Perhaps missed


Home, Garden, Life was born back in 2011. Precious hours spent writing, editing, photographing posts with the hope of sharing/inspiring those who follow. 2019 arrived, and I ponder whether my efforts are now relevant.

The world is rapidly changing and not for the better in many instances. Most people have short attention spans, are overworked, are underpaid, are constantly stressed, all while being over medicated, addicted to caffeine and most devices.  When I think back, and not that long ago, immediate access to people, places, and things were not necessary…so why the urgency now?

The subject of Home continues to be all the rage with online programs and FB pages like Fixer Upper and Houzz, yet my personal projects fail to evoke comments from readers. If this blog fails to inspire, what’s the point?

Garden topics continue to amuse and frustrate those who attempt this hobby. I admit, these days I enjoy seeing Monty Don on his YouTube channel. He takes me to all the grand gardens of the world; places I will never see first hand. Monty raises gardening to a high art jammed with history. I surmise England does not have the ravenous insects/fungal issues of my garden experience here in central Virginia. These dormant days, my visits to the garden include only bushels of pine bark mulch, river rock, and pea gravel — my endless attempts to slow down water on a site wrongly graded back in 1972.

Life is a gift, yet with current events, I limit my exposure. I enjoyed travels/experiments of youth, and am grateful for those years. Photography remains a love, yet my camera now sits idle with a dust cover. As I rapidly approach a significant birthday, I question my validity as a blogger, homeowner, gardener, and productive human being. 

Everyone deserves a roof over their head, a healthy meal or two, access to quality medical care, and inspiration to follow a passion. When I learn about the homelessness of Silicon Valley employees and the grotesque wealth of tech giants, I feel saddened.

When I learn about the vast and growing plastic pollution in our planet’s oceans, I feel sick.

Paramount is the fact that the USA is currently saddled with an American president who clearly demonstrates signs of mental illness. Just click the link below to watch/listen.

And I am powerless to change any of this.

Although, not completely ambivalent, I lobby for US legislation that supports reduction of wild bird “death by glass” by changing building codes that require non-reflective glass walls. Also, I regularly correspond with local government officials regarding affordable housing. My small town of Charlottesville, VA (recently in world news for the wrong reasons) is exploding with housing projects, few which are affordable and most prices are in excess of 400K. Finally, I remain passionate about recycling and converse often with local officials regarding the efficiency of our center. Where does all that stuff go? How much of it is actually recycled? 

Decisions of the majority are skewed. Greed is prevalent. Perhaps evolution will take care if it. Perhaps we will implode. Perhaps a grand shift will snap the majority to attention. For now I will focus on what I can improve/accept/ignore and attempt to stay on an even keel.

Nature remains my sanctuary.

Perhaps missed, perhaps not.

PS: Reader comments are invited…”likes” are not. I sincerely appreciate comments already posted. Keep them coming. I need proof that I am not blogging into the abyss. I want to see if there is a pulse out there. 😉


Copyright © 2019 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

for the love of rock


, , , ,


Garden containers are available in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Over the years, I selected a few for my half-acre gardens in Central Virginia. This is one of a pair, color changed with deck stain. Many plants were tried, yet last year I decided to forgo needy plant material and go with pebbles of various sizes, shapes, and colors.

I confess…I love rock and have shoved handsome specimens into suitcases while traveling in Canada, Wyoming (that one first went into my saddlebag), New Mexico, and Massachusetts. I also enjoy garden containers, and now marry the two for a handsome result.


I am bewitched by rock, pebbles, and stones. They are everlasting, visually appealing, and oh so sensuous.


Moss finds its way around stones.


And moss finds its way between ground stones and one metal mat outside the garden shed. If I stood outside long enough, moss would grow between my toes,  I digress.


An especially old container from Mexico now appears to be holding eggs.


The sister container from Mexico, decades old, survives with only one small repair. Mostly filled with pine bark mulch, topped with pebbles, I adore the ease and quiet beauty during all seasons. Notice how the granite salvage nearly vanishes into the mulched ground. While there is plenty of plant material in the surrounding herbaceous borders, containers become sculpture.


Perhaps a bit busy, this terrace garden just outside my kitchen door provides tasty herbs for pestos, remains stable, while the quiet containers add interest. The vintage wire basket from a Charleston, SC garden, was just the right size to add a bit of whimsy to the larger shapely container.


This contemporary planter was a gift from Crescent Gardens. Surprisingly lightweight, it found a home on my lower patio, where I enjoy its shape and uncluttered appearance.


