Spring, spring everywhere….
June 6, 2012

I heard this little chirping the other day…ground level chirping…looked thru the bushes…and I saw this….

Oh no, baby Robin!

Yep, a little baby Robin, out of the nest just a little early. OK, I flip out, and immediately start googling how to save baby Robins. Answers, mush up worms and berries, and feed them to baby. So I do.

Yeah, I know. And in a pretty green bowl, too.

Then I read further. That you should feed them every 15 minutes(who can do that?)…and even further….that you should leave them alone and let the parents take care of them….that they won’t come around with you dithering about. So…I stopped. I don’t know what happened after his initial meal of worms and berries…but he was gone the next day. Fingers crossed for you, little buddy.

Isn’t this pretty? Totally unplanned…

And nature is at her very best this time of year….this picture above is just outside my house. Absolutely none of it was planned…it just….happened. OK, this was planned…

Who doesn’t love the sound of water…

I made a water feature for the front garden from  a fire pit, a pump, some stones, and one water plant. And surrounded by ferns and hostas, it’s just the most soothing noise when you’re leaving or returning home. And the birds adore it too. SO dead easy.

So Original!

And how cute is this in the garden…using a vintage toy as a planter. Just adored this when I saw it the other day(and wished I had that kind of imagination)…And this past weekend I was in Talbot County( Tilghman Island), for the Heritage Garden Tour. Saw some really kick butt gardens that made me feel pretty guilty about some weeds I left growing at home….here are some things I loved.

Look closely…see the chandelier over the chair?

In the same garden…using bushel baskets as chandeliers…
brilliant, and so perfect for the Eastern Shore!

Perfect use of old barnacled buoys by a front door….

But my fav view was when I got back home, over the Bay Bridge Sunday afternoon…Yeah.

A perfect G & T with Hendrick’s Gin…cheers!






Salty moss and Key Lime dreams…..
May 14, 2012

There’s been a lot going on at my house, like yours, I’m sure…things springing up out of the ground, new things to try, just stuff, ya know? So let’s catch up….remember the stone path we had put in last year? Now look how pretty it looks with the grass actually growing around it…

Fernw take over the world….

And these ostrich ferns came from ONE plant years ago…I guess they like where they are, as they are about to swamp the Japanese Maple tree.

Succulent garden on pot of dancing nymphs!!

I love succulents…just planted these a few weeks ago. As soon as they fill in a bit, I think they’ll be stunning..such a great contrast of textures and colors.

Mossy table…

and this is a table made from old wood, that has frankly…started to r-o-t. So in the worst bits, I gouged out the rotted wood, and plunked in some moss. Now I know, that will probably make the rot worse-it sure won’t make it better, anyway. But I figure, it’s a way to make the table pretty again in the meantime…and I’d better start looking for a new table for  next summer.

Here’s some places I’ve been recently….

Momma’s Day Brunch at Blue Grass Tavern…housemade pimiento cheese!

Chunks of salt and a microplaner for Mother’s Day… My kids know
I’m a salt freak, so now I can grate my own. (Or will people think that’s

B & O Brasserie….this is the Horsecar…made with Hendrick’s GIn,
Blueberries and thyme…amazing.

A single bite of Taharka Brothers Key Lime Pie is soooo
satisfying…tart, crunchy graham crust…luscious.

And I thought I’d share this with you too…Rod Daniels brought in some duds from the 60s….

He can’t wear them now so the station dummy got to model…
the crotch of the pants has a pic of Jimmy Hendricks, his idol!

One of his old girlfriends did the embroidery…not bad…

And it’s Preaknss week, and you know what that means…the search is on for hats….These were brought in by La Chic Boutique….some gorgeous hats there, but none of them were quite right for what I’m wearing, so I’m still on the lookout!

Bangles, grits, and groundwork…..
April 30, 2012

I got my baby back this past week….I had missed her soooo much. Here she is arriving in the mail, from where I left her in Charleston.

Mommy, where are you???

