Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where has my garden gone?

Hiding under a very thick quilt of wet snow! Well - it is Winter right enough, but I can't remember it snowing so heavily and so early for a long long time.  We have been blanketed for over 2 weeks now and more is falling just now, so it is a winter wonderland out there.  I last ventured down to the leek bed, which is a the very bottom of the plot this year, on Sunday and this is how it looked.  I made do with an onion from the store instead :)

Everything seems just bowed over with the weight  - like this Tuscan Black Kale.

We've all been sagging a bit - Christmas is over and the week long wait for the Ne'erday seems to drag on - especially when we've all been at home and mostly confined to the house. Still - Hogmanay tomorrow, and my sister and one of my nephews arived over from Canada today.  To them, this is like springtime - they have left ice storms and horrendously low temperatures that i can't really imagine - even if i could convert Farenheit to Centigrade.

My soft fruit order was delivered on Christmas Eve, which was very convenient (not) and has been sulking in the greenhouse waiting to be planted.  I have 12 Autumn bliss and 3 Autumn gold raspberry canes (i really want to make a two coloured raspberry tart next year), 3 more blueberry bushes, 1 blackberry (or bramble as we call them here), 1 cranberry and 1 lingonberry - which is a Scandinavian berry similar to a cranberry.  I only really know it from that strange soft drink tap in the Ikea restaurant which everone ignores - but - nothing ventured.. as they say.
Many blessings to you all for a fruitful New Year xxx

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow birds

This snowy weather has really brought the birds into the garden and we have had great fun watching their antics. Starlings are funny - one flies into the tree, then another couple follow and another then one more joins them and they all fly off.  What was the conversation?

The water bowl  is popular (yes there is one).



Seeds and suet balls go down well too.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone. Hope to be back in the garden next week xx

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feed the birds - but not with other birds!

Right then - where has she put the water dish today?


Oh - see it now buried behind that snowpile.

Ah - that's better!

Please remember to leave some fresh water out for the birds in this weather - and check out this information about Christmas feeding from the RSPB.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter wreath and Solstice Visitor

I made another wreath especially for the Solstice.

And a visitor arrived in the garden, but she didn't want to come in, so we smiled at each other through the window.
Solstice Blessings.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today's flowers - very orange.

As the snow covered the land, I despaired of finding a bloom to share with you.  I came home this afternoon - darkness already moving in - hands and feet frozen -  and this glowing orange head popped up in the hanging basket and shouted 'Hello!'  So here she is - a reminder that the sun will soon be on it's way back.
See lots more beautiful flowers from all over the world at Today's Flowers.  Join in and fill the earth with flowers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Homemade cards and paper

 We made our own Christmas cards this year.  I was amazed at how easy and fun it was,and I didn't have to buy anything - just used what we had in the craft drawer. I am quite pleased with the results too.  I have a friend who makes her own cards and she has turned her spare room into a card making room - filled with all sorts of equipment and gadgetry.  Her cards are beautiful, but so professional looking that you would never know they were handmade.  I don't think anyone will be fooled by ours, but that is really the point of the excercise. Handmade with love.
Mind you, James loved my friend's card to us so much he has hidden it under his pillow. 

We did some more leaf print paper.  I abandoned the potato printing as I couldn't manage to carve a shape that was recogniseable.  This was easy though.  I had collected some leaves from the hydrangeas and flowering cherry a couple of weeks ago and pressed them in a big book for a few days to flatten them and dry them out a wee bit.  We used a ready mixed bronze metallic craft paint from horrible Tesco which we squirted into a shallow dish, coated the leaves and then pressed them onto the paper.  The back of the leaf gave the best print, and I had to thin the paint down a tiny bit.  It also helped to put extra paint on the ribs of the leaf with a brush to give them more prominence.  Just messing around with paints really - try things out on a scrap bit paper first to get the effect you like. When you are done, the leaves have a lovely gilded effect and can be dried and used as other decorations.  We glued some on to card and made gift tags.  The paper has gone down really well with folk.  I have given a couple of presents already and both times more has been said about the paper than the gift inside!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Here come the girls...

Those bold brassy Pizza girls.  Every time I go into the garden they come marching after me in a most determined fahion. - reminding me of the great song by Ernie K Doe..

They had noticed me heading down to the leek bed with my fork, and didn't want to miss out on the chance of a free lunch.. They are called the Pizza Girls because when we got this current group of ladies earliers in the year, James decided to call his one Pizza - his obsession at the time.  We could nver work out which one it actually was, so they all became Pizzas

Anyway -  to warm us up a bit -here is the title song.  Hairbrushes at the ready now...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Skywatch - December sunset

Sunset sky through the trees opposite my house on Sunday.

