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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Notes From The Country | No. 1

Monday, January 29, 2018

As January draws to a close I am slowly catching up on cleaning, organizing, planning, and dreaming. Notes to myself in a blue notebook about French-inspired country living keeps me from forgetting the plans in my mind. 

 D R E A M I N G  

Of indoor lavender plants, floral arrangements, and a potager to plant ... 

Vintage Old Chicago Brick with weeds sprouting in its holes 

This winter has been hard on plants here in my little plot in the countryside. The hard freezes and only trace amounts of rain are stressing the outdoor plants. Being gone for weeks meant the plants have not been watered as much as they should be. Damaged water hoses with large gashes make it hard to water the new oak tree, the holly tree, and the potted plants on the decks. One large new water hose is carrying the load by being dragged from one area to the next. 

Plans for late winter include buying more new hoses and sprinkler heads plus repairing the broken water pipe from the house to the garden shed. 

The indoor plants suffered while we were gone. The rosemary trees in the kitchen died completely. They were such a sad sight to see. They were totally gray, and dust flew from them when touched. Reminded me of scenes from Miss Haversham's house. 

Now I am shopping for new ivy plants for inside without many options available in the local nurseries. There are very few plants available since the nurseries were hit hard by the freezing temperatures. The plant stands are bare, awaiting arrival of new stock. No one has any ivy topiaries. I did find some small 4" pots of ivy. But, I'm still dreaming... 

 D R E A M I N G 

Of tablesettings, desserts, and homemade paper cards for Valentines... 

Plans for a Valentine table setting are almost finished. Plates, hearts, card, and vintage ironwork are already on the table waiting for the final touches. Last year's Valentine dessert was in traditional reds and pinks, but this year's Valentine table is in blue and white. Plus there will be a template for making a small envelope. 

 D R E A M I N G 

Of an organized linen closet with printed card stock labels for the laundry baskets... 

Behind this door is a linen closet just waiting to be reorganized and then to be shared with the world. A full-length mirror next to the linen closet reflects the bathtub and makes this view a little confusing. 

The wire laundry basket inside the closet already has its printed labels, but the shelves are totally disorganized. One day soon everything will be straightened up and ready for photographing. The post will include a printable for the laundry basket labels. 

* * * * * 

Thank you for following the journey of a French-inspired garden and home in the countryside of north Texas. 


  1. I seem to be dreaming about a lot of the same things! I purchased some wild flower seeds to be strewn over the hillside this spring. I also bought some lettuce and green bean seeds for the potager. We are looking at galvanized stock tanks for our raised beds this year, and looking into ordering tons of French pea gravel for our back courtyard.

  2. I'm dreaming with you, Judith. ;)

  3. I have never had luck with rosemary and ivy in the house. They seem to get spider mites. This time of year it is hard to wait to buy houseplants.
    I'm dreaming of garden changes also, and like you have been organizing a little. There is still much more to be done.
    Spring is coming. Daffodils are coming up.Can't wait.

  4. My rosemary tree didn't make it in the house either, I'm sad to say. Bad light, I suppose. I'll look forward to big pots of it outside!

    Dreaming of spring. Another six inches of snow yesterday after three days of thaw. I know enough to know that January thaw is never permanent but oh, why did it have to leave so soon!

  5. When I saw the mirror view of your bathroom I loved it and will be trying to find some more pictures of it. We've lost plants too and had the plumber here for repairs/replacements twice. Seems it's always something during the cold winter months.

  6. That photo did confuse me until I read your note about the mirror!

    I love this post, and while i tend toward English/Scottish style things, I do love some French, too!

    The potager has my mind plotting and planning!

    Sorry you lost some of your plants, I’m sure you’ll find lovely things to replace them!


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