Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hydrangea Heaven - a little too close for comfort!

The beautiful flower before the overwatering disaster!
Following my blog entry about the gorgeous hydrangeas and how easy they are to grow etc., I thought I had better revise that opinion. Having potted on Vanilla Fraise into a small tub, I thought it would grow beautifully and be happy. Nothing could be further from the truth! I assiduously watered it, thinking that it would need large amounts of water, but it rapidly started to wilt, the flowers turned brown, and I thought it was not long for this world. In a panic, I took it out of the tub and put it back into a smallish pot, without watering it for a few days. It appears to be slowly recovering, and to help it, I cut off the wilted brown flowers. So, I think I made the mistake of over-watering it (I didn't think you could do that with hydrangeas, but it seems you can!) I am watching and waiting and hoping for the best.

More painted adverts

With the recent demise of the Star painted advert (the scaffolding is down now to reveal an ugly, plastered but not painted,wall), I felt I had better capture the other two adverts in the vicinity before they disappear too! I don't know why Whitton's wrapped bread was any better than any other, but they must have thought it merited this fabulous advert. I particularly like the way the colours echo the brickwork on the house, or shop as it once was.
This advert is a little worse for wear, but still shows the vestiges of colour. It looks as though it was painted over another one, because you can see ghostly outlines of other letters. Warwicks Ltd of Newark... these adverts certainly conjure up another time.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Heavenly hydrangeas

I used to have a 'take them or leave them' attitude towards Hydrangeas - I thought they were a bit suburban and unimaginative plants. I then went through a phase of hating them due to a rather nasty still life watercolour painting art exam in which a blue hydrangea was the subject, it took me hours and even then it didn't look as though I had spent hours on it. However, in the last few years, I have begun to discover just what beautiful plants they are. It began with Hydrangea Arborescens 'Annabelle', above, which is a woodland plant with amazing huge white flowers. (They are easy to look after, as long as they get plenty of water - 'Annabelle' is very quick to wilt if it dries out.)

I was then intrigued by Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise' which has white flowers initially, maturing to shades of pink.

And finally, the one above is a bargain plant from a cut-price supermarket - I don't know the type of Hydrangea, but it has a very pretty pink/purple flower which is fading through lime green to beige. I also recently bought two new American varieties which are supposed to be easy to prune and really hardy. I shall see how they do - so far, they are putting out lots of leaves. Yes, I think I am a Hydrangea convert. Now, if I could just have that half acre of garden, just think what I could do!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Life is...

Life is like a bowl of cherries - I don't know who said that, or quite what they meant, but I do think that a bowl of cherries is a wonderful thing! Chris asked me to de-stalk these cherries prior to him making cherry jam (he is a fantastic jam and pickle maker), and while I was watching TV and removing stalks, I was inspired to take a photo to capture these luscious reds.

I have only just decided that I like fresh cherries, as for many years, the only ones I knew were the hideously sweet and squidgy glace cherries or the pale pink sad looking ones that came in a tin of fruit cocktail - ugh! So, maybe I shall be converted to cherry jam...

Monday, 19 July 2010

Latest felt

This is the final piece for my colleague at work, with the navy blue silk threads running vertically (sort of) through the white layers. It is the natural colour of the Black Welsh cross Texel and took most of the morning to complete, although I put rather too many layers into it and consequently it is a very thick piece. It took about an hour to felt as well, but the end result has a lovely texture. Now it will be interesting to see whether my colleague likes any of these pieces. If not, I shall add them to my stock and I am sure someone will like them. As I am felting as a hobby, rather than a business, I don't have the pressure of having to sell to make money, but it is always exciting if someone does buy the work.


I am still reading 'The Hare with Amber Eyes', and really enjoying it. I thought I would post a photo or two of my own wooden netsuke rabbit (bought off eBay.) He has a sweet expression and can either sit up on his hind legs or down on all fours - on his tiptoes! He is about 2 inches/5 centimetres long. There is a signature on the base, but Chris and I don't think he is that old. Still, I don't mind at all - how could I when he is so lovely?
Incidentally, my photos above aren't as good as the ones on eBay - I think I would need a better camera for close ups than my 'point and click' Kodak, but for general photos, the Kodak does a really good job.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Not just pink...

