May Day Gift Cones … DIY Project

by Trenda

“Dear old world … You are very lovely, And I am glad to be alive in you.”   ~ from Anne of Green Gables

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It’s May!  The darling month when everything seems possible.  Look at this sweet description of May Day from The Old Farmer’s Almanac established in 1792.

“With winter’s retreat, colts and calves kick up their heels and frisk over fresh grass, seedlings seek the sun, and birds call for mates….And we humans join their revels for one day: during spring’s “May Day” festival, even serious-minded folk put work aside to enjoy Nature’s exuberance!”

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Still quoting The Farmer’s Almanac … “Here are some joyful May Day traditions marking the return of spring and the renewed gift of life.

  1. Neighbors may leave baskets of flowers on each other’s doorsteps or doorknobs.
  2. Kids can go barefoot on May Day for the first time.
  3. People will crown a “May Queen” for the day’s festivities.
  4. Beekeepers will move bees on May 1st.
  5. Fishermen expect to catch fish on May Day.
  6. On May Day morning, if a maiden gathers dew before sunup and sprinkles her face with it, she will enjoy luck and youthful beauty for the rest of the year.
  7. Farmers often plant corn, cucumbers, and turnips on this day.
  8. Villagers may hold theatrical battles between “summer” and “winter” that banish the winter.
  9. The Kentucky Derby starts off the month of May (the first Saturday of the month).
  10. On May 1st, people in Britain welcome spring by “Bringing in the May,” or gathering cuttings of flowering trees for their homes.
  11. May 1st in Hawaii is called “Lei Day,” and people will receive prizes this day for wearing the prettiest handmade leis.”

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Hanging May Day baskets is an enchanting custom that is fun to incorporate into your own family traditions.  Sweet paper cones made from stock card paper with scalloped edges and ribbons are easy to make and are a delightful surprise to find. 

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  Supplies Needed:

  • stock card paper (double sided paper if you want a pattern on the inside and outside of your May Day cone)
  • scissors
  • scalloped edged scissors
  • ribbon
  • shredded paper or tissue paper
  • craft glue 
  • florist vials, if using fresh flowers
  • candy, flowers, little gifts, etc.

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut stock card paper into a 7-inch square (I used double-sided stock paper to have prints on both the outside and inside of my May Day gift cones
  2. Use decorative scissors to cut scallops around the top edge of the square
  3. Place pencil tip at the bottom of the paper and begin rolling paper around pencil tip to form cone
  4. Secure outer flap of cone with glue 
  5. Punch holes along scalloped edge approximately 1″ apart, beginning at the top front center
  6. Thread a 22″ – 24″ length of 1/2″ ribbon through the holes
  7. Tie ribbon into bow in the front … leaving a 6″ loop at the back of the cone for hanging
  8. If using fresh flowers, use florist vials and fill with water and flower stems  to tuck into the cone, or fill with shredded paper or tissue paper and fill cone with silk flowers,candy, little gifts, etc.

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What a lovely surprise to find hanging on your door … a May Day gift cone filled with silk flowers, a package of “Ferrero Rocher, fine hazlenut chocolates” and Unicorn Sparkle Nail Polish. (:

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 This sweet little May Day cone is filled with silk flowers, a tube of lipstick, and a small bottle of perfume.

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Hope your May Day is filled with lots of sunshine and happy surprises!

From my cottage to yours May Day

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Spring Celebrations … DIY tips for making centerpieces

by Trenda 

With the coming of Spring there are a lots of opportunities for celebrations.  Whether you host a Spring Luncheon, a Tea Party, a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, a Kentucky Derby Party, a Mother’s Day Brunch, a Graduation dinner, or wedding buffet (whew!) one of the first things you’ll need is a centerpiece to “anchor” your tablescape.  Putting together a centerpiece can be daunting task.  Recently, I was asked to make the floral arrangements and decorations needed for a Mother/Daughter Tea for the Women’s Ministry at our church.  Today I am going to share some of the tips I used when I made the 25 centerpieces needed for the Tea … tips that helped make this job easy and fun!

