Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a front porch fit to WELCOME a bunny

Last weekend's near foot of snow is melting quickly but is a strong reminder of how much later spring comes here than the last few years in Kansas.  Last year at this time I had already gone back and returned from planting all the spring flowers and cleaning up the yard to help the house sell.  Here in D-town we don't dare plant a thing until early May at the earliEST.  We are hosting Easter brunch on Sunday and my pine-cone filled front porch lanterns were just not the Welcome I want to show my guests or Mr. E.B.
You might remember that last week when I planted my herbs I cleaned out my planters and started organizing in my head what might become of the front porch in terms of spring and summer planters.  I plan to save the modern planters for our more modern deck and utilize natural and older feeling and looking planters on the front porch to accentuate the age of the house.
I picked up a couple of gems on a visit to our local South Broadway antique row with my Mom yesterday and today was afforded the glorious gift of a napping two-year-old.

Welcome All! Welcome E.B.! Welcome Spring!

 A little wired gross-grain bow on my old wreath gives it new life.

I added some softly sparkled eggs and moss to my lanterns.  I'm still deciding whether they'll get sand for summer or just take their usual vacation to the garage.

See the tulips? :) and the snow. :(

This big Indian fire stick pot and the rectangular pot below were my antiquing finds.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Marseille Basil and metering

I was delayed in my previously posted plan about herb planting by the need to use the pallet box for some party decor.
On the day I planned to plant this week the weather was gorgeous.....until I started planting and the rain and wind came.  I'm also convinced we can blame the more than foot of snow we have on the fact that I sorted and cleaned my flower pots for the front porch yesterday.

I did finally get the herbs planted and made quick and fun work of the markers.  I just did what came to me quickly as I really wanted this task off my list and I'm happy with how they turned out after 15 minutes and $0.

I ended up with two pots of cilantro, two of sweet basil and one each of Italian parsley and Marseille basil.

I also had some good practice with light metering to get these pics.  It's quite a challenge to take a picture facing a brightly lit window-especially when the room you are shooting from is quite dark.  I've been practicing metering lately and this was a perfect opportunity.

Here is what I mean............

I have the camera on aperture priority.  If you shoot into a bright window like this without metering, the camera automatically takes an average of the light which makes the dark areas extra dark.

Metering allows you to tell the camera which parts of your picture you want to be correctly lit and adjusts the light accordingly.  It's also great because you can avoid using the flash and washing out the whole picture and any definition by just taking advantage of the light you have.

So, by metering on the darker areas you get...............

........all with no flash.

These guys get lots of great light in this window and hopefully I can move them outside in a couple of months.  I'll keep you updated on their progress and I welcome any harvesting tips for longevity......hint, hint AB!

Monday, March 11, 2013

wax flower

I've got a new love baby.  I had house guests last week and I always try to have fresh flowers in a couple places when I have overnight guests.  Sadly, the small urban grocery store that was my last stop before their arrival had slim pickings in the floral department.  So, I grabbed a bunch of wax flowers.  I had never seen them before but they spoke to me- and to several other people who noticed them in my cart. 
They look fantastic a whole week later and have a light almost evergreen-ish fragrance. While tulips and hydrangeas will always hold the top spot in my flower loving heart, I will buy these again when I want something natural and tall and lasting.

For my science loving readers, here is a little of what I discovered while researching these beauties:

Chamelaucium, also known as waxflower, is a genus of shrubs endemic to south western Western Australia. They belong to the myrtle family Myrtaceae and have flowers similar to those of the tea-trees (Leptospermum). The most well-known species is the Geraldton Wax, Chamelaucium uncinatum, which is cultivated widely for its large attractive flowers.
Plants of the genus Chamelaucium are woody evergreen shrubs ranging from 15 cm (6 in) to 3 m (10 ft) high. The leaves are tiny to medium-sized and arranged oppositely on the stems. They contain oil glands and are aromatic,[1] often giving off a pleasant aroma when crushed. The flowers are small and have five petals, ten stamens, and are followed by small hardened fruit.[2]

They are also grown in the US for the fresh flower industry.  I had to make sure my new love hadn't journeyed all the way from Australia as no plant or food should be worthy of that kind of wear and tear on our earth.