Build Yourself a Small Rock Wall

This past month  I have been working hard on getting the first project done in our new garden so I can share it with you! After not having a big garden for several years I am so not in shape to “rock and dig,” as my father used to say. If this were a One Room Challenge I would say that 6 weeks to get it done is pretty much perfect, Lol!

However, I am not letting being out of shape keep me from creating this first rock wall project and frankly after the first day of five hours and finishing at 9:00pm, a really good stretching session before bed, and a hot shower, I felt stronger and my back felt better.

I am really excited to share this big project with you…

These are the inspiration photos I shared earlier this spring in this post here. Today’s tutorial will help you make a dry stacked rock wall for your very own garden.

In these inspiration photographs is the color of limestone I wanted ~ a white or cream chopped stone. 

How to begin your rock wall

First you’ll want to visit a rock yard and decide on what type of stone you would like. I drove up to BnB Stone in Sanger, Texas to visit my friend Chris who is the manager there. I’ve known Chris ever since I moved to Texas as he and his wife live at Wagon Master RV Park and Alpaca Farm from which we just moved. 

*Be sure to tell them I sent you when you go up there, thanks! This post isn’t sponsored but I would love to be!!! {hint hint} 

Better yet, send them an email at: and let them know you love their stone and that I featured them here at French Ethereal! {Huge thank-you! :D}

Here’s the man himself! He was a great help showing me all the
different stone types BnB has to offer the public. They sell these
wonderful metal repurposed sparkplug butterflies, too, along
with other metal sculptures ~ really adorable!

Chris suggested I go with a “sawn chopped stone.” Sawn stone has had the top and bottom edges cut flat making them much easier to stack and to stay stacked.

Great idea! 😉

In the inspiration photographs above is the color of limestone I wanted ~ a white or cream chopped stone. 

Lay out your wall

I began by measuring from the center of the window to each outside wall (94″) and laid out our garden hose for a rough estimate of how I want this garden wall to look. 
When you lay out yours, play around with the “height” or distance from the wall in the center of your arc, if you make an arched wall like this one. Mine ended up being about 65″ from the house wall itself creating a nice big garden space for these roses and future plants.

Next I used a can of orange spray paint and drew my arc. This is your digging line and really helps to keep things even.

Don’t worry if you have to change the curve or lines a bit as you go or have to repaint due to rain. I worked on this rock wall over 20 hours and a two-week period so I had to spray a couple of times. The paint dries up and becomes inert so it won’t harm the environment ~ something I looked at beforehand. But it will permanently paint small rocks.   

Level the ground

This is the toughest part of making any rock wall ~ leveling the ground under each stone in both horizontal and “vertical” directions, for each stone and from stone-to-stone all along your bottom row. Just keep a trowel handy to shovel dirt under any low corners as you go with each stone. You’ll be burying your stone a couple of inches, too, with that first layer. 

The beauty of getting it right the first time, even though it is really time consuming, is that your wall will stay level unless tree roots grow under it. I chopped off all the big roots and feeder roots which would grow into this bed in the weeks before I began digging. This is a good way to while clean up the yard of storm debris, too. 

Keep a bucket handy for any stray acorns (I had zillions!) and grubs you’ll not want growing in your garden bed. 

French Country Peach Tuteur Trellises capture your attention as soon as enter the walkway

Judith at Botanic Bleu shared her Peach French Tuteur Garden Trellis recently and this is one of the ideas I really like for a garden pathway. Doesn’t it remind you of cobbles and she used the exact same stone as I did but the uncut version. J’aime cela! {Love this!}

 Clean up your stone

When you need to chip off some stone to make your stones closer together, use a stone mason’s chisel and a hammer. Place the chisel’s beveled edge against the stone facing outward and whack it hard. Refine the edge as needed to clean off leftover pieces of stone. This is the tough part and it will make you really tired! 

Since I like my stone to be fairly symmetrical from the centered out, I had to rearrange some early stones after I passed the center of my wall. You can begin your wall from the center outward but fairly soon you will see that it doesn’t really work since you have to level from the beginning, so it’s best to start left-to-right or right-to-left.

Trying a third layer of stone…

Here I went back and chipped off the second layer of stones to make them sit close together since they would be the top stones. The gaps in the first layer are for easy drainage and also because there was no way I was going back to try and fix the spacing more ~ it was tough enough just getting everything level! Lol!!! 🙂

A side view of the planter with just the corner of the playhouse
visible on the very left.

Totals for everything

All in all I am happy with how this planter wall turned out. I won’t kid you and say this isn’t a lot of hard physical labor because it is, but you’ll feel really good physically when you are all done, your shoulders and arms will look better, and your back will be aligned. Cheaper than any gym or spa session!  

