Saturday 28 April 2018

The Spring Garden - tulip time (part one)

 The promised hot weather did appear for a few days and brought the garden on very quickly.  My tulips, which had been shivering and tightly in bud, suddenly grew and flowered.  Above is the ever faithful Ballerina with the citrus scent.  (However, the new Ballerina bulbs I planted last autumn have been thrown by the cold and are just leaves, with no sign of flowers at all.  Some of the other tulips are a bit stunted too, but I hope that if I plant them in the border this autumn, they might be better next year).
 My erythronium Pagoda has gradually grown and spread and is looking wonderful this year.
 This is tulip Brown Sugar, which also has a scent and is rapidly becoming my second favourite tulip...
here it is in flower...
...and a close up of the inside of the flower...
 ...and fully open - really beautiful.  I need more of these.
 This self sown primrose is keeping a rose in a pot company although I think I will have to remove and divide it soon.
I couldn't resist capturing these jewel like raindrops one morning.  Here they are on the winter flowering honeysuckle.
 While one single droplet stayed in the centre of this aquilegia leaf.
My camassias have enjoyed the recent wet weather.
 There are flower buds (even though the leaves look a bit battered).
The lathyrus vernus plants have put on a lovely show this Spring, despite the unpredictable weather.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

More creativity... cards and playing with the gelli plate

 I have been continuing with card making (just as well because I have amassed a large stash in a relatively short space of time) and have made a few more cards including thank you, get well and hello.  I like to decorate the envelopes too.
 This was made using a two layer stamp which gives a lovely result.
In my other news, I have discovered the joys of a Gelli plate.  This is a polymer based gel printing plate which can be used to make monoprints.  They have been about in the crafting world for many years, particularly in America, but, as usual, I am a bit behind the trends.  I watched lots of videos on the internet and decided that I needed to get myself a plate and have a go.  I have always enjoyed creating prints, whether these were monoprints, screen prints or lino prints, so I knew I would enjoy this.  Acrylic paints work really well with the gelli plate and distress inks can also be used, so it can cross into the papercrafting and card making too (hoorah!).
 Here are my first attempts, using marks, bubble wrap, stencils and stamps, in my favourite cool blues.
 I like the way the gel plate gives you a positive print and then what is called a 'ghost print', which is a negative sort of image.
More mark making and bubble wrap.
 Bright and bold colours blended on the plate and then stencils, bubble wrap and marks again.
 This is the ghost print.
I really liked the smudginess of this print which was actually a 'cleaning up the roller' waste piece which I put the stencils onto to remove most of the paint and then used a baby wipe to clean them - the baby wipe caused the slightly smudgy look to the stencil.  This is one of my favourite prints and wasn't even a 'proper' print. So often the way!
I have been watching more 'how to' videos and have been taken with some layered prints using more sophisticated colour mixes than I have used so far. 
I really like the process, it is fast, some great effects can be created and it is easy to clean up, so I shall be enjoying lots more playing and creating over the next few days/weeks/months.

Thursday 12 April 2018

Back again!

One of the very nice IT boffins at work was able to sort the computer out for us, so we were very pleased we wouldn't need to buy a new one just yet.  However, all my photos and saved pictures etc. have gone (luckily, I keep my photos in several places so was able to put them back), but not the pictures.  A salutary lesson - I won't save so many and I will print them out if I really want to keep them.
It has been so cold and grey for what seems like months, but despite the distinctly un-Spring-like weather, the garden is doing its best to provide some colour. I went out this morning to see what I could find.
 Lathyrus vernus...
 and Lathyrus vernus with pretty pink and white flowers.
 Muscari latifolium, bringing a lovely splash of blue...
 ...and erythronium Pagoda which has steadily grown and looks as though it will have lots of flowers this year.
 A new plant - Rhododendron Bloombux (not a very attractive name). It is a dwarf plant with pink flowers in May and June and can be shaped like topiary after flowering.  It had several buds on it, so we'll see how it does.
 Another Rhododendron, Patty Bee, which has yellow flowers in April/May.  It has lots of buds so I am looking forward to seeing them open.
 The camassias 'Blue Candle' I ordered at RHS Chatsworth last June have come through the winter and have put on a bit of growth.  I am sure that they have enjoyed the rain.
 The hellebores are still doing well.  White...
 Pink Picotee...
and the pink spotted one.  Nest week, we are being told that temperatures will get to 18 degrees centigrade.  This is hard to believe at the moment, but it will be lovely if it is true!

Friday 6 April 2018

Forced intermission due to computer tantrum...

(image from wikipedia)
There will be a slight break in transmission of my latest blog post as our computer has decided to have a tantrum and give up on us...
Once we have a new computer installed, normal service will resume (I hope!)