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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Garden Tour

Dear friend D and I are in the preliminary stages of planning a trip to Charleston to visit the renowned Home and Garden Tour hosted by the city’s Preservation Society this fall.  If you’ve been reading this blog very long, then you know T&C Mom loves planning and anticipating, and a girlfriends’ trip to Charleston that includes peeks into private homes and gardens—well, it’s just the perfect diversion amid all the end-of-the-school-year madness!  In the meantime, I’ve cobbled together some garden pics that I’ve made the past couple of weeks.  The older I get the more I appreciate a garden, of any type, really.  I believe the human race was born of God in a garden, and I believe the beauty of the garden here on Earth foretells God’s glory to come.
Perhaps because my own yard gets only about 15 minutes of sun a day, I’m especially partial to shade-loving plants.  These hostas are growing in the botanical gardens at Clemson University. IMG_3843 Sharing a garden brings joy. How delightful it was to have some new friends (a couple at least 30 years older than the Mister and me) say, “Please, stop by and see our garden one afternoon.”  We replied that we’d love to and asked when would be a good time.  “Oh, come any time,” they said.  “If we’re not there, then just look around and wander through.”  And, that’s what we did!IMG_3844 We jotted off a little note, thanking them for letting us see the fruits of their labors.  And now, we’re invited back for iced tea in the garden.  People who have gardens are generous.IMG_3845 I think this is blue salvia.  Lovely.IMG_3850  Every garden needs a place to sit and be thankful.IMG_3852Indigenous oakleaf hydrangea was just opening its majestic spires when we visited. 
Across Main Street from our little shop is a most lovely city park, Falls Park, with a river and waterfalls and a stunning pedestrian cable bridge.  In the springtime, though, it’s the flowers and fragrance that make the park a treasure.  Benches are plentiful, and I am blessed to enjoy my coffee or lunch outside here several days a week.IMG_3894The pansies and Johnny-jump-ups are near the end of their season, as the heat is beginning to make them a bit leggy.IMG_3892 The marvelous French blue of these hydrangea is starting to intensify as the days lengthen and warm.IMG_3895Purple coneflowers, or echinacea, will soon have their lavender petals. IMG_3897The hardy daylily sings of the coming summer.  Although not fragrant, she has the staying power to last until September. IMG_3896 And, finally, back to the shade, where the trusty impatiens are the perfect foil to the broad hosta leaves.  The impatiens add brightness to even the darkest corner.
The LORD will guide you always;
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.-- Isaiah 58:11
Do you garden?


  1. How lovely! I hope we have a garden very soon!

  2. Beautiful garden pictures ~ wish you were close enough to join me in "my green acre" garden for tea or, on these cool nights, hot chocolate by the outdoor fire.

  3. Do I garden? Wow, it is one of my most favorite pasttimes....we bought our present house in large part because the gardens had been let go for several years and it was a wonderful "challenge"! So far, so good, but we have a long way to go.
    I adore Charleston and the gardens there, although I've never done the official garden tour: just might have to consider that!

  4. I love hostas! I just don't see them here in Southern California, but I had them in my garden back in Ohio. This time of year I miss the lovely eastern flowers and shrubs and the green grass.

  5. I am actually jealous that your garden is more shady. We have to have full to partial sun plants and flowers, which I don't think are as pretty...

    So, you're off to Charleston!!! What happened to Aiken? ;)

  6. What lovely photographs! I moved south from Manhattan, where I lived for thirty years. So, I never had a garden. But, I recently took a lesson in flower arranging, and I absolutely loved it. A visit to Georgia's magnificent Cumberland Island cemented this 'new nature thing' for me, and now I am the proud mommy of Basil, my first little plant. And he has been alive for three whole days, and I am so hoping to keep him that way!! Then, I might consider adopting more of a little brood and starting a little pot herb garden.

  7. These images are all gorgeous. I agree I love to see almost any garden and nature in its many forms.

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my New Giveaway from Serena & Lily! You will love it!

  8. that is one of my favorite scriptures, and i frequently ask the Lord
    to make me that well-watered garden to my children, their
    friends, and my nieces and nephews. can you tell i don't have
    much of a ministry to people my own age?

    your garden photos are gorgeous! i love hostas and all shade
    loving plants, too. give me the shade, baby!

  9. Have so much fun, I just love Charleston and those pictures are amazing!

  10. Lovely!

    Gardening, garden tours and taking garden photographs is essential to my heart and soul!

    Have a beautiful weekend!


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