Although merely a clay saucer, this container provides one Carolina Wren with endless bathing opportunities throughout these steamy August days, and this ritual brings continual visual delight to moi.

I  hope that your summer delivers moments of visual delight.
Too often, these moments are small and fleeting, yet are forever memorable.

Copyright © 2018 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved


the anatomy of a popover


Sunday is my favorite day of the week. A day when I can lounge around the cottage. Breakfast can be special and this rainy Sunday called for popovers.


The batter is so easy to prepare. Just have all ingredients at room temperature.


Today’s result was especially beautiful, and I decided to capture these images for your pleasure.


With so few ingredients, the amazing chemistry delivers a tall, tender, tasty popover.


And just think, these were made with only five ingredients. I substituted whole milk with unsweetened vanilla Almond Milk by Blue Diamond.


Last year I had fresh blueberry conserve on hand and embellished this popover with both the conserve and freshly whipped cream.

The Recipe

1 cup whole milk OR unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup unbleached, unbromated all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large organic eggs

Preheat oven to 450F, with rack in the middle position. Lightly spray the popover pan (yes one needs a popover pan) with Baker’s Joy™ cooking spray.
Place all room temperature ingredients in a medium stainless mixing bowl and quickly whisk until fully incorporated. Do not over mix.
Divide the batter between the four compartments and transfer immediately to the oven. 
Without opening the oven (one may peek through the oven’s glass window) bake for 15-20 minutes until popovers have risen and are golden brown. 
Remove from oven and serve immediately with melted butter and local honey or freshly made conserve and whipped cream. 

OK, here is where I unashamedly advertise my newly minted cookbook. For the past three years, I have culled, written, and edited 120 of my favorite recipes. Final edits came in late March, following a long winter.
This collection is now available for purchase for $20. Mail order is available for an additional $5 within the USA.
The recipes emphasize the importance of sustainable food choices. Most recipes are easy, many are vegetarian, and all are delicious. Products sought after at the local farmer’s market are revealed here too. It is also a memoir, where humorous aspects of my early life are revealed. If you would like a personalized copy, please leave a comment in this post.


Thanks so much for your continued interest in home, garden, life.

Copyright © 2018 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved



the garden visitor


, , , ,

A few weeks ago I looked out to see a newly fledged Eastern bluebird hopping around my terrace. It was alone. Normally when bluebird chicks fledge, they fly to the highest branches of the nearest tree and remain there with other members of their brood for a couple of weeks, while the adults continue to feed them.

This fledgling did not.

As a bluebird monitor, I had immediate concerns. I grabbed my camera and captured these rare shots through my storm door. I hope that you enjoy them.


So tiny in such a huge environment…this female chick contemplates her next move…notice the size of her feet!


This chick raised a ruckus to attract its parents, who wondered why this babe was not high in a tree with its nestmates.


While waiting for the adults to feed it, this chick wanted a nap. After all, these birds go from hatching to flight in merely 18 days. Quite a feat. I love the feet.


After a short flight to the terrace wall from the bench, this wee one nearly fell into the birdbath. What a face. Some mornings I wake with this same expression.


Gathering gumption, a few minutes after this shot, she managed another flight across the turf to the deep shrub border, where it landed on the ground not in a tree. Both adults were at her side during flight, another spectacular sight. I surmise that this miracle fledged too early and was not strong enough to gain altitude. Fingers crossed.


Before vanishing into the wild, this chick preened itself. I do hope she survived. She appeared to have an attitude which I hope serves her well during her lifetime.

Life is precious, and I am reminded of this every day as I witness the creatures and beauty that surround me daily. The difficult part is simply observing, as I can do nothing to change a situation like this. I must permit nature to take its course and be content with not knowing.

How glad I am to have this brief moment with my tiny garden visitor, and now this observation with my trusty camera allows sharing with you, my followers.

Have you witnessed a miracle this summer? Do tell.

Copyright © 2017 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

what blooms this week


, , , , , ,

Despite challenging August temperatures and humidity here in central Virginia, these beauties are awash with blooms and deliver a lovely scent. Enjoy!


This is the second year for these hostas. They were shared by a garden friend who has spectacular specimens in her town landscape.


Hosta close up. Pudgy bumblebees straddle these blooms while gathering nectar at the base of each flower, providing food for them and daily entertainment for moi.


Hostas and clematis create a WOW! factor in an otherwise quiet August landscape.


Second year for this clematis. It appears to like this thirty-foot long split rail fence. Although it was recently attacked by hordes of Blister Beetles, I managed to send these chewers to the “swim to eternity pool” (AKA bucket of soapy water) where they will reproduce no more.


