Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Three Easy Designs...Patriotic Deck

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Have you ever noticed how 
patriotic the designs of automobile license plates are?

License plates are one of the three easiest ways
to add patriotic decor any place.
Easy to find...
Inexpensive at antique stores or free after expiration...
Versatile to use... 
Just stand one anywhere,
or hang using the built-in screw holes.
Easy, easy, easy... no drilling.  

Stars, red, white, blue... 
An older Texas plate that once was on my car is 
very patriotic, 
among its many themes... 
state map, space travel, cowboys, oil wells... 

This is one of my all-time favorite Texas plates.  

I grew up outside Huntsville, Alabama, 
the Rocket City in the United States, and 
married a long tall Texan. 
He wasn't a cowboy with a horse, 
but he did wear boots, attended Stock Shows, 
and we have a gas lease on our two acres. 
Don't get too excited. 
The last royalty check was $36.  

Here are four license plates found in my 
haphazard collection of auto license plates, 
and all of them are patriotic. 

Look at the bottom left Alabama plate. 
The background is a flag, and 
the logo is, 
"God Bless America." 

Welcome to my patriotic deck, 
outfitted for summer holidays 
with pillows, colorful drinks, and license plates. 

Independence Day - July 4 
Bastille Day - July 14 
Labor Day - September 1

Sit for a while. 
Enjoy a cool drink under the shade trees. 
True summertime activities... 

Texans in the left Adirondack chair... 
Filled with blue stars and stripes... 
Who says stripes have to be red? 

The second quick way 
to add patriotic decor is with pillows. 

The large pillow came from Pottery Barn last fall 
when it was the last one in the store and on sale. 

No throw pillows?
For talented DIYers,
Confessions of a Serial DIY
shows how to make your own
patriotic drop cloth pillow.
Now, if only my sewing machine would work. 

Then there is always bargain hunting for beautiful pillows.
Watch for end-of-season sales...
Like the European-size blue stars and stripes Pottery Barn pillow...

Or, best of all, outlet shopping. 

Alabamans in the right Adirondack chair... 
With the new Pottery Barn OUTLET pillow. 

I was so excited to get to go to a Pottery Barn Outlet last week. 
The closest one is about four hours from here, 
and the cost of the gas for driving there cancels out savings. 
So, no Pottery Barn Outlet shopping. 

Then, I looked online and found one in Memphis, Tennessee, 
right on the route to my mom's house in Alabama. 

My sister and I stopped there on 
the way home from visiting Mother. 
It was just ten minutes from our highway.  
The flag pillow was not the only bargain I found. 

After all that shopping and driving, 
sitting on the deck is called for. 

A patriotic California license plate tops a rustic homemade birdhouse 
that doubles as a storage box. 

Native of other states?... sit at the table. 
We can round up more chairs as needed. 

Linen and cotton blue napkins with stars, 
more Pottery Barn Outlet bargains, 
are tied with a re-used ribbon. 

Patriotic designed drinks are the third easy, inexpensive way 
to add patriotic decor. 
Classic Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and bottled water 
sport red, white, and blue colors.  

 The navy citronella candle to ward off pesky bugs 
 was on sale at Lowes

The drinks in a G. Wolff pot found at The Greenery
look even more patriotic inside a kitchen dish towel
and sitting on top of a star-filled napkin.

Bottled water and Coca-Colas... 
Cool summer drinks... 

What better way to spend a summer holiday?
Surrounded by three easy patriotic decor ideas and ...

Sitting on the shady deck with family and friends,
having a Coca-Cola....

Please join me at these inspiring sites...



SHOUT OUT to Blogger Help Forum

Friday, June 27, 2014


With a lot of help from friends 
and Google Blogger Help Forum, 
my blog problem is now resolved. 
...the problem where my blog was redirected to 
another address when I tried to access it using Chrome. 

May I say, "Whew," again, please? 

Keep reading to see what my problem was 
and what I learned from this. 

My last post, 
Six Features of a Southern Garden, 
had corrupted files probably caused by 
using MSWord in editing my post somehow. 
The corrupted code was causing my blog to redirect to a strange place. 
You know, I had problems with MSWord 
years ago conflicting with my school district's email system. 
MSWord...on my bad list again.

To resolve my problem, 
I ended up losing two blog posts, 
with the possibility of recreating them at a later date. 
But, the rest of Botanic Bleu appears to be intact.

May I say, "Whew," again, please?

rated as a Top Contributor on Google Blogger Help Forum, 
 is one savvy problem solver. 

