Category: Garden

Going Green x

 

 

In London we’ve had a ten plus degree drop in the weather with gales and heavy rain predicted for today, though as I write this, the sun is trying to come out.  Nope. Gone. Like the dew in the morn and my hope for an end to all this. But it’s almost time to put away the garden for the winter, which I think also means thinking about how to bring the green inside.  This pot from Garden Trading hits the sweet spot with it’s short little legs and gorgeous retro green.  In fact, all their pots are eye catching and extremely good value, ranging from £5 to £18 – they’re also going on my virtual present list too, because who wouldn’t want to be gifted something so edible, awesome and cute?

 

(Pinterest and Garden Trading)

 

And just look at them hanging out as a group? Who needs a social life!

Laters, Kate x

 

Summer holidays: Pine cones, roses, lazy days, lemon sherberts, tottering piles of books, picnics, Victoria sponge cake, tartan rugs, muddy wellingtons,  damp anoraks, salads, less but more, pots of tea, lashings of ginger beer, board games, walking, running, caring, but not caring, watching, listening, breathing. All summed up in this tiny cottage in Scotland that says come to me with it’s open arms of nostalgia and the warm embrace of simpler times.

 

(All pics House and Garden and Pinterest)

This is the joy of summer.

Laters, Kate x

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Waterworks x

 

For the last week, autumn decided to roll into London instead of July: Grey, swollen clouds, heavy rain, a significant drop in temperature and most surprisingly, strong, bough wrenching winds.  They say Thursday will mark the change back to summer again. I hope so.  I would like some more summertime in the garden, particularly now we have a water feature.

 

 

(All pics Pinterest and Outdoorliving)

 

This is ours, hidden in the lavender.  We wanted moving water to cool the air on really hot days. And it helps that the birds are delighted with our choice, particularly Mr Robin.

 

Fingers crossed the sun will be back at the end of this week.

Laters, Kate x

Designed x

 

It’s taken longer than I ever anticipated, but I’ve finally finished the design for the pod; there’s such a freedom to be able to design something for yourself, but when, barring council restrictions and budget, the sky is the limit, choices can be overwhelming.  But bit by bit, by concentrating on what is allowed and what would benefit the space available, I think I’ve got there.  The main inspiration is this garden studio above – I love the simple shape, but there’s also beautiful and subtle detailing that suitably elevates and adds vital character.

 

 

I would love to have the more elongated, pagoda style roof, but the width of our garden won’t allow it.  But there will be a hint.  Unlike the inspiration, we will have a green roof and I hope to encourage plants both to grow up and hang down.  The driving consideration behind the design is because we don’t have a panoramic view to frame, why not go with private, enclosed, quiet and chapel like?  A secret, hidden space for gently moving light and contemplation. So the doors will be Georgian panels, the overhang shaded and the design understated.

 

 

The plan is for planting to cover and encroach, from the sides, from above, from below and even inside the overhang, to create a blur between garden and building.

 

 

The overhang will also protect from the sun and act as a privacy screen.  In ours will be fitted the salvaged stained glass panels, to cast colours and patterns and draw people out.

 

 

The whole building will be painted a bronzey brown as a foil to the plants and to visually push it back into it’s environment.

 

 

The overhang will be wide enough to contain a swing chair positioned to catch the last of the evening light. And if space allows, I would love a dramatic porch light.

 

Now for the inside….

Laters, Kate x

Windows x

 

Ebay is not a safe place for me at the best of times, but now with an official project – let me write that again with capital, authoritative letters – Official Project – as my cover, it is very dangerous; our kitchen is beginning to look like a reclamation yard.  But oh, the pleasure! These are the stained glass panels I have snaffled – genuine Victorian, everything between £50 – £60 (which I think is good value, though they do  need work). I have visions of them over the doors, at the back of the pod, even in the apex space between the roof. Who knows where their final resting place/places  will be, but I am loving the colours – the pale pinks, the greens and then the contrast of the strong blues and reds. I can imagine sitting on something comfy with a cup of tea, looking at the garden, with the late afternoon light sliding through making patterns on the floor. The real bonus was finding painted centres as well – look! A duck!!


 

(little cough..I have three of these…all slightly different. All insanely gorgeous)

 

 

This is possibly my favourite – a caterpillar! Such a great metaphor for life, the universe and everything…

 

 

Little glowing bits of handmade, re-cycled, re-loved heaven.

Now for the lights…..hehe

 

Laters, Kate x

Blooming Marvellous x

 

We may be in the midst of a global crisis, but nobody has told my window boxes.  They’ve had more love and care than ever before and are responding with abundant height, growth, width and blooms.

 

 

There is one cuckoo in the nest; I fear I’ve been cultivating a weed – I thought this plant was a white geranium as it’s first leaves were the same shape and I knew  I’d planted some in the area.

 

 

But now there’s a clear distinction.  I’ve left it a while to see if a flower would bloom – surely a weed is a flower by any other name? I had hopes it might be a foxglove, the seed dropped by a bird, said my romantic heart. But I know it’s a triffid and must go.

 

 

On the good news front, the combover tree is proudly displaying the first signs of bum fluff.

