Postcard From the Garden at Bee Cottage

It is finally fixin’ to rain out here on Long Island. The sky feels as full as my tummy after a yummy Sunday lunch with friends. I had such a good time I came home and took a nap. When I woke up the sky was darker, and thunder rumbled in the distance. If it rains hard and I don’t take pictures of my garden before it gets beat to hell… So I scampered out…

“Scamper” might be a little strong.

Bee Cottage Garden
A vintage postcard version of the garden at Bee Cottage, East Hampton.

For new readers, Bee Cottage is my house in East Hampton.

But here’s the thing I wanted to tell you: Snapseed. It’s the iPhone app I used processing these photos.  There are many photo apps, of course, each one cooler and more mysterious to me than the next. But this one I’m investing in. Literally. At 5 bucks they ain’t giving it away, but it does so many cool things. And if I can do it, trust me…

Hydrangeas, lilies, dahlias and lavatera
Hydrangeas, lilies, dahlias and matracaria, with the Snapseed ”drama” and ”center focus” effects.

Hydrangeas are not show-offs, but they are dependable by golly. And more exotic than you think. There is a nursery in France, Hortensias du Haut Bois, that grows more than 750 varieties and cultivars of hortensia, as they are called in French. Amazing. (If you go to the site there is an “English” button in the left hand column to translate the text.)

Lacecap Hydrangea
Lacecap hydrangeas are one of my favorites. This one is shot using the ”drama” effect again, simply because it is not often you see ”drama” and ”hydrangea” in the same sentence.

Girls used to be called Hortense. Whatever happened to that? It’s pretty, but it’s kind of hard to imagine someone saying “Hortense, I must have you now.” Maybe that’s what happened to it.

Admittedly like many words Hortense sounds sexier in French than in English, Or-TAHNS vs. HOR-tense. In English it sounds like nervous prostitute.  Maybe we ought to re-think that last paragraph.

Josephine Bonaparte had a pretty daughter named Or-TAHNS by her first husband, who got the guillotine. Her second husband–Napoleon–married her off to his brother Louis. They were not happy but they did have three children, one of whom grew up to be Napoleon III. Now I am really off the subject.

What was the subject?

Herb and vegetable garden
Through the petunias. the (overgrown) herb and vegetable beds at Bee Cottage, this time using the Snapseed ”grunge” effect. Live dangerously I say.

It’s definitely raining now. I did the right thing. Y’all have a good week. See you soon.



I was just seeing how it sounded.


  1. I imagine a whore who is tense would not survive the trade & thus vanish. Perhaps the same fate begot the name. Lovely photos & love the so “apply” named app…..

  2. So, so beautiful, dear Frances. I know that your heart is happy and full in your beloved Bee Cottage. Enjoy every minute…but please come back to your West Coast home soon! xxx

  3. Beautiful! Tres belle! Magnifico! Sorry, couldn’t resist. And laughing over the nervous prostitute,I will never be able to look at hydrangeas without getting the giggles. I do love this blog!

  4. Oh thank you dear friend for the giggles on a Sunday night,and the images from your beautiful garden…I can smell even the oh so odiferous-ly shy hydrangea. Okay,… I always thought of it as the feeling that the infidel experienced upon arriving home to his betrothed after his impetuous clandestine interlude. Oh Frances, you have indeed opened up the boite de Pandore!!
    By the way so jealous of the rain…enjoy!! xxxooo

  5. In the Hortense vein, another name better in French is Blahn-she as opposed to the American Blanche….just a thought and just saying….

  6. Beautiful shots and I especially love the vintage postcard photo. Very amusing article too:))

    Enjoy the benefits of the rain…

    1. Thank you ALL for your comments. Hope there was some relief here for the poor, parched West… Pete I love your sophisticated repartee – you would have fit right in at the French court. Walker you have a point about Blanche… Which reminds me of the English Frahn-ces vs. the American Fran-ces. we never should have lost the broad “a.”… EB and others, so happy y’all are giggling. xox H, I mean F

  7. Always love me some “BEE news” Miss Hortense! I loved going back and seeing all those pics-some I’ve never seen before! Keep it coming!-Les

  8. Not sure I understand the Snapseed but it certinly produces beautiful effects – or maybe it is just the garden that is beautiful. Hydrangeas need rain – lots!

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