Friday, May 31, 2013

When in London I Walk

When I go to London I walk. I always have done. Stems from 2 years of living as a student in London and having to walk due to lack of finances, but you see so much more! Yesterday I had a trip to London (an early birthday present to myself) and I caught the tube to Embankment and then walked.

First I walked to Covent Garden, where I was a little disappointed.

Most of the nice artisan shops had gone, there was hardly anything apart from national chains and places to eat.

I did find this lovely macaroon shop though (didn't buy any as I wasn't sure they'd survive the day) so I decided to walk to Trafalgar Square to St Martins in the Fields.

My parents got married here and I didn't think I'd ever been in.  The ceiling is stunning.  Needing a rest and some refuelling I had lunch in the crypt.  

Great food, lovely setting and various 'odd' tombs/memorials in the gallery - I loved this one of the first Pearly King.

Then I walked to here, the reason for my being in London.

I bought the ticket last November as a birthday present to myself and it was worth every penny.  A mix of hand sprung puppets, a very simple set, english folk music and hand drawn animations - amazing.

After the theatre, more walking. Through Piccadilly Circus, to Regent Street - and beyond!

I had a lovely day, although my legs are a little tired today - can't think why!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Its Time Is Up!

When I moved here I was delighted to find that I'd inherited a magnolia grandiflora of a decent size.  I imagined it laden with flowers, their delicious scent wafting across the patio......

Image from RHS
'It's never flowered' said the neighbours.  Undeterred I pruned it, I fed it, I didn't prune it, I talked to it and gradually got more and more fed up with it.

After 5 years, and about 15 years since it was planted, it still didn't flower, its leaves constantly turned yellow or black and dropped all over the garden and it blocked out a lot of morning light.  So I decided its time was up!

Armed with essential tools, 

and some determination as well as brute force, this

 became this!

There is so much more light now

and although the fence currently looks bare and boring, imagine it please covered with climbing roses, and clematis. I'm even considering a delicate honeysuckle and possibly another try at a clematis armandii.

Not a bad day's work!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bluebells and Buttons (or cuckoos and clocks!)

The bluebells are late this year but definitely worth waiting for.  Earlier this week I was working from home and needed to get out, clear my head, and get away from the computer screen for a while so I took myself off to our local bluebell wood, Arger Fen.  This was what greeted me - a sea of blue!

They are so dainty as they hang their heads.

I sat and wallowed in them, listening to chiffchaffs and my first cuckoo.  The video clip below has the cuckoo singing (although if you're reading this on an iPad you sadly won't be able to see it).

Today though I've been creating with buttons. Ever since I saw this button clock on pinterest I've wanted to make one.  Initially I planned to go and buy a rainbow assortment of buttons to make one like that one but I changed my mind, deciding that a: I'm not really a plastic button, rainbow type of girl, and b: I have hundreds of buttons here!

So after some sorting, some careful measuring and some sewing I made this more muted one.

I had some problems stopping the mechanism from pulling the fabric back which made the hands catch the buttons, but a bit of ribbon and some drawing pins did the trick!

I'm really pleased I opted for the more muted colours, using a mixture of old and new buttons, as it looks just perfect on my dining room mantlepiece.

(Although I have just realised that one of the buttons I've used is the spare one from the coat I bought last November so I'll just have to hope I don't lose one from it!)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


The temperature's dropped and the sun has generally stayed away but it did stop raining for a little while today so I rushed out into the garden to see what was flowering.

There are red tulips,

pink dicentra,

and, bizarrely, a peachy rose (Abraham Darby)!

There's white exochorda (The Bride),

white lilac,

and white 'blue' bells.

There's a white and blue iris (Knick Knack),

bluebells (proper blue ones!), 

and tiny blue forget-me-nots.

But my favourite has to be this wacky, black parrot tulip.

It's in a pot by my front door, and they've actually done very, very badly (only about 1/2 have flowered) but the few that have opened make me smile!

Let's hope it warms up again soon!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Any Ideas? Please?

Today I saw this little plant flowering in my garden.  I have no recollection of planting it (although that doesn't mean that I didn't!) and I have absolutely no idea what it is.  I've looked through several books and consulted the RHS plant identifier but to no avail.  Do any of you know what it it?

It's about 5" high and has slightly bluey green foliage and the emerging shoots looks like a little like Solomon's Seal, but narrower.

There are no leaves at all at the base of the stem and the flowers hang down, emerging from the leaves.

It's growing in shade under a shrub. The flowers are a subtle yellow with green near the stem.

I've just asked my neighbour and she thinks the previous occupant planted it, which means a: I'm not going loopy by forgetting I've planted it, and b: that it's probably quite unusual.

Can anyone help identify it?

Postscript - it's been identified as Uvularia Grandiflora by @BensBotanics on twitter, his website is here
Thanks Ben :-)