Thursday, September 22, 2016

September Blues


It will likely not come as a shock to any of you that I love blue.  I hate neutral colors like taupe, oatmeal, linen, beige, greige (Satan incolornate), and wheat.  My neutrals are blue, green, and white.  Real white.  I love off-whites, but life is easier when you go with white.  Many people have needed to be hospitalized following an off-white induced mental breakdown.  Also any off-white that goes dingy is repulsive to me.  This serves as evidence to my theory that people surround themselves with the colors that make them look most attractive. 

She wears neutrals well 
Do you remember Color Me Beautiful?  You're a Spring, You're an Autumn, having your "colors read"?  If you don't recall, here is a gem of a YouTube video pulled from the archives of bad taste.  My mom was--or still is, I suppose, I doubt that "certification" expires--an expert on the subject.  So I always grew up knowing I was a Winter, having a firm grasp on what colors worked best for me.  In family photos, my siblings wore navy and I wore red, white, vivid green, or pink.  My sister sometimes wondered why I got to wear pink and she didn't.  I think my mom's friends all thought she put me in pink because I was gay.  So anyway, it's not that I think neutrals are bad.  They're just not for me and therefore I hate them.  I've always wished I were blond and had milky blue eyes and looked good in camel coats and Ralph Lauren buttery yellow.  So maybe my aversion to neutrals is actually just jealousy.  Whatever it is, they have no place with me. 
Source
So given that my go to neutral is blue, I gravitate towards it in most areas.  Obviously I love blue and white porcelain and dinnerware.  Everything else I buy for tabletop has to pass one test: does it look good with blue and white? Luckily, the answer is always yes.  With the exception of some shades of purple.  Because more likely than not, there will be some blue and white floating around. 
While blue and white does work with almost everything, I have my favorite combinations.  Probably my favorite favorite is blue and white with sunflower gold.  Followed closely by blue and white with cranberry.  I love the combination with sunflower because it is so fleeting and perfect in September.  September is my favorite month.  To me, the color story that narrates September is  polished blue and white with wild, tired, and glowing sunflower gold.  It's spectacular when the world switches from invasive summer light to the long, golden rays of September.  The mornings are cool like an October day and the days are warm like an August morning.  You can go summery or autumnal and you're right either way.  For me, that means buying pumpkins and mums in white shorts.  A day when I can buy pumpkins, peaches, Goldenrod honey, and tomatoes is a very good day indeed.  Only in September. 
Those cheap Libbey glasses have proven to be an excellent purchase! 
I absolutely love goldenrod. I hope there's a pornstar out there who has used
that as a name.  Thomas Edison experimented with making rubber tires from
goldenrod, hybridizing a variety that contained about 12% rubber. 





Key Lime Pie for my best friend's birthday

A melon, corn, and tomato salad with grapefruit and feta

I don't have blue ice cream bowls! So I used these Bavarian
teacups and saucers.  I bought these for $50 when I was 20.
I've actually not seen this pattern elsewhere since.  

Now you have some insight why I am so excited about one blue plant in particular.  I am going to declare it the perfect blue-blooming plant for central Ohio in September.  It's a small title, I know.  But I want you all to try it next year and perhaps we can expand its claim.  The increasingly gold tones of September need blue to support them.  It's like the Kim to the Nene.  Both are good on their own, but their combination is the magic. Sidenote: Kim Zolciak is my spiritual leader and we have the same birthday

Annual planting here does not begin until after May 15.  Or it shouldn't.  There are always those people who go buy everything on the first warm day in April, but we almost always have a killing frost on May 14 or 15.  With often vacationing around Memorial Day, I wait until the first week of June to plant my annuals.  Surprise, surprise, I don't trust anyone to water them the right way while I'm gone.  The upside to this delayed planting is that everything is on sale.  The downside is that the inventory can be somewhat limited.  That actually ends up being kind of fun because it forces me to try new plants.  I used to stick to a palette of fuchsia, lavender, dark purple, and lime green with all my annual containers. Over the last few years, I've decided I prefer riotous color.  So I buy geraniums in coral, fuchsia, pale pink, and red--petunias in lavender, pink, and deep violet--verbena in red, blue, and pink--pentas in red and pink--lantana in yellow and orange--and this year, salvia.  I have grown Victoria Blue salvia before and thought it was fine, but it wasn't a prolific bloomer for me.  I had it in the ground and maybe it got too wet.  So since it was like 150 degrees in the greenhouse,  I didn't think about it all that long and got the last ten Salvia 'Black and Blue' they had.  As you know, I'm not a I'll just buy one  kind of guy.  I loved their intense blue blooms and figured they were worth a try. 
I loved the immediate height they gave my containers.  In the following weeks, I was highly skeptical.  The blooms faded and it appeared no new blooms were forming.  The plants were bulking considerably, but only in leaves.  I am an aggressive fertilizer with annuals, so I knew they had plenty of calcium (I use a fish and seaweed emulsion and add a few tablespoons of whole milk).  I decided to give them one more week after the 4th of July before I pulled them.  They were growing so much that they were blocking the geraniums from getting light. Apparently salvias respond to threats.  Within that week, they went insane with countless spires of bloom unfurling toward the sun.  They went from scraggly bunches of green to shrub-like masses of blue.  I love them because they are so saturated at every turn.  The leaves are deep and healthy emerald, the blooms are clear and vivid cobalt, and the calyx is strikingly black. 
The best photo I could get.  I asked my brother to take over hummingbird
photography for me.  I lured him over with a six-pack of his
favorite beer (it's disgusting)
I asked him to get one with the bird, the salvia, and the lantana.  He asked
okay, where is the Atlanta?

