Tuesday, August 4, 2020

More Projects

Robin Weiss - Traditional Home

I slept in this morning and it felt so wonderful. I have always slept great, but not these last few months. You can't sleep when you are not safe. Wasn't there a movie "Sleeping With The Enemy" several years ago?  Now I am back to sleeping like a baby.

My handyman comes over today and I am excited to get my punch list taken care of, including of course hanging the lighting. I have never had 10 and 12 foot ceilings before and the conventional wisdom is to hang fixtures higher - like 3" higher for each foot over 8.' Advice on this?

Thanks to my follower who recommended an art installer for me. I spoke with him yesterday and he sounds wonderful - I am having him over for a day to hang everything for me as soon my sofas and dining table arrive. I timed the orders to arrive after my painters finished but still not shipped. The best laid plans of mice and men....

Just now as I sit in the lanai. Good morning.


There was an ocelot sleeping under a tree at my old neighborhood the other day. Seriously?

I am so far ahead of the curve, that I am ready to attack the garden - in a good way. I met with my lawn/shrub/tree care guy yesterday. I also met with my gardener. I'm so excited to get this garden beautiful - the sellers were here part time and had health issues and the garden is lovely, but needs my TLC and filling in some spots. I know lots about gardening - for my new followers I studied landscape design at my law school alma mater GW and am a Master Gardener, but am a new Florida gardener. I had hoped to take the Master Gardener course here, but it may well be on hold.

So to my Florida followers, advice on favorite books, plants, and the like would be of great help. Things are quiet here - the VAST majority of residents are snow birds, and this is great timing to get things done. I am excited to start this project. I am hoping to combine a more formal English garden with a very Palm Beach Old Florida feel if you can envision that. The Palmer Weiss Palm Beach home pictured above is a great example.

I met two new neighbors yesterday and have been invited for cocktails in the lanai with the puppies. Lanais are a great way to socialize and social distance. Speaking of puppies, I went grocery shopping and got them their veggies - they love asparagus, Brussel sprouts, corn, carrots, edamame, you name it. So cute. Last night we all had linguine with Boursin. "Lady and the Tramp" LOL

They eat what I eat every night for dinner. They are serious gourmets.





36 comments:

  1. Hi, I just started reading your blog. Best wishes to you for a bright, happy, and peaceful new start. Your new home is lovely & I'm sure will be spectacular when you have everything in place. I too live in SW Fl. One word of advice re: your screened lanai--you may want to put something along the bottom portion to keep out critters. When I bought my condo, the previous owner had lattice around the bottom.. I wasn't really liking the look so I had my handyman put a white aluminum panel along the bottom. If there's even a small tear in the screen, a raccoon will find a way to get in. I know this from experience. LOL. It also helps to keep out the snakes & lizards much to my cat's dismay.

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    1. I did something similar at my home in SC. It was called "Florida screening", an opaque type of material and it has cut down on bugs, geckos, etc. Also helps with dirt from the rain.

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  2. Love the symmetry on the Robin Weiss house including the landscaping.

    Yes, the light fixtures should be hung a bit higher or they will look disproportionate in the room. I have 14 foot ceilings and the fixtures over the DR table, entryway and kitchen counter are higher though not sure about 3 feet higher. Have the handyman hold them for you at that height and see if this is visually pleasing to you.

    Beware of the critters that crawl around Florida! Those raccoons are seen as cute to many, but they are vicious when it comes to food. Also, he should be sleeping during the day not out and about looking for food. Keep the pups away from them as the raccoons can carry rabies. Screens do not always keep them out as they are motivated by hunger. That ocelot was probably a Florida panther or a bobcat. They have been spotted as far north as where I am in Florida, having been displaced from the Everglades.

    Some plant suggestions that I have in my yard are: plumbago (gorgeous blue blooms), macho ferns, dune daisy (which can get invasive quickly), bougainvillea. I even put in a bed of ornamental rosemary that is gorgeous.

    So nice you are meeting the neighbors...always a great way to make friends in a new place. Come October, the snowbirds will begin to arrive and the traffic will increase unbelievably!

    Your house is coming along so very nicely and you seem at ease; this is good.

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    1. Yes to all you've said TeaOrWine! I, too, am in a more northern part of Florida and when I saw the raccoon crawling along this time of morning, I thought the same thing about his condition + the false illusion that a screen is a protection, in fact my eye "auto-completed" a 1' to 2' high pony wall built to the depth of that column on the left, resulting in a nice little ledge, then have the screening begin at the pony wall height, upward. This change would provide a surer protection for the pups to roam the lanai more safely, while still giving Beth the same full expansive view of the nature preserve out back.

