In a vase on Monday: Half way and jug half full

 

 

imageI’m having a much-needed rest day and am home alone today so time for a few photographs and a catch-up post.

image

 

Despite, or more likely because of, all the rain the garden and allotment have never been better. Frogs, toads, hedgehogs and birds (I have a wildlife pond and never use slug pellets at home but have used them sparingly  after transplanting French beans, Florence fennel, basil and  Zinnia “Envy” at the plot) have been taking care of the slugs and snails. Interestingly and in my experience direct sown crops fare much better than transplants. I don’t use mains water on my garden (it goes against my organic credentials  to use drinking water on an ornamental garden)  so in a very dry period my garden can suffer temporarily but it always bounces back when rain falls and this year it has been wonderful to see everything looking so perky and un-stressed.

image.jpeg

For weeks now I’ve been bringing home armfuls of sweet peas, sweet Williams, sweet rocket, anemone, Nigella (a new white one with a pronounced purple centre as well as the ordinary blue), cornflowers, cerinthe and borage from the allotment and my kitchen frequently resembles a flower shop.

I love this time of year. The main strawberry season is over for me but for about a fortnight I was making a couple of jars of strawberry jam every other day. The summer raspberries are now producing enough for two and the ever-bearing strawberries and the red gooseberry bush are just starting to crop. I’ve taken a dozen runners from my strawberry bed and soon I will dig up the exhausted plants, manure and plant  purple sprouting broccoli. The new strawberry plants will be planted in fresh ground in September. The leeks are transplanted,  the garlic is drying, the Charlotte potatoes are delicious and I’m awash with salad leaves. The broad beans are nearly ready and I have little-finger-sized courgettes on my three plants. The French and Borlotti beans are climbing  (I had to start again with the French beans due to slug attack), the basil and Florence fennel have just about recovered from munching molluscs and five blue Kuri squash plants are effectively suppressing weeds as they cover the ground. I even found time to make a couple of bottles of elderflower cordial last week and have been making lemon verbena syrup which makes a delicious gin-based mojito with muddled lime and mint  (recipe in last weekend’s Guardian magazine) which slips down very well.

image

At home the grass is green,  the peonies have been fleeting, the roses are simply beautiful, the scent of philadelphus fills the air and clematis is in bud. Oh, and the pond is brimful and clear and teeming with life with yet another dragonfly currently eclosing on a flag Iris.

image

 

In the last couple of weeks we have been down to the sea several times for easy restorative shoreline walks and I’m finally getting over my bike fall a month ago which shredded my left arm and badly jarred my left shoulder which I normally take good care of due to an ancient torn rotator cuff injury. Unsurprisingly I’ve upset the old scar tissue which I know from experience takes weeks or even months to settle down. Amazingly apart from bruising and grazing to my left hip there wasn’t another mark on me and I know I was very lucky especially as I was coming downhill at speed and wasn’t wearing a helmet. I had a tentative swim last week and my shoulder held up so I hope to be be back to full strength very soon.

It has been an exhausting spring and early summer though. We are almost there with selling the cottage and we can say goodbye to our fortnightly mowing and weeding sessions. I am so glad I blitzed the cottage garden in early spring. I think we spent three long days pruning, weeding and burning but even so we’ve taken boot loads of green waste and other rubbish to the recycling facility and the compost heap is taller than me. Looking after the garden has been fine but it has never felt like mine (just like the cottage itself has never felt like home) and I neither need nor want the responsibility and work that owning a second home entails. Why did I not realise this earlier?  We have done an enormous amount of work in a short space of time and I have learnt so much (not least about myself) but now it is time to regroup, focus on the things that really matter and get on with our real lives. I have to say that my husband, who is not a gardener, has been a complete star and has tackled everything  I’ve thrown at him with aplomb. We definitely had our scary moments during the cottage renovation but we’ve come through it as a team.

Meanwhile our son has graduated (with a 2:1) and is now travelling through India with his newly-graduated girlfriend. He is posting occasional photos so we know all is well. We had a wonderful midsummer day with them both, the one sunny day during an especially wet, cold week, and I felt so positive and optimistic for all the young people graduating and then the Brexit axe fell. I do hope the UK is able to extricate itself from this muddle. We all make mistakes (see above!) but surely for all our sakes this is a decision that could be/should be reversed by parliament?

I’m so pleased to be joining in with Cathy and many other bloggers around the world with my flowers today.  I have been picking and plonking  regularly but have had no time to post lately so it feels good to be here today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday: Half way and jug half full

  1. You have been SO busy Sarah despite your fall and seem to be reaping the rewards. Glad to know that you are very much on the mend and also that the weight of the cottage will soon be off your shoulders – as you say, it a wise person that learns from such experiences. After reading about the elederflower cordial that other bloggers were making last year I was determined to do it myself, but seem to have missed the boat this year… Good to see your lovely green jug again (we have missed it!) with such gentle and comforting blooms

    Like

  2. Gosh your flowers and your embroidery look beautiful. Please can you tell me – where did you get your linen from? I thought I had some and then realised that it is the wrong thread count…the holes are too small!!!
    Thanks Jo.

