Gardens of Augustus, Capri, Italy

With steep cliffs rising majestically from shimmering, turquoise blue waters, it is difficult to surpass the beauty of Capri!¬† Located in the Bay of Naples, Capri is well known for it’s magnificent views, as well as being a playground for the rich and famous.¬† Although there are many designer shops and fabulous restaurants and hotels, the incredible natural beauty of this island is what lures thousands of visitors to visit each year.

For our brief visit, we took a funicular up to the Piazzetta, or main square, where you will find numerous shops and restaurants.  A fifteen minute walk through the Piazzetta will lead you to the Gardens of Augustus, the idyllic terraced garden that provides sweeping panoramic views of the stunning cliffs below.

 

 

 

Originally, known as Krupp Gardens, named for the German industrialist who established them, the Gardens of Augustus are beautifully landscaped featuring bouquets of geraniums, dahlias and pansies.  The beautiful flowering gardens offers a perfect compliment for the numerous statues displayed there.   



Even more amazing than the gardens are the fabulous views of the bay of Marina Piccola and the Faraglioni.

The Faraglioni, three towering limestone rock formations just of the coast of Capri, tower approximately  100 meters above the azure sea.  The formations are named Stella, Faraglione di Mezza and Faraglione di Fuori or Scopolo.   Stella is closest to the shore.  Mezzo is the smallest and has the famous stone archway, which is large enough to pass through in a small boat.  Scopolo is home to the blue lizard, which can be found no other place in the world. The unique blue color of this lizard most likely developed to camouflage it in the surrounding turquoise water and sky.  

If you have the time, I would definitely recommend a boat tour that takes you past  the Faraglioni and visits the famous Blue Grotto.

After spending some time admiring the incredible views from the gardens, we wandered the lovely, flower lined streets of Capri and stopped at one of the numerous restaurants to enjoy a Cappuccino.

Our time in Capri came to an end all too soon.¬† I would have loved to have had at least a full day on this magnificent island, preferably a week……a month!

However, as we only had one day on the Amalfi Coast, ( not near enough ) we were wisked away to Sorrento for lunch and then a the fascinating Pompei!

If you have had the opportunity to visit the amazing island of Capri, I would love to hear about your experience!¬† As for me, it’s Arrivederci until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Garden Ready

It seems that Mother Nature just cannot make up her mind!  We have had some perfectly lovely days, but suddenly the rains came through and once again it is cold and damp.
Every time I think Spring is here to stay, another cold blast of winter comes barreling through.¬† I know that I have no reason to complain as there are places that are still getting snow!¬† ( I’m so very sorry. )

Whether it’s cold and grey where you are or if your fortunate and the sun is shining bright, we are all thinking about the same thing…..warm, sunny days and flowers in the garden.¬† ¬†So, today I thought I would share some photos of springs past.¬†

Last May, I attended the beautiful garden wedding of my niece.
As always, I was captivated by the beauty of the garden ( and the beauty of the bride) and captured a few photos to store away for savoring on grey days like today.  


It was a small garden with lots of potted plants and fountains creating the perfect ambiance for a beautiful Spring wedding.

The bride and groom exchanged their vows before this wall of potted ivory, and you can just image how perfect it was. ( I guess I’m a bit of a romantic at heart.)

I’ve always loved a garden wedding.¬† They seem so cheery and bright.¬†¬†

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

Have faith, in no time at all, we will all be singing in the sun.  Blessings РGerri 

Today Anything is Possible!

Let your joy burst forth like flowers in Spring!

Spring is a time of new beginnings!  The earth is bursting with colorful flowers and the trees are budding out, showing off their new green color.  The birds are singing their most glorious song and the sky is as blue as the sparkling color of the ocean seas.

¬†¬†It seems that nature is celebrating the return of warmer days with it’s burst of glorious beauty!

He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.¬† ¬†

– Ecclesiates 3:11

Spring makes me feel like anything is possible.¬† The increased light and the warmer air encourages me to get outside more, work in my garden, go for long walks, and just take in the glories of nature.¬† It’s finally time to shake off those winter blues and feel the joy that arrives with spring.¬† ¬†

Spring is a time of celebration! It’s the time to kick off your shoes and run barefoot through the dew sparkled grass.¬† It’s a time to gather with friends and family for picnics in the garden and cooking on the grill.¬† It’s a time for planting and starting with new beginnings.

For nothing will be impossible with God.  -Luke 1.37

My hope for you for today is that you will relish in the glories of spring and lift your eyes in thanks for the beauty of this day.

Wishing you blessings today and everyday.  РGerri

What’s Up in the Garden

A change of season always brings excitement!  After weeks of grey, cloudy skies the slightly warmer weather definitely has me yearning for Spring!

