This week I have …

Started  a new project, a canvas embroidery for a Victorian stool. I’m adapting an Elizabeth Bradley charted design and hope to complete it using wool from my hoard.

Made rhubarb and almond cake flavoured with orange zest, my own recipe. I was going to make rhubarb shortbread which has featured on a few blogs lately but when I looked up the recipe I saw that I didn’t have all the ingredients so stuck to the tried and trusted. The plate is from a Wedgwood tea set from the 1950s.

Referenced a garden blogger’s tools many times.

Made a fabric covered lampshade, instructions courtesy of Kristen at Cozy Made Things. I was intending to buy a new lampshade so was very happy to cover the old one with a piece of fabric from my hoard. We also finished decorating our smallest and yellowest bedroom (last decorated in 1995) using Little Greene paint in Pearl 100. The application and coverage (especially when over-painting yellow) was excellent. Last year our pale yellow study needed three coats of Farrow & Ball in Shaded White to cover the yellow, this bedroom needed only two coats.

Bought a skein of wool for a summer shawl. The colour is called Rambling Rose.

Walked beside Early-purple orchids (Orchis mascula) growing beside an ancient track on Ebernoe Common in Sussex.

Admired the freshness and neatness of Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), one of  my favourite wildflowers.

Enjoyed putting together my first Monday vase, still looking beautiful.

And picked lots of asparagus from the allotment. On Friday I cut 48 spears. I planted 25 crowns over two years in 2003 and 2004 and prepared the bed thoroughly. Since then this has been one of the most productive and easiest to manage areas of the allotment. I keep the bed very well weeded from Easter onwards and usually start picking from mid-April. I continue harvesting until the longest day and then apply a thin layer of very well-rotted horse manure. The fronds grow to about 5-6 feet which prevents too much weed growth and it is these shoots which feed the roots for the following year. In November I cut everything down to the ground, weed once and leave until the following Easter. I have never fed or watered my asparagus bed, and it goes without saying that I would never apply pesticide or herbicide to anything I was going to eat.  If I see the odd asparagus beetle during the summer months I may squish it between my fingers but more often than not I live and let live.

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