Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

Under my canopy…


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The cherry tree is in bloom. Stand under it and be totally covered in a cloud of cotton-candy pink with sound effects. The number of bees that are buzzing is so loud that you think that your ears are exploding or you are ready for lift off into the great unknown. Must enjoy it at every opportunity because it only lasts for a couple of weeks before all the blossoms rain down in pink snow caused by an errant wind. Like anticipating the blood oranges or Chandler strawberries coming into the farmer’s market, the week of March 17 marks the blooming of the cherry tree. It is superior to the marking of a year by school vacations or holidays, in my humble opinion…

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I spent the last few weeks painting my gate…easier said than done it turns out.


The paint had gotten chalky after nine years and there were rusty spots. After some research on the internet my process was this:

1. Sand the chalky paint and sand any rust away

2. Wash with a rag and a spray bottle filled with 50% water and 50% vinegar

3. Immediately spot prime with rustoleum oil based primer for metal

4. Paint with metal paint…since I wanted a color that was not standard I had to use an alkyd. (At least the clean-up was easier.) I am hoping that if it needs repainting in another nine years I will have moved to Rossmore and somebody else will get to paint it. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…It was not the easiest painting job because every joint is soldered and needed pouncing with a small foam brush to get the crevices painted. Then, I could use a foam roller on the flat places but had to go over it another time with the brush to smooth any pooled paint. Oh, and also I did not want to totally cut back the Dutchman’s pipe vine and there were a few places I could not get paint underneath the vine that has such a vise-like grip. One of those jobs that the best thing about it is that it is done!


Now the pipe vine has a beautiful purple background…and we are still waiting for those special butterflies that are supposed to be attracted to it.


Dutchman’s Pipe Vine flower

Author: loisreynoldsmead


6 thoughts on “Under my canopy…

  1. The beautiful cherry blossoms remind me of the apple blossoms on the trees in my Brother’s apple orchard in the Monterey area.
    What is the “non-standard” color of your gate? It looks like a dark purple?
    You did a great job. Looks so nice.

    • It is a purple, but oil based paints (which I probably should have used on wrought iron) are premixed and most of the colors are yucky…a bright, pale purple but nothing else. Oil based paints cannot be custom mixed anymore because pigments in paint stores (well, I was in Home Depot) are all water based and can’t be mixed into oil based paints. So I went with the alkyd…
      Oh, I wish I had an apple tree!

      • Yesterday, my 2 Bros and Sis had a “reunion” and the apple Bro brought us all apples, as he always does…I cannot wait to make some chunky applesauce and other, maybe a pie. When we were growing up, we had a cherry tree in our back yard. The neighbors kept complaining, so our Mom chopped it down!
        Thanks for this paint info…I hope to paint some wood posts different colors each so this helps.
        I wish I had a cherry tree!

  2. Oh, yum! What a good brother! Anyone says apple pie and my immediate thought, all these years later, is that place up above Redlands. Fond memories…

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