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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His book is in 8 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2018/03/1978-pjc-vedders-modern-mushroom.html

Friday, April 30, 2010


HOW lovely a peony can be... We have been enjoying the variety 'La Tendresse' and 'Bridal Gown' in a vase for the past couple of days. They both are pure white and so lovely!

It is rather difficult to capture the beauty of Paeonia 'Bridal Gown' in a photo. Had to change the background and also use the flash, to let the white come out better.
But these photos will give an impression of its stunning beauty. The white is a nice contrast with this blue Royal Delft pottery, a 7" Royal Delft vase from De Porceleyne Fles anno 1653. The small blue napkin is one from my beloved Mother-in-law, who handmade an entire set for me with a tablecloth.
She stayed active doing things like that, till she almost was 95!
Treasured things that have become keepsakes.

Here I want to introduce you to the Paeonia 'La Tendresse'. Another beauty in white that I placed inside a Baccarat Shalimar Perfume bottle.

Paeonia 'La Tendresse'

This is the Baccarat crystal perfume bottle on its own.

Do you have peonies?

Related posts:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Here we are, just one week past EARTH DAY... But hope in the mind of many, that didn't really end the philosophy of keeping the Planet GREEN!
  • Today we will check into Energy Star products and for that we will visit track lighting first. 
  • One key issue for saving on energy is to make sure that within our homes we do have the light WHERE it is needed instead of running our bills up, for letting way too much light on, all-the-time, in the entire room. So please do check it out and think about your evenings, what you do and where, and adjust it with the proper lighting. 
  • Well, today I want to put one of my loyal readers in THE SPOTLIGHT with a free giveaway at a value of $ 40.00 which includes shipping.
      • WAYFAIR has been so gracious to provide this for you! Towards the end of my blog you will find the details about this giveaway.
  • So now that you LIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT while crafting, cooking/baking, reading, making or enjoying music, being active on your PC... let's start thinking about the heat of summer that is about to come around.
  • Have you ever considered looking into the 521 Energy Star Ceiling Fans at WAYFAIR? I urge you to do so and to make it a commitment to think about Going GREEN. While you start surfing WAYFAIR, check one of their 200+ stores; they are HUGE!
  • We can make quite a number of improvements in our homes, with Kichler Xenon Under Counter lights  even for the daily tasks in our kitchen we can add something new. How about some ? Scroll way down after clicking the link...
  • Just want to show you mine here:

  • Above, you see the Xenon light set on the low setting, which gives a romantic diffuse lighting for let's say when you're done cooking and just want to have some more ambiance while eating your dinner. 
  • On the other hand if you need more light for detailed work such as making dessert and garnishes, you have just that at the tip of your fingers.

  • You can certainly SEE that difference! And those great Xenon lights are invisible, even when seated down at the table they don't show!

This is taken with the low light setting on and they're flush with the underside of the cabinet as they are very slim in design. 

  • Here it is; very slim and neat and thus also a breeze for cleaning. They are very easy to mount underneath. So if you're not yet going bananas over it... well certainly my giveaway will accomplish that! 

  • What I want to know from you is the following:
  1. Tell me how many different degree pitch blades you encountered on this website of WAYFAIR and how many those degrees are. 
  2. Which BRAND is producing the highest number of Energy Star Ceiling Fans?
  3. Which STYLE is produced mostly?
  4. My last photo how many Kichler Xenon White Lights does it show?
  5. Follow my blog and let me know so by placing a comment with the answer to the above question. So I can verify that you are a follower. 
  6. The DEAD LINE will be Wednesday May 5th by 8:00PM PDT. 
  7. Only for residents of the USA and Canada... SORRY!
  • For that reason I will only release those comments after the deadline and a winner will be selected from those with correct answers at random. 


