Friday 30 October 2015

Springtime in the garden

 Hello again! I've been enjoying the spring in my garden and I thought I'd pop in and share some photos with you. The weather has been  very changeable... which is typical for spring after all... but there were some sunny periods amongst it. There is nothing like a sunny morning or afternoon spent in the garden, and even though it doesn't always make for the most perfect photos I've still tried to capture it here. There are blossoms galore - appleblossom in the photo above - and the petals fall in a rain of confetti to gently dot lawns and shrubs. Shrubs are softly mounded with new green growth and bud-tipped stems.

 I mentioned my Cercis Forest Pansy in my last post. Here is another shot better showing the underskirt of violets. The orange azalea behind the fence is stealing the thunder a bit! I really should rip that azalea out but when I look at it's gnarled, mossy branches I haven't the heart. At least it only flowers for a couple of weeks.

 This is another azalea against the garage wall. I don't know the variety but it's so lovely! I forget how pretty it is, and every year it takes me by surprise. The buds start off bright pink, but fade into cream as the flower opens. So pretty.

 I enjoy the borrowed view that I get over the top of the fence here. It's fun watching all the trees burst into leaf and blossom along with the ones in my garden. Here is my maple Burgundy Lace, along with two Garden Prince almond trees.

 This part of the garden is filling out well. The lupins at the back are putting on a good show, and soon dahlias will be pushing through and there will be a whole host of flowers.

 This is probably the last of the anemones. They have done really well this spring, much better than the ranunculus I must say.

This is a strip of snow in summer lining one of the beds.  There are a few ranuculus peeking over the top. They only seem to do a couple of flowers per plant and don't repeat flower, so I'm wondering if it's even worth the bother of growing them after all... they don't resemble florist ones at all! No doubt I will keep them going though, as there is always that hope that next time will be better... that elusive next time...

Tomorrow it's the weekend and I need to get stuck into the potager. I did a bit last weekend but there are plenty more things to plant, including my tomatoes which need to be settled into the glasshouse. Always plenty of work to do, so stay tuned for the next update...

Friday 16 October 2015

Styling the Seasons - October 2015

 October is here! Sometimes it seems I spend all year waiting for October, when the air is warm, the evenings are bright, the garden is fresh and I have so many ideas and the energy to complete them! I've styled my vintage china cabinet fairly simply (by my standards) to reflect the start of this new season of easy living and happy garden times.

 Now is the time for potting out seedlings. I love terracotta pots, raw wood and natural twine. The more weathered, the better! This funny little mouse planter was a recent secondhand shop find. I'm guessing it was a planter anyway, it seemed the natural use for it to me!

 These freesias are just gorgeous. They have that lovely incense smell, and the colour is amazingly intense. They last a good week in the vase.

 Handmade seed packets are a great way to store seeds from the garden.

 It's always nice to put a fresh doily out, this one seemed especially springlike!

This is the first flush of blooms from my new Prunus Accolade. I only cut the branch because it was tangled with another one, but one day they'll be big enough that I can cut a few more branches for display! (Side note, the flowers only lasted a couple of days before wilting. Still worth it, I think!)

Now it's time for me to grab my hat and those secateurs and head outside. If you need me I'll be in the garden...

Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag#stylingtheseasons on social media.

Thursday 15 October 2015

October flowers

 Welcome to October in my garden! Spring is here at last. She took her time arriving and it feels like everything should be further along than it is, but looking at my photos from this time last year it would seem that everything is on track. Blossom season is peaking with the eruption of the tall cherry tree in my back yard. It's a beacon for a week or two, along with the giant pink rhododendron in the front yard.

I'm feeling well behind with all my gardening and outdoor jobs. Mostly I just want some time to wander round properly with the camera and document it. I seem to be rushing from one thing to another, and I've barely had time to stop and smell the blossoms (roses will be next month!) For now, here are some snaps to show what is flowering...

Clockwise from top left: The maple tree is unfolding new leaves and quirky flowers; a white aquilegia; cherry blossoms; new leaves and flower buds on Cercis Forest Pansy; hot pink freesias; a nearly open flower head on viburnum Snowball; possibly the first rose to open; pink rhododendron; apple blossom; violets; pink ranunculus; prunus Accolade. Middle: these freesias are so bright and bold. They're not scented quite as strongly as the white ones, but you still get that hint of incense.

This is a shady corner which gets sun for about 2 hours in the middle of the day. It's difficult to photograph well - either too shaded or too washed out! I'm actually hoping for an overcast day sometime soon to shoot it better. But it deserves a mention for being carpeted with gorgeous violets, which light up the corner. The tree is Cercis Forest Pansy, which has lovely sculptural branches, reddish-purple heart shaped leaves and pink flowers in spring. It hasn't grown much taller in three years but is bushing out a bit.

