Sunday, 21 May 2017

Plants in Chelsea Week

 I always know that it's Chelsea Flower Show just round the corner when my alliums start flowering.  These are Purple Sensation and seem to come back reliably.
 A pink aquilegia has been flowering for a while now.
Allium close-ups...
 ...such tactile flower heads.
 Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum with Ballerina behind it.
 The very last of Ballerina - their petals were removed by the rain this week.  Nemesia Confetti is to the right.
An unnamed but pretty aquilegia which one of my sisters gave me and which is growing well for me. I like the white with tinges of pink and purple.
I have just watched the first programme about Chelsea this week - giving a little preview of what is to come.  Needless to say, I shall be watching all the programmes and featuring my favourites in a later post this week.
We are hoping that June will bring the rebuilding of our garden wall, giving us and our neighbours some much needed privacy and giving my plants a lovely backdrop. I am really looking forward to seeing it go up and I am sure there will be photos charting its progress.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Clematis 'New Love' and Guardians of the Galaxy?

I received two new Clematis Heracleifolia 'New Love' plants recently and popped them into pots. They have started to put out new shoots and one plant in particular reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite think of what.  Then it came to me.  Bizarre as it seems, it was Baby Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy film!
photo from: http://screencrush.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-official-dancing-groot/
There is a slight resemblance, isn't there, or is it just me? OK, just me then.
I have been a bit late to the Marvel party and am only just getting caught up with the various main Avengers films and spin-offs.  I am a definite fan of the Avengers though - I think it's the humour that really appeals to me. 
photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol._2
Last week I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rocket the genetically modified and engineered Raccoon and Baby Groot, who can now walk, stole the film I think.  There was much more character development and the film leads nicely onto the next (whenever that comes out).  
There are loads of clips and info about the films out there, but be careful of the spoilers if you haven't seen the films yet.  

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Plant of the week - Rhododendron 'Tinkerbird'

You may remember, back in January, I said that I had bought a new compact variety of rhododendron.  Here's what I said about it then:
"I have also just bought a rhododendron 'Tinkerbird' which is meant to be happy in a pot as it is a dwarf variety.  It is supposed to be very hardy, having been bred in Scotland and is also said to have a jasmine scent in May.  My plant is looking healthy and has lots of buds.  I will let you know how I get on with it."
As you can see from the photos, the buds have been opening into lovely white flowers with a touch of blush pink. They are very pretty and very photogenic. 
However, what you can't tell from a photo is that they are scented, particularly strongly when the sun is shining on the flowers and the perfume does smell like jasmine, as was promised.  So far, I have found it to be a lovely plant and I am hopeful it will come through next winter unscathed, being bred in Scotland, but I will let you know.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

This week...singing, tulips and bracelets

This week, I have been taking part in a vocal workshop at a local village hall, which was great fun and from which I learnt a lot about the technical side of singing and performing. The workshop was run by Tsavocal and involved singing three songs from Les Miserables - 'Do you hear the people sing?', 'I dreamed a dream' and 'Bring him home' (none of which are that easy to sing).  It helped that I knew the songs, but it was all done by ear and was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.  I used to sing a lot; I was in a church choir for fourteen years and also joined a Gilbert and Sullivan Society for a few years, but hadn't done any 'proper' singing for ages, so it was lovely to be able to sing again (without worrying that I was annoying the neighbours!)
In other news, this week I have still been enjoying my tulips as the new Ballerina tulips I planted last autumn are flowering now.
 They are so pretty...
 ...even after the rain and hail we've had this week.
 This rogue fringed tulip which I didn't plant, which came up for a few years, then disappeared and then came up again has flowered this year too and is a welcome addition to the spring garden.
Tulip Ronaldo and Princess Irene are still flowering away and I am wondering whether next year I should plant each variety separately as well as some together...now there's a thought.
I have also found a bracelet pattern which  I am going to try to make - a wrapped bracelet using Tila beads which are flat squares.
Photo from Jewellery Maker
These wrapped bracelets were made by Jo Barclay-Loggie and were featured on Jewellery Maker this week, which is what fired my interest.  Watch this space.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Easter

 I hope those who celebrate had a lovely Easter weekend.  Above is my seasonal tree bedecked in Easter decorations.  (I have always embraced the 'more is more' style of decoration).
 My tulips are still bringing lots of colour to the garden. Above are Purissima and Angelique which really open up in a bit of sunshine.
 Here are Ronaldo and Princess Irene showing how lovely purple and orange look when they are together.  It's one of my favourite combinations.
 Princess Irene again...
 ...and again, showing the fiery red patterns.
Finally, here is Angelique in a pot in the back garden.  I  bought these on a bit of an impulse, but now, I am pleased I did.  Every year I say that I need more tulips for the next year, and this year is no exception...I definitely need more!  They bring so much colour and pleasure every year.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Creative Projects

 I have been busy with a couple of creative projects over the last few days.  One was this MDF landscape paper storage rack which I wanted to decorate.  I painted it in a duck egg blue emulsion and then found some papers I liked to glue on.

