Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Alfresco Table in April


The weather has been beautiful in April. My foxgloves are blooming and I was inspired to set a table outside. I chose an oblong shallow chinoiserie dish as my centerpiece container. Yellow and red tulips from the grocery store complimented the Thibaut fabric that has so many wonderful designs and beautiful colors. 

Since the tablecloth has birds, I immediately thought of my Cloisonne bird that had just the right colors.

You can see some of the beautiful designs in the fabric in this picture.

The foxgloves in my garden are not all open yet as you can see. They are all the same variety this year and have larger spires.  Last year, I had several shades of pink and white. This year I have more plants and some in another place. November is the best time to plant in our area but I haven't had luck with them coming back the next year. They are beginning to wane now with temps in the high 80's all week.

This photo shows how large the plants can get. Look at the third plant from the left. It has multiple spires! Gardening has many surprises.

The botanical name for Foxgloves is Digitalis Purpurea. The drug Digitalis is derived from the Foxglove plant.

As you can see from the bent plants these foxgloves were affected by the wind and rain while I was out of town. Look on the right and see if you can see the Cardinal in the picture. I remember something red out of the corner of my eye and I was pleased he was in the picture. Behind the foxgloves, you can see the hydrangeas. 

I read somewhere recently the buds were like little broccoli! I am eagerly waiting for my hydrangeas to bloom.  The weather has affected my hydrangeas for a number of years so I am hoping to have many blooms this year!

 Most of my amaryllis have faded but this apple blossom has just opened. I love this variety.

A few days later.

 The early morning light filtering through the trees in my garden is beautiful. As I glaze through the window it beckons me outside. The beauty of the foxgloves is captivating. As always with me, when I see the sunrise or sunset, birds, butterflies, or flowers I rush to get the camera but can never fully capture what my eyes are feasting upon. I keep telling myself that is God’s gift to me and just for that moment. Thank you, God, for your magnificent creation! However, when something is good you want to share. 

In my location, which is zone 8, daytime temps have been in the 80’s, so sadly, the foxgloves won’t last much longer. Our nights have been cool so that has helped prolong the foxgloves and my garden is also shady. My friend’s foxgloves are already gone whose garden gets more sun than mine.

Do you plant foxgloves? 
The elegant spires are endearing to me. I think of traditional English garden borders I’ve visited in books. I've been to England to the typical tourist areas but not to their gorgeous garden tours. How I would love to visit England firsthand in the spring and see their elegant gardens.

My garden view from the kitchen window in the late afternoon. Spring has been lovely but in the deep south summer is very close.
 Gerber daisies on the table await being planted. I'm not sure where I should plant them.

I have been out of town again for 13 days recently so I have missed some of your posts. Our granddaughter was in a play of the Lion King at her school and our grandson was a stagehand managing the props for the performance. So we visited family in Texas, Colorado, and north Alabama and have been catching up for the last two weeks. Thanks for your understanding when I miss your posts. 

Living Thankfully,

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The Joy of Spring


Happy Tuesday and Happy Spring! Springtime is a joyous time of rebirth and brings us such joy. The first day of spring is March 21st. Easter is April 17th this year.  Christians celebrate a risen Savior on Easter which is Christ the Lord.

 Welcome to a Spring and Easter tablescape blog hop sponsored by Rita  @ Panoply. There are 18  bloggers participating in this blog hop. You can find links to their tablescapes at the bottom of this post. Stop by and show them some love by leaving them a comment.

For my tablescape, I have set a table outside on the patio. The birds are singing and I just saw an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, my first butterfly of the season as I was setting the table. I was hoping it would stop on my centerpiece and I could capture a picture. How exciting that would have been!

Botanic Garden Portmeirion makes me happy because there is a different flower on each plate. The sunflower is🌻 the national flower of Ukraine and has become a symbol to us of their fight for freedom. Continued prayers for 🇺🇦 Ukraine. I am thankful for the countries that are taking in refugees escaping the horrific war.

I added azaleas from my garden to supplement the grocery store flowers of tulips, sunflowers, and hydrangeas. My curved willow vase accented the seagrass wicker glasses.

My aucuba scrub in my garden is great for flower arrangements. It adds color and variety and holds up very well.

"Golden Sunshine, a world of green, a world of blossoms, a breeze so clean; the redbirds whistle, the
bluebirds sing, my heart rejoices: 'tis spring,' tis spring!" 
Caroline Henning Bair

The sweet pea plate reminds me of my DIL's bridesmaid's bouquets. The ribbed depression glass sherbets hold strawberries and blueberries.

The plate stack consists of a white Ikea charger, Bordallo Pinheiro cabbage plate, and a hydrangea Portmeirion plate. I am hoping I will have a lot of hydrangeas to bloom in my garden this year. 

I was delighted to find tulips in the store for my centerpiece to coordinate with the tulip plate.