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1.  The first thing that you need to decide in making your centerpiece is what color and type of flowers you are going to use.  Unless your arrangement is all roses, the general rule of thumb in flower arranging is to use at least 3 different sizes of flowers for visual interest.  Do you want your centerpiece to be elegant, rustic, casual, playful, spring-y, lush, or whimsical?  These questions will help you decide what type of container to place your flowers in.  The theme we wanted to portray for our Mother/Daughter Tea was a combination of three themes: a springtime/rustic/casual elegance theme.  Springtime flowers were chosen … daisy’s, daffodils, tulips, narcissus, and wisteria (none too fussy!) in a profusion of spring colors!

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2.  Mason jars dispel any hint of stuffiness and had dainty embossed filigree on the fronts and added just the right touch of casual elegance.  Then, to add texture and a hint of rustic flair, I hot-glued a strip of burlap ribbon edged with lace around each Mason jar.

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3Whenever you work with flowers that are a part of a bouquet, cut each stem from the bunch and trim off all the leaves to make them easier to arrange.  To determine the length I wanted my flowers in the centerpiece to be, I gathered the stems of my largest sized flowers (the Daisy’s) and bent the heads of the flowers so they looked natural.  Then I cut the stems so my flowers would stand upright in the Mason jar, with the blooms gently draping over the rim.

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4.  The Mason jars I used will be used again for other events.  For ease in changing out arrangements, I wrapped clear packing tape near the flower heads (so the tape wouldn’t be seen) to keep each arrangement together and so they can be easily removed.

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5.  The smaller flowers … the tulips, narcissus, and daffodils had much smaller stems and were easy to tuck into the arrangement of larger flowers already taped together.  These smaller flowers extended beyond the tops of the daisy’s so they would “peek” over the top of the arrangement, adding dimension and interest to the bouquet.

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6.  The last thing to add to any centerpiece is the “filler.”  The filler ties the whole arrangement together.  Like the name suggests, filler “fills” in the gaps of the arrangement and  “softens” the look of all the separate flowers and unites and blends them into one arrangement.  The filler can be … small flowers … baby’s breath … grasses … decorative filament … eucalyptus … seed pods … or any variety of decorative picks.

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The filler I used for these centerpieces were tiny flowers and buds with leaves.

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Look at all these sweet little arrangements … jars of Spring ready to be placed on the table!  Wouldn’t they look charming dangling from a shepherd’s hook lining the walkway to a woodland wedding or filled with sunflowers along the way to a bbq and barn dance?  Hmmm … perhaps another DIY on a future post! 🙂

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Wishing you “beaucoups of bouquets” and many happy Spring celebrations! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda 

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Bringing Spring Inside … with Spring Vignette’s

~by Trenda

Spring has arrived in Texas in a profusion of azalea blooms, perky bluebonnets and the unfurling of spring green leaves.  Sweet trills and twittering’s are heard throughout the day as birds flit about gathering building materials for their new homes.  Just like outside, it’s time to dress your home in Spring decor!  It’s easy to do with touches of romance, charm and whimsy tucked in unexpected places.  Little nests placed in crystal bowls … a gathering of eggs in decorative containers … fresh flowers “about the house” and the use of bright and pastel colors suggest all things Spring-y.

Spring wreath and birdbath filled with moss and speckled eggs.birdbath filled with eggs

An etched cache with blown glass finial is filled with Spring proffering’s … some spongy moss and sweet little eggs.  A crystal Frog Prince and favorite childhood books are reminiscent of fairy tales and magical possibilities.

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A little pewter bunny on a chartreuse pedestal … a matching chartreuse bird … and a little bird’s nest woven with spring leaves and blossoms perched on a chunky urn herald Spring’s arrival.

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All things bird- y! (:

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A desk corner in my music room is filled with “suggestions” of Spring and some “of my favorite things.”  A mottled watering can filled with a collection of paintbrushes … antique glass frogs for flower arrangements … miniature hinged birdhouses from a precious son … and a favorite miniature from a dear daughter that says, “A Mother’s love is what make a house a home.” ❤

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A chippy mirrored frame holds a picture of a pair of White-breast Nuthatches atop a twig-y silver easel.

