Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

I’ve always longed for a garden trug but new ones are really expensive and it’s something you can easily do without. After all, a cardboard box or a plastic basket of some kind work just as well for holding picked flowers until you bring them indoors. Also, until I came to Spring Cottage I didn’t really have any flowers to pick so a trug had to wait. P1010966 Now, however, Spring brings loads of daffodils and other narcissi, and I also plant all kinds of seeds in my cut flower beds specifically to grow things to bring inside. So I’m enjoying a clapped out old trug that I bought last summer at a car boot sale for three quid. It’s a bit brittle and won’t last for ever but I’ve waterproofed it a little by painting it with Danish oil and it now looks as thought it’s a family heirloom, which I much prefer to things being brand new. It kind of goes better with the ancient nature of the cottage, looks suitably rustic hanging in the woodshed, and I can spend the money saved on seeds instead.

The main flowerbeds here are in the front garden, which is at the side of the cottage, if that makes sense. Being at the side, at the gable end of the house, there is no window overlooking it. So I have to bring flowers in if I want to see them more than in passing on the way to the car. in hedge Many of the daffodils have also been planted under the various hedges. Well, they would have originally been under the hedges but now they are in the hedges, the hedges having grown widthways as well as in height over the years. So the daffs need rescuing before they are forced to bend over by the branches sprouting above them. daffodils on windowsill

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I was on my way somewhere else when I saw them, hinting away, from the side of the road.

bluebells in the woodsI have been waiting so long for this sight.

bluebells in the woodsAnd there they were finally, a beautiful carpet of blue, as far as the eye could see.

bluebells stretching away into the distance

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It’s too cold for May. Things growing are in suspended animation, biding their time, waiting for warmth and rain. Instead, it’s windy and grey. The chimney booms with the sound of the air rushing over the roof, birds rise up from the field behind the hedge, try to fly across the garden and are beaten back to where they started by sudden gusts. The sun emerges for a moment but is swiftly covered again by layers of lowering cloud. Rain threatens but does not fall. Shivering, I put on the heating and think of making a fire, feeling the tension as my body tries to ward off the cold. Like the flowers in bud, I’m waiting for a change.

poppy in bud

chives about to flower

Peony

Peony almost blooming

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I do love this garden in the Spring.

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Last week, as the snow melted away, new life was stirring beneath the trees’ damp discarded leaves. It is spring in the middle of winter.

snowdrops in bud

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Seasons

It’s becoming autumnal without ever having been really summery this year. Apart from a couple of days here and there, we haven’t sat outside much or enjoyed the usual sense of unwinding that comes with warmer times. Last night was apparently the coldest August night on record, yet the ice caps seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate as well. I long for the times when I believed that at least the seasons could be relied upon.

Yet, even when most of the garden seems to have gone over to rambling leaves, it’s still offering colour. These crocosmia are blooming everywhere. I don’t like them particularly but they go well with the fennel, which I love. Terrible pictures but best I could manage with my phone in poor light.

Elsewhere, there were small snippets of colour that I couldn’t resist bringing inside while it was dry, so that we had something to look at when we were sheltering from the rain.

I find I have less and less to say at the moment. It seems symptomatic of being very busy which is ironic. But I just don’t have the time for reflection that I would like.

Soon it will my favourite time of year – autumn. Am I weird, or what?

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I took these photographs in the back garden around the herb plot. This is one of the times of the year when I am so grateful to my predecessor’s sense of garden design. The burgeoning leaves and flowers remind me every spring and summer that they were chosen complement each other, down to the tiny rock plant’s flowers.

I can only claim credit for the dwarfish lupin. Surely they’re meant to be taller than that? Oh, and the cat who is a delightful beigey shade called ‘lilac’.

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Did you say allsorts?

I realised that I’d done this more than once last weekend: bluebells and tulips with fennel. Sounds more like a recipe.

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Spring is definitely in the air but here in the hills high above sea level, there are only some very small signs.

And a very few tiny flowers.

The snowdrops ares still the most obvious presence.

snowdrops

There is still some fine winter colour in the leafless hedge.

And some things that have been around quite a while.

And others that are very new.

Someone told me today that snow is forecast for tomorrow. There’s certainly a strong, chilly wind blowing. We shall see. But when I stroked the heather here, I disturbed two bumblebees.

heather

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I thought I’d share a couple of things that have turned up this week.

I’m doing a photography course at the Victoria and Albert Museum and during the last, extremely brain-hurting, session, we were recommended to look at the fabulous flower photography of Ron van Dongen. I was totally blown away. If you love his work, there’s also a great Christmas present of his work in this book, for you or perhaps for one of your friends. (My friends: look away now…)

The Tulip Anthology

I think I’d heard of the book before, when the whole tulip fever revival thing hit a couple of years ago, but there was such a mass of things on the same theme, that I just didn’t take it in fully – or perhaps I wasn’t as interested.

And for those who are of my ilk, in other words, who spend a lot of time in the countryside in the company of spiders, you could do worse than check out a wordalicious (can’t believe I wrote that) new blog I’ve found called A Girl Called Tom. Her words paint pretty good pictures to my mind or perhaps that should be “in my mind”.

Have a good week!

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Something woke me at 4.20, so I drove through the last of the night and was in time to catch the sunrise at Spring Cottage.

country landscape

And clear up the dead things.

There are always dead things.

dead fly

And sometimes live things.