Have you ever heard of pine berries? What I thought were strawberries are (Berry De Blanc) pineberries. Note the light color. They are from Austin Farms in Plant City, Florida. They have a slight pineapple taste.

They were intriguing since I had not seen them before.

Springtime Fancy

It may be just springtime fancy, 
but it always seems to me
that in the spring the flowers sing, 
and every leafy tree.

The songs of birds from every branch
seem just to lead the way
for all the earth to join in song
to greet each coming day.

It may be just springtime fancy, 
but all nature seems to sing:
 hail to this happy time of year,
 the joyous time of spring.

Virginia Katherine Oliver

I feel so blessed this spring to have blessings of freedom, peace, comfort, safety, food, and shelter. We have all witnessed the horrors in Ukraine and could never have imagined this happening just like we couldn't imagine a worldwide pandemic. 
Thankfully, my hope is not in this world. The joy of spring gives me hope. The joy of Easter gives me hope.

The links for Spring and Easter tablescape blogs are listed below: 

Everyday Living - The Joys of Easter
The Little Yellow Corner Store - Funny Bunny Fern and Her Breakfast Tablescape
Me and My Captain - Spring Is In the Air
Red Cottage Chronicles - Fruit and Flowers Spring Tablescape
Living with Thanksgiving - The Joy of Spring
Hyacinths for the Soul - Garden Party on the Terrace
Home Is Where the Boat Is - Hop To It
My Hubbard Home - Busy Bunny Easter Table
My Thrift Store Addiction - Rabbits and Roses Garden Tea for Two
Thrifting Wonderland - Easter Table in Black and White
The Painted Apron - Spring Piggy Party!
Corner of Plaid and Paisley - Bunnies in the Garden
The Bookish Dilettante - Casual Easter Tablescape

Wishing each of you a joyous Easter ✝️and Spring🦋.
 Counting my blessings✝️ and living thankfully, 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Danube River Cruise~ Budapest

In April 2018, we were blessed to enjoy a Viking Cruise of the Danube River and visited Budapest, Vienna, Passau, Regensburg, and Nuremburg.
When Covid first began in 2020, I started this post and never finished it!!! 
Fast forward to 2021. We began making plans for a 50th anniversary trip so I started thinking about finishing this post which is only a tiny part of the Danube Cruise. I highly recommend  Viking Cruises. Viking takes great care of you and the travel is very pleasant because you can travel a long distance and not have to change hotels. Your floating hotel allows you to sightsee during the day and travel while you sleep. It is fun meeting people from all over the world and the food is wonderful. 
 We arrived in Budapest late afternoon and boarded our ship. After getting settled and given our itinerary it was time to enjoy our first dinner aboard the Viking Cruise longship. Then after dinner, we cruised the River Danube and saw the beautiful city of Budapest all lit up at night. It was a gorgeous full moon which always makes me happy!
This is the Szechenyi Chain Bridge that spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest.
This is the capital building. Budapest is the capital city and largest city in Hungary.
The capitol building is huge and sits high up on the hill. Quite impressive on a night cruise.
The bridges are all so pretty.
The Parliament Building is one of the most recognized buildings in Budapest as seen in the iconic Viking Cruise commercials.  

This Art Nouveau design bridge is called Liberty Bridge and was the first bridge to be rebuilt after all the damage from World War 11. 
This is another Viking longship we passed as we cruised the river in Budapest. Keep in mind the ship is moving while I photographed the sites. It was also hard to see the buttons on my camera. But it was a very exciting experience seeing these huge and beautiful buildings as we cruised by.

I still haven't finished this post on Budapest. The draft is dated May 21, 2021. It is now February 2022! I know but life gets very busy. 
 As you can see I am very behind on blogging about our wonderful travels.  

Matthias Church was built in the 13th century. But in the  1883-1896 restoration the Matthias Church received a colorful tile roof. It is decorated in Hungarian Zsolnay tiles of bright orange, brown, green, red, and white.

 Fisherman's Bastion is one of the top Budapest attractions. The seven turrets represent the 7 Hungarian tribes who founded the present-day country in 895.
 The views from Fisherman's Bastion are extraordinary.

This is the statue of St. Stephen the first Hungarian king, in 1906. 

I always enjoy seeing a model of the area. It gives you a good perspective. Matthias Church is enormous. It is one of the city's oldest buildings and is located on Buda Hill in front of the Fishermen's Bastion. It is a Roman Catholic church with Gothic Revival architecture.
Side streets with restaurants

I really wanted to walk across this bridge and look out on both sides of the river but time did not allow and I snapped this photo from our bus. 

The first time I saw this type of roof was Hotel Dieu in Beaune, France. You can view that post here.

These large WW11 photos made a lasting impression on me.
 Budapest was an interesting city viewed at night as well as during the day. I am glad we were able to see both.

We did take a fabulous anniversary trip to Italy and France in late August and early September. I blogged about the Tuscany portion here. I don't believe I will ever totally catch up blogging about our trips but I have hundreds of photos.