Ben is the Scottish name for mountain. There is always something beautiful to see, rain or shine.
Benmore Botanic Gardens are just a beautiful half-hour drive from home..
Ben is the Scottish name for mountain. There is always something beautiful to see, rain or shine.
Now promise you won't laugh when you look at this link (okI know you will! I laughed too.).
No, I will not be sitting in the snow half naked any time soon, or anytime ever.
How I came across this I have no idea - things often just find me. Intrigued and super-sceptical I watched a few videos and Ted Talks and eventually thought I'd give the breathing a try. Deep breathing is good for you, right? I felt pretty good after just one round and began to do just one round most mornings. It only took a minute or two and I felt energetic and ready to go after it. This was around the same time I began to finish washing my hair with a cold rinse (which I mentioned a few weeks ago). That perked me up a bit further and seemed innocent enough.
Then one morning after my lovely warm shower I turned it to cold and timidly put my hands and feet under it for a few seconds. It took me about three weeks to stand fully under the cold water and ACTUALLY LIKE IT.
I love it.
I joined the free mini class then unsubscribed easily and wasn't bombarded with unwanted emails. I do it on my own in my own time now. A new habit.
Hello those of you who are still with me!
One new hardrive and a considerable amount of stress later I am so happy to be back here after a gap of wh a full week which made me aware of how much this daily blog means to me.
It is like a touchstone in my day, making me take stock of where I am at, and having like-minded and generously responsive people to share that with.
June days have been full of contrasts. There have been times when I could hardly see the loch..
and days that look just as you wish June to look.
How has your June gone so far? Are you designing and planning your summer?
I have got off to a healthy start with a breathing exercise which makes me feel great in the mornings.
I try to live simply, I really do, but life when your computer breaks down can get very complicated!
Hoping to be back soon..x
I write this on a wet, rather chilly morning in the west of Scotland. I was supposed to get the grass cut today....it's not going to happen!
British summers are notoriously fickle weatherwise, but I am still inspired to Design My Summer a lovely idea from (a very fast talking) Gretchen Rubin in this video.
I will have a think about what I love best about summer and look over some June/July/August posts to remind me. I know I want picnics and a family Midsummer Barbecue but in this climate there has to be a Plan B for such events. I want a few outings, I want to wear some summery clothes, and to nap in the hammock
I want to pay extra attention this summer to the wildlife in the garden. There have been more butterflies than usual so far, and the swallows are in the nest, and I think bees may be nesting in the wall just by the front door....and a red squirrel passes through occasionally on its way to next door's bird table.
I'm happy to holiday at home - if the weather is good there's nowhere else I'd rather be.
What do you want from your summer?
..for kids at the local supermarket.
I'm posting another photograph of the flowers to show you the wee small scale... We don't have billowing clouds of cow parsley here but there is this diminutive form called pignut - very dainty and sweet - when we lived in Yorkshire and in Oxfordshire I loved big vases of cow parsley, but it's not abundant enough to pick here in Argyll.
William Maxwell is my new favourite author, and I am working my way through everything he has written!
Reading his novels is like being in an Edward Hopper painting, listening to Henry James perhaps, with Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mocking Bird as the main character.
I started with The Chateau. A story about a happy couple a freind said and I thought Oh I could do with that - a happy story, and I knew I was going to France so I was extra interested. I read it slowly to savour the beautiful writing. it was a happy read I am glad to say.
They Came Like Swallows is told from three points of view. Insightful and tender with characters who are totally credible. Maybe the one to start with to see if you like this author.
Be warned that So Long, See You Tomorrow is perhaps the saddest book I have ever read.
Have you discovered any new-to-you authors whose works look like becoming new favourites?
My friend in the next village has a steep bank at the back of her house which is looking spectacular right now with rhododendrons, acers, rowans and a huge copper beech nearly 100 feet up.
There are 99 steep steps to the top and the head of a waterfall.
From the front garden she can watch, and hear. porpoise and dolphin.
I was conditioning the lilacs by crushing their stems so that they can take up water - they are from the garden, from a tree which we cut to the ground years ago because it was spindly and sad looking. They are scenting the whole room.
