Category Archives: garden

In a Vase on Monday: Happy Birthday

It was my daughter’s birthday last week and I picked some asters and cotoneaster to pop in a jar for her.

The bees are going crazy for those asters but the birds are not eating the cotoneaster berries yet. There is a Mrs Blackbird tucking into some pyracantha berries just outside my kitchen window – so they must ripen earlier.

I used an old doodle book of the children’s to make the birthday card

The book had been filled and discarded so I took out the centre to reuse the neon pink cover

I could easily reuse the holes for sewing in a new centre.

With a bit of neon yellow embroidery thread. My daughter loves a bit of neon!

I came across something called ‘block writing’ on Instagram, so I had to have a go.

When my daughter was born, I was reading a beautiful book about Native American practices: Voices of Our Ancestors. by Dhyani Ywahoo.

A was born at 3.45am and when I got back to the ward, the light of dawn was beginning to glow in the sky. I looked out of the window, feeling so happy and relieved and grateful to have a healthy baby girl, and I saw one bright star, which I now realise must have been Venus.  I gave A a Native American name ‘Bright Morning Star’- a secret name – just between her and me.

For her birthday I gave her a rooted fig tree cutting that I bought in the market – hope it grows well and tucked a note in the card for her to go towards her lunchtime meal at The Station Kitchen, West Bay.

I am definitely going to try and take some cuttings from my fig tree next year.

My daughter lives just across the field from me, so I walked up quite early to give her the card.

This was the scene over the village as I walked back – autumn mist in the distance.

Joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday.

Image

Wordless Wednesday

In a Vase on Monday on Scrap Happy Tuesday

It was my son-in-law’s birthday yesterday – Happy Birthday Mr. M!

You might remember he is the farmer who likes supporting my crazy crafty ways.

You can see him and my daughter in this post.

I had meant to post this yesterday, but the day did not go to plan, never mind it now doubles up as a multi-functional post, two memes in one.

In true Scrap Happy Style I made Mr M a card out of old used teabags and some of the old wire fencing he brought for me to play with.

Each element, a symbol of members of his family. The heart with gold kisses represents my daughter – her name means ‘beloved’. My two Granddaughters’ names are represented by the fern leaf print and the ‘pearl’ and my Grandson’s by the red beads.

In the Chive vase are a couple of Robin’s Pincushions found on a wild rose in my garden

Intriguing, I love the colours and texture – they have a touch of magic about them

and the wonderfully shiny hips reminding me of the school nature table, when each year in primary school we seemed to do something about hips and haws.

Joining Cathy for In a Vase on Monday.

Kate and her fellow scrappers for the monthly Scrap Happy Day

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra (me)LindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Del and Nanette

and Cee for Flower of the Day, with a link to her post with some graphics on the state of the fires and air quality on the West Coast of the US.

In a Vase on Monday

Self-seeded Calendula and aster with ripe and ripening pears.

It is a challenge to catch the pears at the the right time to pick them before the wasps get to them. A good crop this year.

Joining Cathy and her joyful meme: In a Vase on Monday

I am completely replanting the bed behind the espalier pear trees. Everything has been taken out because the ground elder and marestail had taken over.

Looking from North to South

I dug it over, took everything out, and dug it over once a week for 4 weeks in the hope of getting every bit of weed root out. I saved all the bulbs and have replanted them in a completely random fashion and planted new and old irises

Looking from South to North

A rogue sunflower which grew in the pot I had the tiny fuschia (Jollies Nantes)  in.

I have also scattered seed from Nigella, calendula, cerinthe, aquilegia, foxglove and purple loosestrife.

It will be fun to see how this looks in Spring.

The daughter of a friend of mine is just starting her garden and liked my scattergun way of creating a border, so I have collected seed for her to try it out.

I found this You Tube clip

 

made some little seed packets out of a Gudren Sjoden catalogue

I loved making these, I like the way they are in the shape of little flower pots.

Joining in with Cee’s Flower of the Day

 

Rain

The view from my window this afternoon – the village 3 miles away had a river running down the street and so did the local town.

But it was all over in about 10 minutes and then sun came out. We are very lucky.

Thinking of all our American friends in Louisiana and surrounding area.

How has it been where you are?