Are they not just the most adorable little things? 

Their beauty is not even the best part.  The hummingbirds! The hummingbirds go absolutely insane for them.  I've never had a hummingbird feeder because I don't want to mess with making syrup for them all the time, and of course a bird feeder is a sizable commitment. With the cleaning and restocking and guarding from squirrels.  While I've always admired hummingbirds, I've never really interacted with them.  I was absolutely delighted when I looked from the sink one day and saw a hummingbird darting between blooms.  I went over to the window to examine and saw another. Starting in early July and not ending until September 21, from sunrise to sunset, there have been at least three hummingbirds at my salvia.  Even in the rain.  At first, they were very skeptical of me and Barbie and would flee when they heard the door open.  As weeks passed, they became comfortable and almost social.  I kind of felt like a fat and tan Snow White with birds swirling around me at every turn.  Did you see this bird migration map from Cornell?  It is indeed mesmerizing.  There is also this one that has each bird numbered.  Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are 81.  Of course, anything good for hummingbirds is inviting to butterflies.  I've also tremendously enjoyed the rush of butterflies. 
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

I think this is a Cloudless Sulphur.
Not a Gypsy Moth as it kind of appears to be
Barbie and a Black Swallowtail last summer 

All information on salvia suggests that they like very dry soil.  I have mine in small containers that bake in the sun all day, so that is likely why mine seem to benefit from a deep and thorough watering every day.  Also it could be because I am a habitual over-waterer and feeder.  God forbid anything under my care not be stuffed to the gills with a drink in hand.  Whatever the case, mine are very happy.  Although the hummingbirds abruptly left, I am going to leave the salvia for as long as I can.  I think the stunning blue will be an excellent foil to the rust, gold, and burgundy of mums.  Assuming it ever cools down enough to plant them. 

July 30

September 21. I did stake them. Once in June and once in late July
 That's only two plants!
Yessssss.  Sorry, but I don't give a fuck about Halloween.
I've dated too many Scorpios



Did you discover a new favorite plant this year? 


77 comments:

  1. I never knew that hummingbirds were attracted to blue salvia! We have a feeder and keep the resident hummingbirds fed all winter...here they seem to go for red flowers and our orange honeysuckle.
    ok "goldenrod" as a porn stars name had me laughing out loud!
    Sounds to me like you are a gifted gardener as well as all your other talents...I agree with you about blue and white porcelain, it is so elegant and if I were given to hoarding, which I am not...that would be my passion.

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    1. I know! I always thought hummingbirds exclusively sought red feeders/plants. I'm going to grow salvia in other colors but similar flower size next year and see how they respond to the other colors. At this point I don't do a lot of gardening but I'm hoping to change that. I always do lots of seasonal containers though. There is a pair of 5ft tall blue and white vases I'm going back and forth over...

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  2. Oh, you really got me. First the blue and white. Then the teacups with ice cream. Then the hummingbirds and butterflies. You are too wonderful. You really deserve a better climate than Ohio (just kidding--I'm a native Midwesterner, too).
    However, on golden rod: No. It clashes terribly with the puffy red eyes and bulbous red nose it causes.

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    1. Haha thank you! Yes I am often so fed up with Ohio's weather that I swear I'm fleeing the state. Goldenrod is often blamed as an allergen but it's usually ragweed which blooms at the same time and is pollinated by air, so it releases into the air. Whereas goldenrod pollen is heavier and transmitted by insect pollination.

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    2. Thank you for setting people straight on goldenod vs ragweed!

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  3. Your beautiful blues and whites! Ellie is proud of you from her perch on high. Hummingbirds? If I can find it I'll try blue salvia here in France next year, or see what else the garden center suggests for attracting them. The last time I saw one was 14 years ago in St. Lucia, on my honeymoon.

