5o’clock Saturdays & a draw – and Beautyhabit!

Each season has its delights but, to my mind, there is nothing quite like a late Saturday afternoon in mid-Spring, especially if the weather is that weird ‘Summer in the light/Winter in the shade’.  There is a particular, piercing light that comes from the West, as the sun wends its way to the setting point.  If it’s a warmish day, as it was today, I am usually working like a fiend in the garden – and today was no exception.  Until around 5pm.  Perhaps it’s because my garden is maturing, so there’s not as much to do.  Perhaps it’s because I am growing older…but..around 5p, on a warm Saturday in Spring, I find myself slowing  just a bit.  Normally I spend the bulk of a Spring Saturday with my back bent and my head to the ground as I root out thatch and thistle and violets that threaten to choke the life out of my lilies (violets are beautiful.  but they are THUGS).  But something about that 5p  – it is when most of the lawn mowers sputter to a stop and the nearly manic sounds of children in the park across the street start to quiet down – most of them head for home and dinner and those who remain come off the basketball court, snuggle into their jackets and sit on the benches, laughing and exchanging whatever dire secrets  kid exchange these days.  By 5:30-6p even the most diehard laggard  is on his way home, hopefully to a hot meal and some time with family.  That diminution of noise is the signal for me to pull my head out of the dirt, pour myself a glass of whatever and sit down…and just enjoy the garden.  I mean, really – had I not sat my tired self down, I wouldn’t have seen this:

fun face

fun face

isn’t this charming? it’s the shadow of a little birds’ nest ornament, stuck in the demilune border.  With the sun shining through it the effect is that of a cute little face.  It’s been there for the past year – but this is the first time I’ve noticed it.   I’ve got to get my head out of the dirt more.

DSCF5710here is that clear, crisp light at 5p.  In the next month this will be gone, having given way to a warmer, rounder hue. (the birdcage on the ground is one of many my bfffe’s husband’s garage sale grabs  – I use them for seed sowing and early lettuces)

silver iris

silver iris

5 o’clock Girl


By 6:45 we’d tidied up,  returned from our post-dinner walk and I was on my way to the showers.  I wasn’t sad to leave the garden to itself – the days and nights have gone back to normal Spring temps and it gets pretty nippy out there. That’s when it’s lovely to get snuggled into some fleece, pour a martini, and enjoy the view of your labors from the comfort of the kitchen.

I like these days.  I didn’t use to so much, having been in a hurry for the roses to bloom and the lilies to pop.  But a few years ago we had August in April and …omg… lilacs budded, bloomed and were spent in 2 days!  Tulips were up and gone before I had a chance to even notice they were there.  That lovely, elusive scent of viburnum?  It never happened, with the blooms up and out of here within 48hrs.  All the things in Spring that require Time for you to notice, then adjust your soul to receive their quiet beauty?  Gone.  And there is a special charm to these coldish, mid-Spring afternoons; the beauty really is quieter in that sharp light and requires that you slow your roll just a tad, maybe pull your head out of the weeds for a minute.. notice the teeny little irises, the cute little face on the fence.  At 5p, put away your tools, pull on your fleece, and walk the beautiful 5 o’clock Girl.  It’s also the perfect time to wear some scents that might not work in warmer weather – this is the only time I can wear the gorgeous Bel Respiro , Iris 39 and Delrae Mythique.  Any warmer and the rounder drydowns on these can bring up my lunch.  In the cool, crispness of a sharp Spring day their beauty soars, crystalline.


How are you spending your Spring?  Is this a fun time for you or are you eager for Summer?  The Girl would love to know and will pull a couple of names for some fun stuff from the Messy Armoire if you tell her a story!


aaannnd!  DagNABBIT!  I am NOT in LA.  Which sucks.  Because BEAUTYHABIT is!  Omg.  I dunno if any of you were with us on the LA Scentsation run – it was AMAZING!  And if you could’ve seen my and March’s face when we first walked into Beautyhabit.  It was hysterical.  It was like walking into Ali Baba’s cave!  It took us an extra hour to get everybody out of there and back on the bus.  Well!  I wish I could be there on Saturday because….

beautyhabity’all.  If I weren’t broke as stones I would book a flight RIGHT NOW!  If you’re anywhere in LA and have time, I urge you to GET THEE TO BEAUTYHABIT!  It’s like nowhere else on earth!  This is an amazing Fragrance Event but they do it up SO MUCH MORE!  GET THEE THERE!