Twice-blooming Huldine clematis will soon cover the cattle panel arbor above one raised bed. Pretty, yes?


Gifted hostas live well here at Swallowtail Cottage and stems sway at 48″ tall. WOWZA!

Formosa lily from Tufton

And I cannot omit the Formosa lily here at Swallowtail Cottage…the seed came from Tufton, a property once owned by Thomas Jefferson. The fall pods below make a splendid winter show…the seeds are stacked like plates within these shimmering jackets.


Formosa lily self sows, is easily established and becomes a perennial. Care for seeds?


Lastly, I must show off my Sakata (a Japanese seed company) Lilliput melons. This year proved to be a banner year, despite fungal issues on the leaves.  These personal-sized melons take their time, yet I eat half of one per day now and smile with every juicy bite. I will spare you the image of the silly looking chicken wire circled melon patch. Hopefully I will harvest melons up to frost. Thanks to P. Allen Smith for the trip and the seeds.

As a steamy Virginia summer wanes, this was a decent growing season, despite my weekly grumbling whenever I headed out to mow turf, or pulled relentless weeds, or captured those Blister Beetles and Red Velvet Ants (AKA cow killer, ouch!).


Charlottesville, yes Charlottesville, Virginia, USA is my town, population 150 thousand (town and county), and both she and her residents are resilient, despite recent controversy, hostility, loss of life, and world-wide news coverage. Fortunately, I find sanctuary here at Swallowtail Cottage, merely eight miles from town.

Which reminds me:
The enduring wonders of nature assure me that peace is found when I take notice. Many years ago I coined a phrase:

there is a fine line between order and chaos.

May you all be safe in the world, walk that fine line, and take notice of beauty while feeling her embrace.

Copyright © 2017 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved


porch envy


, , , , ,

Summers are hot and sticky here in the south, yet these images help me dream of a caress from a slight breeze, the whirring sound of hummingbirds, distant calls of barking tree frogs, while tall drinks with chunks of ice quench the thirst. Scroll through these designs…which ones are your faves?



Posted from a hot and humid morning in central VA.


Summer in Virginia


, , , , , , ,

When did you last take time to lie back

to watch clouds

and hawks soar?


One blogger’s repose


brewing aloft


Nearby vista of central Virginia farmland. Notice the speck of gliding hawk in the distance.

Copyright © 2017 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

timing is everything


, , , , , , ,

Peony season ended yesterday with the last stems going home with market shoppers. Over 700 stems were harvested this year, despite crazy spring temperature swings.

2015 Peony city market May

abundant peony harvest 2017

I thought every blueberry flower was frozen during a late March freeze and I fully expected a ruined harvest. Behold, a few weeks ago fruit formed and swelled although I rarely saw a pollinator.

So begins another harvest challenge..wild birds appear to be especially hungry this spring and despite my efforts to foil winged and four-footed marauders, I regularly notice clever catbirds, robins, and one blasted squirrel climbing under the tulle, metallic ribbon, and whirligigs. “Ha!”they say. “On berries we will gorge!”

O'Neil blueberries

O’Neil blueberries beginning to ripen


Despite tulle, mylar ribbon, whirligigs, and a fake snake, the wild visitors snack


This image of a resident female American Robin collecting nesting material reminds me to be thankful for my arms, hands and fingers. Robins engineer elaborate nests cemented together with mud…all carried in their mandible.

Now I will share images of what’s blooming here at Swallowtail Cottage this month.


A clever newbie to my garden nectars upside down on the Red Hot Pokers. I think it is an Northern “Baltimore” Oriole or a Rufous-sided Towhee. Can you identify?


Another newbie to my gardens…Apricot Fudge lily…much showier the second season. No scent, and oddly shaped…what do you think?


Ahh, the persnickety Foxtail lily…an underperformer added two seasons ago. Five bulbs were planted. One died this spring and only two others bloomed. Not enough bang for the buck…Does anyone know the secret to growing this beauty?


The patch of rescued iris has tripled in just three years and is awesome early on.  Despite my efforts, this patch is now riddled with fungus and I am not sure if I will be forced to remove all of them. Any suggestions?


This mass of flower power is on top of my cattle panel arbor over one raised bed. I am told they are fragrant, yet being on top, they are out of whiff range. As the prolific climber continues its path over the top of the arbor, I will sniff when flowers are within range. This is a Huldine clematis planted two years ago. Second season is impressive, yes? And I read it will bloom twice per season. Yeah!