    Don't sniff at bright winter...so many pretty colors! I find myself strangely attracted to neutrals, for the house. By the way, the painted white brick and the window grilles in your two photos look quite French, indeed!

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    1. Thank you! I'm sure in a lot of France they would even be perennial. Or maybe hit or miss depending on severity of the winter. Haha overall I am glad for my coloring, as I do love vibrant colors. I've been blond twice, both huge mistakes! Actually maybe three times.

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    2. Completely thought the same thing, Katherine...very Frenchy indeed!

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  4. You had me at Goldenrod. I do believe you have a big future in porn star naming. Meanwhile, love your garden, the hummingbirds and butterflies, Barbie. Cheers, Ardith

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    1. Haha thank you! Maybe I should be a pun agent in porn. I would love naming the movies and the actors.

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  5. I totally with you on dislike for 'neutrals' Beige, taupe, tan ... blech. My neutral is red, or olive, or blue, or gold. For clothes, give me a pair of jeans and a black or charcoal top, a scarf or a jazzy necklace, and a fun pair of shoes. As I've been downsizing and decluttering, color and pattern have been gradually leaving my closet. Easier to shop, makes me happier to wear.

    Goldenrod ... I snorted.

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    1. I think Virginians are luckiest with home decor and their choices! You can go colorful southern or bolder colonial and it all works. Funny how one goes through phases with wardrobe. For years I wore nothing but black and white and now I go heavy with color. Still a lot of white though.

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  6. Agree with you re total fabulousness of Salvia "Black and Blue". If you cut it to the ground when it's past its best, it will return the following year, bigger and better! I'm in Melbourne, Australia, and the salvia in my garden is about 5 ft tall and pretty spectacular. The vivid blue flowers are stunning!
    Kate.

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    1. FF also said what a great plant salvias are for Australians. Unfortunately these are not perennial here! They are hardy to zone 7 and we are zone 6, so they might make it through a very mild winter but we also can have winters much colder than zone 6. So they'll likely have to stay an annual for me. I think otherwise I would plant dozens and dozens!

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  7. Blue is my favorite color as well. I was shocked when, as a child, I realized it wasn't everyone's favorite as, to me, it was clearly the best color! That being said - I do like all those neutrals that you hate - particularly taupe. All of your food looks delicious. I would so like to come to dinner at your house! I discovered black and blue salvia this year as well and bought one plant. I did not have the success that you did. Mine looked terrible all season and only barely started blooming in late August. The blooms were beautiful, but the plant looked terrible, so out it went. I will take your tips to heart and try again next year.

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    1. Yeah I think they need a lot more water than suggested! I was worried I was overwatering them but they couldn't get enough. If I did t have mine watered by 10AM or so in summer, they would wilt. Thank you so much!

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  8. Love the black and blue salvia and key lime pie. What a great birthday present!

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    1. Thanks! It's a bit of a tradition. I think I've been making KLPs for her birthday since I was 12 or so! It was the first recipe I really mastered.

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    2. It is one of my favorites and I am going to ask for a Key Line Pie for my birthday in May. I love it that much.

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  9. Absolutely so fun to see your post today! I'm definitely a black, grey, cream, denim, taupe girl....but, that's what makes life so interesting. I'll just bet though, that despite our color choices, we are closely related in our organization and preparation skills! Janie

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    1. Thank you! Yes you're absolutely right! It's funny how I like them when other people use/wear them. I just can't myself!

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  10. i do remember that color chart thing!
    i'm also a winter!
    at the age of 17 i fell in love with a white collarless leather coat. i wore a royal blue scarf with it. my hair was very dark. i felt like jackie kennedy.
    i even wore it to my dad's funeral that same year... because he loved it on me.
    if people were scandalized i didn't care.
    your tables are always so gorgeous and scrumptious. come to think of it that's how i would describe YOU too.
    a winter goldenrod! LOLOL.
    gorgeous and scrumptious and supremely sophisticated and humorous.
    you're on your own with the plants.
    i have a BLACK thumb. they see me and scream.
    XOXO♥

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    1. Oooh love your Jackie O look! I wore pink and green to my GG's funeral because she hated drab clothes! So I overwhelmingly approve of your outfit to your dad's funeral. Thank you so much! Haha id imagine out there on the prairie gardening is very very tough! It's all so extreme!

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  11. I gave Salvia Black and Blue my plant of the year award this year. It is such a great plant with the most wonderful color and here where I live in Southern California it is a good perennial coming back in it's full glory every year. In fact if you are interested I did a post on it last week. It is nice to find out that I am in such good company.

