Saturday, June 16, 2018

Summer Booth Updates 2018

Today I'm sharing some of the updates we've made to our Panoply booth spaces in the antique mall since my last post of our booths in March. Instead of making before and after comparisons, I'll leave the link for you to see how things looked previously and just focus on current vignettes.

For summer, we generally like to showcase a few themes: garden/kitchen, outdoor living, and patriotism/Americana. Below is the corner of garden/kitchen and outdoor living.
With a nod to days of porch sittin' and tending crops, we've brought in several new vintage items.

Small planter containers and other garden finds are just as fine today as they were in yesteryear.
Kitchen and picnic items featured.....
Another utility table that could just as easily be used indoors as a protected outdoor setting.
Crates and hardware are popular with guys and gals.
Our patriotic corner....
The photo below shows a long view of all the space detail shown so far. It is all space rented by my sisters and me, just divided with separate vignettes.
The other space we rent has not changed a whole lot since March. We've simply shuffled items from the other spaces and added a few more. One way we manage that is to continuously go vertically in displays. It's hard to see in the photo below, but just to the left of the linen rack, there is a chair stacked upon a coffee table. That's just one example of what I mean by going vertical.
Below is another angle of the same space. Not only can you see the vertical display concept, but just across the aisle (on the far right) you catch a glimpse of  the edge of the patriotic corner of our other rented space.
Panoply is located in the South Charleston Antique Mall at 617 D Street, South Charleston, WV.  It is an easy on/off from I-64 at Exit 56. If you're traveling this summer, we hope you'll stop in and browse/shop. We are just three dealers among approximately 70, situated on the first of three floors (and a mezzanine) in an 18,000 square foot former department store.

As always, your virtual visit is appreciated!
Rita C. at Panoply

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Early Summer Garden: Transformations, Trip, Tricks

When I published my last post on my landscape garden, I had no idea I'd be tackling all the maintenance I talked about so soon. Apparently, publishing it was subconsciously committing to it, and this is a showcase of all the recent transformations. Most of the photos are before and after comparisons. I'll also tell you about a recent trip and share some tricks I have for the garden at the end of this post.

The "wild hair" azaleas have been trimmed after blooming, and the centermost (appears as the 2nd blooming bush from left in top frame) was plucked and transplanted to the far most left position, opening the center of the five azalea plants.
Azaleas: before and after trimming and transplanting
What once could not be seen unless behind the azaleas - the clematis, the mountain bluet, a garden accent light, and sundial on concrete base - are now in plain sight. I moved the concrete base forward to make a grouping in the space between the azaleas.
The space in between the azaleas (after)
Whether things get pruned with a light or heavy hand, there's a period of time in between blooms where things can look a little bare, even scalped. The courtyard roses were pruned with a heavy hand, and then fertilized with systemic granules for reblooming expected in July.
Courtyard roses: before and after pruning
Pruning is a necessary thing to keep blooms coming. In some cases, it's a seasonal change of annuals, such as with my beds at the front of the house. My pansies overwinter from fall, and the daffodils grow tall among them in spring. The daffodil leaves were cut back right after Memorial Day, and then the summer annuals replaced the pansies. The boxwoods got a trim at the same time the summer annuals were planted.
Front Annual Beds: before, during and after winter to summer transitions
My perennial hibiscus had to be staked immediately after my last garden post (for optimal showcasing of July blooms). In fact, a rainstorm just a couple days after that post had many of the hibiscus stems lying flat on the ground, making the job of staking more tedious. I lost count after about three dozen stakes and umpteen ties.
Perennial Hibiscus: before and after staking for support of July blooms
All that time and labor staking was another reason I decided to simply cut back the front hibiscus and not bother staking them this year. In the picture below (top frame), you get an idea of how the stems fall flat when not staked.
Hibiscus: before and after pruning (opting out of staking)
More dividing and transplanting is evident in the iris patch, an area I previously referred to as the unibrow. I had to first cut the leaves in order to see where and what I was dividing. As you can see below, the knockout roses are now needing pruned (deadheaded) before the next flush of blooms (July). I'll likely divide more irises next year, but will wait to see how these do first.
Iris Patch: before and after cutting, dividing and transplanting
The plants are not all I've been working on. Besides 20 more bags of mulch being spread among the plantings, I've been weeding (never-ending), and have done a little brick maintenance. Without using a full-blown power-washer, I've used the jet nozzle on our hoses to clean moss and dirt that's grown on our brick.

