About Me

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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

{Our Weeping Pussy Willow Nearly Drowned}

On February 17 of this year, we proudly came home with a beautiful and healthy Salix Caprea Pendula - Weeping Pussy Willow. Below this post you will find a link about it from a provious post. Husband Pieter did plant it close to the creek as they love to grow near a stream. 
Here it is, straight from Trader Joe's where we bought it and looking very healthy.
On August 6, I took this photo, near the creek where it already endured quite some abuse by the roaring waters that went way over its top.
Look for the red < chevrons for locating our Weeping Pussy Willow between some weeds.
You barely can see it... struggling for dear life and several of its branches had lost the leaves from the current of he waters...
Pieter did rescue it on August 18 and it went back into a pot and inside the greenhouse, sheltered from the heavy tropical thunderstorms.
Such a sad Weeping Pussy Willow...
The above photo I took at 2:45 PM 
Only 5 hours later at 7:45 PM I made this photo from our flooded greenhouse after another tropical thunderstorm had passed over.
It made us feel happy for having rescued it and yet, still it was in the water.
Below I will put again the special poem that came with it in February:

The Story of Salix Caprea Pendula
The weeping pussy willow is among the most graceful of trees.
It is connected with all that is feminine-dreaming, intuition, emotion, enchantment, healing and revitalization. 
The willow has long since been recognized as a sacred tree by poets, philosophers and religious leaders because of the flexibility of its twigs.
The willow's flexibility symbolizes resilience and inspires us to move with life rather than resist what we are feeling.
Magic has it that willow is bestowed with magical power capable of fulfilling wishes. 
For a wish to be granted, ask permission of the willow explaining your desire. 
Select a pliable shoot and tie a loose knot in it expressing your wish. 
When your wish is fulfilled, return and untie the knot.
Remember to thank the willow for your gift.

Related link:
{Salix Caprea Pendula - Weeping Pussy Willow} | previous post by me from March 2, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

{IMPACT and AFTERMATH of TROPICAL THUNDERSTORMS}

Officially it is hurricane season and that has also an impact on part of the United States. Living in the south east of the USA is great, related to the climate but sometimes we do pay a high price for sunny weather as things tend to go wrong. Tropical storms, disturbances and heavy thunderstorms with buckets of rain are a high price we often pay.
On Sunday afternoon of August 18, we were making the rounds over our estate and we first hand could see the damage that was caused by a severe thunderstorm on Wednesday, August 14, with a tremendous downpour that caused flooding.
You can see that lots of soil got washed out from underneath the bridge's ramp... gone!
The wooden bridge got beaten up too and lots of debris laying around everywhere.
That's the last of our three bridges and that too got beaten up and lots of soil washed out from underneath its ramp.
But what can we do?
You see that white chevron, it is pointing towards debris, leaves and such that left a trail from where the flood line was on Wednesday, August 14. 
Our Spunky girl is even impressed and looking at it...
In the far distance comes our Smokey boy; they join us for the usual 'cat walk'.
When we had gone inside on Sunday, August 18, for having our tea, another heavy thunderstorm came up suddenly and we had a tremendous downpour. This is ONLY 5 hours later!
We were quite shocked and worried about our bridges, our trees, shrubs and plants...
Tropical weather like that is so harsh on the elements! 
Murky water comes roaring down.
Our Spunky girl usually stays in our wood garden; that's her domain but now I worry as she cannot cross the bridges or she might get swept away. This is AFTER the rain and of course most of the racing water had already passed and is now receding rapidly.
Such a sad sight...
This also leaves behind a very thick and stinky mud.
And this we watched now week after week, for nearly three months in a row... Our kind of summer for 2013.
All the hard work, all the woodwork, the painting and treating of the bridge with wood preservative.
Husband Pieter did just finish this bridge on August 1, and it has been under water numerous times since.
Just sad... Look at this little lake!
Foaming water that keeps racing down hill...
Just hoping for the best...
Water from the creek comes running down from across the road as well...
The flooding across the road, alongside the creek is even worse...
Look how much creek water is still running over the road, not being able to pass through the huge pipe, underneath the asphalt. That pipe is not wide enough to handle all the excess water in the creek, which accumulates fast from higher areas.
In the distance you see our white picket fence. Behind me to the right is still part of our wood garden, a total length of 200 meter we got alongside the road.
This I zoomed in from our bedroom window...
WHEN will this wet monsoon finally leave us?
Sure, in July Georgia Magazine did warn for getting prepared: It's hurricane season. 
Bringing the risk of storm surges, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across Georgia...
Finally we had two SUNNY days now after 11 days of rain, as much as 12.49 inch or 31.7 cm. 
Unreal amount of water...