Total time: This was about 20-22 hours of digging the trench, leveling the ground and between each stone on the bottom layer as each brick was laid. The first layer takes so long because of this but the second layer puts up in half the time. I worked on this project over two weeks with 5 1/2 hours the first day, and shorter times for the rest of the days.

Total costs: $68.00 for the cream chopped stone ~ $44.00 for 1/4 ton (250 lbs. of 4″w x 6″deep, in various lengths). $24.00 for a 1/3 ton (350 lbs. of 4″ x 4″, in various lengths). The second batch of stones were lighter over all so they cost less, woo hoo!

Exhaustion and pride in good work? Yes, lots!!! I have to say I slept really well after each day of working on this wall. A good hot shower or bath, stretching all major muscle groups and especially the forearms and hands really helps, too. 🙂

A picture to pin, thank you!
I hoped to have a final “planted photograph” for you but this will have to do for now. My friend Joe just dropped off a yard of stones just this past weekend and it’ll be another two weeks of turning the dirt, putting in stones at the bottom where the clay layer is and digging in compost to help with drainage.

*Here’s where the cute playhouse photo ought to be however I never shot photos towards the fence due to the “ugly” around the shed ~ a bunch of cement blocks, piles of wood, the iron railing in back, and our white plastic storage. Now there’s torn down fencing there… No wonder I don’t have a cute picture for you!  😦

On a fun note! *Joe’s young daughters came over to help and you know that little playhouse we adopted when we bought the house?  (See the smidgen of the playhouse in two photos up…)

Well, good trade! The little house went home with them in their truck! No final photo for you but I have a really cute memory of the playhouse sitting in sideways in the truck as Joe was driving away and two girls couldn’t be happier…

More soon…

Garden Shows to Watch and My Own Petite Jardin

This week as I have been thinking much about our new gardens what I’d like to plant and how to do all this, I have been drawn to gardens old and new…

                      Watch Rome. Episode 1 of Season 1.

Netflix has given me a wealth of programs to study and recently this one was recommended for me: Monty Don’s Italian Gardens. Monty begins his tour of Italian gardens in Rome with a study of classical Renaissance gardens. The series moves through the ages since the 15th century with gardens originally created by different Catholic cardinals all competing hopefully to be chosen as the future pope ~ their gardens created to impress and show their wealth and ability to rule the Catholic church.

As the series goes on, Monty shares how styles of gardens have changed and I am up to the Romantic garden style ending in episode 3.

Monty Don's French Gardens

He tours around a few properties on a Marconi bicycle which I found charming and the gardens are absolutely stunning! Do look up this series and afterwards check out Monty Don’s French Gardens (which is where I will head next!).

Image result for a little chaos
A Little Chaos ~ Also seen this week twice as I absolutely fell in-love with this story about a widow who is bestowed with the gift of gardening. This film from 2014 stars Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman plus features the every funny Stanley Tucci as the brother of France’s Sun King Louis Dieudonné, Louis XIV. 

As Sabine De Barra, Winslet is wonderfully understated and humble working in a time when very few women held jobs let alone one as out in the public as a landscape artist. Very good film and I highly recommend it!

Sceptre d’Isle blooming in all its glory.
Then of course I have been over to the David Austin Roses website as I wanted to study which roses would work as climbers on our south wall which is all brick but would look fantastic with an enormous rose climbing its walls! 

Sceptre d’Isle is a rose I had back at our last home in California and I am so glad I bought another here for our Texas garden! It is loving its new home and looks stunning in its pot.

These pictures don’t do it justice and I need to find a better spot for it where it can really shine but this year is its second or third year planted and it is blooming madly and I shared a couple of pics on my Instagram.

It is absolutely loving its normal 5 hours of sunlight but being shaded from the really hot afternoon sun.  This area where I was thinking of planting it and the other roses is just under our bedroom window and two very large oak trees provide lovely afternoon shade.

The iris having been blooming too and all seem to be a yellow with some brown bits ~ pretty and soft with their pale yellow blooms.

We need some defined pathways and this past weekend Mr. Ethereal and I went to a friend’s open house party ~ check out his lovely backyard walkway and the sweet Texas paver!

Love love love brick pathways!
And I am thinking about a semi-circular stacked stone small planter wall for the roses and a matching one around the first oak tree, which will then be underplanted with some of these iris and some vining plants. Love these that Yoda and I found out locally on our weekend walkabout.
*Here’s a link to a cement pathway I laid out at our last house (this was the redo after fixing the pool equipment).

But right now it’s all about removing baby oak trees… They are everywhere in back and outfront! 

