Sunday, July 28, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

When we moved into our house nearly four years ago (this October), there was nothing in the backyard. The entire property had been cleared. According to the guy we purchased the house from, everything was completely overgrown and unsalvageable. I'm not sure how much I trust his opinion, however, since I also discovered he was trying to rid said yard of these "awful things." The "awful things" turned out to be daffodils. Given the name of this blog, you know how I feel about daffodils.

Slowly but surely, my husband and I have planted things. Lots of things, actually. 

Sometimes I think I should rename my blog Hydrangea Hill because I can't seem to have enough of them.

This one is a strawberry cream hydrangea.

This is a limelight hydrangea, and she does steal the show!

My endless summer hydrangeas are waning now, but they'll bounce back. The one you see in full bloom is called a big bubba hydrangea. Really, that's what it said on the tag.

And what Southern girl doesn't love her crepe myrtles? We have six, actually.

I can stand at my kitchen window and watch the birds splash around in this bath.

This is a mix of several things: black-eyed Susans, shasta daisies, zinnias, and dahlias.

Remember these mammoth shrubs from last summer? Dappled willow they're called.

They were getting ridiculously overgrown, so this year we dug them up. In gardening, you win some and lose some.

We replaced them with these slow-growing boxwoods. Now we can actually see out of the family room windows. Can you believe there was NOTHING here four years ago? And we didn't purchase over-sized plants, either. I will say I've babied it all. I water constantly. According to the nursery where I shop, new shrubs need two years of frequent watering until the root system has matured. I go through Deer Off like the Rockettes go through panty hose, too.

These flowers are called Joe Pye weeds. It made me squirm to buy something with the word "weed" tacked on the end, but you should see the butterflies they attract! Plus, I like to try new flowers now and then.

My granddaddy loved to garden, and I loved to follow him around the yard while he dead-headed and weeded. He'd chew a big ol' wad of Redman, and I would chew a stick of Juicy Fruit. Every time he'd spit, I'd spit. My mother would've died had she known. Granddaddy always had cone flowers and zinnias, and I will forever have these in my garden in honor of him.

See that lovely stone patio? The hubby built that. It took weeks and weeks, but it's handsome and smart, just like he is. I do so love that guy.

This porch is where I spend most of my down time. It's the perfect place for lunch or a glass of wine in the evening. We eat supper out here many nights, too.

Gardening can be frustrating and exhausting, but it feeds my soul in such an important way. It brings me back to my girlhood, back to Granddaddy and those seemingly endless summer afternoons. Gardening also reminds me that nothing will ever be perfect, something I struggle with from time to time. There will be weeds and blight and critters lurking.

One of the nicest things about having a garden is you can bring it indoors!

Have a wonderful week. I hope to see you on Wednesday!

Linking up with Savvy Southern Style at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When the Kids Are Away...

Okay, so you all know how much I've been dreading Cassie's departure. It was hard, so enough said about that. But then on Friday, I dropped the "little girls" (not so little anymore, I realize) off at summer camp.

They were delighted to be there and EAGER for me to leave. As in, hauling their stuff at a break-neck pace to their cabins and giving me kisses and also looks that said It's time for you to go now.

They are doing me a serious favor by posing for this picture.

I did manage to snap a few pics along the way. It's a sweet little camp.

Afterwards, I headed to the nearby outlets for a little retail therapy. Two cardigans from J Crew, a pair of shorts, and two dresses from Banana Republic later ($14.99 a piece!), I made a beeline to Oxford, my favorite town on the planet.

I purchased a delicious chicken salad sandwich from the local market.

Then I headed here for an afternoon of reading and writing poolside. It really is so very heart- wrenching when your children leave you for bigger and better things.

Later, I met the most charming man. It was love at first sight. We even spent the weekend together.

I think we may live happily ever after.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

S'mores & Beer

Right now I am ALL about enjoying summer. In fact, I feel almost childlike about it. Every morning while watering the garden or going for a jog or taking my girls for their pre-camp Target run, I think about how fleeting this precious season is and how very much I love her, have always loved her.

I'm forty-nine, but I still like going barefoot or spraying myself with the hose.

I enjoy watching people eat ice cream. Not that I don't love eating it myself. I do! But I love the way a long line at the ice cream stand brings out the nice in people.

My husband has many wonderful traits, but it's his quirks I love most. Uh, beer and s'mores for one.

To me it's funny that this child can say "It's an ugly barnacle" over and over and over in the back seat of the car until her sisters are ready to scream. I find myself egging her on.

Patriotic attire for sure!

And just in case you were running out of ideas for marshmallows, here is something truly different.
Try doing this while repeating "It's an ugly barnacle."

Life is good. Yes, children fly away and head west and time goes much too fast, but this summer of 2013 feels miraculous somehow. They all do, actually.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Matters Most

Sometimes we are reminded, blindsided, actually, by the rapid passage of time. One minute the skin on my arms was smooth and tan and not at all freckled. Now it's practically piebald. At some point I was whining, deservedly so, about the lack of sleep, and some time later I am still whining about the lack of sleep.

Children are born and cry all night then they grow up and stay out all night. Either way sleep depravation is involved.

As you've seen posted here, my oldest "baby" leaves for California on Tuesday. I am proud. I am more than proud, actually. Cassie has worked hard and earned good grades and made sacrifices and solid, mature choices, and because of all that, she was accepted to USC's graduate program in journalism.

There isn't a doubt in my mind she will excel, but she will also leave me, as she must.

This is the point of our jobs, right? Such a feat means I have done the work well, correct? Please tell me then why I feel as though I am giving birth once more. Save for this glass of wine, there is no pain relief, and I haven't noticed a baby shower in the works.

At once I am proud, but also immensely sad to say goodbye, and the thought of watching a truck pull away in five days with this precious girl and all her things in it sends, no rocket launches, me into what Oprah refers to as "the big ol' ugly cry."

What matters most, however, is that Cassie pursues her dream and knows with certainty that the
people she leaves behind are cheering her on.

Godspeed, darling daughter.

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