Our Patio Hosta Garden

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.
~Hanna Rion~
The hosta above is in the spotlight, because it's our largest hosta.
We've been told this is Hosta Frances Williams. This is the third year for Frances Williams. It was about a foot above ground, when we had freezing temperatures a few weeks ago. We kept all the hosta and other plants covered. We lost some, others are beginning to show green. The most spectacular plants in our gardens, at the moment, are our hostas. The photo to the left was taken with my sandal to show size comparison.

This garden is next to the patio. It seems the hosta like this location. The area gets morning sun, only. We have several Blue Cadet hosta in a narrow bed under the hearth room windows, also on the east side. They were slightly damaged by the low temperatures, but are coming around. We believe they'll do fine.
We've divided some of the hosta plants. These were planted, last year, at the side of the house, next to a perennial bed. I hope to have photos of that area and other gardens, soon.
Our spring has been fickle, this year. Some of our plants are a bit behind.



The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
Yesterday, we took advantage of a perfect spring day, by visiting Faust Park and the Butterfly House.
A wedding was scheduled for later in the day. You can see tents in the background of the photo to the right. We saw a few guests, but left before the arrival of the bride.
As we walked through the house, what appeared to be thousands of butterflies flew around us. Lighting here and there on the beautiful plants. One lit on my hair for a moment. We always enjoy our visits to the Butterfly House. It's somewhat like walking through the Rainforest, very warm and humid. The beautiful surroundings and gorgeous butterflies hold all of our attention.

The mission of the Butterfly House, a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden, is to foster increased awareness and better understanding of our natural world.

Faust Park:


Nell Hill's Inspiration From the Home of Mary Carol Garrity

Mary Carol Garrity Home
Two weeks from today, if all goes according to plan, I will be in Atchison, Kansas. This particular road trip is dedicated to Mary Carol Garrity and Nell Hill's.
Nell Hill's Spring Open House, begins May 11th. Mary Carol Garrity fans from far and wide will descend upon Atchison in anticipation of seeing Mary Carol's new accessory line. I hope to be in line with 100's of others, Friday morning, the 11th.
Before I get in line at Nell Hill's, I'll board the big bus that will take us to Mary Carol Garrity's home. The photos in today's entry were taken in early November 2005.
I toured her beautiful home and shopped at Nell Hill's during the 2005 Holiday Open House. I met Mary Carol at the shop. What a charming, hardworking, delightful woman! Her enthusiasm is contagious! J was there, too. He found a bench, outside the shop, where he was enlisted by other shoppers to take care of purchases while they returned to the shop for forgotten treasures. J is one of those people who never meets a stranger. He had a long conversation with Mary Carol. Had no idea who she was until I pointed her out, as we were leaving.
J actually enjoys home tours and open houses. His interest lies in the architecture, rather than the decor. I enjoy both, of course!
Mary Carol Garrity encourages photography in her home.
I'm excited about this particular tour. I've met several people through two decorating boards, I belong to. Some of us plan to meet at Nell Hill's. We've never met in person, but share a love of decorating, Mary Carol and Nell Hill's Style. The Nell Hill's Trip Report, will be especially fun!



We enjoy visiting Grafton, Illinois and vicinity. We had not been to Grafton since last fall, until yesterday afternoon.

We caught the ferry at Winfield, MO and crossed the Mississippi River. The drive through the Illinois countryside is always beautiful, even when the weather is overcast and storms predicted.

As we passed through Brussels, we noticed Odelehr's roadside market is open for the season. We'll return soon, to see and perhaps purchase beautiful quilts, homemade apple butter and other wonderful items offered by Mrs Odelehr.

Just a few miles beyond Brussels, we crossed the Illinois River, via Brussels Ferry. We drove through Grafton, where we noticed changes since our last visit. I spotted a jetty, I had not seen before, and pointed it out to J. We saw new boat slips. New condominiums are under construction, also. It appears the quaint little town of Grafton is growing.

We drove down The Great River Road toward Elsah. This is one of our favorite drives. The river comes right up to the road on one side of the hwy. On the other, the beautiful bluffs of the Palisades. We like to take this drive during Eagle Days. It's a beautiful drive anytime of year.