So I immediately put her back to work….Twitter and Facebook, and blogging.

Good morning....got my tea, ready to go...

And I took a picture of this ’cause I thought it was pretty…I gathered up all my many  bracelets(actually there are more), and arranged them in a pretty antiqued bowl that had no other seeming use…now it has something to do.

Hmmm, who gets to go to work today?

Had some friends over for dinner Saturday night…did pan-fried catfish with remoulade sauce…amazing…and did creamy grits in the slow cooker. I had never tried this before, and it worked! Took about 2-ish hours.

And we started with oysters on the half shell…some Choptank sweets from Whole Foods….not inexpensive, but soooooo clean! These babies had been scrubbed…

Cleanest oysters in the world!! (and delicious)

So clean, that I took some of them and used them for other things…like salt, and vitamins!(Yes I washed them first!) But as Nate Berkus says, using designs from nature you can never go wrong.

Nature's salt cellar...

Planted a new succulent garden…I adore the way these look, all the different textures and shades of green. They just look to chic to me, especially when they fill in a little.

Pretty, oui?

And here’s the topiary I dragged home from a Charleston Piggly-Wiggly…I had to have it, and now it’s in its new pot, outside. It would have been sad if it had died after all that….

From a Charleston Piggly-Wiggly parking lot, to Maryland...

Bacon and chocolate, beef belly, and gardens…did I leave anything out?
April 23, 2012

Project side garden....underway. I need more rocks!

OK, let’s see what’s been going on….I’ve been working on a little garden on the side of my house. It doesn’t get seen much really, so I’ve never given it much love. But when a huge Black Walnut tree came down last summer there, the area was just… so…nude, really. SO I bought a tall crepe myrtle that I intended to get in the ground last year. Ok, let’s make it THIS year. And once that was done( I hired someone to dig the hole for me) I was inspired to create a stone border and get some other things in the ground. Almost there, but still need more rocks!! But one of my neighbors has this garden thing down to a science.

I love the rhubarb in the pot...such a nice contrast....

And this morning, I paid a visit to the courthouse, where my daughter was determined to fight a “turning right on red without making a complete stop” camera ticket. “

I know I stopped before I turned. I’m fighting that ticket!”…..Oh my little activist. But what she(and probably others) didn’t know…is that the police don’t just have still pictures of your offense. They have actual moving video. So when she’s called up, and presented with video evidence of her heinous crime(in which she clearly doesn’t come to a complete stop)…really, what can you say? But just for her taking the trouble of showing up, the judge cut her fine from $75 to $35. I guess that’s worth a visit.

The charcuterie is housemade, and freaking fabulous....

Ok, best new restaurant find. I’m really psyched about this place, because I went there on a Groupon(which has fooled Donna a few times)….But the Blue Grass Tavern in Federal Hill, is the real foodie deal. It’s on the corner of Fort Ave. and Hanover…nice atmosphere, and the food was just sooooo good. And they had something on the menu I’ve never seen before. Beef belly. Pork belly…plenty…but never beef belly. The waitress  described it as a cross between pork belly and a pastrami(she had me at pork belly). I’ll just say this…if you go, order it if it’s on the menu. Just stop deliberating and get it. And I noticed at the end of the meal, they also have pimiento cheese, which was too late to order, but next time…next time.

Just plain yum.

Best new guilty treat: Vosges Haut Chocolate “Mo’s Dark Bar“….62% dark chocolate with hickory smoked uncured bacon and smoked sea salt. The guilt is on two levels. 1. That I just paid $7 for a chocolate bar. and 2. That there is something so amazing and I get to eat it! I allow my self a square or two after salad at my desk. It makes the evening at work, just a little smoother. Trust me on this.

Paint, pork belly and elephant ears….it’s the weekend wrapup…
June 27, 2011

One of my weekend projects....painted two Adirondack chairs that REALLY needed it.