This past week, in between the scattered raindrops, RH and I have been observing the damage to our garden from the hard freeze.  In southeast Texas, we usually have fairly mild winters.  This year was different.  Temperatures dropped below freezing and stayed there for a couple of days.  Our somewhat tropical garden took quite a beating.  Although all potted plants were stored safely in the garage and we covered the plants that we knew would struggle in a freeze, the cold weather really took a toll on our previously lovely garden.  ( I do realize there are places in the world that would delight in our mild winters and are probably chuckling at our gardening woes.  We are a bit spoiled in this region! )

While I did enjoy the cooler temperatures, it was so nice to see highs peeking into the seventies this week, although we are still being inundated with lots of rain and grey skies.  My husband is truly the passionate gardener, and he has begun trimming away and hauling off branches filled with ugly, dead leaves.  After surveying the bleakness of our garden, we ran out and purchased a few Daylilies and Lavender in an attempt to bring some life back into the space.  I know that the Daylilies will thrive as they love our hot and humid climate.  However after purchasing the Lavender I learned that they prefer a less humid climate.  Well, I do love Lavender so I want to at least make an attempt. We shall have to wait and see.

Everyday day, with sweet Bear close on my heals, I walk around the garden searching for bits of green sprouting through.  The tulips I planted last Fall are slowly pushing through the ground and I can see bits of green around our Mexican Heather. However, I’m afraid it’s going to be a long, slow process though.

To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow.

– Audrey Hepburn

The garden is my place of delight, peace and contentment.  I look to my garden to be a retreat from the busyness of the day.  A special place to relax, enjoy and simply breathe.  However, as with most things worthwhile, gardening is a process.  So for now, I will simply wait, nurture and believe in tomorrow.  

Wishing you blessings as we await Spring. – Gerri

**The photos shown in this post are from last summer’s garden. Hopefully, I will have new photo’s for you soon.


The Lovely Gardens at Baba Yega Cafe

When I can’t escape the city, the next best thing is to slip away and visit a lovely outdoor venue with a garden view. ¬†I love to be able to sit back, relax ¬†and enjoy the peace and serenity offered from this charming garden at the Baba Yega Cafe.

To Create Sunshine Baba Yega Cafe, Houston

Tucked away in the heart of Houston’s Montrose area, Baba Yega’s has been offering an eclectic American cuisine for over forty years. ¬†The lush gardens offer a sprawling patio and courtyard that feature a waterfall, fountains, and Koi pond underneath sprawling 100 year old oak trees. ¬†It is a delightful place to enjoy the sunshine and feast on not only the delicious menu, but also the sweet serenity of their garden atmosphere.

To Create Sunshine Baba Yega Cafe, Houston

To Create Sunshine Baba Yega Cafe, Houston

As with many of the quaint Montrose eateries, Baba Yega’s¬†was created from a renovated bungalow. ¬†The Montrose area of Houston, developed in 1911, was originally a planned community¬†filled with bungalows and cottages with wide porches and tree-lined boulevards. ¬†Many of the charming homes remain private residences as they once were. However, the area is now quite diverse with many of the bungalows now becoming restaurants and boutiques.

The cafe has recently expanded under new ownership after the original owner retired. An adjacent bungalow was bought and renovated to host more of the atrium dining filled with quaint antiques and the bohemian flavor the Montrose area is known for.

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The menu offers everything from soups and salads to burgers, pastas, grilled chicken and salmon. ¬†The cafe is known for it’s vegetarian and vegan options as well. ¬†I enjoyed the Tortilla Soup on my last visit and wasn’t disappointed!

I honestly can’t think of a more delightful spot to while away some time than this lovely garden cafe! ¬†Bon Appetit! ¬†– Gerri xxooxx

How to Build a Raised Bed for Your Garden – part 2

 

I am so excited that we have completed our garden and I wanted to share with you the final steps!  This really has been a relatively simple project.   This is really easy for me to say since my husband did most of the work.  However, the time involved in this project was only a few hours.  This could have been done in a day.  We broke it into to two separate afternoons simply for our own convenience.

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Step 2 really just includes laying the ground cover, adding the soil, and the exciting part is adding the plants!

For our ground cover, we chose Vigoro Weed Block Fabric from Home Depot.  We simply covered the ground with this fabric and stapled it to the sides of the cedar boards.

Then came the mulch.  We used an inexpensive mix of topsoil and composted manure to layer the ground.  For our top layer of soil we used 6 bags of Kellogg Raised Bed and Potting Mix.                                                                                                                                                                                                      image

The best part was adding the plants.  After some research about the best place to purchase vegetable plants, we headed off to a lovely little nursery near us called Plants for all Seasons.  I seriously could spend all day in this place wandering around and exploring the wide variety of goodies for your garden.  As usual, my husband attempted to keep me on task.

