Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Hot Mess!

We have a hot mess at our house right now!  Got back from the beach to find that our oldest daughter is having a housing crisis, so we have the 3 and almost 5 yr old and their dog for the week.

She won't keep clothes on, won't keep anything in her hair, and nobody can tell her nothing.

She's a hot mess.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Garden Places #2

food trucks at Seaside

Can a beach be a favorite garden place?  It can be, when you are along the stretch of 30-A that runs from Grayton Beach to Rosemary Beach, separating the dunes and beach itself from the cottages of the various little communities along the that stretch of the Florida panhandle.  This area is as far from the barrenness and cheesy commercialism of the high-rises and condos (not that they can't be fun) that typify the Destin and Fort Walton areas as can be, despite being only about 20 minutes down the road.

Depending on how much money we have saved for the trip, and which cottages are available for one of the weeks that we like to go (either the 2d or 3d week of May, or the 4th if we can clear out before Memorial Day -- both to avoid crowds and to take advantage before the higher summer rates kick in), and what the rates are -- we stay either in Seaside itself or Seagrove, which is adjacent.  Seaside is a "new urbanist" community with lots of amenities, very nice beach access pavilions (The Truman Show was filmed here), but is pretty expensive.  Seagrove is older, less dependable in the quality of stay, has public beach access (no bathroom, or rinsing off facilities like the Seaside accesses), but is less expensive.  We are in Seagrove this year, only one street off from Seaside.

These are some shots of the "public" areas of Seaside -- the commercial areas, rather than the residential parts.  Every part of Seaside provides eye candy, particularly for a gardener.  Above are two shots of the "village" side showing the food trucks, which line the sidewalk and face the highway and the beach side.

entrance to Perspicacity

On the beach side of the highway there is an outdoor Caribbean style market (called Perspicacity), lots of shady seating areas, and some restaurants with eating areas that overlook the beach, as well as a beach access open to the public whether or not you are staying at Seaside.

Little pots and plantings are tucked in everywhere, even on the beach side.  This is a little area between one of the restaurants and the sidewalk along the highway-- kale and petunias.  Often the pots feature an edible paired with a flower.  And you know what you see can take the heat and the sun!

Another shot of a wall of one of the restaurants on the beach side.  Again, a mix of flowers, edibles and herbs.

This is a shot behind the food trucks on "village" side, from by the stage to the amphitheater, looking across the large green to the only tall buildings, which constitute "downtown".  Every week in the summer the Seaside Repertory Theater performs plays here, which are free to watch.  People spread blankets and picnic or get ice cream from one of the several ice cream shops that are there.  Various shops and offices are in those buildings.

This is what the view looks like from that same amphitheater just to the right of the "downtown" buildings -- you can see some of the bigger cottages, along with the 2 story building, which houses a locally owned book store and record/music store, along with a community radio station.

The sidewalk and a restaurant near the bookstore.  Note the narrow planting box, filled to the brim with rosemary, kale, and other edibles.

I see some chard, and maybe fennel or dill.

Some lettuce.  Totally inspirational!  And in such a narrow, exposed (southern exposure!) area.  Of course an irrigation system and paid staff probably helps.

Entrance to Ruskin Place
When you step behind the downtown buildings and the bookstore, away from the greenspace and amphitheater and the hubbub of the restaurants and the highway, you step into "the shady side of Seaside", Ruskin Place -- a strip of shady park bordered between townhouse style buildings that have shops and galleries at sidewalk level, with apartments above.  Lots of eye candy here.

Little planters tucked in every doorway and corner.

That little shop is called "A Paris Apartment".

I think it's at least 10 degrees cooler in Ruskin Place than any other spot in Seaside.

Every little bit of space crammed with plants.

Closeups of some of the entrance plantings.

And here is the far end of Ruskin Place, where we enter the residential area.  Like any old fashioned town, the houses closest to the "downtown" are grander, and as you move out from the main street they become more modest, modeled on the small beach bungalos and tin-roofed cabins found in the rural south.  But that's a tour for another post.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

30-A vibe

A few pics taken with my new IPod, on our vacation in the Seagrove/Seaside FL area.  30-A is the two lane county (state?) hiway that separates the houses from the dunes and the beach.  It's been beautiful all week.

Every day, every hour, the colors change a bit.  No day is the same, with endless variations of sky, water, dunes.

No condos or high rises on "our" stretch of 30-A.  No drunken revelers, no college spring-breakers -- mostly just families, and even a good number of "full timers".

Above is looking back over to Seaside from the beach access.

I wish I could show you the true colors, without the intermediary of the camera lens or computer resolution.

Another day, more amazing colors!

I don't think I could ever tire of it.

Sunset brings more brilliant colors.

Yesterday's high tide brought in a prodigious amount of seaweed on to the beach - somewhat unusual for here.

But another amazing day and sunset, none the less.

Today we went inside an "open house" of a house for sale -- a 2 bedroom bungalow built in 1935 a couple of blocks off the beach, with fully renovated kitchen and bathrooms, large front porch, a driveway cool and shady with arbors and vines, and a separate guest house in the back and reasonably priced (for the beach -- almost attainable if we didn't have 8 consecutive years of college for the girls to look at, and if we had a job down here ;-).  Oh the beachdreams in my head . . . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Favorite Garden Places #1

Every year in late April or early May I trek up to the next county north of here, to Anthony's Herb Farm in Brighton, TN in Tipton County.  It's a bit under and hour's drive from our house, and totally worth the drive for the reasonable prices and the extensive selection of herbs.  Add to that, the fact that it's a "Tennessee Heritage Farm" in that it has been in continuous farm use for at least 100 years.

And there's Miz Anthony's personal herb garden (her rambling built-on a zillion times farm house can be glimpsed in the upper right of the photo.

Her garden is amazing, with the health and size of her plants!

Flats of plants are tucked here and there amongst the barns, greenhouse, and other out buildings.

And more plants.

Finally it's time to check out with my stash.

Neighbors from up the road help Miz Anthony with her "plant stand".

Miz Anthony, above in the middle, looks over everyone's purchases.  She's in her 80's, a little over 4 ft tall these days, and tough as anything.  If you need to go to the bathroom before heading back to Memphis, she'll let you use hers in the house ("There's a ghost sometimes that holds to that bathroom door and won't let you out -- if you can't get out, holler and I'll come get it open", and she'll offer you a glass of sweet tea before you leave, and hand copy out her recipe for chocolate mint (as in, made with chocolate mint) pound cake.

As I was checking out and starting to leave with my van-load of deals ("Those plants are heavy, let me carry them to the car for you" really, Miz Anthony?), she decided a different flat of marigolds needed to go home with me rather than the ones I had picked ("I think these are a little nicer and will do better").  And she refers to the plants as "him" and "her" ("now, she doesn't like to be in the hot sun too much, you be sure to give her a little shade in the afternoons and she will do just fine.")

She hosts an herb festival over Memorial Day weekend, with country vendors and craftspeople, barbecue cooked on the premises (pork AND bologna -- pork barbecue being a west Tennessee specialty of course, and barbecued "ring" bologna being a rural specialty of the area), and herb cooking demos with free sampling.  I've gone to the festival for years, and wondered why the choice of plants for sale was so small and finally asked Miz Anthony about it several years ago.  Turns out the Herb Festival is the end and finale of her selling season, selling off whatever she has left.  If you want the best selection, you have to go in April or at least well before the Herb Festival.  Now I usually go both in April and again at the Festival.

sharing with Tuesday Garden PartyHome and Garden Thursday