  • Melissa says:

    My spring has been spent, almost entirely, traveling…sounds great right? Okay I admit it was totally great, I have one more trip ahead of me…then finally home for the summer!

    California was my favorite trip I’ve taken this spring!

    I just am really looking forward to starting my garden…and can’t do that for 2 more weeks until I’m finally back home for ‘good’.

  • Rosemary says:

    I love the cute little face on the fence! This spring has me pulled a few directions. My youngest is finishing 8th grade, and there are some major activities to go along with that, including a talent show (rehearsals every day this week and next until show next Friday!), making a keepsake for the centerpiece of the graduation breakfast table, and tryouts for highschool marching band. Also a huge transition going on at work: my current lab is shutting down, bosses will be packing and moving their supplies and equipment to their new home; and then after they leave, my new bosses will be arriving here, to setup our lab and start research! I am VERY grateful the new folks are coming, thus I get to remain employed 🙂

    I am looking forward to summertime, as these transitions will be completed, and we have a week-long family vacation at the beach, yay! But also TRYING to reside in the “Now”, not thinking too far ahead, find the little joys as they appear these next few months. Gotta be grateful for the “Now” 🙂

  • Ann says:

    Such a beautiful, evocative post, darling! I have a black thumb but I sat here reading your lovely words, simply entranced. I did accompany DH to Pike Nursery to get some pretties for the front and back porch pots and enjoyed looking around, so maybe there’s hope for me yet, you think? 😉 Big hugs to you …

  • Kate E. says:

    I’m in California and it really is something to see this year after all of the brown years of drought! I’m in a rural area and the cows and sheep are out in thick green grass with huge patches of purple, yellow, and white flowers. It hasn’t been this beautiful in years. I think it is enhanced by the sense of relief that all the rain has brought.

  • Clarochka says:

    With all the rains in California we are having the most amazing wild flowers. I never realized the hills could be so colorful.

  • Dina C. says:

    I love green florals and other zingy things in spring. My favs include Chamade, Infusion d’Iris, Donna Karan Iris, MDCI Un Coeur en Mai, Jour d’Hermes Absolu, LAP La Chasse, Narciso in the white cube, LeLabo Iris 39…so many others. We recently visited the gorgeous Lewis Gitner Botantical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia. They have a glassed in greenhouse which has the most beautiful, bountiful display of orchids I’ve ever seen. And the scent…wow! I just wanted to bottle it up. Plus a live butterfly garden, too, where they showcase glorious varieties of butterflies and moths with beautiful plants. There’s also a lovely Japanese teahouse where we had lunch. Definitely check this place out if you’re in the area. I admire those like you, Anita, who have the green thumb. I have to enjoy green scents instead!! 🙂

  • Paige W. says:

    Oh, I am envious of your thuggy violets! I’ve spent years trying to coax mine into taking over my back border, to no avail. Violets are my favourite flower and I can think of nothing more perfect than a fragrant, purple springtime carpet! Enjoy them! 🙂

  • Claudia S says:

    My night blooming Jasmine is setting its flowers and the gardenias are warming up here in Southern California. I’m so glad I planted those two! The farmers market is right down the street and I’ve been enjoying the strawberries-they smell so luscious too!

  • pats133 says:

    I thought spring had arrived with us here in Ireland but the weather here the last few days has been sleet, a little snow and crazy winds. I still manage my daily constitutionals though, and gaze in wonder at the beautiful flowers in folks’ gardens. I don’t even know the name of most of them – but standing under the most beautiful cherry blossom tree transports me to Japan – the owners of the house must think i am a bit crazy as i stand there, look up and dream i am in an exotic land! 🙂

  • Ingeborg says:

    It snowed again this morning so I think I will wait until the second week of May before I try to plant anything in the flower boxes on my balcony.This is not highly unusual, but we do long for the warmer days and SUN. The plants I have indoors love the longer days, so I should try again to get some herbs started.

    Hopefully other people in my building will tidy the shared garden on Saturday. I would have helped out if I could, but health issues from last year are still holding me back quite a bit. We really should get someone to design a garden which is easier to keep since we have only a few people here who care to work in the garden on a regular basis. At times weeds seem to take over in many flowerbeds.

