Sunday 27 May 2018

My garden in Chelsea week - all about the A plants - allium, aquilegia and astrantia

I have been enjoying seeing my own garden grow and change during Chelsea week.  It's always about the alliums and I have two varieties, Purple Sensation and Christophii.  Above is Purple Sensation.
This aquilegia has self seeded, but it looks good here.
Allium Christophii starting to flower.
A lovely red astrantia given to me by a colleague at work.
More alliums...
...and more.  I don't remember planting these here, but they look happy.
This is my favourite combination in the garden at the moment - allium, a blue (quite tall) aquilegia and a single rosebud.  Nature does put things together so well, doesn't she?
Another pretty combination of allium christophii, the pink aquilegia and another red astrantia from my colleague at work.  It will soon be rose season and I always love that.  May/June is my favourite time of year.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Chelsea week 2018 (a biased view of my favourite things based on the TV coverage)

 One year, I would like to visit Chelsea Flower Show in person, just to say I have been.  However, I do watch all the TV coverage that I can and in fact, I probably see more through the coverage than I would if I actually went.
I can't take any credit for the photos as I have found them courtesy of the RHS Chelsea website and I have chosen the ones of the gardens or planting or features that I really like.  It is a totally biased view!
The first is The Claims Guys 'A Very British Garden' designed by Janine Crimmins.  It is indeed what a formal British garden conjures up - dry stone walls, roses, box bushes.
This would have made a beautiful fountain.
I also like the cool greens of this garden, The Warner Edwards Garden by Kate Savill and Tamara Bridge. More lovely dry stone walls here too.
I liked the pietra dura mosaic of the British Council Garden, India: a billion dreams by Sarah Eberle and thought the embroidery on the cushion echoing the beautiful stone work was really clever.
 This is such beautiful workmanship.
 The David Harber and Savills garden by Nic Howard featured some dramatic sculpture and striking colours.
 This view of the same garden shows a more gentle side.
 The 'Welcome to Yorkshire' garden by Mark Gregory again showcases beautiful dry stone walls and a great attention to detail, with wool stuck on the fences and a cow pat in the field.
 It has a vegetable plot and I like the water feature.
 I think this is my favourite garden.  I would love to sit by the wisteria and enjoy a cup of tea and piece of cake.  Edited to add: this garden won The People's Choice award this year, voted by viewers and visitors.  It seems we all appreciated the atmosphere of this garden.
 The Wedgewood tea garden by Jo Thompson showcases purple and orange planting with a dramatic sculpture.
You couldn't fail to notice the bright colours in the Supershoes Laced with Hope garden by Laura Anstiss.  It shows the progression for a child diagnosed with cancer, going through the treatment with hope and coming through.
 I do like the sculptures in this garden.
 The planting in the Viking Cruises Wellness Garden by Paul Hervey Brookes looks  really inviting.
 The Silent Pool Gin garden also appealed to me (probably to do with the word 'gin' in the title!) but also a quiet, enclosed place with more stone walls.
So, there are my favourites from the TV coverage I have seen.  I wonder if I will ever visit in person?  Seeing all the hoards of people on the TV coverage does put me off a bit as I think it would be a bit claustrophobic.  However, I am going to RHS Chatsworth in a couple of weeks time, so will let you know how I get on there.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Sewing Projects...and plans

Sewing has taken over a bit recently as I have lots of projects in my head. In fact, I have had to start a hobby notebook which so far has sewing project ideas, wish lists of plants and wish lists of more crafting goodies.  However, I am gradually  making progress on the sewing list front.  I have finally finished my cat cushion cover which has turned out just as I'd hoped.  The centre panel is a screen print onto calico, surrounded by a cat print material which I love as it makes me smile.
The back is a simple envelope  but shows off the fabric nicely.
This tunic dress has featured on my blog several times and I am finally happy with it and actually wearing it now.  It was too short originally and I made it with puffed sleeves which weren't very comfortable.  I changed the pattern to sleeveless and lengthened the hem, covering the seams with blue bias binding.  However, it was then too long and I didn't like the bias binding much.  As a last attempt, I took off the binding, shortened it a bit, and covered the bottom with cotton lace.  Now I am finally happy!
I have also finished my second Cleo pinafore.  I stuck to the seam allowances more this time so it is a little slimmer than the first one, but still comfortable and loose to wear.  The buttonholes went really well too - no unpicking needed this time!
 Here's the back.  I have worn it once so far.  It will be great for Autumn.
Here's the material for the next Cleo pinafore (it is a little bluer in real life) and then I would like a denim version.
 I also bought this sheep fabric to make a new bag for work, probably using denim for the bottom panels and this for the top/
How can you not love a stripy sheep?
My next projects are these.  Two (hopefully) simple summer tunic dresses.  I have had the patterns for a while but have never got around to making them.  I will make a toile version first, just to get the hang of the patterns and to adjust the fit - I have narrow shoulders so will probably need to adjust the pattern a bit. 
 Here are the fabrics for one of them - I really like the cheerful little birds and thought they would look great as a contrast hem or pockets or sleeves (or all three).
I saw this magnolia fabric and just had to buy it.  It may be the main fabric or a contrast - I haven't quite decided that yet.  So, plenty to keep me busy and I do need to get on with the summer dresses - I need them for work!

Thursday 10 May 2018

The Spring Garden and last of the tulips

As promised, here is the third and final post about tulips this year.  Above is Angelique, a really frilly, blowsy, over-the-top tulip.  A couple of the flowers are multi-headed too.
 In case that just wasn't over-the-top enough, here is Carnaval de Nice in bold stripes.  Another one which demands to be admired.
 They do make quite a display!
 Angelique again...
 ...and I noticed yellow of some of the petals in the tulip at the back which I thought was quite unusual.
 Magnolia Susan, backed by the lilac tree looked wonderful against the Mediterranean blue sky we had over the bank holiday weekend (almost unheard of to have sunny and hot weather on a bank holiday - usually, it is dull and rainy).
Finally, here is Magnolia Fairy Blush which took a battering when the wall fell on it and which looked like it was sulking all through the winter.  In fact, I did think about removing it as it looked so unhappy and lost a large proportion of its leaves.  However, when the flowers look like this, how can I get rid of it?  Just beautiful.

Thursday 3 May 2018

The Spring Garden - more tulips (part two)

I do like taking photos of the sky through Magnolia Susan as the unfurling leaves and tracery of branches make a lovely foreground.
Blue sky and white clouds help too.
Here is Rhododendron Patty Bee flowering beautifully.
Although there is no scent, this is a very pretty flower.
Rhododendron Tinkerbird in its second year and with the buds just starting to open.  It came through the winter well and I was really looking forward to seeing the flowers but then of course, we had more rain.  Would the flowers get battered?
So far, so good.  The scent was not very strong though, due to the dull weather.
I have recently bought some Lewisias, here a white and pink one.  They have a mass of flowers at the moment, but I do need to pot them on.
Ballerina and Red Shine in the border.The wall does show them off well.
 Here's Rhododendron Tinkerbird this morning - fully open and smelling wonderful - a strong jasmine fragrance.  Star of the garden at the moment, I think.
The flowers are beautiful too.
 Another view, just because I can!
 Here is tulip Shirley doing well and showing the delicate colouring on the edges of the petals.
 Another close up.
Tulip Brown Sugar again.  It has done really well this year. There will be one more post featuring tulips as there are two tubs by the front door, but they are not quite in flower yet.