Next weekend, I have over 50 neighbors coming over to my house for brunch, and I have no idea who will show up, or if I even know them. Yeah, I know….I know. How have I been talked into such….an event? My neighborhood does Fourth of July up…in a big way, which is awesome, but it’s also a lot of work for a lot of people. And when I was asked if I would host the brunch… I. Said. Yes. So there it is.

And since there is no way I could fit that many into my house…the shindig has to be outside….and if it’s outside there is stuff that needs to be done….you know. Areas of the garden that need love, pots that need plants in them, Chairs that need painting, patches that need weeding…etc, etc. And it’s amazing what a coat of enamel white paint does to a pair of aging Adirondack chairs(don’t look at the back of them, that’s all I have to say)…and I had to find plants for two tall, glazed pots from Vietnam that I love. Nothing seemed quite right until I found these:

Love the sculptural look of the elephant ears with the contemporary lines of the pot...

These pots have been waiting for a while for plants….and filling them with dirt was…ummm…not fun, ok?

Just inside the entrance at Bistro Blanc...love the copper walls!

But two friends took me out for a late birthday celebration Friday night…we went someplace totally new….Bistro Blanc-here in Howard County(Glenelg). Bistro Blanc has an ambitious menu(citrus braised pork with figs, grilled brie with lavendar honey, lump crab empanadas) …they are obviously serious about their food…and it’s a wine bar as well, and sells wine retail, too. Had the braised pork belly on white beans that was divine…

Self-serve wine bar...just swipe your card! Love it...

I saw lots of people walking up to a circular wine dispenser….with what looked like a credit card in their hand, and leaving with a glass of wine. Whahh????  Found out this self-serve wine bar offers 1 or 2 oz. tastes, or a full glass….so you can taste many wines without having to order the whole enchilada. Great idea. You just swipe and it charges your card. Check it out sometime!

Weekend wrapup
May 23, 2011

Hey, I'm using my iPad!!

Ok, the most absorbing thing that happened this weekend(for me, not you) was the Preakness. The week before you do a live three hour broadcast, it is hard not to think about it… a lot. But better to prepare than just worry…and there’s a lot to prepare for…what you’re wearing, how it will look on camera, which hat will it be(though once I tried on the orange one from Hats to Hose…I was sold), and most importantly…what the hell you are going to say. Gerry Sandusky (God bless him)puts together a killer compendium of Preakness facts and stats. Everything you need to know and much, much more.

Gerry and me with the Clydesdales! I wasn't moving one inch closer.

And this year, instead of a thick stack of papers to go by…we had it all on our iPads. Loved, loved, loved that. But the problem was, that I couldn’t read it very well(hello presbyopia) so I wore a single contact lens in one eye, so that I could see the smaller print more easily, and I let other eye pick up distance vision. Bingo.

Some of the flowers we put it.....love the lamb's ear...

And on Sunday, one of my neighbors was coming home from the hospital with a new baby(and they have another child under two)…yowsa…will they have their hands full! So a small group of us sprinted over when her husband left to pick her up(we were sure we had a solid 2 hours), and planted flowers and weeded, and cleaned and mulched….so when she came home, their garden would be a welcoming, verdant, shady spot to enjoy with the new baby.

We potted some of these black elephant ears(not this big yet!)...but will be dramatic.

And I ran to Pier One to get some last minute fresh pillows to spruce it up…I think this is one of the best baby presents I’ve ever given. And the garden looks so lovely. I can imagine her there with the baby, the birds singing…..a nice breeze blowing. Yeah.

It’ Friday people! Momma’s Day and Half-price Frappuccino??
May 7, 2010

Momma and Poppa Goose

Yes, yes, yes…it is indeed that lovely day to which we all look forward..no matter how much we enjoy our work…the felicitous 24 hours known far and wide as …..Friday.

I love poppies....but I can't grow them, for some reason.

