I leave you with the most beautiful blue....
Am having another little blog holiday (lucky me, I know!)
I leave you with the most beautiful blue....
The Welsh poppy, meconopsis cambrica, is the earliest to flower and is yellow or orange - I grow the orange one with the forget me nots - a lively combination which is very welcome in late spring. They seed themselves around nicely, and grow well in light shade.
This is the longest flowering of the poppies in the garden - papaver rupifragum. A chance seedling, it sows itself in the gravel and produces endless flowers of a soft orange on tall wiry stems from late June to October. By chance it is growing next to a bronze carex, and looks very good beside it. It sowed itself right by our seats, but seems to stand up well to a bit of trampling....
Have you succeeded with these two other lovely poppies? Meconopsis Sheldonii, the famous blue poppy lasts two years at most with me, and although I had a whole border of Californian poppy, eschscholzia, in a previous garden, I just cannot get it to grow here - so, since I like to use my own photos on the blog - sorry, no photos!
..I think I'll simply be content with the 7 others that do well....
Four of my favourite poppies are annuals :
These are the Shirley poppies and can be sown direct into the ground, though in my sluggy garden I start them off in cells in the greenhouse and plant them out while still quite small, before the long tap root has formed. Literally hundreds of flowers from a dozen or so plants, in a delicious array of colours. (See also photos a few days ago)
Cedric Morris poppies are another annual - there is also an oriental poppy of the same name - and Mother of Pearl is a very similar mixture.
They are of such quiet and subtle colours they are hard to describe - exquisite, and perhaps best appreciated grown in a different area than the dazzling Shirleys. (more photos 1 July 2010)
Papaver somniferum is another annual which I hope will self seed for me, as it does in my friend Maggie's garden. I bought one this summer of a lovely lilac/plum colour, but no photo yet.
I sometimes sow a few common poppies, papaver rhoeas, in plugs to pop into the mini meadow, along with a few cornflowers for a bit of zing. (It doesn't work to scatter poppy seeds onto grassed areas - they need bare soil....)
..next two more perennial poppies....
Just as we were about to eat outside in the garden!!
All the more reason to bring bits of garden inside.....I love picking flowers for the house, and having a garden just big enough to be able to pick generous bunches without leaving obvious gaps is wonderful. (In my first house I had two window boxes...)
I hadn't realised I grow so many different poppies until I began to list them here.
Welsh, oriental, Shirley and Cedric Morris, somniferum, rupifragum and sometimes the common red poppy all make their appearances here.
So why do I love them? Well they're easy and look after themselves, they seed around generously but not so much as to be a problem (here in my garden anyway), the colours are wonderful, and I love the way they move in the slightest breeze. Also they are so ephemeral - the individual flowers don't last long, so you have to go out and see them every day, which is fun.
The oriental poppies, papaver orientale, flower in early summer and their sumptous colours are a joy.
I especially love Coral Reef which looks so good beside these lupins, and raspberry pink Brooklyn, palest pink Katrine, the delectable Patty's Plum (I have not got these last two - yet!) and some unamed ones which I grew from a packet of mixed seed called Pizzicato (see 19 May 2010) - this was very easy and inexpensive and gave me lots of interesting colours.
You can cut back the messy foliage of the orientals down to the ground after they have flowered, and either have spreading plants growing next to them, or sow a few annuals (poppies?) in the space to fill the gap they leave behind.
(The photo on 19 May 2011 contains a warning about staking! But I rarely heed my own warnings - they take their chance....)
After nearly a year and a half of thinking about and blogging about simplifying my life, I find that this time round clearing the loft is easier - so much easier!
I remember trying to do it a while ago, and giving up before the job was done. My frantic imagination used to go into overdrive. What if I really need that....one day? I imagined apocalyptic scenes of war, and tsunami visions where I am desperate for another old electric fire - it would save my life and I've thrown it away! Did I once say I didn't think I had any stories in me? My head can easily become full of stories like this one. Emergencies and disasters....
I've taken charge of my head! No longer fantasising about desperate scenarios, I am calmer, and relaxed about getting rid of the stuff I no longer need, or really want.
I am distilling, or crystallising as someone put it. Looking through all the nice things and picking out the best to keep - those which still have real meaning for me. (Some things were meaningful in the past, but I just think 'Well, that was then, and this is now' and smile as I let them go. A quick photo perhaps....as a reminder, should I ever feel the need to remember.)
Between times I go out for another look at today's fabulous Shirley poppies....
I eat too much sugar, try as I might to cut down.
I have to find an alternative source of sweetness in my life!
Sweet memories, sweet affection, sweet music and the laughter of children, and the sun on my back - these are all sweet and very health giving.
(They say revenge is sweet....no, I won't go there..)
This is one of those tiny tiny single serving jam jars - sooo sweet!
Have you time to look at this 3 minute video?
Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRqYyaYBBys and be inspired..
I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand,
So what could I do but laugh and go?
Richard Le Galliene 1866 - 1947
Letting some of the grass in the front garden just grow long was a simple way of protecting a few wild orchids which appeared, reducing time spent mowing, creating diversity aesthetically and encouraging a wider variety of insects and butterflies into the garden - so it's both simple and complex at the same time.
It's truly mini - as meadows go - about 6m x 3m. I first wrote about it and photographed it on 9 June 2010 when the orchids were out, but as the orchids fade - you can just see one below centre, left - the cat's ears put on a show, which clashes wonderfully with the brilliant magenta of geranium psilostemnon. It's for a few weeks only, so I just enjoy the drama!