For sure most of my readers know by now that I do LOVE roses. Especially the highly fragrant and rare antique varieties. Okay, let's show you some more beauties that are living on our estate right now. Of course we did bring some of them inside to add a touch of romance to our home. Let me first introduce a fine climber that is on an old trellis in our wood garden.
This one is called 'Dublin Bay' and we got ours from White Flower Farm.
There are more roses developing in our garden and one of them is climbing on the fence next to the road. That is called Rosa eglanteria by its official name and also is called Sweet brier and Shakespeare's rose!
On the same fence is another antique rose budding out and still showing the old rose-hips from last year. This is Félicité Parmentier one of the Alba roses from 1834.
 In the garden itself is a strong grower, Gertrude Jekyll a David Austin English rose from 1986.
Gertrude shows lush leaves that are very healthy and glossy. She must be happy out there!
Now let's go inside to see what we did with one of the highly fragrant roses; Jardin de Bagatelle.
Let me show you what I did look for in order to place this one single rose. It is rare that you do harvest an entire nosegay of roses, especially not in the early season. But a Baccarat perfume bottle serves well for such an orphan. Baccarat is the French crystal, that has been made for ages and is very high quality.
This is a nice French grouping with an antique Lampe Berger in rose motive from France... They look pretty together. 
Highly fragrant Jardin de Bagatelle rose.
Here they are on the solid French oak furniture, with a Wedgwood Wedgwood Cream Color on Cream Color round footed 3 7/8 inch compôte. (Replacements Ltd does have 4 available right now... so try your luck!).
The fragrant wax candle I got from Neiman Marcus. 
For those of you interested in antique roses you can try here at Heirloom Roses
If you like the antique Lampe Berger from France, I do have some for sale at: Spectrenoir.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


What a surprise to receive today an email with the message that Gunnar Lloyd is born in The Netherlands, with accompanying movie of him (click above pink link). It is such a perfect baby on this futuristic movie and no wonder as he's already born on April 7! Never have seen anything like this, quite a space-age movie; what an art work done by his Daddy Raymond who is after all a software architect. Gunnar of course is a Swedish name, we know that they went to Sweden for a vacation and they must have fallen in love with that country and even more with themselves... then or at a later moment. At least a very special name for such a deep and true love.

Now the rest of the story... a very special one to share with my readers. On June 5 of 2006 we got a phone call from our friend/Judge Helen Harper. She said to me: "Guess what I did this afternoon?" I had no idea... So she told me that she'd married a Dutch couple who were staying at the romantic Page House B & B in town after having been to Savannah. Helen said, oh I realized too late that you were Dutch too. That's alright I said, now they felt at least more at ease without any countrymen around.
Of course I did call, to congratulate them in Dutch and invited them over for next day, to have dessert with us. They were quite surprised for finding two Dutch born Americans here in town! For their wedding day dinner they did go to the best Lady Chef in the region, to Ristorante da Maria. Quite fittingly for the occasion!  Spending the night after dinner at Dublin Farm, Come Home to the Country, so they would not have to do any more traveling to find a romantic place to sleep.
I did bake a very special dessert for them: Phyllo dough shells with Strawberry-Rose-Whipped-Cream... and pastry hearts on the side. Got my Royal Albert Princess Anne china out and quite fittingly; the Bridal Rose by Alvin silverware, all from Replacements Ltd.
Made special flower arrangements from fresh, highly fragrant gardenias in a Cream Color on Cream Color by Wedgwood footed compote white Lathyrus odoratus (fragrant sweet pea) and white gladiolus flowers. 
Alvin Bridal Rose silver spoons
Romantic home baked hearts from Wonton Wraps with Strawberry & Rose Petal whipped cream
 We were ready now to welcome the newly weds  Daphna and Raymond into our home!
We did enjoy it as much as they did. It was very special and for me it was just labor of love to make the dessert with edible, red rose petals from our own garden, with strawberries and whipped cream. So romantic with only a few drops of rose water added. 
Like on the movie where Daphna and Raymond welcome Gunnar Lloyd into the world, so did we welcome Daphna van Zoeren and Raymond Roelands into our home and one can see that things started out very rosy but more important is it did last. 
We wish you lots more years in good health and happiness together as a young family.
If you ever find the time to visit Dublin again, to see Judge Helen who married you and to see the Page House again and our home; more than WELCOME!

P.S. One interesting point that Raymond made that afternoon when we moved out into the gazebo for a bite and a glass of wine. "My Mom has the very same Gero Zilmeta 528 Menuet flatware as you have!"
He must have felt right at home...


Just want to share with you our very first roses of this year. One of the garden photos taken on April 10 did show you the first rare antique rose on the fence; called Jeanne d'Arc (1818 France).

  •  On the 17th of April, Pieter came inside from the garden, holding out a red rose for me... 
  • Always such a tender, romantic moment! I did put it in a silver vase, with silver rosebud, and made a photo to capture the moment.

  •  Here she is, just perfectly shaped and dark red. 
  • Next to the rose is a first snipping of our Victorian hybrid Pelargonium Red Rosebud just opening with another pink Pelargonium to fill the tiny silver roses vase.
  • Will write about them and their sources later.
  •  Underneath is a rose silicon trivet that I found in The Netherlands on the web. Got two of those and they are very special.  

