Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Madewood Plantation House, Napoleonville, Louisana...

From Miami we flew to New Orleans, where we explored the French Quarter. We also took a drive down to the bayou, seeking a deeper understanding for the local culture, history, scents, sounds, sights and sensations. The Madewood Plantation Greek Revival style plantation home, on the Bayou La Fourche looked impressively pristine from the road, 

but what I really loved seeing was the rich patina and all of the ancient details, particularly in the iron work, that hinted at the history of this marvelous mansion.

The Spanish Moss draping from all of the trees gave the estate a marvelousy~eerie edge, 

I'm thinking I need to incorporate this look into the Halloween decor next year, what do you think?

The thick bayou air fosters lush, green surroundings.

I wish I could play a soundtrack of the bird calls and cricket songs that were playing

and somehow share the heavy, herbaceous scents we took in while exploring the grounds. 

The buildings, especially the out buildings on the estate have surely seen many changes over the years. 

In addition to touring the house and grounds, one can stay, safe and sound, in the manor house, furnished with English antiques and wake to a hearty plantation breakfast.  HERE is a very informative review from a previous guest.

This open gate was a little inviting, but somehow I just couldn't manage to step into the family resting ground we found at the very back of the property.

However, I did walk away with some notions on upping the level of lush for next years Halloween graveyard

More from French Quarter, just a 75 mile drive away, coming soon.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Celebrating Cherry Blossoms, from coast to coast...

We've been on a whirl-wind tour, enjoying the beautiful springtime sights in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and the District of Columbia over the past week and a half. We've been visiting colleges and taking in the rich history and culture from this section of the Union with our daughter. 

All of DC is intoxicated with the beauty of cherry blossoms right now. Last night we took the Monuments by Moonlight tour, a trolley ride I'd highly recommend if you want to see the sights with ease, under the most beautiful, dramatic lighting. One of the highlights of the evening was moonlit branches, laden with pink cherry blossoms, so heavy they nearly touched the water. They created an ethereal arch for us to walk beneath along the Tidal Basin {oh, and the lit monuments were pretty cool too}. 

Mr. Splendid and I both lived in DC, long before we met, so this was a special stop for us to take together with our daughter, who {thankfully} shared our appreciation and passion for all that this exciting District has to offer. The Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing this weekend, but I've skipped out of town, I'm now at Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana for Mother's weekend with my #1 son. 

These blossoms are actually from the other Washington, as in Seattle, Washington. This has always been our families favorite tree, or actually pair of trees. We drive by this pair almost everyday, and as they've grown up, and the seasons have changed, the kids and I have always watched with great anticipation to see the first bright green buds form above these sprawling emerald green moss and fern covered tree trunks.

And then, all of a sudden, those buds become an explosion of puffy white blooms. To our family, these blooms announce the arrival of Spring. 

I'm feeling quite blessed to have been able to enjoy the arrival of spring in 8 states in the past 10 days {that's including Illinois, Indiana and Washington state} along with my family. 

I hope something beautiful is blooming in your world. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cecconi's, a gem on Miami Beach...

We're on the road again, touring the SE corner of the country. Our journey began in Miami Beach, where the warm sunshine was a welcoming sensation. But instead of sharing images of sandy beaches and umbrellas in the breeze, I want to invite you into Cecconi's, a delightful little oasis in this part of town. 

While "membership" is required to stay in the charming looking rooms of the Soho Beach Club, seat's at the Venetian style restaurant, Cecconi's are open to the public. 

Once we experienced the comfortable ambiance of this charming patio, we couldn't imagine going anywhere else. Our best mornings began on these thick tufted couches, beneath silvery leaved and lighted trees, 

where we enjoyed multiple trips to the "breakfast table" for crunchy almond croissants, fruit, delicate slices of ham and nutty chunks of cheese.

Notice the line of the coffee cup above and drinking glass below, every single detail of the restaurant oozed with casual elegance.

One of the greatest morning delights was their creamy homemade yogurt, made in my favorite Weck brand canning jars. Have you ever made yogurt? I'm inspired. This was unlike any I've tried before and the presentation is so delightful, much better that a plastic tub.

In the evenings the white lights on the trees brightened as the sun went down. The music was fun and the atmosphere was festive. Well, time to hit the road again, I'll be missing the patina of these soft striped tiled floors. 

Caio Cecconi's!

Monday, March 31, 2014

The blue and white garden ...

I've been a bit consumed these days, which is why I haven't written for awhile. I've been obsessed with a project that I have been thinking about for years. In my back yard there is a long, narrow bed that used to be overgrown with dayllilies. Last fall I had them all removed, so now, I get to plant an entirely new bed. Of course, I've been making a mental list of many a beautiful blossom as I've thought about this project over the years. But, as it's becoming a reality, I've been carefully researching and procuring plants and drawing out plans to create a peaceful blue and white border that will bloom all summer long. For now, the only flowers in bloom are these pretty pale blue Phlox, British Daisies, and the white Candy Tufts {details below}.
Woodland Phlox "Chatahoochee", Candytuft, British Daisies
I hope that I will be sharing many more shots in the coming months of blue and white blooms as they open throughout the season. 

One of the key ways to make flowers in a border look more natural and to stand out is a healthy foundation of greens.  Likewise, a variety of greenery makes bouquets look more interesting and beautiful. Planting an assortment of different shades and shapes of green leaves gives one a huge degree of freedom for making bouquets, right in your own backyard. 

Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla/ Lemon Thyme, Thymus citrionorus/ "Mrs. Edgehill" Catnip, Nepta hybridia/ Silverdust Dusty Miller
Are you planning on planting someday soon? If you'd like to freshen up your beds with some shades of blue and white here is a list of all of the blooms I've been planting.

Blue Blooms

Woodland Phlox "Chatahoochee", Silver Sands Lavendar, Coerulea Great Camas, King Arthur Delphiniums, "Takion Blue" Campanula or Bellflower, Devon Skies Blue-Eyed Grass. I am also adding some blueberry bushes, and purple artichokes to add another dimension of bluishness, whimsy and drama.  The "Mrs. Edgehill" Catmint in the above selection of greens also put out beautiful stalks of of blue flowers.

White Blooms

 Candytuft, loads of Casa Blanca Lillies, Ismenes Festalis, British Daisy, Gaurdian White Delphinium are the perennials. I'm also two annuals, Rocket White Snapdragons and a white Stock, to be determined.

Shades of White Roses

Towards the back of the bed is a row of white roses, Sunny Knock Out, Frau Karl Druschkis, Iceberg and Pascali are in the current line up, I may try to find a few more interesting white breeds. In front of each of them is a Nepta hybrida, which will add a lush cover to the thorny stocks upon which the blanc blooms are based.