Monday, April 11, 2016

April Showers, May Flowers

A rainy weekend in Los Angeles is always a good thing since we desperately need the rain. In fact, we get a little giddy about it here in L.A. It rained off and on all day on Friday and Saturday. Which made me very happy as I was in the mood for a cozy weekend at home. There were so many things I wanted to catch up on. Here are a few activities that made the rain far from a nuisance, but instead a lovely accompaniment...

Watching some good television--

 "Outlander" is back. Did you watch it? Season Two began on Saturday night. If you are already a fan, then you know (not giving away spoilers here) from last season that Jamie and Claire are in in France this time. The costumes are gorgeous and of course those two are not so hard on the eyes. This is escapist television at its best.

Catching up on my reading--
I am completely under the spell of these books. The story of two women in a working class neighborhood of Naples whose lifelong friendship endures despite incredible odds has kept me enthralled through two books now. This one deals with the marriage of Lila and the continuing education of Elena and her quest to move beyond the neighborhood she finds so stifling. 

Running outside in between rain showers to take photos of the garden--

I love how it looks on a rainy day. The irises in the fountain are starting to flower!

 The David Austin roses in the front garden are looking so good right now

 These graceful and frilly ones remind me of ballet tutus. It felt good to get back into photography; it  makes you look at the world differently. My goal is to bring my camera with me now wherever I go, not just my iPhone!

Planning our trip to London--

This was a great weekend to pull out my books and notes on London and decide what we want to do this time. I am thrilled to know that Kenneth Branagh's stage production of Romeo and Juliet will be playing at the Garrick Theatre and Swan Lake in the Round at the Royal Albert Hall.  I hope to see them both! There is always something new to do in London...

Learning about this artist--

The New York Review of Books has a great article on the French artist Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun and I want to learn all I can about her before seeing this exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Doing a little research and mulling over a fascinating lecture by Hermione Lee from last week--
I went to a fabulous event last Thursday in Pasadena. It was a lecture by renowned English biographer Dame Hermione Lee. My friends and I got a chance to meet her and say how much we enjoyed her biography of Edith Wharton. She was lovely. She has also written biographies of Virginia Woolf, Penelope Fitzgerald, and Willa Cather. Her topic that evening was "Gardens of the Mind: Writers, Gardens and Biography." Did you know that American writers such as Edith Wharton and Willa Cather featured only European-inspired gardens in their books? This was all the rage at the time. She talked about the "cross-cultural garden moment at the turn of the twentieth-century." I dipped into her Edith Wharton biography this weekend in preparation for my book club's discussion of The House of Mirth later this week. What a treasure trove that book is!

And after the rain--

 Joseph's Coat rose climbing on our porch

The sun is shining today and there is no better way to start the week than in the garden. It was a cozy and productive weekend. The rain was great and so beneficial for our gardens. The peak of the season is right around the corner. Don't forget to get your tickets for the Robinson Gardens Tour on May 14. It's going to be fabulous this year!

April showers really do bring May flowers!


  1. Congratulations if you make it through that Hermione Lee biography. It defeated me and I gave up half way through.
    How lovely your roses are! We're still at bluebells and primroses.

    1. So far I have been enjoying it. What a life Edith Wharton lived! Glad you like the roses, your bluebells and primroses must be lovely!

  2. We have much in common. There is a wonderful book if you can find the original edition at Amazon - the reason being the gorgeous colored bookplates. It is titled THE OBSTACLE RACE by Germaine Greer: it is about women artists and the obstacles they faced in their time to become an artist. Painting was not for ladies and Le Brun and others copied their brothers and fathers paintings to learn how to paint. Wonderful book for all art lovers.

  3. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the photos of your garden and roses in this latest post - wow! So, so stunning!

    1. Thank you! I am having a lot of fun taking pictures of the garden now that it's spring. And the Joseph's Coat roses are really doing well this year!

  4. Your roses are lovely!
    I am torn about Outlander. It's certainly a gorgeous series to watch, but I was really turned off by the gratuitous violence. I don't think I can handle another season. I tried to read the first book in the series but didn't like it at all and gave up.

    1. I know what you mean about the violence. It bothered me last season as well. But overall I love this series. Hoping they tone it down this season! And I do love the books!

  5. I'll be watching Outlander tonight (missed it on Saturday). I loved the rain here as well, and got so much done having a cozy weekend at home. Painting, cooking, reading, organizing. Edith Wharton is right up there with Jane Austen as one of my favorite authors. The Age of Innocence is my favorite of hers, but love House of Mirth as well.

    1. Kathy, you've reminded me of her other great book, The Age of Innocence. It's time for a reread. Not sure if you've read The Custom of the Country by Wharton. It's another one I love and I think you would to!

  6. Your new blog header is wonderful, cheery! And I'm very envious that you can grow lemons outside. My tree is inside but it never fails to amaze people when I mention harvesting lemons after a Canadian winter.