On the front porch steps, you could hardly even see the mortar on the bricks for the dirt and grime, Moss actually growing on the mortar was threatening the stability of the bricks.
Front Porch Brick Cleaning: before and after
The walkway between our house and garage was downright dangerous when wet, slippery to walk on for the mold and grime that had accumulated over the past couple years since it was last cleaned.
Brick Walkway Between House, Garage: before and after cleaning
The courtyard also got a good hosing, and I rearranged the furniture afterward. I put an old glider on the alley with a sign, "Trash or Treasure - Free", and it was gone within two days.
Courtyard Patio: before and after cleaning
Most of my garden chore list remaining is what I consider piddling - deadheading, weeding, watering. The major dividing and transplanting are complete, and having a few good weather days of low humidity and decent temperatures last week helped motivate me to tackle the big stuff.

I mentioned a trip in the title of my post. It wasn't the kind you necessarily write home about. Y'all know how Mr. P. and I are vigilant about keeping the Canada geese off our property, right? Well, they've all had their babies, and we recently saw eleven babies among two sets of parents. Pictured below is a photo a neighbor took one evening of them all (some are hidden in the shadows).
Adult Geese and Goslings
Mr. P. goes across the street to our riverbank to check them regularly, and shoo them away. Pictured below is a shot of the steel staircase at the edge of the street level of our property, down to the river.
Stairway to Hell
Mr. P. fell down all 22 of those stairs on May 17. Thank God, a trip to the ER was just one block away, and tests showed no [internal] bleeds or breaks. That was a real scare! 😟 I'm happy to say after four weeks, he's been assessed and doing a few sessions in PT for strengthening and balance, and he's walking part of our daily three miles with me again. Part of the reason for falling was trying to go around that chain instead of removing it. I've threatened him to try that trick again. 😠

Lastly, I promised some gardening tricks. Really, I should call these treats, all from the Dollar Tree (no affiliations, just bargains from me to you).
Dollar Tree Bargains for the Garden
All the things you see pictured above are great tools for the garden, some obvious, some not so obvious, and each just $1! Solar stake lights; garden gloves (I love the ones with nitrile coating for weeding, especially); flip flops (yes, I'm the kind of girl who wears flip flops in the garden, just so I can keep my feet cool and easily hose the dirt off afterward). Garden fence posts are great for not only staking some plants, but we demarcate our property from the neighbor's to help keep people from driving over our grass divider on the street. Sun hats are great, and when dirty? No worries, just hose off, then let dry in the sun. 

Kitchen knives are great in the garden! Use them to cut back foliage from things like daffodils and other spent blooms. At just $1 each,  when they go dull, toss them! And lastly, if you claim you have a brown thumb, then just buy faux flowers and plop them in your containers and beds! I won't tell! 😉

Happy gardening, and thanks for your visit! Your comments are always welcome, and I try to respond to all of you. The last couple of posts I've not replied directly, but as you can tell by reading this, I've been pretty busy.

Rita C. at Panoply

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Paradise: Tales of the Traveling Totes #15, Giveaway

Welcome! It's time for another instalment of the Tales of the Traveling Totes - #15! Not familiar with the Traveling Totes? You can catch up by reading how it all started, here, and my personal tales with Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C here. Be sure to read to the end of this post for another great giveaway, this time a MacKenzie-Childs Flower Market globe vase.