I started mine off with a brisk walk this morning…I saw some gorgeous orange poppies in  bloom…”poppies, beautiful poppies”…remember, Wizard of Oz? Oh never mind. And I also saw a pair of geese wandering through the grass, one keeping a close eye on me while the other one grazed…lovely sight that. I predict I will see baby geese..goslets?…soon, if I keep a close eye.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday…and it will be the first of such days without my own Mother to call and send good wishes. The first year I haven’t needed to try and think of one more thing that she might enjoy, as she wasn’t enjoying nearly as much at the end. Sweets usually went over well, and I ordered several times a year from Fat Witch Bakery in NYC, for their fabulous brownies, that I first discovered at the Chelsea Market there….you should stop by if you’re ever in the Big Apple.  And they do such a great job of packing them in a cute way….and I love the little witch. I would get Mom the “brownie babies“…individually wrapped mini-brownies that she could give away to staff and friends. She enjoyed giving treats.

I also have to plant these peonies I bought.....

I’m being taken out to brunch Sunday by my sweet daughter…she and a long time girlfriend of hers(since diapers) are taking me and her Mom, who’s a friend of mine…(you may remember Clare, whose head I helped shave during her rounds of chemo) out, for a treat. I’m looking forward to catching up with the girls, and I’m so happy to report Clare is doing well.  And last night, when I got home, I found a big box on my  doorstep, with a cooler inside  filled with delicious varieties of Callie’s Biscuits ….from the lovely Jennifer and my son…oh, and a really cute Callie’s t-shirt too. They know I adore those biscuits(then again, who doesn’t?), but it’s such a tasty way to send a bit of Charleston love to Baltimore.

A different kind of happy hour....

Last, but not least, treat yourself to a Frappuccino today and this weekend, at half-price(take one to your Mom, she won’t know it was half price)! Starbucks is having a Frappuccino Happy Hour  every day, from 3 to 5 pm starting today, through May 16th. Don’t say I never tried to save you some bucks.

I wish for all of you a lovely weekend….don’t forget your Mom….you’ll never regret the time you spent with her, but you may regret the time you didn’t spend. Play nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

Got Shade?? Grow Moss!!
April 30, 2010

Famous moss garden at Saiho-ji in Kyoto, Japan

OK, I saw a commercial from Valley View Farms the other day…and those guys know what they’re talking about when it comes to plants…and Carrie Engel, who’s truly one of my fave people, was touting the benefits of a product called Moss-Out. It went something like”If you want to get rid of unsightly moss growing around your house, use Moss-Out and it will be gone!” I actually gasped…because at my house, we adore moss and baby it along trying to create a moss front yard.

I know, I know, some of you will think that’s insane, but moss is not only a lovely, soft green carpet year round…it will grow where grass REFUSES to flourish, no matter how much you try and how many dollars you spend replanting it. Forget it. Moss is your plant. You don’t have to water it, or fertilize it, or do anything to it really….it just does its lovely, green mossy thing. That’s what you call a sustainable lawn, people.


Seriously, why fight nature??

Moss Acres..here’s a link….is a company that sells all kinds of moss and helps people grow it…. they even have a moss milkshake…..no you don’t drink it….it’s some kind of stuff you mix with bits of moss to help in making moss grow more quickly…because as hardy as moss is, it is a  slow grower. Moss Acres is having a workshop(see, I’m not alone) in northeast PA  in May to teach people about identifying and growing moss…they say it should be “fun, informative and visually soothing“. And I get that…moss IS visually soothing, like a velvety carpet…ever walk across it with bare feet? Heaven.  I think the tv shirt says it all. Got shade ..grow moss. Seriously.

So if you’re thinking about killing your moss…just stop, and contact me here on this blog, and I will possibly come remove the moss from your house(if it’s good enough) and move it to my house. That will save your putting some kind of weed killer on your lawn, and I get something that I want! And isn’t that we’re all about? Saving Mother Earth and making Donna happy? All it takes is a little moss. Think about it. OH, and happy Friday.

Getting ready for spring….
April 2, 2010

already planted tulips....

