Silken pottery

It’s been quiet on here the past week or so, and that’s because I’ve been on a bit of a mission and something had to give. Turns out it was this space which I love, but now the mission is mostly accomplished I’m expecting to catch up with myself, or a least a bit more than i have recently. The mission - more on that on Monday, as it really is quite dull - involved photos and this post is as a direct result of some of the photos I’ve rediscovered.

Some like these, I intended to share here but somehow never got around to it, and others I’ve wondered why I’ve kept, if not why i even took in the first place. But that’s the joys of digital photography, I guess, though I’m pretty sure I’ve some actual photos that fit into the same category!

But anyway, back to today’s post. These photos are shamefully from 2016 and my visit to the London Design Festival, and they are amazing. Well, not the photos, the content.

fragments of pottery covered in silk and sewn together to create pieces of art

They are fragments of pottery covered in silk, and then put together again to reform the original item, or part of the item. And they are exquisite.

brightly coloured materials, exquisite craftwork and a beautiful result

It’s not so obvious with the items above, but the photo below shows the amount of work, and very neat stitching, to cover each fragment. The items fit together again so well, as they’re broken specially to create these beautiful pieces.

An exquisitely created and decorative bowl
the bowl side on
pale lilac flowers and patterned material mixed together

I know that I was totally mesmerised by these, and we spent quite a while speaking to the creator of these. Sadly though, along the way and over the years, I’ve mislaid (or not found again yet) the details of the maker. I wish I had them to hand, because all this time on I still think they’re great, and knowing this now, I’d happily part with some cash (and no doubt a fair amount of it) to own one of these.

Enjoy summertime in the garden this July

Gardening is good for you, but so is spending some time enjoying your garden. Whether that’s starting the day with tea and toast on the patio, relaxing in the shade, dining alfresco or chilling after a busy day at the office. Bright mornings, sunny days and hopefully warm balmy evenings tempt us outside to enjoy a dose of green therapy, boosting our mood and recharging our batteries.

Incorporating spaces to relax, socialise and have fun in our gardens is important, and so’s the furniture we choose. While not many of us will actually have a hammock, I bet when you saw it your first thought was relaxing, the second was probably how on earth am I going to get into that!

July relaxation-2633037.jpg

Plants bring us closer to nature, improving our mood and relieving depression, even taking away aches and pains and speeding up rehabilitation after illness, and improving our mental health. That feeling of wellbeing you get from just being outside comes from a boost of what have colloquially been called ‘outdoorphins’ - it’s no secret that Greenwich Park is one of my happy places.

Plants of the moment for instant colour and displays

There’s plenty of choice at garden centres and nurseries which will add instant colour and impact to our gardens. Many are ready-planted in larger patio pots and hanging baskets that can be put straight outside to enjoy with minimal effort. Often they’re already in bloom too, so there’s instant bonuses, but it also makes them easier to coordinate with our existing plants, and our furniture and accessories.

As well as ornamental plants, don’t forget the pots of tomatoes, chillies and strawberries as well as vegetables, salads, fruits and herbs. There’s nothing better than picking - and eating - crops you’ve grown yourself.

Look for:

  • Bedding plants like Begonia, Verbena, Petunias, Pelargoniums (a favourite of mine), Lobelia, Dahlias and Zinnias.

  • Hardy perennials like Geranium, Echinacea, Phlox, Astrantia (I must buy myself some of these), Salvia, Penstemon, and Heucheras - which is just a great word to say!

  • Shrubs like Hydrangea, Hebe, Choisya, Phormium and Yucca, or perhaps a climbing rose, Clematis, Honeysuckle or Jasmine - and the balmy evenings will really bring out their scent.

  • Fruit and vegetables like Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chillies and Peppers, Squash, salad plants and potted herbs. Tasty as well as bringing colour to your garden.


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Sleepers two ways

For today’s ‘flowers on Friday’ post we’re back in the pavilion at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show making a short stop at the Daisy Roots display. The flowers are in full bloom as you’d expect, but look more closely and you’ll see that the sleepers and their versatility that also shine.

The first is the less common way of using sleepers in gardens, but one that’s effective nonetheless. Standing them on end to form a retaining wall was our original intention for where we eventually ended up placing our gabion seating area. Our change of plan wasn’t because we didn’t like the look, but more because of the amount of work, and digging out, that would be needed. And for us it was the right decision, especially as we now know how many tree roots we’d likely encounter.

upright sleepers holding back the flowers

I think it’s a good look, and an effective way of creating a retaining wall, but I think I’d go for a more level top so that it could more easily double up as an impromptu place to perch. In fact it was the challenge of cutting the sleepers that also put us off, research told us that cutting sleepers wouldn’t be an easy feat. When we installed sleepers in our garden a couple of years ago, where we bought them from also cut them to our measurements for a small fee, which was well worth it.

You’ll remember that it quickly became a favourite spot for a cuppa. And it seems I’m not the only one, as there’s a cup and a book on sleeper bench in the photo below, so now it seems this post really should be titled ‘sleepers three ways!’

sunken sleepers, gravel and calming planting

The second - or perhaps third - way of using sleepers on this stand was as sunken ‘stepping stones’ in this gravel garden. I like the look, but it’s not a way that ever occurred to us for our garden. But it’s a great way to get up close to the flowers isn’t it?