more garden pictures and a recipe

sloaney in garden

I am sorry, but my Mexican Sage is not around for long… a few weeks at the  most, so I must savor it.  It is delightful.  I buy 90% of my plants on the clearance racks at Lowes.  Do you know about these?  When the plants start to droop they mark them 50% off and stick them on rolling racks at the back of the garden center.  I love a challenge.   This Mexican Sage and Lantana came off those clearance racks.  I bet I didn’t pay more than $10 for all these flowers in bloom.  They took quite a bit of nursing to get them back to good health (not really, just water and the occasional fertilizer).  I think the reward is far greater when you have to resuscitate from near death.

butterfly in flight

butterfly 2

hummingbird perched

salvia and hummingbird

sloaney picking flowers


Penelope is on point, protecting our family from tiny green lizards.  The blanket drying in the sun (in background) was a victim of Sloaney’s stomach bug.  That blanket deserves a post of its own … it’s a beautiful blanket, I’ll tell you about it when we get around to a post on Sloane’s big girl bed.

I love ornamental Sweet Potato Vine.  And somehow at the end of the season after the bugs have had their way with it, it’s even more beautiful.

sweet potato vine

sweet potato vine lacelike

I decided to try that 3 ingredient Pumpkin Bread I’ve been seeing around the internet. I like simple recipes and I love Pumpkin Bread, however, I was a little skeptical of how few ingredients, but gave it a whirl.

 pumpkin cake


(On the pinterest version the blogger used yellow cake mix, but I went for Spice Cake.)

– One Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix.

– One small (16oz) jar of canned pumpkin.  (read: not to be confused with canned pumpkin pie filling)

– 1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix them up.  Grease & flour your pan of choice.  Bake at 350 degrees for…. well… until you get a clean toothpick.  It took longer to bake than I anticipated (a little over 30 mins), but I used one of those silicone loaf pans, which might have been the culprit.  I’m trying it again in a multi mini loaf pan and I think they will bake faster.

The blogger glazed hers with an Apple Cider Glaze, but I didn’t have any Apple Cider and thought it was so darn tasty it didn’t need it.

Try it, you won’t be disappointed!


  1. I just love Mexican Sage. Ours is HUGE right now. I probably need to cut it back. I never do well with Lantana but a little English Lavender and we are good. Love how you stalked the hummingbird. Nice work. That pumpkin bread recipe looks like my kind of recipe. Fabulous.

  2. Erika, I am so jealous that your garden looks so lovely and it’s OCTOBER! The mexican sage is amazing. Love those hummingbirds – one of my favorite things is to sit outside under our pergola and watch the hummingbirds zoom in and out of the honeysuckle. Thanks for sharing- your garden is a gem. Hope Sloane has totally recovered!

  3. I wish I knew how to garden like you. Heck, I wish I had a garden..or a yard. In due time I guess. It looks great; you tend to it very well!

  4. your garden is so beautiful! i am feeling inspired for (someday) when i have a yard, not just an apartment patio. and that recipe is so easy and delicious. my roommate makes muffins with it, and sometimes she uses chocolate cake mix, instead of yellow or spice, for an extra-special treat!

  5. first of all you could never bore me with anything you put on this blog 🙂 and i love that you get your plants on lowes clearance racks, like me 🙂 my mexican sage didn’t do good this year, hoping next year. love love the color combo with the lantana, gorgeous!

  6. I want to live in your backyard 😉 simply gorgeous!
    I luv your blogs
    Have a great day

  7. your Mexican Sage looks beautiful! I love that stuff. I’m a tad too far north for it so mine is little “leggy” but it bloomed really nicely this year. I can’t believe Sloane is already in a big bed – wow!

  8. Erika, your yard is gorgeous! What kind of plants do you recommend for the Fall/Winter?

  9. That Mexican Sage is gorgeous! Just saw that recipe for the pumpkin bread on pinterest yesterday….I went out and bought yellow cake mix. Can’t wait to try it with some chocolate chips. Hope Sloane is feeling better!

  10. Beautiful garden! Gives me hope mine will come back from the dead after this horrific summer in Texas! I’ll have to try that recipe… I love easy baking!


  11. I love your garden – so wild and peaceful at the same time! I have used that recipe for a while – but just spice cake and pumpkin, never added extra pumpkin spice – to make pumpkin muffins or mini-loaves. One of our favorites!

  12. I am so with you on buying clearance plants and loving the challenge!! I do the same thing, and for some reason it’s so much more satisfying to see a drooping or withered plant take off and flourish once it is planted and tended to with love and care! Love the pics with Sloane and Penelope!! Thanks for sharing about the pumpkin cake recipe-I’ve been a bit skeptical of it, too. Have a great day!