Here it is with the top decorated.  In my head, I was after a turquoise chinoiserie pattern, but ended up with various floral designs.

 This is the pattern I chose for the top...
 ...the side...
 ...the back

...and the other side.  I do like the quirky, not matching effect.  I just need to varnish it now and then find a space on a shelf so that I can fill it up with paper.
 My other project I bought last March and it had been languishing about, waiting for me to get on with it.  It is a tote bag kit, which came with the pattern and all the material.  I ordered it from Create and Craft, but looking at the shop, it seems they only offer the pattern now, not the whole kit.   The outer is a cotton oilcloth fabric and I was interested to see how it would sew.  It was all going fine until it came to the top stitching around the top edge, then my trusty machine just couldn't get a grip on the slippery fabric.  I don't have a walking foot for my machine, so used a tip from the pattern, of placing tissue over the top, sewing through it and then removing it once finished, which worked well.
The lining fabric was a classic olive green spotty cotton.  This bag is going to get a lot of use as it will be my work bag.
I am pleased with the way these projects turned out.  I just need to get on with all the other projects waiting for me!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Early April in the Garden

 I do like this time of year - in fact I would go so far as saying that April to June is my favourite time of the year.  Everything is fresh and beautiful.
Above are tulip 'Negrita' from last year, which I forgot to remove from their pot and they have flowered again this year, so that was a lovely surprise.  This was last week.  The large expanse of gravel is in next door's garden, as since the wall came down, there is no boundary. However, we have decided to have a wall again, not a fence, so Chris has been very busy removing the remains of the wall and digging down to the foundations, ready for the new foundation and wall. It will look lovely, I'm sure. We are hoping to have it done by the summer.
 Lathyrus vernus has beautiful purples and pinks and brightens up a shady corner.
 Erythronium Pagoda looks so exotic and I am always pleased to see it back.  I took this photo last week too.
I planted a small tub of tulips in the Autumn which is brightening up the front door.  Purissima is the cream/white/green one and Angelique is the pinky/white double.
Angelique has a delicate blush of pink spreading over the petals.
 In the back garden, I have a couple of pots of lily of the valley.  I tried growing them in the border in the past but they weren't happy.  So far, they seem to like the pots.
 A Peony bud on 'Athens', I think.
Tulip Negrita this morning, opening out in the sunshine.
 My favourite, Ballerina, in the sunny border, enjoying a sunbathe.
 More Purissima and Angelique, with a Ronaldo at the back.
 Ballerina in the border.  The ones in the border have flowered much earlier than the new ones I planted last autumn.  I love the way the sun lights up the petals.
 Erythronium Pagoda this morning - lots more flowers now.
 A little group of Spring flowers - Hellebore, Pulmonaria, Lathyrus vernus, Anemone blanda, and lots of leaves,
 Magnolia Susan and the lilac tree against a Spring sky.
 I think this is Ronaldo, just getting ready to flower.
 Leaves of Camellia Yoimachi, an autumn/winter flowering camellia which I bought earlier in the year.  I am looking forward to seeing it flower later in the year.
Nemesia Confetti flowers - this plant has lasted outside over winter with no problems and has a delicate honey scent.
So, that's what I saw this morning...

Thursday, 30 March 2017

March Birthdays

March has been a month filled with birthdays for friends and colleagues and it is times like these that I am really pleased I can make gifts. Above is a memory wire bracelet with aquamarine, apatite, peridot, amazonite and lapis lazuli for a colleague.

I also made a card for her, using the Altenew 'Simple Flowers' stamp set, which has a lovely 'retro' feel. I was pleased with the end result. 
 Another colleague was given this memory wire bracelet, with aquamarine, agate, apatite, amazonite, tanzanite and lapis lazuli.
 I made her card using the Altenew 'Half tone circles' stamp set in shades of blues.
 A friend had their 40th birthday, so I printed some wrapping paper using a Blockwallah stamp 'Curious fox' (as she likes foxes).
 I also stamped the envelope...
...and the card (apologies for the bad lighting!)
Inside the card, I used my dies and die cutter to create the 40 (using glitter card) in a silver circle. I made her a beryl stretchy bracelet with sterling silver spacers, like mine from the previous post, and bought her a Blockwallah Curious Fox stamp. some fox material and a few other bits and pieces which I think she liked.
A good thing about making cards and presents is that it is unlikely they will be duplicated!