We’re Moving!

We have been remiss in our correspondence as of late but with good reason!

Darlings, Miss Havisham’s Tea is dipping our toe into new waters.

Firstly, we are moving our blog to www.MissHavishamsCuriosities.com.

Because we’re really more of a lifestyle movement after all, aren’t we dearies? Why limit ourselves to tea and gossip?

All of our content, social media, and discussion forums will now be in one lovely little hub.

Secondly, and this is a big one, we will be adding an online store in the near future.

So many of those trinkets we’ve showcased will eventually be available to you online. How else can a lady support her weekend flea market addiction?

And so it is out with the old and in with the new including our fancy new logo courtesy of Mr. Havisham (Thank you, Tim).

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So please visit us at our new home, subscribe to our newsletter, and look out for more exciting announcements soon.

xoxo

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities

We’re getting curiouser and curiouser…

The Green Room

This St. Patrick’s day, let’s turn away from the corned beef and cabbage, the shamrocks and green beer. Let’s say no to the excessive drinking, the leprechauns, and whatever other terrible stereotypes we misguided Americans have placed on this Irish holiday and turn our sites to loftier goals. Let’s look to the pure color green and welcome it into our homes versus stepping over a puddle of it in the street.

There are few things sexier than a green velvet couch as the focus of a room.

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The verdant majesty above and many other fine green items were found on Eclectic Avenue.

Apparently Anthropologie loves green velvet as much as I do, look at the four below.

I coveted this green velvet Room and Board Murphy sofa until I remembered I have cats.

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Maybe you’re lucky enough to come by a vintage one:

Or just hit up Ikea. This one is tempting.

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Or you can have a velvet or leather one custom made from Roger and Chris. I love these guys. They are so nice and sent me leather samples and answered all my questions (regarding cats and leather). There is a chesterfield in my future when we move into our (hopefully Victorian) next house. You can also check out their show and as a special bonus, look at their amazing house on Apartment Therapy! I bet they’re a blast to hang out with.

If you’re ready to take the leap, consider green walls. I love how sophisticated and dark these rooms are.

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Or old worldly and charming.

Maybe you want a green roof. Warning: They’re very heavy, make sure your house can support one.NorweigenGreenRoofs20e23fff27166090b435f39ebbefd08d9green-roof-Norway

Or, dream big, how about a copper roof which will acquire a beautiful patina. Your own personal castle? Sigh.

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What about a green victorian house?

Or maybe a green greenhouse? Ok. Ok.

At the very least, consider some plants or dishes or even a botanical print.

Want more green inspiration? Get all the luck of the Irish on Miss Havisham’s Pinterest page. You’ll find minty kitchens, leafy upholstery and beautiful botanical installations.

 

Miss Havisham’s March Appointments

March! Ever striving to approach the majesty of Martha Stewart herself, I humbly submit my own schedule for your eagle eyes. Here are the LA events I will be attending in the next few weeks, maybe I’ll see you there, dearies.

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Miss Havisham’s March Social Obligations:

Thursday, March 3 Planned Parenthood LA’s Food Fare

Like food? Like reproductive freedom? Believe in affordable healthcare for women? Then attend Los Angeles Planned Parenthood’s annual fundraiser. There will be well over 150 of LA’s best restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries, libations and vendors. Proceeds from Food Fare benefit Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

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Friday, March 4 Le Bal Drag

A one night drag extravaganza at the Ace Hotel Theater. “An homage to the last sixty years of variety entertainment, Le Bal brings the art form of drag back to the stage and seeks to introduce new audiences to counterculture entertainment. The production celebrates the evolution of variety performance, from cabaret to theatre to contemporary drag.”

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Saturday, March 5 Halloween Club’s 4th Annual Spook Show

“This all-day outdoor festival will be filled with a curated selection of Southern California’s local spook makers, vendors, artists, collectors, cooks, teachers, musicians and enthusiasts of Halloween.”

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Sunday, March 6 CicLAvia The Valley

“CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them to Los Angelenos to use as a public park. Free for all, CicLAvia connects communities to each other across an expansive city, creating a safe place to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance through Los Angeles.”

I’ll be the girl with the red bike with baskets and a bell looking fashionable and wildly out of shape.

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Sunday, March 6 Alice in Wonderland Tea

The Victorian Tea and Dance Society is new to me. They are apparently hosting an Alice in Wonderland themed tea with dance lessons. Will there be magic mushrooms?

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Wednesday March 9 Miss Havisham dines at Bestia for the day of her birth.

That’s right, it’s my 153rd birthday and have finally secured a reservation at Bestia. Review to come. Nom nom.

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Friday, March 11 Poltergeist screens at The Great Horror Movie Night 

Come to an outdoor screening in the old zoo in Griffith Park brought to you by the same folks to run The Great Horror Campout each year.