The photos above right, show the Elsah United Methodist Church and the lighthouse at Piasa Chautauqua Historic Site. In Elsah, you find cottages and bed and breakfasts. Principia College is just outside of town. Private summer cottages can be found at Piasa Chautauqua. When we see these places, it's as if time stands still.

We stopped at Grafton on our way to Pere Marquette State Park* and picked up Catfish dinners, to go. We took our "picnic" to the park and enjoyed the delicious meal, while sitting beside the Illinois River. So beautiful and peaceful.
Winfield (MO) Lock and Dam #25, Mississippi
River, from Winfield Ferry and a view of the
Illinois River, from Brussels Ferry 4/24/2007
After supper, we visited Pere Marquette Lodge. We've stayed here many times. It's a wonderful place for couples and families. A special place for us, with special memories.

Pere Marquette State Park:



Summertime sounds of a screen door slapping shut, the squeak of the porch swing, a Blue Jay calling from a front yard Oak tree, whirring Cicadas, and Letha, from across the street, calling out, "Conrad, Conrad Lee!"
A beautiful red climbing rose grows on a trellis, just behind the swing. A honeysuckle vine twines over the railing, near the mailbox. Wooden steps lead to the driveway. A child sits there, cutting her hair, hiding the clippings beneath the steps, thinking her new hairdo will not be noticed. Is that my sister or a cousin? I'm not telling, that is for certain!
Sweet memories of my grandparents' front porch.

Over the weekend I prepared our back porch for summertime. I believe I've finished, for now. I may add another pot of red geraniums and move a fern to the patio, but the arrangement is complete.

Welcome to our back porch!

This is the fourth year we've enjoyed our back porch. Each season it has been decorated in a different way. The first 2 summers I used wicker chairs and a small bistro set. The chairs are now on the patio and the bistro set is in the side yard

Last year I brought the wicker settee from the studio. I piled it high with cushions and pillows and placed a rustic bench in front.

This year we brought the glider up from the patio. I changed out the bistro set for the round table, we found at the lake over Christmas. I'm considering covering the chair seats with cream and red check. For now they are covered in differing fabric. I found the chairs in the wonderful back room of an antique shop. The "chandelier", hanging in the corner by the fireplace, was once a light fixture in our home at the farm. I painted it black and added chimneys. The seagrass rug has been on the porch since Christmas. It's certainly a durable option for a porch rug.

Sunny Sunday Lunch



Mantle in our hearth room. Hand carved swan and John Pils print, depicting historic S. Main Street, St Charles, MO.
These books are part of my collection. Mary Carol Garrity has published four books. A fifth is to be released in September 2007. The other book, pictured, is Christi Carter's, Art of Accessorizing.
Mary Carol Garrity is the proprietor of Nell Hill's in Atchison, Kansas. The store is named for her grandmother. I find Mary Carol's books a valuable tool in decorating our home. I own all of her books which are listed in the side bar. Her new book is, Nell Hill's Feather Your nest.
Christi Carter's book, The Art of Accessorizing, is another favorite of mine. The book is packed with information and beautiful photography. Christi uses decorating secrets she learned from her grandmother, Mary C. Crowley, founder of Home Interiors & Gifts.
Mary Carol Garrity's books and Christi Carter's offer wonderful inspiration in home decorating.
This photo shows the cabinet in our hearth room. There is an ever changing display of dinnerware and other items.
At the moment, the cabinet is done in all white, using a mix of dinnerware and serving pieces.


The picture grid consists of photos taken around our home. Some are recent and others are from my archives. A collection of cloches sits atop a cabinet in the breakfast room. Three Lenox jars are shown on my mother's cabinet in the dining room. My most recent vignette is a bust, from Marshalls, a bowl of Aromatique potpourri, a silk floral and tall sconce with candle. This is on the round table in the living room. I use this table in place of a conventional coffee table. There is a sailboat sitting on a small 1950's drop leaf table in the hearth room. Another photo shows the display in the black cabinet in the breakfast room. This display includes salt glaze crocks and a "cow" platter that once belonged to dear neighbors at the farm.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the back porch, this week. I hope you return soon!

