In a vase on Monday: The less-travelled path


I am really enjoying this latest blast of crisp frosty weather.  It has been perfect for walking and off-road cycling – a real treat to feel the earth as hard as iron and with beautiful sunrises and sunsets too.  I’m writing a local walks booklet for my village to try and encourage all of us to walk more without getting in our cars first.  So far I have four favourite walks plotted which range in length from two to six miles and have another four walks in my head ready to go but as I think I should have 10 walks for the booklet my plan is to include two longer trails which cross my village for those for whom even a six mile walk is a walk in the park.

Back to my vase today which features a beautiful old brown glazed jug (a lovely Christmas present from my son) of dried material collected while walking on my local chalk downland recently.  The Belted Galloways do a sterling job every autumn of chomping up the grasses and wild flower seedheads but some areas are left for wildlife notably the teasels which are adored by goldfinches at this time of year and in any event are far too prickly to pick.

In the squarish brown dish from the Powder Mill pottery on Dartmoor are this season’s Seville oranges which are now squeezed, sliced and simmering before being bubbled into marmalade.

Looking ahead to the summer I could not resist investing in another bag of anemone corms which seem to thrive in the rich well-drained soil of my sunny allotment. And down at the allotment yesterday I roped in my husband to help prune the Fiesta apple tree which had put on a ridiculous amount of skywards growth last year but produced very little fruit. The previous year it had needed emergency surgery when the main trunk split in two due to a combination of weight of fruit, torrential summer rain and high winds. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that between us we’ve done a good enough job this time and it will crop well again this year. Meanwhile we had a very pleasant stroll around the new winter garden at Wisley (couldn’t detect any scent from any of the newly-planted Witch Hazels despite the warmth of the sun) and we loved watching the ducks skating on the frozen glasshouse lake. I also borrowed Noel Kingsbury’s latest book, ‘New Small Garden’ which is 200pp of inspiration and good ideas.  I have also been researching which new Autumn raspberry to plant at my allotment and have narrowed it down to five canes of Joan J (recommended by Sam and available at my local garden centre) and four canes of Polka (available at Wisley).

And whilst sitting by the fire I am pleased to have learnt how to ‘join as you go’ in crochet. It always looked and sounded so much more complicated than whip stitching together but in fact it is very easy and gives a much more secure finish with far fewer ends to weave in. The motifs are all made with leftover ends of yarn and the joining round is tough Romney Marsh lambswool which I bought direct from the producer last year. This  isn’t going to make a blanket, more of a casual throw for the arm of our nearly 20-year-old sofa. (Our last sofa reached 27-years of age and I was so upset when it was time to say goodbye I’m planning to keep this sofa for as long as possible.)

Oh and I nearly forgot ‘Weatherland’. I’m eking out this wonderful book slowly. It is densely written and thought-provoking and is sending me back to read literature from my bookshelves which I haven’t looked at for decades. It’s also making me think about climate. Literature and history show us that for centuries our weather has always been variable but all evidence points to the fact that we are reaching a critical point now when unless action is taken our children will see the last of the weather we have been fortunate to enjoy. Our temperate climate which has endured since the ending of the last Ice Age some 11,000 years ago is changing and either there will be substantial changes in the way we live or there will be substantial changes in our climate which will in turn necessitate new ways of living.

Joining in with Cathy with my vase on Monday. Please visit Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden where you will find links to many more home-grown or foraged vases, with ne’er a forced supermarket daffodil or tulip in sight.





11 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday: The less-travelled path

  1. What a lovely post. The colour of that Romney Marsh lambswool is absolutely gorgeous, the throw is going to be beautiful. Love the idea of joining as you go as well, clever. I am very attached to my aged sofa as well. It is much mended. I would rather have it re-stuffed and re-covered than buy a new one I think. Although neither is in the budget so I shall just keep mending! Well done on the local walks booklet. I love such things, have a big pile of them in fact. We’ve discovered some absolutely beautiful walks. A pretty winter arrangement and a perfect jug to put them in. It’s nice to dream of summer at this time of year isn’t it. Wishing you a good week. CJ xx


  2. On Wednesday I have a post about a Hygge book that I have read, well, I have to say that reading your post gave me just the same comforted, safe and welcome feeling! So delightful to read and to look at too! Your blog is always a delight and this post was just perfect!


  3. Yes, what a lovely post to be sharing with us, not just a Vase on Monday but a general feel-good post, full of comforting things. Hopefully that means you are feeling good and comfortable?


  4. What a lovely tableaux. And lucky you to have a winter walk at Wisley in such gorgeous weather (I still remember the exact spot I first caught a whiff of Daphne bholua!). The beds near the glasshouse look gorgeous in the winter sun. You sound content, Sarah, which is a pleasure to read. I hope you are. x


  5. I love everything about this post Sarah! Your vase is lovely in the setting with the oranges and the pretty crochet… join as you go is something on my list to learn too. Enjoy your walks – it certainly looks as if you have had fine weather for them recently with that gorgeous blue sky!


  6. This is a beautiful wintery still life, Sarah, and I love the idea of a walking booklet. It’s true, those crisp days have their own magic and I’m glad it’s not as wet as usual. There’s so much to cherish out there, it’s up to us to see it. Have a good week 🙂


  7. A lovely post, it is inspiring how you celebrate winter. I have been cycling a lot too, it is remarkably addictive, specially if you throw in a beautiful old church and a pub. I envy you your walk at Wisley.


  8. I’ve planted lots of new anemones too. Hoping to get a good show from them. Love the idea of cranges bubbling into marmalade. Your walk booklet sounds brilliant, I bet the village will be very pleased to have that to hand, what a great idea.


  9. Like you I was disappointed not to be able to smell the witch hazel at Kew on my last visit. It was in full flower and in full sun but nothing. I often find that honeysuckle is scent free too and feel very cheated. We love seeing the Belted Galloways in Hastings Country Park. They usually come over to us.


  10. I adore the muted colours of your crochet, Sarah – I must look up how to join as you go as the darning in thing gets a bit tedious after a while, especially on a big blanket! Your picture of anemones caught my eye as I inherited a beautiful original watercolour of anemones from my mother’s house before christmas; I look at it every day and love it so much. I planted lots of anemones up at the alloment in November and more in containers in the gardens here – it’s lovely to look forward to spring and summer colour although we don’t do too badly in winter. I hope to get to Wisley on the next clear bright day, I love their winter walk, so vibrant! Caro xx


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