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A miniature wooden easel holds a rough textured canvas of an egg-filled nest among leafy boughs … a collection of bird nests are perched, nearby.Spring buffet

Books, eggs, and birds … ❤

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A pair of lovebirds gaze into a mirror … a spring green bucket is filled with carved wooden pencils and a spool of twine is easily reached and handy.

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What was just a resting spot for this sweet, what-not shelf (while I went to get a nail to hang it) became the new, permanent location and a favorite spot once I saw how all the “lovelies” on the shelves were reflected in the mirror.  Treasures from our children, my grandmother, two of my dearest friends … fill these compartments and are looked on each day with fond memories.

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Reflection …

NESTGazing beyond the window at blue skies and spring blossoms, and inside … lace-y tree branches reflected on my grandmother’s glass-topped table … a dreamy place to work!music desk

Have fun finding special ways and little nooks to “bring” Spring into your home!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Mother’s Day Tablescape and DIY favors

~ Trenda

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my  angel mother.”  Abraham Lincoln

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 Happy Mother’s Day!  It has been a beautiful weekend packed with time spent with all of our dear children and grandchildren … and today was a perfect day for a Mother’s Day dinner served outside on the deck!  Adding a touch of sweetness and “gracing” our table, I used the DIY place cards and DIY napkin rings (click here for instructions!) that I taught you how to make earlier this week! (:

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Crocheted Battenberg lace place mats match the “grid work” of the antique wrought iron chairs.  This beautiful table belonged to my grandmother … a cherished gift to me from my mother. 

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A bright floral napkin ensconces each white napkin edged with Battenberg lace – both are slipped into DIY Spring napkin rings (click here for instructions!) and a matching DIY place card, “reserves” each seat!

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I was delighted when I found these charming green bowls on one of our “antique-ing excursions!”  The bowls look like little cabbages and for this tablescape, I used them to hold Sweeteners.  Carrying out the spring/garden theme and adding some whimsy,  I placed some miniature cabbage teapots under a domed pedestal plate.

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Crystal glasses are ready to be filled with Southern iced tea and water.  The rose blush stemware is a beloved gift from a dear little boy … many Mother’s Days ago ❤  fulldeck view.png

Both tables on the deck are set … the round table holds all the “overflow” serving dishes and is used as a buffet with plenty of chairs and built-in benches to seat everyone.   A favorite Villeroy and Boch “Country French” covered dish waits for Homemade Chicken Florentine and Noodle Soup. 

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Ready for dinner!  Look how darling the napkin rings and place cards are!

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Now, one more DIY project to show you … I made these sweet little favor boxes to send home with each of our “guests!”  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love making favors or treat bags for our “get-together’s.

favors.png I bought a package of these little boxes at Hobby Lobby on the party aisle where the crepe paper and favor bags are.  They are called Gable boxes and they come 12 to a package for only $3.99. (Download the Hobby Lobby App to get 40 percent off  on one regular priced, that can be used each time you shop at Hobby Lobby!) Using my Recollection tag die-cutter, I punched out tags from stock card in a variety of Spring colors and stamped them with bird nests, “For You” and a filigree frame (I wrote each guest’s name inside the frame) and used my hole puncher to punch a hole in each colored tag. Then, I filled each favor box with a fine sparkly shredded grass, nestled in some individually wrapped chocolates, tied a ribbon around each box and added a “set” of tags (1 of each … a bird nest tag, a “For You” tag and a filigree frame with the guest’s name on it) and tied them on to the ribbon of each favor.

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 “FOR YOU” … favor boxes are waiting by the front door to be given with goodbye’s and final hugs; a sweet remembrance of another special day together.