 

 

 

But whilst some things, like my garden are benefitting, other areas of the world are facing peril: ‘If the Coronavirus doesn’t kill my workers, then starvation will’ says a factory owner in Bangladesh. A quote that greets you on the first page of Lost Stock.  

Lost Stock was set up by Cally Russell, the founder of fashion shopping too Mallzee. It allows shoppers to buy a mystery box of clothing directly from the manufacturers, with almost 40% of the proceeds of each box donated to Bangladesh through a non-profit organisation based in the country.  This is enough to feed a Bangladeshi family for a week.

 

 

A Lost Stock Box costs £35 plus £3.99 postage and will contain at least three tops with a recommended retail price of £70. It will take time to arrive – between 6-8 weeks, but I think that’s a small price to pay.

 

In total, an estimated £10bn of clothing has piled up in warehouses during lockdown, much of it destined for landfill, layering crisis upon crisis. This seems a simple solution to help where help is most needed.

 

Where do I sign?

 

Laters, Kate x

Feathered Friends x

 

I’m not sure if we’re in lockdown in London any more, maybe it’s a strange transition period, like wondering what to wear between seasons?  Because, despite the rhetoric, nothing has really changed for us; we’re still spending the majority of time in the house or garden.

 

 

But it gives me the time to salute some of my heroes of the past couple of months: The birds…their activity – the magpies that make me laugh, their song – we have a particularly vocal blackbird, their curiosity – yes, I’m speaking to you, unafraid Robin who watches me just a foot away when I’m gardening, the stories they tell – I’m gazing at nearly arrived swallows from my desk heralding the start of summer, and just their continual zest for life: nothing fazes them.

 

 

This post celebrates the inventive, simple but attractive ways we can introduce more of their joy into our lives.


(All pics Pinterest)

 

Which will hopefully lay down strong foundations to repay their gift and help them through the colder winter months.

 

A circle of life I value.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Roses are pink..

 

I think today is meant to be a day of celebration – we are officially out of strict lockdown in London, except nobody knows quite what that means.  I read today that you can have a conversation with one person you know outside, but not meet my mother. Five year olds in a class will have to maintain a 2 metre distance when they go back in June – if they go back, and the one I love – I can drive a car with another stranger, if the windows are down!  My delight is the garden centres re-opening; I have plans for window boxes and filler plants I need.  This week my roses started to bloom! And with the air so clear at the moment, if the back door is open, even when walking down the staircase to the kitchen, I can smell them.

 

 

 

 

Blasting the roses with water has worked a treat re the aphids – thank you! A very eco friendly solution.  And it has the added bonus of rainbows when the sun is out.

 

 

One of my favourite combinations – this pink rose against the dark leaves of the smoke bush.

 

 

There were some casualties from the gale like winds of the past few days; the trachelospermem jasminoides (hark me!), the full grown version of the comb-over tree, has been pulled off it’s wall, and the wind did it’s best to destroy my seedlings, sending the ones in the egg box flying. I thought they were goners.


 

But I found the survivors, replanted, and they’re now in my study, by the window, being regularly watered from an re-used wine bottle, and are quite frankly  thriving.  The only problem is I had two varieties of plant, one in the lid, one in the main section..and now they’re all muddled.  But I’m sure time will tell…as it always does.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Laundry Life x

 

The weather has changed. A strong wind is blowing in from the north, dropping the temperature by ten degrees plus.  As I look out of my study window there’s still enough blue to patch a Dutchman’s trousers, but the heavy grey clouds look like they could gather and coalesce at any moment.  Now half is dark, fast moving cloud, the rest blue.  The clouds are being chased away.  But there’s more behind.  Would you put your washing out today?

 

 

There’s something inescapably romantic about clothes on a washing line

like the playing cards of a family laid out for all to see.

 

 

Fresh air whipping the wet into submission.

 

 

The downside can be rust marks from wooden pegs, lack of flexibility from solid wooden pegs, and brittle plastic pegs that age and snap.  Hence the joy of these babies by Pincinox: Stainless steel, designed for life, packaged with care and vintage love.

 

(All pics Pinterest and Pincinox)

 

Made in France, but buy now and the shipping to the UK is free.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Le weekend x

 

With the lockdown starting to fray, we wanted the kids to experience the stillness of London before it’s officially bubbling again, so we biked through the virtually empty roads all the way to Trafalgar Square, a 20 km round route (I have saddle arse to prove it).  The only thing to interrupt our peace were the all the gear, no fear mamil brigade, the blinkers of self-interest firmly down.  I saw three almost accidents, their speed seemingly taking precedent over a slower decision maker ahead.  Given the freedom of the roads, the nature of the situation, it felt greedy and uncalled for.

 

 

Trafalgar Square felt like a movie set from a post apocalyptical film.  It wasn’t just that there were no people there, the pigeons had left as well.

 


 

The weather wasn’t great, so I painted inside.  Since completing Carla Sonheim’s online class on flower portraits, I’ve become obsessed with painting all things plant.

 

 

 

I think I want to do a proper painting, a large one:  The dark filtered light down below, the open sky above.

 

Can’t for the life of me think what it represents…

 

Laters, Kate x