Fennel and Irises

fennel, IAVOM

My daughter and her family have been away for a few days and I wanted to put some flowers on the table to greet them on their return, but right now my garden doesn’t have much to offer. (Must do something about that for next year.)

fennel and succulent cuttings

Sometimes something quick and simple hits the spot nicely.fennel in a jar

and I like the way the fennel echoed the spectacular light fitting in their sitting room

fennel and light fitting

Fascinated by the delicate lines of the fennel flower heads I had a play with them against a rust-dyed background

fennel on rust dyed fabric

Placing a piece of glass over them to flatten them against the fabric.

Now it is decision time – do I recreate these shapes in stitch, or paint, or try some other method, using them as a resist. My sister suggests Brusho paints – I had never heard of them before, so that is an exciting new media to experiment with.

I am also wondering about using the Cyanotype Process, but that would take some practice. I am going to allow the thought to bubble away on the back burner of my mind for a while.

Onto the Irises – I am including this bit as a Garden Diary entry to help me remember the names of the new Irises I have just received from Chailey Irises

4 new Irises

irises

Grindelwald,  white, fragrant, mid to late flowering with some blue markings

Hi, white, mid season and fragrant

Summertime Blues, pale blue and highly scented

Raspberry Blush, pink with a long flowering season

Irises are my favourite flower, especially when they are scented. I love their sculptural shapes and the way they look like flamboyant dancers with wide wavy skirts. I have cleared a patch of ground to fill with irises and bulbs, these are the first ones to go in – looking forward to Spring!

Now to think about planting for some colour in August. I look forward to seeing what others have in their vases for inspiration – I need something perennial, bug and slug resistant and low maintenance.

Joining Rambling in the Garden and other garden bloggers for In a Vase on Monday.

 

In a Vase on Monday: Altered Art

In a Vase on Monday, altered art, pink dandelions, figs

In my vase today is a posy of Pink Dandelions, thank you so much for the seeds Cathy, they are such gems! And twigs of snowberry bush, well that’s what I called it as a child, don’t know its proper name.

These were picked to accompany a card and three figs from my fig tree, for a dear friend, for her birthday. I also gave her a book, ‘Waterlog’ by Roger Deakin, which I forgot to take a photo of. She loves swimming, in fact she was a swimming teacher and taught all my children to swim.

She is an artist and I absolutely love her sketches and paintings, but she often struggles to like them herself. She tore up one of her paint sketches and gave me a piece folded over into a card for my birthday in November, I tore it on the fold line and did some stitching to make a card for her.

Then I took some of the paper I coloured with Koh-i-Noor, watercolours,

looking for colours that would make a good background

choosing background

I chose this one

Koi - nor inks

staining papaer with inks

I was a bit apprehensive to see what J’s reaction would be to what I did to her painting

altered art

It took her a little while to realise it was one of her painitngs. I think she liked it.

Do you have any blooms to pop in a Vase this Monday?

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

In a Vase on Monday: Pink Dandelions

pink dandelions

These pink dandelions are SO pretty – I love them

pink dandelion

and don’t you think they look just right with the chartreuse green of Lady’s Mantle

rose quartz, shell pink, pink dandelionsThey are the colour of Rose Quartz and shell pink

pink dandelion

I am completely in love!

Joining Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday

and

Cee’s Flower of the Day

 

In a Vase on Monday

spode jug, nigella seed heads, crochet cotton mandala

Nigella seed heads sit in a beautiful Green Spode jug, given to me many years ago by my mother-in-law.

It sits on the turquoise crocheted mandala which I have just finished, at last! It has been sitting in the WiPs pile for far too long. I will write another post soon about the edging I made.

I am joining in with In a Vase on Monday, Cathy’s weekly meme, where gardeners from all over the world pop things in a vase for us all to enjoy.

Gardeners are a generous lot and sharing seeds and plants is one of the great joys of gardening.

Cathy, very kindly, sent me some pink dandelions seeds last year. I sowed some in the garden but none came up. This year I sowed them in a Veg Trug, and the first one came into bloom at the weekend

pink dandelion

So pretty.

Another gardening triumph this year are these

Angels Fishing Rods

my friend Anne’s Angels Fishing Rods, grown from seed harvested from her garden at least 6 years ago – this is the first year they have flowered. I am so proud that I have managed to keep them going for 6 years not knowing if they would ever flower or not – it is a minor miracle. They are tall and beautiful, but hard to photograph to show their full splendour, dancing in the breeze.

Friend Andy is represented in my garden in Loganberry form 🙂loganberry

I gave him a plant from my garden in about 2004, I moved a couple of times and then, when I moved to this house, he gave me a plant from his.

