8 McDowell


By |2019-04-18T19:51:30-04:00April 18, 2019|8 McDowell, Friday Flowers, Garden|

Lots of small jobs around the garden this week: time to update the pots!

Looking great! But that was a month ago and now the pansies are brown and almost gone.

I had won (at a garden club dinner!) these two planters years ago and love them. For years they were sort of planter orphans: no home in the garden seemed right for them. But now they sit in the front entryway and are perfect. The pansies do well all winter: when it’s cold and icy the flowers shrivel up but give them a day of sun and some warmer temps and they flourish!

But, given that this is the hot Western side of our house, I have to be careful in summer. So this year I have filled them with Portulaca and Delosperma (Ice Flower); both are wonderful in hot, dry conditions! I added that one dark purple petunia…we shall see.


Another ‘to-do’ is to plant seeds. I don’t plant many seeds as I find they just do not do well for me. Last year a friend started some in his greenhouse for me (seeds brought back from England so they were very special!) but otherwise I […]


By |2019-03-24T14:51:19-04:00March 24, 2019|8 McDowell, Shopping|

Are you a fan of Marie Kondo and the KonMari movement?
Do you try to have your tidying up moments “spark joy?”

Buy it here

To be honest, I have not read the book. I’ve looked at it. And lately I have watched sections of several of the episodes on Netflix.
Again, to be honest here, I am amazed at the tidying up “fever” that has swept over us!
I am not a fan. There. It is all so prettified; so canned; so perfect. We are led to believe that by tidying up…I know, there is so much more to it than just that…we will lead better, happier, more focused lives. I totally agree that most of us have just plain TOO MUCH stuff. Shopping is a national pastime; malls have become our mode of recreation; and often it is quantity over quality.

But her version of “tidying up” is much more than that and requires a huge life shift. It’s just not that simple, folks.

So, now that you know how I feel about all this let’s get to the heart of my post. My takeaway from watching the bits that I did yielded one very good experiment. I tried it! I tried the very simple, physical way of rolling […]


By |2019-03-14T17:07:43-04:00March 14, 2019|8 McDowell, Friday Flowers, Garden|

Container gardening is one of the things I love most about gardening.

 I love the colors and textures (surprise, surprise, right?)

Containers can, sometimes, be the only way to garden in a difficult spot. We have a Japanese Maple in our terrace garden that totally prevents me from digging into the ground below it. Containers to the rescue!

They add dimension to certain spaces. The tall green one below forms an end point in one garden and raises the eye a bit.

I’ve always liked containers by a front entrance. In my case, we have brick steps leading to a brick porch area with the front door. What a perfect place for containers. The only problem here is it faces directly west with that very hot afternoon sun so I have to be very careful with what plants will survive. Succulents have, over the years here, been the best choice.


containers in my garden

Here is a photo I had put into Instagram back in February. You can see what was, to my eye, pure garden candy! Oh the colors. So, of course, I went back and bought that orange one you see at beginning of this post. Do I love it? […]


By |2018-10-24T13:22:11-04:00October 21, 2018|8 McDowell, Cooking|

Banana Blueberry bread: are you hungry yet?


Easy to make and oh so good. Freezes very well.
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Serves: 3 small loaves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ ts. salt
  • 1½ c. blueberries, best if mixed with a little flour
  1. Grease inside of pans you are going to use: I prefer small pans but you can certainly use 9×5 pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 375
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together by hand or with mixer
  4. […]


By |2018-06-11T10:12:31-04:00May 24, 2018|8 McDowell, Color, Friday Flowers, Garden|

Dreaming of flowers yet to appear: and all of these are yellow.
I was never really keen on yellow flowers, but preferred the blues and pinks. But that was in a different climate! Here, in the Piedmont of North Carolina where the summers can be brutal, it’s the yellow flowers that outshine, and outlast, all others.




A page from my garden planner!


yellow flowers



I had posted this two years ago!

My Recommendations:
for (almost) foolproof, heat tolerant, summer flowering yellows

I have grown all of these and love them. They do seem to flower a little earlier each year that they are in the garden..but that’s fine with me. Just be sure they are not in damp, wet soil. They love dry. With all the rain we have here for the last […]


By |2017-11-05T16:51:15-05:00November 5, 2017|8 McDowell, Garden, Shopping|

While I am not a fan of decorating my house with autumn decor,  I do have autumn flowers around (surprise, surprise!) and maybe, just maybe, a few white pumpkins. But that is the extent of it.

However, there is something appealing about an autumn wreath. When done well they can be lovely; but let’s try to keep it in mostly live materials. Some faux berries or a few silk leaves will be tolerated… but dried flowers, berries, leaves and grasses are the best.

Here are a few ideas I’ve gathered for you. Many of the best products are available from vendors on Etsy: there is a huge variety both in terms of price and design. So take a look:

From 100% live materials HERE


Another totally alive beauty HERE


Here is a company I found on Houzz:
The Magnolia Company

This is stunning! Their items are fresh, picked daily! Find it HERE


How about this beauty, also from The Magnolia Company:
The Turkey Pheasant Wreath!

Available HERE


Another natural and […]

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