Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunshine and Showers

I spent a lot of this weekend sheltering from showers, marooned in either the shed or the greenhouse, or dashing up the garden to the house to seek shelter and a cuppa.  But between the showers I noticed that things are definitely moving along in the garden.

The amalanchier blossom has finally opened

and the first two clematis are flowering

Clematis Maidwell Hall

Clematis Foxy

The tulips have also opened

and the honesty that's self seeded its self is in flower too.

We had a frost on Saturday night so I used my very old cloches to protect my newly transplanted beetroot and salad leaves.  

I'm not exactly sure how old the cloches are, I think they're at least between the wars.  They were given to me by a family member, glass and all.  There's a knack to constructing them (which I forget every year!) but once constructed they are amazingly solid and easy to move.

I don't have much room in my veg garden so I'm trying to be more organised with how I use it this year so I'm trying out a version of 'Square Foot Gardening'  Mine aren't exactly square, or feet, but they are organised as opposed to random!

So far I have peas (netted from the pigeons), shallots, spring onions, beetroot and salad planted.  I also plan to have dwarf beans, cucumber and leeks in this bed.  The other bed won't be square footed, it'll be runner beans and courgettes.  I'll let you know how I get on!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's Spring!

Spring has definitely arrived in my garden now.  The chaenomeles blossom is just about out

and the lilac buds are slowly emerging.

The ferns are uncurling

and the epimediums are just beginning to dance above the ground.

Viola freckles has appeared this weekend too

as have the grape hyacinths

and the snake's head fritillaries.

The pasque flower that I thought I'd lost as it didn't appear at all last year has decided to grace us with its presence 

and the self sown cerinthes are nearly in flower too (seems very early to me!).

All in all I think we're about 3 weeks behind last year as this clematis was in full flower on 4th April last year and looks as though its got several more days before it opens this year.

And the frogs have now finished spawning - what a noise they made!

I hope spring has arrived for all of you too.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sewing Again!

I’ve been sewing.  In fact I’ve been sewing on and off for as long as I can remember.  My mum taught me to use an electric sewing machine before I left primary school, much to the horror of my grammar school needlework teacher who wouldn’t let us use those dangerous machines until the 3rd year!

I did A level Textiles, which involved a lot of designing, pattern making, sewing and embroidery.  I found this picture of my A Level exhibition.

I don’t know what happened to the suit but I still have the silk jacket (made from silk bought from a silk specialist in Bond Street) and looking rather dated now - but it was 30 years ago! I also still have the boots that accessorized the suit, hand made by a cobbler in Norwich, and beautifully lined with kid leather - genuinely vintage now :-)

This week I finally finished a tailored jacket for work.  It’s taken aaaaagggggeeeeesssss, mainly because I haven’t done any tailoring for years but partly because of all the curves in the pattern and the odd sizing (the pattern’s not mine!).

It goes with a skirt I made last year and means that I can now have a ‘sort of suit’ for when I next have to stand up and speak to lots of people at a conference.

I even managed to remember how to do proper bound button holes and spent ages embroidering and beading buttons - why?  Because it seemed like a good idea at the time! It didn’t seem such a good idea at 10.30pm when I discovered the beads made it too big to go through the buttonhole and I had to unpick and start again.

I very nearly did textiles/theatre and costume design as a career, I had places at art school but decided to go down the performance route instead.  Do I regret that?  No.  Would I do the same again with hindsight?  Probably not.  I think I’d do horticulture instead.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sunflower Seeds

The sunflower seeds are proving a big hit this week in the bird feeder.  The goldfinches always come in pairs.

The siskins (at least I think its a siskin as I'd never seen one before this week) tend to join in regardless of who else is around and are quite bold.

And the greenfinches also generally arrive in pairs too

I think he's wondering what on earth I'm doing with the camera up against the conservatory window!  

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Few Nice Days

The sun came out this weekend! The cold easterly wind dropped and the sun actually shone, it was wonderful.

This little scilla had been in tight bud refusing to open for weeks but is just feeling brave enough to open today.

I've had the heater on most nights still in the greenhouse but have been able to open the door during the day over the weekend!

My greenhouse isn't really big enough at this time of year so the conservatory is starting to be taken over by plants too.

Today in the sunshine the Chaenomeles blossom started to open

and I spied a little mouse rooting around at the back of a flower bed

and this young blue tit had a long feed of peanuts.

I've also had alot of siskins on the feeders today but haven't managed to get an picture that is vaguely in focus of them yet!

Maybe, just maybe, these few nice days will turn into more and more nice days.....