Then there is the gorgeous Hot Princess! My Flower of the Day, given to me by Nanacathy for my birthday.

rose, Hot Princess

She is such a gorgeous rose, all pink perfection with a beautiful delicate scent. She seems very happy here and has given me the confidence to try a few more roses in the border for next year.

I am also joining in with my daughter @newgatenarcissi for her  #gardencollagemonthly

She is just getting into gardening and was so thrilled that a few of you joined in last month. Thank you ❤

I chose all the pinks for my July collage.

#gardencollagemonthly

It is a great way to feel good about the garden and ignore all the work still to be done.

Happy Gardening!

In a Vase on Monday: Cool

gardeners gaiters, stacchys, quaking grass

It has cooled down now, but there were a few days last week that were so hot.

I picked a few stems to cool things down a bit.

Stacchys, Gardeners Gaiters and Quaking Grass, with a few tiny white pebbles collected from the beach.

Joining in with Rambling in the Garden.

@newgatenarcissi

garden collage

My daughter is getting into gardening and has an Instagram page @newgatenarcissi where she posts photos of her new garden and asks for advice. This month she has launched a new idea – a picture collage of blooms in her garden, which she intends to make each month for a year, with the hashtag #gardencollagemonthly.

She would love others to join her each month with a collage from their garden, and I wondered if any of you would like to join in.

I had fun creating mine and was quite amazed at all the flowers I found. Most of my garden is frankly, a bit of a mess! But this was a wonderful way to show off the best bits, and such a good record of June 2020.

In a Vase on Monday

Also joining in with Cathy and her happy band of gardeners forIn A Vase On Monday.

Dianthus Carthusianorum, bronze fennel and stacchys in a kettle on top of the woodburner.

I grew the dianthus from seed and at last, in its 3rd year it has come into a decent sized plant with healthy looking flowers.

It grows up through the bronze fennel in my long border – a combination I love.

bronze fennel and dianthus

Hard to see the joy of it in a photo, but I love the mix of textures.

Also joining Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Now, it is a weeding day for me today, let’s see if I can get some of my garden under better control!

 

 

World Yarn Bombing Day 2020

Yes Really!

crochet mandala, Zoya Matyushenko, Tuuli

I only know because Eleonora of Coastal Crochet has written a wonderful blog post about it.

So, although I have not made a new piece especially, I thought I would join in with my mandala that I made in July 2019 especially to hang up outside.

It was hanging on my garage wall opposite my front door last year, but this year I put it on one of the posts that supports my espalier pears as a sort of rainbow homage to all our carers during this time of Covid19. It now faces the road.

One of my (possibly short-sighted) neighbours asked me why I had hung a dartboard on my fence!

It went up in April

crochet mandala for the garden

and sits beside the bug hotel

mandala, garden art, bug hotel

which is decaying nicely.

The bug hotel (there since 2013) is usually hidden from view, but I cut back the shrubs surrounding it in the hope that the forsythia and golden privet will bulk up as they regrow. You can see it from the other side in this post.

The mandala pattern is called Tuuli, by Zoya Matyushenko, made with Stylecraft Special DK and a 4.5mm hook and attached to a 70cm metal ring.

Have you ever done any Yarn Bombing?

If you fancy joining in, you can tag your bomb on Instagram, #worldyarnbombingday2020

Happy hooking!

In a Vase on Monday

labyrinth vase

Quaking grass, sisyrinchium, and nigella sit in a nightlight holder above a few blooms of hypericum. I particularly enjoyed the way the setting sun played with the grass, making shadows.

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Life continues to be distracting in these weird times. I have been perked up by some lovely warm messages and a delicious gift of goodies last week from Feed the Soul

food delivery

There is plenty of crafting going on, to keep me on an even keel, but I seem to have no ability to order my thoughts into blog posts about it.

If you want to see what I am getting up to, look to the right and see my Instagram posts. Even there, my garden features strongly – it is my haven of peace and happiness at the moment.

herbaceous border

Astrantia is one of the stars of the show, joining Cee’sFlower of the Day.

astrantia

A plant I bought at a garden gate in Weobley in 2015.

I do hope you are able to enjoy some good weather and sunshine, even down under where you are approaching midwinter. We are enjoying some fabulous weather here.

 

One good thing

scented iris

Life has it’s ups and downs and I am going through a bit of a tricky patch right now. Nothing serious and nothing to do with Covid19, although the outside circumstances are not helping.