Planted either by the local squirrels (whom I love anyway!) or buried by the massive water gushing off the roof eaves during storms (hence the mud splatters here and there) we are working on drainage and gutter fixing next.

So I leave this post as it is ~ a bit mud spattered but real life.

Coming up next is Share Your Style so stop back over to link up and to find some inspiration!

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A bientôt,

5 Minute Spring Basket Door Hanger ~ Pinterest Challenge

County Road 407
Welcome to this month’s Pinterest Challenge hosted by Cindy of County Road 407. She has decided to challenge us all and make this a fun monthly event we can all look forward to and…

Here is our new logo also created by our very talented host, Miss Cindy!!!

We have an exciting number of spring door decor ideas ready for you to copy for your front door. This is mine at the very top!

If you are coming over from Terrie at Decorate and More With Tip or are new to French Ethereal, welcome! I’m so glad you are here. Please enjoy this post, everyone!

As you finish here, be sure to check out the list of participants in this month’s Pinterest Challenge at the bottom of my post. I know you are going to enjoy each and every one of their sweet door hangers!

Let’s jump right in and take a look…

Our challenge this month was to create some kind of fun spring door decor starting by using this photo:

Cindy found this month’s Pinterest Challenge photo over at 
Tracy’s Trinkets Treasures.  Tracy shares this sweet hanging basket filled with ethereal white hydrangea blooms combined with puffs and vines of greenery. I love this basket’s simplicity and all the different textures!
So pretty and fresh for transitioning from spring into summer!
Although Tracy hasn’t blogged in a while, this photo keeps making the rounds and remains current ~ what’s not to love with a sweet tin basket blooming with blooms?!

Here’s what I started with

As I have been unboxing all the goodies coming out of storage, I realized I didn’t need to go visit any of the local craft stores for any supplies needed for this month’s door decor Pinterest Challenge (although I love going to them!).

Since I was thinking about Tracy’s metal basket, I looked around my craft room and found an old Longaberger basket purse I used back in the day. Perfect! I’d found a basket that could hang from our front door with just a little tweaking…*

Supplies you’ll need and what to do

Once I had gathered my basket, florals and the block of florist foam, this project really did take 5 minutes!*

*(Minus having to attach an opened-up coat hanger hidden under and around the front of the basket, woven through the left and right front corners of the basket and back up behind the handle attachments, then twisted and hung with the basket’s leather loop to the door knocker ~ this was to keep the basket upright.)

Grab your favorite spring or summer florals, cut them off apart and stick into a block of florist foam. I began from the left with realistic looking lavender wands then added in some baby Queen Anne’s lace followed by small pink flowers mixed in with white roses and pale blush faux roses.*

*Affiliate links are listed for your convenience. I will receive a very small commission if you purchase something through these links but you don’t pay a penny more. This will help me to continue providing you with great ideas, thank you. 🙂

That’s all you need ~ easy peasy! 

Head outside and hang your casual spring decor basket hanger! With Easter just passed I liked the Easter-basket touch this Longaberger basket gave our front door. You could also add some hanging ribbons if you so like ~ I didn’t have anything that really went with this sweet basket so I kept mine plain.

This door basket also has a bit of a fishing creel look to it, too… Might be fun to add in some fishing lures later during the summer, huh? 

Here is my front entryway so you can see how this basket looks…

And this sweet little dog statue I found earlier this spring at Lowe’s fits perfectly out front with everything. 

Thanks so much for pinning any of my photos!
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you will take some time to check out all the lovely door decorations everyone participating this month has created!

Next up is Katie at Let’s Add Sprinkles and she has the cutest watering tin in her door basket ~ I know you’re going to love her post! 

If you missed our previous creations, here are the links to my past Pinterest Challenges with everyone’s links.

Enjoy the tour!
Happy decorating and crafting,

Spring Garden Planning… 10 on the 10th

Spring is  just beginning around the country and here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area local nurseries are selling spring annuals already. These beautiful vermillion-red ruffled tulips are just a part of my 
spring planting plans..
Welcome to this month’s 10 on the 10th which is all about spring! Hosting this month is my friend Benita of Chasing Quaintness. Thank you, Benita!!! If you are coming over from Ann at Apple Street Cottage or are here at French Ethereal for the first time ~ welcome! I am so glad you are here. 

Let’s go check out the new house’s backyard…

Here is our new backyard… 

Pretty much a clean slate with two oak trees to shade our house from the summer’s western afternoon sun.
I am very grateful for all the shade these big guys will give us however Mr. Ethereal and I see a need to thin these guys just a bit (and their friends out front) so we can grow some grass. 

Our inspector showed us a few branches to cut back completely to help prevent oak leaves and acorns from filling the gutters on the south and east sides of the house. There is a little dry rot along the eaves but this is an easy fix with a few new boards ~ part of the fixes we will be doing later this year and into next fall and winter. 