I was thinking too of my childhood conditioning. Buying myself flowers is one of the ways I treat myself well. Growing up in a poor part of a big city I remember that we could not buy the first flowers (daffodils) that came into the local fruit and vegetable shop because they were too expensive. We had to wait until the price went down. It was the same with strawberries. So flowers were an extravagance.
Perhaps an advantage of growing up relatively poor is that you never take the non-essentials for granted. I still get a thrill when I buy flowers and get a huge thrill from growing and picking them. If I buy myself an expensive bunch I almost feel a bit rebellious! Kind of defiant. If I am hesitating over them - and I usually am - I find that asking myself 'Whyever not?' allows me to go ahead, as I have not yet come up with a good reason why I should not have them I never regret it.....crazy really!
There's a lot going on emotionally in the simple act of buying a bunch of flowers and of treating myself well.
Does something from your childhood stop you from treating yourself well?
I am so enjoying trying out new restaurants and coffee shops in Glasgow since my favourite closed. and I do like this one..
Rich in maritime history with walls covered in posters and photographs, the coffee is good and the affogato to die for!
And it is across the road from my bus stop.
Just every now and then I do treat myself well :-)
What way do you treat yourself well?
I once visited the village of Naerum, a short train journey from Copenhagen to see the allotment gardens designed by C Th Sorensen. The way the oval shapes sat in the undulating site was delightful and I am waiting until my patch has been cleared and graded (it will slope towards the corner where the shed is) before I decide whether to make the meadow circular or oval. I know I'll know when I see it!
I am going to plant 150 or so wild dafodills (narcissus pseudonarcissus) and will collect seed from local wildflowers to grow in plugs and plant into the grass - first will be pignut (conopodium majus) which is looking pretty right now in the mini meadow in the front garden and buttercups from the road verges.
I am looking for low maintenance but I still want the wow factor....
I'm enjoying browsing these books by Christopher Lloyd and Pam Lewis though I am mindful that they both gardened in the south of England.
Overheard on the No 489 bus...
Some people. Moan, moan, moan. Ah said away ye go tae Yemen an' moan.
Well said! I thought.
We also used the back garden as a drying greeen...
We planted a few birch trees. They were meant to be the white-barked 'Jaquemontii' but turned out to be the faster growing and taller native birch - however this did mean that they soon became strong enough to support what turned out to be my favourite thing in the garden - the hammock!
Above all I wanted a cutting patch. I was totally seduced by Sarah Raven's lovely book.
We removed the conifers which blocked the view, the slabs, a wreck of a shed and other junk, planted hedge to fill the large gaps and give us privacy from the houses on either side, mowed the rough grass, put up a shed and woodstore and a 6X8 greenhouse and started a cutting patch growing everything from seed...
Have you ever started a garden from scratch?
Can I ask if anyone has found the layout of the blog page changed and the size of the font reduced? Oddly it appears misaligned on my laptop but not on my tablet or phone, or when I am in 'edit' on the laptop. Weird, and annoying!
..of the back garden.
I'm thrilled that this photograph of the garden won photographer Andrea Jones 2nd place in the Garden Views section of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Award and appeared in this gorgeous book
The view was always fabulous but the garden when we bought the house did not inspire
I thought I would consider how it evolved as I start to redesign it...
I love doing something different each year with the large black pots.
This year it is going to be palest pastels, pretty and frothy... petunias, violas, nicotiana for some hieght, trailing lobelia and bacopa andpale sweet peas on canes painted white.
In this prolonged spell of lovely weather gardening has been such a pleasure. A few more days of it are forecast.
I hope it's nice where you are.
I watched a robin take a long bath in this shallow dish of water this morning. As well as bathing in it, birds drink from it, the swallows need it to make mud for their nests, it brings the sky down into the garden and reflects things in it. You can also tell at a glance if it's raining. It's an important addition to any garden however small. (I am scarifying the grass - it always looks worse before it looks better!)
When I am trying to make a decision I still find What would be simplest? my favourite helpful question but here is a good one from Gretchen Rubin -
What is the value of what I'm going to get if I...........?
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)