Monday, 22 January 2018

"The Stitchery"

I first started blogging as a means to update family who I do not see very often and friends who had moved to sunnier climes. A diary / newsletter of progress of the renovation work and life in general at La Petite Maison along with my soap creations. 


That chapter of the renovations was at long last thankfully completed some time ago

and my soaping enterprise that I struggled to devote sufficient time to fully developing has diversified and has now begun to encompass my stitching creations.

Summer Meadow


Wildflowers

This month I commenced an exciting new project called, 

“The Stitchery,”


where on a month by month basis I will work on improving my stitching ability with the help of the very talented Nicki - (the creativity behind "The Stitchery.")


This months embroidery pattern was a wreath containing dried hydrangeas, pepper berries, snowberries and foliage, to be stitched onto the vintage linen with a combination of French Knots, Fly Stitch, Stem Stitch and Lazy Daisy Stitch.


The design was different from any of the embroidery that I have done before, but I enjoyed the intricacy of the stitches. 



I personalised the design slightly by stitching into the centre of the wreath


 a dried Larkspur flower and some Marjoram.

Next months eagerly awaited design is still under wraps, but before it arrives, I have several other pictures waiting to be transferred into stitch. I must confess that this is a very addictive past-time and it is all too easy to become so engrossed that several hours have slipped by unnoticed. 

It is just as well the renovating is finished - I would never be able to fit it in between all this embroidery!

xxx

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A Year in The Garden

Another year is almost over. December is ending with a chill in the air, and it is hard to recall that only a few months ago the sun was shining and the garden was in full bloom.

The sweet smelling roses that clothe the outside the back of the house bloomed prolifically.



Gertrude Jekyll


and Mary Rose, 


 entwined with Honeysuckle outside the French Windows and underplanted with Lavender.


The old cottage climbing rose 'Old Blush" had scrambled to the top of the pergola and flowered vigorously for the first part of the summer and then stopped, until a few weeks ago when the cold weather arrived and a few pink roses suddenly appeared as a contrast against the white snow.


The herbaceous border in the centre of the garden was a tapestry of colour,


but I realised that the white border should not be called "white" as the flowers do not really look very white;


the Cornus Kousa Aurora has pale green bracts that turn cream before fading to white,


the heads of the hydrangea Annabelle range from shades of lime green through to white,


and the Verbascum was a beacon to the Bees due to the splodges of bright orange pollen in the centre of the creamy white flowers.


Another first time bloomer this year was the evergreen clematis - Wisley Cream.


The beautiful rose Boule De Neige is most definitely a pure white rose but its buds are tinged with pink.


A white hydrangea in a pot has blooms that start as lime green in colour before turning white and then fade slowly to a faint pink.


Last years Hollyhock Nigra was nowhere to be seen, but the three spires of a pale pink Hollyhock towered over the garden at over ten feet tall.


The seating area in the top corner of the garden.


Waterlilies in both ponds flowered


and I was delighted that the little miniature waterlily in the trough also flowered, (although sadly this year here was no sign of Freddy or any of his relatives).


In the front garden a hydrangea (that for the past two years seemed to be sulking and was close to being replaced) at last decided to produce more flowers, so has been given a repreive.

Bronze Fennel 


and purple verbascum


tangle together amongst the roses outside the windows at the front of the house.



My time spent in the garden was limited this year, but I had even less to spend at the allotment 


and so it is in desperate need of attention.


 Strong winds have blown down the fence and gate, making it look completely neglected and forlorn. However, despite the winter and the cold I have made a start - whilst I wait for help to repair my fences I have been busy planting a new Plum tree and Cob-nut tree. Today I began digging out the old raspberry plants.

Lots more to do - but I do like a challenge and I am looking forward to next years gardening at the allotment! (Although any offers of help will be most welcome of course - I am not as young as I was when I first took on the plot).

 Happy New Year

xxx

Monday, 18 December 2017

Moving On and Moving In

You may recall the arrival last year of The Black Cat?


Throughout the summer the black cat frequently materialised in the garden - silent and aloof, making no attempt to be friendly.


I watched it as it discovered and indulged in the heady aroma of the narcotic Nepeta cat mint.


Then almost a year since it first appeared, the black cat disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as it arrived.


"Hedge Cat"

Evie was relieved - she was at last able to snooze under the hedge in peace,


and relax 


while soaking up the summer sun.

With the unexpected and sad demise of my neighbour, she has become an official resident now at La Petite Maison and has a cosy little kennel in the summer-house.


"I am not amused"

However, at 15 years of age, and after the horrendous injuries inflicted upon her in 2015, she deserves a quiet comfortable life and as the weather turned colder I broke my resolve to not have any pets indoors -


so Evie now spends most of her time snuggled up, absorbing the heat in her new little bed beside the radiator underneath my sewing table.

xxx

Thursday, 30 November 2017

A Garden in County Down

The nights have drawn in and it is bitterly cold outside, but earlier this year when the weather was warmer I discovered a beautiful garden in the Co Down village close to where I live. This hidden garden belongs to the double fronted Wisteria clad Grade 1 Georgian House at the bottom of the hill in the Main Street.

On the other side of the high stone wall at the rear of the garden are the grounds of the Castle where ancient mature trees provide a lush backdrop to the garden and a sense that the garden continues on further.

At the foot of the wall is a pond with stone edging covered in a carpet of "Mind Your Own Business".  A huge Gunnera plant and leafy ferns surround the pond.


Sitting with my back to the wall and looking back up the garden past the pond, the house could just be seen through a series of archways 


that separate the garden into a series of rooms,


connected by winding paths.


Through a jungle of bamboo a little secret path leads off the main room of the garden,


twisting alongside the rose clad perimeter wall.

Valerian grows randomly out of cracks in the old stone walls


creating an informal and natural oasis


around the old barn, glasshouse and wonderfully rustic outside WC.


Shells; wind chimes; salvaged vintage ephemera 


 and reclaimed garden ornaments


like the troughs 


and bird tables


add a quirky touch to the cobbled yard that leads to the garden.


Scattered unobtrusively throughout the garden are other reclaimed items 


that appear to have been there forever and blend seamlessly in with the foliage, such as the old saddlestones,


statues


and a sculpted horses head.

This is such a gorgeous garden - I am just sorry that my brief visit there did not give me time to fully explore and appreciate it.

xxx