My garden in March

March has been a funny month. It’s had all the seasons and some, and as I saw on Facebook earlier in the week “we’ve had a good winter this spring!” How true is that? I’m hoping that the weather remembers it should be getting warmer soon. Although yesterday was the first time that I’ve got caught in one of the showers, rain, hail or otherwise. It hardly makes sense when looking at the photo below.

blue skies through the trellis

As a consequence we’ve done very little gardening. The grass has had its first cut, a week or so ago and it looks better for it. At the rear of the garden the grass needs some work as something’s been digging out there. I don’t think it’s the foxes, but I do need to put a battery in the fox scarer just in case. It’s more likely to be the squirrels. MOH is convinced they dig the lawn just to annoy him, I nod sagely at this point and then more often than not draw his attention to the latest squirrel workforce in the garden. And to think at one point we used to feed them, but no more - maybe that’s why?!

A euphorbia in the leaves

The euphorbias with their lime green fresh ‘flowers’ are in full flow, following shortly behind the ‘elephants ears’ whose cheery pink flowers have all but gone. The euphorbia above has made a dash for a new location, which I’m rather pleased about. It’s alongside the fence which is nearest to the conservatory, and it’s hard to grow anything there as the soil is so poor. So even if I wasn’t happy about it migrating there (and I am) I think I’d have to let it grow for pluck alone.

On the other side of the patio among the jasmine twigs there’s signs of new life for the clematis and the climbing rose, although I think I’m going to have to get brave and prune the clematis this year as all the growth is pretty much at the top of the fence. I learnt how to prune roses last year, so it’s perfectly doable, just a bit scary when you make the cut.

new growth on my clematis

The grape hyacinths have also been and gone, as have the orangey-red flowers of the ornamental quince. We’ve only really enjoyed these through the windows this year, which is a shame.

a grape hyacinth in the spring sun

The hellebores at the end of the garden seem to have a bit more staying power. I had a wander to the greenhouse this last weekend and they were still blushing away in the shy way that only hellebores can. They clearly like where they are and I’m hopeful that there’ll be plenty of new plants for next year too. It’d be good to move some of them to a different part of the garden, but then again they’re thriving here so it’s a case of finding another spot they like. Planting some into a pot, might help find somewhere they like.

hellebores at the end of the garden

The forget-me-nots are starting their annual spring march. They’re not ones to observe boundaries, as you can see from the various bunches below which have already hopped over the border and into the grass. They will have to face the wrath of MOH and the lawnmower, and I don’t fancy their chances. They are pretty flowers, but we have so many that like ivy, these are allowed to be removed at any opportunity.

the march of the forget-me-nots

What does seem to be lasting longer than usual is the forsythia. Ours is still flowering, perhaps not as much as this, but it’s still obviously yellow. I was expecting to be able to cut this already, but the forsythia - and the weather - had other ideas.

looking up into the forsythia

This one is due quite a heavy trim. It’s shape is just about still there, and now I have my new ladder there’ll be nothing to stop me. It just needs to stop flowering first. Further down the garden the cherry tree is further along than this photo suggests, but I couldn’t resist sharing the cherry blossom when it’s in its brussels sprout stage.

cherry blossom buds

And don’t mention the impending trim to the forsythia. While I’m sure it knows its coming, what it probably doesn’t know is that all winter it’s been harbouring and shelter my partner in crime.

forsythia, a ladder and the spikiest of spiky plants

It’s not all one-sided though, I’m pretty sure the yucca - which is the spikiest of spiky plants - will give me a prod or two as I retrieve the ladder, trim the forsythia and clear up. It’s pretty persistent!

Reflecting on my week #78

I ended last week’s post saying that I might be in the market for a pouffe, and while that was tongue in cheek, I think it might not be such a bad idea.  I had some good news at the doctors last week; my vitamin D which had been scarce back in December has hung around following that course of tablets, and I’m back in the normal range.  The recent blood tests also showed that whatever is making my hips ache, isn’t polymyalgia - which having read up on the symptoms, I was never convinced about.  But it’s not that, which is good news.

The less good news is that I still have the hip pain.  And so after trying to explain how and why, and if anything I was doing could be causing it (I don’t think it is), and the doctor moving my legs around in all kinds of ways, and in some ways I had forgotten they could move, he thinks the joints and the areas around them are inflamed.  So now I have a course of anti-inflammatories which he hopes will knock it on the head.  He’s not the only one!