I am well, all my family are well and I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. So today I thought it might be good to share one particular thing that makes me feel very happy and brings calm to my day.

The irises in my garden are at their best and so sweetly scented. The scent reminds me of pear drops. When I have had a tricky phone call or spent far too much time trying to compose emails, I walk out into the garden and take some time to commune with the irises.

Is there something that is giving you particular pleasure today?

Tell me one good thing.

I would love to fill my mind with lots of good things my blogging buddies are up to today.

Wordless Wednesday

Sound up for birdsong

In a Vase on Monday: Pink, White and Grey

in a vase on Monday, crochet doily

The colour combination that is floating my creative boat at the moment is pink, white and grey.

In the vases (two jam jars and an old Victorian ink pot) are Stacchys, a white perennial wallflower with a delicious scent, red campions and a pink geranium.

The crocheted doily is from a pattern by Zoya Matyushenko – oh I do love her patterns – but oh boy! you do have to concentrate very hard when making them. This one is Birgitta and has yet to be blocked. I am thinking of putting it on a wire hoop to hang on the wall.

I used a 3mm hook and Junaluna gradient yarn, which is a 3ply cotton and not the easiest to work with, but it looks fabulous and it so wonderfully soft, it would be gorgeous for a shawl.

I am joining Cathy as she gathers lilacs from her gardentoday, with lots of other locked down gardeners from all over the world – and what a wonderfully colourful lot we all are, to be sure.

Little Altars at Home

window sill

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know how much I loathe housework, but these are strange times! Today found me actually wanting to give the bathroom a thorough going over!

As I was putting things back on the windowsill, I realised that every item has a special memory or significance to me.

Left to right:

There is an Umbrella plant, that I grew from a root cutting given to me by a dear friend who I see only rarely nowadays. She is currently staying somewhere in deepest India, unable to return home due to the transport system in that country being under lockdown. The glass bowl it sits in, has been with me since I got married in 1972, nothing special, not beautiful, but it has become an old familiar friend.

In a little pot next to it are some honeysuckle cuttings, waiting to see if they grow roots, so that I can give some little plants to my daughter as requested.

The fish shaped little dish holds a bumble bee that sadly died in my bathroom, I know Little Miss M (7) would love to see it, so I am keeping it for when she is able to come into my house again.

The clay dolphin was made by Miss E when she was about 8. I took her to some wonderful sculpture and stone-carving worshops when she was being homeschooled.

I bought the brass incense burner with the Ohm symbol when I was travelling in 1994 and visiting Buddhist communities all round the world – such powerful memories. It reminds me of chanting in the echoing valleys of the Himalaya Mountains.

The scallop shell was given to me by my neighbour, who is a diver, and brings me yummy scallops in the summer. The shells it holds all come from the beaches of my beloved Pembrokeshire, collected on my month in a treehouse by the sea.

Sea glass, collected on my local beaches, in times gone by.

A collection of tiny white pebbles – there is something so beautiful about them.

The twisted piece of wire with beads: this was a spiral Christmas decoration I had been making with my grandchildren

christmas trees, wire and beads

One of them sat in the bathroom, and after the twins came to stay – I found this one had been just too tempting to resist – I rather like the resulting tiny wire sculpture.

The jam jar has more honeysuckle cuttings,

and the shell on the right was given to me by my Mum when I was a teenager.

A whole lot of family, friends and memories on that tiny windowsill.

Do you have similar little collections about the house?

In a Vase on Monday

IAVOM, in a vase on Monday

I was standing at the kitchen sink wondering what to put in a vase today and saw these 3 right in front of me on my windowsill – odd bits and pieces, picked up at various times as I wander round the garden and a cutting from a succulent house plant.

On the left, in a Chive vase, is a perennial white wallflower, grown from seed harvested from a friend’s garden. The scent at dusk is divine.

My sister and I were amazed and delighted to be photographed for the Chelsea Flower show magazine and website when we were on the Chive Stand in 2016

Chive stand at Chelsea 2016

I didn’t take the name of the photographer, so I can’t credit her, but she took the photo because our colours matched the stand.  🙂

Oh, that was such a special day. A day on which I was so excited to meet Dorris!

The feather is from the guinea fowl who often visit from a neighbour across the field.

love birds

One on my roof one frosty morning in March

guinea on the roof

Strange creatures! Making strange noises ……..

and there is a pigeon nesting in my bay tree, constantly cooing all day

nest

Sparrows are nesting in the cotoneaster and under the tiles on my garage roof, twiitering away …….

