Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day in the Garden

I've devoted so much time to the inside of the house I've totally ignored everything outside until this weekend.  I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow blogger Carol Beck from Sofas and Sage and her husband Ian yesterday.  It's an interesting experience meeting another blogger.  We're complete strangers that know each other so well.  I felt like an old friend stopped by.  It was a lot of fun.    

I got the back porch set up so I can start enjoying morning coffee outside and weekend cookouts with friends.  I would love to buy some new furniture for out here but it really doesn't make sense until the porches get rebuilt.  That big white chippy chest that I had out here last year took up too much room so it went out on the street and was picked up in about 10 minutes.  I replaced that with the little console table from the upstairs hallway.  The outdoor rug was $40 on ebay.  The Boston ferns and coleus in the foreground are destined for pots flanking the front door.

I made a little table out of an old ceramic planter topped with a millstone.  The topiaries are enjoying the outdoors for the summer.

A dahlia for guys called "Happy Single Romeo."

I'm trying to propagate some rose cuttings called "Jacotte."  I've put them in ziploc bags to keep the humidity high and tacked them to the back of the porch post to keep them out of direct sunlight.

The garden is a mess.  I moved a lot plants to prepare for the exterior project last summer and haven't yet rearranged things.  My Stella D'oro lilies are over by my neighbor's fence where they're ready to bloom.  I will probably leave them there until after they've bloomed.

My Zephyrine Drouhin is just starting to bloom.  It's an old bourbon rose and is beautifully perfumed.

The ants are hard at work on the peony buds.  I had only one flower last year but I've got 16 buds this year.  I'm looking forward to having some in the house.

Dream Weaver is looking pretty good too.

I have tons of cottage pinks this year too.  Love the fragrance of these sweet little blooms.

I believe this is spiderwort.  I didn't plant it but it's everywhere in the garden; in fact, it's a scourge on the neighborhood.  It seems to be growing along every fence, out of cracks in the sidewalk, everywhere around the neighborhood. It's a nightmare really.  I can't keep hollyhocks in the garden but I can't get rid of this stuff.

I have lots to do outside to get things back to normal but it won't stop me from enjoying a few flowers in the house.

I hope everyone is enjoying a great long weekend.


  1. Hello Steve:
    We are much taken with your verandah which looks to be the ideal place in which to relax with a morning coffee, an afternoon tea, a Pimms, a gin and tonic...... In fact, why should one ever wish to move from the spot? From the image you show, it has a wonderful colonial feel to it.

    Having gardened for 25 years in Herefordshire in the UK, when the garden was open to the public, we know only too well how much work is attached to keeping any garden going. But, we are sure that you will get there. Unless, of course, the Tradescantia gets there first!!

  2. Your porch looks so inviting....I want to come visit too....

  3. I would love to meet some blog buddies but I wonder if the relationship would change? (not for the better I mean.) Your flowers are great, my peonies are not even in bud yet up here. The sun is finally out today so I should be outside too.

  4. You are a very stylish blogger sir.

    It will be a pleasure to relax on the porch, telling tales and sipping something iced.

    Maybe you'll have a few peonies open for next Monday's flowers in the house?

    xo Jane

  5. Your porch and all your plants look great! I love the rug. It's perfect in the space and adds some fun! Have a great day. ciao....

  6. I was just out clearing a bed for a "Daisy" garden and shared your spiderwort sentiments. They actually sell this at Mahoneys! And yes, it's everywhere.
    The best roses I have came "own root" from Rose Rustler's Antique Rose Emporium in Texas. Have you propagated them successfully before like this?

  7. Porch boy,

    It looks smashing! How about painting your chairs with a black/brown spray paint?

    Sand in my shoes

  8. I think I should set up a table next to Mahoney's and sell spiderwort for half price.

    I haven't tried propagating roses like this before. A blogger was giving cuttings away so I did some research and found this method. I have another pot with a cutting so I can compare both methods. I'll probably kill them all but it's a fun experiment.

  9. Your back porch looks great. Glad to see the topiaries are still with us. :) With regard to the ants on your peonies - are they tending aphids? That is always a big problem here in the spring. A firm blast of water from the hose to knock the aphids off takes care of the problem. Or are the ants actually eating the buds themselves?

  10. Ants are attracted to a sweet sap the peonies put out when they're budding. I was always led to believe that they ants actually assist the peonies in blooming but I think that's wives' tale. In any event, they don't do any damage to the flower and as soon as they open, the ants go away. I always see the ants as a positive sign that the peony buds are healthy.

  11. I HATE SPIDERWORT! I had to wrestle mine to death, then it came back, and I had nightmares. I believe it is gone for good now, but I am always on guard.

  12. I love that system you have in the States of leaving furniture outside for other people to enjoy.. its not done here in fact we have to pay £10 for the council to take it away x

  13. Ahh, there's nothing like a relaxing porch in the morning with coffee, or evening to sit and relax with a gin & tonic! I do it all the time at our cottage in Maine.