Related link:
{Our Wooden Balusters Repurposed} | previous post by me
Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network | link for obtaining the above Cumulative Rainfall calculator
{Our Damage from Tornado spin off of Hurricane Earl, 2003} | previous post by me with severe damage to our bridges
Rainy July Day in Georgia II - iPhone upload | video showing how it looks like...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{RAIN and MUD}

You might be wondering why I have not yet shown you my SAVED cushions for the gazebo that I posted about on July 8. Well, the answer is quite simple: because of lots of RAIN and MUD. Not the best ingredients for a photo shoot. Don't you agree? 
After husband Pieter redid our Power Wiring from the house to the Gazebo, those washed concrete tiles got all muddy from the heavy rain that came down from the garden...
Planter boxes all muddy and the plank floor from the gazebo got splashed on.
Not yet the time for putting the cushions in those chairs...
A very strange summer where we could not enjoy our gazebo for breakfast, tea, coffee, lunch or supper.
Aside from the fact that this very wet summer created millions of bugs and mosquitoes...
Have you been able to live outdoors?


Related link:
{What is THIS?} | previous post by me showing the SAVED cushions
{New Power Wiring to Our Gazebo} | previous post by me showing Pieter having laid the Power Line.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

{Our Golden Silk Spider aka Giant Wood Spider}

In July when we had all that rain, there suddenly were lots of Giant Wood Spiders... You needed to walk the wood trail in our garden or wood garden, with a branch to clear these Garden Critters before having them in your face or caught in your hair. Nice Golden Silk Spiders however, and I did go back to take glamour shots of them.
The female Golden Silk Spider's body is 22-40 mm (about 1") long. The male, which you see above left of her 'butt' is only about 8 mm. 
And yes, these Golden Silk Spiders are venomous but their bite is less painful than that of a bee.
Do you like them?
On July 29 I took these photos in the late afternoon with perfect light on their perfect web.
Again, the much smaller male Golden Silk Spider you see to the right at the top.
This is close to our gazebo.
Here you only see part of the male spider at the top right.
Below this post you find a link that shows two short videos with some more information...
This female is wearing fuzzy 'garter belts' around her long legs...
This shows more of her beautiful silken web and they must be very strong.
After all those torrential rains we had in June, July and August their webs remain in tact!
Another one with her male companion... Those males have the 'upper' hand it looks like.
This one is shown from the under side I guess. Shown is our neighbor's home.
This web is by far not as perfect looking. Maybe she still is weaving it?
Look, another nice one! We have so many along our wooden walk ways. 
Why disturb them? They catch many a bug and with this wet monsoon season we got PLENTY of mosquitoes and you name it.
My mini cat girl Tiggy-Tiger was hiding for them, between these leaves...
Are you scared of Giant Wood Spiders?
These females from The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders book, look like they're still tiny. 
Ours are true Giants and seem to be well fed and happy!

Related link:
Golden Silk Spider | showing 2 videos about this giant Nephila clavipes or Wood Spider found in tropical climates
Golden Silk Orb-Weaver | showing this Nephila clavipes or Golden Silk Orb-Weaver - look at the photo showing cape made from this Spider Silk
The gown of gold spun by a million spiders that revives a lost tradition | Daily Mail Online about the silk from Golden Orb Spiders showing above cape worn by a model!

