Tuesday 27 November 2012

The potager in late spring

 Late spring, almost summer. I love this time of year. It's daylight all the time, almost. Early mornings are a joy. 

 The potager is a tranquil sea of green and purple. Pansies are still turning their cheerful faces to the sun. Even though they are smothering the lavender I let them be.

 I grew all my dwarf lavender from seed since I want to use it to edge the potager. I sowed a few plants in spring last year to see how it went, and then sowed a big tray later in the summer. The spring-born plants are well ahead... bushy and covered with flower heads. The little seedlings I planted out in autumn have struggled a bit, and the ones I grew on in pots in the glasshouse and planted out this spring have done better. Hopefully this time next year they will all have filled in and be flowering well.

 Chives edge the main path. Bees love the flowers. I'll have to cut them back soon, or they'll self seed everywhere, and baby chives are hard to pry from between bricks!

 This is a sea of Desiree potatoes. They won't be far off, I hope. The carrots were sown last autumn, and have now decided to flower.

Soon the season will heat up and things will start to brown off. I'm enjoying the freshness and cool colour palette while it lasts.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Something is eating my strawberries...

... and it's not me! I see no evidence of slugs or snails and birds don't go in the glasshouse. Earwigs maybe? Those little buggers are difficult to eradicate. I had a quick spray with pyrethrum and topped up the neem granules, so I hope that works. Whoever is scarfing these berries is not even waiting until they are fully ripe, so they are getting in before I do. And it's making me MAD!

Monday 19 November 2012

Happy hangers

I recently acquired some old wooden coat hangers, with the intention of padding them up with some nice crochet jackets. I never have enough coat hangers in my wardrobe and had been reduced to using horrible thin plastic ones. So I looked up the Happy Hanger pattern by Dottie Angel. 

 The pattern didn't work very well for me at first, as you can see from the purple hanger in the background. It s t r e t c h e d so much going onto the hanger. So I made the following adjustments...
Ch 63, work first dc cluster in 3rd ch from hook. Skip 1 ch, sc, skip 1 ch, dc cluster into next ch. And so on. I ended up with 16 scallops on my piece.

I love the way these turned out... and best of all my cardies won't be stretched and puckered from the sharp edges of plastic hangers.

Thursday 15 November 2012

November flowers

This month we have the last of the spring beauties. Petals begin to fade and curl and foliage droops, but the summer stalwarts are popping up and so the spotlight shifts. I've had a few roses so far but it's mainly buds still on the bushes. When I pick them too early for vases they don't open properly so I need to be patient, which is easier said than done. The glorious pink rhododendrons are all finished now but the delphiniums are in their prime. Smiling pansy faces are everywhere.

This is the first rose bouquet of the season. The tall flower is verbascum, which is making a good show in the garden this year and lasts well in the vase. Carnations make good fillers and, I must admit, smell better than my roses do. One of these days I'll find one that's perfectly scented.

How is your flower garden this November? Have a look at Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to see what is blooming around the world.

Monday 5 November 2012

Hall table display

This is how I styled my hall table last week. The azaleas (rhododendrons?) are beautiful but so short lived. They last a day or two in the vase and a week or two on the bush. Then the show's over. Not really worth it in my opinion; they are pretty but something more long lasting could be growing there. 

The lace on the silky mat is obviously handmade but I'm not sure how. It's not crochet or tatted... maybe it's actual bobbin lace? The embroidery is a practice one I made a couple of years ago. It was a prototype for something but I don't remember what now. 

Thursday 1 November 2012


The first rose to open fully was Sexy Rexy, just in time for the first of the month. I'd already impatiently cut the first bud from Queen Elizabeth but it's still sitting regally in a bottle vase, the petals just beginning to uncurl. The Sexy Rexy bud had frost burn on some of the petals, but it's not noticeable now that it's open. And there are several others on the bush poised to unfurl.

I've already been eating the first strawberries for about a week.  This is one of the things I love best about summer... going outside first thing in the morning to pick fresh berries for my breakfast. Hopefully it won't be too long until I'm picking fresh tomatoes for lunch!


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