By the very nature of seeds it's always a risk when sowing a particular colourway, so it's so good when the colour perfectly matches both the original picture and the image in your own head. Antirrhinum 'Orange Glow' is just that. Yum.
The very last of the tulips, this is Tulipa 'Barbados' and is the deepest shade of red/pink, with the frilly frou frou edging of a sixties babydoll set of pj's. Some people are already asking for the catalogue of this coming year's tulip collection - especially those for whom varieties such as these are new. Am looking forward to sitting down and deciding on which varieties to carry forward and which ones to add into the mix.
A very simple rose, but with a smell from heaven.
Watching an oriental poppy unfurl must surely be one of the highlights of early summer (is it alright to mention the 's' word yet?). This one is 'Choir Boy' from Plants of Distiction from many, many seasons ago, but doesn't seem to be distorted or diluted in any way.
This white Geranium (name long forgotten, but grown from seed I remember) is of the itinerant family. Who knows where it was originally planted in the garden, but now, every year, it sets up home in many, many areas. And I love it. Especially as when it goes to seed, the Bullfinches adore the seedheads and as a result are often found much nearer to the house than you should possibly hope for - it self-seeds relentlessly in the cracks in the patio paving. A very good reason for keeping those cracks.
A wisteria which has never been pruned, tied in, or any of the other things that should be done, yet still delivers the goods. All from a 'stick' from Woolies' bargain department a few years ago.
An example of the colour not being as on the packet (though still very lovely, and these flowers are from a plant from last year, so well done that snapdragon!); this is what they were supposed to be.
It's a very busy time of year for all of us who garden in any shape or form, so it's not easy either to keep up with your own blogging or reading others', but if you get the chance take a look here and grab the chance to get a lovely badge plus an excuse to set up a photo opportunity.
Enjoy the beautiful end to a beautiful month,
A while ago, January in fact, I bought some lily bulbs as I talked about here, and now - here they are, in all their red splendour. Notice that even the stamen are the same shade of dark red. Just yummy.
If the photo above is and 'after' then this one is a 'before' - in the sense that I'm hopeful that in a month or two's time this bed will be a mass of dark and bright coloured blooms. No pastels, just oranges, reds and purples.
At the end of the back garden is a beech tree which just stands there, being beautiful, yet not showy in the way of blooms, or architectural in the way of shrubs. But still beautiful. And even though the tree itself will (obviously) not know anything about it, I'd like it to have a feature photo of its own:
It towers above everything but I never feel it's about to topple over - unlike the eucalyptus, which sways uncontrollably in some of the strong winds.
I did take a photo of the cerinthe, too, but didn't check the quality before coming home; here it is, but will show a better one soon.
The one of the atriplex is much better:
What can I say? It's been a busy week and I totally forgot about the 15th May being GBBD. So..... here's a bunch of blooms from the garden today to make up for it:
The blooms include alliums, astrantias, aquiligias, geraniums and, best of all, antirrhinums from last year. They certainly aren't the colour the seeds were sold as (they're pink when they should be a dark black/red) but still lovely.
My parcel for Debbie is already to post tomorrow, so I'm hoping she'll have it by Friday. It's been a joy to do and am looking forward to the next.
This post has ended up being just like my day - bitty; fragmented; no sense of achievement, even though things have been done (as above). Why is this? What's so different today? Oh, hey ho and let's just continue and wake up in a different day tomorrow.
I think I'll sew. Maybe.
It's always good to get involved in a blog swap. The connections made can be awesome. When Melanie said I could be part of her very first swap I was immediately pleased and terrified all at once. Then, of course, I caught myself, and thought about all the benefits of such things: the focus of making and sourcing things to meet a brief, and the excitement of receiving a package in the post.
And it arrived today. And even the wrapping paper was full of roses. I'd love to be able to direct you to Debbie's blog, as she is obviously so talented, but she is so busy creating etc that she doesn't have one
Of course once you're involved in something like this you invariably concentrate on the things you want to send, and then when a package arrives, it's almost unexpected. But when a package arrives full of such wonderful goodies as these - well, you're just overwhelmed. Not just with the lovely things but also the superb standard that they're made to. And the smell!
