Monday, 19 June 2017

Visit

In July 2009, I wrote a post in which I introduced the very small group of Orchids, which we had discovered growing in our woodland. A few years later, I  wrote about a new small colony nearer the house, in great excitement. One plant on what we laughingly call The Croquet Lawn. This year, we have 48 Orchids flowering, and 4 more as basal rosettes. ( They should flower next year).
  
Another discovery was of 3 small groups of Ragged Robin, another scarce wildflower, not far from the many Orchids. With the Cuckoo Flowers ( Ladies Smock, Cardamine pratens ) the lawn is developing into a wildflower meadow. Very satisfying.
 
Last week saw Best Beloved and I make a day trip long planned, and frequently put off. The Rose Gardens of David Austen. The staff were all most welcoming, especially towards our spaniels. Dogs are welcome throughout the site, except the Tea room and Restaurant.

The gardens are set out in a number of different styles. Formal, country, linear, many of the roses repeated in the different setting, displaying their versatility. There were two roses which I had intended to buy, 'Munstead Wood'  and 'Wild Eve'. I also bought 'The Albrighton Rambler', which I had been thinking about. The superb scent swung the decision.
(Above- 'Munstead Wood')
David Austen roses are known for their delicious scents, as well as their old-fashioned form, with improved health. We spent a delightful day wandering around, smelling all the different rose scents, admiring the beautifully maintained gardens, and having a relaxed lunch. Water was provided for the spaniels.

This proud beauty was wandering around the gardens, making a tremendous racket. Apparently there are several pairs. The spaniels kept a vey close eye on this one.... could it be a pheasant in disguise?
The weather was beautiful, we could not have asked for more. A lovely day in a beautiful place.


Friday, 9 June 2017

Lace

This 'Afmaeli' Icelandic sweater was finished midway through January this year. I made it for Best Beloved at his request. Like many men, he has decided preferences in knitwear, but also like many men, does not express those preferences until something is made which does not get worn. I learned that lesson long ago, so was delighted when he made clear choices on pattern and colours. A happy result, which has been worn many times already.
The pattern is by Vedis Jonsdottir. The yarn is Istex Letlopi ( aran weight). All bought though Deramores. The main body is Light Ash, the contrasts are White, and Black Heather. The collar is knitted in John Arbon Textiles Alpaca Supreme, in Light Steel, held double. ( Bought at John's Mill Open Day).
 
 
Despite making the 'Afmaeli', my knitting mojo has been sadly lacking for a while. Last week I made a start on a new laceweight shawl, which is growing faster than I anticipated. The pattern is 'Fialka', by Susanna Ic ( surprise! ).The yarn is Knitwitches Pure Cashmere Laceweight. I am making it for my chum Sharon, who supplied me with the yarn. Which is fabulous to work with, incidentally. It is such a shame that Knitwitch/Olwen has retired.

This is the second 'Fialka' I will have made, the first being for Asti/Juno Fibre Arts. It is a lovely pattern. I think I may have to make one for myself.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Cutting Garden

Sweet Peas are a perennial favourite, and the backbone of my summer planting. The placement of their growing area has progressed around the garden, each successive year finding the last year's site full. Last year a bed in the Kitchen Garden was annexed. This year, the grandly named Cutting Garden has been developed. In fact, this is a reasonably sized bed in the Kitchen Garden, alongside the newly created fruit cage.
 
 
The bed contains several varieties of Ranunculus, a row of Brodia, some Antirhinum, and quite a lot of Dahlias. The rows of annuals are not really showing, as we are in desperate need of some rain, despite watering daily. Next year I will have to weed out some of the (many) Dahlias.


With a little judicious picking, in both the flower garden and the cutting garden, it's remarkably easy to end up with a reasonable posy.