February 28, 2019

Results of the #Shortdays Challenge

shortdays challenge

At the beginning of November, I started a #shortdayschallenge on Instagram. The purpose: to increase my appreciation of the blessings of each day--even through the coldest, shortest days. I wanted to avoid my common habit of wishing the winter away, which can mean missing out on little pleasures and living in a sour state of mind for weeks on end.

Did it work? For the most part, I would say yes, posting about a special thing each day helped me better appreciate the season. Admittedly, this particular winter with its deep polar vortex and erratic temperature and weather changes has been tough. But the #shortdayschallenge did help.

Now that the challenge is completed, I'm cutting back on social media for a
bit--not an official break, but a slowdown. I have some good reasons.


One reason is this little fellow--our new little cockapoo puppy, Nicholas. He's really smart and he's catching on quickly to all things puppies need to learn. I'm trying to savor the time with him as a puppy. It will pass too fast.


Also, I need to get going with some seed-starting! Spring will be here before we know it, and I hope to have some healthy starts to plants for the potager garden. Other family events are keeping me busy, too. So, I apologize for not being as attentive with visits and comments on your posts for a few weeks. Time to prepare for the growing season ahead!

February 18, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: I Needed Color


On Mondays, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts the meme In a Vase on Monday. Obviously, my USDA zone 5a garden has no flowers blooming during the winter, so I must cheat to participate when my garden is covered in snow.

Plus, I needed some color. So I bought myself a bright bouquet at the market. This lovely collection included one bright pink Gerbera Daisy, creamy Hydrangeas, peachy Carnations, chartreuse and yellow Mums, purple Statice, fuchsia Dianthus, and several perfectly formed Roses. Garish, I guess, but eye-opening and heart-warming to my color-starved soul.

vase with cat

By the time I got around to arranging them, the Gerbera Daisy had lost its groove, but the rest of the blooms still looked pretty good. I grabbed a few strands of English Ivy to flow along the sides. (The cat approved.)

basket vase

While it was a little too early to think about Easter, this metal basket with a handle seemed an appropriate vessel for the beauties.

flowers in vase 1

Just going on instinct and preference at the time, I arranged the warmer elements around the sides and the bottom.

flowers in vase 2

And I inserted the cool Statice and Dianthus toward the top.


Completed just before Valentine's Day, the collection formed an unintentional heart shape.

little from top

The extra Roses and a Carnation were perfect for a bud vase.


This tiny olive oil jar our daughter brought back from Mexico was ideal for the mini-arrangement.

little vase

Sometimes the little things bring the greatest joy.

hutch display

All are holding up well after several additional days in saturated floral foam. I had to place both arrangements up and away from the cat. I like this one on top of the hutch.

Happy vase day! To join in Cathy's meme, head on over to Rambling in the Garden.

February 09, 2019

Savannah in the Springtime


Flowering Dogwoods, Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss, and Azaleas blooming everywhere you look: If that image appeals to you, consider visiting Savannah in the springtime. Last year, in March, we hit the peak of the Azalea blooms during our visit. It was cooler than normal with highs mainly in the 60s, which was perfect for walking. And you want to do a lot of walking in Savannah, Ga., because there's so much to see.


Arranged in distinct city squares--each with its own public park--Savannah has the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States. I hadn't realized the structure of these squares; they made for comfortable walks around the city, with plenty of park benches and greenery for resting along the way. The homes are stately and beautiful, and most have historical significance; many are marked for explanation.

house 1

house 2

house 3

house 4

house 5

juliette low house

The birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark.

juliette low plaque

flannery oconnor home

National literary treasure Flannery O'Connor's birthplace is equally modest but maintained for public tours, lecture series, and other events.

flannery oconnor plaque

forsyth park fountain

If you're familiar with the book or the movie, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," you know the chilling true story was set in Savannah. It's interesting to see many familiar landmarks from the movie, including Forsyth Park with its three-tiered fountain and lovely arboretum.

forsyth park plaque

forsyth park walkway

forsyth park walkway 2

forsyth park arb

forsyth park walkway 3

forsyth park azaleas

bonaventure cemetery 4

Other scenes from the movie were filmed at the historic 160-acre Bonaventure Cemetery. If touring cemeteries doesn't freak you out, it's definitely worth a visit. In addition to its historic significance, Bonaventure is a stunningly beautiful garden, filled with Flowering Dogwoods, Azaleas, and many other blooming shrubs, trees, and perennials.

bonaventure cemetery 3

flowering dogwood 1

bonaventure cemetery 1

bonaventure cemetery 2

Make sure you also spend some time at the riverfront!

georgia queen

cargo ship

Many fun and reasonably priced restaurants along the riverfront have great views of the ships passing through on the Savannah River. There are some wonderful shops and art galleries on River Street, too.


Oh, and the churches are gorgeous, as well.

cathedral 1

cathedral 2


We spent quite a bit of time at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with its beautiful spires and stained glass.

stained glass

st. vincent statue

st vincent plaque

Flannery O'Connor attended St. Vincent's grammar school.

methodist church

Another lovely and historic church is the Gothic Revival Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church.

And then there are the plants and flowers...

flowering dogwood 2
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) draped on Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Red Camellia (C. japonica)

Double Bridal Wreath Spirea (S. spiraea cantoniensis 'Lanceata')

Various Azalea shrubs (Rhododendron spp.)

savannah evening

Make sure you take an evening walk in downtown Savannah, too. It's truly magical when the Azaleas are in full bloom, with oblique light resting on the foliage and blooms, the sun setting, and the city lights beginning to illuminate the beautiful parks and architecture.

Yes, Savannah is a fabulous spring-break destination. [Sigh.]