This is the first time we will actually have big shade trees
already established in our yard!

Moving the shed over to the left side of the yard is one of the things we’d like to do this spring as this is the current view one sees from our master bedroom ~ not really the prettiest focal point. 

Definitely keeping the shed though as we need the storage for garden tools and lawn equipment.

We are already looking at much bigger sheds to house our shop equipment too as we hope to actually park cars in our garage here ~ Denton does receive some pretty big hail once in a while.

Here is a shed I found recently while shopping down at Costco in Lewisville. This is the Aberdeen model at 12’w x 8’long (deep). Other sizes are available and we may end up going with one of these ~ Hubby is looking at all kinds of sheds online.

He is thinking we will need one of the biggest models carried at 16’w x 10-12′ deep. This will house our Shopsmith, a 1960’s-1970’s drill press, our router and scroll saw which are bolted to their own stands plus a couple of other tables and tool chests. It’ll be a proper workshop and not a “she-shed.”

Oh, and Hubby thinks the weight bench might have to go in here, too…

There won’t be room. Ha!

One of my first posts back in 2014 ~ Fall Furniture Redo.

Basically this will take the place of the third car garage section we had back at our last house. We will need it! You can see our Shopsmith in the background with another saw sitting on top.

A look inside and at the flooring and roofing finishes available.
Part of making this shed fit into the garden will be to add evergreens around it and plant little gardens in front and beside the double doors. I know Charles would like to have this near the garage for ease of moving all the tools into it, so it may end up replacing the current shed in its location.

At least it would be cuter and I can make it prettier with paint!

Mr. Yoda will certainly be excited to have his own yard again! He hasn’t seen the yard yet as I write this but will soon. He will be happy checking out the local squirrels and smells from the previous owner’s small Yorkie. I did take Yoda over the first day we had the keys so he could see why we’ve been pulling our belongings out of the trailer ~ he wandered throughout the rooms checking them out. Finally he settled in the new living room and took a nap on the soft carpet. Ahhhhhh!
I will be planting a few rose bushes and making a small garden area right under our bedroom window. The roses blooming outside will make for a pretty view and will grow quickly. The David Austin roses I already have in pots will move into the backyard to be joined later by more roses.

Our last home’s backyard garden ~ full of Japanese Wintergreen boxwood, climbing New Dawn rose on the arbor and rose standards. This garden was put
in in 2006 when we built the pool and this photo was shot when the garden was
eight or nine years old, 2014 or 2015.

I am thinking of creating another English garden with a lot of greenery including boxwoods and topiaries ~ they do well in this climate of hot and humid summers then cold and dry winters

My little evergreen juniper topiary which I found last fall at our local Calloway’s.

Linda Vater who lives and writes The Potager Blog from her 1935 Tudor home in Oklahoma City, just a couple of hours north of us, shares all about caring for boxwoods plus creating topiaries from them.

I hope to glean some much needed inspiration from her posts and others since our Texas soil is sooo different from the drier clay soil I knew in So Cal.

And those tulips?

They will be an ongoing part of beautifying the front yard around the oak trees ~ I’ve seen trees with spring bulbs planted around them and I love how the bulbs spread over time!

Happy Valentine’s Spot of Tea Alfresco

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!  Today I thought I’d share our newest acquisition in a special tea party set alfresco in my little Prairie Home garden!…

In my last post  I shared how I found this beautiful oak and walnut tea table/library table on Craigslist. I was just browsing our local Craigslist looking at possible furniture pieces which would be smaller than some of our case goods in storage. For the new home of course. 😉

Well, I sent a text to Mr. Ethereal at work and asked him what he thought. He was okay with the purchase if I paid cash.

Picking up this French Provincial table in the steady rain.
We have been working the Dave Ramsey plan and paying cash for everything over the past year, plus paying down old debt beginning with the lowest balance first, then snowballing payments into the next credit card/debt to pay them off.

A very good program btw if you are looking to get out of debt in an orderly fashion but not leave yourself strapped for cash every month, like some debt repayment plans will do to you. Trust me on this one!

I am inlove with this table! Love the carved details and the
shell atop the middle of the bottom stretcher… delicious!
So on Sunday I pulled money out of savings but with the weather so crazy windy that day and Siri taking me to a different teller location, I called and spoke with the seller and we rescheduled for Monday.

This little table made the trip home with me!

After our morning Bible study at friend Peggy’s home in Denton on Tuesday, I came back home and lifted this beauty out of our SUV and set her on our pallet porch. If you didn’t know it was a pallet the wood almost looks like hardwood flooring… 

I am totally in-love with this French style table and I am excited to share this first tea on it with you! I’ve used the little Valentine’s checked napkins and set the table with the J. Broadhurst teapot and sugar bowl and various teacups and little vintage plates.