      We're on the marsh overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway with armadillos, raccoons, one Florida Bobcat sighting, and a brand new prevalence of coyotes lately. Pet owners must be very careful around these parts. There are several internet neighborhood forums that Beth can search/find that unite her gated community in online exchange of information, very useful in comparing notes on this and that, especially pet distress/solutions. Or, Beth could start such a hub of neighborhood communication herself!

      If I'd been through what Beth has endured, I'd still be laid out flat in a dark room, shutters closed, AC turned to frigid, a cool cloth on my forehead. I don't know how that dynamo is even upright, much less directing handymen and enjoying friends in the neighborhood - the woman is astounding!

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    2. teaorwine - amazing, but it was not a Florida panther or bobcat, but an ocelot - their markings are very distinctive. There are only 50 in the U.S. Thank you for the plant suggestions. My dogs are at my side every second, so they are safe. We had coyotes in Alexandria, VA. too.

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    3. Anonymous - I will keep the pups safe - someone here did have a 10 foot gator in their lanai though. And thanks re my endurance, but I am resolved not to let that horrible person take one more day away from me. Living well is the best revenge.

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  3. Good morning Beth! Have you been to the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota? It is so beautiful, right on the bay. You might find all sorts of inspiration there. Good sleep is so wonderful! I’m happy you are awakening to a great day!

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    1. I am a member of Marie Selby and have been many times. I love it. Thank you so much.

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  4. I am also a northern Master Gardener (Penn State) gardening in Florida was a whole new learning curve! Three years in I have some favorites and I’m still amazed anything can grow in such sandy soil! For a boxwood look I would suggest dwarf yaupon holly (Schillings holly), I have them manicured into balls in my front bed and they look just like boxwood (which doesn’t like Florida.) For bright color there are Cordyline(bright pink), Croton(bright yellow,orange, red and green) I think I saw one out by your lani. Periwinkle (Vinca ) is a nice bloomer in white, hot pink and red. Also many colors of canna lillies. Agapanthus and Plumbago are in the blue family. Bromeliads come in lots of colors and leaf variations nice in shady areas.The house that you have on the blog today appears to have Split leaf or Monster Philodendron in the background closest to the house and Schillings in the foreground. Let’s not forget Palms! It looks like you have Roebelinis and a Saba(Cabbage Palm) which is Florida’s state tree already in your front garden. It will be so fun for you to plan your new garden! 🌺🌴
    Your Florida neighbor, Michelle

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    1. Thank you so much for this. I also love topiaried Eugenia here and agave.

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  5. So good to hear you happy!I'm glad the art guy is working out. He sounded like a winner. I have one room (library, dining room, den combo) that has 9' ceilings and I did exactly what others above mentioned: I had my electrician hold it at a level until it looked good to me. Worked out! (Good thing he had great arm strength!) I'm a retired Master Gardener in Kansas. Boxwoods here can be iffy. The changes in climate here make it even more of a crapshoot! Good thing you have a bunch of talented Florida readers to give you ideas. So looking forward to the reveal! Sleep tight...and don't let the raccoons bite!!!

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    1. Another Master Gardener - wonderful. Such a great organization. I am so excited about gardening here. I actually learned tons at the last house which was a train wreck when we moved in and it is stunning now.

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  6. I know it has already been said-I had my electrician lower and raise the light fixtures until they looked right to me. I think it went faster than trying to measure. Did the same thing hanging art. I do love the "rules of thumb" as a starting point.

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    1. I am petite and the ceilings are very high, so my perspective might be a bit off. LOL

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  7. YES! I remember the movie, "Sleeping With the Enemy", with Julia Roberts. The other one that comes to mind is, "Enough", with Jennifer Lopez, which I found so unnerving that I couldn't even watch the entire thing! No, you cannot sleep, or focus on anything if you don't feel safe.

    Raccoons are quite precocious creatures and can really become a nuisance if you are not careful. They are cute with their little bandit faces, but yes, they do carry rabies.

    I'm so envious that you have so much amazing wildlife around you. (Not sure how I would do with alligators, though.) I LOVE the idea of an English/Palm Beach/Old Florida style garden, and can't wait to see what you come up with. I have a cousin who lives in Houston, and even though that is a different gardening zone than FL, her garden is just, the only word I can think of is voluptuous, because of the humidity. I'm here in dry, water-starved northern CA, and I long for a moister, greener climate. Happy decorating and gardening, Beth!

