Friday, November 25, 2011

Hatley Castle - late autumn

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our kids on a little adventure to Hatley Castle. We were a couple weeks too late to enjoy the true beauty of the Japanese gardens as many of the maple leaves had already fallen, but the kids were still happy for hours exploring and I found a few hints of autumn color to photograph.

Hatley Castle (1908) was built for James and Laura Dunsmuir and designed by Samuel MacClure. The edwardian estate originally had 10 formal gardens, a Lord Burnham greenhouse and conservatory.

The conservatory was once filled with orchids from India and had a banana tree growing in the middle dome. Every room of the castle always had fresh flowers in it from the conservatory! How nice! The greenhouse is all that is left today, which is pretty amazing considering it is from 1914.

Kids love stepping stones and bridges, so Japanese gardens are perfect!

There is a lovely rose garden too. Some how roses at this stage are still beautiful!

Hatley Castle is a great place to spend a few hours and a nice place to take out of town guests. Tours of the castle are also available. Many couples also choose the castle and grounds for their wedding day. Check website for more info.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Decorating Tips

I can't believe it's November 22 and we already have our tree up! I totally gave in to the begging from my four year old daughter as I've never had a tree (artificial) up in November before. But hey, they are only little once and soon WE will be begging them to quit texting and help decorate the tree.

Christmas is my favorite holiday to decorate for, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Using flowers and greenery in your decor is a great way to bring life to your space.

Here are a few of my favorite and simple decorating tips:

1) Add small vases to shelving displays and fill them with long lasting holiday greenery. I love to use baby eucalyptus, it has a great aroma and will even dry out and still look good.

2) I like to put my poinsettia in a white modern shaped pot. Choose a pot to complement your decor.

3) One of the easiest things to do is to fill any large vase with a mass of one type of greenery. Remember, the more the better!

4) Fill vases or bowls with ornaments, pine cones or nuts. You can even tie ribbon on the top of each ornament for added color and texture.

5) When you can, use satin ribbon! It's just so luxurious and has a beautiful sheen. Velvet would be great too. Add bows to staircases, mantles, and pillows.

6) And of course you can't forget paperwhites and amaryllis. These are staples in holiday decorating! I like when every room has a hint of Christmas whether it's flowers or just ornaments in a bowl. So don't forget your bedroom or your guests' bedroom. Place a nice amaryllis on the dresser or simply some cedar filled vases on the nightstand. It will surely be appreciated.

So be inspired this up coming holiday season and decorate to your hearts content!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


My new love! For me terrariums are a great addition to interiors where you want not only a conversation piece but also a fresh hit of long lasting greenery. With terrariums the possibilities are endless, just google it and you will see! They seem to be a bit of a retro thing from the 70's. But of course they actually go way back to Victorian times.

Trio on display at Hughes Clothing in Victoria

The terrarium below is a desert scape in which I used white gravel and a single tillandsia. Also known as an air plant.

I am the type of person who is always picking stuff up outside and shoving it in my pocket for no other reason than I love it's shape, color or texture. And now I am finally putting to good use all my pieces of bark, driftwood and stones! Love it!