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This is the second Mother’s Day my own dear mother has been in heaven; I miss her every day and continually think of her, particularly on this special day.  What a blessing it was to be her daughter!  Her love, inner strength, joy, contentment and faith in Christ continue to be an inspiration to me.  “I’ll love you forever, like you for always, Mom” ❤

” … her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done …”  Proverbs 31:28-31

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Sending you a bit of our lovely day!  Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

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Mother’s Day DIY place cards and napkin rings

~ Trenda

 

tablescape .png“Tra la! It’s May! The lusty month of May!” Julie Andrews sang in the Broadway musical, CAMELOT. The charming but now archaic definition of lusty, according to Merriam-Webster is merry and joyous.  Looking out our open screen door to blue skies and hearing the birds joyously “tra-la’ing” as they go merrily about picking up choice “bits and pieces” to line and feather their nests, it is definitely “the lusty month of May!”  The month of May is filled with promise, celebrations and events. One of the preparations I enjoy the most before any holiday or get together is getting the table ready and “dressed” for the occasion. Look at these darling place cards I made with matching grapevine napkin rings; perfect for a woodland theme Bridal shower, a Spring Tea Party or Mother’s Day Brunch!

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I bought a package of plain white place-cards and my mini grapevine wreaths from Hobby Lobby.  Then I took my scalloped die-cut punch and punched along the bottom of the place-card.  To decorate each place card I hot glued “a bit” of ivy in the left hand corner of the place-card, placing it so the greenery “peeked” over the top and softened the corner of the card.  On each piece of greenery, I glued a single blossom from a silk hydrangea and some tiny pink flower buds.  For the final touch and to “blend” the look of the tiny posy … I glued individual pieces of assorted “fillers” I had from making other floral arrangements.  ie: tiny ivy leaves, eucalyptus, birch twigs … Then I wrote the name of each of our “guests” on the place-cards.

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After I finished all the place cards I needed, I started making my mini-grapevine napkin rings. I used the same technique and materials making these that I used making my place cards, so all would match.

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“Tra-la!”  (:   All done!  Time to set the table with all these charming “accroutements!” for an enchanting, Mother’s Day tablescape … pictures on my next blog!  (;  

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“… let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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“This Land Is Your Land” … Road Trip from Texas, to Mississippi, to Missouri, back to Texas!

~ Trenda

Richard has been asked to speak at a Memorial Service commemorating his dear friend, Bill Seaborn.  Bill was killed the day he and Richard were flying together on a rescue mission and their helicopter was hit by AK-47 fire and subsequently crashed into the jungles of Vietnam.  Before the scheduled date of the ceremony, we wanted to spend some time getting to know Bill’s family and friends and we also needed to make arrangements and check out accommodations for those in the 240th Helicopter Assault Company that will be attending the ceremony.  We were in Mississippi for 3 memorable days, spending time with people that all loved Bill.  Everyone was welcoming and gracious and we instantly became friends.  Though we are still apprehensive about the actual ceremony (I’m sure I’ll be writing about that after it occurs!) and the heart-stirring tribute commemorating Richard’s dear friend, we are looking forward to seeing all these lovely people, again. Afterwards, we drove from Mississippi to Missouri for a much needed vacation and to spend time visiting with Richard’s family.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and look at the stunning pictures I took along our 1,384 mile road trip!  As I looked at these pictures I couldn’t help but smile as the remembered words and melody that my great-uncle Woody Guthrie wrote and sang, America’s beloved folk tune “This Land is Your Land” (this proud niece can’t help but boast!) accompanied my viewing. (: 

“As I went walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway  I saw below me those golden valleys  This land was made for you and me …”  ~  Woody Guthrie

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During the 2 1/2 weeks we were away … storm clouds chased us from state to state!

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Spring tulips punctuate the deep green grass …

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Old bridge over a Mill pond …

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Cheerful Spring greeting …

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Cascading waterfalls surrounded by cattails and Redbud Trees.

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 Stacked rail fence, blossoming Redbud Trees and billowy clouds.

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This stunning statue is located at “Top of the Rock” in Ridgedale, Missouri.  The Native American sitting on his horse symbolizes the “Trail of Tears” and standing in an Infinity Pool … appears as if the waters of the pool spill, like tears, over into Table Rock Lake, far below.

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Beautiful chapel in the afternoon shadows.

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Inside the chapel, a breathtaking view of the Cross looking out a wall of windows …

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To the scenic Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake below.