Friday, August 23, 2013

{Our Cereus Oxypetalum Night Blooming Orchid Cactus}

On July 3 in the afternoon, it became evident that our Cereus Oxypetalum Night Blooming Orchid Cactus would open up that very night. Even though in HEAVY RAIN... Perfect for our 237th Independence Day celebration!
This photo I took shortly after midnight in the wee hours of July 4th.
I had moved the entire plant inside our gazebo...
Looks lacy against the Vintage Woodworks ginger bread.
You can tell it is pitch dark outside, I used the ceiling lights in our gazebo.
There were a total of 6 blooms and they are full of rain drops from the torrential rains.
I put the storage container for our cushions on top of the round table in order to place this plant with its trailing blossoms on it.
Again you can see the Vintage Woodworks ginger bread at the top.
Husband Pieter took this photo at 1:45 PM (13:45 o'clock) in the rain.
Can you imagine that in ten hours time they do bud like that?
This is their usual pedestal so their full length can trail down.
In winter they are on the work bench inside our green house.
Again, clad in rain drops and to the right you see our pond.
This photo is taken at midnight, with flash outside... 
It didn't look good so I decided to bring the entire pot inside.
You can see all 6 blooms here.
This photo is a good one, from outside but more close.
Again, now inside our gazebo, after I placed the pot on the storage container on top of the table.
Regardless of the rain, their fragrance was still like perfume in the still midnight air.
 This is a last picture, showing the two top blooms full of tears from heaven...
Hope you did enjoy them!

Related links:
Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) | My Youtube video from this night
{BONUS - Our Epiphyllum oxypetalum re-bloomed!} | previous post by me
{Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) Orchid Cactus} | previous post by me
{Epiphyllum oxypetalum buds opening in the evening} | previous post by me
{LOOK how our Epiphyllum oxypetalum buds in only 6 days till THE afternoon...} | previous post by me

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

{Our Luna White Hibiscus or Rose Mallow}

One of our Hibiscus varieties is a HUGE one and it's called 'Luna White Hibiscus or Rose Mallow'. Let me show you how it looks like. First photo is from June 10, 2011... taken by husband Pieter.
We are really talking about a flower that measures 8" or 20.3 cm in diameter!
Does any of you have this huge variety?
Below this post is a link where they are available on line.
This is our Luna Hibiscus on July 1st, in the rain... 
Some bug has been snacking on it too!
Husband Pieter also took these photos.
This is another pot, near our greenhouse and also on July 1st.
Back to the spot where also the 2nd photo got taken. Not too happy in the rain.
By the way, behind this pot, to the right you see our Crocosmia flat on the ground, due to the rain.
Heavy daily rain is only great for growing weeds... not for exotic plants!
On July 10 I took these last two photos just before they would wilt away...
They look like pleated raincoats!
Trying so hard to be big, bold and beautiful...


Related links:
{Our Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana' - Rose-of-Sharon 'Diana'} | previous post by me
{Our Hibiscus syriacus 'Blushing Bride' from Quero, Belluno in Italy} | previous post by me
{Our Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc & Our Life in Italy} | previous post by me
{3 Hibiscus Varieties 'KONA' - 'CONFEDERATE ROSE' and a RED variegated} | a previous post by me
+Garden Crossings L.L.C. is selling this Hibiscus Luna White on line

Monday, August 19, 2013

{Our 6 Different Hydrangeas}

Already on June 17, we had our 6 different Hydrangea varieties blooming and husband Pieter took photos of them. A bit late, but still I want to share these beauties with you.
First a Mophead Hydrangea in an exceptional purple color that we got from our friends the Bogles.
Second variety is a Hydrangea Macrophylla Ayesha.
These Hydrangea Macrophylla Ayesha appear in soft tones from pale pink to light blue...
These are beauties and the color varies from spot to spot.
Here you see the pale pink ones...
A blue Mophead Hydrangea...
It is difficult to tell which one is my favorite but I sure love this color!
Hydrangea Serrata Pretty Maiden, a Lacecap variety.
And a White Mophead Hydrangea...
Lots of Blue Mophead Hydrangeas.
These ordinary Mophead Hydrangeas are very pretty too.
So which one is your favorite?

Related links:
{Our Hydrangea Trio and Tea in 1930s Blue Transfer Ware} | previous post by me
{5 Varieties of Hydrangea Are Blooming Now} | previous post by me
Hydrangea.com | Wilkerson Mill Gardens with 105 different varieties of Mopehead and Lacecap Hydrangeas!

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