Ten Gables Cottage

Ten Gables Cottage
Ten Gables Cottage

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gorgeous blooms and Monster Lizard

Hi Everyone, It is a gorgeous day here is Florida Paradise! It is overcast partly today, but still so pleasant and beautiful. To walk around the garden just puts a smile on my face! I am really enjoying this beautiful foxglove plant. I haven't put it in the garden yet; I love to put an "arrangement" of potted plants near the rail leading up to the porch, as a "welcome" arrangement and find it hard to get them planted because they just look so great here. I do have other plans for them soon, though, unless I just decide to plant them right where they are.

Here is a view of more of them. The Elephant ear is planted there and in a year or two will take up the whole spot. Also, there is a galvanized planter with a solar light in it sitting there. You can see it on the left with some small spider plants in it and a begonia.

A view of the back garden around the patio and a mocking bird sitting on the 
"bird Trellis". They love having a place to sit and sing. I need to do some work here, namely fill up the bird bath after cleaning it out. My Granny Garden continues to grow. Enlarge this to see the little red tractor on the railing! The wooded area beyond the lawn borders a small canal, home to turtles and the occasional alligator.

More of the garden. The Caladiums are coming up now.

Close up of the zucchini plant and some pretty flowers.

Oh, my gosh! What is the world is this? It is a monster lizard on the garage roof. I am sitting at my computer in the studio and looking out the window, I can watch him catch flying insects, such as wasps to eat. He sits here daily and is HUGE for a lizard. He is about 4 or 5 times as large as any I have seen around here. And he is reddish color which is unusual. I will look him up and try to find out what kind he is. Does anyone know out there?
On a more pleasant note, my pot of lettuce is growing rapidly and needs thinning. I will thin some of the biggest ones for a salad and let the rest grown a bit more. It is a mixture and is so pretty. Until another day, hope the sun shines on your day today and soon Spring will be in your area!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rainy Day Blooms, a Bunny Painting and my Granny Garden

Hello Everyone, I am starting off with a blurry photo of a big Foxglove plant I bought today! It is so gorgeous, even though I know it will only live a short while in our hot weather. I am going to try to prolong it's demise, though, as long as I can. It is rainy and not really hot here today, so all my plants are loving a gentle soaking.

Here is the Foxglove among other plants I have to set out with the exception of the Elephant Ear plant which is in the ground and thriving. I can not resist the garden center annuals that are already up and so colorful, knowing that my seeds will take a little longer to produce. I am a "now" person!

The gate between the studio and garage is a show with the Bougainvillea in full bloom now. It is home to a couple of Cardinals who sing constantly when the sun is out, which is most of the time. They also love seeing themselves in the auto mirrors, so if parked outside, there are plastic bags covering the mirrors, much to the birds' chagrin!

The Hibiscus is now blooming; well, everything is in bloom!

I bought a Shamrock plant for St. Pat's day and it is now blooming, with my little painted rock bunny nestled underneath.

I just finished this watercolor painting as a sample for my watercolor class. I will be teaching them to use undercoat washes of color and paint brushstroke hairs over top, building up texture. I don't teach them to copy my painting, but rather I show it, then demonstrate applying the paint and they must select their own bunny photo as reference. Each painting is entirely different in the class and even though the subject will be rabbits, they will be in all different poses and settings, and even styles.
And last, here is my Granny Garden, the grain trough turned elevated garden bed.. I had to enlarge it, so you could see the little red tractor sitting on the edge! Before the tomatoes get ripe, it just needed a touch of red. Now a question. Does anyone know why squash blooms fall off without a squash starting to develop? I have lost several blooms and see nothing developing. It is not over or under watered. Do you think I might have cutworms....I see a couple of stems that look cut off.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring....Around the Garden!

Hi Everyone, It is officially the first day of Spring and here it feels more like summer today, with temps in the 80's. I love it. The birds love it. The flowers love it. Everyone is smiling and in a good mood.! How can you not be in a great mood when you get up to sunshine and flowers and bird songs! Take a look at some of the blooms around here.......

My garden in the trough is really growing. Overnight the bush beans sprouted, the squash is full of bloom and the lettuce needs thinning.   Have you got your garden planted?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day...Irish Paintings

Hello Everyone and Happy St. Patrick's Day! I think my favorite place to go is to Ireland! I have been there many times, and each time I am in awe of the beauty and the friendly people. Here are some of my paintings I have either done there or from reference photos that I took while there. I love the thatched roofed cottages, the gorgeous flowers and quaint villages. The coast line is gorgeous and the grass could not be greener.

The cottage above was actually painted in my hotel room in the Cotswolds of England. I had gone to Ireland, then flew to England and took a tour of the Cotswolds. The whole trip was magical...perhaps an Irish Fairee fly on my shoulder!"" The painting above was done from photos taken at Ardess House in Northern Ireland. I love peeling plaster and window boxes. Very quaint!
In a lovely courtyard in Greyabbey, there are little coffee and tea shops and gift shops. The flowers are beautiful and the afternoon tea and goodies couldn't be better.In Ireland, I learned to love "the tea thing".

Another view in the Greyabbey courtyard.

This painting was actually done from photos taken in the Coldswolds, but both England and Ireland are full of tea rooms and quaint buildings.My daughter says we are always on a "food fest" and it's true. We just have to try all the "tray bits" and pastries.

Well, I won't attempt to spell the little coastal town in Northern Ireland that the above lighthouse is in, but my daughter and I took a painting workshop there with Graham Boothe and we really enjoyed painting there  "plein aire". It was rather cold and we ended up in the car painting! She had the front seat and I spread out in the back. Later, we took a break at another tea room and had some delicious soup and wheaten bread.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Horse Feed Trough as "Granny Garden"

Hi Everyone, What in the world is this? A Horse Feed Trough turned into a "Granny Garden"? What is a "Granny Garden"? Well, I happen to have two bad knees and find it difficult to garden in a traditional garden, so I found this horses feed trough at the Tractor Store and decided to plant a garden in it! I named it my "Granny Garden", as, after all, I am a grandmother and I won't have to bend or squat to garden!

It came with two drainage holes in the heavy poly but I added rocks (here I have just started to add a layer, so water wouldn't be standing on the plant roots.)

I added some good soil. It is ten inches deep....hopefully that is deep enough. This is all an experiment for me. I could stand as I worked, which was so much better than down on knees, or bending and stooping.

It is all planted now. I bought a bush tomato and a patio tomato for the right hand side with a basil plant and on the left, you see a zucchini plant with a trellis for it to run on and behind it is a pepper plant. I planted arugula lettuce in the front soil and 2 bush beans and 2 pea plants. This will probably be way too much for the space, but we shall see what happens. I can always transplant something out of it into a big pot.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Delights...Bantan eggs and Strawberries

My friend, Helen, gave me two dozen beautiful little Bantan hen eggs. They are about 1/2 the size of regular eggs. They are not only so cute, but delicious. You just have to use twice as many!

Here is a comparison of the two kinds of eggs. She also grew the most delicious and gorgeous strawberries ever, and gave me a container already cleaned, sliced and with a little sugar sprinkled over them. They were so delicious. Strawberries are one of Florida's best crops and they are quite famous. So we ate Strawberry Shortcake with whipped cream. Ummmmm!