Category: Garden

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

Layabout 2!

 

So Monday’s post was about soft, squishy, adaptable garden chairs and this photo made the prime slot.  But there’s no pattern.  But I don’t think it would be too hard to deconstruct: Two box cushions for the seat, make first.  Two side cushions, once done will give measurements for back cushion. Finish with leather buckles at side and back. I’m sure those with more skill than me can even pipe the edges…I may give that a go!

 

 

This looks like a piece of foam cut to size, versus bean bag beads for stuffing or foam bits. In many ways it’s is a simpler design, but possibly harder on the sewing? Again, I would replace the velcro with the leather straps.

 

 

 

And then there are variations on a theme!


 

As and When I make, I will post again!

 

Laters, Kate x

Layabout x

 

I’ve been exploring garden living, the sort that is lush, soft and forgiving, but then also thinking beyond just summer use to multi-functional, multi-family use…

 

 

What’s interesting is the prices – we’re talking generally from £500 upwards..the same price as armchairs with the wooden structure inside.

 

The set above? £1499 from Maison Du Mode.  I’ve seen the Sewing Bee…this is not hard sewing.

 


 

So I’m thinking maybe I’ll make my own.  And combine the best of what I see.

 

 

I love this design, lay it out and it’s a large, lounging cushion, close the leather straps and it’s a chair.

 

 

Imagine in ticking…

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Or a striking Peruvian weave….

And repurposed in the Children’s rooms during the winter months….

Food for thought.

 

Laters, Kate x

Yin and Yang x

 

 

The good news is my window boxes are the best they’ve ever been….It’s amazing what watering every day will do…

 

 

The bad news is I should’ve taken the picture before I watered them.

 

 

The good news is my climbing rose is chocka with an abundance of buds.

 

 

The bad news: Because of the mild winter, they’re covered in aphids…sad face emoji

 


 

Good news: Charlie and I planted a whole load of seeds.

 

 

Bad news: Three weeks later and I think we’re cultivating weeds.

 

 

Or they’ve died.

 

 

The good news: My plant delivery finally arrived!

 

 

Bad news: Why are they always so much smaller in reality?

 

 

Good news: Finally got the wall painted black.

 

 

Which is a good thing….as it distracts from the newly christened ‘Comb-over’ Tree.

 

 

Bad news:  The husband ‘pruned’ it..it once was the luscious twin to this one climbing the wall..

 

 

The good news: It has a bud!

 

 

Bad news: It’s sorely needed…

 

 

The good news: The garden is becoming a haven.

 


 

The bad news: The barbecue has just collapsed.

 

But the good news? It’s a job for the husband…and might just keep him away from my plants….

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Be Prepared x

 

The news here in London is that the kids are still going to school, but things are very quiet; it’s like the calm before the storm.  Time button down the hatches and prepare.  I’m going to see what garden centres are still open, find seeds, little things that can grow into big things and be nurtured, things that will mark the passing of time in a positive way.

 

 

The other thing on my list is art supplies:  For those already stuck indoors, Carla Sondheim does a series of brilliant art courses that work if you want to invigorate your creative juices, or you’ve never painted or drawn before.  There are both pay for options and free, for adult and children alike.

 

 

Where I can, I’ll be getting all my supplies from independent shops, not Amazon:  If we don’t use them, we’ll lose them.

Laters, Kate x

Blooming Marvellous x

I never like this time of year; the glitter and sparkle of Christmas has been packed away, the weather is cold, grey, rain, the garden is sleeping, the shops are full of unwanted crap, and Netflix has been over eaten to the point of explosion.  But there is a little silver lining, a sliver of what’s to come, the turning of the tide: Indoor bulbs. Now is the time to raid charity shops, find big bowls and fill with your hearts delight.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

The second wave of wonder is, once they’re over, they can be planted in the garden. And the bowls are ready for giant summer salads…

 

Laters, Kate x