Tag: flowers


Around the garden and back again

This is a picture of my house. Not MY house, obviously (I’m not that grand, 🙂 It’s a tealight house that sits in the garden surrounded by daisies. I was looking around to see how well the garden is doing in the current heatwave and making sure everything is well-watered in case there’s a hosepipe ban. Apparently reservoirs are getting low and we need to be mindful of how we use our water. I’ve been emptying my teapot on the potted flowers as they become dry as old bones very quickly. I need to take heed!

A nod to Bill in Beeston there – only meaningful to a handful of ex-colleagues I worked with some years ago… like references to Lorde (yes, with an ‘e’) Richard and Swirl Vision jumpers.

The grass seedheads are delicately pretty.  Look at the gorgeous shadows they cast on the white roof.

And here:

Yes, wild grasses are a pain in the bum but just sometimes we have to see the beauty in nature. Those judgy pants we all wear from time to time can get hoiked so far up there’s a danger that they’ll come out of our noses. (Snopes: FACT).

Beatrice, the honey bee, was busy gathering pollen on the daisies. I know all the garden bees by name.

She was very busy. Just look at those golden yellow saddlebags! Full of pollen. Here she is mid-gather, collecting the golden dust to take to the hive to make a pot or two of honey (Mary Beery recipe – can’t go wrong). Sorry (not sorry) for the pun. The heat is sending me a bit bonkers. This is Ireland -we’re not used to it.

There. She’s just finishing her shift. I think she’ll be back to the hive for some breakfast and it’ll be Beyonce taking over for the afternoon.

The bees also love this purple flower. I think it’s Purple Toadflax. Research tells me it’s a weed but the bees like it and that means it earns its keep in the garden. No further questions asked. I have patches of clover and lawn daisies galore (love, love love lawn daisies) that the bees love even more than I do, so they stay, too.

I hope it’s Toadflax. The name is great – sounds so medieval but am not finding much on its etymology. Most references to Toadflax are for the yellow flowering ‘bread and butter’ Toadflax but there’s more information if I use ‘purple’ in the search term. Apparently Purple Toadflax is a favourite nectar-plant with the Wool Carder Bee which is rare and becoming rarer 🙁  It’s a large solitary bee which likes to line its nest with hairy leaves like those of Lamb’s Ear! I would be over the moon to have one in my garden. I will see about finding Lamb’s Ear on my next visit to a garden centre and see if I can encourage one of these lovely ladies to make a home with me.

Anyway, back to Toadflax – I got this from the online Collins dictionary:

“The toadflax is any of various scrophulariaceous plants of the genus Linaria, esp L. vulgaris, having narrow leaves and spurred two-lipped yellow-orange flowers”.

Supercalifrangilisticscrofulariaceous! Very Mary Poppins. 😉

Apparently, scrofulariaceous is actually an adjective used to describe:

” a family of plants including figwort, snapdragon, foxglove, toadflax, speedwell, and mullein”.

And, it was actually used to treat scrofula, a form of TB. Learn something every day.

I have quite a lot of lavender all over the place. When I was having my eldest child I developed an obsessive desire for all things lavender and many years on, it’s still a firm favourite of mine and, luckily, grows well for me.

Most things are coming along well. There are some wild strawberries – tiny like only slightly bigger than blueberries but so red and pretty. They’re for the birds. The Hydrangeas are starting to outrageously burst out in riots of hot pinks around the garden front and back.  Mine are huge and become massive bushes of colour. They are gloriously ostentatious, enjoy being centre of attention and love that people comment on them if I’m out the front doing a bit of gardening. No modesty whatsoever. They would show their knickers through the letterbox if you let them!

I also have Petunias, Honeysuckle, Fuscias, Campanulas, Sweet William, succulents, Hebes and loads of others that I cannot name.

Hebes – coming into flower.

The daisies are doing brilliantly. My lovely old Tom, gone several years now (2011) loved to sleep in the middle of them in summer. When we moved house some five years ago, we planted daisies in the big planter that is home to His Lovely Bones. I could never leave him behind. The daisies have been transplanted to give them room to run free and I like to think there’s some of Homer’s intrepid, adventurous spirit in them. The daisies are the most honoured flowers in my garden. His Lovely Bones planter has been re-planted with Aubretia and other small spreading flowers that spill over the sides – he is not contained.

Of course looking round the garden hasn’t been all I’ve done recently. My interest in hand embroidery is re-ignited. I was tidying up the sewing room and found several pieces that I’d done on linen that were too small to do anything sizeable with but too charming (IMHO) 🙂 to throw away. Like this one:

Simple stitches – Fly Stitch, Running Stitch and, my all-time dimensional favourite, the French Knot. The wooden spool had some fancy twine on it once and was a nice thing to keep but very plain once the twine was used up. Now it has a delightful hand-stitched linen wrap – and doesn’t it look well?

