Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hydrangea's "Flower Power" wanes in our urban garden

After 6 weeks of our enjoying their vibrant beauty, the Hydrangeas in our garden have begun their departure for the season.

Sadly, the jar you see has the last remaining vintage blue and green blooms from our garden.

There are still a few pink.....

And a scattering of blues

Next to Peonies, Hydrangeas are at the top of the list of my favorite flowers. Fortunately, for me, they grow very well in our region. Their bloom cycle is from early spring to autumn. However, the cycle here ends when the summer temperatures soar above 100 degrees. I'm looking forward to planting Peonies this coming fall in time for the 2011 season.

This is one of the 2 climbing Hydrangea vines we planted last summer which began its crawl up the lattice last.

I recall reading somewhere a horticulturalist quote stating this particular species sleep the first year, creep the second year then leap the third year. We are looking forward to next year's leap.

Finally, I found this interesting read from HydrangeasHydrangeas on how to change the colors of your Hortensia.


Pink  color change

For hydrangea blooms to be pink, the plants must not take up aluminum from the soil. If the soil naturally contains aluminum, one must try to keep it away from the hydrangea's system. Following are a few tricks that might work:
  • Add dolomitic lime several times a year. This will help to raise the pH. Shoot for a pH of about 6.0 to 6.2 (If it goes above 6.4 hydrangeas may experience an iron deficiency). Since hydrangeas take up aluminum best at lower pH levels, raising the pH will help to keep the bluing effect of aluminum out of the hydrangea's system.

  • Use a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to prevent aluminum from creeping into the system of the hydrangea. Choose a fertilizer close to the ratio of 25/10/10 (Phosphorus is the middle number).

  • In areas that naturally produce blue hydrangeas (soils with aluminum), consider growing pink hydrangeas in large pots. If hydrangeas are grown in pots, it would be best to use soil-less mixtures, since these mixes would probably not have aluminum in them. In a pot, it will be much easier to control the requirements for growing pink hydrangeas.
Blue  color change

To obtain a blue hydrangea, aluminum must be present in the soil. To ensure that aluminum is present, aluminum sulfate may be added to the soil around the hydrangeas.

Authorities recommend that a solution of 1/2 oz (1 Tbsp) aluminum sulfate per gallon of water be applied to plants (which are at least 2-3 years old) throughout the growing season. Important: Water plants well in advance of application and put solution on cautiously, as too much can burn the roots.

To make the aluminum available to the plant, the pH of the soil should be low (5.2-5.5). Adding aluminum sulfate will tend to lower the pH of the soil. Another method for lowering the pH is to add organic matter to the soil such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, grass clippings etc.

If the soil naturally contains aluminum and is acid (low pH) the color of the hydrangea will automatically tend toward shades of blue and/or purple.

The choice of fertilzer will also affect the color change. A fertilizer low in phosphorus and high in potassium is helpful in producing a good blue color(25/5/30 is good. Potassium is the last number). Superphosphates and bone meal should be avoided when trying to produce blue.

After stating this with much certainty, I hasten to add that it is virtually impossible to turn a hydrangea blue for any length of time if it is planted in soil with no aluminum and that is highly alkaline (chalky). One would have to be very diligent in keeping the soil properly conditioned as stated above.

Perhaps the best idea for growing blue hydrangeas in an area with alkaline soil would be to grow them in very large pots using lots of compost to bring the pH down. The above suggestions for bluing would also work for a potted plant. Reduce the strength of the Aluminum sulfate to 1/4 oz per gallon of water. In a pot, it will be much easier to control the requirements for bluing.

One last suggestions for those who are serious about this process. It is important to have your water tested so that it will not "contaminate" the soil that you have so rigorously balanced. The pH of the water should not be higher than 5.6.

Planting hydrangeas near a concrete foundation or sidewalk will often affect the color since the pH of the soil may be raised considerably by lime leaching out of these structures, making it difficult to obtain blue.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Who Is Robert Tobar?

(Lime love) candy dish

Looking for something unique and artfully whimsy for your next tablescape? Robert Tabor maybe able to help you.

Bio (taken from Roberttabor.com)

Photo: Mary Damiano
Having been described as a Multi-dimensional artist and designer
Tobar has been developing 2D and 3D creative desires for the past
30 years.

