Category Archives: my garden

Rebecca’s Home Garden Wedding

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

With all the upcoming June weddings, I thought you might enjoy our family’s adventures preparing for our daughter’s nuptials, as well as all the sewing I did for this important event.

11 years ago Rebecca and her Louisiana-born fiance traveled each corner of the county exploring venue options for their Cajun themed wedding. After checking out virtually every possible location, the groom-to-be said he would like to be married at our home. (dab, dab, dab my leaky eyes!)

We had almost 10 months advance notice so my husband and I went into high gear to spruce up the house and garden, get the preacher and musicians on board, hire a photographer, rent a tent, etc. etc. Stetson University’s string quartet set the mood for a joyous but solemn occasion.

It was perfect until just before the bride marched down the aisle with her father, the musicians broke into Darth Vadar’s Death March!!!! That surprise was the work of my new son-in-law. It certainly lightened the mood.

Meanwhile, the bride and groom-to-be were living and working across the state where they met.

For months we sweated in the yard by day

garden xx

and I sewed in the house all night. I sewed and sewed and loved every minute of it.

Table toppers were made for the cocktail hour before the vows were read. Guests sat around the pool and at the side garden enjoying hors d’oeuves.

seating in the side garden

Seating in the side garden. Under the floral square is a pink twill square, much brighter than shown here.

The edges were simply serged. That’s no big deal but, trust me, with 15 pink twill and 15 pink floral toppers, each 60″ square, that’s a lot of serging mileage. And there were more to be done. The color added by the gold, solid pink and pink floral squares was a pretty addition.

guests seated around the pool

guests seated around the pool

For the reception dinner tables, 14 gold toppers were made, not to mention those made for the serving tables. More miles of serging!

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

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I’m not sewing now because……

Spring has sprung in central Florida.I’m not sewing now because this is the most glorious time of year in the most glorious place to live.  I’m not sewing now because I love to be outside in the midst of blooming azaleas, dogwood, and roses with the sweet perfume of citrus blossoms in the air.  And I’m not sewing now  because there is just so much gardening that needs to be done!

Az W drive

Orchid pink azaleas border one side of the driveway from the road until it gets to the Confederate jasmine climbing a palm tree.  The leafless shrub to the right is a gorgeous oakleaf hydrangea who is slow to awaken from winter. Those leaves need raking.


My sewing room looks over this bed of roses, but the view is better from outside. These bushes need fertilizer.

This is what I see from that lattice window in my sewing room.  But again, seein the bouganvillea from outside is better.  It needs to be tied up to the porch.

This is what I see from the latticed window in my sewing room. But again, seeing the bouganvillea from outside is better. That thorny climber needs to be tied up to the porch.


Another bouganvillea grows on the opposite end of the back porch and hangs down to the kitchen windows.  An aggressive climber, it is trying to get into Bob’s upstairs study. It needs to be cut back.

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Decisions: To the Garden or the Sewing Room?

Each day I struggle with this decision.  Gloriosa lilies or Swiss batiste?  Weeding or smocking? Roses or lace?  Lately, more often than not, I have chosen the garden over the sewing room. Very soon here in Florida it will be too hot to do anything outside but suffer. Now is the time to garden. But still, my sewing room calls.

Okay, so I have done a little sewing on the spa wraps for Laurel’s spa-tacular 8th birthday party next week.  But mostly, I have sewn at night. I finished the first wrap in the wee hours this morning.


spa wrap all


Because there are 9 party guests,  I still have 8 to make.  These are not difficult, but the sequence of steps is important.  Now that I have that figured out, the  rest should go together fairly quickly. Then  10 matching doll wraps must be made.

That makes 20 white towel projects, more than enough to qualify for White Wednesday at Faded Charm.  Check out this beautiful site.


A wrap close


Except for the velcro and the 10 white bath towels, all the materials were on hand.  Each wrap will have a gingham ruffle, but the ribbon may be lime green or aqua or red.  This should make a dent in my ribbon stash.

Spring in Florida is always a glorious time, but with the drought and cool weather, it has come later this year.

For those readers who are gardeners, the remainder of this post is a tour of my yard and a peek at this Florida spring.


It took several years to train this jasmine to climb up the tree. Now, it climbs a few feet each year.  We need to edge the driveway.