Cat's ears, hypochaeris radicata, also known as hawkweed and as false dandelion, doesn't seed all around the beds as dandelions would.
....did I mention that we made a princely profit of £17 at the table-top sale? And brought most of the stuff back home? Hmmm....
Simply sailed away for the day today on the Waverley ( the last ocean going paddle steamer in the world ) from Dunoon pier, and saw our village from the sea. So completely relaxing - stroll on deck, wave to passing boats,go down to view the engines and paddles, stroll on deck, eat some of our picnic, have something to drink, stroll on deck....
Hope your Sunday was relaxing too.
(..you can click on photos to enlarge...)
But not in the borders.
(Unless, like Vita Sackville West at Sissinghurst, you have enough room for borders with only white flowers in them.)
To my eye, white flowers in the borders create just too much contrast and I find the effect distracting and fussy. I do love them though and grow them in other places:
Her Majesty was visiting Cambridge and the visit seemed to be very low key so Megan's parents thought that if they went along the children might have a good chance of actually seeing the Queen.
Four year old Megan made a card: 'Queen, from Megan' and did manage to give it to the Queen who thanked her graciously and moved on, still looking at the card. She turned back to Megan and asked 'Did you do all these drawings yourself ?'
'No!' Megan said in a don't-be-so-silly voice 'They're stickers!'
I wonder if her Majesty is still chuckling too....
Finally, finally, we have got to clearing out the loft!
Took a huge leap today from clearing a pile of paper yesterday, to clearing the loft - which long dreaded job was forced upon us by the need for new pipes up there - so the plumber has to be able to move around in it.
I have to confess that clearing out stuff makes me bad tempered, and persuading someone else to clear out their stuff makes me even worse.
But oh the sense of relief as it moves out!
I did that oft recommended thing of putting stuff in boxes and bags up there, and a year (or three) later looking at them with a clear eye. Why have I still got almost every pair of curtains from every house I have lived in? Why have I got a full set of bank statements from 2005 - 2007? And an empty notebook with 1979 on the front cover? And the classic. University notes....all that work. Also, we bought a new set of suitcases, but still have the old ones and so on and so on....OUT!
Some burned, some binned and I've booked a table at a table-top sale on Saturday to try to sell some nice candlesticks and a clock and jugs and plates and pots and lampbases and fabric. And curtains. Oh, and some books on living simply!
(Could the burst pipes have been a blessing in disguise....?)
Paperwork piles grow when I am not looking, and when I do look I groan inwardly!
Do you have this experience?
Today, setting the calm mood required to deal equably with the paper stack, I picked some flowers, had a particularly nice breakfast while listening to the soothing voice of Agnes Obel, did the Onceover (see 26 Oct 2010), re-read the relevant section in Babatua's The Power of Less , set the kitchen buzzer for an hour, and sorted it.
What a good feeling! Quite disproportionate to the small achievement I'm sure, but when I got one pile cleared I was ready and eager, well willing, to start on the next pile (yes, there's more than one), with the proviso that as soon as I felt even slightly fed up with it, I'd leave it for another session.
Here is Babatua's advice for dealing with that pile of papers:
1 start processing from the top down
2 never re-sort, skip a single piece of paper, or put a piece back on the pile
3 do what needs to be done with that piece of paper, then move on to the next
4 trash it, delegate it, file it, do it, or put it on a list to do later
Do have a read at Leo Babtua's mnmlist posting for 4 July. Click here: http://mnmlist.com
Penelope Trunk talks about finding 'our own sweetspot' on the continuum between minimalism (which she says can be boring) and interestingness. At http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2011/03/07/
Both thought provoking reads I thought.... hope you enjoy..
Astrantia 'Hadspen's Blood' is a great plant in the garden. (Someone once misheard me and said 'Husband's Blood? That's a strange name for a plant!)
I made the mistake of adding two stems of it to a vase of mixed flowers - and it smells awful! I had to remove it. The tiny flowers of gypsophila smell just as bad - but the larger flowered annual gypsophila 'Covent Garden' has no scent and is lovely in a vase.
The most delicious smells just now are honeysuckle, night scented stock - just a sprig or two will scent a room, and petunia 'Sky Blue' which smells like jasmine.
At this time of year I want to enjoy the garden - but the grass needs mowing, the hedge needs cut, the weeds are growing (especially if you are watering - another chore).
We like to walk around the garden first thing in the morning, cuppa in hand, but I noticed this was becoming a stress instead of a pleasure, as I was going round thinking 'I must do that, take out those weeds, cut this back, move that while it is still small enough' - in other words making a long to-do list for myself.
Well, I still have a to-do list for the garden - a garden is work, there's no denying it - but I try to make that ten minute morning walk a time to notice what is new and beautiful, watch the bees and listen to the birds, smell the honeysuckle, and take pleasure in the colours.
Another way to enjoy the garden is to have all your meals in it - I do love this....
The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson author of Silent Spring . I think I shall be giving this to parents and grandparents of new babies.
What a wonderful book!
Roger was about twenty months old....
'A night or two later the storm had blown itself out and I took Roger again to the beach, this time to carry him along to the waters edge, piercing the darkness with the yellow cone of our flashlight. Although there was no rain the night was again noisy with breaking waves and insistent wind. It was clearly a time and place where great and elemental things prevailed.'
The edition I have just bought has beautiful photographs by Nick Kelsh and says on the front cover 'Words and pictures to help you keep alive your child's inborn sense of wonder, and renew you own delight in the mysteries of earth, sea and sky'. There is something captivating on every single page of this book. A treasure.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)