Uncategorized

Garden Roadtrip ~ Welcome to the Texas Tulip Farm and Gardens

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Today is all about tulips!   It was very late in the
Texas spring season when I learned about a tulip farm
quite literally that was not but 10 miles away.

So today we are talking tulips and hopefully we will be
sharing some new favorite tulips with you.
🙂

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Texas Tulips  is what they call themselves online this time
of year and you can find their website on Facebook but they are really Pecan Creek Ranch in Pilot Point, Texas.
Right across the street from Waggin’ Tails RV Park ~ sister park to Wagon Master RV Park and Alpaca Farm ~ oddly enough
where I currently live.
🙂

Pecan Creek is currently advertising that their strawberries are in season so here’s the link if you are somewhat local and would like
to take a trip out to pick your own!

Looking over the wall in this shot from just inside the road.  Love the drifts of tulips!!!
When I stopped by last week a “Closed for the Season” sign
and cones were set up outfront
however a man was driving out and said that they were
still selling tulips and to just replace the cones as I
pulled in ~ this was wonderful news!


After pulling in and putting back the cones then parking
I walked towards the little entry shack and asked if it was
alright to come in.
The young blonde Scandinavian high school girl said yes
it was alright and just to the left after passing this kiosk
there had been a field of iris.
Two rows remained for customers to come and pick.

I just photographed… sigh!

My first fiancé’s mother had given me some purple
iris bulbs for my mother years ago
{really another lifetime, at this point}
and I have loved purple iris ever since.
🙂

Aren’t these stunning beauties?  No wonder Tulip Mania occurred in the 1700’s!!
Heading now back towards the right hand field where a man
was plowing some rows under and spreading manure
for future crops
there remained just a few rows of tulips…


Purples and dark pinks and yellows and reds
frilled and unfrilled
many withering away
but still with bright and cheerful tulip faces
reaching for the sun…

Waving gently in the mid-afternoon winds we had
that day ~ visually stunning!

The first time I had ever seen ruffled tulips was during
the spring of 2005 when I went thriftshopping with
my sister-in-law Linnea around to the city of
St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, England.

Tulips similar to these yellow ones above were planted in
small looking planters next to trees in front of shops
we saw and visited while in St. Ives.
I remember too the many fields planted with drifts of tulips
daffodils and jonquils.
Often these fields were right next to old stone churches
in the center of small towns and bigger cities.


You can just see the wind blowing here in this photograph ~ love this beautiful tulip!

London and Huntington were especially beautiful that spring!
It had been a good rainy year and cold so the bulbs
performed at their best.

This was the sweet candy striped tulip I picked this day…

They were the freshest and must have bloomed last
as they were all perfect!

Tips on how to pick

I learned from a young girl who had been out picking tulips
with her mother just how to pick a tulip ~ reach down to the
base and just pull up.

I brought three bulbs with me but I learned that that was
okay.
The high school girl I met in the beginning just cut off
the bulbs to compost as next year new bulbs would be
ordered from Holland by the owners.

Did you know that tulips can continue growing in a
vase even after they are picked?

I learned this years ago from my mother
I think it was.


Just a parting shot of these lovely tangerine iris planted in an urn out by the front gate ~ part of bidding adieu while putting
back the cones.
😉


One of the photographs I put out on my Instagram.

Around 5pm when I arrived home I thought I might
snap a few photographs…
Just loved them wrapped…

Tulips to treasure…
Later this week I’ll share a little more from a new
spring tea post with you.
🙂


Sharing with
Dishing It and Digging It
Create Bake Grow and Gather
Over the Moon ~ Gwingal
Wow
Feathered Nest Friday
Sweet Inspiration
May Garden Party ~ LifeandLinda


ps ~ Save this post as a visual reference for when you
put in your tulip bulb order next fall.
😉

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Happy Sunday,
Uncategorized

Wildflowers and Gardens ~ Austin and Magnolia Market

Last week   the beginnings of another Texas spring
bloomed everywhere my daughter and I drove.
Today I’m sharing a little of those beautiful Texas
wildflowers and also the gardens at Waco’s
Magnolia Market.


