Category Archives: Gardening

English Country Garden

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How many gentle flowers grow
In an English country garden?
I’ll tell you now of some I know
And those I’ll miss I hope you’ll pardon
Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lilly stalks
Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots
In an English country garden.

Nana Mouskouri, remember her singing this?

Globally speaking the biggest selling female artist of all time. As a multi linguist she sold all over Europe, America and Asia. Quite surreal to think of this young woman from Crete singing about native English flowers and gardens. 

This garden is in Cheshire. Very close to home. The Dower house to a big estate, and open annually for charity. I love it here. An oasis of tranquility, adjacent to a beautiful boating lake swamped in yellow lillies, and overlooking a village green opposite a cluster of ancient cottages reserved for estate workers. 

The garden to be absolutely frank, isn’t the most cultivated or colourful or groomed, but I like it for those reasons. The English love a good nosey, and here is the perfect excuse, pay a couple of pounds, wander round the borders and the arboretum, and pretend, just for a short while that you are Lady of The Manor, about to disappear indoors to prepare for dinner, you’ve maybe been out earlier with your trug, collecting rose blooms for the table, not it’s time to break out the pearls and enjoy a glass of chilled champagne in a crystal coupe.

If you’re going to have a dream, have a big one!

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Filed under england, English Countryside, flowers, Gardening, home

Painting with stitches?

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‘Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.’ Quote by D H Lawrence.

Stunning embroidery by renowned artist Alison Holt. Take a look at her website, really interesting work.

Her work is a marvel, at first I thought this recently acquired piece was a painting, but it is in fact stitched. So clever, such talent. Alison’s work is sold for thousands of pounds.

I have this fabulous garden embroidery by her for sale in my shop.

This is a rare, collector’s item, and won’t be around long. I’m very tempted to keep it.

What do you think?

Alison Holt:

“Each piece is a combination of silk painting and stitch. The painting creates depth, perspective and richness to the work and combines effectively with stitch to give detail and texture

I started to explore my love of the countryside, flowers and gardens through the medium of embroidery finding it the perfect vehicle to express the colours, textures and shapes I find so fascinating. I try to combine in my compositions a sense of light and an interesting juxtaposition of colour, shape and texture. I aim to capture moments in time as an artist who has colour, line and texture to play with. I consider myself a painter that uses threads, an artist that draws with a sewing machine.”

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Filed under blossoms, collecting, Craft, fine art, flowers, Gardening, Interior Design, Knitting, life, Lifestyle, love, Musings, painting, Textiles, Vintage

Dream On

 

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My house is currently on the market.

For Sale. On the crest of the housing market boom. In the bubble.

Hubble bubble toil and trouble.

There’s an offer on the table. HOORAH. It’s a paltry offer. BOO.

Meagre. Scanty. It wouldn’t even buy me the chimney stacks on the Old Parsonage. The pretty, perfect Parsonage with its pilasters and pediment, its Flemish bricks and fossil finials. I want to live here. In a real life Doll’s House, with its sexy symmetry and glamorous garden. Why can’t I live here? Why shouldn’t I aspire to neo-classical neatness and Georgian Gorgeousness?

Because, peeps, because I suffer from the joint diseases of  impecuniosity and proletarianism. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon shoved where the sun don’t shine. All I’ll inherit is a very dubious Ercol dining suite. But one can dream, and one can pretend, which is why we ended up at The Old Parsonage in Arley, Cheshire, last Sunday.

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The National Garden Scheme – Yellow Book –  features gardens in the UK not normally open to the public. Perfect if you are nosey like me.

Or like plants.

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Or flowers.

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Or afternoon tea.

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Or quirkiness.

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Or ponds.

 

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Not so perfect if you are moving house and have ridiculous delusions of grandeur. Sitting on the terrace of a garden bulging with begonias and poppies and peonies and roses and putting off the evil hour when you have to leave through the quaint little gate in the quaint little hedge and return to your not so quaint little house on a not so quaint little street in a positively un-quaint Northern Town.

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Dream on.

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June 4, 2014 · 8:05 pm

The Co-operative – here for you for life

I met a lady from far away, whom, whilst showing me her wares, (a cardboard suitcase oozing vintage scarves) whispered I should visit a market in a Northern town.

Two scarves (one polka dot polyester, one lilac silk) and 47 miles later I park here:

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Hope Mill. Or rather Hope Mi.l, according to the sign on the fir green door, not so much dark and satanic as dank and sagging.

The smell was overwhelming, growing stronger as I paced towards the bustle of the Market Hall.

Fish and Chip Shops. Attacking from three different angles. Enough vinegar to pickle the whole town.

Stalls set out in a square grid. Anything from armless Action Men to rampant bronze lions. With a great deal of CD’s, chipped plates and Chinese fakery in between. But it was good. Interesting. Very busy, and shouty. Lots of activity; banter, buying, bartering. I bought. Earrings, cufflinks and two bulbs of smoked garlic. I put back a Losol jug. Which I now regret of course.

It began to rain. I asked a woman with dreadlocks and creamy cappuccino skin to suggest a decent cafe.

And did she:

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The Bear. Deli downstairs, eatery upstairs via a staircase Scarlett O’Hara wouldn’t sniff at. Was once The Co op, when once the Co op stood for Caring and Sharing. Unlike now. Help yourself why don’t you?

Pink lemonade in a silly ballon and celeriac soup in a bowl with basil and bread like this:

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They like their chow in this Northern town. And they’re happy to share it.  The ‘Incredible Edible’ project plants orchards and vegetables in unused spaces around the town. For everyone to partake. Cherry trees in the car park, and flocks of herbs along the canal.

What a marvellous idea. Prettify brown sites, rally a community, eat your greens.

Simple. Cooperative.

 

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April 12, 2014 · 9:21 am