She, I think nitecruzr is a she, looked into 
the HTML versions of my blog's recent posts 
and spotted the corrupted file in my last post. 
She sent me a public email on the Blogger Help Forum site 
that highlighted where she thought my problem was. 

She also spotted a problem in 
The Greenery Garden Center, Part 1.

Now, we often complain about Google Blogger issues, 
but today, I am grateful and want to give a 
shout out 
Blogger Help Forum. 
Thank you for the timely recommendations 
about how to resolve my blog's issues. 

shout out
blogger friends 
Art and Sand, Betty from My Irish Cottage, Susan, and 
Lavender Dreamer 
who responded to my plea for help. 

A special shout out to 
her kind, generous husband 
who both checked access to my blog on 
five major browsers and two brands of computers. 
Where else other than blogland can you find such kind hearts? 
Oh, yes, there are kind souls at church, too.   


What did I learn from this experience? 

1) Do not use MSWord documents to edit blogger posts. 

2) Use Chrome "New Incognito Window" to help troubleshoot Chrome Browser issues. 

3)  Go to the Blogger Help Forum.  You will get answers. 
And, it was fun reading some of the other comments...
comic relief that helped ease the tension.

4) Check the most recent blog post's HTML code version when 
a new problem arises. 
Watch for the word, "fragment." 
Bad word. Sort of like, "Bad dog!"

5) Check blog posts prior to the most recent post.
What might have rocked along without causing a problem
can also begin to be a problem when triggered by something else. 

I still hold my breath until I see my blog post "hold," 
and not disappear from the computer screen. 
Then, exhale with relief. 
Maybe one day soon, I will no longer hold my breath. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...



Blog Technical Problems

Is anyone else having a problem with your browser 
redirecting either your own blog or my blog 
to another web address? 

This may be my last blog post. 
I am trying to correct a technical problem, but am having no success. 
Can anyone help me resolve the following? 
Can you give me the names and contact information 
for blog consultants who help for a fee? 

Who knows about WordPress?
I may have to migrate there while I still have access to my blog.
Which paid consultants help migrate from Blogger to WordPress?

I cannot access my blog using Chrome or Safari browsers. 
I am using Firefox right now, but will not sign out of my blog
for fear I will not be able to access it ever again.
Then Botanic Bleu will be lost. 

Below is my last response to the person on
Blogger Help Forum 
who was giving me some advice.

1) 3rd Party Cookies were already enabled in Chrome Browser when I checked the setting just now.
2) Cleared/deleted all Cookies AND Cleared Browsing Data
3) Disabled the only Extension in the browser (Pin button)
4) Restarted Chrome browser…problem still exists
5) Tried New Incognito page….same problem occurred which suggests it is not the browser, but a Google Blogspot issue.  

6) Problem started June 26, 2014 when I went to my blog using Chrome, signed into my Dashboard, looked at Stats, checked on a post still in Draft mode, signed out, remembered I needed to check something else. Then when I went back to my blog using Chrome, the problem began.  My computer screen shows my blog home page while it is loading Google Blogspot info, then when it is finished loading, the screen is redirected to a blank screen with the new address "About:blank"

7) Then I used Safari browser to access my blog.  Safari brought up my blog, I signed in, went to my Dashboard, checked my blog for something, logged out.  The next time I tried to access my blog using Safari, similar problem occurred as with Chrome.  The blog homepage was visible while the browser loaded the info, then the screen was redirected to a blank page with a message about not being able to connect to Squareup because that address did not exist on the internet.  The address line in Safari Browser had something with Squareup in it.

8) Closed Safari. 

9) Opened Firefox browser.  Went to my blog which opened, I signed in and began trying to double check every setting in Layout, Template, etc… Did not see anything that appeared wrong.  I have NOT signed out of my blog using the Foxfire browser.  That is the only access I have to my blog while I try to figure out how to correct this redirecting issue.  

10) Since similar results occurred with more than one browser, that suggests to me again that the problem is inside the Google Blogspot settings, not the Browsers.  

11) My sister tried to access my blog using her computer using a Safari Browser. 
Her computer acted just like mine...redirected my blog to a bizarre web address. 
Third reason this problem appears to be with Google Blogspot, not the Browser.

What do you think?  Any ideas?

Please leave me a comment even if you do not have any suggestions, 
so I know someone 
is getting my blog.

The Greenery Garden Center Part 2

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Do you love garden statues, planters, 
arbors, and stone walls? 

Then you are in for a treat. 