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Let’s begin   our garden tour in Austin where I found
this beauty ~ I think this may be a flowering redbud
but I’m not 100 percent certain as it could be a type of
cherry tree too.
If you happen to know what type of tree this is
will you let me know in the comments?
Thank you.
🙂

It sure was lovely in all it’s pinkish purple beauty!

Guess where I found it and a lot full of others just like it?
Costco.  
Yes really.
Beautifully sculptural and not overly trimmed is just how
an ornamental tree should look
to me at least
and these were perfect!
😉


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A close up shot of the buds and blooms on this tree ~ ethereal purple goodness!
I drove over to say goodbye to my daughter as she had
to go into work before I had woken up
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and I was blown away by how pretty these trees are.


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A beautiful red beauty blooming on a greenbelt at my daughter’s apartment complex.


Another of my flowers finds ~ everywhere we drove in Austin
these red roses were blooming and I’m sorry that they look
more neon than the real red that they were.
I didn’t have my Canon camera with me so I used my
iPhone and red just isn’t this phone’s favorite color
to reproduce.
🙁
These roses were beautiful none the less and the plant
grew to about 5′ wide and tall.
This rose bush is really healthy and I am guessing that
this is a Knockout rose as they are planted everywhere and
do really well here in Texas.



Of course  what is spring in Texas without sharing
the state flower ~ the purple bluebonnet
or lupinus texensis??

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Isn’t this greenbelt incredible??  I posted a little video on my Instagram feed so you can see more.    

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Last spring I went crazy photographing bluebonnets and
I used to have them growing once in a while in my
gardens in California.
They don’t like a lot of fuss and really prefer rocky soil.
If you try growing some just toss them out on your
meadow in the fall and leave them be.
No feeding and the winter rains will water them.
🙂


Magnolia’s gardens  are pretty in all seasons and
at only two years young it’s amazing to see how mature
the gardens are now.
I love how there is something for everyone at 
Magnolia Market at the Silos.
I did several write-ups beginning with this one sharing
shopping finds I found at Magnolia two years ago
just after the shops opened.
My husband, daughter and I were on our way to our
son and daughter-in-love’s wedding
from Amy’s new home with a friend in Kyle
{where she was before moving to Austin}
when we stopped in Waco, Texas.


Later in the fall I wrote a second post sharing more of the
actual insides of Magnolia Market.



Last spring about this time I stopped and shopped
but the gardens weren’t as filled in as they are now.

I love the espaliered trees along the fence and the
little greenhouse!


Someday I’d like to have one in my next yard speaking of
greenhouses.
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This one is about 16′ long by 10′ wide or so and
has built inpotting shelves ~ perfect for putting
small to medium
sized pots up on it to trim and plant plants.
Glass windows cover all the walls and ceiling and side
windows do open to let breezes in on warm winter days
and to let hot air out on late spring and summer days.
The floor in here is tile with a/c and heat set into the
Versaille pattern.

Love love love these small sapling arbors ~ they are created for Chip and Joanna by one of their vendors.
Back out in the garden raised planter beds are filled with lettuce
and early spring annuals like snapdragons and tulips.
The flowers are mixed in with edibles which is pretty cool.
Here you see strawberry plants paired with snapdragons.
*If you choose to plant vegetables and herbs with flowers
make sure those flowers are non-poisonous.
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🙂
This is out in the lunch truck covered eating and park area.
Lovely lamb’s ear is sooo soft ~ here planted with white snapdragons and ivy cascading down the left side of
this tall planter.

Have you ever planted lamb’s ear?  We had a different
variety that grew well in the desert heat of So Cal
and wasn’t as soft as this variety.
Lamb’s ear adds a lovely green-grey to the garden
that mixes well with other plants.

A couple of the gardeners working the soil in a vegetable planter, rear of photograph.
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And of course there must be roses!

While out in the garden I saw several garden employees
so I went to ask some questions about a particular rose.
She ended up giving me a couple of clippings as she
was trimming it that day!


Later this week I’ll share how to root a new rose bush
from a clipping.
🙂

Hope you’ve enjoyed our little garden tour.


