In summers past, I spent my time at the beach, the pool, perhaps a few weeks in France or days in the Hamptons. Recently, summer is not about sunning or traveling or shopping, it is high season for selling baskets, so I have been tied to Laguna. Simple pleasures have come in the form of my favorite and highly fragrant rose from the garden, Yves Piaget~
and the night blooming Jasmine called Cestrum Nocturnum; this will bowl you over, if it can grow in your garden you will smell it miles away; these tiny blossoms open at night~
While I have spent little this summer, along with the rest of the masses, my garden continues to give to me, freely~
A few cut roses and a few snips of night blooming jasmine and I am in heaven~
In the evening hours, in front of a mysterious 19thC wood nymph, the roses and the jasmine bring the room alive~
the mature Madagascar Jasmine never disappoints in summer~
The jewel of late summer gifts from my garden is an ancient Orchid Cactus, also know as Epiphyllum. This semi-tropical plant looks like a three-sided cactus, and in August, depending on the heat and the rain, it produces a series of 15-20 blossoms which grow to the point at which they are ready to burst~
the magnificent flowers are a foot long and bloom in the evening, and last a few hours, only until the next morning~
a stone arch is topped with runners, and it gives a brief yet magnificent show~
No wonder this variety is called Queen of the Night. It is the most spectacular plant in our large garden, and it amazes me that it waits all year to produce these complex yet delicate blooms which last only a few hours~
Among my summer reading favorites, flowers by my side, are Brooke & Steve Giannetti’s Patina Style; love this book, love the text and the images, and it made an excellent gift to one of my dear friends….
Also on my favorite summer reading list is Kathryn Ireland’s Summers in France~
I think anyone would love to read this book for the images and text that will call you to visit France. I also love Kathryn’s descriptions of the renovations, and her “do’s & don’ts” for house guests. I love the casual nature of Kathryn’s lifestyle, and her penchant to entertain en masse like I do. One of these years, I will be in Beaune for six months of the year with an open house for my friends…..as long as they are good guests! Kathryn has inspired me to make my own list of do’s and don’ts for guests. Some of them never need to be told a thing. You know who you are and you have a permanent invite to return.
I have one Parisian décor book I bought this summer that I greatly anticipated, but it was a total disappointment. Should I mention the name? I will focus on the positive. I will add that the two books above are on sale on Amazon for about $20, off the $35 list price. Seems the price of loveliness has gotten slightly more reasonable, off the usually higher price point. If you want a copy of Gli Giannetti’s book I highly recommend contacting Kelly at the store and having a copy inscribed, though the price is retail, it’s totally worth it for the packaging and gift value.
I’ll have a few easy recipes for the end of summer. Enjoy your summer days~