The Greenery 
in Brownsboro, Alabama 
(I mistakenly listed its location as 
Huntsville, Alabama in my last post.)
showcases beautiful gardens 
in its landscape and in its greenhouse.

focused on the annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. 
This post is about the 
"...& MORE!" 
The layered stone columns are a first view of 
so more MORE to come. 

Yes, this is a business, not a private residence, 
that illustrates how to create a lush, gracious landscape 
in its display gardens.  

The front entry with its angel statue, stone bench, and 
potted Boston ferns set among sculpted boxwoods 
invites customers to linger before entering the store. 

Just to the left of the main building is an open air garden
filled with garden statues, pots, urns, and arbors for sale
that allow customers to create a similar look in their own landscapes.

Peering through the wrought iron fence, 
I look forward to seeing its contents up close. 

So much to see... 
a double arched arbor, 
birdbaths in the foreground, 
statues of a girl and a boy, 
a potted evergreen on the breezeway, 
dog and cat statues for animal lovers, 
concrete benches, 
a French-style pea gravel walkway, 
and just a glimpse of an elegant urn atop a pedestal. 
Each time I come to The Greenery, 
I take time to sit quietly amidst its beauty. 

 The native stone drywall holds a raised bed
filled with shrubs and flowers.
All of these gardens were built new
since the nursery opened in 1993.

What an unusual bench... Noah's Ark?

Display gardens include plantings in large
European-style urns.

Several styles of urns and pedestals are available. 
I love all of these. 

My favorite is this scrolled urn atop its pedestal.
Someday... maybe...

So, what did I buy?

A G.Wolff pot to replace my shattered one... 

Here it sits in my Texas garden with a Vitex tree in full bloom behind it.

Little by little, I learned, since 1980, what to plant in my north Texas garden 
which is very different from a north Alabama garden. 

I'm not sure what is going into my new G. Wolff pot. 
See The Greenery's website for more information
and inspiration.
Please join me at these inspiring sites...



The Greenery Garden Center Part 1

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 While garden centers and nurseries 
always inspire me to plant beautiful 
flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables, 
there is an exceptionally inspirational 
garden center in north Alabama. 

At first glance, 
The Greenery 
Brownsboro, Alabama,
just east of Huntsville on Highway 431,  
looks like an elegant Southern home 
set in Southern Living styled gardens. 

In reality, 
The Greenery 
is an elegant gift shop and nursery  
whose grounds illustrate how homeowners 
can create that gracious Southern style 
with plants, flowers, statues, and urns 
in their own gardens. 

The gift shop housed in the brick building offers home d├ęcor. 
Beautiful candles, faux floral stems, gardening books, birdhouses,
gifts, garden furniture, lamps, art objects, 
Guy Wolff pottery, and much more 
fill the first floor of the building. 

I love to shop here at Christmas 
when the store is filled with 
Christmas plants, seasonal decorations, and 
gifts creating the magic of the season. 

Step through its side French doors 
onto the covered walkway that leads to the 
greenhouse filled with plants. 

The stroll always takes me a long time 
because potted plants, garden furniture, 
and the walkway's architecture entice me 
to stop to examine them closer. 

Inside the greenhouse 
are scores of nursery tables 
filled with bedding plants, 
many begun by seed on site. 

A stunning arbor created 
from old windows is at the main entrance 
of the greenhouse. 

Outside, the grounds are planted 
with traditional Southern shrubs and trees, 
but not always in the expected way. 

Two magnolia trees, 
hallmarks of Southern gardens, 
are espaliered against the house 
in an unexpected planting for magnolias. 

Oakleaf hydrangeas that grow wild 
in Southeastern woods 
are another staple of Southern gardens. 

Their creamy white blossoms 
pair perfectly with magnolia trees. 

Several are planted in The Greenery’s landscape, 
and mimic how they grow in the wild... 
beneath shady trees, with filtered sunlight. 

Customers pick up plant purchases at 
the rear of the greenhouse. 

No surprise at what the latest 
customer is picking up... 
oakleaf hydrangeas. 

Russian sage fills a raised bed 
between the gift shop and greenhouse. 

Its delicate blue blooms and greenery 
offer gardeners a plant similar to 

While drought tolerant, the plant also 
does well in north Alabama 
with its abundant rainfall throughout the summer.
A soft summer shower fell just
as I was wandering through the outdoor gardens. 

Do you love garden statues, planters, arbors, and
stone walls? 

The Greenery offers all of these, but 
has more variety than what is available 
at your ordinary garden centers. 
No, you won't find their inventory at the 
local Home Depot or Lowes. 

 See my next post, 
The Greenery Garden Center Part 2, 
for examples of what The Greenery offers. 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...