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Thursday Favorite Things ~ Katherine’s Corner


Happy spring,
Uncategorized

Peonies and Pink for Christmas…

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Pink peonies and Christmas
With touches of red in a plaid tablecloth
and matching napkins
is just a lovely soft way to decorate
for the holidays…


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Mixing in just some touches of blush pink
with Christmasy transferware mugs
holding chocolaty cocoa goodness,
cups of holiday tea or a
frothy coffee drink
along with your favorite holiday dishes
create a relaxed atmosphere for hosting
small parties when guests drop by.


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This Christmas I have been baking
muffins and breads to give as gifts to friends
where we live.
These goodies were found at Starbucks
but most of the time I bake my own.

When I picked up these peonies a
couple of weeks ago
thoughts of a small tea party
danced around like sugarplums
in my head.

This little breakfast tea included a cranberry scone
a cinnamon muffin, and another of blueberry
to make the party extra special.

Other touches of pink were sprinkled
thoughout
making things
merry and bright!

Like this rose strewn stocking and
dried and faux roses tucked in like a child at bedtime
nestled amongst the greenery.

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And little pink Christmas trees

 decorated with silvery baubles
in a later display…
Saving the best for last!
For my disclosure, please click Here.


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How are you decorating this year?
Uncategorized

Pink for Christmas…

Pink snuck into my Christmas decorating
last week when I was in the middle of
creating a Nordic Christmas around here.

First it was Pink Santa…

And some small pinkish Christmas trees
over to the right of the t.v. above the fireplace.
One of these small trees
migrated over here and can just be seen
peeking out from behind the
barely blushing bouquet.

These beautiful pale pink peonies were found
while I was out getting some groceries at
Whole Foods
three days ago, so I came home and took a few
photographs to capture their beauty…


And a little pink for breakfast is what’s
on the menu today…
 Sharing with
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Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Katherine’s Corner

Happy Friday,Everyone!
Uncategorized

Summer Outdoor Living Blog Hop Party

Summer outdoor living…
Time to take a break and relax outside a little ~
have friends stop by for a cookout…
One of our favorite things…


Outdoor living for my husband and I
have always included a garden and today 
we will go on a little
tour of those we have had here
at our 
Prairie Home in Texas


A view out to the incoming road from Site #72
If you are new to French Ethereal, welcome!
My husband and I moved here last fall with
a job transfer from California to Texas.
We currently live in Sanger, a small farm town 
of about 2500 people,
about an hour north of Dallas.

We are really enjoying living the country life!


Summertime at the Big House ~ the hollyhocks were blooming in amongst the roses.


This is my former garden in our last home
in Southern California.
My gardens have evolved over the past 30 years 
however they all began with roses and
this last big garden was my little 
version of Versaille.
😉



Summer outdoor living to me always 
blends gardens and gardening.  
For me, outdoor living goes hand in hand
with working in the garden.
At that last house, we built a pool so it was lovely 
to go sit outside with a glass of iced tea
then putter about weeding and trimming roses.
When I’d get hot from working in the yard
it was nice to just hop in the pool 
for a quick cool-off.


Here, it’s just a short walk over to the pool
behind the barn.
🙂


We just moved over to this new site
{which will hopefully allow us to have a small shed out back}
a couple of weeks ago and it has been 
really hot and buggy
so arranging the garden area
is going to take a bit more planning.

The basil and hydrangea are already out front.

This area gets morning shade and full afternoon sun
so
the plants will probably all move
in front of the fifth-wheel for the next
couple of months.
How does one adapt a garden as one
moves around?  Plant in pots of course!
{preferably lightish weight ones! LOL!}
🙂

We are enjoying this raised patio with seating for two.  I might look for a lightweight table to add here for alfresco dining.
The previous tenant had built this little patio area
{one of the reasons we chose this site}
and he left it and the cinder blocks
so I rebuilt them as a little fence
and deck area.

Outdoor living might also mean hosting small 
furry friends in the yard.
We feed birdseed to the local birds
but the local rabbits enjoy coming over
to nibble, too!
This fellow and two companions
were romping about last evening
as we came back from a sunset walk.

My favorite garden style is sort of a mixture
between a very formal French Garden
with parterres and clipped boxwood hedges and plants
and the blousy overblown
English Garden style.


One of my favorite things to do outdoors
is have friends over for a tea party.
For fifteen-plus years, I belonged to a group
in Riverside County, California called
The Victorian Tea Society
and every month each one of us ladies
took a turn hosting a tea.
We often had our whole tea out of doors
under a patio cover or under a large
outdoor umbrella.