For more about Nell Hills, visit:


Table Settings & Napkin Rings

When we moved here, I gave some of my dinnerware to my daughters, thinking I would not need so many dishes. It wasn't long until I began replenishing my cabinets and cupboards.

I enjoy setting the back porch table. It's so much fun coming up with different ideas. Last weekend, I found beehive plates at Marshalls. Of course I had to buy 4 of them to use with some of my other plates.

Today, I've been playing around with ideas for the back porch table. The photos show the new beehive plates used with a small ceramic beehive jar, also purchased at Marshalls.
Some of the other pieces are a gold bee plate, I found on a trip to MN a few years ago. Also, a small beehive placecard holder from Nell Hill's, Mary Carol Garrity's store in Atchison, KS. I want to use a small card with inspirational words in these, rather than a place card.

The bee napkin ring is part of a set of four I found at a Mikasa Outlet. Other than the bee, this set includes, a dragonfly, butterfly and ladybug. Perfect to use on the porch.

The grid shows several placesettings. All are mine, with the exception of the black and white plate, in the second photo, top row and the gold dream setting in the third photo. These are by Mary Carol Garrity. I toured her home during a Christmas Open House in 2005. She graciously allows photos of her home, which is as beautiful as you may imagine!
I think I like doing different tablesettings as well as I like coming up with vignettes! I'd love to see any ideas you have for tablesettings.



Missouri Capitol Building* from press parking area.
Friday evening, after a quick stop at Dierbergs, to pick up the May issue of Romantic Homes, we were on our way. During our drive to the lake, I enjoyed reading Robin Sherwood's article and another featuring Cathy Penton Designs. Both Robin and Cathy's blogs are listed in the sidebar. This issue is packed with gorgeous photos and stories of homes and shops.

Friday, we drove through heavy rain. It snowed Saturday morning!! April 14th 2006, the sun was shining, the temp 92! April 14th, 2007, snow and 30's!!

Saturday, we browsed a bit at the Mikasa Outlet at Osage Beach Outlets. I love to browse Mikasa! While there I purchased napkin rings for the back porch table (look for photos in a future post). We walked over to Eddie Bauer where I bought several tee shirts. In my opinion these are great wardrobe staples!

Another stop was Evergreen Mfg.** This is a very popular place at the lake! Evergreen sells silk trees, wonderful home accessories and high quality silk flowers. All at reasonable prices. The store is open from April 1st through Dec 31st. Of course, I didn't leave without a purchase. This time it was a pair of iron birds and lovely Aromatique Botanical Garden potpourri.

We had lunch at Tonka Hills Restaurant, outside Camdenton, MO. This restaurant was recommended by the owner of Fox and Hounds Antiques. We had a delicious meal of Ozark country cooking, YUM! We will definitely return.

After lunch we drove out to Fox and Hounds where I found a replacement for the broken pink plate. J bought a boxed set of John Deere miniature tractors.


We pass through Jefferson City on our way to and from the lake. Sunday was a beautiful sunny day, so we decided to stop and walk around the Capitol grounds. The grid shows a few of the photos I took, during our walk.

In the fall of 1956, I entered 8th grade. During that year, we studied the Missouri Constitution. Toward the end of the school year we had a field trip to Jeff City. For some reason, I remember very little of the trip. I do recall the rotunda and how beautiful it was. Another destination of our field trip was Algoa Farms, a state correctional facility. I remember how we were admonished to behave while there!! I wonder if 21st century 8th graders are treated to field trips at state correctional facilities!!

J has not toured the interior of the Capitol buildings, so we've put that on our list of things to do. We'll include the Governer's Mansion, pictured in the lower right hand photos of the grid.




This 'n That Friday

One of my favorite lake photos shows the water near the docks on the 5mm, Grand Glaize Arm-Lake of the Ozarks.

Today's post is just what the title implies. This and that on a Friday morning. I've included two photos from our home.
We're going to the Ozarks this evening. Of course I will have the camera! Once again, we don't have a plan for the weekend. We'll just sort of meander around and see what we can see and do.
Shown here is a silk arrangement I made about 4 years ago. Over Christmas, I placed a garden statue, holding an ornament, on this small table in the foyer. I moved the statue to the hearth room, where it now sits on the hearth. A bird nest replaced the Christmas ornament. I looked at the bare table in the foyer for quite awhile, with no real thoughts as to what I would place there. Finally, last Saturday, I rediscovered this arrangement. I'm happy I did. It adds a bright spot by the front door.
I've also added this photo of our powder room. I love this little corner. It adds a sort of unexpected element to our home. This is the only red room in our home and the first red room we've had in any home. Long John Red by Ralph Lauren, is the name. Yes, those are photos of the grandchildren, sitting on the small chest. Do you suppose it's decor correct to put family photos in the powder room? Doesn't matter, they're staying!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the back porch this week. I hope you return often.
Have a wonderful weekend!



I love spring anywhere, but if I could I would always greet it in a garden.
~Ruth Stout~
Brookgreen Gardens is located between Myrtle Beach and Pawley's Island, South Carolina. We visited these gorgeous gardens, during April 2005. It is an unforgettable memory of our fabulous road trip down the coast of the Carolinas.

We arrived at the gardens late in the day. We had time for a tram tour, but missed the chance for the water tour. I would love to return someday. It is an absolutely beautiful and peaceful place. I wish we had more than a couple of hours to spend there. Perhaps we will find our way back.

The Azaleas, which I love, were in bloom. There were pathways, leading to small gated gardens. It was wonderful sitting in these gardens. It felt as if we were in a world all alone.

We wandered through the gardens, then took the tram ride to a sanctuary for native wildlife. Walking through this area was like walking into another time. There were many beautiful animals and birds in natural surroundings.

A visit to Brookgreen also includes beautiful sculptures, scattered through the gardens and in a special sculpture park. We were mesmerized by these beautiful artworks.
Breathtaking is an excellent word to describe our visit to Brookgreen. Perhaps you've found your way there. If not, I hope you will one day. Included within this post, are just a few of the hundreds of photos we took during our visit.

For more about Brookgreen Gardens, visit:


It Ain't All About The Cookin'

Over the weekend I began reading Paula Deen's memoir. She has an interesting story. It's written in her words. I hear her voice as I read.

I admire Paula, so much. She's been through some tough times and emerged on the other side, shining. She tells the real story. Paula doesn't gloss over anything. Another reason to admire her. I've laughed outloud and shed tears while reading her book.

I remember when J and I began watching her show, Paula's Home Cooking. We both enjoyed it so much and continue enjoying it. She cooks our kind of food! The recipes she talks of in the book and prepares on her shows, could be the recipes of my Granny and Mother.

My maternal family arrived in America, from Wales, mid 18th century. My ancestors lived in North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, before finding their way to our beloved beautiful Ozarks, 100 years later, during the mid 19th century. They brought with them the delicious dishes of the south. We call it country cookin'. Many of our meals are prepared using these southern recipes, handed down through our family for more than a century.

Paula is the reason I am white headed!! I was born with dark brown curly hair. When I was in my mid twenties, I began noticing strands of silver. That's when I started covering those silver strands! Just about a year ago, after more than 30 years of coverup, I decided it was time to go natural. Paula's beautiful hair was the catalyst for that decision. My hair is all grown out now and looks to be very close to Paula's shade of silver. I don't regret my decision. No, not one bit! Thank you Paula Deen, for giving me courage to be proud of my silver hair!

I'm just about midway through, It Ain't All About The Cookin'. The chapter I'm beginning is the one about Michael. I can't wait to pick up the book this morning and see what happens next!

A fine southern lady Andrea, from Southern Heart has tagged me for The Thinking Blogger Award. Thank you so much, Andrea!

I'm tagging:
1.Ivy and Lace Cottage

2. Cottage Nest

3. Whistle Stop Cafe

4.Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard

5. My Little Life

I've only been a "blogger" a little over a month. I've found inspiration from each of these bloggers. They are each wonderful in their own way! Thank you all for writing words and presenting photos, that make me think!



All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
~Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles Schulz~
Legend of the Dogwood

At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus' cross.

To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this and in his compassion said, because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent and twisted and it's blossoms shall be in the form of a cross, two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of each flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so all who see it, will remember.

Rhoda at Southern Hospitality has graciously tagged me for the Thinking Blogger Award. Thank you so much Rhoda!