  • Three days later I was lucky enough to fill an antique Baccarat crystal perfume bottle with three red roses!

  • Are they not perfectly shaped red roses? They certainly made my day. 
  • By the way, my sister-in-law Elly Van den Munckhof once did crochet this beautiful doily for me! 
  • The pineapple pattern is symbol for hospitality. 
  • I still treasure it and here it shows off the roses very elegantly.

  •  This photo shows the Baccarat perfume bottle better. 
  • Well, we did have some very heavy rains with thunderstorms and that is visible on the rose-petals but nevertheless, they are still beauties!
  • Now a few days later on the 21st the Jeanne d'Arc surprised us with numerous buds and fully opened roses.

  • Yes, Jeanne d'Arc you are a beautiful antique French rose from 1818, that is quite an age! 
  • We were fortunate to find these in 2001 at Pickering Nurseries, in Canada. 
  • For rare antique roses they are a great source! Just check them out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Oh my... how to start?

First of all many thanks to Johanna Gehrlein from Silber+Rosen who was so kind to present me with this surprise! Thanks a lot, it means even more so, coming from you as author of the great book Rosen-Bestecke or for the German readers das Buch auf deutsch wo sie mich ja auch noch verlinkt hat. SO LIEB! SO SWEET!
But now I too should manage my listing of ten reasons for being happy...

01)  Happy because I still have parents that are alive, just talked to Mom in The Netherlands via phone this afternoon.
02)  Happy for having found TRUE LOVE in my life.
03)  Happy for the health that God granted both of us.
04)  Happy with our personal Paradise we have created in the 20 years of intense gardening.
05)  Happy for being able to communicate in so many languages with people from all over the world!
06)  Happy for seeing our adopted daughter Liz and foster daughter Anita both doing well.
07)  Happy with the health of our felines.
08)  Happy with the beautiful spring season and the perfect weather right now before the heat starts.
09)  Happy with the huge grant of Rotary International that we managed for the poor leprosy patients in Indonesia.
10)  Happy with all the loyal readers of my blog who inspire me to share more!

Now I am delighted to pass it on to four of my favorite readers:
1) Das Büh und die Lillypookze from Schlaflos in NRW for her sweet comments and great writing about her highly skilled creations of cuddle toys. The sweetest creations I've ever seen!
2) Michela from Italy who does the splendid blog of Mami G. Maison that is truly a joy to follow! Of course for me it is special since I lived and worked in Italy and for curing my home-sickness at times... when I'm blue.
3) Nicola from September Cottage certainly is deserving of an award! She is so sweet and bi-lingual in the contact between her and me. She lives in the UK and is from Hamburg, Germany. For the English readers, again this is no language barrier as she has a translation button on her page and even with some of its shortcomings, don't miss all the above mentioned blogs!
And now... this is the highlight as it certainly is last but not LEAST:
4) Johanna Gehrlein from Silber+Rosen! Silber-und-Rosen-Shop

Hope these fine young ladies are all very happy recipients of this well earned award. Congratulations and wishing all of you many more years of serious, quality blogging! Let's stay in touch as we all continue our sociable journey through cyberspace where there are no virtual boundaries.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


You did see already our Fiberglass Flower Boxes in some of the garden photos but now I want to share them with you more in depth. We do have ours for some ten years now so that is long enough to know what their quality is so I'm confident to share them with my readers. Okay, found my invoice and they are actually from February 21, 1996 - that is the 8Ft ones in the photo below and the other 3Ft and 5FT from our bay windows are from October 14, 1996. They came from Flower Framers of Cincinnati ←(click it) in Cincinatti, OH. These Fiberglass Window Boxes do come in White, Hunter Green and Satin Black; look here for The Ultimate Flower Box click it and scroll down) as there are 15 other color options besides white.
Due to their larger size they are a far better choice for any plant variety; that creates so to speak a nice buffer. We do live in the southeast where the climate can be rather harsh. The smaller sized window boxes never delivered the performance we get from these. Even with tender perennials such as our prized Verbena Silver Anne we have been able to keep them alive even during cold winters. Just showing you these Verbena Silver Anne in full bloom on the photos below, one more in detail and one full length on our retainer wall next to the drive way.  