The trouble is any tablets only work if you actually take them, the hardest thing seems to be remembering to take them three times a day.  Luckily they’re to be taken with or after food, so that’s less of a problem.  Imagine if they had to be taken before food, I’d really be struggling.  As it is, I’m jumping up about 30 mins after I’ve eaten and once I’ve remembered, hopefully it’ll become more usual before the course ends  

I hope they will do the job, and my hips will be on the mend, as in unrelated news we’ve booked a walking holiday.  This might not be the most obvious choice for someone with aching hips, but as I regularly walk 4 miles and 10,000 steps plus on weekdays, it’s not such a leap of faith. The longest walk day, and an optional one I think is 18.5km, so about three times as far as I’d normally walk. But when you’ve got the whole day to do it, and are enjoying the scenery along the way it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  I hope.

And I’ll finally get to Lisbon.  I think everyone else in my family has been, and said how good it is, and yet I’d still not been.  We almost got there, but it was too tricky to tag onto our Porto and the Douro Valley trip.  We’ve had a few holidays in Portugal, we’ve been to the Alentejo region a couple of times too, so it's a favourite of ours, and I have high hopes.

I’ve also finished my crochet basket made from old t-shirts, it took about twelve in the end, but is a big basket. I think it looks much better in real life than in this photo, and I’m happy with how it turned out as it was a bit of a “suck it and see” project.

A completed crochet basket made from around 12 old t shirts

The lumpy bits you can see in the photos are the seams of the t-shirts, and I think add character.  Of course, if you were using bought t-shirt yarn you wouldn’t have this.  But you’d also have about 12 t-shirts too!

I’ve just watched the recycling challenge on the Sewing Bee (don’t tell me who won, I’m still behind - although I think I might not be surprised when I do find out!), and I was shocked to hear how much unwanted clothes go into landfill.  I can’t remember the exact amount, and daren't google it in case I stumble across the winner, but it was a shocking amount, and an amount that my twelve t-shirts will hardly make a dent in, but every little helps right?

it fits well into the cubby hole in the wardrobe

It fits well into the cubbyhole of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too, and was quickly full of some of my vintage crockery which had previously been in much shallower storage which didn’t make good use of the space. 

The basket is stretchier than I anticipated, but it’s doing a good job of holding things together. I’ve plenty more old t-shirts and will be making more, but not just yet as I’m keen to get back to my Vintage Sweetheart blanket, and make some progress with that. It’s good to start new projects, but it’s even better to finish some of the ones you’ve started! 

Looking ahead to this week, I’ve some time away from work on Wednesday as I’m off to brunch with Heston Blumenthal, like you do. The event is to celebrate Everdure by Heston and the launch of the 4K, which the invite says “is the next innovation in outdoor cooking” - it sounds interesting, and I’m sure I’ll share more here - and on my instagram stories on the day - when I know more.

Floral thrones, of course

Prepare to be amazed. And potentially a little bit bemused. This post will show you flower arranging at its greatest, quite where the inspiration comes for these fabulous creations I’m not sure, but it was great to wander amongst them and admire them in the Pavilion at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

A row of floral thrones at the 2018 chelsea flower show
hearts and crowns on this floral throne from RHS Chelsea 2018

I like the yellows and purples of the one above, as well as its heart-shaped addition at the top of the back. Imagine if you were to sit on this (and I’m not sure I’d advise that) the heart would be just above your crown, because of course you’d have to be wearing a crown, wouldn’t you? In fact the one below, has an evergreen crown woven into its bold design.

bright yellows, oranges and pinks on this floral throne at rhs chelsea

What is amazing is the variations among them. The flamboyance and the variety of colours and approaches used. The one below has a more practical solution for its occupant to avoid a flower squishing situation, although I’m not convinced it would be any more comfortable.

pink flowers of almost every type in this floral throne

I remember being amazed at the number of entries, and while the theme was floral thrones, the armchair version was a favourite.

More of an armchair covered in flowers than a throne
A canopied throne at the Chelsea Flower Show

The canopied version was much more regal, and I loved the colours of its flowers.

Pastel blooms for the final floral throne from last year's chelsea flower show

And it just goes to show that with a few logs from the garden and plenty of imagination, we all could have something just as spectacular, although in my case I think I’d settle for colourful as I’m not sure I could match any of this magnificence.

Hands up, whose garden will be supporting a floral throne this summer?