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Saturday, March 12 Brewery Tour

Atlas Obscura hosts a tour of The Brewery Arts Complex  which is composed of twenty-one former warehouses (including the Edison Electric Steam Power Plant and Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery) and is known as one of the oldest and largest art colonies in the world.

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Saturday, March 12 and Sunday March 13 Cherry Blossom Festival

Descanso Gardens will be filled with cherry blossoms and those who flock to view them.

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Saturday, March 12 Jane Austen Spring Assembly

The Victorian Tea and Dance Society annual Jane Austen fete. It is apparently the biggest event they throw. I, for one, have two left feet but I’m told the dance lessons are fun.

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Sunday, March 13 Spa Day for Miss Havisham

The lady will be accepting no invitations this day, apologies. In the words of Dolly Parton, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”

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Sunday, March 13 Rose Bowl Flea Market

I need to get one of those collapsible wagons this time and a sun hat. It’s time to get serious.

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Friday, March 18 Odd Nights at the Autry Museum

Flea markets abound! Crafts, food vendors, live music. And who doesn’t love a cowboy museum? Select galleries will be open as well.

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Saturday, March 19 Gardening classes at Theodore Payne

Back to back California native gardening classes. My day is planned.

Native Plant Garden Maintenance with Lili Singer 9:00-1:00 pm

Designing with Color in the Native Garden with Steve Gerischer 1:30-3:30 pm

Must bring a snack. Must bring a snack. Must bring a snack. I always forget.

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Saturday, March 19 Esotouric’s Birth of Noir Tour

If you don’t know about Esotouric, get in the know. Murder, mayhem and the occult are the focus of these LA tours. They’ll take you to the underbelly of LA’s past while riding comfortably on an air conditioned bus. These aren’t your typical tourist attractions.

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Sunday, March 20 Pet Cemetery Tour

Another gem by Atlas Obscura. Tour America’s largest pet cemetery with writer, Hadley Meares.

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Sunday, March 20 Long Beach Antiques Market

My favorite of the flea markets. Antiques galore. Check out some of my previous finds here.

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Saturday, March 26 Esotouric’s Hotel Horrors and Mainstreet Vice Tour

Another great tour offering by Esotouric. I haven’t done this one before.

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Saturday, March 26 Pretty in Pink

Street Food Cinema presents the 30th anniversary of the teen angst and fashion DIY film, Pretty in Pink.

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Have an event you’d like us to review? In the LA area and like to have tea? Email us at dearmisshavisham@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Sex Appeal, It’s Deadly

I love weird, structural plants and anything that attracts hummingbirds or has alien looking flowers. Where does one find such specimens you may ask? It seems Australia has a plethora of them. Not only are they weird and even (swoon) toxic, many of them happen to be well suited to our climate here in LA. While I’ve mostly stuck with California native plants, I admit I have been flirting with Australia lately. I’ve always been a sucker for an accent.

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Some of the oddest looking plants in the world can be found in the land down under and lucky for you, they are showcased in this article by Nadina Hughes. I love her blog, you too will love it.

This plant is called a Desert Pea and is protected by the Australian government. No picking these little aliens, no sir. I’d love to have an army of these crawling across my yard. I wonder if I can find seeds for them.

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Here are a few more weird plants, some from Australia, some not. I love the bat faced one.

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Bat Faced Cuphea Photo by JKehoe
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Cannonball Tree Photo by Wahj
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Swaddled Babies Photo by Tim Waters

Then there’s this…  This is an Australian Baobab tree and that’s pretty much all I can say definitively about this picture. Why is this girl being swallowed by it (birthed by it?) and why does she look like Laura Ingalls Wilder? Apparently, these trees were used as jail cells once upon a time!?!

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This is a Corymbia Ficifolia and it’s a beautiful Australian tree, indeed one of the most spectacular in all the world. So fuzzy.

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And more fuzzy: Acacia trees. There are so many different types. Make sure to do your research though, some of them can be invasive in southern California. That means they can be bad breaker-uppers too.

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I’m having a love affair with Grevillea right now. I planted a Grevillea Long John in my front yard and it’s seductive. Grevillea have pine tree like needles on them and require very little water. They love full sun and scorching heat. Their best feature, however, would have to be the flowers that spring magically up and out like exploding firecrackers or caterpillars. There are so many different colors it’s dizzying and hummingbirds love them. Thank you, Australia. Behold!

Now, let’s not skip over the Australian plants that can kill you…or at least make you violently ill.

This pretty little Black Bean tree produces large pods filled with toxic seeds from March-May and will make you very very sick. I hate myself for loving you…

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One of the ten most poisonous plants on earth, the Strychnine Tree, also known as the semen strychnos (let’s be adults please) produces orange like fruits that contain neurotoxins. Ingest one of these and you’ll likely experience convulsions, paralysis, or may even die. It’s used in small doses in homeopathic medicine and in large doses in rat poison. I’m intrigued but I have to pass.