    Like

    1. Hi Jo, I bought the linen online from sewandso.co.uk. It is 28 count Cashel linen made by Zweigart. It is quite challenging to sew but choosing a light-coloured linen and having good light makes all the difference.

      Like

      1. Thank you, I have placed my order already. I have previously used one of Alicia’s kits, but wanted to avoid the heavy taxation that surprised me last time!

        Like

  3. I’m glad you’re improving after your fall, never a good thing to have to go through. It is true that soil grown crops do better because they don’t produce the tell tail smell that attracts the mollusks

    Like

  4. Summer is SO different in your part of the world – I’d love to have the abundance of flowers and fruit you’re enjoying (although I’m thankful that the horrible heat we experienced in June has abated). I’m sorry to hear of your fall and wish you all the best with your recovery.

    Like

  5. I’m with you on Brexit. 52% is not a mandate for change, and I really believe that far more people want to remain now. Everything is looking absolutely amazing in your garden and down at the plot, you’ve clearly been working really hard. My allotment is a bit of a weedy mess in places, the weeds have really got the better of me this year, but there has still been plenty of produce. I hope your shoulder heals very soon, and that the cottage sale goes through. You’ve been working so hard, you deserve a bit of a rest now I think! CJ xx

    Like

  6. Sounds like you deserved a day off today… lovely vases and I do like the sound of lemon verbena syrup. I have made sorbet in past years and this is a reminder to do that again! Take care of that shoulder Sarah.

    Like

  7. A day off sounds perfect to me. I would very much enjoy that too. Lemon verbena syrup sounds delicious and I like knowing that you’re making jam from your own fruit. My strawberries don’t produce enough for it, sadly, but I did make raspberry jam this weekend from bought fruit. The price was lower than I’ve ever seen it and it seemed like a good idea to strike while the iron was hot. I hope you have a good week ahead, Sarah. Take care of your shoulder too.

    Like

  8. So lovely to find a post from you in my inbox, Sarah. Gosh, it sounds as though you have been extremely busy but your allotment and garden are looking truly wonderful. I love the thought of your kitchen filled with blooms and produce and you sitting there with your feet up sipping a well-earned mojito! Fingers crossed for a speedy resolution to your cottage sale (it sounds as though that was a positive experience even if it was a steep learning curve) and a thorough recovery for your poor shoulder (ouch). Take good care of yourself (please wear a helmet!). Sam x PS Many congratulations to your son. A trip round India sounds fabulous – what an adventure.

    Like

  9. I hope you recover from your injuries soon, the fall sounds horrendous. Your garden and allotment look and sound wonderful and I love the sound of the lemon verbena syrup, especially when it’s part of a mojito. Congratulations to your son, I hope he’s enjoying his well-earned travels. Have a lovely week and hope the cottage sale goes well x

    Like

  10. Firstly many congratulations to your son on getting his degree and now having fabulous travels as a reward. And I’m pleased to read that you’re recovering from your fall; that must have been quite a nasty shock. (I fell off my bike in the Highgate Road over a year ago, split my upper lip, bruised all over and haven’t quite got round to getting back in the saddle yet!) Sounds like you’ve worked hard in the garden and now it’s all paying off, it looks glorious! Thanks also for pointing out the lemon verbena syrup recipe – I never know quite what to do with my plant except smell the leaves!

    Like

  11. Everything looks wonderful plant-wise. I’m very glad an end is in sight for you with the cottage. Experiences are never wasted but I know it had become a source of stress for you. Congrats to your son on his result x

    Like

  12. I love that first picture with the vases of flowers and the needlework and your garden looks bursting with life and productivity. I am having a bit of a battle with mine at the moment. Hopefully the rain will stop soon so I can get out there and get my fingers dirty!

    Like

  13. You have been busy! A shredded arm sounds absolutely ghastly, I do hope everything is healing well now. Well done to your son! What an achievement, you must be terribly proud of him! X

    Like

  14. Congratulations, however belated, to your son!
    And snap on the ghastly Brexit. Our daughter’s graduation at St Andrews was the day of the vote – we were all so happy, and then – crash – the next day. Boris Johnson was at the graduation ceremony – his daughter was in my daughter’s class, hence lots of press photographers and sturdy Fife constabulary. In fact that’s when I ran into the ground with blogging, and haven’t got going again. But gardens and growing remain a blessed constant.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s