Incrediball hydrangea with red coleus

Cottage Style Decorating with bold hydrangeas

Cottage style decorating with bold hydrangeas can be seen here at the home of Flowergardengirl in North Carolina zone 7. I’ve been working with hydrangea cultivars for the past 10 years and have learned what they will do fantastically and where they have weaknesses. They will bloom prolifically if fertilized at the right time. What you fertilize them with turns out to be a key factor. Continue reading

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Front Porch decorating coming for 2011, sneak peek

Here is a sneak peek at the fabric for the front porch makeover. The upholsterer is coming to get all my wicker tomorrow. The two chairs on the right will be covered in a fabric the color of the beige in my stone—the one chair with ottoman is the blue/grey in the stone–and the sofa is the print which includes the color of the stone and the siding. The swing will be covered in chocolate brown. Throw pillows will be a mix of all the colors. So here is the sneak peek! 

Mr D had a lot to do with this year’s selection. I first picked out and even purchased blue shabby chic fabric—next it was pretty pinks and lavender—then Mr D really liked this. He’s so classy don’t you think? He chooses timeless pieces and I’ll need to add some of the style for the accent pieces. It all should be done in about a week. It will be so soft cushy.

Boy is that outdoor foam expensive. it was pricier than the material. Foam is less expensive but retains water and promotes mildew. So we paid extra to get the outdoor foam. I want the sofa cushion all one piece as before it was 3 separate cushions. Same for the back–I want it all one piece. I’ll keep you updated as things progress. I have to make decisions on piping and corners.

The cushions will be mostly protected but everyone now and then a strong storm sends rain and debri on to the porch. This is why I choose outdoor fabrics. They have so many selections these days.

Fine Wine weigela, Snow Storm spirea, Oso Easy Paprika, and Gertrude in unison

This is the spring shout out by ‘Fine Wine’ weigela, ‘Snow Storm’ spirea, Oso Easy™ ‘Paprika’, and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. I can’t believe my good fortune to have them all blooming at once. ‘Paprika’ is more manageable of the Oso Easy™ roses. I’ve had them all and they were aggressive growers taking over huge areas of the bed. I ended up giving them to a landscaping company and only kept ‘Paprika’. I love it….looks like orange sherbert with lemon drop centers. Look delicious.

 Oso Easy ‘Paprika’ is practically pest resistant. I use Safer™ 3 in 1 to help control mildew and aphids. This time of year in my zone 7a high humidity gardens the aphids run rampant and will attack the new growth. Safer™ takes care of pest and mildew as will Hot Pepper Wax and both do it organically.

I love the dark green leaves with the orange flowers. Hard to find a pretty orange and this is a grand one. This is spring 2011 with Flowergardengirl.


Just behind the Oso Easy™ ‘Paprika’ is another ornamental shrub by Proven Winners Plants and I had to move this ‘Snow Storm’ spirea 4 times before finding a spot it liked. Each time I moved it—it took a season before it recovered. This is its prettiest season yet. It is in a semi dry spot, with about 4 hours of direct sun a day. It blooms profusely for about 2 months. It didn’t like our hot drought summer of 2009 and was in a location too dry and too many hours of sun–the leaves burned up. Then it was in a spot too wet in the summer of 2008. Now it’s happy. Continue reading

traditional whitewashed brick home in North Carolina

Traditional Whitewashed Brick

In this series, I offer to you a traditional whitewhased brick home featuring beautiful planters on each side of the entryway. This whitewashed brick is more of what people think of when that technique is mentioned. Removing only some of the paint and varying the degree in the process creates a worn pattern typical of the Old South plantations.

“Back in the day”, a front chimney was often fashioned to say that a front courtyard would be used both summer and winter. A courtyard full of perfumed plants, shady potted plants, and lots of roses.

A place where the family gathered and would spend time with the side doors openend for all seasons. Such an open front designs says the owners enjoy being social.

The sweeping front roof line is a character trait with a design called , The Piedmont Home. Interesting to see it on this offset 4 square. Love the substantial gas iron sconces which make you feel like a carriage could pull up at any minute. Lots of personality displayed here in this mix of traditional and purposefully placed addition of the sun room.

Low growing plants in the front give way to the drama taking place in the entryway. Sturdy planters and beefed up columns make this a strong home where those who enter will be welcomed and you can expect to be entertained with joy and comfort. Safety from the weather is only two steps up to the covered porch. A must in the days when the ladies were dropped off and the men soon to follow.

My own home(HERE) is just three years old but many have asked if I renovated an existing home. I consider that a joy to hear because that was my intent. To appear as though it had been here forever. Additions that are fashioned from different eras can be tastefully achieved and is a sought after look. It’s charming and reflects a home that was worthy of growing with the family and future generations. Many add on homes have a touch of cottage and English style. I think the above home does a good job of keeping its NC heritage and then maturing through what is currently a trend to update the neighborhood.

You can see all the homes I’m featuring in this series by visiting the category,

Whitewashed Brick Homes.