I think we will be looking for an
umbrella soon!
😉
Our current outdoor patio area ~ a work in progress
I hope you have enjoyed our outdoor living tour.
Please stop by and visit the other bloggers on the 
Summer Outdoor Living
blog party tour.
Sharing with
Oh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday
Friday at the Firehouse ~ A Fireman’s Wife

Thanks for visiting! Please leave
a comment and let me know
how you enjoyed this tour.
🙂

Barbara | French Ethereal
Nancy | Cobani Bleu
Patricia | Old Things New
Sherry | Savvy Apron
Suzanne | Shop at Blu
Debbie | Chatham Hill on the Lake
Kristi | Steeple Chase Manor
Uncategorized

Three Easy Tablesettings to Help You Celebrate the 4th of July

Here are three simple and easy ways to decorate
your table for the upcoming 
4th of July celebration


Our first tablesetting

 

Bring out any plates you may have that have red, white or blue 
in their design.  An overall flow-blue design called 
Liberty Blue ~ Independence Hall 
by Staffordshire
on these plates is what I’ve chosen for this 
tablesetting shown here.


Add coordinating napkins in another of 
our country’s iconic colors then add flowers 
in the final color or in a combination
of America’s patriotic colors.
Simple. Smart. 
Five Minutes to set the table ~ tops!

When we are rushing around trying to get
everything finished before company arrives
it’s nice to have a simple tablesetting that
isn’t too fussy but is high on style.
Plates like these can often be found 
on replacement china sites 
{click on the highlighted china name above}
or at local flea markets and thriftshops.
New reproductions can also be found
at places like HomeGoods.

Placesetting #2

Here’s a photo from a 4th of July tea I hosted
several years ago at our former home.
A rich dark blue sheet was used as a tablecloth.
 Red print napkins along with touches of blue
in the teacups and in the Polish-made teapot warmer
{also in the hydrangeas set into a vintage
silver teapot used as a vase}
reiterate the Americana theme.

Bedsheets are a fast way to dress one’s table
providing a ton of yardage for a little price.
Always on-hand bedsheets can bring that
je ne sais quoi
to any tablescape.

Try layering several coordinating sheets or
lace tablecloths together when one won’t quite fit
the dimensions of the dining table.
Turn smaller tablecloths on a diagonal
as they are layered for a pretty 
handkerchief effect.

Our third and final tablesetting

Using those same flow blue plates with a gold charger
paired underneath and a printed bandana 
{similar to ones I used in a tablestyling earlier this spring}
gathered as a napkin with silverware tucked inside
and pulled together 
with a sparkler of a napkin ring
makes another festive tablesetting.


Note:  Mr. Piggy is leading the way with star-topped toothpicks!
Add some teacups if you’re having a tea or just add water glasses and some fresh or faux lavender for another 
refreshing and simple tableau.


 There you have it ~ three stylish and simple
quick to put together tablesettings
which can be set out the day before or early
the morning of Independence Day.
Happy Celebrating!

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Talk of the Town ~ Love My Simple Home
Wow Us Wednesday ~ Savvy Southern Style
Welcome Home Wednesday ~ Five Kids a Dog and a Blog
Uncategorized

Places to Visit ~ Lavender Ridge Farms

Gorgeous pink roses mixed in with tall lavender perennials.
Over the Memorial Day
weekend
My hubby and I took a drive out to 
Gainesville
to visit a lovely little farm ~
Lavender Ridge Farms…

A newly planted upper field on the farm.
Lavender Ridge Farms
2391 County Road 178
Gainesville, TX 76240
(940) 665-6938


I love the little tagline Lavender Ridge Farms
has on its flyers:
“An herb’n experience you can’t get in the city!”
And they would be right!

Memorial Day weekend was warm up in Gainesville
but not blistering and our 20 minute drive 
up the freeway then another 10 miles
with some rights and lefts and some bumpy roads
brought us to the farm.

Plenty of parking and much of it shaded
was spread out over the farm.
Lots of folks were walking around
although it was the last day
of the annual three day lavender festival.
Some people were having lunch under
the shaded table area.
Others were picnicking out on the lawns.