I had baked and frozen some muffins a couple of weeks ago so it was easy peasy to pull a few out and they thawed beautifully while I snapped away…

I didn’t think to borrow the sugar bowl’s lid until after I was mostly done shooting pics, so… The teapot is naked in most of my photos. Oh, well! 

Keep calm and soldier on… 😉

Still love our angel with these garden roses and low
boxwood hedge in the background.
Just because… From last year and from California. 😉

Eventually I did sit down and really have some tea and polish off one of those banana chocolate chip muffins. I posted my view from the bench in highlights on Instagram.  🙂

Tea time was wonderful!

This time of year is especially nice to be outdoors as there are no bugs to bother, the breezes are light and the sun is warm without burning… This was my day
al fresco; I need to do this more often. We all should, weather permitting. 😉

Mr. Yoda kept me company and would sit under the bench or move out to the grass to watch for passersby. He has enjoyed being here at Wagon Master RV Park and Alpaca Farm and has really learned to love visiting people and has one good dog friend, Rusty.

Evening as the sun was going down…
Through the looking glass… i.e. our trailer’s little window.

This has been a good home… We close on our new Texas house tomorrow and will officially be handed the keys in two weeks. March will be crazy busy going to California to pick up our household goods but things will settle down after that.

Let the March madness begin!
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Winter Gardening Plus Tips

Winter gardening is sometimes tough in that as a gardener one can’t really get outside and do much in many parts of the country. This winter has been fairly mild as winters go in North Texas, so…

I have been outside quite a bit ~ tidying up here and there after the ice melts and cleaning the yard plus feeding our feathered friends.  Let’s go check out our little yard and see what’s up! 🙂

One sweet bright red Cardinal and a sparrow friend.  Their mates are around but just didn’t get in the photograph this time.

Here is one of our feathered friends now ~ we have several pairs of cardinals visit our scattered birdseed and eat out of the angel feeder each winter and into late spring since we have moved to Texas.

With our coming house, I do hope there will still be cardinals visiting down in Denton but they are field birds… so we will have to wait and see. 

I found this sweet juniper ball around Thanksgiving at our local Calloway’s Nursery and brought it home to replace some of the annuals which had succumbed to last summer’s heat.
The tiny narcissus I found at Walmart, I think. They are so sweet and really brighten up the wintertime garden, don’t you think?  Such a happy flower!
Shot through the door screen.
I have been talking about digging up a few daffodils or gladiolus for two years outfront of a friend’s place. So finally I did!
Sorry to be so vague about these tubers ~ what type they are ~ but it’s because I don’t have a photo of them blooming over the past two years, but I did remember that I wanted to help thin them out and to pot some up.  🙂

Some winter gardening tips

Since temps will still get below freezing just be sure to wrap up tender plants or move them inside. The lead photo shows the two plants I keep bringing indoors at night when I know it will get below 32 degrees.

I actually started doing this because I wanted to see if the little pinks would re-bloom from last spring ~ and they have!

Another tip: get some gardening cloth at your garden center to wrap big groups of pots. That’s what I do with this cluster of pots out front of our Prairie Home.
Yoda has enjoyed this winter sitting outside and he is interested in being with me when I am outdoors. He loves checking out what I am doing ~ he’s quite interested in whatever I am doing, really. And he loves just sitting outside and enjoying the warm sunshine!
Here you can see more of these gladiolus, I believe. There were two types, one white and the other yellow, and I tried to separate the two.  It’ll be fun to see what blooms where!  
The roses are already putting out tiny branch buds with this mild winter.  The one on the left replaces the one David Austin rose which died also last summer. 😦
I am happy that this one is doing well so far.
Our winter is running along the lines of a Southern California winter this year, of which I am really happy! I love being out in the garden playing in the dirt and repotting plants.  It was a favorite thing for me back in Murrieta and it is nice to have a bit of this here in North Texas.  Oh, our new house will be in a slightly warmer area just south of here ~ less of the direct influence of midwest cold winds ~ so I’ll try planting hydrangeas again and see how they do.
One lady here at the park has a camellia and it is blooming fiercely!  Will try to get a photo for you and put up on Instagram.  🙂
Just a couple of last photos for today…
An incredible sunset last week…
And it is early for these guys ~ Scottish thistles ~ but they were on my camera card and I thought you’d like to see them. They will be out blooming late March or April.
Gorgeous puffy blooms which always look so soft but aren’t at all. Prickles for days!
There’s Mr. Cardinal’s again and some other
feathered friends…
😉 {chirp!}
Happy gardening,

An All Hallow’s Eve Post…

Every year  in place of a Halloween story I share an All Hallow’s Eve night time photo of one of The Girls and this year it is our little French maiden who lives indoors with us…

This is  as spooky as we get around here ~ just a bit of night photography taken with maybe a
candle or two.

