Spring – a Time of Renewal and Learning

At this time every year, I marvel at new beginnings, and never cease to be amazed at how Mother Nature turns it out, right on cue when we most need inspiration and uplifting after a long winter (at least in my parts.) Spring to me is both about external renewal in my garden – that honestly I find difficult to put into words sometimes, instead these images do the job much better, and also internal renewal – in this instance learning new things, expanding one’s mind and having the energy to venture into fresh challenges.



Every blossom reignites my love of color and design. Each Spring the daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinth, tulips, fritillary followed by the lily of the valley and lilac blooms present us with their beauty, and once again awaken in all of us the magic of nature. Year after year these flowers bring pleasure and inspiration. Whether it is contemplative joy, making bouquets, taking photographs, or inspiring a new painting, the renewal comes when we see these beauties unfurl, and we once again gaze at them with astonishment.  

In Spring I feel as if all my senses are more acute, and my mind seems to percolate with new interests and ideas, and I feel I am more open to the new – which brings to mind two recent experiences :

Despite not modeling for at least 40 years, I couldn’t say no to my friend Susan Walker, the creator of Ibu. She and Ali MacGraw collaborated on a lovely collection, appropriately  called Ali. They sweetly asked me to represent the “middle aged” contingent in the Ibu show in Charleston earlier this month. In fact, I was more than honored to play even a small role with this incredible organization – not to mention experiencing the adrenalin rush as I stepped foot back on that cat walk!

Ibu has a store in Charleston and an online shopping site, selling items from 71 female artisan groups in 34 countries. Splendid, luxurious offerings that ultimately provide these women with a purposeful path to economic self-sufficiency. Read more here


What a fun day it was hanging out with these very young beauties with their freshness and enthusiasm.
Above right – Ali is spirited and enthuses all of us to have fun and let it shine. 

The New Old House 

I have had the privilege to work on my last three books: A Passion for Interiors, Flowers and At Home in the Garden with a gifted writer named Marc Kristal.  Marc is the man that takes my stories about subjects, which I am quite passionate about, and somehow distills all those thoughts and rambling ideas into an elegant and readable text. His writing specialties are really screen plays and architecture, but when I mentioned gardens and flowers he said, ‘Well let’s have a go at it.’ That we did, aided by a lot of laughs and a few glasses of red wine!

As a confirmed classicist, I still pride myself on being able to stop and have my eyes opened to all things modern, despite it not really being my cup of tea. Marc’s new book The New Old House did exactly this. The projects Marc has selected – including one, surprisingly, by the re-builder of Weatherstone, Allan Greenberg – demonstrate the beauty, and indeed unity that can be achieved by a mutually enriching interweaving of historic and contemporary architecture. Ranging from fancy to simple, castle to cottage, the book demonstrates that even things to which we’re not naturally attracted can have rich and powerful appeal. Additionally, as expected, his writing is so engaging, one effortlessly learns.

The integration of the old and the new is fascinating both to see and read. You can get more information about the book here.

For the rest of spring and through out the summer I plan to continue to feed my spirit with reading, painting and making the most of this beauty….. fingers crossed!

29 thoughts on “Spring – a Time of Renewal and Learning

  1. Just love, love your beautiful Spring flowers and your words of wisdom. Thank You! Anne from Sydney (we are having a very warm Fall/Autumn).

    • Thank you Anne. Very fond memories of my recent visit to Sydney – can just imagine it’s beautiful in fall, cr

  2. Sugar, you’re full of surprises. Almost fell out of my chair when I saw the IBU CR catwalk image. Those shoes! You are gorgeous – Virginia Billeaud Anderson

    • Thank you – yes they do, and even easier to purchase when you know where the proceeds are going, cr

  3. Carolyne, first thing I check in my inbox is if anything has arrived from you. Today it was there. Could almost smell that stand of lilacs. Thanks for sharing IBU. Ali looks fabulous as do you of course, but it’s been years since last I saw her. I’ll be popping over to the website right away.
    Have a wonderful Memorial Day. As a devoted fan I expect an update. Even if not until Christmas.:)
    Take good care.

    • Kem…. that makes me very happy that you look forward to the infrequent post—it is what encourages me to press on with them cr

  4. It’s always a pleasure to open your emails and see the wonderful inspiration you provide to us. Enjoy, Peggy

  5. You look perfectly lovely in that outfit. Nice to know that at our age we can still strut our stuff on a catwalk.

  6. I’m letting my creative juices flow by doing a small landscaping project and having a fun time deciding which plants to choose. You are right, Spring simply inspires us to”do”. What a beauty you are in the style show !

    • Thank you Joyce, I’m glad you understand what I mean. Enjoy your landscaping! cr

  7. Great blue and white outfit, would it be possible to find out where to purchase and the manufacturer? Love all your posts, very inspiring. Thank you……

  8. Taking time to stop and smell the roses today…what a year for roses in my part of the world (Virginia.) Off to a virtual visit of Ibu. franki

  9. I believe that everything you touch becomes more beautiful. What a talented lady and a true inspiration to all who know you or like me, who get to read about you and you rcreative adventures.

    • Thank you Kathysue it makes me happy to know I might brighten someone’s day. carolyne

  10. You are such a wise woman. Your sense of your surroundings, both interior and exterior, are really in balance with what we all need in life. I really look forward to hearing about what you are doing in your life. The beauty of the end of our lives is the wisdom that we attain. I really lost my husband in March. The love of my life for 45 yrs. The garden is my outlet to getting thru each day. He, too, was a gardener. The beauty of Mother Nature is what feeds my soul now, not to mention mending a broken heart. Keep your blogs coming. They make my day!

    Donna Chappel

    • Dear Donna,
      I am so sorry to hear about loosing the love of your life. How lucky you both were to have shared those 45 years. That a love sustains itself for so long is rare and thus so precious. Today my partner lost his younger brother to cancer, a gal that worked for me lost her 29 year old son to an overdose of drugs last night. So much heart ache personally and in the world as we witnessed this new horror in Manchester. I have no answers Donna. We all have heard” enjoy the moment” and yet we get caught up with the complications of life. The only solace is beauty and love….so enjoy your garden. I am thinking of you. carolyne

  11. IBU is a place I must visit on my trip to Charleston. You and Ali look amazing in the clothes! Thank-you for sharing the store as well as your personal photographs of what spring bring to us. Robin

    • The pleasure is all mine Robin, glad you enjoyed it, and do stop by Ibu, you won’t be disappointed! cr

    • IBU is on King street —Ali is a really special lady besides being an iconic beauty for my generation have fun when you get there. cr

  12. I love receiving your blog into my mailbox. Thank you again for the inspiration. You really rocked on that runway – loved the outfit!


    • Hey Barbara i don’t think I have ever “rocked” anything so thanks a lot cr

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