  13. Thanks for the Lowe’s deal idea. Brilliant. Your garden looks amazing and the butterfly in motion is too cool for words. Don’t you love hummingbird’s little FEET? Have you ever noticed them when they land on the feeders? They are so tiny and cute I can’t stand it. Hope Sloane is feeling better.

  14. I make that recipe! It perfection as cupcakes/muffins. They’re just the right size but mini-loaf pans would be completely adorable.

  15. Your garden looks great! You have such a green thumb, I’m quite the opposite. I made the pinterest pumpkin bread with spice cake too, only I did muffins and they took about 30 mins to cook but they are so good- I sprinkled some confectioner sugar on mine and they’re perfect.

  16. Such pretty garden pictures, definitely not boring! Hope Sloaney is feeling better 🙂

  17. Lindsey A. says

    You never bore us!

  18. The pumpkin bread sounds divine! Your garden looks amazing. You definitely have a gift for gardening. Sloane is so precious.

    We did a profile of your gorgeous work on our blog today! Thanks so much for using our products as much as you do. We love seeing our lights in such beautifully designed spaces.

  19. Two things: my mexican sage is also in full bloom and i savor coming home to it everyday. Does it come back next year or does it die in the winter?
    My mother-in-law makes the same pumpkin bread and it’s always been a hit. Sticky on the fingers, but pretty darn good.

  20. I said this before but your garden is gorgeous! Do you have a problem with mosquitos? I have a lot of landscaping in our backyard but we live in Texas and there are tons of mosquitos! A friend told me about some natural stuff that worked for her that I may try. I was just wondering since you live in FL. I pinned that recipe but haven’t tried it yet!

  21. Erika, did you know that if you buy an entire sale rack at Lowe’s, then you get it for 90% off??! I did that this spring – an entire rack for $36 (you can also include full price items on the rack as well, but it has to be majority sale plants). It’s not something they advertise, but if you go early, just ask! Your garden is beautiful 🙂

  22. I’m trying this recipe tonight!!! Sounds delicious!

  23. I am not bored! I absolutely love the photos. And that recipe looks delicious.

  24. Love your garden! I live in NYC which unfortunately confines my gardening to a few small window boxes – thus I live vicariously through your wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing all of that beauty.

  25. in love with your mexican sage!!!

  26. i’ll have to try the quick version, although my long version ain’t bad. but how do you beat 3 ingredients?!?! i’ll try throwing in mini chocolate chips. yummy!

  27. Next time…throw in some chocolate chips and/or pecans. Oh my….we eat it for breakfast!

  28. Your Mexican sage is gorgeous! I, too, love lantana and have had a lot of success with it in years past. I bought small, pint-sized containers of the creeping, golden ones in April this year at Lowe’s for less than $2 and they are now larger than and taking over my ligustrum! So pretty!

  29. I think I would almost rather look at pictures of pretty gardens than of pretty houses. Almost. 🙂 Yours is gorgeous! Anytime you want to show us pictures of your plants, please, please do. I have gotten on a big gardening kick the last few years, and I think I’ve found a lifelong hobby! I remember you saying once that if you weren’t a designer you’d plan gardens. I wish that could be my job too!

  30. Would you mind saying how many of the mexican sage plants are there? I just bought 2 that are fairly tall but not bushy at all and I am getting ready to plant them in the ground but not sure how close, etc they need to be. I want them to be large and full like yours. How do these winter over

  31. LOVE your garden! Sloane’s little booty in those leggings and boots is too cute! Glad to know about the clearance rack at Lowe’s! Great idea. I’m definitely making something pumpkin in the near future.

  32. (wtg, but… WATCHOUT for aluminum in the convenience breads. Even if not true that it plays a role in Alzheimer’s, I still avoiding it!)

  33. The Mexican Sage and Lantana look AMAZING!!! I will have to check Lowes out for some fun plants! The cake looks yummy, I will be trying it for sure!!!

  34. I had to laugh when you talk about the Pinterest pumpkin bread! I have pinned but haven’t tried it yet! Now that it’s blogger certified, I am making it this weekend!

  35. I recently started following your blog after seeing you featured in Better Homes and Gardens. Congrats on that!

    I love all the garden pics. Beautiful! 🙂

  36. Justine Palmer says

    I love seeing photos of your garden! And can’t wait to see Sloane’s big girl bed.

  37. January Dayton says

    Your garden is absolutely beautiful! I’ve got a little twist to the pumpkin bread, and my kids love it! Mix spice cake, a can of pumpkin and 1/3-1/2 bag of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate). I make them into mini muffins for the kiddos, and they gobble them up!