The outdoor Girls masquerading around the front yard ~ *edited out
light to hide indoor lighting from our Prairie Home in the background
plus also lightened blacks a bit in Lightroom.
I have been wanting to shoot some photos in just candlelight for a while but usually I am taking photos right around sundown or like a few I recently took for an Instagram post when it was dark and cloudy outside.

Last year I shared this series of photographs also 
featuring our French maiden.  In that post I talked about past All Hallow’s Eves like when we were in Tombstone, Arizona quite literally on November 1st and did visit the graveyard there at Boot Hill.

The Jewish Cemetery and Memorial at Boot Hill, Tombstone, Arizona.
This was all when we were moving to Texas and I had just finished making about 32 soft fabric pumpkins to give as gifts to all of my friends and coworkers.

Of course I do enjoy cute fall decorations on front porches and this sweet little pumpkin I snapped just recently while up visiting my son and daughter-in-love in Sioux Falls, South Dakota!

I had just heard of stacking Cinderella pumpkins…
And I just found this photograph from 2014 of our front porch at our Big House in California.

So it was nice to finally get around to taking a few photographs in just candlelight ~ and although these are completely *unedited and I could have softened the light from the candle itself, sometimes it’s nice to just leave well enough alone.

What do you like to do for your All Hallow’s Eve?

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Waste Not Wednesday ~ Faeries and Fauna
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Follow the Yellow Brick Home
WOW ~ Savvy Southern Style
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage

Happy All Hallow’s Eve to you,

How to Create an Orangery Greenhouse

Creating an Orangery

At our last home we had several citrus trees growing in our
east-facing backyard and I really miss being able to walk outside and pick a few oranges for lunch and to share with friends.

Here in North Central Texas the garden shops bring in citrus trees but locals tell me they just won’t make it through the harsher almost 0 degree nights of this area.
And I can believe it after experiencing two cold and windy
winters now!

But, I am determined to somehow get an orange tree
and have a lime and lemon tree again, too…

Funny, I was just remembering how we had a little squirrel who came to live behind the pool grotto and planters.  He loved to eat oranges as one year I went out and found the last of the oranges picked and gone!  Silly little critter… 😉
Orange trees  are lovely planted in large pots or planted
directly into the ground but in areas where temps get well below
32 degrees then drastic measures must be taken.

Our little mandarine orange tree was 8 years old when we left it when the house sold and was doing well in its enormous pot
out along the south wall by our pool.
It received maximum sun from early morning until dusk
and just needed a little more water and food to keep those
baby oranges in good health {and not dropping off the tree}
when it was really hot during the summers.
In the winter rain took care of most of the watering but
when we had dry spells I would deep water it twice a week.

In Southern California winters if the weather was dipping down
into the freezing range below 32 degrees then I would actually
cover it with a couple of old blankets/quilts we had.
It’s amazing what blankets and a few clothespins can do
to protect our precious garden plants!

This was a post on making a German Chocolate cake ~ my hubby’s favorite.

Here in Texas

Especially here in north Texas, we are so close to the Oklahoma border that we have wind-chill that really swoops in.
Sometimes with straight winds that top 60 mph!
The idea of having citrus trees at my next home is something
I’m really going to have to noodle…

It did occur to me while working on the post about Beatrix Potter
{Miss Potter, the movie and the chicken recipe}
and looking at sites this week that related to France when
I was working on the post A Little Bit of Paris Aujourd’hui
that maybe I could have an orangery…

Wayfair has a really cute wood greenhouse that I fell inlove
with when I first saw it on Courtney’s French Country Cottage
blog a year or so.

I think it would be perfect in our next backyard garden!
Maybe it could help me save my hydrangeas too as with
this vicious summer heat I’ve managed to kill another…

And it made it through the winter with the little heater and
wrapping it with towels…

Anyway all of this thought came up when I was looking
at the Château de Versailles site online and found information
on their grand orangery building where the palaces’ gardeners
bring all of their fruit trees inside to overwinter.

Here are some espaliered trees from my visit to Biltmore
Estate’s gardens which I was lucky enough to visit last fall.
Fruit trees look lovely this way and are perfect for planting
along a wall in a small garden areas such as one might find
in a big city where homes and apartments are
much smaller in scale.

