From the Garden

Upload: May 31, 2010

I take a lot of photos every day and I upload them onto my laptop 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes hundreds at a time.  Collectively these photos are a snap shot of where I've been, what I've been sourcing, what I've been working on, job site progress, what I find inspiring, things I love, and things that I find interesting and worth keeping on file for future reference.   Here's a small sampling of the latest images uploaded from my camera.  Starting with the photo above - freshly cut peonies from my garden, I'm surrounded by them as I type this and the scent is heavenly...... : )

The month of May marks the beginning of the outdoor antique season, I made a trip to the Aberfoyle market a couple of Sundays ago in search of a painted dresser and a pair of night tables (for 2 different clients).  I arrived late in the afternoon so I only had time for some quick browsing but was lucky enough to hit the jackpot.  It didn't take long to spot this dresser and I scooped it up instantly, it was a STEAL.

The dresser is for the 70's sidesplit I recently furnished for a single mom and her daughter, it'll go in the guest bedroom, pictured below...

Oh, the ones I left behind, sadly these beauties didn't come home with me,,,,I really really really wanted them, they had the most incredible blackened brown patina and they were solid.  I have no place for them in particular but still I didn't want to pass them up, especially when they were only $15 ea.!!  $15!!!  If it wasn't for the fact I had zero room, not even an inch of space left in my car that day, these would be safely at home in my basement right now. : (

Trendspotting,,,,,,I couldn't help but notice these butter urns or crockery pots everywhere at the market,,,I mean everywhere.   I also spotted these in the latest Pottery Barn catalogue so it seems the vendors are taking their cues from the home decor industry.  I love the simple utilitarian form of them, the typography  and their oversized scale.  Today I would put a big huge bunch of fresh cut pink peonies in one of these.

I'm in the early stages of working on some design concepts for a rooftop deck which hopefully will be built this summer.  I've been checking out what's available in ready made cushions so that we can mix these with some custom made.  This chaise from West Elm was particularly interesting to me as it reclined completely flat becoming a bench, which makes it doubly useful for entertaining....

A trip to DFO to scout out their in-stock outdoor fabric selection,,,I just pulled out the ones that caught my eye and started mixing.  I love this large graphic floral and this graphic geometric together, they both had a modern feel.  The colour is actually a beautiful very orange/red but seems to read more red in my photos.

This stripe worked well with the large floral above, but I think i would use it sparingly in a candy stripe piping detail or for the sides around a box cushion.

I wasn't looking for navy at all but loved this combo, especially with some nice crisp white piping!

I think I would have liked this more if the yellow was more vibrant.  I think the tourqoise print below would make this trio more dynamic.  For outdoor fabrics, I prefer to stay away from too much green because I like all the green to come from the grass, trees and plantings.

Think I would nix the solid green here for the yellow floral above.  All in all,,,not a hugely successful trip as I was looking for more prints with tourquoise and more modern graphics in general, but definitely some possibilities.

I was impressed with the distressed antique pewter finish on this Entry Set by Rona, part of the Rona Collection.

This striped runner at Home Depot had me thinking I needed to use this somewhere, and I wish they had more colour options.  How fun is this!

Trendspotting.......I took this photo simply because I'm seeing this buckle detail in many different places lately, on furniture, on vases,,,on handbags....... on pillows like this one at Pottery Barn.  Speaking of Pottery Barn....

Dear Pottery Barn:  Your lamp shades are always too small for your lamps.  I've mentioned this to sales associates many times who reply "the merchandising manual says that table lamps always get medium size shades".  I don't care - to my eye they look oddly disproportionate.

Dear Pottery Barn:  Last week when I was in the store to pick-up a bar stool that's been on back-order since January (yes, 5 months!), I noticed this sign beside the cash desk and was very excited.  I thought finally, you've been listening to all the complaining I've been doing and have actually brought your CDN prices more inline with your US pricing.  Then I noticed the fine print says to look for select products with a maple leaf to realize these savings.  Honestly, I looked around the entire store, twice, and didn't see a single item with the maple leaf??   Is this a trick?  Is my bar stool in yet.......

A lovely whimsical branch chandelier seen at Sheridan Nurseries....this needs a cottage, preferrably one with an all white board & batten interior.

All Photos:  Carol Reed

From the Garden: Purple Irises

We have a few types of flowers  that grow in the yard on our property and I wait anxiously for each any every bloom, like a kid awaiting a trip to the candy store.  For me, nothing beats using fresh cut flowers or branches from my own garden throughout the house - its heaven (and they're free!!!).    The first to bloom were the daffodils and I enjoyed a few weeks of that vibrant bright yellow scattered around the house.   But next will be the tall regal looking Irises,,,,we have two huge patches and they look like they're about to bloom any day now.  They usually burst open just slightly ahead of our absolute favorite!  

What I love about the Irises is the colour, I'm really not a fan of purple when it comes to paint or fabrics or carpet but when I'm selecting fresh flowers for a room, second to white flowers purple is my next favorite, especially rich deep purples.  Purple blooms work so beautifully with browns and greys especially, and in light neutral spaces the purple not only adds a dark contrast but its also a less feminine hit of colour than pink so I like that its gender neutral burst of colour.

The above photos are pics I took of our Irises last year just as they bloomed and the timing couldn't have been better.  On June 3rd I was hosting a 25th wedding anniversary for my eldest brother and of course, I had to find an inexpensive way to deck the venue out with fresh flowers without breaking the budget - so I brought bundles of these fresh cut Irises and placed them in tall glass vases along the bar and in a few niches in the old brick walls.   They looked stunning, the effect was so dramatic.  Unfortunately I was so busy hosting that I didn't take many photos, but here's a couple that I found that show a glimpse of some of the flowers.  You can see a couple of the Iris arrangements on top of the bar along with some palm leaves......

For the tables, I had purchased a couple dozen cream coloured gerber daisies, they were in keeping with the theme of the invites which also had daisies on them but mainly I wanted to do a single bloom arrangement because I could do multiples of them for high impact and it wouldn't cost a fortune!  Here's where I had to get creative in an instant, when I called the restaurant earlier that day to see if they had bud vases I was told that they didn't - aaaggghhh.  I didn't have time to go and buy 20 vases so I asked them if they could set aside some empty bottles for me.  But when I arrived at the venue the recycling bins had been emptied earlier that day so there wasn't a lot of to chose from.  I managed to find 20 Perrier bottles (actually,,,,we only found 16 so we had to drink 4!) and then I added a gerber daisy and sprig of tall grass to each one and placed one bottle on every table.  This took about 10-15 minutes to do and it really gave the space a joyous summery feel, in fact, the staff all said they liked it so much they were going to start doing that for future bookings.  

A word of caution about brining these large variety Irises indoors though, if you do - be careful to keep an eye on them, remove them as soon as they start to wilt - once they start to expire the droppings from the flowers are like ink and will stain any surface they fall upon.    When I bring them inside my house, I place them in really tall cylindrical vases so they're completely encased in glass, this way anything that falls off stays in the vase.  Otherwise if using them for a table setting for a special occassion remember to remove them after the party!  Or,,,,for that hit of purple try other varieties like tulips or hydrangeas....

Its a cool an overcast rainy day today so I'm procrastinating the trip to the garden centre,,,,,I was hoping that the photos of last years flowers would inspire me to get out of the house and go get all the plantings I need to fill up my planters.   But its not working yet........I need sunshine.