breathe in the enticing fragrance of these glamorous beauties and fall for their alluring charms. A love affair awaits!IMG_4844

Scenes From a Day in Tahoe

Sometimes it’s best to set aside the to-do lists and the usual busyness, just let it all go, and head out for an adventure. Yesterday we loaded up the dog and a picnic lunch into the car to do just that and drove up to breathtakingly beautiful Tahoe.

Greeting us upon our arrival were cool refreshing temperatures, and spectacular scenery everywhere we looked. Majestic mountains, the truest blue skies, and towering pines surrounded us. We played with our sweet Gemma in the lake, took walks on the beach and on trails, drove to some of our favorite spots, but mostly just relaxed and soaked up all of this beauty Mother Nature gifted us with. Well, it was just the tonic we needed and we’re now planning our next visit back.
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Naming My Blog

IMG_4388Why the name Hollyhocks and Heart Shaped Rocks, you ask? Well, I love all kinds of gardens, but my all time favorite type is a cottage garden just bursting with blooms. No cottage garden is complete without the old fashioned charmers, Hollyhocks to add color, height and even a bit of dancing in the summer breeze.

IMG_4812As for the heart shaped rocks — I first started collecting them many years ago. I find them often on walks and hikes, but sometimes they’re right in my path on a busy sidewalk, just waiting to be picked up and treasured. Some have even come home with me from as far away as Ireland, Mexico, and British Columbia! I also have dear friends who’ve given me their found rocks to add to the collection. I’ve never counted them all, but their numbers are perhaps as many as 100. I’ll get back to you on that someday. I have them displayed on window sills, in window boxes, some mingle in a tray or dish together, while others are placed around the gardens on our property. They really present themselves everywhere. Their message? Love is all around us. It’s up to us to open our eyes to nature’s masterpieces and receive her bounty.

 

Sunflower Fields Forever

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Who doesn’t delight in the sight of sunflowers? A single stem of blooms along the highway, possibly “planted” by a bird, or a whole field of happy yellow faces. To me, their presence exudes radiance, strength, happiness and warmth.

IMG_4774I recently had the opportunity to stop and admire an entire field of these dazzling beauties just past Woodland on I-5 heading north. What a sight to behold! Standing proud under the brilliant sun were row upon row of gorgeous blooms. I wasn’t the only visitor; busy bees were buzzing all around them. I was a little concerned that I might get stung, but it didn’t keep me from getting up close and personal with them to take some photos. Now, I’m inspired to get some seeds in the ground pronto so I can enjoy some sunflower glory right here at home in the coming months.IMG_4735