It does get fairly cold in the mountains in Ashville, NC but only down to just around 28 degrees Fahrenheit ~ very similar to what we had at our high desert home {zone 10 on the gardening charts}
in Southern California.
So with just a portable heater or two when temps are expected
below freezing and/or just covering them as I’ve mentioned above ~
these measures can help keep the frost off the fruit and leaves
of our tender fruit trees helping them survive mildly colder

Magnolia’s Greenhouse

This is another greenhouse that I shared from Magnolia Market
in Waco this past spring when I stopped by to really study
their gardens.
I had intended to go back and write a post about the greenhouse
itself so I’m happy to share it here with you now.


I like how this one has a tile floor with drains in it so that you
can water plants yet not create a mold situation.
Something to consider when we put in a greenhouse or
Also with areas which receive hot summer sunshine it’s a
good idea to have a way to cover the glass windows of the roof
and on the western sides of any greenhouse.
During the summer months however I expect not many
plants would be kept indoors as we’d want them
outside anyway.

Wayfair’s greenhouse

Wayfair’s greenhouse is all glass windows with a super cute entry door and the roof is lightly covered with what appears to be corrugated fiberglass sheeting.
My father used some green corrugated fiberglass like this back when I was young to create a shaded patio at one of our
base homes on Oahu, Hawaii.
It can get hot under the fiberglass having clerestory windows
up along the roof-line or windows put into the roofing will help
eliminate heat on winter days which are too warm.

How to face your greenhouse?
Whether you call it an orangery, a glasshouse or a greenhouse,
placing it in the yard or attached to one’s home is
fairly straightforward.
Face the greenhouse so that the windows face east/south-east to catch maximum sunlight during winter from early morning
until sundown.

For summer’s stronger sunlight, situating the greenhouse up
against a wall of one’s house or up against a garage up will help keep summer’s heat out when needed.
Magnolia’s greenhouse had upper windows which could be

cranked open with a long shepherds crook to let heat escape ~
you can just see the gold handle hanging down from the rafters
in the photograph above.

After your orangery greenhouse is built, just add your
favorite plants and trees!
I hope to have a mandarin orange again plus a lemon and a lime tree as I mentioned at the top of this post.

Having a greenhouse would be fun too in that it is its own
little hideaway from the world.
Having a sheltered place to work indoors when the wind
is blowing really cold outside is just a bit of gardener’s heaven!
 With winter sunshine trying its best to warm things up
outside, you can stay pretty warm inside your orangery
and putter with seedlings and plants to your heart’s content.

More orangeries

I’ll try and post some photographs and/or links here in this section so you can see some typical modern day orangeries…
Part of the new European rules for sharing things and notifying readers that your blog uses cookies must also include a way
that not as many photographs can be shared.

Here is one over in England ~

And this lovely site Safechoice has a variety of beautiful
glasshouses of which to choose to add onto your home.
Probably only selling to folks across the Pond but thought
it’d be fun to share their site anyway.

Well  there you are!  Just a few orangery ideas to put in your

dream garden scrapbook…

Here’s a pin for you to share, if you would, thank you!

Sharing with
Style Showcase ~ Shabby Fufu
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Katherine’s Corner
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondock’s Blog
Garden Party with Friends ~ Poofing the Pillows

Update ~ This post was featured at:
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Petite Haus
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Follow the Yellow Brick Home

Happy gardening,


French Ethereal’s Birthday Anniversaire #4!

Looking back  this month I realized that this little
blog of mine is now four years old!
Still a baby by many standards but at the suggestion of my son, who knew I was enjoying other designers’ blogs at the time, this little blog was born…

A quiet party ~ celebrating four years of friendship!
I think  my favorite part about writing for you all is getting to share thoughts back and forth ~ our modern day
“pen pal letter writing”
if you will…
Actually, I know it is.

So for  this year’s fourth anniversary I thought we’d take a look
back at where we’ve been and a few of the changes
along the way…

Summer splendor in the garden at our Big House in Murrieta, California.  Also an introduction to our Garden Maiden!

My very first post I shared this photograph with you
and shared a little about myself and the things
I like to do ~ a lot of sewing and gardening.

That year I bought a camera for my husband as an Easter present
and for Father’s Day coming up so he could take photographs of our son and his other pole vaulters at track meets… but soon that camera was taken back as I began taking photographs
around the house.
{He teasingly reminds me of this once in a while}

I had been taking photos with many instamatic film cameras
over the years but shifting to a digital camera was a totally
new experience
for me!

That was then ~ just after I had mostly finished the slipcovers for our sofas.

This is now ~ rather last summer’s slipcover project plus stenciling.

I had resisted buying one for quite a while but always knew in the bottom of my heart that I wanted to shoot good quality photographs like my father took when I was young and brother took
in his part-time photography business.