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    1. Oh I will read it, thanks! I so wish it was perennial here!

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  12. I used to grow a lot of salvias and my favourite was a blue/purple called Black Knight. I loved it.

    Kim Z's new season of Don't be Tardy starts here in about a week and when I saw the ad I thought of you immediately. She is designing a new fragrance line.

    Lantana is considered a pest here. Like a horrible weedy pest. Go Figure.

    My new favourite plant this year are my late Grandmother's gerberas which are un-named ones form the 1950s that we dug up from her garden. They ask for little and give so much. They last ages as cut flowers.

    I never had my colours done but I know people who swear by it.

    I wish you were here to help me decorate my plastic tree.

    Love to Barbiexxxx

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    1. I love that gerbera! I'm so glad you saved it and moved it! Plants with a history are such a great addition. I'm going to look into black knight. I think it's available here too. Next year I want to plant a bed with blue and fuchsia mixed together and with a little border of the lime green pineapple sage that flowers intensely red in late October. You know what's funny? I don't watch Don't Be Tardy! I need to give it another chance but I didn't like the first season. But her early days were enough to secure her place in my heart forever. I hate her wigs that are low lighted too dark. I like the more blended ones. Also I liked it when she styled herself better. Her go-to corset with a blazer and a bunch of gold jewelry was my favorite. Not to forget the cigarette and Chardonnay from a tacky Versace crystal wine glass. Those were the days.

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    2. I will watch don't be Tardy and let you know! x

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  13. I was just thinking it was, sadly, time to turn the page for you to have a new blog entry. I laughed my way through your blog. First, salvia. I just bought some at the end of the year flat sale. I bought blue but also a perennial red salvia and why? well, for the hummingbirds of course! The hummingbirds in my yard like love are obsessed with Petite Delight Monarda which after 20 years has become giant regular Monarda. What I cannot understand is why your Salvia is not perennial. We are Zone 3 here so what is your problem??? Yes, I know some are for Zones 6-7 but surely you can get some of ours. I love your Blue/Black Salvia. Another plant you might try is Crater Lake Blue Veronica. Ours was sprawling all over so I banished it to a rock garden where it wasn't crowded by other plants et voila it stood upright all summer and bloomed its pretty blue flowers profusely. Love your hummingbird photos - or at least your brother's. Tell him (not to be picky) that he needs to focus on the eye. I just started wearing my red Geoxx flats again with the most beautiful red jacket (with a red and white polka dot lining) so I am amused that you like red. I love blue too. My idea of a summer holiday is to go sit on a neighbour's porch on their acreage and watch their h-birds. As good as a trip to Europe or better as there are no hummingbirds in Europe. Today it is miserable here but the first Peacock Orchid is in bloom. I have never grown them before. Ellie would have loved your table settings and your porn name. I am even amazed that you know that Goldenrod pollen is too heavy to travel windborne and cause allergies. Few people know that and it is much maligned. Lovely blog post!

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    1. Thank you so much! I should give Veronica a try. It's funny how sometimes I see it and love it and then other times it looks messy. I think it works best with a strong-willed gardener. There is a blog called Obsessive Neurotic Gardener and he is a big lover of a blue Veronica. He has lots of beautiful photos of it looking glorious. I actually didn't know that hummingbirds are exclusive to North America. Perhaps explains why one was chosen in my favorite Disney movie, Pocahontas. I think most of the hummers around my garden were juvenile so I will definitely have more salvia for them next year and await their return. Actually I saw another one yesterday but it was smaller than the others and had darker coloring. Wondered if he was stopping on his migration. I really like monarda. I used to grow one that sort of morphed into gladiolus like blooms with many pompoms of pink. I also love love red. I think red goes with almost everything except brown (I hate brown).

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    2. Hi Stephen – hummingbirds are exclusive to North, Central and South America. I love them but we don't get as many species here as some places (although Ruby-throated seems to be expanding its range westward!

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  14. Hooray! You've discovered the holy grail of hummingbird plants! Black-and-blue salvia is the first plant I look for at the garden center and the backbone of my many containers (too lazy to plant in the ground, plus we're zone 5.)

    The companion plant, equally awesome, is a red salvia called Hot Lips. You won't regret it! It's like key lime pie for hummers. And now I want one of those too. I've also been baking those since I was a teen. In 1952, my parents visited Miami from the wilds of Ohio and tasted key lime pie for the first time. My father asked the chef for the recipe and the guy wanted five dollars for it. Which in today's dollars is about 45 bucks which shows how much my father loved that key lime pie!

    Great post - another blue and white groupie here.