This is the cluster of flowers from one bulb found in the grocery store (set of three) called a Mediterranean Lily. All three bulbs have produced a sturdy 36″ stem every year for the past three, and these flowers last for weeks when cut. They remind me of a chandelier.


And this is the Fake Snake who scares no birds away from my blueberries…when soaked the package states it will grow to 48″. Despite heavy rains since installed, this Fake only writhes and swells in bizarre places.

Oh those blueberries!

Therefore my 2017 hopes of blueberry bounty are dashed…this photo was taken a few years back when times were different. Yes, timing is everything…

Here at Swallowtail Cottage, in zone 7a, the first nesting season is now complete for the Carolina chickadees, Eastern bluebirds, and Northern cardinals. The three-week old cardinal chicks have found my feeders and entertain me with their antics. Sadly, one cardinal chick appears to have wing issues end I think it cannot fly. I shall monitor the situation as it visits the feeders and will contact the Wildlife Sanctuary for advice.

I regularly chase off the Brewer’s Blackbirds, cowbirds, and jays who invade my feeders and terrorize the new resident chicks. Tufted titmice continue their quiet routines, one Ruby-throated hummer visits the feeder frequently, House and Goldfinches continue to annoy me, Carolina Wrens are scarce, Brown Thrashers are beautiful and elegant, the occasional Chipping Sparrow makes an appearance, and my beloved Red bellied woodpeckers astound and delight. I envy their ability to fly, yet rejoice in the fact that I have arms, hands and fingers…

Happy and bountiful spring to your, my followers. I always enjoy hearing from you.


PS. WordPress just informed me that this is my 200th post. Shall I continue or retire?

Copyright © 2017 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

pies and peonies


, , , , , ,

Saturday’s market began as a quiet, misty morning. Following many days of rain, the variation was agreeable. Being Mother’s Day weekend, I took many pies and buckets of fragrant peonies, conditioned all week-long for prime time.

Early sales were unremarkable and I was beginning to fret. Then a high school friend of my older sister and trusted real estate broker in this area arrived to collect the KLpie and peonies I reserved for her as a gift. After battling breast cancer, endless chemo, and reconstruction in the past three years, her cancer has returned with a vengeance and she told me in a phone conversation that she is terminal. This morning her walk was strong, her eyes bright, and she greeted me with a warm hug and a joke about the side effects of medical marijuana. That was an emotional visit. She is the mainstay of her large family and will be greatly missed by family, young grandchildren who will never know her sense of humor, and all who know her.

Later I noticed a couple who I recognized from television. I have never seen them at market before. They were the parents of a Virginia Tech student who was brutally murdered after a UVA concert in 2009. When the remains were finally discovered in a field south of town, the family had closure, yet the mother has never stopped petitioning for her foundation Save the Next Girl. Today the mother was dressed head to toe in black and looked so profoundly sad. When they passed me for the second time, I reached for my clippers and trimmed a few of my prettiest peonies and caught up to her. Not knowing what I would say, all that came out was, “we have never met…” and I choked up, gave her a hug and walked away, but not before she said, “God bless you.”

Returning to my booth with tears in my eyes, I quickly spotted the owner of the restaurant where I sell my KLpies. He was with his new wife and their one month old daughter, who slept snugly at her breast. He is a big fan of my pimento cheese and came for another tub. Why he did not spring for a sleeve of my beautiful peonies, I do not know. After they walked off, I grabbed another bunch of my peonies and caught up with them. She was delighted and he seemed touched too.

Back at my booth again, a three generation family arrived asking details about my KLpie. Following my spiel and their purchase, I noticed the rather frail elder in the group was clearly disengaged. I pulled out a pretty single flower and walked to her and said, “happy mother’s day!” Her face lit up, she nearly blushed, and the entire family grinned from ear to ear.

I ended this day of intense sales of pies and peonies at noon. In fact, when I later counted my till, this was the largest grossing day in my entire seventeen years at City Market! And I cannot remember a more emotional one.

Simple gestures reap great rewards and today I was reminded of this rule. I recuperate with a warm heart and hope that my gardening and kitchen efforts made a small difference in the lives of those who I encountered.

I am blessed to know health, the simplicity of routine choices, and delight in greeting the wild birds who have sanctuary in my gardens.

The Best Key Lime Pie on the Planet 2009

2015 Peony city market May

Copyright © 2017 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

words cross centuries


, , , ,

“I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large garden.”

– Abraham Cowley, 1618-1667, English poet

step by step

Copyright © 2017 By Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved