Saturday 28 April 2012

Purple Plant Portraits

A rather alliterative title to introduce the range of purples that are in the garden as a very wet April moves towards May.  Above is Aquilegia 'Navy and White', but rather more royal blue/purple than navy, to me.  I like the contrast of the white inner petals.

 A vibrant aubretia, 'Kitte', with touches of fuchsia in the purple.  Aubretia always makes me think of pillows of purple tumbling down a lovely stone wall, or over the edge of a border.

 A deep and dusky Geranium Phaeum, or mourning widow, with black/purple flowers.

 A burgundy Triumph tulip, just starting to go over, but still providing a big splash of colour.

 The pink/purple of lilac, just starting to unfurl its buds.

 The delicate purple spotted flowers of Viola sororia 'Freckles'.
 Freckles again, highlighted against the vibrant green of its leaves.

 A tanzanite purple of Clematis Macropetala, with drooping petals.

 More burgundy purple from violas, with cheerful faces peeping out from amongst the foliage.

The purple of Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve', waiting patiently for me to find it a home either in the border or in a larger pot.
This purple theme will continue with alliums and more geraniums, until the pink of the roses and other clematis start to take over.  Despite the awful weather, this April has still been colourful and with all the rain, the garden looks incredibly verdant. 

Monday 23 April 2012

Little things...

 It may not seem a big thing, but I have been unreasonably excited about the arrival of these pins.  Many a time I have attempted, in my somewhat slapdash and impetuous way, to make something out of material - a bag, a cushion or a cover to protect the back of a chair.  Each time I have managed to drop pins on the floor, prick myself on the ones holding the material together, or lose them altogether, only to see something shining on the rug several days later when the cats and Chris have been walking about and could have had a nasty injury.
So, with great excitement, I ordered these proper, grown up quilting pins.  They are longer than the normal ones and have an obvious flower shaped head.  I dropped one of the on the floor as I was creating the pattern above, and saw it straightaway, so am full of enthusiasm for future projects.  Hoorah, no more lost pins. Now, where did I put the box?

Saturday 21 April 2012

I agree with Mrs Morey

I have been enjoying reading more of Anne Tyler's novels and so far have read Ladder of Years, The Clock Winder, An Accidental Tourist and am currently reading A Patchwork Planet. One piece of dialogue really struck a chord with me:

“This same Mrs Morey, for instance: she just loves her garden. Come spring, you’d think she was in heaven. She says, ‘As long as I can walk out in my garden first thing every morning – take that gardener’s early-morning walk, to check what’s sprouted overnight and what’s about to bloom,’ she says, ‘-why, I feel I have something worth staying alive for’.”
Barnaby Gaitlin from A Patchwork Planet

I went out this morning, as I try to every morning, to have a look at what was happening. 
 The mystery tulips are still looking lovely (note to self: buy more tulips in the autumn)
An erythronium (Dog's Tooth Violet) 'Pagoda' has been flowering quietly without making a fuss, but has a beautiful delicate flower...
 (...even though a slug or snail has been having a meal and leaving some holes).
I noticed lots of bees, trying to avoid the rain and hail and making the most of sunny moments, to gather some nectar.
Yes, Mrs Morey, it really is worth staying alive for.

Monday 16 April 2012

Tulips with surprises

 As we are having some sunny weather today (following several days of showers, hail and wind) I thought I would celebrate with tulip photos.  Above are 'Triumph' which I photographed a week or so ago - they do add lovely bright colours to the garden.
These were supposed to be 'Peach Blossom' which was a frilly pink double tulip.  Hmm, they don't look very pink to me, more like red and cream.  Still, even though the variety is a surprise, they are still really lovely.
 A close up of one of the mystery strawberry and cream tulips.
 Here are 'Triumph' again, without the white flower, but with the apricot and burgundy flowers taking centre spot.
The burgundy flower with the sun highlighting the tips of the petals.
I also have some 'Carnaval de Nice' tulips on the way, but they are still small and green at the moment.  I shall just have to cope with delayed gratification for them, but they are something to look forward to. I think I need to have more pots/tubs of tulips next year...

Saturday 14 April 2012

Sort of Easter-y?

Here you see an attempt to create an artistic-looking photograph (which I'm not sure is entirely successful).  On my travels to other blogs, I am often struck by the professionalism of the photography.  I am of the 'point and click' school of photography, and if you start talking to me about shutter speeds and ISO, my eyes glaze and I drift away...  So, I have always wanted to be able to take lovely photos, but without all the 'geeky' stuff (apologies to real photographers out there).  I have recently upgraded to a very easy 'point and click' camera which does everything for me, short of choosing the view, and I am happy with the quality of the images.  This picture shows a primrose, part of a glass candlestick, a beheaded tulip (thank you Mr/Mrs Snail/Slug) and a lovely little Easter decoration which I bought at the National Centre for Craft and Design. 
I think this is about as artistic as I'm able to get, but it is sort of Easter-y, isn't it?