I have had to get the tinsel out to stop them from eating my salad leaves

tinsel to scare the sparrows away

April and May are my favourite months in garden

It is all very sensual and sexy out there!

This year I am missing the Brompton Stocks and wallflowers which provided so much colour last year, but my new long border (see the the beginnings of it here) still gives me huge amounts of pleasure as it wakes up in the warmer weather.

I am joining Cathy and her happy band of gardeners from around the world for this week’s In a Vase on Monday, pop along over there for a mass of floral delights.
Also joining in with Cee’s Flower of the Day with my very favourite scented Iris, smelling so sweetly of pear dropsIMG_9093
Stick your nose in here!

Happy Easter Vase on Monday

narcissi, candle, Easter Monday

Happy Easter Monday Everyone!

What a blessing a garden is at any time, but most particularly at this staying-at-home time. I give huge thanks every day.

And look who I discovered in mine yesterday, a very welcome resident

slow worm

I put the photo onto our family WhatsApp group for the children to guess what it is and to give him or her a name. At his second guess, Big Bro got it right and decided it was a male called Walley.

Having found this description on the internet:

“The slowworm is much smaller than a snake and has smooth, golden-grey skin. Males are paler in colour and sometimes sport blue spots, while females are larger, with dark sides and a dark stripe down the back.
Average lifespan: up to 20 years
Length: 40-50cm”
I think it might be a female, although it doesn’t have a stripe down its back. Amazed to see that they can live up to 20 years.
I am very happy to see her, but wish she would eat more slugs as I am finding masses of the little blighters munching away at my irises and hostas.
My daughter and her children brought me a wonderful food box full of delicious goodies from a local vegetarian cafe called ‘Feed The Soul
feed the soul, health in a box
The box included some delicious cakes, and drinks, boxed mixed salad meals and chia pudding – health in a box YumYum!!!
The children had picked the flowers for me from their field of scented narcissi. My daughter calls herself a beginner gardener and you can follow her progress on her Instagram Page – @newgatenarcissi

You might like to see the fun we had with the narcissi last year – here

This year is different.

How are you doing during this time of lockdown?

So far, I’m loving it. It feels like a gift to me. Time for quiet crafting and gardening with very few interruptions.

I feel extremely fortunate that I have a garden and neighbours who wander past and stop for a chat every now and then. They are all at home, so a close feeling of community is building like never before. It feels like it must have felt about 100 years ago. Everyone working in their gardens or on DIY projects – there seems to be always a power tool whirring away somewhere in the village.

My daughter lives just across the field from me, so she can come over with the children and we can have a catch up across the lawn.

It would feel very different if any of my children were in danger, out there on the front line. Or if any of my family or close friends contracted the virus. But for now the best thing I can do is stay at home alone and I am more than happy with that.

I do hope you found a satisfying way to celebrate Easter and wish you and your families and friends all the very best in the weeks and months to come.

Easter Monday. In a vase on Monday

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday

and

Cee’s Flower of the Day

 

Stay Safe

Stay at Home

Amelan Cheer!

In a Vase on Monday, amelanchier, cerinthe, pulmonaria

Joining Cathy and gardeners in the UK, America, Australia, Italy and elsewhere and popping a few blooms from our gardens into a Vase on Monday. (link later)

Amelanchier, pulmonaria and cerinthe in glass vases. The dinky one on the right is a discarded Victorian ink pot I found in my garden about 45 years ago when I lived in an old thatched cottage at White Horse Farm.

The leaves of the amelanchier are a rusty brown so, of course, they reminded me of the rusty wire my star of son-in-law gave me.

Those of us with gardens are the lucky ones in these lockdown days. I am so grateful and thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in mine.

Looking up through the amelanchier at a blue sky tells me that Spring has sprung

amelanchier

I have transplanted some strawberries into one of my waist-high bedsstrawberry plants

and sown some salad leaves in the other one

sparrow scarer

The tinsel is to keep the pesky sparrows away – will it work I wonder?

A beautiful pink anemone has appeared in the garden, I can’t remember where I got it from, but I just love itanemonep

pink anemone

anemone and crab spider

Can you see the little white crab spider

anemone and crab spider

A spider that does not make a web – fascinating.

I hope you are able to enjoy a garden or park, or at least have a walk that takes you past other gardens.

Also joining Cee’s Flower of the Day.