That's it for now - hopefully I'll be able to give more of a tour soon! Linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Blooms & Green

This month's theme for Urban Jungle Bloggers is Blooms & Green. The challenge was to style living plants along with cut flowers. I decided to style my mantelpiece - it's finally starting to feel like spring and the winter decor was no longer appropriate! Along with my blooms and plants I added a few decorative pieces like the faded vintage rose prints and the tiny metal chair. I also added a miniature watering can, which is probably the thing  most representative of this time of year! (Heaven is a warm spring evening, kicking off my shoes and touring the garden with watering can in hand.)

 The star of my show is the ranunculus at centre stage, but to complement her I made this little posy of anemones and Jacob's ladder leaves.

 Here are some of my most graphically designed pot plants. Ok... I have to admit I have forgotten the names of both of them... so I call them the striped plant and the spotted plant! I also have a couple of stems of pink ranunculus, and a beautiful round-leafed cyclamen.

 Pretty Miss Ranunculus... doesn't she look a picture?

I hung my crocheted flower garland from the mantelpiece. This is one of my favourite things I've made and I always enjoy a chance to hang it somewhere! It's made from cotton/bamboo yarn and adorned with vintage buttons.

I'm really loving this display on my mantelpiece... I think I'll let it stay until it's time to change it up for Christmas!
Urban Jungle Bloggers is hosted by Judith at and Igor at Happy Interior Blog. You can find out more and participate yourself at

Monday 5 October 2015

Snapshots from September

 September was an interesting month. The calendar said spring, but the weather gods said no... definitely still winter! The frosts and cool temperatures continued, which meant that the bloom times in the garden were a bit behind. The hellebores continued on, in some cases looking even better as they aged. They are forming nice clumps and I have to resist the urge to divide and replant them. I'll limit myself to propagating by seed this year. 

The first blossoms arrived in my garden, on my almond trees. They are beautiful but always a bit sparse... I'm not sure if this is the norm actually or if they don't like the climate here, I think I've read they don't like frost.

 Even though it's cold I got my tomato seeds started. By the time they're big enough to plant out it should be warm enough for them in the glasshouse. My propagator is a plastic shell that originally held a mailbox. I rescued it from the rubbish and was proud of my find as it's the perfect size and shape!

 There was an amazing red sunrise one morning, predictably enough followed by a nasty weather change.

 I've been working on my puff stitch blanket, and I'll update that in another post. However, one work in progress is never enough, and when I saw an Instagram announcement of a new CAL (Crochet Aong) I had to join in! This is the Greg Mystery CAL. A new pattern comes out every few weeks and this is the first square.

 I had a week off work as well. I actually timed it really well with the weather and managed to get the best week in the whole month (the opposite usually happens when I have a week off!). I spent the time visiting my family in Timaru, then I came back home and got stuck into the garden.  My main task was the front garden - it's an absolute disgrace, weed filled and overgrown. I weeded, dug over and enlarged the bed and planted out lots of plants. There is a lot to show actually but I'm waiting for it to fill in a bit before taking photos! The photo on the left is the strip along the side of my drive, which is planted with camellia Fairy Blush shrubs and underplanted with earlicheer and monarch daffodils, pink hyacinths, and ipheon uniflorum (spring star). It's at its absolute best at this time of year, looking beautiful and smelling divine.

 Also on my week off, I painted stuff! This was something for my front yard garden update. More details soon I promise!

 Still loving my spring display from Styling the Seasons. It looks just as pretty at night, when the lamplight shines through the glass and reflects off the silver tray. Also, I got a pair of metal flower scissors. I had to joke that I now feel like a proper Instagrammer... since every second flat lay and still life features a pair of these!

 I've been reading The Luminaries. I found it quite hard to get into at first, because its written in a deliberately old-fashioned style, with very long sentences and antique turns of phrase. But I did get into it and it's definitely very clever. It took me 2 weeks to get halfway and I could have finished it in the 4 week library allowance, but I wanted to read the other books I had out too! It had a natural break halfway, so I'll look for it next time I'm at the library (and possibly not get out any other books).

This medieval looking contraption is my crochet blocking board... it makes blocking multiple squares a breeze! It's simply a wooden board with holes drilled in, and metal skewers inserted in the holes.

Here we are at the end of September. It's raining (again), but green leaves are unfurling and the peach tree is now covered with blossom. I'm hoping that spring really isn't too far away now!


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