My theme for this update is paradise. There's two kinds of paradise for this Panoply chick:

First , there's pickin' paradise, as in shopping. If you're ever in the capital city of  Charleston, WV, our Capitol Market is a must stop. It has both indoor and outdoor farm goodness and specialty shops, tucked away in a turn of the century train station. This was where I shopped for my regional taste swap with my tote tribe member, Sarah, back in early March.
Pickin' paradise was also experienced in late March with my Panoply sisters. We headed over to Ohio to do the best kind of pickin' - vintage and antique pickin'!
But the best paradise of all? This one pictured below - tropical paradise!
The first photo op after customs (where no cameras are allowed!) was in the Grand Cayman Owen Roberts International airport, just before baggage claim.
Miss Luna C was my daily pack mule from the condo to the lounge chairs. Here, I was taking some time to log my dive notes.
Miss Luna C found a baby mermaid wash up from the sea one day - another photo op!
Camana Bay is the newest commercial development on the island, full of retail shops and dining. It was just a short walk away from our condo.
The blue iguana, also known as the Grand Cayman iguana, is now an endangered species endemic to Grand Cayman. Miss Luna C was thrilled to have this photo op, but which iguana pictured is the real one?
Our last night on the island. {Sigh} 
Our family vacation was so much fun, and even more so with one of my son-in-law's creative endeavors of capturing our trip through the music video below he made. With lots of film footage on a GoPro, and even more editing, all put to fun music with great timing, the following was the end result. If you look closely, you'll even see Miss Luna C in the film. 😄 Enjoy!
It's been a little over a month since our trip, and I've been quite busy ever since with my gardening chores...... Life happens!
NOW, ONTO THE GIVEAWAY!
The Traveling Tribe is offering another giveaway. Katie @ Preppy Empty Nester is our giveaway sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Katie's June 1 post will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win the following:
Where have all the other Traveling Tote tribe members been lately? Check them out at the links conveniently located below to see.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester
Lia with Miss Scarlett @ Cici's Corner
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Ricki Jill with Countess de Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply (you are here!)
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Garden of a Certain Age

Mature landscape gardens can be a lot like some women of a certain age - they require a whole lot of maintenance to keep looking good. At almost 14 years old, that's where my garden is - high maintenance. I guess that makes me its stylist chore girl, trying to keep up the garden's image.
I haven't posted for almost a month, but after days of working in the garden as well as a few dedicated to my antique mall booth spaces, May has simply been a flash. In the spirit of keeping my garden journal, allow me to note some of  my landscape's recent mini makeover procedures, which may or may not sound like a mature woman's beauty routines and maintenance. Caution: photos ahead!

