Thursday, 23 May 2019

RHS Chelsea - on TV

I always enjoy the RHS Chelsea coverage on TV.  I have never been to the show and I think I would find it too claustrophobic.  However, as a TV viewer, you can see far more than if you were actually there.  As always, here is a (totally biased) view of my favourite gardens.  I think this year the gardens are all 'playing safe' - possibly to do with the unsettled political climate.  They are all very green in colour too and many feature woodland areas.
The photos are all from the RHS Chelsea site:  https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Gardens
 I like the wall with the circular window in it in the Harmonious Garden of Life.  The swing seat powers the water feature, there is clover instead of lawn and the planting is all about insects.
 The Family Monsters Garden is a lovely slice of woodland.
 This is probably my favourite garden - The Donkey Sanctuary Donkeys Matter garden.  I like the idea behind it, of celebrating the work donkeys do all over the world, often in harsh conditions.
 I really like the planting in this garden.
 Andy Sturgeon's garden for M & G won best in show and again feature woodland planting interspersed with blackened timber structures.  (Nice to think that my own black fence is still on trend!)
Chris Beardshaw's garden for Morgan Stanley  has some beautiful planting, as always.
Finally, the Miles Stone Kingston Maurward Garden has some lovely curves and a wide rusted bowl water feature.
There were elements of lots of the other gardens that I liked, but these were the gardens that appealed most to me from the TV coverage.
I am going to RHS Chatsworth in a couple of weeks and am really looking forward to that.
Edited to add:
The Back to Nature Garden designed in collaboration with the Duchess of Cambridge (but not judged) was a big success with the children allowed on it.  It is another woodland garden including a treehouse, rope swing, fire pit, running water and looks like the sort of garden we would have all loved as children.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Finished - at last!

Here is my patchwork quilt, almost finished and ready for binding.  I don't know how people manage to quilt a big quilt on a domestic sewing machine because I did struggle fitting this small quilt through, even though I rolled it up and everything! (Many choice words were muttered under my breath!) The walking foot was brilliant with the straight line quilting and I was pleased with the result.
 Here's the back, ready for binding.
 Someone (I'm looking at you, Scruffy!) decided that the quilt would make an extremely comfortable bed.
 No, he wasn't going to move...at all!
The binding went remarkably smoothly, owing to my little Accuquilt Go Baby machine which cut beautiful straight strips for me.  So, here's the finished quilt (I need a drum roll or something).
Hmm...I was trying to artistically drape the quilt over the wall, but it just looks a bit crumpled.
 Here it is laid out on the sitting room floor.
Here's the back.  Choosing a nice patterned material disguises any wobbly stitching lines.
So, what have I learnt from this project?
  • I don't like rotary cutting, which is a real skill.  If you don't cut accurately, you can't sew accurately.  This may well curtail any thoughts I had about attempting other quilts
  • I would not want to attempt to quilt anything bigger than this quilt myself. (It is about 32 inches square)
  • I like using the Accuquilt cutting machine
  • I enjoyed making and sewing the binding on
  • I still like the materials used in this quilt
  • I am not a perfectionist, which is a slight disadvantage with quilt making.  I am much more of the 'oh, that'll do' school of sewing 
  • I may attempt another quilt one day, using strips, but won't be quilting it myself, unless it is by hand
The biggest positive is that I am proud of myself for completing this project, my first patchwork quilt, and on the whole, I am pleased with the end result.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Crafting projects

 I do enjoy making cards - possibly because they are quite quick to make and are a complete little project in themselves. 
 I also like being able to make a card for different reasons.
 I have recently bought some lovely new stamps and dies - this teasel stamp looks like I have lino cut it.  The best thing is that I can alter the look of it by changing the background, or embossing it, or watercolouring it.  I think it will prove to be really versatile.
Here is another card with a relatively newly purchased stamp (Chris rolls his eyes heavenwards...).  The problem is, just when I think I have all the stamps and dies I could ever need, along comes another one and I need it too!  This stamp has a simple image of dandelions but is really effective and another stamp which will be versatile. It can also be used with other media as it is a rubber stamp, rather than a clear polymer one.  Bring on the experiments!