They are made out of maintenance-free lightweight fiberglass. For more information please look here at Flower Framers of Cincinnati ←click it. Their drainage system (very visible in the center photo; on the side you see the two holes) is a great feature as well. We also do have them, as you saw earlier in the garden tour, on our bay window of the kitchen and on the side of our veranda. This photo shows the smallest size we have on one of the two bay window sides. Plants thrive extremely well inside these boxes as is evidence in the next close-up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Guess I forgot one important fact with a great photo, when I got drifted all the way back into my childhood, writing my previous post...
Okay, here it is: those pretty salmon red Pelargonium, geraniums with their great childhood scent... were given to Pieter for one of his birthdays by our dear friends Heinz & Maria. We treasure them and the geraniums are very loyal plants too; blooming inside the greenhouse already before getting out into the real world!
We have given the geraniums, after the initial year, a nice planter each and proudly put them at the entrance of our gazebo. Very inviting to have the afternoon tea there or just to read or whatsoever one is up to. A very favorite spot for us and for our guests as well.

Now I want to reveal our dear friends to you... They are Heinz Krassnig, a native from Austria, and Maria Runggaldier, a native from Italy. Both are running here a very special type of B & B Dublin Farm Come Home To The Country . Quite different from the usual B & B as it is following the Italian agriturismo idea. Okay, let me explain that more in detail to you. At the time we lived in Italy, we did go for lunch with another Dutch gentleman Gerard Derks, who lived there for many years and was in the very same business. He knew the countryside a lot better than we as newcomers so it was surprising each and every time when he took us to a rural area, to an old farmstead or such and yet it was a restaurant. That is the aspect of agriturismo. Please read more details here at Heinz & Maria's Dublin Farm Come Home to the Country. You will be surprised for finding a touch of Tuscany in the heart of Georgia! Whenever we feel like getting homesick, longing for the great food in the northern region where we lived and worked, just 45 minutes out from Venice, at the foothills of the Dolomites, we have dinner at Ristorante da Maria and get cured! She is the best Lady Chef in the region and we have eaten at quite a number of restaurants world wide having been international consultants for so many years, so we know how to compare and how to judge. Maria makes everything from scratch and it is fresh! If anyone of you is ever traveling south into Florida or wherever you go, get off the I-95 or I-75 and veer off to I-16. We are located half way between Atlanta and Savannah so that is a very nice break if you're making a long trip. We would love for you to experience this! And... for the European readers, with their strong Euro, why not have a flight into Atlanta or even Savannah (cheaper air fare!) and visit this area? We are only six hours driving distance away from Orlando, Florida and four hours away from the mountains of North Georgia and the best of all; two hours away from the beach!
Georgia on my mind and hopefully I put it also on your mind as well! Welcome anytime and you can visit me for a tea/coffee in the gazebo ~ promise!

Related link:

Monday, April 12, 2010


Ever since my husband did take out the many planters from the greenhouse I had the idea to compose this blog for a special reason. When I stood there with the beautiful salmon red geraniums in my hands, all of a sudden by its very smell I went back to my early childhood... But first of all, let me grab a perfect vase for these darlings to show them off to you!

Okay, here they are in a Sancoussi Ivory Rose by Rosenthal vase as part of my dessert china from Replacements Ltd once bought for hosting a French Tea party. Are they not lovely? Well, I wish you too could pick up its typical geranium scent. Because of that, I did travel back in time... to The Netherlands.
Here I am, a little girl of maybe four or five years old, watching Mom cleaning our windows. The house had narrow tall windows with smaller panes inside and they were being opened from the center by pulling down a shiny brass handle so they came inwards into the room... There were indoor shutters to close for privacy and a rather wide window sill on which Mom kept her prized red geraniums. They could remain between the window and the shutters, once they got closed,  there was enough space.
At times the condensation did make the windows all wet and water had to run down into a special carved out mini-gutter which had one rounded opening in the center, that let the water out through the wall outward. At times we had to poke the hole free of some dirt or a fly that got trapped in there, using a knitting needle... We were quite inventive at that time!
Watching Mom do the window treatment was quite something! She used water with vinegar in it, a sponge (a real one from the ocean which vendors sold door to door at that time!) and a chamois. The geraniums were taken down and were put on the table, making the scent fill the air even more so by the movements. Mom also vigorously did polish the brass handle of each window with Brasso. Yes, Brasso we were accustomed to in the Old World as well - at least this remained the same after immigrating! I still can sniff all these special scents of the vinegar in the water, the sour smell of the Brasso used on a cotton cloth and then the geraniums... oh I just LOVED them!
They will stay deeply engraved into my memory forever and that's why they live with us till today. We also have white geraniums, see picture below and later in the season I will introduce you to some very special red mini-rosebud form of geranium. Pelargonium is their botanical name.
Another proud member of the Pelargonium family though its scent is by far not the same as the above red ones. It doesn't trigger my childhood memories as such and by the way, Mom had RED ones, her favorite color as of today. Bless her heart, she is 86 years now and undergoing three times weekly her kidney dialysis in The Netherlands, for the third year now. We hope and pray that she will remain with us for some more time but only God knows!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Just like to share some nice photos with you, taken with Narcissus from our garden used for the dinner I hosted for 12 people here at our home on Monday, March 29. Didn't have time to take photos from the table setting but I did get the highly fragrant Narcissus Cragford; as I knew it would be my last chance and they were not yet introduced to my readers. So after dinner, unloading my second dishwasher and putting things up, I took this shot at 2:00AM from the perfect Narcissus Tazetta. If you click on the hyperlink you will be surprised with the detailed information about these Tazetta being from ancient Greece and Egypt. So if you plan on buying some of these beauties you might want to subscribe to this blog, just as I did. They do list some sales addresses that might be useful for fall ordering flower bulbs.