  38. your garden is sooo beautiful! can’t wait to try that pumpkin bread (i bought a bag of “betty crocker ” pumpkin spice cookie mix…can’t wait to try those too!:)

  39. I just read an ode to you on Visual Interest’s blog. They did a really nice write up. Congrats! So glad the bologna is feeling better! 🙂

  40. crissy armstrong says

    hey erika, the garden is gorgeous! i love the size of the plants compared to sloane! do you have any wider angled pics of the garden? i would love to see it farther away, as i’m in florida, too, and gardening is something i love. i’m planning to put some in the ground – especially the butterfly garden. i love the mexican sage! my milkweed and lantana are growing out of control. i don’t have an “eye” for garden planning, though. thanks for sharing.:)

  41. I made that pumpkin bread last night, and let me tell you, it was good! I’m not even a huge fan of pumpkin, but loved it.

    Also – just got back from my first trip to Chicago – loved it!

  42. I needed a fun easy dessert for family dinner tonight – I am trying that pumpkin deal.

  43. never a bore! please show as often as you’d like! pretty pix!

    ashley over @

  44. I wish my garden would look like that! Thanks for the Lowe’s tip.

  45. Barb Harper says

    you so inspire/impress me, erika! i think you are so stinkin cool and i don’t say that about many people :). your garden inspires me…i make excuses about why i don’t get around to improving my yard and hope that one day my husband will, but look at you, a working mom that gets around to it anyway. and all for the love of it. i’ve got to stop feeling intimidated by it and just get to work. (my sympathies for the bug sloane had…it’s circulated through our entire neighborhood and family…no fun!)

  46. The cake was a huge family hit! Thank you for sharing! Sloaney is getting so big! Thank you for posting~!

  47. i made this cake (from a pinterest pin) this weekend too!!! so delicious and so easy!

  48. p.s. i’ve been reading your blog for well over a year and apparently i find an easy pumpkin recipe the catalyst for writing a comment. i promise i find your work (and your adorable family) just as thought provoking. 🙂

  49. Your garden is beautiful! I’m envious.

    I make something similar to that bread.. pumpkin spice muffins. 3 ingredients… spice cake mix, canned pumpkin, & mini chocolate chips. They’re a Fall staple in our house. SO good!

  50. beautiful! you have such a green thumb!

  51. What a beautiful garden! Bore me? No. Inspire me? Yes!
    Thanks for sharing…

  52. please come fix my garden

  53. Jane Haverkamp says

    Erika – I have been following your blog since I saw you in Better Homes and Gardens – really enjoy it! I felt the need to comment now however, because of the pumpkin bread recipe – it is fabulous! My kids have a lot of food allergies – and the fact that there is no egg in it means that they can eat it – which is not the case for most baked goods. Thank you so much for sharing it – really appreciate it.

    Also, wanted to say that I grew up going to Panama City Beach every spring break, (we live in Michigan and started going in 1970 when I was 10…..I know, I am ancient….) and we are still going! So, the fact that you live near there is of interest to me. Since we are there in April, we miss out on a lot of the flowers etc., so have really enjoyed this last post.

  54. Your posts are never boring; always inspiring! I couldn’t resist trying to make the pumpkin bread using spice cake mix, as you suggested. On my first try, I poured all of the batter in my loaf pan. The batter was so thick that even after extending the cooking time 15 minutes, the middle never really cooked. However, the ends were done. On my second try, I used the same size loaf pan but only half of the batter. Both of my loaves turned out beautifully. I iced the tops only with cream cheese frosting. Very yummy! Next time I plan to try to make muffins.

  55. Sooooo yummy! Big hit too!!!

  56. You can also make pumpkin muffins using only the spice cake mix, pumpkin, and choc chips. To die for!!!!

  57. I made both versions as a test run….definetly prefer the Spice Cake. I added two heaping tablespoons of Flax Seed Mill & Wheat Germ to the cake mix to justify the Cream Cheese Icing & Heath Toffee Bits I put on top 🙂 Delish!

  58. Hey Erika,
    I do not have a garden, I live in a condo in the city, but I still enjoy the pictures. I wanted to thank you for the recipe. My home smelled amazing and my coworkers are loving the end result.

  59. Erika, the pumpkin bread is AMAZING! Loved it. Made it for friends last night, and was so excited to wake up and eat a slice for breakfast. YUM!

  60. Candace Horner says

    Can’t wait to try that recipe, looks amazing, and *easy*, yes!! P.S. your posts are Never boring, always induce a heartfelt smile and brighten my day. Your family is precious, your pics are awesome…..! Oh and your talent is beyond brilliant **love love**

  61. Great pumpkin bread recipe! Thank you!

  62. Christine Schultz says

    Hi Erika, I learned about you and your blog from the great Stylemakers at Home article in the Sept issue of BHG.In the photo on page 57 of your printed shade fabric there are three lovely blue cafe shelves and I’m dying to know where you purchased them. I’m hoping you’ll share…
    Christine in Wisconsin

  63. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your website, how can i subscribe for
    a weblog web site? The account helped me a applicable deal.
    I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered shiny clear idea