While it’s Raining


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Walls painted by 18th century artist Jean-Baptist Pillement

(More here) at Haroué, a palace in Lorraine…

 The French Chateau… more here

Christian de Nicolay-Mazery

antique shoes

My birthday is at the end of May…and the accompanying

effusion of self-love (!) with which I regard myself

for a week or so before my “special day” often leads

me to extravagant and serendipitous finds.

I was thrilled to find one pair of late 18th or early

19th century silk shoes, and then stumbled upon

this tattered silk pair inscribed with a wedding date c1773.

antique textiles

I’m happy with just a few tangible and tattered pieces that

are a wispy connection to a far off time…little triggers

to my imagination. When they intersect with my love

of gardening…perfection.

garden roses

 Though my favorites garden roses are 19th century

Bourbons…here are a few modern roses with an old rose

look. They are reliable, easy roses with old fashioned

blooms on a nice shrubby bushes that look lovely

in a garden border. Or, when it’s pouring outside..

in a line up of votive glasses inside…

Garden roses

Love that particular shade of blue with peachy pinks…

The two tone pink is Pierre de Ronsard (also known

as Eden) introduced by Meilland, France in 1987.

 From David Austin’s rose collection: the peachy bloom

is Cressida, the light pink Evelyn was developed for

Crabtree & Evelyn’s rose fragrance here.

Design book

A  Duchesse Brisee tucked into a window recess…

Also from The French Chateau …fits my “nose

to the window” mood…waiting for the bright

days of Spring to return…


A bouquet of peonies and foxgloves rescued from this

morning’s downpour!

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More Spring rains…

A quick garden view…

Peonies bent low in their garden beds…


The daisies underfoot are egigeron…the “Santa Barbara Daisy” …

easy growers that find their own way through the garden borders.


The blooms are so heavy with rain that I’ve

decided to clip a dozen or so peonies to bring inside…


Kansas, Sarah Bernhardt, and Vivid Rose blooms…

Have water in the bucket before I clip…

anything to extend the blooms!


Will re-cut the stems underwater once inside…

Keep them in a cool place…out of the sun…garden

In the twenty years since I’ve designed and planted and tended

this garden…this is the latest that the peonies have bloomed!

A very, very cool, wet, and late Spring!

In Waiting


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French apartment
A line of 18th century portraits hung sparely

alongside one another…

The perfection of striped gilded chaise and parquet floor…

Venetian eglomise mirrorThis 18th century Venetian églomisé mirror

and the photo above are from Frédéric Méchiche’s

Paris apartment in the January 1994 issue

of World of Interiors photographed by René Stoeltie.

Love the chalky walls, the sense of restraint

the lure of that one extravagant find…

Paris Apartment

Frédéric Méchiche again…this time for French pop star Karen Cheryl in Paris Objet Trouvé here

 One of those small but perfect little books…

Edgy, eclectic, virtuoso pairing of pedigreed antiques with plucky finds…

René and Barbara Stoeltie photography

flower borders

I am trying to keep you amused whilst awaiting the

Big Extravagant Peony Event. It’s about this time of year

that I start having dark thoughts about whether

these hard to bloom plants are worth their space.

peonies Trouvais

Thirty plants. Twelve plants in bud. The air is heavy with

anticipation, and an unseasonable chill.

Another rumor of rain!

Garden border

Here’s a Vivid Pink peony about to explode…

That’s nice…but I want this!


The borders on either side…still waiting…