view from office window at home

photos on blog are mine unless stated otherwise. please ask before using. Thanks - Betsy

Enlarge pictures by clicking on

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Montpelier's DuPont Garden

President James Madison's formal garden of almost 4 acres in the early 19th century consisted of fruit trees, vegetables, flowers and ornamental shrubs.

Located near Orange county Virginia,  Montpelier was purchased in 1901 by William DuPont, whose wife Annie had two acres of  the garden turned into a 20th century formal garden.
Terraces were restored.  Garden walls, statuary and iron gates were added.
Later  Charles Gillette was commissioned by Marion DuPont Scott to design additional flower beds.

Last year while visiting the garden I took some pictures of the garden later in the summer.  Not much flowering except a few hydrangeas on their way out.   The garden is beautiful this time of year too, with all of the lush greenery , manicured lawns and clipped hedges - elegant.

Upon entrance to formal garden is this huge Cedar of Lebanon  planted during Madison's lifetime.

Entrance to Annie DuPont formal garden

 Peace and tranquility straight ahead

At the entrance of the two acre formal garden is this ornamental iron gate that  opens to walkways
lined with stately box woods

A view to right of entrance way - Crepe Myrtles still in bloom in the distance - large Urns  in background
looking straight away - I like the scent of boxwood and it was strong here.
there is a sundial - as we step a level down

I stepped off the terrace to take a picture of the crepe myrtle and urns in distance.  Also in  an area to the left  are plantings of Siberian Iris, Balloon flower and Peonies.    Steve is standing behind the massive boxwood.   Stopping to take in the beauty and listen to the silence

catnip , sage, thyme and dianthus are a few of the plantings  here

Oak leaf Hydrangeas and Peonies planted on either side of exit from the garden
view to the rolling hills
Leaving garden and the large brick wall that surrounds it

front porch shot

view from porch area

A planter at the entrance to gift shop - I like this
I bought a few shepherds hooks and a couple lanterns,  placed them in planters on each side of my sidewalk this past Christmas - this one  holds a single candle.

Beautiful skies  overhead

Leaving Montpelier but hope to come back to visit garden when flowers are in bloom
I am joining the brambleberry cottage time  travel Thursday linky party

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I like topiaries , but the ones I bring  in the house do not last.
As I was trimming my boxwood's as I usually do several times  year, I thought about making one.
I saved the clippings to use  for a faux topiary I knew it would last for a time.    I  had a stalk that was cut from a boxwood shrub months back  that was dry.
Got a pot from the garden. Had a nice aged look from sitting in the elements - gave it a wash.

  I think usually plaster or some type of cement based product is used to hold items in the pots but I didn't have any, so I used very hard Styrofoam and cut to fit the pot. Generous amount of  hot glue put into the bottom of pot.
Made a hole with the wood stalk in the bottom  Styrofoam-  put a glob of glue in  - then placed the stalk.

Shaped Styrofoam for the top, added glue in  impression made with the stalk, then place that in.
 The box wood greenery that was pierced in the foam was still green, it dried naturally there.

  After about a year it started to turn the color of wheat, so I sprayed some green spray paint on the leaves.  
The base of topiary is decorated with Spanish moss from dollar store.

 The butterfly is one Annette sent me in a flower arrangement - it now hovers around the topiary.   At Christmas a red bird usually sits on top.
Couple years old but holding up well.

Another idea comes to mind.   Will clip some box soon for that.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pot roast

A snowy and rainy Saturday and good day for staying in and just being lazy.   I seem to be really good at that lately.  
  Steve wanted Yankee pot roast after seeing it mentioned in an old sitcom - Newhart   the one about the New England bed and breakfast.   Nice change from the same old stuff on t.v. lately.
 So  off to the grocery store to buy  a shoulder roast,  carrots, onions , garlic and forgot the celery, so it was left out.
I looked through Yankee pot roast recipes on web and in cook books I have.  Each one has a different slant on what makes Yankee pot roast.  Several recipes call for red wine, but traditional Yankee pot roast doesn't call for it, from articles I read anyway.    Yankee pot roast calls for veggies added halfway through cooking time and other types of pot roast recipes add at the beginning.  

After reading over about 5 recipes I made my own Yankee pot roast.

I dredged  beef in flour - eye of round, I use any type really.   Browned bacon, removed bacon to paper towel to drain.   To drippings in pan I added a little olive oil (I took out some of the bacon drippings - didn't want that much of it to brown the meat)

browned meat in drippings and oil - removed to a plate.

I added some butter and olive oil to pan to saute onions til translucent - added garlic - little brown sugar - about 1 T.  rosemary and 1t.  thyme with  a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce.   Salt and Pepper
a cup of water with a quart of my canned tomatoes and lemon juice  is added -I usually always add lemon juice to my vegetables,  soups and stews like this one - next  flour mixed to thicken a little.       Added the browned beef and cooked on 350 for about 2 hours.  

Red skin potatoes, about 8 small,  they hold together better than other types of potatoes.
Added also is a pound of carrots,  package of  mushrooms ( my  idea as I love them is stews).
Onions ( I cut in large pieces 2 medium).   The bacon bits goes in at this point also.
Placed back in oven for another hour.    I checked after an hour and the veggies still needed to cook another 15 minutes.  (I turned the heat up about 10 degrees higher at this point)  just to move them along.

while that cooks - a picture of the roses Steve got me for Valentines day

and a pot of Tulips that my grand daughter  Adalyn picked out for me - with mom and dads help, very thoughtful of them

Soups On - The scent of the spices made their way down to the den , time to eat.
all done and tastes  wonderful - even without the celery.

I wish the pictures were less blurry.   the steam coming from the food made them like that.

well now off to the bookstore to have coffee and select a book to read
Happy Sunday

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Tonight we had a fast and simple dinner.   The meat dish was called Poor Man's Steak.    Steve loved it.
I served Mashed potatoes along with broccoli with lemon butter for side dishes..
I think it would be good served over buttered noodles too.

I halved my recipe and added chopped green peppers
Sitting in the fridge made it stay together and easy to slice into squares.
Mine did not take an hour to cook , about 40 minutes maybe. I didn't time it. I just take a peek every so often to check to see if it's done

I dredged the cuts in salt and peppered flour.  Browned in a pan with olive oil and little butter
I mixed in a bowl a can of mushroom soup with milk and a little whole milk  and added fresh sliced mushrooms

I like lots of mushrooms - mixture is poured over browned meat
good and bubbly from the oven

time to eat


I mixed up a simple white cake mix - swirled canned strawberry pie filling on top and added some coconut (we love coconut)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...