Thursday 12 April 2012

Trip to Sleaford

 Chris and I are enjoying a few days holiday this week and although we haven't yet achieved that much, it is nice not to have to go to work.  We had a trip out to Sleaford yesterday: a small market town in Lincolnshire.  Above is a view across some of the rooftops.
 The purpose of the trip out was to visit the National Centre for Craft and Design (it used to be called the Hub, but has recently been re-branded).  It looks a huge building, doesn't it, but in fact a lot of space inside is used as teaching rooms and it actually only has two galleries. 
There was a jewellery exhibition, based around the theme of 'Transportation' and linked with Australia.
I really liked this piece, called 'Bed and Board' by a Professor at the University of Lincoln.  It is based on the Head of Lincoln prison in around the 1830s, who apparently took a shine to the women inmates and who would (for a favour or two) put in a word to prevent transportation to Australia. The piece shows an image of Lincoln Cathedral, with a cell window over the top and a hanged figure with a view of the Castle Observatory tower over it.  Apparently, when not involved with the women, the Head of the Prison was very fond of astronomy and had the tower built. 
The other exhibition made much more of an impact on me.  It was called the 'Museum of Broken Relationships' and displayed items that had been donated by people that had some kind of significance in a broken relationship.  There were descriptions by the side of each item by the donors; bittersweet, poignant, angry, bitter, sad, happy and heart-breaking.  There were a few that really stayed with me.  There was a postcard sent to a girl by her boyfriend.  He asked her parents for their permission to marry her but was told no.  That night, he drove his car off a cliff.
There was a sketchbook by a thirteen year old girl of her hospital ward. She died and the sketchbook was donated by her brother. 
There were two lacy bras (which initially made me smile, thinking they were a gift from an ex-boyfriend), which showed the broken relationship between a woman and her body once she was diagnosed with cancer and then had to face the reconstructive surgery.
 A roll of astroturf with a label 'for ...(name)' was a gift for a girl from a boy who had a crush on her.  She needed the astroturf for an art project and he managed to get some for her.  Unfortunately, she left the area soon after and the roll of turf had been by the door, waiting for her to collect it ever since.  The stories were fascinating and it left me with the thought that even though we all live in different parts of the world, we all share the same emotions.  A thought provoking and moving exhibition.

Monday 9 April 2012

Easter images

 We were visiting Mum and Dad yesterday, for Easter Sunday, and, as I remembered to take my camera, I took the opportunity to take a few Easter-inspired photos.   Hens...
 Brilliant red tulips...
 Creamy white daffodils...
 A trio of  primulas...
a pheasant's eye narcissus...
 Amelanchier blossom on the way...
and a very helpful pose by another hen. 
We also did very well on the cake front as I had taken 'Bounty' Cake, Mum had made a sponge with chocolate icing and my eldest sister had made lemon drizzle. Well, of course we had to sample them all! I hope you all had a very Happy Easter.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

The Vagaries of Nature

 Anyone who is unfamiliar with England might wonder why we are all so obsessed with the weather.  After all, it happens, and there is nothing we can do to control it.  However, it is a peculiarly British trait.  The last two weeks illustrate this perfectly. Last week it was sunny and hot, with summer temperatures.  The farmers were worried about their animals and crops and gardeners were concerned about their plants.  A hosepipe ban was issued (starting tomorrow) in the worst affected places.
For the last two days, it has been raining fairly steadily.  In Scotland and North England they have had snowstorms, blizzards, power cuts and it is all really miserable for them.  Yes, the weather people predicted it, but funnily enough, we still seem to have been taken by surprise. The reason we are all so obsessed with our weather is because it changes so much!
Why, you may be asking, has she illustrated this minor rant with photos of a white grape hyacinth?  Well, I haven't planted any white grape hyacinths, so how has this white one suddenly appeared in the garden?  As you can see, I took the photos while it was still sunny.  Sometimes the vagaries of nature cause us worry and create havoc and then at other times, we get a little reward that makes us smile.

Monday 2 April 2012

Another jewellery present

 I made this latest bracelet for a friend and work colleague, whose birthday was in March.  This dictated the choice of aquamarine as it is March's birthstone.  I had seen a technique that I wanted to try and thought that this project might be just the thing, so after a few practise goes, I made the bracelet.
The stones have been woven to create squares around the bracelet and I used two amazonite stones by the clasp to add another gentle colour and different texture. The bracelet was very successful and I was pleased with the pattern I made.  Rachael was also pleased to receive it!