Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Snapshots from July

Hello again! July has been quite a nice wintery month that arrived cold and departed with warm breezes and the (false) promise of spring. We've had frosts most nights but generally fine days even on weekends, which has meant Lui and I can get outside and air out our whiskers in the sunlight. Here Lui is demonstrating our favourite lunchtime spot on the wooden chair in the glasshouse.

Sometimes while Lui lounges I wander around with my basket looking for flowers to pick. At the start of July it was pretty bare... I really only had wintersweet, camellia and the first of the daphne buds not yet fully opened. I still managed to make this posy with a few lupin leaves to bulk it out.

Here we are on a cold and frosty morning! Can you feel the cold air pricking at your nose and the grass going crrrrunch under your feet? She is so beautiful, Miss Frost, covering bushes and branches in crystal coats and furry frozen jackets. Beautiful, but kind of a bitch. I don't really like her.

We have had snow forecast a few times although nothing more than sleety showers has eventuated. On one such morning this new spring catalogue turned up. New season styles just arrived! Really, there is nothing I feel like less than dressing myself in loose tops and floating dresses right now. (Although I must admit I really like the blue top on the cover!)

I have been keeping busy on the crochet front. I have a new project which I will tell you all about in a separate post some time soon! I also made a couple of dish cloths from cotton yarn because that seems to be what I do in the winter.

Fairy lights, candles and early indoor bulbs. These are some of my favourite things about winter!

This is a beautiful new hellebore I got this year. I love its ruffled pink petals. It looks so beautiful floating in a teacup but I have discovered the bloom only lasts for a day or so before it relaxes too much and the petals fall wide open. I still think it is worth it!

In the last couple of weeks of July we've had some stunning warm days. It's even been warm enough to go barefoot! I started working on this edging which I thought was the same one I'd used on a pillowcase previously. After a few rounds it didn't look right and I realised I was following a different pattern I'd pinned. I ended up ripping it out and redoing it, and now I just have a small part of the last round to finish... and that brings us to the end of the month!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Styling the Seasons - July 2015

Welcome to my Styling the Seasons post for July! I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago and when I went to edit them, I didn't like them at all. So I reshot last weekend from angles I was happier with, and came out with some useable pictures! Bonus: the first of the season's hellebores were in bloom so I was able to use them as well, to my delight.

I've styled the top of my china cabinet again. I see this vignette often as I'm passing by so I like to keep it fresh by changing it up. As it's so dark this time of year I added some fairy lights to the mirror which help to illuminate the display... they are LED lights so shine brightly day or night!

The little Eiffel tower display stand was the perfect place to show off this Tutu hellebore. The purple tones in the hellebore petals pick up the purple centres of the cyclamen blooms. This cyclamen is actually one of my favourite things about winter, it flowers so strongly for months and makes a beautiful centrepiece right when I need to be uplifted!

I love lacy patterns and I've used a lot of them here. The filigree patterns in the ceramic balls and candle holder, the lace patterns on the solid vase holding the test tube and then the doily. I've probably shown it before because it's too pretty to leave in a drawer and so it's been on top of this cabinet for a while... not sick of it though!

Here are another couple of beautiful hellebores. The top one is a double hybrid that is new to me this year, I just love the pink ruffled petals and the freckles. I'm going to try breeding my own hybrids by crossing it with some of the other colours I've already got. 

So that's it for July, the depths of winter. I've brightened my space with lights and flowers and I hope reading this has brightened your day a little bit too!

Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on social media.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

July flowers

Welcome to July in my garden! Winter weather has set in and it's been incredibly cold. No snow I'm happy to report, although there have been a couple of storms with sleety showers. But we're well into the frosty mornings and it's been the norm to wake up to minus two or three degrees, and even -5 has not been that unusual lately. Frosty mornings are standard for winter in the South Island of New Zealand, however we have had a lot of heavy frosts lately (and the last two winters were milder than average) so it's feeling pretty damn cold!

My garden is noticing it too. Usually at this time I have something in flower that I can pick, such as pansies, borage and rosemary (I often use these edible flowers on cakes in winter!) but the pickings are very scarce this year. All the borage have succumbed to frost, the rosemary buds are barely showing, and the pansies are hiding their faces. This time last year the first of my hellebores were opening, as was the daphne and even some early spring bulbs. This year the buds are still tightly furled. Luckily I still have camellias and wintersweet to fill my vases... although I am starting to crave a bit more variety.

Above, clockwise from top left: symmetrical succulents, wintersweet, daphne buds, a frosted seed head, camellia Fairy Blush, a dried hydrangea flower head, frosted leaves, some brave geraniums in the glasshouse, a red rose hip, a crazy flowering lavender, a slowly opening camellia Cinnamon Cindy, a pink armeria in the glasshouse. Middle: an ikebana arrangement with azalea branches and camellia flowers.

Here are some photos from one of our -5 degree mornings. It's a very invigorating way to start the day... quite refreshing! (Have I convinced you? I haven't convinced myself!) Oh well, at least everything is reasonably tidy and will stay so as long as it's too cold for weeds to grow! Just as well because there are still plenty of other jobs to do, like pruning the roses. Guess I'm not quite ready for spring then!

Linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Talking about mandarins

Today I want to quickly talk about my mandarin tree. This year it's done better than ever before, loaded with little fruits that are lovely and juicy! I've had the tree for five years now and I'd almost given up on it. I'd actually decided that it wasn't worth the space it takes up in the glasshouse and considered dumping it, but during the spring and summer I decided to give it one more go. Instead of tossing it I cosseted it, giving it plenty of water and even remembering citrus food. I kept its pot weeded and its stems free of scale. And now I've been rewarded! 

This variety is called Clementine. The fruit aren't as big as the ones in the shops but they are juicy, and sweet with a bit of tartness. Easy to peel, and seedless since there aren't any other citrus nearby to fertilise them. In winter I often eat lunch in the glasshouse if the sun is shining, and a lovely fresh mandarin is the perfect end to it! In fact I've never felt better than I do this winter and the fresh vitamin C must have something to do with it.

It also looks pretty in my glasshouse (and is getting too heavy to shift!) so I'm calling it a keeper! Do you have any winter stars in your garden?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Snapshots from June

 Well, June passed by in a blur! I've spent a lot of time indoors and it's been kind of nice to have a break from the garden. Of course on sunny days I still like to go out and see what's changed, but it's almost nothing at this time of year so I haven't felt too guilty about my little break. I have started a new crochet project and I'm loving every minute of it, from choosing the colours to designing the squares to planning the finished project. These pastel squares were my first colour swatches.

My workmate gave me macarons as thanks for helping her with a project. I enjoyed them for afternoon tea one day... after instagramming them first like any good blogger would!

 A basket of colourful possibilities. And part of my winter book stack which had to be returned to the library. We Were Liars was very good and I also liked Shine.

 I made some little ikebana arrangements. This one has azalea branches and a sprig of camellia. And here are some little crochet circles, purple and green, like pansies and cyclamen leaves.

 Mr Lui approved of my swatch! He sleeps on the couch which gets the late afternoon sun. The low light shining through the tree branches casts interesting shadows on the wall, especially when the bird feeder is full and there are fluttering shapes darting everywhere.

I'll end this post with a sunset pic, they have been especially beautiful lately. We've also had some cold nights, frosty mornings and wet mornings. Despite that, winter hasn't been so bad... I'd actually go so far as to say I've been enjoying it!

Monday, 15 June 2015

June flowers

It's June, the first month of winter and generally the least floriferous month in my garden. We've had a few frosts by now which have knocked back the more tender plants, and while some things like roses are still producing buds, they are unlikely to open now... more likely just wither, brown or rot. There is promise in the swelling buds on camellias and hellebores, and I'm seeing the green leaves of bulbs peeking through. But mostly this month I'm reliant on foliage and berries, as well as the odd hardy bloom here and there.

My best performing plants for early winter are my early camellia, wintersweet, roses (hips are colouring up now), geraniums (still flowering strongly in sheltered areas), cyclamen (indoor only), snowberry, pansies and primroses, lavender, and there is still a bit of coloured foliage on shrubs like azaleas and blueberries. In the next couple of months I'll have more flowers with hellebores, daphne, mid season camellias and early bulbs.

What are your favourite garden performers for early winter?

Above, clockwise from top left: pretty indoor cyclamen, blueberry leaf, snowberries, wintersweet, primroses, rosebud, azalea bud, calendula, camellia Elfin Rose, succulents, pansy, more succulents. Centre: a fragrant bunch of wintersweet and coloured foliage, with the last two rosebuds included (better than leaving them out to be frosted!)

I'm joining in with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens. As it is summer in the northern hemisphere there are bound to be lots of inspiring posts to look at, why don't you pop over and have a look. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Styling the Seasons - June 2015

 Welcome to my Styling the Seasons post for June! Usually for these posts I style one of the surfaces in my home that I use for that purpose... the mantelpiece, the hall table, the kitchen shelves, etc. This month I didn't feel like anything needed changing, so I set up a little photo shoot just for today. I've pulled together some items that represent June to me... let me show you.

 The front hallway is the perfect place for a photo shoot in winter. The low sun shines through the frosted glass in the front door at just the right angle to illuminate things nicely. I love how it looks lighting up this maidenhair fern. I bought this gold spotted cushion recently and love it's metallic accents! It's also nice to recline against, very important for hibernation this time of year.

 There are plenty of buds and flowers on my various cyclamen plants. This one is unscented, but I love its pale pink flowers and marbled leaves. 

 This is my latest crochet project which I'll share more about in a later post. With long dark evenings, I like to have a project to work on while sitting on the couch watching Game of Thrones. Actually, winter evenings are some of the best of all... when its cold and dark you don't have to try as much to justify all the things you should be doing but aren't!

 Snuggling up with a book and a coffee is another winter favourite... although to be honest I do this all throughout the year.

 One thing that is specific to June is the wintersweet flowers. For most of the year the plant is an insignificant shrubby bush but for a couple of months in winter the leaves drop and the buds open up to tiny, pale but incredibly sweet scented flowers. I make them into posies with azalea leaves and the last of the rosebuds (too cold for them to open properly now),  put them all around the house and breathe in as much as I can. When the flowers have faded I burn scented candles... my favourite this month is Pumpkin Cream.

