Sunflowers are everywhere now—I’ve seen patches of them in gardens, fields of them in the countryside, and buckets of them at the farmers’ market this past weekend. And I think I like them best that way—together as a group, not mixed in with other flowers. There is something about how tall they stand, how bold they look in the blazing sun, how of-the-earth they seem that suits their appearance in August, when the days are still hot and summer is still with us, but there is a hint of autumn in the air…
Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)
“It is a very pretty chandelier of a flower fit to adorn the forest floor…The common carrot by the roadside, Daucus carota, is in some respects an interesting plant—for its umbel as Bigelow says is shaped like a bird’s nest, and its large pinnatifid involucre interlacing by its fine segments resembles a fanciful ladies’ workbasket.”
~ from The Journal of Henry David Thoreau (July 3, 1852) Read more
Espalier | noun | es-pal-ier : a plant (such as a fruit tree) trained to grow flat against a support (such as a wall).
They always catch my eye—even before I knew what to call them, I thought they were very attractive. I’ve learned that they have ancient roots and were a prominent feature in medieval monastic life because they could be grown in small spaces. And while most espaliers are fruit trees, roses and other plants with woody stems can be trained in this way as well. There are, also, many designs and patterns used in the art of espalier.
The ones pictured above are at Ladew Topiary gardens, where topiary, another art form for shaping trees into ornamental shapes is prominent, but where some espalier are also found.
Here is a link to an excellent article about how to master the art of the espalier.
Very soon we are heading down to Atlanta and then Americus, Georgia. We will be attending a wedding and doing some work for a larger project, which we will be sharing parts of on the blog.
In Atlanta, our focus will be on the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author lived in an apartment on the lower level of the house from 1925-1932, and where she wrote the iconic novel Gone With the Wind. Read more
I love a good party, but I like what comes after a party too—when quiet and stillness replace the laughter and long stories (in this case it was the 4th of July, which is huge around here and we are on the parade route so you can imagine…), and there is the putting away, the folding, and finding (a lost pink flip flop?). There is a different slant of light now and people have moved on—some just up the street or upstairs and some far and some even farther…a simple old chair with linens and scraps of fabric and favorite espadrilles underneath are what remain. Until next time…
Sybil Connolly (1921-1998) built one of the first Irish fashion houses with her exquisite ballroom dresses and skirts made of pleated handkerchief linen, which was hand-crafted in cottages along the Irish countryside. She became well known for her romantic style that reinterpreted traditional Irish textiles into haute couture for clients like Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.
The first floor drawing room of her Georgian mansion in Dublin, 71 Merrion Square that she used as a boutique for fitting clients and for fashion shows, was also wallpapered in Irish pleated linen.
Connolly is one of the women featured in How They Decorated by P. Gaye Tapp (see previous post).
While I have noticed recently that the decorating world seems to be having a maximalist, pattern-on-pattern moment, sometimes it is all about the hue and patina and texture, and a less-is-more kind of beauty that turns our heads. Here, on a long narrow covered porch, none of the elements are shouting for our attention. Instead the subtle gray-taupe of the painted brick, painted wood floor, stone table, architectural mirror, and tall silver lantern quietly make a statement. Even the pop of color from the pink hydrangea and the green palm in the simple square vase accent this vignette in a soothing, understated way.
“The routine of our days had changed, and we were living outdoors. Getting dressed took thirty seconds. There were fresh figs and melons for breakfast, and errands were done early, before the warmth of the sun turned to heat in mid-morning. The flagstones around the pool were hot to touch, the water still cool enough to bring us up from the first dive with a gasp. We slipped into the habit of that sensible Mediterranean indulgence, the siesta.”
~ From “June” in A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Robert Herrick was appointed as vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire, and as a city dweller he did not take to the country life at first (he was known to curse through a few early sermons). But the story goes that he learned to care deeply about the people and the landscape and the rural way of life. His poems are often a kind of prayer, and often one or two long sentences, like “To Daffodils.” Read more