Wednesday 29 April 2015

'Toby's Japanese mouse' - update

 You may remember I posted about my love for 'Toby's Japanese mouse' from the book 'The Children of Green Knowe' by Lucy Boston and how I saw a resin version for sale in the Hemingford Grey shop. I told my friend Rachael about them and she very kindly made me a polymer clay version, which is lovely. You can read my post about it here (you'll need to scroll down the post a little).
Rachael's polymer version
 Well, of course, having seen the mouse was back for sale, I treated myself to one and was very excited when it arrived, accompanied by a hand written note from Diana Boston who is in charge of the house now. I had expressed a wish to see the gardens and she suggested visiting in May or June, so that is on the agenda for us now.
Back to my mouse.  He really is as pictured in the illustration from the book, which is not all that surprising, as the mould was was taken from the original.
 Even with the shiny black eye.
 Underneath, you can see his tail and the soles of his feet with his toes peeping over the top of his tail.
So now my first mouse has a friend and I am delighted with them both.  Somehow, I feel as though I have a tangible link to this magical story which captivated me when I was a child and has stayed with me.  I still read the book every December.

Saturday 25 April 2015

For all of us beginner sewing machinists...

This was posted up by a friend and it made me laugh, so I have unashamedly put it up here too. Anyone who has wrestled with an unfathomable sewing machine manual will have some sympathy... you are not alone!

Friday 24 April 2015

Tulips everywhere!

Well, perhaps the title of this post is a slight exaggeration, but lots of tulips will feature in this post.  The one above is in a pot at the front door, in a single mix and is a delicate pale peach/apricot.  I really enjoy seeing what is in the mix, but the downside is that if you particularly like one of the flowers, it is quite difficult to find out what it is, without doing lots of research.
This is the large tub which featured before but which only had purple and white tulips at that time.  As you can see, other more fiery colours have joined the display now.
 These are hiding at the back, but I thought they deserved a photo by themselves.  The browny/pink one has a very unusual colour combination.
 My favourite bright orange (and scented) Ballerina tulips.  However, there seem to be some reds in there too.  I don't think I mixed them up when I planted them, so perhaps this is an unintentional mix provided by the tulip bulb company.
 Here is dark purple Ronaldo with paler pink Don Quichotte.  I like this combination.
 These are supposed to be perennial bulbs, so once they have finished, I'll save them and replant them.
This Ballerina tulip is in the border and is either one or two years old.
For anyone who has had a surfeit of tulips (which is not possible for me, but perhaps you may not be such a big fan as I am), here is a self-seeded cerinthe which I rescued last autumn (it was growing where the new shed was going to be and I wanted to save it from being squashed).  It has grown well and rewarded me with lovely early flowers.  Bees buzzing around have also been pleased to find it  (its common name is honeywort).

Sunday 19 April 2015

This week in the garden...

,..this was the view over to the Poplar trees.  A grey, rain laden sky behind, but beautiful sun in front, illuminating the trees and making them look fiery and amazing.
I love looking at these trees and seeing the seasons change their appearance.  You wouldn't think we were in the middle of a city, would you?
 Looking up again, this time into the flowers of an Erythronium 'Pagoda', with its lovely upswept petals.
 Looking up again, into the bluest of blue Spring skies, with Magnolia Susan (who features a lot on my blog in April), with a lilac tree behind.
Another tub of tulips delighting me with their colour.  This is Ronaldo, with Don Quichotte yet to flower. It is so hard to be patient!
 Another view of the blue sky with the Magnolia and Lilac...just because they are pretty!
 More tulips from the single mix.  There are a couple of other types in the mix, but they aren't quite in flower.
 Here is something I am really excited about.  This is a Patio Peony, specially designed for pots, called 'Athens' and should have pink flowers.  I bought it earlier in the year and have watched it gradually start to grow, but didn't really expect anything except leaves this year.  As you can see, there are buds - I think there are four.
The plant has lovely glossy green leaves, and the promise of a beautiful flower. I have also got 'Madrid', a white flowered peony, which is just starting to unfurl its leaves, so has a way to go yet. Patience, patience!

Friday 10 April 2015

Spring Colours

My first tulips of this year are flowering - these are Single Early.  I have lots more in bud and as I am just a little obsessed with them, I am sure there will be many more photos to come.  The interesting thing is that these first two echo some of  the other colours in the garden at the moment...
 ...such as the fuchsia/magenta pink of these primulas...
 ...and the delicate pale yellow of the primroses.
 Then there is the fuchsia and purple Lathyrus Vernus, grown in a pot.
The anemone blanda from last year... (still in their original posts - shame on me for not planting them out!)
 ...echoing the pretty graduated blue and purple of the grape hyacinth - muscari latifolium.
Finally, a hellebore, with a primrose behind it and another Lathyrus which I planted a couple of days ago, having had to remove more montbretia.  It looks like a little snapshot of Spring.

Monday 6 April 2015

Happy Easter weekend

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.  The sun is out today and it is lovely!  My magnolia Stellata is flowering and enjoying the sunshine.
 I made some chocolate butterfly cakes...
 ...and picked some primroses and primulas for the seasonal tree table.
 Lots of eggs were added to the display.  I also decided that when the glass vases weren't holding little posies, they looked a bit bare, so made some polymer flowers in pastel colours to sit on them.  I had seen some ceramic flowers made into rings and brooches at the vintage fairs and thought I could do something like that.
I was very pleased with how they turned out.  I used a blend of colours and my flower moulds, and then dusted some mica powder in the middles to add a little shine.
 Apologies for the photo - it just wasn't bright enough when I took it, so it is rather glaring, thanks to the flash.
Even the close up is a bit glaring - but gives you the idea! I have been in the garden today, rescuing some much loved astrantia plants from some rather too vigorous crocosmia/montbretia (which has needed doing for ages!) and hope that the sun continues to shine as there is always so much to do at this time of year.