Just to prove my garden does have other colours in it, (although, as I said, it is predominantly pink), this rose was looking so perfect, I had to take a photo of it. It is a David Austin rose - Molineux - and is growing in a pot, though really, it would be happier in the border. It is a lovely creamy/gold/apricot colour and has a proper old rose fragrance. I don't grow any unscented roses as I can't see the point of a rose without perfume. The first thing I do when greeted with a rose is to bury my nose in it and I am always very disappointed if the fragrance doesn't live up to the appearance. I particularly like the David Austin roses as they are beautiful flowers and are bred for their scent.
We have finally had some rain after a few weeks of hot, sunny weather and the garden looks a lot fresher now. I'm a lot happier too because I am not a sun-worshipper and it was becoming unbearably hot for me. But I still have to go out and water my pots as the plants become umbrellas and stop the rain from getting to the roots. A gardener's work is never done...

Monday, 12 July 2010

What I'm reading now...

This is the book I'm reading at the moment, having discovered it on Jane Brocket's blog, The title intrigued me and I read some reviews on the internet which made me decide I needed to get the book. So far, it hasn't let me down. It is a family memoir based on a collection of netsuke which the author, a world renowned ceramicist, has inherited. The collection proved the starting point for his research into his wealthy family, from Victorian times onward. The book follows the owners of the collection, beginning with an art collector who was friends with the Impressionists and who bought several Impressionist paintings, amongst many other beautiful objects. It is an absolutely fascinating book, although I have one tiny disappointment due to the lack of photos in the book (there are some, but not enough in my view!). There are some family photos on the little removable wrapper (see photo above) but these do not so far appear to be in the book in any quantity. I am one of those people who like to see illustrations of things described, even if they are described beautifully. This one comment aside, it is proving to be as intriguing as the title, and it has made me look at netsuke for sale on Ebay, and purchase one, albeit a modern one, not a beautifully carved antique. Isn't it interesting where books can take you?

Saturday, 10 July 2010

My mad skirt

I happened to be in a little vintage/retro/eco clothes shop last week and was drawn to a skirt due to this fantastic material. I looked at it, put it back on the rail, went and looked round the shop again and then came back to it. I love the colours and the over-the-top pattern. So, I bought it. The zip was broken so I was able to get a discount, but it then meant I had to undo it to put a new zip in. I have bought a new zip, but haven't yet plucked up the courage to sew it in, not having had much experience in the zip sewing department. Still, if it all goes horribly wrong, I can always make a cushion or a top out of it instead! Nothing like having a Plan B!

Painted Advertisement - gone but not forgotten!

As an addition to the previous post, I went past the wall still swathed in scaffolding, where the advert was, to find it gone. The whole wall has had the surface removed, including the adverts. What a shame. Now I am even more glad that I took a photo of it when it was still in all its glory.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Painted Advertisement - reminder to take my camera out with me!

This is a photo that I took in Lincoln a little while ago. You can just see the end of the Cathedral to the right of the blue sign. This building is now swathed in scaffolding so the fabulous painted advert is not easy to see. The faded colours and cracked paintwork really appealed to me, as did the ephemeral nature of the advert itself.

I don't know whether anything is being done to preserve the painting - I feel it should be preserved - but whatever happens, at least I have photos of it. When I was on my art course, I took my camera everywhere, just in case something inspired me. Since then, I sometimes forget to take my camera - I must start to remember it again as you never know just what you may find.

Friday, 2 July 2010

A garden gate

These images are particularly dear to myself and to my best friend Maria who lives in Canada, because I took them at her granny's house. I love photos that look through open gates or doors, as they have an air of mystery - what is just beyond and out of sight? I think the light and shadows are particularly effective in these photos and the different textures of wood, stone and foliage complement each other very well. The close-up of the gate is one of my favourite images.

This photo shows more of the beautiful wall that surrounds the property, with the rust coloured stone from the area. It is a very tranquil place and I think that the photos give that impression. Everyone needs tranquil spaces in which to relax and gather their thoughts - whether at a beach, in the countryside or even in a city. There are quiet places to be found everywhere - you just need to go out and look for them.