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On another day of travelling, we saw a total of 3 rainbows!  The first rainbow was a double rainbow and the colors were spectacular!  Our 2nd rainbow, the arch was complete and it was the first time I had ever seen where the rainbow touched the ground … no wonder all the folklore and stories of pots of gold!  I was so mesmerized, I forgot to even get a picture until it had almost faded away.  The shimmery vivid colors and beauty of the bow was enchanting and reminded me once again of God’s promise to Noah.

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Lunch at a favorite restaurant with a dear niece on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri.

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After a delicious lunch (which she “sweetly” insisted was her treat! <3) … we took her to “Top of the Rock” (named that because it is located on the highest elevation in Taney County, Missouri) to see the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum and to go to the “Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail” a 2 1/2 mile ride tour driving our own 4-seated golf cart!  Along the trail are dramatic rock formations …

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Majestic waterfalls … we could feel the spray of the water on our face and arms as Richard maneuvered our golf cart around this curve! (:

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Caves …

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… and Amish bridges spanning deep ravines.

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The gray stone chapel standing regal in the purple and golden twilight reminds me of this quote from Lucy Maud Montgomery  “Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.”

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And finally … back to the Bluebonnets of Texas.

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(click here for song!)

“This land is your land, this land is my land

From California to the New York Island

From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me.”  ~  Woody Guthrie

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog!  I’d love for you to “FOLLOW ME!”  (:

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Azalea & Spring Flower Trail in Tyler, Texas

~ Trenda

One of our highlights each spring is going to the Azalea & Spring Flower Trails in Tyler, Texas.  The brick paved roads on the trail meander through neighborhoods lined with charming and prestigious historic homes and gardens that visitors are “invited” to walk through and are filled with blooming azaleas, Dogwood Trees, tulips, and “all things Spring.”  Completing the feeling of “gentler days” and nostalgia, Azalea Belles (young ladies chosen from Tyler’s high schools and home schools) meander around the gardens and greet visitors wearing beautiful antebellum gowns reminiscent of those worn by the Southern Belle’s in the years prior and during the Civil War.

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Each spring over 100,000 people come from all over the USA to visit Tyler and the Azalea Trails.  Today you can open this “garden gate” and vicariously enjoy a “scroll” through these enchanting gardens. (:  All of the pictures I am sharing in my blog today are pictures of people’s homes and their backyards (not parks!) that they so kindly let us “tour” and walk through on the Azalea Trails.  The owners of this next home (pictured below) chatted with us and told us that every afternoon they come and sit under this gorgeous wisteria-covered pergola and enjoy a glass of ice cold Dr. Pepper! (:pergola 2.pngLeatherleaf Mahonia nestled next to Coral Bells ‘Azaleas’ …berry bush.pngCharming “greenhouse” among the azaleas … greenhouse.pngBeautiful blooming White Dogwood Trees shading George L. Taber Azaleas. dogwood.pngStone columns mark the entry to a quaint stone bridge … just the sort-of-bridge that a Troll might live under and 3 Billy Goats would like to trot over! (: bridge moss.pngA bronze statue of a little girl in overalls with a picking basket stands among the Azaleas and Aucuba …girl statue 2.pngA large jardiniere filled with ivy and a cobble-stoned walkway along lichen covered walls.umbrellas background.pngAl Fresco Dining at it’s best!  “Table for 2?”  Yes, please!” (:table for 2.pngSide courtyardside courtyard.pngThe perfect spot to read (: … tucked behind a diminutive wrought iron fence, this reader  is in “good company” with Angel Wing Begonia, azaleas, and a hedge of boxwood.reading statue.pngA charming basket filled with frolicking bunnies … I would love to hang a basket like this from one of our trees!bunnies 3.pngRed tulips are particularly striking against a backdrop of wine-colored Loropetalum.tulips 2A double hedge of azaleas …2 double row azaleas.pngPine trees tower over brilliant azaleas …pines.pngA little cherub greets visitors as they come into the garden.cherub.pngI hope you enjoyed your stroll along the Azalea Trails today!  The last picture I’ve added is a picture of our own Coral Bells ‘Azaleas’ blooming in our front yard at Cottage Green on the Lake!  Hope your day is filled with blossom and bird song! (:front yard.png

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time with me today!  I love reading your comments and hearing from you! (: