Monday, 31 August 2009

Reasons to be cheerful!

It did rain today! The lawn didn’t get cut! The garden is still in need of care and attention! But there are things to be happy about. Hidden behind other plants I found self sown non stop begonias. One is a lovely salmon pink DSCF2351 and is hiding under the back wall, and the other is a bright yellow in with the lavender DSCF2349 in a stone tub. Quite unexpected!

And although all the dahlias are pink on looking at them closely I find that one is of the cactus variety as opposed to decorative as all the others are.DSCF2355 Lovely to have a change!

In spite of the dire looks of the cucumber plants there are still cucumbers bravely growing and more to come. DSCF2358 The same can be said of the courgettes. Regardless of this DSCF2364 there is still hope of a few more courgettes. The wind hasn’t been kind to the courgettes. DSCF2365 They have finally fallen over!

And the begonias continue to blossom brightly and keep the garden lookingDSCF2359 DSCF2363 colourful. The self sown nasturtiums are climbing DSCF2350 through the hazels and look so cheerful.  An added bonus is that there are some variegated ones from the year before last! DSCF2361

All in all a lot to be pleased about! And I do love autumn. I love the colours of the leaves; the smell of bonfires Fire and the evenings drawing in and the need to light the fire and turn on the lights.DSCF0002 The perfect setting for reading a good book! What more does one want!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

All Blogged Out!

Be warned! I’ve got my saddo head on! Since coming back from Birmingham I haven’t had the same enthusiasm for blogging that I had before. This could be because the garden is a mess, it’s still raining so I can’t do anything and I have a pile of other things that desperately need doing. And so I don’t know what to write about!

At this time of the year I have to get ready for a new term of teaching and for that it is necessary to plan some advertising so that I actually get some students. Then I have to make samples so that we have something to make and finally I have to try and finish all the things I started this term! In my dreams I think!

As I have no pictures of the garden here are some things that the garden, when in flower, has inspired! It does have it’s uses!

Anemones done in silk ribbon.anenomes, March

Two small sachets with embroidery and silk ribbon work. silk sachetrose.sachet

More silk ribbon work inspired by one of the gardens in Falmouth.gardengateThis picture was painted on silk and then worked with silk ribbon and embroidery silks. 

Chrysanthemums done in silk ribbon worked into a needle caseneedlecase and a medley of silk ribbon flowers on a covered tidy

I’m also inspired by the surrounding countryside including the sea and it’s environs. Here I have woven some hand dyed fabric and then appliqued and free machine stitched the seaweeds and fish etc onto it.woven sea scene

And last but not least a crazy quilt which is called Crazy About Autumn and showcases appliqu├ęd leaves. It was all done in silks with hand embroidery and beadwork.  I use leaves a lot in my work.

Crazy About Autumn Throw 

Friday, 28 August 2009

The End is Nigh!

When I came back from my long weekend away I was devasted at the state of the garden. Everything had got out of hand. The plants were either going to seed, fallen over in the wind (which we still have!), being eaten by various insects and/or caterpillars or dead or dying! The tomatoes are well and truly blight ridden but those green ones that looked healthy which we picked before I went away are beginning to ripen and we have actually had some to eat! A miracle! The courgettes were nearly marrows and now they have turned up their toes and all but two of the plants have decided to have stem rot and given up the ghost! The cucumbers are just about hanging in there but I doubt I’ll get many more cucumbers. The herbs have gone to seed overnight as have the oriental mix lettuces and although they are attractive that isn’t what I wanted. In fact the garden needs urgent attention. Weeding, clearing up and cutting back. And it isn’t even September yet!


The radishes which have/had lots of leaf before the caterpillar attack, but no radishes even after two months!

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These eggs on the nasturtiums didn’t last long! There is great satisfaction in wiping out the dreaded caterpillars before they even get to work! Below are courgette flowers full of rain water! DSCF2317 DSCF2314

Blight! Need I say more. The picture says it all!

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Some of the green tomatoes and the ones that have ripened to date.

DSCF2334 Enormous courgettes!


The clematis has gone mad and is twining it’s way through the fennel and the camelia. And the lawn desperately needs mowing but the weather is awful! Malam! Malam!


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Back to the ravages of the weather!

I had a lovely time away at the festival of quilts and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a bit galling to realise that the lovely weather we had over the weekend was quite common in middle England. Not for this part of the country the constant wet!

The quilts at the show were quite awe inspiring and I came away motivated and full of enthusiasm FOQ 013FOQ 014

(click to enlarge – lovely firework scene and detail)

for getting down  to some serious work. We went FOQ 055

FOQ 047 on the second day and it was crowded but not as busy as the first day. Really one needs to devote two days to the show. FOQ 049 The first for looking at the quilts in detail and the second for shopping!