    Your plants a beautiful! I would love some white roses for my new garden. I'm working on putting in a moonlight garden. I can't wait until it's finished. So far we've selected three shrubs. I also have a list of others to add to my list!

    Love the flag, nice touch! Happy Mem Day.


  14. If I were invited for cocktails and snacks on that porch, I may never leave...oh yea, you now have a cozy guest rom! :)

    Your yard is looking fabulous...nothing seems to be affected by all the work and rearranging. And now you're propagating roses!! You kill me!

    I think the ants are a good sign but the top of my piano was covered with the little critters after I swiped those peonies from my neighbor the other morning! :)
    Hope you're having a great weekend.

  15. Your porch is so cozy and inviting. I might just stop by for a visit (wink, wink)! Your garden is beautiful, and I love the millstone-topped table -- great idea. In the last photo, I really like that fan!

  16. I love this post!
    I just did a post myself about my flower addiction! I really love to see others peoples gardens and steal ideas! (I'm stealing the millstone on top of the planter idea!)
    I know it's alot of work but it's so nice to sit down later with a "beverage" and enjoy the view!

  17. I LOVE the idea of a dahlia called 'Happy Single Romeo! and your propagation - I haven't moved past lavender and geraniums~

  18. hey romeo,

    your porch looks great and the flowers look pretty. i'm going to try and propagate my rose just like you are doing. did you punch holes in the bag or is it sealed?

  19. Yep, very inviting. Do you make mojitos?

    xo Terri

  20. great to be back..and enjoying your posts.LOVE the new header and overall blog update/freshen-up! Your outdoor sense of style is just as fabulous as your interior talent....looking forward to a long hot summer.....k

  21. Lovely!
    So what you call spiderwort is tradescantia, right? Named for the plant collectors (father and son, I believe) Tradescant... In German it is called a "3 Mast flower" like a big old sailing ship.
    We always had ants on the paeonies but only on the white ones with glossy leaves, they left the red and pink ones alone, which also had rougher leaves. Not scientific, but that was a fact!!

  22. I wish I nabbed your old chippy table! Porch and garden look great. I especially love the rug and the millstone table. Happy summer!

  23. Steve - I have the same problem with Spiderwort. Thanks, by the way, for the common name. I knew it was Tradescantia, but never knew it was spiderwort (too lazy to look it up, I guess?). My mother loves that they pop up in her yard uninvited, but I dislike them intensely - they're sooooo hard to geet rid of! Porches look spectacular.

  24. Oh, I misunderstood about the ants. Where I live, ants in the garden are always a problem of one sort or another.

    Hope you has a nice cookout with the grill hidden behind the chair.

  25. That rug is so fabulous, Steve. I LOVE it! And the peonies -- so jealous. They do not grow easily in the Bay Area.

  26. Hola Steve, como estás? Love to see all you have done, every detail of the inside and out of your home is great and the garden is so delightful!!!
    muchos cariños

  27. Your back porch looks great. Your idea of putting cuttings in plastic bags and then having them somewhere where you won't forget them is great.This is definately something I am going to try.

  28. Your porch and garden looks the table you made from planter topped with a stone.

    Does your blog have a new look? Love the actual photo of your house with the architectural plans and the logo is great too!

  29. today i learned about a group at church called "romeo": retired old men eating out. i have a new fondness for that name, now!

    your garden is so verdant, and everything looks so ready.

    i especially love the last photo - the contrast of the black and pink, and i'm smitten with your fan.

  30. We have spiderwort here in Charleston, SC as well... Beware! The purple flowers stain! If you have khaki shorts/pants on and walk by it and the flower touches it will stain... We cut ours down or mow it when it gets talk enough to be bothersome...

  31. PS, meant to let you know how much we enjoy your blog! Always entertaining!! Your house is beautiful!

  32. lovely! love the patterned rug. how fun that you got to meet Carol and her husband!! and too funny, as last night I had a dream I saw you at?? (probably Art's;) so, there you have it- I'm dreaming about you now:)

    love the new cool and hip header!

    happy weekend....

  33. I is a lovely setting for a get-together!!The rug is wonderful I am looking for something like it for my terrace.

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Amazing $250 Giveaway from Tracy Porter!!

  34. The porch looks great! Those ants just love the peonies! I have about 6 plants. Some years I get tons of blooms and others not so much. I really wish they bloomed all summer.

  35. I'm just trying to catch up! :) Saw this post but rushed out and couldn't comment! LOVE your porch! I so wish we had a long porch on our house instead of these stubby stoops. Next time you're home you'll have to make a detour to the Falls, and give me some pointers!

  36. The second and third picture look like they are right out of a magazine! I love the geometric black and white rug with all the green!