2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work



Wow, winter’s really getting into its stride this week. I could feel the temperature difference even before I got out of bed this morning. The frost didn’t melt all day in the shade, which meant I didn’t have to run round in my dressing gown this time to get pics.



IMG_2275Frost is destructive, but its thousands of miniscule crystals make you look at the commonplace as if you’ve never seen it before. I love how the macro setting on the camera can pick up the tiniest of details, like the way the frost has gathered on each of the hairs on this geranium leaf.

Above it all, the bluest of skies – but the sun is so low in the sky now it hardly touches the garden at all.


IMG_2276The green stems and red berries of the climbing rose scrambling through the cherry is the only bit of colour left there now. Almost every leaf is on the ground.


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Far from the madding crowd

Honestly, I must have sweated in every situation known to man in the last week – hot cars, hot meeting rooms and last night was the final straw when my train broke down between stations with standing room only. My hour-long journey home turned into two and a half hours with a lot of other grumpy, hot and sweaty travellers. So it was bliss today to have no meetings, be working from home and be able to sit around with shorts and a vest on and my hair in a pony tail.  Lunch in the garden under our prolifically flowering white climbing rose (Rosa mulliganii, if you’re interested) was a real treat.



When I originally planted it under the cherry, I wanted it to look like the cherry was flowering again in July. It hasn’t quite worked like that as it’s very vigorous and changes direction all the time, but this year it’s formed a natural arch over one of our paths and is looking really lovely. And really delighted with the larkspur in my pots that has just come into flower – such a beautiful deep blue.


Wishing you all a cool, relaxing and sun filled Friday evening…off out to enjoy the rest of it myself.

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Wild gardening

Having recently got back into gardening, I’ve been looking back through my collection of gardening books that I’ve not touched for the last few years, and have just uncovered the gem below.

IMG_1514Isn’t the cover beautiful? Written in the 80’s, it’s an account of the author’s garden on a large estate in Scotland that they bought after the days when there was a team of gardeners to run and manage it, and how they adopt a more ‘relaxed’ approach to dealing with the plants there (basically: if it isn’t poisonous, they eat it).

IMG_1516It’s a brilliant read, it just meanders along, beautiful drawings of plants and insects interspersed with really interesting writing and anecdotes (such as their efforts to make rhubarb champagne without it exploding, and finding that a plastic dustbin full of this only lasted them for 3 months). I’m reading it in bed at the moment and am driving my other half nuts by constantly interrupting his reading to tell him new snippets of information I’ve gleaned.

I definitely like the wild garden concept – mine is not one where you will ever see neat spaces of soil between plants, but it does mean it’s less work to keep the weeds down, and the birds and insects seem to like it. And in the spirit of the book above, I’m thinking of making some rose petal jelly in the next week or so – our two Rosa rugosa bushes are in full bloom and the scent is just magical.

IMG_1505This is the deep pink one I’m thinking of using, ‘Roseraie de L’Hay’, as it’ll make the jelly a nicer colour than the other one we have, which is pure white. These are great roses, they flower like mad, smell fantastic, don’t need pruning and never get diseases.

IMG_1508It’s all getting a bit lush in the garden right now…but I like it that way…and at least now I know I can eat half of it to keep it in check! What’s your favourite nibble from your garden?