Monday, April 30, 2012

Pond Life

When I moved here I wasn't bothered about a pond at all - now I think I'd cry if I lost it.  It has given me hours of pleasure and I'll often be found kneeling quietly beside it watching the wildlife.

It's only small and is very much a wildlife pond (apart from the inherited goldfish and his friend), and has lots of rocks and ivy around it where the frogs, and probably other creatures, like to hide.

The tadpoles hatched several weeks ago and were really lively in the warmth of the sunshine today - I love how they twist as they come to the surface (sad I know!)

(I'm not sure why the video ended up so small, it's probably because I took it and edited it on my ipad and then had to transfer it to the pc to upload it, it all gets very complicated at times!)

But the star of the show at the moment is Mrs Newt who appeared a month ago.  I was getting rather worried that she'd left but I saw her again today (she's rather camera shy but can just be seen relaxing on the weeds)

It doesn't look as if she's laid any eggs in the newly planted water forget-me-not, but I'm hopeful that she's decided to take up permanent residence so we might have newt babies in the future!

The sun has come out here today, but sadly I seem to have hurt my back rather badly this afternoon so gardening is out of the question - I think I'll take a cuppa back to the pond instead.  Enjoy the sunshine if you have it!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Favourite Combination

I think that this must be my favourite combination in the garden at the moment.

I'm not sure what variety the tulips are, but they look lovely underneath the Exochorda. When I moved here I didn't know what it was as it had been badly pruned and was just a single stem, I'm very glad I left it in though as the white flowers look so beautiful with the tulips.

Maybe tomorrow there'll be a break in the showers so I can sit and have a cup of tea and gaze at them, rather than rushing past in an attempt to not get wet!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Rather Nice Week!

How has your week been?  After my disappointment with the Easter weather I've actually had a very good week - a spot of gardening (including getting stranded in the greenhouse during a very heavy shower), tea and cake at CafeKnit with the lovely Celia (with the obligatory purchase of some wool of course), a trip round Long Melford with another lovely friend Fran and the discovery that I can now listen to the radio in my kitchen again courtesy of this app on my iphone/ipad (such clever stuff!).

I've also made some small textile pieces that I think I'll make into cards.

It started off as one bigger piece but I didn't like it so I cut it up! They're not big, this one is just 3.5cm x 5.5cm.

I found some copper wire in my sewing box (like you do!), so each piece has got some of that on as well as some copper beads.

I'm going to test one out this week for a friend's birthday - she's having a hard time with chemotherapy at the moment, so I'm hoping something homemade might cheer her up a little.

PS - If anyone knows where I can get some good quality blank cards and envelopes from I'd really appreciate it you could let me know - they need to be quite thick to take the weight of the textile without buckling or splaying out. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunshine and Fireplaces

What a difference a day makes!  All of the Easter weekend it was either cold, raining or both, and then today the sun came out and the sky was blue nearly all day.  I know we needed the rain, and I'm really grateful we had it, but being stuck indoors for all of the holiday weekend didn't help my mood.  I'm at my happiest when I'm in my garden, in fact if I had my time again I think I'd go for a career in horticulture, but today I made up for it and spent most of the day out there.

Amelanchier Blossom
But it wasn't all bad being stuck indoors as I managed to catch up on 3 episodes of Sex and Sensibility (not what it sounds honestly!).  I've always loved Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement and found the 2nd episode about Liberty's, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his very talented wife Margaret MacDonald totally fascinating. 

My house was built in 1905, and I'm fortunate to still have three of the original four fireplaces.  I've always loved them but I'm now looking at them in a different light, my own little bits of Art Nouveau. 

This one's in my dining room and has the original tiles too.  Sadly it's missing the bar thing at the front of the grate.  When I moved in it was painted in cream gloss paint and I was so excited when, several tins of nitromors later, its original glory was revealed!

This one's in my bedroom, and has a repeated, quite simple, stylised flower pattern on.

But this one is my favourite, even though it too is missing the bar thing.  It's really ornate, even the back of the hearth has the same pattern on.

I think I really must investigate getting the first two repaired, but I must find out what the "bar thing" is really called first - google here I come.

(If you didn't see Sex and Sensibility, all 3 episodes are still available on iplayer until 19th April)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Easter Stroll

Would you like to join me on a little stroll down my garden?  I'm afraid it's still looking a bit "winter sad" in places but there are some lovely blooms appearing if you look closely.  Shall we go then?

Just outside the back door Clematis Alpina Constance is starting to flower (about 10 days earlier than last year).

On your right you might spot the first bloom of Camellia Tiffany.  You'll have to look hard as the few buds it has seem to be facing the fence not the path!

Now, as we reach the end of this courtyard area, you'll see some Snake's Head Fritilleries (and yes, that is a white one which has appeared in with the red ones!).

Come through into the next area, and hiding in the north facing shade of a large Elaeagnus is this delightful Dicentra Spectabilis (although I've just discovered that it's now had its name changed to Lamprocapnos Spectablis for some reason!).

A little further on, under the Snake Bark Maple the Epimedium is just starting to flower (I don't usually like yellow flowers, but somehow they seem ok if they're pale and flower in the spring).

Come past the pond (no further sightings of Mrs Newt I'm afraid), past the greenhouse and veg beds and through to my secret sitting area where no-one can see me and from where I can't hear the phone or doorbell.  Clematis Macropetala 'Maidwell Hall' was only planted last year and is so very nearly open.

These little white grape hyacinths have appeared down here this year, I didn't plant them so guess I must have disturbed them when I was planting last year.  They look lovely next to the Scillas.

I hope you've enjoyed your stroll down the garden with me, as you leave through the front garden keep an eye out for Viola Freckles and a rather confused, self sown Cerinthe which is flowering already!

I hope you all have lovely Easter weekends and maybe the next time that we take a stroll down my garden we should stop for tea and cake, what do you think?