Okay, let's talk about the Narcissus Cragford that I will show here in a few photos. Here I teamed them up with a cup and saucer from the Daffodil of Royal Albert Friendship series, which is listed at Replacements Ltd so if you fall for it; try your luck! The spoon is from Avon and the embroidered handkerchief kind of matches the larger plate I do have for serving cookies. I thought they do match the Cragford Narcissus just perfectly.

Here they are, more close-up and just letting you catch a glimpse of the cachet pot in which I had arranged them. That is a Wedgwood embossed Queens ware. Below you can better see the Aries heads with garlands in-between.

Very nice embossing on this Queens ware. The inside even has some decorative embossing around the edge.
Hope you enjoyed this brief update but I certainly did not want to withhold this information from you...
It is about time to let go of our Narcissus for the year 2010 ~ they will be back next year and maybe surprise us once again with an early spring...


Wish you could stop by to visit our Garden right now... It is at its very best moment... Enjoy!

Our Japanese Magnolia or Magnolia x soulangeana

Monday, April 5, 2010


Easter weekend is over, at least here in the USA it is only till Sunday as they don't celebrate Second Easter Day which is Monday. But being from the Old World, it is still in our minds and always will remain that way.
Today is also the memory of Pieter's Mother's birthday... and a very sad tiding that did reach us on Saturday in the wee hours of the morning by 1:30AM (6:30AM Dutch time) that our dear sister-in-law Dora Vedder had passed on to eternity.
Let me first put a photo here from the champagne tin that I'd mentioned in my Easter Season blog, that I use to put up Easter items for storage till the next Easter. That was from Thé and Dora Vedder, given to Pieter for a special birthday.

 Here it is together with a beautiful pot of mini cyclamen which were given by friend Maria Runggaldier from Ristorante da Maria. We will treasure the tin even more so from now on!
Getting back to Dora... I will show here a beautiful teacup and saucer that I'd received from her one year. It is a Purple Violet from Provincial Flowers by Royal Albert, in  the Purple Violet England. I was lucky to find a second set just alike at Replacements Ltd. and even found two silver demitasse spoons from Wallace Silver in the Violet pattern at Replacements Ltd with a bon-bon scoop as well. It helps to always have two of each so you can enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or with your husband who IS supposed to be your best friend as well.

Here you see the two demitasse spoons with the cup and saucer as well as a tiny silver vase that I filled with freshly picked purple violets from our botanical garden. They are all over the floor of our wood garden where we walk over a trail to enjoy all the beauty. In the front with the one demitasse spoon are candied violets that I made. Lots of work and no wonder why these candied violets are that expensive, if purchased to decorate a special cake! Only nuns in a monastery, or the many hands in a harem; given each a task could accomplish all this, but we as ordinary housewives cannot be that kind of centipede...
It was fun though for trying!

Well here we have two options... and we should consult with Jo-Anne Coletti from Vintage Rose Collection about which would get her approval for a vintage look... I am not even trying to compete with her art work! Just forget it but you should have a look at her work.

Pensez à moi ~ yes, Dora we will always remember you when comes violet time and I will treasure your teacup & saucer as long as I live and as long as they live... with the help of Replacements Ltd.
 Dora, you have passed on to eternity but your heart remains forever young and you certainly were the Hostess of Hostesses serving so many generous, delicious meals to the ones you loved so much. Thanks for feeding our body and soul.

MARIETTE'S BACK TO BASICS © 2009. All rights reserved - Text and images may not be copied for distribution or sale.

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