Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Reality check



We've been enjoying some beautiful gardens.
This one at Scotney Castle


with its stunning display of acers, azaleas






and rhododendrons






and of course Sissinghurst too with
the white wisteria just opening.





I took note of a pairing of smoke bush


and alliums, underplanted with a pale pink persicaria 
and thought I could do something similar at home.


But the fox cubs had other ideas.
These are the ones I salvaged.

 I thought of Freda and her deer-munched tulips
and all the other people working against the clock, the climate and the critters
to get their gardens ready for public display this summer.




Thursday, 10 May 2018

Faux Fair Isle Fail


I was very taken by the idea that I could use a wool
that would knit Fair Isle all by itself,
according to the lady in the shop.
I have attempted the real thing and it's time consuming, fiddly
and rather too warm with the double layer of loops at the back of the work.
I needed a quick project that would be off the needles before
grand-daughter went away on her holiday.
Planes can be chilly even though her destination isn't.
So I embarked on a hooded jumper with pom poms
excited to see how this would work.


Hmm. Nice stripes with the merest suggestion of alternate stitch colour change
but Fair Isle it ain't.
For the real thing you could do no better than to visit this clever person.


Luckily grand-daughter likes it a lot
and wore it with the hood up on quite a warm day
until we both agreed that she was getting a bit too hot.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Hold the front page




This Bank Holiday weekend delivered spring and early summer
all rolled into one glorious extravaganza.


The beach,


deserted and sandy for once, raked of its usual shingle layer.


Wisteria.


Rhododendrons.


Azaleas.



Other people's gardens,


open to the public under the National Garden Scheme.



Walks, with dodgy overgrown footpaths
and equally dodgy directions from an ancient guide book
but a bonus discovery


of an abandoned orchard, like a scene from The Secret Garden


with a mysterious gazebo in the middle of nowhere.


 Foliage colour to rival that of autumn
but with added zing and zest,


and finally, a rare treat, the handkerchief tree 
Davidia involucrata in flower
to wave us on our way home.



Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Grr, gah, waaa



Well there's no denying it's lush.


But it's getting hard to stay motivated.


 The tomato seedlings have stalled
and the sweet peas are lying weakly on the soil
next to their robust wigwam.
It's too sad to show you.

Slates are sliding off the roof
in a manner horribly reminiscent of guillotine blades
so that's the next big job - one that we have dodged -
since we first moved here twenty odd years ago, 
apart from some remedial work.
I predict that the sun will come out just as soon
as we are wrapped around with light excluding scaffolding.
Perhaps we will be glad of the shade.

Meanwhile I am knitting faux Fair Isle,
 binge watching Parks and Recreation
and there's a batch of cheese scones in the oven.



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Springtime resolutions



Now is the time when the soot black twigs of London
and the polished brown ones of the country,
burst out, page-like, into rows of neat green buttons,
which later on become little plumes
or tufts of crinkled leaves;...





Now in fact, is the real New Year,
when all good resolutions ought to be made...
now,when the blood is rising like sap;
when irrational joy, the only safe kind,
threatens to burst your respectable waistcoat buttons;
when your feet, however prosaic your boots may look to others,
are wing-shod and scarcely touch the pavement...



The resolutions which you make in this mood are certain to be good ones,
and stand a very good chance of remaining unbroken.
They will be bold and strong, positive and constructive and adventurous.
From now on, you say, I am going to be as brave as a lion,
as firm as a rock, as kind as a dove, as active as an ant, as truthful as glass;



I will write a poem, paint a picture, compose a symphony, found a business, 
plant a tree, build a summerhouse, and repaper the dining room...
(These springtime resolutions) will provide some sort of answer
to the eternal question:
"What can one do about the spring?"
For something must be done, and soon,
or one will undoubtedly burst.*


See also here for Alicia's take on spring fever.

*Try Anything Twice - Jan Struther



Monday, 16 April 2018

Magnolia days






There was once very little choice in paint colours.
I remember Brilliant White being heralded as a breakthrough,
previous whites tending towards the yellow.
You could also have Primrose yellow
and a peachy pink, eau de nil and a rather chilly blue,
but magnolia won hands down in the popularity stakes,
despite not resembling any magnolia I have ever seen.

A quick check around tells me pale grey is the new white,
(Elephant's Breath by Farrow and Ball if you're feeling flush). 

What fun it must be - choosing the names.