We hadn’t been able to afford a good camera until this particular
year and it really bothered me that I hadn’t captured my
children growing up with a camera that could really
show who they were.

I grew up with my father performing in many theatrical
Gilbert and Sullivan shows, operas and the like, and one thing
I’ve realized over the years is that photography for me is an
extension of the theater…
I get to create a performance for you with every photo
I share ~ a little of my heart as it were.

As a  lifestyle blogger it is fun for me to share recipes with you from time to time though really I’m not much of a cook.
My mother loved to bake and I think I inherited that love
from her ~ so you’ll mostly get tea parties over here and a
few dinner recipes once in a blue moon.

I’ve looked at my style and I don’t think it has changed all
that much as I still love the Shabby Chic look and all whites.
Without a bigger “house” I can’t really share more furniture photographs with you until we find that next one.
We are looking and will begin the process of qualifying for a
home later this fall.
 A few too many little emergencies this year have prevented us from buying this summer but it’s all good.
We are paying cash for everything these days and often
I think our resolve to pay cash is being tested.
Part of God’s plan, I’m sure.

Six French style cane back chairs finally got a little “redo” with white paint to match these two.
All received new seat covers.
But you know me  ~ gardens are decorating the home
 and roses are my loves!

A rare rainy day in the summer of 2015 in Southern California.  🙂
And the Garden Girls have been here since day one.

And too Mr. Yoda ~ here reclining in his dog bed.

So thank you  for coming along on this journey here at
French Ethereal and I hope to share many more lovely stories
dreams and bits of theater with you in faded beautiful
photographic dreams…

Sharing with
Keep in Touch ~ Let’s Add Sprinkles
Feathered Nest Friday
Thursday Favorite Things
Sweet Inspiration
Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Inspire Me Monday ~ Create with Joy

Jusqu’à ce qu’on se revoie,

A Rosy Walk in the Garden

Summer’s heat  has been making itself known
here in North Central Texas this whole month of June
however the heat has unwittingly helped me as I’ve finally
figured out how much and when to water my
potted yearling and new roses!

Growing roses  is always a challenge for any gardener
as roses can be finicky with their sunlight, soil, water,
bugs and fungus issues.
This year though I have finally figured out how much
and when to water my five little babies ~ of which
I am very happily thrilled!!!

And here are the results!
Roses with their leaves all filled in after plucking due to rose rust and some black spot.
This is Sceptre d’Isle, a lovely David Austin rose ~ which has really pretty multiple petals
on its little rose blooms.
Just two of the five roses are blooming right now and I wasn’t thinking about snapping photos earlier this evening so I
didn’t take any shots of the whole garden.

A photograph taken from the rear looking forward ~ love how the drip was captured!
Roses look a little sparse due to removing leaves with fungus but they have grown back
and look lovely now.

At the beginning of June I did happen to snap a few photos
and here you can see the how I’ve moved plants around
to get more morning sun and a little shade in the afternoon.
Our trailer’s tongue and the front where our bedroom is
help provide much needed afternoon shade
for these babies!

Photograph unedited ~ I’d been out moving rocks around to create a little platform for each pot.
This was a watering day, too, as the hose never lies.  😉

Where these two roses sit side-by-side, there is another rose to the left of the larger pot with the white bacopa just starting to trail down the sides ~ to the right in this above picture.
That pot is identical to these terracotta pots and along with a birdbath on the far left sitting under the drip from the bedroom a/c, a smaller flat-ish pot with pink gomphrena sits smartly
between the two.
A matching pot with lavender sits on the opposite side.
The rest of the plants can be seen around to the left of the
little walkway up to our Prairie Home’s entrance.

Yoda ready for this evening walk waiting patiently while Mom shoots a few iPhotos.  😉
Winchester Cathedral is a creamy white bloom with multiple petals.

I hope  you have enjoyed this mini garden tour today!
These are all David Austin roses with this white one above
is Winchester Cathedral ~ a beautiful all white rose.
Ignore the yellow tint ~ I added that in Lightroom
since it was evening.

To see some of the other roses in bloom check out
this post from last summer and my ideal garden
post for more rose garden ideas, thanks!

Sharing with these lovely link parties:
Gardens Galore Link Party ~ Everyday Living
Hearth and Soul ~ April J. Harris
Waste Not Wednesday ~ Faeries and Fauna
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondocks Blog

FYI ~ WoW is on summer hiatus, for those of you who like to visit Kim’s blog
and her Wow Us Wednesdays for inspiration.  🙂

Thank you  for stopping by from the
Gardens Galore Link Party at Everyday Living!
I’d love to have you sign up to receive future posts
if you enjoyed this one.

Happy gardening,