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    1. Oh I am so jealous of your parents visiting Miami in the 50s!! Vintage Florida is like the greatest part of Americana. So sad what the dominant Floridian style has morphed into. I hate those barfy houses that just undulate into vaguely Mediterranean blobs. It seems like people are changing them to more clean palettes though so maybe trimming the fat from the architectural orgy is next. I will look into hot lips! Big question: did your dad insist on key limes or was he okay with limes? The key limes we get up here, when we get them, are shriveled and awful so I just use lime.

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    2. Oh Stephen, we had no idea what a key lime was! We used regular limes and during times we were particularly broke even used those plastic squeezy things that shoot out lime or lemon "juice." We still called it Key Lime Pie. Haha!

      Agree about the Florida architecture. We ended up moving there a few years later and even as a kid I was much taken with the Art Deco hotels and the true Spanish houses. I'm still a sucker for an orange tile roof!

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  15. P.S. The hummingbirds will remember your salvia next summer and will expect it to be there!

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  16. I still have my Color Me Beautiful color palette! It helped as a shopping guide (efficiently narrowing the focus), and it was a good little workshop to learn to be aware of how colors affected my complexion, how they enhance hair color, eye color intensity, etc. (and the opposite with the wrong colors!). I’m a Spring, make that a Clear Spring, and seeing your Bright Winter chart, I can do most of those colors as well. I love a deep taupe because of the purple in it. I just love color in general. (As for ..beige, I live in an apartment that is wall-to-wall builder beige and on top of that, sprayed, textured to boot. It’s almost driving me insane. I am in the process of covering as much of it as possible in lovely photographs and paintings to avoid actually registering it. BB should be banned altogether. Oh, and griege – awful word, awful color. :) ). You must love Monet’s dinnerware (Haviland Parlon), as Ellie showed us in her visit to Giverny. I am now a tad obsessed with it. I’d love even a few pieces, as it would blend in with my blue and white Liberty Blue dinnerware that my mother collected for me while I was growing up and I still use to this day. Blue and white is so timeless! I could always just use yellow napkins and call it a day.
    Those Bavarian teacups and saucers are gorgeous! Looks like periwinkle blue (another favorite of mine). Good buy! Blue and gold is so regal! :)
    I had an interesting experience with hummingbirds. I remember when I was little, my father would point them out to me and I could never see them. Only now do I seem to see them wherever they are. I’ve even had one outside my window couple of times. I think it was eating the bugs that were on the screen. It appears your brother can be bought. (I see what you mean about that map!)
    That cloudless sulphur moth complements the color of the petunias perfectly! What a combo.
    Being new to gardening in CA it’s been an adjustment to the seasonal offerings. It’s still a delight to be picking out the cool weather pansies in the fall here, when in New England we’d be covering the beds with leaves for winter’s slumber. As for favorite plants, this year I am honoring the lovely deep pink geranium as a desert-heat winner! I couldn’t be more surprised at how well it has performed (stayed alive) in our triple-digit heat. I have plenty of succulents (to provide greenery as I figured out what survives when) and the geraniums have kept plugging along, blooming and even tolerating some drought when it was too hot for me to even be outdoors to give them a drink. Impressive! The second one to mention is lantana. It appeared the one I had expired, even though I gave it a last-ditch drink to try and save it and so I was going to toss it. As I went to pull it out of the pot I noticed a couple of tiny green leaves. I decided to give it more water and see what happens. Lo and behold it came back and it’s about to bloom again! Amazing what nature will do, and with even a little attention. On walks I’ve noticed lantana planted as ground cover and have seen it creeping out onto the sidewalk.
    There’s a Miracle Gro just for blooming flowers that I used and boy does it make things bloom. I accidentally fed some to my coleus and they immediately bloomed (spiked the seedheads). That all seemed a little unnatural to me, so I prefer a regular flower food like a 10-10-10. I like to see the blooms cycle naturally, rather than force a show. (I wonder if this is an ‘only in America’ thing.)
    I love the way your salvia filled in the container area – beautiful! And it’s nice to see the setting evolve, as the summer annuals ‘fall away’ and the salvia take center stage. Thanks for sharing that! I swoon over that color in the lobelia. It's a stunner.
    And I agree, the backdrop of that looks rather French indeed.
    I noticed the Christmas lights the other day. It’s almost as confusing as planting violets in January!

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    1. Thank you! I love that you see hummingbirds now! Your dad is checking in on you and saying hello! I absolutely love the monet china. Loveeeeee it. There is another blue and yellow pattern I love with a yellow border and blue seashells printed at the crest. I've seen it once or twice but haven't had luck finding any info. Blue and yellow is so timeless. People in Ohio are blind to it because they are Michigan's colors. Fools! Such a great combination, especially in the autumn. Geraniums are usually winners here too but they had a rough year. I think baked in relentless heat for days and then drowned by inches of rain had them confused. I'm glad you're covering that builder beige!