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    1. Wildlife and horticulture here are amazing. Two of my favorite things. The bones of this garden are great with the preserves and wetlands behind me - there is even a pond. And I love the alligators. They are quite shy.

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  8. We also have the animals the other commenters mentioned plus box turtles, osprey, owls and an occasional eagle.Our dog is very small so we've been warned by neighbors about osprey diving down to grab him so I stay outside with him leased when they start hunting at evening. They swoop down and circle us all the time. I grew up in South FL & now on the Treasure Coast & on our shelves FL Gdning Month by Month by Nixon Smiley, Complete FL Gdning by Stan De Freitas, all 4 of Pamela Crawford's FL Gdn Books. The library probably has some of these if you want to see them. Pamela

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    1. Great book recommendations - I have the Stan De Freitas book and have read it and learned tons. I don't let the pups out alone ever. There are hawks and eagles here as well.

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  9. I'm obsessed with the Dana Gibson lantern for the foyer & can't wait for your handyman to get it up. It's going to look gorgeous.
    It sounds like you are heading in the right direction, talking to dear friends, grocery shopping, as well as eating and sleeping well -- great news! It was written between the lines that you just couldn't do those things. I was worried.
    Sounds like you'll be busy getting the garden in shape, it'll be fun to see it unfold. I don't remember any outdoor pictures of your house in Belle Haven, just descriptions of your plants as they bloomed, so bring it on!

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    1. Thanks so much. The garden in Belle Haven was lovely, but nothing can compare with the backdrop of the palms and live oak here - stunning!

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  10. Sounds like you're settling in nicely.. I'm glad for you and looking forward to more pics of your new home!

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  11. Hi Beth - I’m so glad to “hear” you sound happy and relieved! I have experimented a lot at my house in Bradenton. If you are trying to incorporate some English garden style - Believe it or not I’ve had very good luck with hydrangeas there. And I have planted a handful of the more deep South camellias in the shade and they’re doing well too. Take a look at a place to get some stephanotis to climb. And I am interested in the old-fashioned “dainty pink“ hibiscus But have not planted it yet. Also I was delighted to find out that dahlias will also grow there and you can plant paper whites like daffodils. If you are a rose lover there are definitely varieties that will do well there. I have planted Tiffany, memorial day, Mrs. BR Cant and some others with excellent success. For the tropical vibe I have discovered and really love variegated Shell ginger and four big glossy green hedges check out something called Clusia. Also lots of gardenias that are glossy and green all year!

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    1. Great ideas - thank you. I had lots of camellias that I put in at the last house - I adore camellias and a massive hedge of Clusia.

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  12. What a difference a week makes! While reading your post today a quote came to mind that I believe you personify: "A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water". Eleanor Roosevelt

    Glad it's all behind you and can get on with living and decorating.

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  13. I remember the large gardenia bush outside my bedroom window. My father grew enormous hibiscus and poinsettia plants. I had never seen anything that tall.

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    1. Things grow like crazy here - it's hard to believe. It's like everything is on steroids.

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  14. So many Master Gardeners read this blog! I am a transplanted Southerner MG in L'Etoile du Nord, the "Star of the North" state who is looking forward to retiring south with warm weather and a long gardening season.
    I can hardly wait to see you beautiful light fixtures. The silk damask faux painted column was just gorgeous. What a lovely surprise.
    Hope you have had a de-lightful day.

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    1. Yes, gardening 365 days a year is heaven for me. And my painters are the best.

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  15. Happy things are going your well. I, too, am a transplant from the North. Learning gardening plants and tricks daily. You would be very pleased with a Ylang Ylang shrub/tree as it blooms and fills the yard with Chanel fragrance. I think it blooms after two years. Do it! I walk the dog at night and hardly want to come in for the fragrance. I echo the previous post about Clusia (also known as Autograph plant. You can engrave the leaves using a sharp point with the date you bought the house,etc. and it will stay forever.

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    1. Great ideas - I love plants with fragrance. I had a whole bank of Jasmine at the last house behind the lanai and it was intoxicating in the evening.

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  16. Ixora has an orange bloom continuously and it a very thick hedge. Just need to use Miracid to keep the soil acidic. No fragrance that I have ever noticed.

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    1. SLittig - the comment below was meant for you.

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  17. I love Ixora and have lots of the coral pink here. They need micro and macro nutrients not available in the sandy soil here and palm food works very well too. I had many Ixora at the last house.

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