It all began a long, long time ago or once upon a time

 

 

I have been asked many times why did I start gardening; it is more to the point to ask me when. I remember planting potatoes with my father before I started school.  He was insistent that the potatoes went in the hole with their eyes up.  I am sure that I must have asked why and equally sure that I was told because they are.  My father was a stickler for the rules but always took great care not to explain them.  I became really hooked when he allowed me to sow a few lettuce seeds in his home made cold frame.  The wonderment of a child is hard to explain but it was there when those first tiny shoots made their appearance.  It is a marvel of nature that has kept me sowing seeds for the last 65 years.

 

I remember fetching horse manure from the stables under the railway arches in the area of London where we lived.  My father had made a small handcart which was easy to pull, or push, loaded with a small child or a pile of ripe manure; not both at the same time I assure you.  I would travel in the handcart on the outward trip and walk alongside on the return usually eating an ice cream from the local Italian ice cream parlour.  I would imagine these days that Elf and Safe Tea would frown upon the practice and outlaw it as unsafe.  However I cannot remember suffering unduly from these expeditions.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning.

 

I remember visiting a local park where the displays of lupins won prizes. My father would stand next to me in front of the lupin beds while my mother manoeuvred a box camera to take a photo.  It was purely a camouflage exercise as my father, posing with his hands behind his back and a big grin on his face, would pluck ripe seed pods from the lupins and drop them into my pocket or hood depending on the coat that I was wearing.  I guess I learnt about finger blight at a very young age.

 

 

I have always found fellow enthusiasts to be a generous lot but I have learnt to be aware of the gift of bags full of a plant or plants rather than one or two precious cuttings. Many a plant thug has found its’ way into my garden via the large plastic bag donation.  Some plants have eluded my green fingers and turned their toes up rather than grow for me but I am persistant, stubborn if you like, and this year I have finally persuaded Acanthus mollis to flower for me.  It has taken more than twenty years, more than a dozen different plants, two gardens and two different climates to achieve this but I am so thrilled that at last I have these stately spikes in my garden.  As long as the slugs and snails confine their eating habits to my bedding plants all should be well in a day or two to enable my resident David Bailey to take some photos to add to this post.

 

All in all I cannot imagine my life without a garden of sorts; somewhere to sit and ponder the meaning of Life, the Universe and everything; until, that is, a wayward weed is spotted and the need to remove the offender exceeds the need to sit and ponder.

Midnight light bulb moments

 

As an insomnia addict I often have my best ideas in the wee small hours. The latest one occurred after a particularly frustrating day spent cross – stitching but in reality spending most of the time picking up and replacing linen table napkins.

Let me explain further: I have used a floor standing frame to support my rolling frame and cross stitch project for a number of years.  I have found, however, that the fabric does tend to become grubby and very dusty so I use white linen table napkins to cover the bits that I am not currently working on.  This has worked amazingly well but for one drawback:  every time I turn the rolling frame over to start or finish a section the napkins slide off and end up on the floor, in itself not a clean place.  It is so irritating as well as time consuming.

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So in the wee small hours a thought came to me: what about securing said offending bits of table linen with large elastic bands. Eureka moment!  However elastic bands do not come in such large sizes; good idea but not practical.

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In the morning I had another light bulb moment:  if I replaced the elastic bands with good old fashioned knicker elastic that should solve the problem.  Well, after searching through my considerable stock of elastic I could find  nothing suitable.  A visit to my supermarket and suitable elastic found it was home to find out if this masterpiece of civil engineering would actually work.

 

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Yeah! Of course it does and with one or two necessary refinements my latest cross stitch project is fully protected now from grubby hands, glitter and cat hair.

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That blooming time of year again

Just had a quick constitutional around the garden and found that the cherry is in full flower; it did that while my back was turned.  The wisteria has joined in and now the lilac is determined not to be left out.  Oh! hay fever heaven for me as I brought some lilac into the house.  … Continue reading

Bored, bored, bored

I am not the most patient of people at the best of times but recovering from an operation to remove my gall bladder is proving to be a test of patience for all concerned. I need to be in my garden at this time of year but the weather and the need to recuperate are making that impossible. I have however sneaked out with my camera to capture these beauties.

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I can only look and as the aim of my blog is to beat boredom creatively I have been busy in my den.

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The object of the exercise has been to reduce the amount of stuff which has accumulated over a period of 15 years. However, this has only been a partial success and the pile of STUFF is still growing. I use dies to cut out pretty shapes for embellishment but then I can’t throw the waste away so I cut more stuff and store it in a marked container. I need to know where everything is so marked boxes using my Brother labelling machine are the order of the day. I guess thing is a hangover from years spent working in administration, although I seem to recall that I loved organising my grandmothers’ store cupboard when I was a little girl.

There are no words adequate to describe my frustration at being restricted in my activities so I will keep reminding myself that
” Life is a journey not a destination”.

Happy creativity.

It’s an ill wind ……

…..that blows no good. Today we have experienced gale force winds, torrential rain and a 5 hour power cut. To keep my mind from thinking too much about the possible fate of our magnolia tree I have spent the day in my workroom. The magnolia has decided to flower early this year and the buds are just showing colour. The branches are heavy with buds and very vulnerable at this time of year. It is usually strong wind or frost or a combination of the two that wrecks this early flowering.

However in my workroom, cool without my electric heater, I have been busy trying to rid myself of some clutter; stuff which I have kept for far too long. Crafters never throw anything away just in case they might need it one day but after nearly 10 years I think that a clear out is long overdue. The end result is an overflowing bin and a set of cards for the Hospice. I send batches of cards to a UK hospice several times a year to help, I hope, with their on going fundraising efforts.

Here are the results waiting to be packed up ready for posting.

 

 

No more playing as the power is back on so time to create a culinary masterpiece – chicken and chips.

 

 

Difficult men – not really

Hope this helps with a few ideas ladies.  I have to make cards for  a whole clutch of men and sometimes I have to look far and wide for inspiration.  Fortunately all of the men in my life have varied interests so that helps enormously.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

season of mists 014 season of mists 013

Sarah B this one is just for you. 🙂

season of mists 010 season of mists 008 season of mists 007 season of mists 006 season of mists 005 season of mists 003

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