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  17. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways even though you must despise me because I only wear black, white and camel...and leopard. So maybe I will be redeemed by the last? ;)

    Thank you for making me laugh, heartily, always.

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    1. Haha well again you look good in them! I'm all for people wearing colors they love! I just hate them for myself! I think my favorite color on redheads is-no surprise here-emerald. But do you remember when Julianne Moore wore that vivid canary yellow? That was stunning.

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    2. I do but honestly she can wear carnation pink and get away with it so clearly she is an exception to the redhead rule.

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  18. Salvias are one of my favourite plant. So much so that I overplanted my favourite sub species and it took over the front garden and I had to cull hard. It's called Meaghan's Magic (horrible name) and is a local variety that is a really big tall bush, and grows enormous long flower heads that are inky navy and alternating white spotted. So pretty. But I don't have to plan annually - here we just cut them down in Winter and they regrow in Summer. The Honeyeaters are our native bird that loves the salvia although they are a bigger bird, but the hummingbird is not an Australian bird, so I have never seen one in person. I didn't realise they were so tiny!
    I have never had my colours done, but think that I instinctively know what colours suit me and gravitate toward them.... I was told by my mother that yellow did not suit me. Aged 25 I decided to try on a top that I loved that was yellow. It certainly suited me. Turns out my Mum just hated yellow so told me that to get me not to wear it as a child. I often wish I could wear camel coloured anything, but alas it makes me look like death. As does peach.
    I just love looking at your food photos - they are just so perfect. I'm going to channel you tomorrow when I do family lunch. Enjoy the pumpkins and peaches! x

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    1. Oh I'm going to look into your salvia! I love the sound of it! I looked up honeyeaters and they are so cute! Do you have the more drab colored ones or the more colorful? So funny about your mom and yellow! My mom did that to me with pastels! The woman hates pastels and always told me they were bad. During my 16 year old rebellion, my wardrobe exploded with pastels. Yellow is a lot like green, some shades are so so good and some are so so bad. I think everyone has a yellow that works for them. What's on the menu for the family lunch?

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    2. Our Honeyeaters have the yellow tummies, so are very brightly coloured. That's so funny about pastels!! They look horrible on me, so I never go pastel, but yellow, most shades of a true, clear yellow do suit my colouring. Lunch is slow cooked leg of lamb with smoked garlic, oregano, rosemary with sides of Freekah with preserved lemon, parsley, almond and steamed green beans. For pudding, there is a pear and ginger cake. I'm worried about the cake though as it's sunk in the middle....

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    1. Excellent! There are so many to choose from.

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  20. A blog entry from you is such a treat with my morning coffee ... it's so nice to "hear" your voice. I love your writing, and you make me laugh (and that is one of the very best qualities a person can have). "My" hummingbirds have abruptly hightailed it out of my gardens, too; since they usually hang around until the first or second week in October, I'm afraid their departure signals an early winter. Thanks to you, though, I have made a note to grow salvia next year for them. Also, your picture of Barbie and the butterfly mirrors what my Great Dane does with the bees that are all over my sedum right now ... but even though his snout has been stung a few times, he's too curious about them (and a bit too dimwitted) to leave them alone.

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    1. Thank you so much! I thought it seemed early! But I also thought it was really interesting that they left on the eve of the equinox! I'm sure your Great Dane is mystified that there are such small creatures! I wouldn't mind an early winter. We've had such warm Thanksgivings and Christmases lately. And while nice, it is hell for me with refrigeration and freezing! Not to mention my comfort in the kitchen considering I am always 900 degrees. I love to have the doors open and cold air swirling through while I'm cooking. I turn a chair toward the fireplace for Barbie to keep her warm!

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  21. oh dear God i adore you stephen andrew. i've discovered that the salvia you suggested (here in this post) for my garden is already planted. it is just in the wrong place. i was told when it was given to me that it was invasive but it isn't. i will try moving it this month. i adore blue and white because it always looks right here. i like it with pink. i'm not a big yellow fan. i love those tea cups with ice cream in them. it looks like a magazine spread. all your food looks magazine worthy. i've never really gotten halloween either. and isn't it wonderful that barbie goes with everything. x

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    1. Thank you so much! You know I adore you too! I can see how you don't need yellow in California. There is enough golden light and blonde hair organically. Yellow is more important here with the pervasive grey. Blue and white with pink is so perfect. It's funny because one of my best friends' houses growing up was sort of an austere colonial style and the interior leaned more primitive except for one room that had crisp white wainscoting, yellow walls, and all blue and white fabrics on the drapes and upholstery. That was the room that the builder and interior designer had consulted on. No one was allowed in there but I always stared in! I think that's where my blue and white with yellow transfixion was born! And now I'm friends with that builder and interior designer!