In turn, I'm tagging the following wonderful blogs for The Thinking Blogger Award.

Each of the bloggers in my Back Porch Friends list and many who are not listed, are wonderful inspiration for me.

The five I've tagged for the award are:

1. Kim at Daisy Cottage: I met Kim through an online decorating group. Through the years she has been an inspiration. Her talent for taking forgotten thrift store finds and turning them into wonderful accessories for her beautiful 1922 cottage, is amazing.

2. Donna at The Decorated House: Donna is a very gifted artist. The restoration/renovation of her home is a fabulous inspiration for everyone. I've known Donna several years, having met her at the above mentioned online group.

3. Dorothy from Petit Pois: inspires me with her beautiful black and white photography.

4. Sherry at Q's Corner: I've just recently met Sherry. We have our beautiful state of Missouri in common. Her photographs and words inspire me.

5. Deb at Posted From Home:
Deb, is not only an inspiration, she understands the deep and abiding love one can have for Black Labrador Retrievers!
Wishing all of you a happy and blessed Easter!



Berry bowls and saucers in Miss America Depression Glass

Last Saturday we found Fox & Hounds Antiques, just outside Camdenton, Missouri. It's a wonderful shop, housed in a barn behind the shopkeepers' home, along a rural road in the Ozarks. Everything is in excellent condition and displayed beautifully. There is a wide variety of glassware, dinnerware, textiles, framed pictures and paper memorabilia from times gone by. We plan to visit Fox & Hounds, again!

I found four berry bowls and four saucers in the Depression Glass pattern, Miss America (pink). They were carefully wrapped in newspaper and nestled in a heavy paper bag. I was very careful with the package during our drive home. I was so relieved to arrive without any breakage. Then, when I was about to set the bag on the big table in the breakfast room, it slipped from my hand!! I quickly unwrapped everything. Each piece was unbroken, until I got to the last saucer!! Yes, it was shattered! I know I will find another saucer, but I was so disappointed to have broken this one!

The day before we found Fox & Hounds Antiques, we visited Antique Memories in Osage Beach, Missouri. This shop is set up in sections, with different sellers in each section. We've visited this shop several times. We found the round table for our back porch there, in December 06. We enjoy exploring different sections. Each one unique.

At Antique Memories, I found the cloche on a stand. It was in a section selling "cottage style" items. I haven't decided how to display the cloche, yet. I like the Salt & Pepper shakers, shown in the first photo. I bought the shakers several years ago at an auction. I might just keep them under the cloche.

This flatware is also from Antique Memories. Our plan is to make a wind chime. We have a spoon wind chime in the ornamental pear tree by our patio. They sound very pretty. We hope for success with our new project.


Dogwood, Redbud and a Castle in the Ozarks

Redbud and Dogwood in bloom at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri
We visited Ha Ha Tonka State Park, near Camdenton Missouri, Saturday. Although the sky was overcast, the temperature was ideal for walking the trails.
Construction of this castle in the Ozarks, began in 1905. Unfortunately, the owner Robert M. Snyder, never saw his dream home completed. He died in an automobile accident in 1906. His sons completed the construction. The castle and gate house were destroyed by fire in 1942.
It's interesting to walk around the ruins, imagining what it might have been like living there during the early 20th Century and wondering about the tragedy that seemed to surround the castle.
Other photos within the grid are views from overlooks on the castle grounds.
The state of Missouri purchased the property in 1978 and opened it to the public.

These photos were taken at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. We drive through this park on our way to our condo at the lake. A drive through the park is beautiful in any season. Thursday evening, when we drove into the park entrance we discovered Redbud trees and Dogwood trees in bloom. The last photo in the bottom row, shows a Redbud tree with Dogwood in the background. Other views are from around the park. Several views of the lake, a pond along the road to our condo and split rail fence at a shelter house.
Missouri State Parks are open to the public, at no charge. Of course, we love them all! We are very proud of our state's park system.
This last grid consists of photos taken at our "weekend retreat".
Over the weekend we visited an antiques shop or two. I made a couple purchases. I'll be writing about them later this week. One of my finds had a mishap...or rather I had a mishap!! More about that and other "news" later.
Happy first week of April 2007!