  • otamom says:

    Spring where I live is taking FOREVER to get here, it snowed again this morning at my house. 🙁 I have hyacinths and lilies blooming in pots on my kitchen table, but it has been far too cold to put them outside. My rhubarb is already up about 6 inches, but will have to be thrown away as I understand one should not use it after it has been frozen outside due to oxalic acid concerns. Grrrr. Nature can be so cruel sometimes.

  • HeidiC says:

    THUG VIOLETS. That cracked me up, because it’s so true! This is our first spring in Minneapolis and in this house, so I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the garden we have — what to pull out, what to plant and where. But it’s still a few weeks too early for planting, so I’m just making notes. But I have been out foraging — haven’t found any morels or fiddleheads yet, but I have found a lot of wild ramps!

  • rosarita313 says:

    What a lovely post Ms A, you describe the light perfectly! My front porch is a wonderful place to be and I spent the last couple of evenings trying to pin down the difference in the light of April to the light of the first crisp days in September. This is a beautiful spring in the Midwest, the redbud trees are at their peak perfection. I’ve been taking my mom on short drives to visit favorite blooming trees, and the best part of my dad being in a nursing home now is that it’s an hour away to the east, through Amish country and there are dozens of routes to choose from. All the animals and their young ones are out – horses, cows, llamas, sheep! Is there anything sweeter than baby lambs? The slow awakening and unfolding of spring is magical and meant to be observed and absorbed. Until the next time it rains buckets for days ??

  • Tara C says:

    It is well below seasonal norms here in Montreal and it is way too cold to sit outside and enjoy anything. In fact, I’m huddled up inside with my annual spring cold due to temps going up and down and all over the place, with just a spritz of Rahat Loukhoum to console me.

    I was there at the LA Scentsation years ago and I know how wonderful Beautyhabit is – would love to go back some day!

  • March says:

    What a lovely post! I know exactly what you mean, and thanks for expressing it so eloquently. It’s been cool and rainy for a few days, but before that we had EXACTLY those days… it’s a delight to put on a warm sweater and sit outside and just look at things. (I feel like I can gauge my perfectionism in the moment by how much time I spend admiring the garden pretties vs. obsessing over the creeping Charlie and etc.) And that light, so true! It’s that strong cold spring light, a bit different from fall, but closer to that than summer light. I’m enjoying the tulips while they last, since this spring’s cold snap cheated me out of all the flowering trees (cherries, our neighborhood’s lovely spring magnolias…) Missing the magnolias is really chafing me, they’re so lovely. Anyhoo, thanks for the post.

    • Stephanie says:

      March, it’s so sad to hear your area doesn’t get flowering trees this year! Magnolias are truly one of life’s great delights. Hopefully other flowers this spring and summer can help to fill that void.

    • Stephanie says:

      Spring in LA is so short lived, so I’m enjoying today’s slightly overcast and very windy weather while it lasts. One of the jacaranda trees on my block is just starting to let off blooms, and I’m looking forward to the periwinkle canopies that will start to form soon. Apparently jacarandas are a subject of some contention for Angelenos, but I’m a transplant from the Midwest and I just love them so.

      I really hope to move to an apartment with a shared garden area soon. My current digs don’t get enough light for me to do any indoor gardening at all, aside from succulents.

  • Connie says:

    I’ve not been doing gardening because IT’S MY LAST WEEK OF UNDERGRADUATE CLASSES EVER O.O
    But I have been walking around and taking pictures of all the new spring flowers 🙂

  • solanace says:

    It’s Fall here, and I’ve been seeding new herb beds: cilantro, parsley, chives, kale, mostly the basics. Such is life by the tropic: it is hot as hell for humans, but most plants love this weather, so you can plant them any time. There will be no snow, lol. Also testing the Divine perfumes, and having lots of fun with them. All hefty and classy, I’m impressed.

  • nicevulady says:

    Spring in often strange in the southeastern U.S. Sometimes it is very fast going from cool winter to hot summer in what seems like a matter of days. We can’t grow peonies or lilacs…the cool growing season is too short. Right now I have siberian iris blooming along with hyacinths and roses. The rest is waiting.