Sweet Fragrance and one fine mess


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No, this gorgeous fully-in-bloom fragrant Mountain Laurel is not in my yard. My Mountain Laurel has ample bud spikes, but no blooms yet. This bursting-with-blooms 12′ shrub (small tree?) was near my home at a shopping center, planted side by side with another identical tree of the same size that had absolutely no blooms on it at all. What is the difference? Why did this one bloom early in full glory, and the one 3 feet away didn’t? Does anyone have any clues? They appeared to have the same sun, but I could be wrong. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed this grapette-scented display as I walked into the store.

The Mountain Laurel in bloom is a long way from what it is looking like around my house these days. Demolition has progressed on the kitchen, and the upper wall between the living room and kitchen was opened up. This not only updates the rooms to the 21st century, it allows much needed light from the living room southern-facing French doors to enter the formerly dark kitchen. To give you a little perspective, this photo was taken while standing in the living room, looking at the kitchen wall. On the right, that small notch in the opening is the edge of the former passthru window over the old sink. It is now modernized to open up entirely to the living room.

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Because I lost many important upper cabinets by removing this wall, I enlarged my pantry to be a full 3′ x 6′ walk-in storage pantry. Joy! My new cabinetry will also extend to ceiling height, giving me upper shelf storage for china and occasional items. I’m also getting large drawers on the bottom cabinetry instead of the standard shelving with door fronts, which are so awkward to utilize fully. You can see construction of the new pantry in the edge of the left side of this picture. This is my current kitchen (ha!)

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I’m getting excited now; the visual imagery is easier to see with that wall gone. Finishing the new drywall and installing the new cabinets is next. One small setback is this large hole in the ceiling where the electrician fell through it yesterday while working in the attic. Fortunately, he was a big strong guy, and he caught himself before he fell all the way through. Unfortunately, all of the loose-blown insulation from the attic came crashing down with this piece of sheetrock and covered his working partner down below. What a mess it was!

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10 thoughts on “Sweet Fragrance and one fine mess

  1. That’s an incredibly healthy mountain laurel. I bed its smell is overpowering! I like a little scent but too much I find nauseating-rather like someone wearing too much perfume.
    That’s a serious renovation you are doing. very exciting.

  2. Do you not have Mountain Laurels in east Texas, Brenda? Perhaps, for a change, they love alkaline soil instead of your wonderful acidic soil. Is your new kitchen worth the mess you went through?

  3. Whoa Robin, that’s quite a different view of your kitchen! I didn’t realize you were opening up the wall too, but I think it’s going to look amazing. I completely sympathize with needing more natural light in your house.

    Those Texas mountain laurels are a mystery. Maybe one of them got extra water from a sprinkler system and the other one didn’t? I have a similar problem in my yard, though– everyone’s redbuds bloom like crazy except for mine! I get maybe 3 piddly flowers on the entire tree.

  4. Yes, I’ll need to have a blogger party to celebrate the new kitchen so you can see the end result. Bummer about your redbud, those are so gorgeous in bloom. I saw a huge flowering Quince yesterday that was absolutely gorgeous and made me want one of those, too.

  5. Love that Mountain Laurel. Looks like the remodel is going great guns. The wall opened up nicely. I’m sure you will love that open feeling and the light and the extra storage space. We have lots of drawers instead of cabinets and I love them. I even added 4 this winter to existing cabinets. Expensive – but worth it as I can now use every inch of space in the back of the cabinets without lying on the floor to reach for things!

  6. I love that Mountain Laurel, too. Aren’t you looking forward to seeing yours like that soon? And I definitely won’t missing lying on that grubby floor to pull things out of the backs of the cabinets!

  7. Gorgeous Mountain laurel picture, Robin! My oldest laurel has taken nearly 4 years to soar to its present height of 23 inches … there are buds but I’ll be pointing the camera down instead of up! Love seeing your kitchen progress on the blog.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  8. Thanks, Annie. Yes, I don’t know if I’ll still be alive by the time my Mountain Laurel reaches the height of these that I took the pictures of. But last year, following the wet year of ’07, my Laurel grew over a foot in one year! It didn’t bloom, when most other Laurels were blooming like crazy, but put all its energy into gaining height. It’s now about 5 feet tall and covered in blooms that are just peeking out. Next week, hopefully, I’ll be showing bloom pics of my own.

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