Damn. I wish that spider was in focus. It was enormous.

 

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This is the weekend that smashed records. Saturday was the third warmest day of the year in the UK and the weekend was the best at Spring Cottage since 2009. It felt weird – summer temperatures with completely the wrong flora. Leaves to rake up and almost flowerless beds, along with clear blues skies and temperatures in the 80s. While I’m grateful for such warm times after our miserable summer, there is a sense that these are strange days.

There was not much in the garden to bring inside for a vase, so I made do with some pretty camomile flowers and some rue.

The weekend was rather  busy with lots of chores along with reading and riding. The gutters needed clearing to avert winter floods, as the farmers’ hedge topping had lodged a ton of finger-sized splinters along their length. The size of their cutter-thing must be huge. My side of the field boundary had to be trimmed as well, as there was about a foot of cobnut that they couldn’t reach or didn’t want to touch, perhaps. As always, it didn’t look like much but produced a massive pile of cuttings which need to be swept up. I’m halfway there as I write this; taking a break from the work to rest my back before I get tired and bad tempered. I never have grown up in that respect.

There are still some blossoms here and there, like this sweet rose which rambles its way through the hedge and appears across its crown.

The holly tree is fully of berries, which I’m going to capture now because they’ll all have gone to the birds by the time their more ‘seasonal’ time comes along and I want to make a wreath.

Then I tackled some DIY. The door of the woodshed has been sticking since the winter, so I got out my late father-in-law’s Bailey and planed down the offending section. I always feel very pleased with myself when I achieve something that I’ve been putting off for months. Although, I do wonder why I procrastinate so much about relatively easy things and let them get on top of me.

I enjoyed doing this, if for no other reason than that a Bailey is such a wonderful tool; one of the first that I can remember seeing as child. It is such a clever thing, with its mechanism for minutely adjusting the blade and its inherent strength and clear, practical design. This one has wooden handles and has been lovingly looked after. It has been inherited by my son and I hope that, one day, he will make himself useful with it. Most of my tools were my parents’, which gives an extra dimension to how I feel about using them.

I also rubbed down and primed the front windowsills and part of the gateposts, which hadn’t lasted very well since they were painted just over a year ago. So, I feel a bit better about the upkeep of the house, which I’ve been neglecting since it has become less of a project and more a part of my life. It is rather a lot to keep on top of.

But it is, of course, October and the evenings are shortening. So it wasn’t long until the house cast its long shadow over the field; at which point, I was delighted to see some deer sitting on the far side. This is the closest I’ve ever seen them, although I have found some suspect poo in the garden front time to time. Not that I want to encourage them in, but it is nice to see them. Oh! How I wanted a longer lens, but this does enlarge so you can see their faces a bit better.

I took myself off to the Travellers’ Rest for supper, where I made an entrance by throwing myself down the steps of the bar area. They must have thought I’d been on the booze all afternoon. I think I was just rather tired – I can get quite spacey when I’m physically exhuasted. I do so love that I can just sit there peacefully, reading the news on my phone, listening to the others talking about their holidays, the price of grain and their new silos.

Walking home in the almost pitch black tunnel of the lane (the picture below was taken much earlier), I felt comfortably hidden in the folds of the country night until the light of the cottage’s windows welcomed me home.

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I can’t quite get over the contrast between my blog and my Twitter feed running alongside it. It sort of sums up my life, really, with the contrasts between town and country.

Nothing much to say today other than I feel terribly, terribly sad about the social unrest in the UK (actually not the UK, just England, I think) these last few days. There is much sense in this piece in today’s Daily Telegraph.

Meanwhile here is a picture à propos of nothing because I need something to gladden my heart.

pansies in a windowbox

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Garden in late evening light

It’s hard to be in the city when the weather’s so nice. I want, instead, to be lying on the grass, watching insects at close quarters scrabbling over blades of grass; hearing aeroplanes passing almost silently high, high overhead on their way to North America; and listening to the rather freaky, ‘munch, munch, scrunch blow’ sounds coming from behind the hedge over the lane, where a small herd of steers, accompanied by a random, greying and threadbare-tailed horse, are assiduously cropping the grass.

In my garden, all taming is temporary as it’s the time of year when the geraniums run riot and the profusion of alchemilla mollis decides to lay its blond curls on the grass before turning brown.

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hedge cutting

Spent the whole day in the garden on Sunday, desperately trying to beat the rain before it fell. I was lucky; the wind kept the clouds going over so quickly, that that it didn’t get a chance to stop overhead. So I finally managed to finish the hedge I started weeks ago.

While I was doing a bit of trimming on the road side, I was interrupted every five minutes by people towing 4x4s as it was one of those days where they have an off-roading event down the road. Up the ladder, down the ladder; up the ladder, down the ladder. The road is far lower than the garden, so what looks like four feet of hedge on my side is actually more like eight or nine feet on the other.

Then I did a lot of dead-heading, which is the kind of gardening I really enjoy – I think I just have a thing about tidying up – a kind of horticultural OCD.

pale pink rose

The garden’s looking lovely and I’m now really appreciating the colour schemes that Lady-Vendor put together. Pale pinks and creamy whites, purple climbing roses entwined with elderflower nigra, a wonderful dark clematis that lives alongside the dark branches of the vine and near the elderflower.

Sometimes, it feels like I have a pair of new eyes – I so enjoy looking at everything.

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