Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Timeless Ticking

From Patina White

Certain colors, shapes, patterns, and styles have always inspired me.  For example, since I can remember, I have adored mattress ticking.  It's easy to love: simple navy blue and creamy white stripes on sturdy cotton.  It goes with so much and lasts for ages.  Then there are grain sacks.  Again with the blue and white stripes and the humble fabric that just gets better with each washing.

As we head towards our closing on the new house, Mr. Magpie and I have decided to go with timeless favorites like these as our inspiration for decorating.

From Country Homes and Interiors

The new house is a cottage, so we're keeping things simple.  I love the idea of translating the ticking pattern to a wall or even a staircase, like the one above.

From Country Living

And, of course, ticking looks beautiful mixed with other patterns on a bed.  I like it combined with natural linens.

From L.L. Bean

Right now, L.L. Bean has flannel sheets with ticking stripes.  Guess what we'll be sleeping on this winter?  ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Garden Inspiration

As you can imagine, my mind is overflowing with thoughts of flowers and gardens as we make preparations for moving to the new house at the end of the month.  I haul my camera and notebook everywhere I go, snapping shots and taking notes.

When I was a kid, my parents were avid gardeners, and they would always encourage me to dig and weed and plant along with them.  I remember the first year they gave me a small garden bed of my own.  I felt like Mary in The Secret Garden.  Of course, I planted pansies, because they looked like little people to me, and snapdragons and sweet peas.  These are still some of my favorites.

While I admire formal gardens and French parterres, I am a cottage gardener through and through, a happy practitioner of what my father-in-law calls "controlled chaos."  The more rambling and exuberant the blooms, the happier I am, and I even welcome stray wildflowers like Queen Anne's Lace to make their way into the beds.  

One of my favorite places to go for inspiration is the community garden at Gilsland farm in Falmouth.  The plots here are completely organic, and their gardeners understand the importance of planting natives like brown-eyed Susans.

I've been keeping a long list of favorites for the gardens at the new place.  Below is a list of a few of the many candidates.  Please feel free to add some of your favorite cottage garden favorites in the comments!

columbine (I plan to pilfer some from my mother's garden)
bee balm
brown-eyed Susans
foxgloves (I love growing them!)
Russian sage
roses--especially ramblers and climbers and rugosas

astilbe (for the many shady spots)
hostas, of course
wild ginger (thanks, Mum)
lady's mantle
coral bells

morning glories (the bluer the better)
day lilies

I could keep going!  These are just some of my favorites.  And you know there will be pansies and snapdragons and sweet peas tucked in, just like the old days.  For what better place to indulge one's nostalgia than in one's very own garden?  When I dig into the earth, the years fall away and I am small again, at eye level with the lilies of the valley in spring and the blue asters come fall.  And in mid-summer, I look up to see beneath the beautiful skirts of the coneflowers, towering above the rambling rock wall.  

The garden is where I go to feel ageless even as each season gives way to the next.