I started my morning on the back porch….the first morning that it has been warm enough to do so, and what a great start to the day…a little yoga, some cereal, a cup of green tea, and check my email…just so nice. But being out there also reminded me of all that remains to be done…you know how it is…..there’s plenty of that.

I’ve pulled out tons of overgrown honeysuckle…omg, what is it with that stuff…it’s all bundled up on the curb where I HOPE the trash guys will pick it up. Please? I’ve cleaned out the gardens pretty much…all the broken and dead stuff gone…all that remains now is….yes,  to mulch. Now there’s a word that strikes fear and dread in the heart of any homeowner….mulching….the most back-breaking, seemingly endless task ever created by some insane gardener. Stan Stovall was describing to me yesterday how some one does his…I allowed myself to drift to the place where you imagine having your mulch done too. So this year…for the very first time…drumroll please…we’re hiring out the mulching. That’s right…actually paying someone to do what we could do for ourselves. I don’t know why this is so hard for me, but it is. Somehow hiring someone to do what you could do,  cuts to the quick of my Protestant work ethic…the sheer decadence of someone else doing what is clearly YOUR work. Am I the only one who suffers from this malady? Was it my upbringing? Probably. My Mother was never one to hire out work…we either did it or it didn’t get done. Period.

Just one bundle of honeysuckle.....

Anyway, cut to the quick or not…I’m doing it(ot not doing it actually) and I’m glad, ok??  In fact, I cannot wait to see the fresh mulch along inside the professionally edged beds…something I never do….or I kinda start it and then decide it’s just too hard…and then later hit the Advil bottle.  I’ve already put in some tulips in the front pots…kinda pretty…and I’m just so doggone ready for spring…and I have a sneakin’ suspicion some of you are too. Have a lovely Easter weekend everyone, play nice with the Easter bunny and come home safe.

Bye-bye Smith and Hawken….just too blooming bad!
July 14, 2009

Smith and Hawken says bye-bye in email.....

Smith and Hawken says bye-bye in email.....

I got a surprising, ok…kinda shocking, email this morning….you see it in the picture there….Smith and Hawken is going bye-bye. All 56 stores will close by the end of the year, and the company is no longer taking online or phone orders. No doubt a sign of the financial times, S&H was an upscale, gardening store that catered to those who loved to garden, and had the taste and money to indulge in their goods. There used to be a lovely store in Mt Washington Village, until a flood closed it, and they never came back. But I  cruised through their aisles at lunch, more times than I’d care to count, just to smell the rarified air and look at their beautiful products. Oh, they had good sales…and that was when I would buy things from S&H….and I’ve found many gifts there for others(and for myself) that I still love. And they carried excellent English made, gardening tools. Pricey, but well made and guaranteed for a lifetime.

lounging, sipping and flipping....

lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle....

What Smith and Hawken sold really, especially in the past 5 years or so…was lifestyle….a lovely, gracious, and expensive lifestyle….come on, who doesn’t want their back patio to look like on of  S&H’s?  You can just imagine yourself out there, lounging in the shade, sipping a glass of wine and flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine….can’t you? It’s  a lovely dream, anyway.

What happened to S&H? Chalk up another victim to the recession, at least in part….Here’s a link to an article  from the San Francisco area, which is where the company was based… about the whodunnit. One of the founders said when S&H was bought by Scott’s Miracle-Gro in 2004, it was the beginning of the end….here’s a quote from  Mr. Paul Hawken in the above article…”How could you possibly have a gardening store in this economy and go wrong?”  Hawken said. “I’ll tell you why. This wasn’t a gardening store anymore. Even though gardening and garden seeds are booming, all of a sudden you’re left with an image and a lot of products that real gardeners and real farmers don’t really need or want.”

Enough said….except for this…700 people will lose their jobs, and any way you look at it, that’s a bloomin’ shame. Look for deep discounts ahead if you live near one of their stores, as the company begins to liquify their stuff(where’s C-Mart when you need them?). But it makes me sad. I really loved that store…at least the store it used to be.