Friday, 26 May 2017

Flowers on Friday

So far I believe this to be my favourite gardening week this year. The sun is warm, the skies are blue, the swifts have returned and there are daily highlights of The Chelsea Flower Show on every day.

It has taken two years from collected seed to flower for my lychnis plants. For the longest time I wondered what these deep magenta flowers were on the end of tall silver stems. Now the front and back garden as well as the allotment are about to be filled them.

I also grew these from seed the same year but this is their second time flowering.

I found an old packet of Baby Blue Eyes in the spring and threw them in a bare patch.

The forget-me-nots are hanging on in there, just

And the old fashioned pinks are in bud. They also took a couple of years to get started, but I think this will be their year to shine.

In the dappled shade of the corkscrew hazel, the wild strawberries are in flower so it is probably almost time to invite Nana to stay. Charlie and Nana do like their berries from the garden / allotment on pancakes. Perhaps she'll share the joy of the summer fair, I've only got two more to survive.

When we first moved here, I was so sad to leave my abundance of naturalised nigella plants. I missed them at first but I followed my tried and tested technique of 'save the seed, chuck it everywhere' and they are popping up all over the place,

Even between the cracks in the pavement,

Finally as a tribute to the great pavilion, my delphiniums.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Zoe's corner

21st May is my sister's 40th birthday. I love my sister. Right from the first moment I knew she existed I've been devoted, although it took me a while to get the hang of name.

Until Zoe arrived to even up the score, I was a bit out numbered by my brothers.

We have a number of similar interests, have shared the ups and downs of life and always manage to squeeze in another cup of tea.

She was my real life baby doll, the supporting cast member of all my grand performances, a damn good bedroom tidier, my chief bridesmaid and lead cheerleader at the epic birth of my first child.

In return I have held her hand throughout her life, created the most extravagant hairstyles in the Midlands, wiped her tears, sat up all night (on several occasions) to help with essays, took on the role of Mary Poppins and provided cheese.

To start with I never missed a single birthday. I helped out and organised birthday parties but then,as with all relationships, things changed. She would be the perfect sister if it wasn't for just one minor issue. She will keep insisting on disappearing off to the other side of the world. I don't know how I supposed to pop round with a cake if she's over 10,000 miles.

So while she's soaring over the sights of Melbourne in a hot air balloon, I've decided to plant up a little corner of my garden and dedicate it to her.

We both love gardening so in the coming weeks as she hides away from the wet Australian winter, I can send her pictures of how her corner of my garden is growing and blooming.

I've included helichrysum, dahlias, scabiosa, sunflowers, leeks, kales and a solar lamp.

Zoe's corner is surrounded by hollyhocks which will provide the perfect shade for a quick cup tea.

Some of the plants are quite small

And others, like the helichrysum which have been transplanted from elsewhere in the garden, are already in bud.

There's even a box of spinach in the background.

I've found a bottle of vintage 2013 rhubarb champagne in the potting shed and will be cracking it open to celebrate 40 years of having a sister and Zoe's corner. Just think Zoe, you were only 36 when I made this champagne 🥂

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Project April

In 2016 I loosely followed The Slow Home Experiments. In an attempt to make my life simpler I was inspired by people who had taken steps to minimise the complications of a.busy life. You can find out more here or listen to Slow Your Home podcast here. It worked out well, I enjoyed it. The experiments replaced my to do lists with one useful focussed task each day which changed monthly. Some of them I really enjoyed for example daily Yoga with Adrienne and others where a bit of a challenge, meditation.

I decided this year that I would like to do the same thing but make my own up. There are so many things that I want to do but never have enough time to do them. However if I dedicate a whole month to completely focusing on one specific task then in theory I'll have time.
In January I did yoga again, February was A month of Tiny Pleasures an Instagram photo project inspired by Tammy Strobell. In March I unplugged, went off line and internet free for 7 days and then worked on mindful use of social media and on line cruxes for the rest of the month. (Thank you Flow Magazine)

April was all about drawing. I love art, it formed the basis of my creative arts degree but I never find time other than making cards for people.

Spring is an exciting time of  year in the natural world and in April the garden fills with colour and life, spring flowers and seedlings appear and change daily. I love it. Drawing and painting throughout April has enabled me to observe and document the growth of my garden.

Previously I have enjoyed wondering and watching and this pleasure has been increased by carefully recording what I see in terms of line, form and colour.