Please visit Skywatch for more beautiful sky pictures.

Snow Brothers

James loves to play out in the snow

but he loves it even more when his big brother is at home.

 Mind you, big brother was first out when the snow started to fall

and they've already used it up!
Never mind - lots more has fallen since then, so a nice big snowman may join us tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today's flowers - Hydrangea in winter

I still have a few blooms decaying gracefully on my hydrangea plant in the garden.  I love this flower and it gives me so much throughout the year.  It is a stunning sight in the summer when it is in full bloom.  It provides wonderful cut flowers fresh for the table, or dried for decorations and Christmas wreaths.  The leaves are great for using to decorate a cheesboard (thank you Ina) or for pressing to use in leaf print pictures and making wrapping paper. As the autumn and winter draw on, the colour of the florets fade from bright blue and mauve to a dark pink, then winey red before turning a rosy brown.  A delicate edging of frost highlights their shape here.
Visit Today's Flowers for a world full of colour.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Wreaths

I've made a couple of Christmas wreaths from dried hydrangea flowers.  I attached lots of ivy to a wire base, added my flowers and then finished off with little bunches of hypericum berries.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Leaf print paper

We did some leaf printing with hydrangea and flowering cherry leaves, to make gift wrap from brown paper. I was reasonably pleased with the result, so we will have a go at some good old fashioned potato prints next.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today's flowers - Catkins

It's getting harder to find any blooms out and about now, as Winter closes in.  I did come across these catkins in an Edinburgh garden a fortnight ago..  I am fairly sure they are immature male alder catkins, but I was in a bit of a hurry and I neglected to take a leaf sample to check out against my tree spotting book. Could be birch, but as it is the same family I won't worry too much.  If anyone can identify them for sure then I would be grateful.
Technically the male catkin is a flower cluster with no petals and they pollinate the female flowers by wind dispersal.  They look like caterpillars hanging on to that twig, but by spring they should be laden with pollen and ready to do their stuff - something to look forward to!
See more flowers from all the world's seasons at Todays Flowers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Wedding

We had a wonderful trip down south to a family wedding.  It was held at The Vyne - a very interesting National Trust property dating from the 16th Century.  It was a bright, freezing cold day, but as you can see, James, being a hardy Scot was quite happy running around the gardens in his kilt and shirtsleeves.

Although there are over 1000 acres of park, wood and wetlands on this estate, we didn't get much opportunity to look around - the high heels were a bit of a hindrance on the soft ground.  Next time we go down to visit, however, a day out here is a must.
I also didn't really manage to take many photographs - too busy catching up with folk and running around after a certain kilted boy.  Here are some quite nice ones though -

 The groom is nervous..

..but all was well in the end and handsome Craig married the beautiful Kirsty.  We wish them every happiness.

And then we partied on into the night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heading south

To our nephew's wedding in Hampshire.  Staying with my sister-in law and her husband near Oxford for a few days then we all travel down to the celebration together.  I am so looking forward to seeing everyone again.  Back next week hopefully with a full camera.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bramble Pie

After reading a story about a woodland picnic with his Dad today, James asked if we could have bramble pie.  He was rather impressed with the illustration in the book.  Luckily I had a small tub of brambles, (or blackberries) stashed in the freezer from a foraging trip in September.  I eked them out with some wonderful locally grown organic pears  and was very happy with the result.  So was James - he had 3 slices!  Local, organic and the brambles were free - how bad can that be?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bringing the garden in

Faded hydrangea blooms to dry for a Christmas wreath - burgundy dogwood stems for our winter table display and a few leaves to press and use for printing cards and wrapping paper.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today's flowers - birthday rose

A gorgeous orange rose from the birthday bouquet I received from my elder son yesterday.
See more beautiful flowers of the world at Today's Flowers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today's flowers - winter pansy

Winter pansy (Halloween) looks down from my hanging basket.
See flowers of all seasons at Today's Flowers.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

More frosting

We had more frost at the beginning of the week.  Monday morning I think this was - it's been a busy few days. A fine dusting of silver on the plot.

I love the details that are picked out by frost.  It just seems to add another dimension to this  fallen leaf.

Or some fine lace edging to this Pentland Brig kale.

Black Tuscan kale gets a more pearly makeover

And the leeks go for the full diamonte effect.

Even the humble pineapple weed shows her delicate filigree off  with a touch of frost.


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