Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Everything’s coming up roses… or it would if the dang sun ever stayed out. Still it is a  joy to be at Bee Cottage for a bit. And as roses ramble, so does this post…

I put the photo below on Instagram a few days ago. I’m still getting the hang of Instagram. My niece is here visiting now. She will help her poor ol’ Auntie.

Roses at Bee Cottage, via Instagram
Roses at Bee Cottage, via Instagram

We planted more roses in the garden last year, all David Austins, and happy to say horrid storm Sandy did not  phase them. They’re full of buds. Looka here.

Roses at Bee Cottage
Roses at Bee Cottage

Can’t say the same for my grape arbor felled by the neighbor’s tree. All winter it looked like a bird with a broken wing. Pitiful.

Bee Cottage, broken arbor after hurricane
Bee Cottage, broken arbor after hurricane

The guilty tree.

The guilty tree
The guilty tree, rent asunder by hurricane Sandy and crashed upon the arbor

I let it stay that way ’til spring. My friend Alex Hitz said his grandfather once told him, “Son, you do what you can do, and sometimes you can’t even do that.” Well this was one of those times.

Bee Cottage, broken arbor after hurricane
Bee Cottage, broken arbor after hurricane

Until last week. Finally it is restored thanks to the heroics of carpenters Basilico and Juan. The silver lining is that with the big, overhanging beech(?) branch gone, there is more light and air for this magnificent kousa dogwood.

The neighbor's kousa dogwood
The neighbors' kousa dogwood

My heart goes out to those less lucky in that historic storm’s path, as clean-ups and repairs continue all around the northeast.

I mean WTF with the weather?! It was rainy and cold for much of my three weeks in Europe, and it is rainy and cold here in New York. It’s all in the papers there and here about how the birds are confused and the flowers are flummoxoned* and the bees are bamboozled. Joking aside it really is worrying.

*Flummoxoned is a word I have only heard used by my husband (His Grace, for new readers). I think he made it up, but I like it. It is flummoxed with an extra syllable of angst, and yet you somehow think things will be all right.

Doing what they can for birds, bees, and flowers is the wonderful Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponock (more on Madoo gardens coming soon), where I went to a party the other night, which was outside of course. In defiance of Mother Nature I wore a festive summer frock, by golly I did.

Froze, I did.

Also there in festive summer frock was adorable Kelli Delaney Kot, whose all Hamptons-all-the-time KDHamptons.com has become indispensable to anyone even thinking about the Hamptons. It is interesting, fun and well done. Like her. And lo, there is a reprise of a profile she did of Bee and me last summer wherein I am wearing a doo-rag. (I did not know they were going to take my dang picture. It is an Hermes doo-rag, but still. There is no going back from it once you put one on.)

Another thing about the storm and the the newly liberated dogwood is that it now peeks over and sees its cousin kousa at the front of Bee Cottage.

Bee Cottage
Bee Cottage. The dogwood at left is complimented but that of my neighbors, at right.

Don’t look at how that ivy needs trimming. That’s another thing I can’t get to yet.

But wait, here comes the sun… dappling a window sill at Bee, looking out under the undefeated grape arbor.

I posted this pic, too. I am clear into double digits on Instagram now.

The Rose and the Dragonfly, window sill at Bee Cottage
Window at Bee Cottage, with the restored grape arbor in the background. The bone dragonfly was a gift from Nina Griscom. (The Rose and the Dragonfly -- sounds like an English pub. Or a Stieg Larsson novel)

You have to be diligent about dead-heading roses in rainy weather. Which is going to stop soon. I’m sure of it.

Roses at Bee Cottage
Deadheading roses at Bee Cottage



  1. Frances,
    I look forward to every blog post !!!!
    Keep up the southern humor –
    It’s the icing on the cake !!!!

  2. What a beautiful way to begin this Sunday!

    Thank You for bringing beauty and wit into my life.

    Now, on out to my garden to weed.

    Everything is truly coming up roses!!!


  3. Good for you taking time to smell those roses. Alex’s grandfather wow, real words of wisdom. Doing great auntie with the Instagram.

  4. Love your posts, Frances ! This Massachusetts Yankee girl is deadheading her roses as we “speak.” Rain rain rain GO AWAY so my flowers do not rot and perish. And gone are my lovely peonies. Sigh….

  5. Frances,
    You are a genius in my mind at most/all things…especially bringing joy anytime you write. Glad your niece is there to explain Instagram! Saw your other niece last night along with our grandchild, Joey, over yoghurt. They have had great fun together thanks to Duvall and Rex as big get together after school.
    So, your roses are gorgeous and good it was arbor, not Bee Cottage.
    Enjoy summer and keep on writing to us

  6. We are home from Turkey and happy to swap riots for roses. Your account of restoring and recognizing beauty in the midst of turmoil is truly heartening. Thank you, Frances.

  7. A lovely, fun start to my Sunday. Your roses are beautiful and your doo-rag is very chi chi! Loved your entertaining tips in that article too.

  8. Frances, I don’t miss a post! Love everything you write and learn so much…. Can just hear your southern voice and thanks always for a good laugh! Love that lace of natural humor

  9. I face a park. Was away for a wkend when I returned there was so much light in my place I thought I had been invaded. I called a neighbor to search the place. During a rainstorm a tree that should have been maintained fell. Now I have wonderful light and delight. Everything for a reason.

  10. Love those David Austins. Mine are between blooms down here. Your photos are lovely and so glad Bee herself was spared, even though that Arbor looks pitiful. It’s good to be reminded that folks are still trying to recover. How soon we forget. Nice to hear from you. (-:

  11. Hi Frances,
    When we HAD roses, the deer would eat every tender and beautiful bud and what they missed, the beetles ruined. These big brown eyed, four footed friends are nothing but “Hovers”. I’ve seen many fawn twins…they are very cunning, but they grow up loving flowers.
    Your Bee Cottage is dreamy, always keep it.
    Your blogs are fun.
    Xo, Linda

  12. Oh, those roses, those roses! They have made my day, I am first and foremost a rose girl, just like my Momma and GrandMomma, it’s in our genes. Loved your quote in the KDHamptons.com profile of Bee Cottage being “a glorified garden shed with a great aunt in the Cotswolds and a cousin in Provence.” I recently described my teeny tiny cocoon as “a big closet done all pretty combined with an old library and a blowsy English garden.” Definitely planting roses this year. Keep those posts coming, Ms. Frances, they do inspire, cheer and make days sunnier. Wishing you and His Grace a fantabulous summer!

  13. Lovely post. So sorry about the storm damage. Here in VA we seem to have storm damage frequently with all our old trees and limbs, it’s ongoing. You have a lovely cottage and grounds. Have a great weekend.
    xo Nancy

  14. LOVE your cottage–could you Please share the colors you used on the exterior and shutters? I have a cape cod house in TN with pics on pinterest under my name if you’d like to look–thanks

    1. Thank you, Melissa! The blue is Benjamin Moore Mountain Laurel, and I’m going to look at your house on Pinterest now! Thanks again! Frances

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