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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

New Deck Ready for Fall and Book Club

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall is in the air........ 


Cooling rains, pouring rains, drizzling rains, flash flood rains... came bringing life to the woods and bringing autumn to our parched landscape.  After several days of rain, overcast skies, and soggy weather, the skies cleared, and now, the clear air under brilliant blue skies remains cool.

The leaves are still mostly green, but many brown ones have fallen to the ground.  Most years there is little color to fallen leaves here.  Instead, the leaves change from green to totally brown on the trees, then fall to the ground.  The first brown leaves to fall are dying of thirst, not from plunging night time temperatures.  When the autumn rains begin, the temperatures cool causing the next wave of brown leaves to fall.  Small oak twigs with tiny acorns also fall during autumn rain storms that include lots of wind, thunder, and lightning.

The new deck is perfect for enjoying the crisp fall mornings and for a gathering of the November meeting of the Monday Book Club.  As I arranged the furniture over the weekend between rain showers, I kept my fingers crossed that the weather forecast calling for bright sunshine on Monday would be accurate.  

It was!  I could not have ordered better weather for the book club.  

All of the deck furniture is old.  These wrought iron chairs were part of a table and chairs set bought thirty-seven years ago for a surprise party to celebrate the Long Tall Texan's graduation from graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin.  

When you live long enough, all of your furniture has history.   

Well, most of your furniture.  These folding wooden chairs across from the old iron chairs are fairly new, bought a couple of years ago for a previous book club gathering under the pear tree in the backyard.  Along with the fleur de lis iron topiary they add a French look to the deck. 

Ivy is one of the plants that not only survives the harsh summer and winter Texas weather, but seems to thrive when I remember to water it and to protect it from the snow in the winter.  These are being trained as topiaries which also adds a French touch.  

In the background, on the old lower deck yet to be replaced, is a large group of potted ivy plants, most of which are being trained as topiaries also.  The old bench made from a wrought iron bed sits at the edge of the new deck so that no one will accidentally fall over the edge.  Once the lower deck is replaced and is the same level as this new section, the furniture will be rearranged. 

Until then, barriers are needed for safety reasons.

The potted boxwood plants on either side of the iron bench also serve as barriers at the edge of the new deck.  As the boxwood plants grow, I will train them into a ball shape and use the clippings during the holidays.  I don't think there will be enough boxwood for any homemade wreaths this Christmas.... One day... There is always hope.  

The vintage wrought iron bedstead bench came from an antique store in Forney, Texas more than twenty-five years ago and probably is the first thing in my house that had a fleur de lis, the beginning of my love for French design. 

On the opposite end of the deck from the bench is a small seating area.  A  L A R G E  heavy potted mum and graceful concrete swan statue serve as the barriers at the edge of that end of the new deck. The small table is perfect for holding my Coca-Cola. 

The table's tile top depicts a little blue bird with a message of HOPE that reminds me that there is always hope.  Hope for all decks replaced, hope for glorious fall weather, hope for visiting with dear book club friends, hope for homegrown boxwood, hope for soul-lifting happinesses in the future, hope for life's unexpected, unknown joys.... just around the bend, out of sight. 

One of my hopes today is that you will come back for the next post where you will see more of the deck and preparations for the book club meeting.  

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