Part of the lavender festival included
 crafters and vendors selling:
*lavender jams and jellies mixed with 
lime and other flavors
*handmade purses and bags
*handmade clothing
*repurposed vintage glassware made into
the cutest garden flowers and
melted into three dimensional
window frames
{I’m sorry I didn’t get any picture but I was afraid the owners
would think I was trying to steal their ideas!  If anything, I would be
promoting them.  So, no photos from the vendor area.}
*wood crafts
*recycled and upcycled lamps made into
solar yard lamps {very clever!}

And, of course, there were lavender items
for sale, though all of the lavender plants
and most of the lavender products
had sold out during the festivals
previous two days.

These echinacea and plumeria were available and
I was tempted by both but decided to
pass until I see how my current plants
survive this summer’s coming heat.
{maybe next year!}
🙂

We had parked up above the lavender field at the top 
of the farm then worked our way down 
through the vendors tucked under the trees
arriving in a shaded area where some ducks and chickens
and four soft and cuddly looking lemurs were!
Isn’t he cute?
{How they got four lemurs to live at their farm I don’t know, but they looked
like they enjoyed being around all the people.  I kept thinking that I had a
cantaloupe in the car I could have cut up and fed them…}
Love this armillary!
Just beyond the animal area still heading left towards 
the farm’s giftshop and restaurant we found 
this armillary amongst some greenhouses.

We made our way down to the rose and flower garden 
next where Hubby decided to take a seat in an 
obliging wooden chair underneath a shady tree.

This incredible lavender tree was situated up towards 
the main house and giftshop.  I don’t know if it is a type
of lavender but it sure was pretty and blooming like
anything!

The lower fields are set up with a large
arbor entrance flanked by two potted junipers
where visitors pass into the garden over
a planked footbridge.
This steps right down onto the garden’s
pathways with these gorgeous pink roses
everywhere!
Since I haven’t seen many pink roses growing here 
in this part of North Texas
I looked to see if any of them had name tags
but alas I didn’t find any.
🙁

I did find lots of blue salvia, many perennials and
a host of annuals planted among the Spanish
and English lavender plants.

Next time my friend Julie from the park
wants to come up and have lunch as 
they serve lavender tea sandwiches
lavender scones
and other lavender treats
like lavender sorbet.

In the fall the lavender farm has several 
events going on so do make plans to 
come on out for a visit.

Really a lovely lavender
time!
Sharing with
Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Savvy Southern Style
Totally Terrific Tuesday ~ Savvy Apron
Welcome Home Wednesday ~ Five Kids a Dog and a Blog
Tuesday Cup of Tea ~ Antiques and Teacups
Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondocks Blog
Vintage Charm ~ Blue Willow House
Share Your Style ~ The Red Painted Cottage
Uncategorized

5 Free Things to do with or for Mom on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day
to you all!

Just stopping by to share five
easy things to do for Mom
today…

1. Make Mom breakfast in bed

Always a favorite of mine! 
This can be as simple as a piece of toast lightly buttered 
and generously spread with your mom’s favorite jelly 
served with
a nice cup of hot English Breakfast tea.

Or perhaps you’d like to serve a nice refreshing 
glass of orange juice with one large
pancake dropped in layers onto 
the griddle in reverse-order creating 
cute animal faces?
Whatever you choose to serve
Mom will love it!


2. Mom’s favorite movie

While away the afternoon or evening by popping 
a big bowl of buttery rich popcorn and 
sitting down with your Mom
and watching her all-time favorite 
movie {or two or three}.
😉



3. Go for a walk with Mom

Make Mom a homemade card saying that
you’ll go with her on her next walk 
around the neighborhood.
It costs nothing but a little time to get
outside and go for a walk, see some nature
and just visit with your Mom.

Taking the dog for a walk while out
walking with your Mom 
is also a big
style point winner!
{at least in this household!}
😉


4. Help Mom in the garden

Here’s a big one ~ Mom could always use
a little help pulling up a few of those
pesky old weeds
but
she’d also love it if you’d come outside
when she’s gardening and 
just be with her and help plant
a few colorful plants.


