Saturday, May 28, 2011

I am sitting at my breakfast table this morning eating my breakfast and enjoying the site of my peony bouquet. I had to buy this bunch at my local Trader Joe's for only $7 yesterday; there were five in all. I had several successful years of growing peonies before I moved to my current zone 10 desert oasis. Peonies won't grow here. Zone 8 is the highest number that they can tolerate. When I left my home, I divided my different varieties and colors of peonies up and dispersed them to my neighbors (leaving of course the main plant at the house we sold). Whenever I go back to visit I get wonderful stories of how they are flourishing.

Peonies come in many different types of flowers that expert peony fanatics call their favorites; double ruffled, bombs, anemone, Japanese. There are bushy plants as well as tree varieties. The colors can range from deep purple, red, pink, white or yellow.

I like them all. Growing peonies and having them on my table makes me feel like I have an extravagant luxury in my home. Buying peonies from a florist can cost you an arm and a leg. I remember having them in my bouquet for my wedding. If you can grow them in your yard I highly recommend it. Two websites are great if you are looking for the starts; Klehm's Song Sparrow and Hidden Springs Flower Farm are the best to order from. I have, however, found them at the hardware store. Those seemed to be more reluctant to come up and flower though. Since I don't have the luxury of growing mine here.....I might just go spend another $7 today!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Vintage Home

It is popular these days to go thrift shopping to find a sweater, hat or brooch your grandma or great-grandma use to wear. I grew up thrift shopping with my family. I found an appreciation for antique lines, lace, dishes and clothes. As I grew older, I found a new appreciation for vintage homes.

The United States is scattered with vintage homes. Many are now buried in underprivileged neighborhoods, but there are areas where these cookie cutter homes are the pride and joy of a city. These small homes became in vogue in between WWI and WWII. There were several styles; Storybook, English Cottage, Tudor, French Eclectic, Spanish Revival, and Mission Style. They were so popular to buy during this time that those who bought them were up on the style and lingo of their homes architecture. Popular magazines of the day would write lengthy articles about the virtues of each type of house.

Although I have never owned such a home, I love to drag the neighborhoods they are in and wonder what the families were like who first lived there. These homes are a wonderful glimpse into our American Heritage.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips Galore!

This without a doubt is one of my favorite times of year. It is because it is the dawning of the mid to late spring tulip. Early spring tulips are alright, but do not have the power and beauty as those that come after. As this is my favorite time of year because of the beloved tulip, I have to say it is now a sad time for me because I no longer can plant tulips in my Las Vegas home.

At my old home I would plant 300 tulips every October, and then wait while they slept under their blanket of snow all winter. In the spring I would be as happy as could be to see my vision come to life. It was like painting a picture in the fall without seeing the result of the canvas until six months later.

I still have my pictures, memories, and dreams of my tulips and will think of them again this time next year!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lilacs Abound

The time of year has come for the sweet fragrant lilac to bloom. It stands all year in it's woodsy wardrobe only to show these delicate flowers but once a year for only four small weeks. The smell of the lilac is so intoxicating, and the cluster of flowers are welcome in any bouquet.

The lilac has been a staple in English gardens for centuries, but it was in the early 1700's that the bush was brought to the United States. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew lilacs on their estates. The popularity of the lilac grew so much in America that New York State in particular has the most lilac bushes in the world! It is in fact the state flower of New York.

So, I say bring on the purple, pinks, and whites of the lilac. Enjoy these short few weeks of fragrant bliss!