Thursday, August 28, 2014

The End of August

The End of August

by David Budbill

It's the end of August and I'm tired.
The garden is tired. The grass is tired.

Everything is tired. We've all had
too much summer.

Bring on the cold. Bring on the frost.
Bring on all that death and destruction.

Let's have some quiet and some peace.
Let us rest. Give us emptiness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chautauqua Lake

Evie's garden

We've been going to Chautauqua since Brooks was three months old, when Tom and Evie first bought their house on the lake. It's a place where our whole family often gathered in the summers and where we celebrated many special occasions. My parents loved it there, my kids love it there, and so we have lots of Chautauqua memories. Walt and I spent a long weekend there these past few days, and were lucky to have lots of lake time and do many of the things we love about Chautauqua. Evie always has the best meals and she made homemade pasta and shrimp vodka sauce for our first night there. It's so nice to eat every meal outside, with the lake just a few steps away.  On Saturday, after a breakfast of Turkish menemens (turkish omelet), we put on our walking shoes and took the boat over to Bemus Point, taking the usual walk along the lake drive and admiring the lakeside homes, then stopping at Seezurh House for a beer afterwards.  Then it was back to the lake, sitting on the dock, and taking a swim.  Tom and Ev were hosting a neighborhood cocktail hour that evening in their yard, so we got to meet lots of their neighbors, some of whom we've known over the years.  Then we drove to their Rod and Gun Club for dinner, having a good old-fashioned prime rib dinner (delish), and even danced a little to the after-dinner band.  My mom and dad would have loved it.

On Sunday we relaxed in the morning then had a breakfast of eggs and pea meal bacon and bagels. One of my oldest friends was also at the lake that weekend, so Kathy and her husband Bill stopped by for about an hour and we got to catch up. They have visited us before at the lake and it was great to see them and hear about their recent trip to visit their daughter in Africa.  Then we took the boat over to Chautauqua Institution to listen to a free concert of Dixieland music.  It was the last weekend of the season at Chautauqua, so there was a lot of activity with people packing up and leaving. We walked around a little and stopped in the great bookstore on the grounds.  We got back in the boat and Biff drove us across the lake to the Viking Club for beers, and we sat on their deck for about an hour enjoying the pretty day.   Such a nice afternoon on the lake! We went home and Evie made Turkish koftes with pita bread,  one of my favorite Chautauqua meals. So many Chautauqua favorites!

It was so good to see Biff and Evie, and get in some Chautauqua lake time.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of Evie's garden, of course, everything so lush and colorful. She has a great perennial garden and lots of hydrangeas, rhodos, and pretty trees.  I love the painted rocks they use to border the garden and decorate their porch--a project they do with their grandchildren every summer. Biff is into cairns and they have several amazing ones around the lake. Guess who brought home a bagful of rocks?

Just a few of the painted rocks

Evie's garden

Homemade pasta night

One of the cairns

Enjoying the Viking Club

My favorite porch at Bemus Point--the Lenhart Hotel

The Biffer

Hi Evie!
Pretty Chautauqua evening on the lake

Friday, August 22, 2014

Virginia Woolf's Garden

“Our garden is a perfect variegated chintz…asters, plumasters, zinnas, geums, nasturtiums…all bright, stiff, upstanding, cut from brightly coloured paper as flowers should be.” ~~Virginia Woolf

This is just my kind of book. English garden, literary references, gorgeous photographs...Virginia Woolf. This is a  book about Monk's House, the Sussex garden that inspired Virginia Woolf,  and where she lived with her husband Leonard (of Bloomsbury fame) from 1919 until their deaths (Virginia's suicide in 1941 and Leonard's death in 1969).  Author Carolyn Zoob had a unique perspective as she and her husband lived at Monk’s House for ten years beginning in 2000 and helped to restore the garden as tenants under the National Trust, as well as welcoming visitors to the house and garden twice a week.

Virginia in the garden

 Unlike her close friend Vita Sackville-West, Virginia was not a gardener. The garden was a pleasure and an inspiration for her, but Leonard was the gardener,  designing and executing detailed garden plans, building brick pathways and borders and stone walls, planting yew hedges,  grafting fruit trees, and working into the garden well into his eighties.

Zoob shares Leonard's garden plans, as well as anecdotes about the daily life of Virginia and Leonard. Virginia's favorite color was green and she liked to paint her rooms green.  They loved having breakfast in the small kitchen with the door open to a brick terrace. They argued about Leonard building a greenhouse. In photographs, passages from Virginia's diaries and letters, and in embroidered pictures of the garden she created while living in the house, the author brings to life the garden so lovingly created and tended by Leonard, and enjoyed by Virginia.

'L is doing the rhododendrons' ~~ was the last diary entry Virginia made before putting stones in her pockets and jumping into the nearby river Ouse.

The view from the kitchen, oh for a view like this every morning!

These embroideries done by the author are just amazing.

Detail of embroidered garden 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DC Favs

I thought this graphic in Sunday's Washington Post was pretty interesting. I'd say we have the first 4 pretty well covered. (Well, I've got the first and Walt has the next three.) Pretty cool though that gardening is the top pastime. Glad I have so much company.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday Drive and Sunday Fleurs

Yesterday in the late afternoon, we were kind of bored so we decided to take a drive out towards Middleburg, a sleepy little town (at least on a Sunday afternoon in August) about 20 miles west of here. There's a coffee shop we like there (we'll go anywhere for good coffee) and it's a nice little town to walk around for an hour or so. I had fun taking pictures of some of the flowers around town, and peeking in shops.  It was very quiet, not a lot of people out and about-- it felt like the end of summer.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Planting

Ahhh, late summer when the garden (and gardener) needs a boost. Yesterday I went to the nursery,  hoping to get something to fill in a bare spot that has been bugging me in my perennial garden. Daylilies are supposed to fill in when the bulbs die back, but my daylilies are looking so ratty right now, I need to stick in something that's blooming.  The nursery had lots of big pots of healthy, happy looking perennials for $12.99, which seemed pretty good for the size. I was sidetracked however by these ornamental peppers. So many varieties,  and so colorful!  I looked all over for them in the spring with no success,  but they were loaded with them now.

Back to the perennials, I picked out a nice pot of Agastache 'Purple Haze,' or anise hyssop, which I hope will fill in the bare spot. It grows 2-3 feet tall, blooms summer and fall,  and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. And it has a lovely licorice scent when you brush against the foliage. I hope it survives a summer planting.

And of course I couldn't resist a little pot of ornamental peppers to perk up my deck...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Joy of a Rainy Day

At last, we are getting some rain. We need it so much. I can hardly remember the last time it rained. It started to rain last night and it is really pouring right now.  Keep on coming, rain. I love a rainy morning, sitting here with my cup of tea and looking out the windows, such a nice break from our hot August summer. The garden and my fleurs (and me!) are happy.