Paper Doilies for Entertaining

Who knew that fun, colorful paper doilies could be so hard to find? You can find white, or even gold or silver, almost anywhere and in square or round sizes. But of course, I was after something fun and colorful…..
And then I happened to be in Michaels and there they were!!

The package includes 8 each of 8, 10 and 12″; one size in each design above.

Not only were they available in the set above, but I also found this set of cardboard cake boards. The top, decorated side is a thick plastic coated surface.

I mean, just how cute are these?


I had volunteered to bring a plate of dessert snacks to a Club meeting and, although I wasn’t able to attend, I left this pretty plate off early. Yes, I cheated and bought the cupcakes!

The silver plate here is actually a charger sold also at Michaels. But it is NOT safe for food of any kind which is clearly stated on the back. So these paper doilies work beautifully here.

The 12″ size shown here.


But the package also comes with 10″ (red) and 8″ (polka dot) sizes.

Here is the smallest 8″ on an oversized dinner plate.

They’re cute, aren’t they? I’ve looked around on line (Amazon, Google, Etsy etc) and really haven’t come up with too many options. If you go to Michaels on line THIS is what comes up.  It’s not quite the same as what I had bought, but would certainly be colorful.  Then a one size polka dot also appeared HERE. The best is to go to your local store and see what is there. Look in the cake decorating section or the bridal accessories…




The snapdragons are magnificent!

No other way to say it: they are above and beyond my expectations or hopes.
HOW did they get this way?

Well, back in October I bought a few packs. They were ok in the first few weeks. So I bought some more…and more..  I knew they would “hibernate” during the winter but was hoping and hoping they would come alive in the spring. But they looked awful. AWFUL. In November and December. So I asked at my local garden guru shop, Southern Seasons. They said to feed them with anything, just be sure to feed them every other week. All winter, I asked? Yes, cold, warm, snow, sun…whatever, keep feeding them. And so I did.

You know I love color and these more than satisfy.

This was taken today after the deep red flowers finally came out:

And last, how about this very cool “vase.” It’s paper with a glass inside! Daughter brought it to me from Rome. Now how cool is that?



It’s that glorious color in the garden: a mix of purple and deep blue!

These are Columbine. They were here when we arrived, although I swear they were a lighter blue! But over the last five years they have multiplied and self-sown in many spots in several of my terrace gardens. I love love love them. I’ve moved most of the plants toward the rear of each garden, just against the white fence.


And then we have the Clematis.
I’ve actually not had great luck with this plant: up North I tried maybe three times and all died eventually without really much growth. So, I thought I would try again down here in warmer climate. This one is doing fine…but not really flourishing the way I see some around the village. hmmm. I’ve tried putting more manure around the base this year. It’s fine….but probably the same height for the last two years. The flowers are definitely more profuse and larger, so that’s good! And, with the white fence it’s wonderful to see flowers both inside and out.


I listened to a podcast this morning (the only way to do cardio at the gym, as I do not want to watch news on TV!) all about clematis. Do you know Margaret Roach? She does, among many things,  weekly podcasts on Robin Hood Radio and features and interviews someone each week. A few weeks ago she had  Dan Long on Clematis. Just what I needed, and yes, I learned SO  much this morning in those 24 minutes.
Here is the link.
Stay with it for the entire episode as I think some of the best information comes in toward the end.


Next we have the bearded iris! I have no idea what these are….I think they are all from the pots I hand carried down here six years ago from the Hudson Valley.  And those just might have come, partly, from my Mother’s house in Villanova. Wow. I love the way these things can go on for generations: that is truly one of the delights of gardening.

This year they are particularly stunning.  It may be that this is the third year in the same spot for many of these and that is often the best year. Oh dear, almost time to dig up and divide to keep them at their best….


And finally, we have Spanish Lavender.

It is very different from what you may think of lavender: short vertical flowers with the small pinkish petals at the end. But it has the same requirements for good growth: full sun, dry and sandy soil, cut back to produce more flowers the next year. But it doesn’t tend to flop open in the middle of the plant as with Grosso or Hidcote. Mine is overflowing a low stone wall at the edge of the blacktop driveway and is flourishing!

I’ll be back next week with more on the garden.
Hint: oh those snapdragons!! Best year ever for a much loved annual.