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  22. NO, NEW PLANT this year!I take that back I saw my first WEEPING BEECH TREES............does that count?I want a few but I do not have the space...........we are in a drought STILL and the gardening is on hold in this house.A Beautiful spread.......as per the NORM with YOU!I ADORE YOUR WINDOWS AND WALLS.The JOY the GARDEN and the insects, animals, birds brings to one is ENORMOUS.I must have some blue and white I can send you.........but not a whole set and I think that would BUG YOU?I must be on the LOOK OUT as I have no more room for another dish, but YOU I feel are still COLLECTING!!!!!!!!!XX

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    1. Oh weeping beeches are so pretty! Beech trees don't love this area but they do moderately well. Can you grow them in California? I'm always collecting! Haha but don't worry I have more than enough! I am good about donating old stuff I don't like as I find new stuff I do!

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    2. Never seen one in California!SO I guess the answer is NO!I will ask my favorite NURSERYMAN.
      RIGHT you made a BEAUTIFUL Donation of PINK GLASSES awhile back!!!!!!!!!THAT IS SO GOOD of you to do!

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  23. NOt a new discovery, but a new way of planting.. I scattered sunflower seeds of random sizes,varietes throughout my backyard perennial gardens and I LOVE the random pops of sunshine color.There are still a few stragglers remaining.

    I do love neutrals, and wear far too much of them, but I have learned with the years to throw pops of bold color here and there. And.. when you use a neutral pallet to start with, you can change out those pops of color fairly easily. My grandmother Elsie was a lover of all things Blue and White, and her decor was beautiful, elegant.. you would have LOVED her style. Heels and dress attire daily, hair and makeup perfect, beautiful dinners served on beautiful china with linen and silver -always.

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    1. Love the sunflower idea! I was thinking I really need a sunflower patch. Although I so love buying them at the market maybe not. I love to change colors seasonally too. Luckily blue and white goes with every seasonal color!
      Absolutely love your grandmother. How wonderful to have access to such a woman of style!

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  24. I love that salvia. I also love Key Lime pie above all other pie flavors. Just thought you'd want to know.

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    1. I wonder if all g&t lovers also love KLP above all others. That would make sense, no?

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  25. Dear Stephen Andrew, Relatively new reader here. I haven't read this post word for word, which I intend to later, but I had to tell you right off the bat that you and I sound like birds of a feather. I'm a little of summer and a little of winter, and I definitely know which colors look best on me. Mostly something with a lot of color, no pastels, and definitely a true white. Most folks tell me I look great when I wear royal blue, a true red; forget anything with a hint of orange or yellow. I'm definitely going to look for the Salvia Black and Blue, but if you really want a Salvia that the butterflies and hummingbirds will love, try to find the one called Hot Lips. I have "Hummers" coming and going all day long at a feeder at my kitchen window, and I know they love the Hot Lips Salvia recently planted at my front door. As it turns out, I wear the colors I love, and live with the colors I love around me, and fortunately those same colors are the ones that look best on me. It doesn't work that way for everyone. My mother had no clue what color looked best on her and I could never convince her otherwise. All for now, but I will be back so I can read every word above.

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    1. Welcome! Thank you so much. I will definitely look into hot lips! it's funny how a lot of people feel about pastels! I absolutely love them but I like anything that makes me look tan. I don't like most oranges but I do love a pastel peach, cantaloupe, salmon, and coral. So orangey pinks and pinky oranges.

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  26. You know, you really took some amazing pictures for this one! The one of Barbie and the butterfly is especially lovely. I have absolutely NO blue and white anything, but you always make me feel like I could make it work. But I have to face reality, we're practically The Neutral Warehouse here at our homestead.

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    1. Thank you! I see how blue and white might not work itself into your earthy Californian palette! Plus you don't exactly have time to be dusting! Not until Adele can climb walls and get them for you!

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  27. Blue and white with sunflower yellow is so beautiful. My favourite. Love everything about this post and I think you're such a talented gardener on top of everything else. This year I planted Bee Balm in my garden all around my Rebecca statue and it went silly, it loves the spot and looked amazing.
    I have no idea what my colours are but I love yours. The food looks amazing in this post as usual, the teacups are so pretty. XO

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    1. Thank you so much! If I'm a talented gardener, my garden does not currently reflect it! I've got a handle on my containers and chaos everywhere else! I know you also love blue and white with orange which I so adore. Bee balm is a great plant! It sometimes struggles with powdery mildew here but when it's happy in a spot it's so perfect

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  28. Stephen,
    I cant' stop laughing :) I love your writing!! And your beautiful photos. Please stop posting pics of your food - making me very hungry, dear!!
    xoxo
    L
    PS - I love blues, too. Every shade of blue. Remember that Bananarama song??