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Early May in the garden

 Despite the rather cool weather for this time of year, the garden is blooming.  Above is Magnolia Fairy Blush, grown in a large pot.  It isn't the most interesting of shrubs during the year but the flowers do make up for it.
 They are so pretty and slightly lemon scented too.
Some of the tulips are still in flower - this is the mystery fringed one.  I didn't plant it, but after a gap of a few years, it has started to bloom regularly, so is very welcome.
 Ronaldo, Ballerina and Queen of Night...
 I do like this combination.
 One of my lewisias is flowering too...
 It has some apricot shades amongst the pink.
 Star plant is Rhododendron Tinkerbird again.  Lots of flowers and when the sun is out, the jasmine scent is beautiful.
 Pink buds opening to palest pinky-white flowers.
One of my many favourites at the moment!
Camassia Blue Candle is also in flower, although the lower flowers are going over.  I didn't keep on top of the watering this Spring and Camassias don't like to dry out, but it looks like I have been forgiven.  I probably do need to divide these bulbs this year as the pot is getting rather full.
 Beautiful pale blue and lilac shades.  Lots to enjoy and the alliums will continue the display in a few weeks.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Progress with the patchwork

I have made progress with my first ever patchwork quilt.  I have completed the top and will now need to create the quilt sandwich with wadding and backing fabric, before quilting the layers together.  I do like the material, which has been the saving grace for this project.  I still do not like using a rotary cutter (however, I did find that if I slowed down and took my time, I did get marginally better results).  In the end, I cut card templates for the squares and rotary cut around them, but they were still far from perfect.
I have decided that I am not going to worry about whether the seams line up (they don't) and am just going to celebrate the fact that I have made this!
I am looking forward to cutting the binding strips but this is because I have an Accuquilt Go Baby fabric die cutting machine which will ensure perfect strips every time.  I may make another quilt, but just using the strips...

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Easter (and more tulips, clematis and the odd fence panel)

 Happy Easter to those who celebrate.  We have been enjoying wonderful sunny weather over this weekend and the tulips have been enjoying it too.  Above is Ronaldo in a pot with Ballerina.
 Here are Ballerina and Red Shine in the border.  Red Shine is from several years ago, but has decided to come back.  They do look lovely against the brick wall.
Ronaldo again, in another pot, showing the grey bloom on the petals.
A view inside Ronaldo with a black centre. 
 Tulip Danceline is also flowering and is really beautiful.  I saw Monty Don raving about this tulip last year on Gardeners' World, so decided to grow some myself. 
 They are blowsy, but in an elegant way (if such a thing is possible). 
Clematis Blue Dancer is also in flower.  I bought this last year and it is only a young plant.  I hope it will grow up the metal arch in time.
 Clematis Rosy Pagoda is still looking lovely.
 I am really enjoying the flowers.
 Tulip Danceline again (just because I can).  The buds start with a green tinge and then turn creamy with little pinky-red stripes.  The cream colour reminds me of Cornish Vanilla ice-cream...
I think I may need to purchase more of these for next year.  I am not sure whether they will come back again, but will plant them in the border anyway.
In other news, I have been spending time painting the fence panels which I hadn't painted last year , so that they tie in with the ones I had painted.  Even though the panels themselves aren't in the best condition, they look so much better now.  The black (which in real life is darker than in the photo) really makes the green leaves show up beautifully.  I have an aching shoulder today, but it was worth it!

Friday, 12 April 2019

First tulips and other Spring plants

This quite a photo heavy post, but it's not my fault - there is so much happening in the garden!  Tulips in the border are making an entrance. These are all ones I grew in pots originally and then transferred to the border.
Yes, this is Ballerina, with an unknown white variety which I don't remember planting, but must have done.  It is welcome all the same.
 Tulip Brown Sugar from last year and planted in the border.  I was most impressed with this one and wanted more this year, but it wasn't available.  I shall have to keep a look out for it this year.
 Some of my daffodils are still flowering - this is Toto.  I really like this one and it has been in flower for a while.  It is also multi-headed.  More needed for next year, I think.
 A Camellia bought a year or two ago.
 Narcissus Minnow looking very elegant and dainty.
 Tulip Danceline starting to bud up.  I am looking forward to seeing this one - a big peony-type flower.
 Lathyrus Vernus looking pretty...
 ...alongside Lathyrus vernus alboroseus (these are all in pots).
 Unfurling Ginkgo leaves on 'Mariken'.
 Buds on a little philadelphus (Little White Love, I think).
Bluebells (also in a pot).
Plant of the moment has to be this Clematis alpina (label lost, but I may have made a note of it, so will check.  Edited to add: indeed I did make a note of it - Rosy Pagoda).  It got squashed when the wall fell on it and so I cut it right down.  It seemed to struggle to get going last year, but this year it is looking the best I have ever seen it.
Here it is flowering beautifully and enjoying the sun we had yesterday.
 So pretty.
 Erythronium Pagoda is starting to flower too.
 Here is my 'artistic' shot trying to look into the flower.
Magnolia Susan is also starting to flower.  The nights are still a bit cold, so I am hoping it stays in bud a little longer.
Finally, blueberries in flower.  Above is 'Northland'...
...and this is Blue Pearl.  They fruited really well last year but so far, this year is a bit dry for them.  I need to keep them well watered.
So much to enjoy - no wonder this is my favourite time of year (up until June).