One of the main things we wanted in our garden are tomatoes.  We decided on Celebrity Tomatoes because they are the best selling tomato.  We also purchased summer squash, basil, rosemary, and oregano.  We wanted to plant some seeds as well, so we purchased Kentucky Wonder Green Beans, and cucumbers.

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We actually finished planting a couple of weeks ago, but as to frequently happens, life gets busy and keeps me away from posting. I am amazed how much the plants have grown and the seedlings that we planted are already popping up!

I will definitely keep you posted on the progress of our little garden.  Hopefully, we will be slicing up fresh tomatoes and cooking summer squash for dinner in no time!

                                                                                                        xxoo Gerri

How to Build a Raised Bed for Your Garden – part 1

Can you think of anything tastier than home grown tomatoes or summer squash fresh from your own garden?  Have you ever longed to stroll into your own garden to pluck fresh herbs or vegetables for your evening meal?

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Although my husband and I have dabbled a bit with growing veggies in our garden, we’ve never really gotten serious about it. ¬†One season we experimented with planting tomatoes. Another year we tried our hand at growing strawberries, but we’ve never made a major commitment to a true vegetable garden.

Years ago we had a very sweet neighbor with an amazing vegetable garden.  She would keep us supplied with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini all summer long.  Oh how we enjoyed the fruits of her labor!

Well, we have made the decision to truly commit to growing our own veggies and herbs in our own garden!  We will finally be able to enjoy our own fresh tomatoes and share our abundance with others!

Our first step to this exciting project was a trip to Home Depot to purchase supplies.  We knew we wanted the garden to be a 4 x 8 raised bed.  The benefits of a raised bed include better drainage, protection from pests, and easy access to your garden.

Here is our materials list:

  • 6 ¬† ¬†2 x 6 x 8 ¬† ¬† ¬†Cedar boards ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†11.93 ea. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 71.58
  • 1 ¬† ¬† 4 x 4 x 10 ¬† ¬†Cedar post ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 20.60
  • 6 ¬† ¬† copper end caps ¬†( optional ) ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 3.77 ea. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†22.62 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Total Cost 114.80

We used 3 cedar boards from materials we already had so our materials cost was actually less.  My husband chose to use cedar for this project for its extreme durability  and resistance to rot.  The copper end caps were totally optional.  We thought it would give the garden a touch of panache!

Here are the steps for constructing the raised bed:

  • Cut 2 of the cedar boards in half. ¬†These are for your end pieces.
  • Cut cedar posts into 6 equal pieces of 20 inches each.
  • Assemble your frame.
  • Using 2 1/2 galvanized screws attach boards to post.

The time required for constructing this raised bed was probably under two hours including cutting the boards.  The assembly went really quickly.  Of course, my husband did the work.  I stood by and cheered him on!

We are excited to have this portion of the work complete.  Next, we will be adding a ground cover, soil, and finally the plants!

I will keep you posted on how this garden tuns out!

                                                                          Happy Gardening!

xxoo   Gerri

Time in the Garden

Who doesn’t enjoy spending time relaxing and taking in nature in a beautiful garden. But did you know that relaxing or working in the garden can actually benefit your health?

The sights, smells and sounds of a garden promote relaxation and reduce stress. If you actually spend time working in the garden, planting or pulling weeds, you get the added benefit of physical activity.

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Spending time in a garden is a way to nurture and replenish our spirit.  In general, our society spends way too much time at the computer or plugged in to other electronic devices.  All of this time spent focusing on electronics can create attention fatigue adding to our already stressful lives.

The effortless form of attention spent enjoying a beautiful garden helps us replenish that attention fatigue which leads to reducing stress and improving our mood.  Just 15 minutes a day spent spent soaking in the sun in a beautiful garden atmosphere can elevate your mood.

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Another benefit to gardening is that it is a great form of physical activity.  Digging, planting, weeding, and watering gives your body plenty of opportunity to move and stretch without hitting the gym.

You don’t need a big backyard to enjoy the benefits of gardening. ¬†If you have a small patio you can get started with adding small houseplants or even container gardening.

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The most important thing is to break away from your electronic devices and begin enjoying the improved mood and health benefits of spending time in a garden. ¬†As we approach the end of summer, it’s not too late to try your hand at some simple gardening and discover for yourself ¬†an elevated mood and improved health!

Happy Gardening!

Let me know what’s growing in your garden! ¬†I love hearing from you!

Gerri