I can't show you the rosy things going to Debbie as she hasn't received them yet - so that would be a bit unfair, but what I can show you are the fabrics I bought in Liberty:
I'm sorely tempted to start creating with them straight away, but I do have the lovely South Shields market fabrics from a couple of weeks ago to get started on - and the market is this Sunday. So best get busy.
Now that the skies are blue, and all the flowers are starting to colour up the gardens, I decided I wanted some fresher colours for the bags I make. The Amy Butler fabrics hit the spot, but they are quite fine - certainly not strong enough to hold either real shopping or a pile of books. So these have a foundation of strong canvas cotton, then decorated with the brighter fabrics.
They look so lovely out in the garden, I'm beginning to wish they were cushions instead. Mmmm.
At this time of year there are so many gorgeous blossom trees around. The double flowered ones are a particular favourite - so lush and blousy. But I've never actually got round to getting one for my own garden. The one in the photo is my 'mock blossom' tree and the beauty of it is its tenacity - it remains there until the flowers are finished as opposed to blown off or washed away by the rain.
Because obviously it isn't a blossom tree at all. It's a graceful birch playing host to Clematis montana Rubens.
It keeps me happy; it's certainly no second best.
This wonderful Wistaria was on the way to the Chelsea Physic Garden - somewhere I've wanted to visit for an awful long time - and I just knew it was going to be good.
The plants, the form, the cafe, the stewards, the gardeners - all were as good, no, better than ever dreamed. What I didn't know or dream about was the atmosphere.
Although in the centre of a very busy area, with schools, restaurants, shops etc etc, all around, I suppose I expected the garden to be just as much of a bustle. But then the best gardens always surprise.
What was truly special was the sense of quietude, calmness and peace.
And although it can be a little galling to see the southern plants so much further on than their northern brothers and sisters, at least I had a sense of what was yet to come for us.
Some of the smells - roses, honeysuckle etc - were delicious.
Another thing I loved about it was the mix of specimen, or rare plants alongside the very much every-day ones.
Now, if I'd been less overwhelmed I may have done the sensible thing and made copious notes to attach to each of the (very) many photographs taken. Didn't, so please don't ask the name of any plant not familiar to you. I'd be no help at all.
Of course there was shopping, too, but I'll keep those for another post.
In the middle of selling the tulip bulbs last year, I very nearly forgot to keep some of them for myself, to use as cut flowers rather than in the garden. In fact some of them are completely missing, having sold out before I realised what was happening. Won't make that mistake again.
These are the lipstick-pink 'Jacqueline', and it comes as a real surprise to me how much I love them. I'm really more of an 'Abu Hassan' fan, or 'Artist' or 'Black Hero' - the double form of 'Queen of the Night'. That is, the darker, stronger colour range.
But here I am showing not one, but THREE photographs of them, put together with Geranium phaeum and soft blue Forget-Me-Nots. Also in there is a lone Allium, which is something of an experiment. It was picked as a barely opened bloom, and I want to see if it opens in the vase, and if it does then how long it takes.
Of course as I'm off to London this week, then I'm sure it will happen when I'm not here. Hey ho.
This last photograph is of the tulip 'Blue Diamond':
in reality it is actually more blue than this looks. More importantly, it has that wonderful double quality. Aren't tulips just delicious.
Today, after much messing about, a friend took me to a place where she guaranteed I would find some fabric bargains. Mmmm. The thing is, what may be a bargain to someone else may not be for you. Then I caught myself on, and reminded myself she is a designer (bags, no less) and certainly doesn't use naff fabrics. So, here are just a few of the many wonderful bargains I saw - that is, the ones I brought home:
The three above are all silky, to be used on smaller 'accent' cushions. the one below is such a wonderful bargain, and just shows that some footballer's wives have good taste*:
It's a Colefax and Fowler fabric, current range, 'Sylvia'. £57.50 is what it retails for today on the internet - price to me? £1.50!!!
And that was good, but even better was finding this in the garden:
It's a vinca, bought quite a few years ago, normally producing one, maybe two flowers. This year - enough for me to pick one to sit in an egg cup.
Enjoy this wonderful, sunny weekend.
* It was originally ordered for curtains in a certain footballer's house - I was lucky enough to be able to buy the 2 metres left over.