 My little egg cup lady has a gorgeous camellia hat! It goes well with the embroidered rose on the warm woolly jar cosy.

Another thing I enjoy about winter is forcing bulbs to bloom inside. I have a couple of bowls of hyacinths and these muscari. They are just in a shallow bowl filled with water, held upright with some big stones. Easy and beautiful.

Hope you have enjoyed this post. Looking at my favourite things gathered together here makes me realise winter isn't that bad... I think I can handle another couple of months of this!

Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on social media.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Snapshots from May

Well, May is long gone and we're already well into June, but I thought I'd still share some of my phone and Instagram snaps from the past month. The leaves have changed colour and fallen to the ground in the garden. Everything is pretty soggy and wet these days, but there are still roses blooming here and there.

 I visited Cuningham House, the Victorian greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens. It was an absolutely glorious autumn afternoon, with a low warm sun casting shadows and mysterious illuminations through the windows.

 The vaulted glass ceiling is held in place with a grid of metal bars. Inside the palms and vines grow massive. There is a lot of greenery, but also bright tropical flowers.

If you go through a door at the back of the hothouse you end up in the flower-filled conservatory. The displays here are changed seasonally and on this day the room was filled with cyclamens, so many that the air was heavily scented.

 I finished a few small projects at home. A cross stitched rose on a jar cozy, and an adorable embroidered bear from a magazine...

 Low winter sun makes for wonderful silhouette photos! Sunsets are fleeting and over in minutes. Sunrises take half the morning...

 My winter hoarding insticts kicked in and I gathered a stash of books. Perfect for sitting in the last of the day's sunshine, cuddled up next to Mr Lui.

As the month drew to a close, I found beauty in the continuing blossoms of the camellia Elfin Rose. We also had a run of frosty mornings (the worst one was -4!) and with that, winter was truly here.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: My Plant Gang

Welcome to my Urban Jungle Bloggers post for May! The theme this month is My Plant Gang. I have quite a collection of pot plants, but I usually spread them throughout the house or group them in little vignettes. I hadn't actually thought of putting them all together in a gang until I got this month's suggestion, and now I have to ask myself why on earth I didn't think of it earlier :)

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose
I decided to group them all together on top of my vintage china cabinet. It didn't take too long to arrange, perhaps because all my potted lovelies were so happy to be there enjoying each others' company? I added a few little decorative accents... some crochet stones, candles, twine and scissors. And because the cyclamen aren't all flowering yet, I added some sprigs of lavatera to enhance the one cyclamen bloom that is out.

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose
I love the contrasting textures... smooth plant leaves, textured plant leaves. Stone and fibre, glass and wax. Wood and thread. But the colour palette keeps it all harmonious.

Tiny potted plant (1 inch pot) and cyclamen bloom - Camellia Rose
I had to put my tiniest plant with the rest of the gang... this little pot is only an inch high! 

The first flower on my gorgeous butterfly cyclamen - it already smells beautiful.

Zebra plant and succulent - Camellia Rose
I love the striped leaves on the zebra plant but the new leaves have a lot of white on them. It has been in this not-very-bright position for a couple of months, I may need to try it in a sunnier spot for a while.

I also love the purple-grey leaves of this succulent.

My plant gang - chain of hearts at Camellia Rose
And my new favourite, chain of hearts, keeping cozy in its crochet jacket!

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose
I absolutely love my plant gang together, but there are some empty spaces around the house now. Guess that means I need to go visit the garden centre!

Urban Jungle Bloggers is hosted by Judith at JOELIX.com and Igor at Happy Interior Blog. You can find out more and participate yourself at urbanjunglebloggers.com.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Styling the Seasons - May 2015

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
Welcome to my Styling the Seasons post for May. It's nearly winter and the fireplace is in use again, so this month I decided to style my mantel. I haven't really done much with it since summer (you can see it here in an earlier post) and it was definitely time for a refresh! 

Every good mantel display needs lights so I started with the & shaped marquee light. I balanced the black with a black metal terrarium and dark twiggy branches in a vase, and added soft natural colours to the rest of the display. At this stage of the year winter is a peaceful and restful time so I didn't want any energetic colours (that will change later in the season no doubt...)

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
I love the pale aqua tea light holder/vase, and the way it echoes the filigree ceramic balls.

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
Some little succulent cuttings are coming along inside the terrarium.

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
I made this little planter by putting clay around a can. It was inspired by many I've seen on Pinterest including the ones by Atelier Stella. There's no way I can get my hands on one of those so I thought I'd make one of my own, and I love how it turned out. Pressing the texture into the bottom was really fun! Then recently I found this chain of hearts plant and knew it would be just perfect for planting inside... it trails beautifully and leaves that look like hearts win me over every time!

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
It wouldn't be May without the sweet fragrance of wintersweet. My tree has just started blooming and for the next few weeks I'll be filling the house with fragrant bunches! It has the most divine smell and makes the transition into winter much easier for me.

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on social media. 


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