Thankfully, a good haircut late last fall throughout the garden allowed for things to start growing out without much need for attention until late April.
Late April - Anemones and Lilac Bush in Bloom (limelight Hydrangea in background)
Like a tattoo eyeliner, the steel edging around the landscape beds keeps a permanent boundary and definition in the garden. This was an investment well worth its money several years ago.
Fresh cut lawn, mid-May: Azaleas, Knockout Roses, Irises in Bloom
The first flush of knockout roses were simultaneous with the azaleas and irises blooming, around mid-May, and glowed much as a mature woman might when complimented on her appearance.
Knockout Roses Trained Upward, Irises (small ground plants are dwarf butterfly bushes)
Like bushy eyebrows, the yellow irises were flopping over this year and had to be staked. My iris patch looks like one big unibrow, and needs to be thinned out and transplanted leftward, to better define the area and balance the three knockout roses trained on trellises.
Yellow irises had to be staked this year with weight of blooms
Like wild hairs growing in places never before seen, the azaleas also need a good plucking now that the blooms are spent.
Azaleas in Bloom
Like lipstick that bleeds into the lip lines on a mouth, there are plants behind the azaleas that can't even be seen, just needing a defined line in front.
Behind Azaleas: Mountain Bluet, Snowflake Viburnum, Clematis on Tuteur
Poppies passed along from a sister have had free reign as to how they've spread for the past few years, but they've taken to growing in and among the tree form butterfly bush bases, much like keratosis randomly shows up on skin.
Poppies: Bud, Bloom, Seed Head
Like using creams and even the knife to get rid of pesky skin problems, the photo below shows one section of the east landscape bed where I've dug, divided, transplanted, weeded, and worked relentlessly to set things right. Some areas were like thinning hair while others overgrown, where a few years of inattention led to an age-worn and waning area of the garden. Wild violets are like malignant moles on the skin of my landscape beds, spreading and killing out healthy plants ever so subtly through the years. I am on a mission to take back my garden, one section at a time!
East Landscape Bed: Divided & Transplanted Salvia, Black-eyed Susans, Poppies (late May)
Continuing the efforts I'd begun last year on the opposite landscape bed where I transplanted coneflowers among the salvia, sedum and weeping cedar Atlas, this year I divided and transplanted more black-eyed Susans that were being snuffed out primarily by weeds. Getting rid of wild violets is like coloring gray hair roots - one strand at a time.
West Landscape Bed: Divided & Transplanted Black-eyed Susans, Asiatic Lilies (late May)
I had Asiatic lilies beneath my bird feeder on the eastern bed for several years...until the rabbits or moles ate them. Pictured below, these are now blooming after a couple weeks in the ground. Like a woman jilted, they were left on the curb by a neighbor who just upgraded their outdoor space, probably for some new, trophy plants. I rescued these, and they'll shine like bright nail polish to accent the purple salvia just before the pink coneflowers start blooming in this bed. Like using an eyelash enhancer in an attempt to make the area appear lush, I've planted two types of zinnia seeds among the coneflowers and salvia. Does that stuff really work? Only time will tell.
Asiatic Lilies Rescued from Neighbor's Trash
In front of our magnolia tree in one of the front landscape beds, the knockout roses are sculpted in a nice, curvy shape, unlike moi.
Knockout Roses in Arc in front of Magnolia
Just behind the roses is where my original Lord Baltimore hibiscus plantings are. These are high, high maintenance perennials that require staking throughout June in order to put on the best showing. I have decided to nip and tuck those babies this year! Instead, my focus will be on trying another vine for the trellis arch. Years of success with growing mandevilla until last summer when squirrels nibbled them almost daily left me scouring for products to do battle with. Seems even cayenne pepper didn't deter the squirrels.
Area Behind Arc of Roses, Magnolia: Transplanted Seedling Vine, Raked, Mulched (late May)
Garden Gate Path with Hyacinth Bean Vine Seedlings Planted at Base
I'm trying my luck with hyacinth bean vines (and a few other plants grown from root or seeds). In the two photos above, if you look closely, you can see the bean vine transplants at the base of the trellis arch. All the things I've started in pots seem to be doing pretty well in just two weeks time.
Seed Starts for 2018
Climbing roses in the courtyard are still bearing lots of blooms, and are host to nests in two of the three shown. Like a mother whose children have failed to launch, they seem to be a safe haven for the "kids" every year. The lavender is doing well, and I've already harvested a bouquet for drying.
Courtyard Climbing Roses, Lavender Underplantings
The only container planters I've created this year so far are also in the courtyard. I like the change I made this year, mixing a braided hibiscus as the thriller, with asparagus fern and lantana to fill and spill beneath. I hope they'll do well in the full sun, tropical-like space.
Courtyard Containers: Hibiscus Tree Form with Asparagus Fern, Lantana Underplantings
And just like a high-maintenance woman of a certain age who started getting work done, this garden is relentless in the list of improvements it seems to still want. The area shown below is the far back corner where I planted more Lord Baltimore hibiscus. I will stake these, as they are real head turners later in summer from both the street (seen at fence in the background) and alley (behind the brick wall surrounding them). As you can also see, the wild violets are having their way at the base, but not for long!
Next Area of Work: Weeding Wild Violets Beneath Perennial Hibiscus, Staking Hibiscus
For the holiday, I'm taking a short break from all the mulching and weeding, digging, dividing and transplanting.
The Edge of Mulch Work in Progress 
My clematis and buttercups began blooming this Memorial Day weekend, as if to dress for the occasion.
Memorial Weekend Blooming Clematis
Memorial Weekend Blooming Buttercups


The front porch even got a bit of a makeover. The doors have been moisturized with Diana's wood salve. Oh.my.goodness. That stuff is simply amazing. If you haven't seen the testimonials, check out that link and get some!
Front Porch Memorial Day 2018
Like I said, my Zone 7a garden is mature and, like some women of a certain age, it requires a lot of maintenance just to look good. I sure hope she carries herself well at a few garden parties she plans to attend this week. What about you and your garden? How's your beauty maintenance coming along lately?

(A special thanks to readers of Kathryn's The Dedicated House Sunday Showcase for this post meriting being featured!)
Rita C. at Panoply

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