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There are over 2000 types of Euphorbia, most of which contain a toxic sap known to irritate the skin, eyes, and even cause blindness. I planted this Blackbird Euphorbia in my yard so yeah, duly noted.

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I see Angel’s Trumpets all over Los Angeles. Guess what? These Australian imports can be poisonous.

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Pitcher Plants are found in many places, not just Australia. They trap insects in their evil little vases and have been known to devour whole rats. You can buy them at California Carnivores.

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Deadly Nightshade and Oleander also call Australia home. Can everything in Australia kill you?

If danger and beauty are your thing, you can find many Australian plants at the magnificent Seaside Gardens in Carpenteria. Not only do they sell rare imported plants but they also have demonstration gardens for Australian, South African, and California natives. They were doing drought tolerant before we had a drought. You can also go to australianplants.com and order some plants online.

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Finally, may I recommend Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart. Witty, informative, and chock full of great illustrations, Stewart will take you on a tour of the villainous botanicals lurking in your own back yard. Yes, Australia, we too can be devious here in the states. Maybe it’s because you’re beautiful, bad, and mysterious, but I believe you and I are made for each other, mate.

 

 

Going Native

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When I lived in Brooklyn I had a teeny tiny container garden (above). I’d lovingly haul water out to my terrace every day and meticulously examine each potted plant for signs disease or general discontent. I’d fantasize about the day when I’d have a yard with a garden. Fast forward to me moving cross-country to Los Angeles and getting my wish.

Now we have a house of our own with yard a-plenty in scorching North Hollywood and I’ve learned that there is a world of difference between east coast container gardening and west coast yard gardening. I needed schooling so signed up for California native gardening classes at the Theodore Payne Foundation. Theodore Payne’s design courses are fantastic and they often have special lecture offerings on top of their standard design and maintenance classes. I’ve taken the “Three Part Design” course twice. Over the course of a few weeks you create a design for your property and then the class and teacher critique it and help steer you in the right direction. All the teachers are great but I highly recommend the brilliant Andreas Hessing of ScrubJay Studios. Andreas is a purist; he only designs California native gardens.  If you are lucky enough to be invited to his home and see what he’s done with his own property, you’ll see why he’s one of the best designers in LA. Here are a few photos of his own garden below.

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I’ve also fallen in love with the Las Pilitas website which has a wealth of information on individual plants and also offers plant suggestions for your zip code, soil type, and watering preferences. The predominant message is: go native or go home.

You do not enter the state of California without being schooled on the importance of water and energy conservation. I’ve joked that everyone is handed a bushel of kale and a Prius when they cross the California border and that’s not really all that far off. Theodore Payne also turned me on to the lawn removal rebate through the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. I applied and was almost immediately approved for it. The city will essentially reimburse you for the cost of removing your water sucking lawn and replacing it with drought tolerant plants, permeable mulch, and pathways up to a certain amount. Applying is easy and I know that other areas such as Burbank have comparable programs. Make sure to read the rules carefully and don’t start removing your lawn before you have applied and are approved. Free money to landscape with!

Removing a lawn properly, however, is no easy task. You must first remove all the existing turf. For me, with over 7000 sq ft of verdant majesty, this proved daunting. The most efficient way is to rent a turf cutter or hire someone to remove it for you, I chose the latter. Finding someone in LA who removes turf professionally took some doing. Most landscape folks don’t typically do this work. After a few estimates and a lot of research, I finally went with Bottoms Up Gardens and in one single day the entire 7000 plus sq. ft. of turf were gone and the yard covered in organic mulch which is the perfect blank canvas. Gwyny Pett and her team at Bottoms Up are charming, efficient, and knowledgable. They stand by their turf removal and even came back to my house a few weeks later to dig up a few stubborn patches that returned free of charge. Here are a few pictures of our yard, still very much in progress. From lawn to wildflower mayhem which is only the beginning. We are about to go into the peak season for native gardens and wild flowers and I have some big plans.

After removing the turf, it’s ideal to kill all the existing seeds so that your grass won’t re-germinate. The greenest way to do this is through solarization or baking the area under clear plastic for two months. The best time to start is late July through mid September when the temperatures are highest. First, dig a trench around the area you want to solarize then cover the area with clear plastic and dump the earth back into the ditch, trapping the edges of the plastic down to create a tight seal. After two months of baking in the sun, most seeds will be done for. Sadly, I started my lawn removal too late in the season to solarize so I occasionally still need to weed a few patches to keep the grass from coming back. For a more comprehensive step by step, take the “Look Ma, No Lawn” class at Theodore Payne.

Stay tuned for the evolution of our garden and my successes and failures with California natives and other drought tolerant plants. Now I just need to convince Tim to get a goat or two.

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