Monthly Archives: August 2014

Friday I’m in Love: Sweet Peas

I defy anyone not to love sweet peas. Totally girly with their delicate, pastel-coloured petals and sweet scent and completely impractical for anything other than decoration. But irresistible nonetheless. These are from my father’s garden in England.



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Filed under England, Flowers, Gardens, Plants

Garden update: Harvest Time

It is wonderful what benign neglect can achieve! I planted this pomegranate IMG_7828towards the end of the summer last year and have done nothing more than water it since. But nature is a miraculous thing…



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Filed under California, Gardens, Happiness Project, Kitchen garden, Plants

Friday I’m in Love: Mystery Rose

Spotted at Descanso Gardens this month. At first I though it was a pink clematis twining though a rose, but no – yellow and pink on the same plant! And not accidental either, I think…there several in the bed. But sadly, no label. Any ideas?



Filed under California, Descanso Garden, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, Plants

Design Inspiration: Vintage Travel Posters

Posters have been used for centuries. Textual posters advertised the plays of Shakespeare and government proclamations. The great revolution came with the development of printing techniques such as lithography and later, chromolithography, which allowed mass editions of vibrantly coloured posters to be printed. By the 1890s, the technique had spread throughout Europe, with noted artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha creating poster art.

At the same time, the various rail companies in the early days of steam began to incorporate pictorial images in posters advertising their routes and destinations. In 1905, the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) commissioned Norman Wilkinson to produce artwork for new landscape posters advertising their rail/steam packet link to Ireland.20140731-120954-43794897.jpgAnd not just Britain: the 1920s and ’30s saw the production of posters advertising destinations in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, even Russia.

Designed to be ephemeral, many of these works of art have nonetheless survived and fine original examples are much sought after. Christies this year held an “Art of Travel” auction during the Cannes Film Festival, with some posters achieving prices in the tens of thousands. For those of us with smaller budgets, many similar works can be bought as reprints – either full size or as or postcards – which can make for some stylish but inexpensive décor.

Still musing on updates for our English house, I’ve hit on the idea of framing a selection of postcards in matching frames. These are destinations that can be reached by train from the house:20140731-071538-26138161.jpgThese are beachy/lakeside places we’ve actually been to: 20140731-120953-43793983.jpg And these are fantasy destinations:20140731-120954-43794658.jpg…well, we can all dream!

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Friday I’m in Love: Lavender

Lavender is a versatile plant. Beautifully scented and highly decorative, it can grow in damp English climates



and hot Mediterranean ones.


It has a myriad of uses, from perfume and aromatherapy, to cakes and teas. It is popular with bees, but also repels moths. Wonderful plant! IMG_0500


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Filed under England, Flowers, Gardens, Nature, Plants, Travel

Descanso in July

I found myself focussing on contrasts and harmonies this month…

Natural, cultivated and man-made:20140731-080058-28858277.jpgHard and soft:


Living and dead:20140731-080059-28859749.jpg

And colour: 20140731-080059-28859002.jpg


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Filed under California, Descanso Garden, Flowers, Gardens, General, Happiness Project, Nature, Photo Challenge, Photography, Plants, Travel

Friday I’m in Love: Northern Cardinals

Ever since we moved to the US I’ve seen images of cardinals – vibrant red birds with crests, a black face and strong red beak – and they soon became one of my bucket list birds. Sadly, though they have been introduced in parts of California, they are not common here. I’d even planned to plan a cardinal-stalking trip at some point. But we were in Middleton Place, outside Charleston, SC, recently and this little charmer unexpectedly popped up to say hello. How lucky am I?IMG_0587

I may still plan the trip, though…

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Filed under Gardens, General, Happiness Project, Nature, Travel