Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012!

Looking out my top floor office window at the final twilight of 2012....
And unexpectedly sharing a quiet moment with our neighborhood scrub jay perched at the top of the cypress next door -

Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekend of Gratitude

Halfway through this four day holiday, and the kitchen is still overflowing with all manner of food - including the plump burgundy beets meant for a salad to bring to our final Sunday feast with friends...

Early last week I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of the cymbidium orchids on the deck had sent out a flower spike - it's now sitting next to the kitchen sink, a lovely distraction from yet another round of dishwashing.....

Grateful for wonderful food, a comforting home and gifts from the garden....
Hope your weekend is full of pleasant distractions!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

California Arts & Crafts

Tucked away in the old oak Scottish cabinet - plein air painting, pottery and poppy pods.....

Join me over at....
Vintage Inspiration Friday

Monday, October 29, 2012

Beacon of Peace in a Stormy World

Joining Jane's Flowers in the House  gathering with a simple shot of the variegated spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) that sits and thrives on the table in our front room...
Hope everyone on the East Coast gets through the next few days relatively unscathed.

Peace out.

Vintage Halloween Postcard

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brown Bear * Lichen * Hummingbird Nest

A sweet Japanese brown bear quietly roams among the lichen on a shelf in the Scottish oak cabinet....

More natural decor here...

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Plants on the deck - such a jumble of color and pattern...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Louis Dubay & Vintage San Francisco Honey

An enormous poster on canvas, painted many, many years ago by Louis Dubay, legendary San Francisco beekeeper, hangs above our spiral stairway. We believe it was originally used as a backdrop by the SF Beekeepers Association at fairs and exhibitions where they set up displays and extolled the virtues of beekeeping and the pleasures of honey. Louis was one of the original founders of the group, and a neighbor - he lived with Leonore (the love of his life) for years a few houses up the hill from us, and his hives were always filled with the gentlest honey bees.

Here's a newspaper article about him with some wonderful quotes....
Louis died ten years ago - his headstone says it all...

Will be visiting...
Vintage Inspiration Friday
Simple and Sweet Fridays
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Ivy and Elephants

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

West Coast Late August Morning: Golden Oak & Pacific Blue

The light this morning was especially golden, creating a photo-worthy still life on the kitchen sideboard.....

Starfish look like they've fallen out of the ocean above -

And the african violet, 12 years old at least, thrives and sends out pale purple blooms....

This week I'll be visiting...
Cozy Little House
Knick of Time Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesdays
Ivy and Elephants

Monday, August 27, 2012

Honeysuckle & Angel's Trumpet

Flowers in the house - on a grand scale!
The brugmansia and Burmese honeysuckle have been giant green anchors in my backyard garden for well over twenty years now - both were purchased in gallon pots from a vendor who sold plants at the Marin City flea market in the '70's and '80's.
For those who are unfamiliar with Burmese honeysuckle (Lonicera hildebrandiana), it is essentially a common honeysuckle on steroids - see for yourself.....

Over the years it has covered a very large arbor and developed a pretty thick trunk. It's quite an architectural plant, trouble-free and very easy grow, if you have the space.

The brugmansia (angel's trumpet) was unhappy for the first few years it lived with us as I attempted to grow it in a container on our first story deck. Once I found a place for it in the yard below, it really took off, and is now taller than the deck it lived on (16+ feet). The tender subtropical delights us with several amazing bloom cycles per year - they are the traditional flowers on our Thanksgiving table.....and their spicy, thick evening scent is almost overpowering.

Large and fragrant - love that about both these plants, and they make wonderful cut flowers tucked around the house....

Hope you visit Jane's Flowers in the House to see what other flowers are being admired and enjoyed this last week of August.

Will also be visiting the
Cottage Garden Party
at Fishtail Cottage....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Urban Cottage Garden - Lilies and Roses

There is a garden planted right along the sidewalk, just over the hill from our house, that has had me swooning for the past few weeks.
It's along one of my favorite "backroad" routes home after working with clients on Russian Hill. I had intended to stop and take pictures several times, but didn't have a chance until late yesterday afternoon, meandering home from a weekend plant sale in Golden Gate Park.
The sun still hadn't broken through the summer fog, so it was ideal light for picture taking, and the light breeze was saturated in lily perfume.....

Plant choice and thoughtful composition are what make this strip of garden memorable.
Roses and lilies have an old fashioned affinity for one another (they have all the romance of a Fantin-Latour painting mixed together as cut flowers in a vase) and their two fragrances combine beautifully.
The alternating vertical lines of the rose standards and lily stalks complement one another, as do the colors - the pale apricot of the roses, brick red of the new rose foliage and the clean white lily trumpets.

The large plexi panels used instead of standard fencing material is another crucial design element. They are somewhat translucent (you can just barely see the plants growing in the yard on the other side) but opaque enough to provide a dramatic background for the sidewalk plants.

The stacked cobblestones that form the base of the planter are as rustic as the "cottage garden" plant choices, and provide a nice architectural contrast to the "modern" feel of the plastic panels.
Not to be overlooked, the mounding plants at the soil line add just the right touch of softness to the low stone wall.

All in all, this is an inspiring bit of urban landscaping that works on many levels.....

Well done, San Francisco neighbors!

This week I'm visiting
Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Cottage Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage

Monday, July 30, 2012

Celebrating with Jane & Friends...

Fuchsia "Fanfare" grows like a weed here in San Francisco, and is blissfully immune to the ubiquitous fuchsia mite that distorts leaves and flowers on most other varieties.

 Jane's "Flowers In The House" blog celebration motivated me to do some overdue pruning on our backyard monster!

"Fanfare" has huge flowers - most are at least 3 inches long.

It's easy to see why one of the old fashioned common names for fuchsia is "Lady's Earrings"... 

Today there are floral offerings from all over the world here on Jane's blog....
Flowers In The House

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Fruits

Are especially delicious right now!
Might be a good time to check out your local farmers' market to see what's available.....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Foggy Afternoon: Golden Gate Park

Found the time to take a quick stroll through the entry garden at the Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park last Friday afternoon. Designed and installed by Roger Raiche and David McCrory of Planet Horticulture in 1998, the garden, for the most part, has held up relatively well through years of municipal budget cuts and diminishing maintenance. The plant choices and groupings are lovely in their maturity and still incredibly inspiring - and the cool, foggy afternoon light was perfect for taking pictures....

Will be sharing this post with the gardeners at
Fishtail Cottage Garden Party