FOQ 099 I didn’t buy a lot although I spent a fair amount  of money. My biggest buy was fabric paint from a lovely lady called Laura. She dyes and prints beautiful fabrics and can be found here. I had to buy books but managed to restrain myself to three! All of which are about surface embellishment on fabric. I can’t wait to get started!

The hotel was lovely,although it seemed to have a rabbit problem!  Birmingham seemed to very fresh and clean with lots of new buildings since I was last there.FOQ 111 On the way up in the train we passed lots of allotments. Some were really doing well and looked very productive but sadly a few looked quite neglected! Very sad! Lots of apple trees along the track absolutely dripping in apples. And also I saw masses of butterflies on the Buddleia.  I can see why it is called the butterfly plant!

Upon my return I discovered that in four days my garden had fallen by the wayside and was a total mess but more of that another time. I’m just glad to be home and now I’m getting ready for autumn!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Going away!

I won’t be blogging for a few days as I’m going away. A couple of friends and I are going to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. I am really looking forward to the break and the show where I have no doubt I will OD on fabric and other quilt related goodies! The weather forecast says rain so I am sure the garden will survive for a few days. I shall pick everything that is ready for picking and then Martin won’t have to do anything but look after the tomatoes, such as they are! Truth to tell, I am a tad bored with the garden. It has reached that stage where it isn’t going anywhere and yet it is too soon to say ‘Hello Autumn’ and start pulling things up and thinking of next year! So a small holiday is just what I need!


Monday, 17 August 2009

Taking Photographs at Night!

Sometimes it is interesting to take pictures in the garden at night. One of the exercises in my digital camera master class book was to go out and photograph night scenes. Well living in the country I didn’t have bright, busy roads with lots of coloured lights to photograph but I thought it would be fun to experiment with what I did have to hand, namely flowers!

These pictures of nasturtiums show the difference between no flash and flash. The first picture was shot in macro mode but the second picture wasn’t. Apart from the use of flash that was the only difference. I used a slow shutter speed on both of them.


With the honeysuckle, photographing it without using flash but just making the aperture smaller (F2.8) gave a very ethereal quality to the picture. With the flash on there is a brighter picture but less intense.   

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Then I pointed the camera up into the oak tree and did the same exercise again. The difference is quite startling. Whereas in the first picture there are interesting shapes and cut outs where the sky can be seen, in the second picture it is very obvious what the subject matter is.

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At night the Japanese Anenomes have a surreal quality about them that they don’t have by day. I can see why they are sometimes referred to as Moonflowers.


 And finally these last two pictures were shot at night some years ago. I was desperate to get a picture of the small silk ribbon embroidered bag I’d made to put on a brochure for classes I was doing. It was night but I thought with flash I’d be fine and I was. But I got a bonus! Unbeknownst to me we had a visitor in the garden and I got this picture of a badger! This was before the hawthorne tree came down and we didn’t have houses behind us. Now we are so built around that no badger could ever find his way here! This picture was taken with the zoom and an ordinary flash.

sre bagbadger




Sunday, 16 August 2009

Fruits of the Garden

I was thinking how much I spend on the garden each year and how much I get back. The answer was not a lot in terms of hard currency. Yes, I have covered my costs and more with the amount ofDSCF0331 courgettes and cucumbers  I’ve picked this year. They have done really well in spite of mildewy leaves DSCF0322 and dying foliage. In fact they have to my amazement surmounted all my expectations. I think this might be because this year I planted them onto well fertilised ground and in each hole I put chicken manure pellets before planting the small cucumber or courgette plant. This gave them a good start. Secondly I think that they also did well because I grew them vertically DSCF0008 tying them to canes so that the fruits fell down rather than lay on the ground. This worked quite well though I notice they are leaning a bit now.

The blueberries did fairly well and produced enough fruit for two very nice upside down cakes and one pie.DSCF0339 This covered the cost of the bush I bought this year but I am still out of pocket on the two bushes I bought last year and the year before. I had no blueberries at all from them in those years. But I might end up in pocket over the years if they go on to become large fertile bushes.

The lettuces(these are the last and still taste good in spite of bolting) did well and owe me nothing, as did the herbs. DSCF0277 I think I covered my costs there. Well I broke even at any rate. The beetroots were worth growing too.

The tomatoes have been a dead loss and I am out of pocket.

And the hanging baskets and tubs have been less than wonderful. Some of the flowers did well and bloomed for some considerable time while others bloomed and faded in a day! Or what seemed like a day. Here today, gone tomorrow.

So overall I feel I haven’t done too badly. And also one has to add in on the credit side of the balance sheet the total amount of fun that one gets from actually being in the garden. Planting, weeding, planning and all that goes on from day to day. There is total frustration as well but that is small compared to the delights of wandering round one’s plot and seeing what has grown or ventured forth over night. And there is nothing, quite nothing like picking one’s own food!