I’ll be doing something similar for this smaller one. I enlarged the hole to sit the scissors in:

Off to give it a hand-stitched linen wrap and finish the job! That’s me done for the day.

Speak laters! Have fun and enjoy the weather.

***** UPDATE*****

I was contacted by somebody telling me that this bee IS a Wool Carder Bee! I’m not sure but there is a biodiversity site in Ireland asking for sightings of this bee so I’ll send a pic and a few details and hope it is. Úna FitzPatrick at ufitzpatrick@biodiversityireland.ie


Simple Things

Today, the weather has changed. From a really gorgeous week-end to a bitterly windy, wet Monday. Jess wasn’t venturing far and plonked herself in her cat nest in front of the fire for a proper full-on nap. She didn’t even take the time to properly curl up in it for a while and the bed looks as if it’s closing over her like a clam.  She’s obviously distracted by outside things here, probably bird noises. If the birds get close enough or bother her too much she jumps to the window sill and chitters at them but hardly bothers them at all outside. Unlike Gracie…. she bothers them to bits, if she can get her paws round them, sadly.

If you like cats and like a giggle, have a look at Chris Cohen’s You Tube videos of Animal Translations – Google /You Tube. My favourite (so far) is cat vs printer. Some swearing so if you get offended by ‘bad’ language, don’t view it. It’s not excessive, truly, but is the bad F word. If you do watch it and find yourself overcome by the one or two swearwords  there is probably a convent or closed order of monks with a vow of silence that can offer you refuge. Beyond here there be dragons… and a belly laugh.

Cat vs Printer

The weekend was busy. I dead-headed the seven hydrangeas in the gardens. None are small, one is pretty big. I could see the new buds and leaves were starting to form so it was time for Miss Haversham’s faded wedding flowers to be chopped off. It’s a proper chore, especially as you need to give each ‘bloom’ a shake to free any ladybirds that might be having a little nap underneath. The garden looks much improved for the work, though. Much more green and spring-like.

The sun was smiling and the whole of the washing line was dancing with as much as I could get out there. Glorious day and the lawns were given a number one all over. To finish off, I strimmed around the edges to tame some of the wilderness that had grown there.

Buddha has been freed from Rosemary’s bush that was growing a bit rampant around him. Nothing disturbs his meditation and he was as serene as ever.

Some flowers are out. I must get more daffodils, snowdrops and pansies to brighten up the garden early in the year, though. It’s very bare, except for green. There is a tulip or two, though.

And these pretty little flowers – though they could be weeds… I don’t know but I like them so they’ll stay.

There was a clump of snowdrops but they were a lawnmower casualty – not my damage, I hasten to say (pursy lips!). Flowers are sparse.

Plenty of indoor work done and more ongoing (will this pleasure never end?). The walls are still to be finished and then the floor. Still no decision regarding laminate or carpet. In the meantime, the oompaloompa orange carpet looks even worse than ever with paint drips and streaks of paint here and there. It’s definitely going.

I had some flowers from Mother’s Day and transferred some blooms from the basket they came in and popped them into the lovely Polish pottery teapot I bought from a charity shop for a euro a few years ago. It would have probably cost more but its lid was missing. The stems were stuck into a large oasis and were starting to wilt. Watering it wasn’t easy because the water ran through and saturated the basket.

On taking the blooms out of the oasis, I realised just how short the stems were. A couple of centimetres, at best. I didn’t have a vase shallow enough for them until I remembered the little teapot. Happily popped in, they were given a new lease of life and brightened up the room. It’s really the simple things in life that make for happiness. Sunshine, flowers and fresh air.

Crocheting is going well and am delighted that I made the crocodile stitch bootees (see the last post). They were ‘out for delivery’ in the UK this morning so pretty sure they’re there now. I hope they like them. I have ordered the most gorgeous wool via Amazon – Elann Pippi Longcolors Lite ….  the colour, Hamani, reminds me of scrumpy apples in delicious shades of greens, pinks and crimsons. Can’t wait for it to come and get hooking a pixie hat and another pair of crocodile stitch bootees.

Have a Happy Monday and hope your weather is better than mine.


Flowers for Mum

I dream in paper cuts these days. It always amazes me how pretty the paper looks when the design has been cut out. It’s kind of magical that a thin paper (120gsm) can create something that looks as delicate as lace but has sufficient strength to stay connected and intact.

I started by creating the circular frame then added flowers, leaves and tendrils, etc. –  just didn’t have an idea as to what would be fitting for the space in the middle.

After cutting it out to check it was all connected it came to me! It would be a perfect ‘mum’  gift. Frame it and keep forever (also created a ‘mom’ and ‘mam’ version’).

The template will be posted on Etsy this evening when I have more time but have to dash. Hope you like it.

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