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    1. Thank you! Did you have that salvia in your DC blue garden? Oh of course I do! Haha

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  29. I love your window boxes. They are gorgeous!

    I had my 'colors done' a looong time ago, but really couldn't take it seriously, as the woman who was 'reading' me had on muddy brown as her signature shade. That was it for me.

    My love of flowers grows every year. The more the merrier. My neighbor made a slightly sideways comment about my abundance of flowers I had planted last year. Really? Challenge accepted. This year they are almost tall enough to block my view of her house. 😉
    I live in Bend, OR where the Deschutes Brewery is, and I have to agree. I do not want to drink anything that tastes like a tree! Their Mirror Pond on the other hand is quite delightful.

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    1. Thank you! Haha so I was actually wrong about his favorite! It's still Deschutes but it's actually fresh squeezed. Oh well it's still gross. How crazy about your neighbor! Who objects to flowers?! Keep planting! Oregon is so beautiful. And such a gardener's paradise. I'd rather blend in with the crowd than have a signature shade if it had to be brown!

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  30. I love everything in your photos! My favourite colour is green...a deep forest green! And speaking of green, I love the greens in your photos. Great post, thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you! I'm a Taurus so I love love green too! I love a clear emerald and I still love classic 90s Martha green!

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  31. Hey i am a Taurus also. I love blue,white,red.emerald green. Such bright happy colours. I say banish the nuetrals. I have no clue what my Season of colours are. I just know what i like. And after being around so long I discovered that late spring early summer, is my favourite time of the year. Everything is so bright new,fresh so full of life & hope. Also thank you for posting. Love your blog. Will try the Salvia plant next year.

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  32. Thank you for the wonderful update. Apparently I'm a Spring but my heart is decidedly fall and winter. Also, I'm a grumpy Capricorn who prefers moody purples and greens. And black. Always black.

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  33. Stephen, you are hysterical. Think about a book. And it will be nothing but Black and Blue salvia in next year's garden!

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  34. Hello Stephen, I may have to make room in my plethora of pink petunias and try Black and Blue Salvia again. I think I was impatient with mine a few years ago and should have waited for it to bloom a second time as you did. I've been gardening long enough to know that plants should have at least two seasons of trial in the garden before I declare them a no-go. But being in WI with our silly short seasons, I'm often drawn to what I know will flourish so I have less to worry about when it comes to tour season.

    I adore your table settings, you have inimitable style.

    I never had my 'colors' done, I suppose I should, since my closet is mostly dark wash denim and black. I know I need to lighten up, but I've always been a gloomy gus. I've worn my favorite jeans down to the texture of cheesecloth, so I guess it's time to look into something different.

    I love the picture of Barbie and the butterflies. :-)

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  35. Stephen, as usual, amazing. I always look forward to posts from you.

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  36. So happy I found your little piece of the interwebs. you never disappoint! XO - Cari

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  37. You my friend are a joy, my God you make me laugh...goldenrod.... My fav color is blue too. I have trying to eliminate the browns from my life. Today I spray painted my oak chairs white and I'm painting my place verrrrry light pink, it makes me happy and I know I glow a little when I'm happy!


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  38. Completely agree ... current trends show decor looking like flour sack upon flour sack. Blech. Bring me color ... especially blue. Your comments are hilarious, and photos breathtaking.

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  39. Hello Stephen, I really wish people would have their colors done and then stick to them. I see so many people wearing "fashionable" colors that make them look half dead. This is especially true once you get past 30. Black and pure white, are not optimal colors for anyone but a "Winter". Many redheads think they look good in black and white but they only look "OK". I am not a "colorist" but I have been a painter and have studied color theory.

    You are so right about beige and greige. Really, those are the color of dirt and grime. Cannot think of any person for whom those are good colors, especially as we get older and the "brown" spots begin to appear. Ivory is good for Springs and Autumns. White with a tinge of blue is good on a true Summer.

    By the way, I love to wear blue as well but it has to have a bit of clear green in it.

    Sorry for the rant about color but I hate what the "fashion" industry tries to force us into buying. I am a Spring and it is very difficult to find clothes in the right colors. Have to have most of mine made. However, we Springs and Autumns get the last laugh because GOLD is OUR best metal!

    Smiles from Charlotte Des Fleurs

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