It took several years to train this jasmine to climb up the tree. Now, it climbs a few feet each year. We need to edge the driveway.


The sweet, heavy scent of the Confederate jasmine covers the wrought iron porch rail and climbs up several palm trees.  Its perfume is a constant distraction when I try to get anything accomplished in the house.


jasmine rail

The perfume from the jasmine is just heavenly.


Bob and I often sit on the porch after dinner and enjoy the scent and the mild spring weather.  I just planted purple torenia in the little pots on the tables but they aren’t blooming yet.


front porch


My Knockout roses in the front did, indeed, knock themselves out at Easter, as seen in this photo with grandchildren Robert and Laurel.   But today they are nearly flowerless as they quietly grow the next flush of blossoms.  Now they need rose food, deadheading and more pruning.  That takes time away from sewing.




Our bougainvilleas froze to the ground this winter.  They required a lot of careful pruning–they have vicious 2″ thorns– and training the canes back up against the trellis.  I doubted they would recover from the freeze, but in just 3 short months this is how it has grown!


bouganvillia red

This bougainvillea is just outside my sewing room window and at one end of the back porch.

I look out at these beauties as I stitch in my sewing room.



Another frozen bougainvillea at the other end of the back porch.


This one also froze and recovered beautifully.  Our kitchen table is just inside the window on the left.  So we look out at these when we are eating.


Tausendschon climbing rose

Tausendschon climbing rose


I love antique roses like this climbing Tausendschon.  They are disease resistant just plain tough.  There was a row of trellis above the garage fascia board for the rose to grip. But just before the rose came into full bloom, a powerful, windy storm blew it and the trellis off the roof.  It bent all the way down to the ground so I was afraid the canes would break before we got it back in place.


garage rose side

A birds’ nest is tucked in the canes, just under the overhang.


Bob used the loader on his tractor to lift the canes up while I pulled ropes.  Then he climbed on the roof and tied to big screws he put up there. It was a little peaked looking for a day or so, but then it was just fine. But a lot of buds were lost in the collapse.

About two weeks after we got the climbing rose tied back up, I reached up to cut a few sprigs for use in the house.  A furious mama bird flew out of her nest and squawked at me from the Surinam cherry hedge nearby.  Didn’t she pick a lovely spot for her home?

In the bed below the rose there are/were poinsettias.  I just pruned them and have the cuttings potted in the shed.  They will grow back quickly, but it surely is a barren and ugly bed now.


Bob built this for me many years ago. I love spending time there.

Bob built this for me many years ago. I love spending time there.


Little Gem Magnolia tree When this Little Gem Magnolia tree was planted 6 years ago, it came just to the top of the breakfast porch screen.  It has really grown.

Little Gem Magnolia tree 


When this Little Gem Magnolia tree was planted 6 years ago, it came just to the top of the breakfast porch screen. It has really grown and blooms profusely.


magnolia blossome 2


The side yard still needs a lot of work.  The white Mandevilla that climbed over the arch froze so we have replaced that.  Fortunately, it grows quickly.


side yard gate

I love the glossy leaves and white flowers against the black iron. The one on the left is coming back, but it is spindly.


side yard swing


I’ve still got to plant the pots on the tables with white impatiens and plant some around the oak tree behind the chairs.  The children loved to swing here but the seat is too short and their legs are too long.  Bob has to shorten the ropes.

Usually, the planters on the walkway between the garage and the wash house are filled with coleus.  But this year the garden shops didn’t have the colors I wanted so I am trying caladiums.




They were leggy when I planted them, but the new growth is standing up nicely.


orchids 2


My daughter gave me this orchid almost 5 years ago and it has never bloomed.  Suddenly, this spring, it sprouted four flower shoots, from 3-5′ long!  The tiny yellow orchids are just gorgeous.


orchids 2


The next time we have guests, I am going to put it in a more prominent place, where it can be seen more easily.

Then there are the gloriosa lilies and white bleeding hearts, passion vine  and so much more.  But I’m sure you’ve had more than your fill and are ready to get off this cyber tour bus.

This post is an effort to explain why the blog posts have been behind schedule.  My spade will soon be put down and the needle will be picked up.   Then I’ll be holed up in the sewing room for the summer, just like a bear hibernates in the winter.

I hope you are having a beautiful spring in your area.