Who knows? 
Maybe you’ll find some interesting bugs
and insects to look at 
while you are out there?
🙂


5. Bake Mom a yummy cake

Have fun in the kitchen baking
with your dad or an 
older sibling
{or even with your mom}
making Mom a surprise double-decker cake or 
some ooey gooey chocolatey 
rich cupcakes!
One of the simplest things to do
yet also 
one of the most memorable.


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Happy Mother’s Day!
Uncategorized

Incredible Texas Wildflowers!

Texas bluebonnets standing tall in a side road meadow… This is a raw photo with no alterations.
This is my first year
photographing wildflowers 
in Texas ~
and I am loving it!

This photo I played around with…
The lupine are just incredible!
We had lupine in California, even in 
my own backyard.
They don’t like good garden soil
preferring rocky soil, really.

And those seeds you see there?
They are easy to collect and save in a
paper bag to sprinkle about your meadow
for next spring’s flowers.

I love the name “Texas bluebonnets”
and have wondered where and how these
blue lupine got that nickname.
so…
I went researching it.
🙂

Here’s a bit of that fun information

Bluebonnets are named after the bonnets women 
used to wear to protect themselves from 
the hot prairie sun.

Bluebonnets are only up for a short
few weeks in March and April.

Bluebonnets will grow in most
any place in the world 
reseeding themselves and acting as perennials
in warmer areas, and as annuals in colder climates.

Bluebonnets became the Texas state flower
back in 1910.
I found some of this information online at
The Austinot.

The Texas Dept. of Transportation also
had a lot to say about growing wild lupine ~
saying bluebonnets do best in alkaline soil 
which drains well.
Plus, they said to plant seeds from 
Sept 1st through December
but best by 
November for seeds to germinate well.

Places to buy wildflower seeds online:

American Meadows
American Meadows seeds were $9.95.
Amazon.com
type in “bluebonnet seeds” and their web browser will take you
to the correct location.  1000 seeds run $12.95.
Bulk Seed Store.com
A small field of wild Queen Anne’s Lace reaching their ethereal faces towards the heavens.
Near the bluebonnets I found some
Queen Anne’s Lace and 
soft pink primroses…
sigh!
Next time I see a field of Queen Anne’s Lace
I need to remember to pick a few
as I read that they dry well.

Love the tiny florets on this head of Queen Anne’s Lace!

Wouldn’t they be pretty in a dried flower
arrangement?

A lovely mixed field of tall Queen Anne’s Lace {dead center and up}, blue bonnets and pink primrose…
Amazingly beautiful and oddly fake-looking
these beauties are just madly blooming away…

Primroses get about 6″ tall out in the yard ~ such beauty that grows in massive drifts in some places!
I am in love with these pink primroses!
I’ve also seen white and yellow primroses.
Some yellow were growing in my little yard.
I tried digging them up and transplanting them
into a pot but they didn’t like it.


I took some photos at the park
with my new iPhone 6 the other day.
If you’d like to see those
check out my Instagram page to see them!
{Barbara Chapman/French Ethereal}
I hope you’ve liked this little
wildflower tour around North Texas!
I’m looking forward to seeing 
your wildflowers, too.
I’ll see if I can create a wildflower event
on my Facebook page.
Wouldn’t that be fun?
🙂


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Happy wildflower Monday,
Uncategorized

California Gold ~ Massive Flowers in Bloom

California poppies ~ the state flower en masse, Lake Skinner
California dreaming…
While out in California last week,
I visited some favorite places
with “gold in them thar hills…”


Purple masses…

California gold…
Happy cattails
seeds
blowing…

Bluebonnets blooming
billowing
blowing…

Lake Skinner ~ Riverside County Parks
More golden goodness
painting meadows…

Northbound 15 freeway hillside above Temescal Canyon Road, Lake Elsinore

… and hillsides

beautiful garden roses ~ on a side fence in Murrieta, California

And it’s not just all about 
the wildflowers…


Birds of Paradise ~ Shivela Middle School
… but sometimes it is!
🙂
An old hiking trail now closed at Lake Skinner ~ about 3/4 mile from the entrance kiosk.
Time to slow down and
take a walk…
Loved being back in California
for an incredible springtime!
Thanks for stopping by,
Barb 🙂



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Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondocks Blog