(Drag-on and on)

(Bird in hand)

His education and professional work experience has
developed in: Boston, New York City, LA and now warm sunny
South Florida.

(It's all about me)

(Gold gargoyle)

With a degree in Graphic Design and a very unique look at life,
Tobar has enjoyed expressing his creativity not only in graphics,
but window display, costume, prop design and production, for Mattel Toys,
MTV, Nickelodeon, Macy’s, Gibson Guitar or Red Bull to name a few,
he gives a unique twist to whatever comes his way..

(Silver candle sticks)

(Tuxedo candle sticks)

It is with all this previous creative experience that he now brings to
the table his most recent and extensive work of Fantasy shoe sculptures.

Additional Portfolios at; Roberttabor.com
You can also purchase the items above at his etsy store sole sensations.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Video

A charming video sent to me from a friend with a Father's Day wish. Happy Fathers Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"An Inescapable Actor Of Design"

An interior designer with extraordinary talent and ability to create some of the world's most opulent and sumptuous rooms for private residences,castles,hotels,private jets and yachts.


A creator of 8 design books including 2 new beautiful books about tables.


A porcelain artist creating several collections of pure tableaux art.

Anyone obsessed with great design knows the name Alberto Pinto. He is no stranger to the design world. A quick review of his portfolio and you can see why is revered as "An inescapable actor of interior design". I am a huge fan of his classic designs featured above. A Frenchman born in Morroco in 1945, Pinto has built a reputation as a master purveyor of applied arts. From superbly crafted furniture and textiles, to fine ornamental porcelain china, Pinto's remarkable eye for design comes through his work and the result is breathtaking. He studied at the Ecole de Louvre in Paris. From there, he moved to New York City and started a photography agency focusing on architecture and interior design. In 1986, he opened his first interior design firm in Paris. He is a big admirer of the legendary designer David Hick's creative aestetics. He also credits his passion for creating a sense of volume and using amazing colors to his collaborations with famous architect Luis Baragan. His visionary spread to a greater audience when he began reporting for the Conde Nast group's House And Garden magazine. For more information and photos of Pinto's work visit AlbertoPinto.com.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fragrances For Dad

With Fathers' Day only 5 days away, I'm sure many of you have already chosen the perfect gift for Dad. If not, or if you're already considering a fragrance for him but not sure what kind, here are my current favorites:

(From top left to right)

Bvlgari Pour Homme Soir- 3.4 oz costs between $30.00-$40.00 3.4 oz.
FRAGRANCE NOTES - Darjeeling Tea, Bergamot, Musk, Papyrus Amber
RECOMMENDED USE - day or evening

Boss Black- 4 oz costs between $50.00-60.00
FRAGRANCE NOTES - clean and fresh with woodsy low notes.

L'Homme YSL- 2 oz costs between $35.00-40.00
DESIGN HOUSE - Yves Saint Laurent
FRAGRANCE NOTES - Cedar Virginia Cedar, Ginger, Violet, Citron, White Pepper, Basil Flower, Ozone, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, Vetiver
RECOMMENDED USE- day or evening

RL Safari-2.5 oz costs between $35.00-40.00
DESIGN HOUSE - Ralph Lauren
FRAGRANCE NOTES - a subtle blend of citrus, and eucalyptus, with woodsy and leather notes, very manly.

Happy Fathers Day

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Blog-ification Of Beaux Mondes Designs

A huge thank you to Mandy from A La Parisienne, who designed a fabulous new look for Beaux Mondes. Isn't she amazing? I first learned about Mandy through my good blogger friend Judith of the Paris Atlier blog. Mandy also designed Judith's page and it looks great. The new look she gave me reflects my love of Baroque design. The image Mandy selected from among those I sent her from my most recent table scape was a perfect choice. I feel as thought she read my mind.

This image was one of my top 3 contenders. I like how the image came out in the sepia tone.

Another top favorite in the sepia tone. I also like the edge blur feature.

This was my very top favorite. However, because the image contained more colors than the others, I thought it would not blend in with the old world look as well as the others. But, Mandy showed me it was the perfect image with the perfect color palette. Thank you Mandy. Visit A la Parisienne's Etsy shop.

Au revoir