Thursday, 19 November 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plant Shelfie

Hi and welcome to my latest post for Urban Jungle Bloggers! The theme this month is Plant Shelfie. I'd just shifted this vintage wooden ladder into a new sunny position, mainly so the plants which live on it could catch a few rays and stop growing leggy, and it was a good chance to get out my camera and take a few shots for this post.

The maidenhair fern at the top is one of my favourite houseplants, even though it reminds me a lot of Sideshow Bob. It needs repotting and after that I'll probably shift it to a less sunny position, this is just a temporary holiday for it!

Here are two of my favourite lady face planters. They are called Rapunzel and Mrs Blossom. Rapunzel is growing a single long strand of string of hearts... I wonder if it will ever sprout a second string? Mrs Blossom is hatless right now, but she quite often likes to wear a camellia or other large bloom on her head. 

There is also a succulent, some goldfish plant, and a couple of cyclamens on their off season. This little corner is very calm and relaxing to sit in, basking in the evening sun surrounded by greenery.

I've also got some plants on the kitchen wall opposite. (This kitchen shelf was the subject of my very first plant shelfie, a year ago!)

Here's some more string of hearts, trailing past a little cup of succulents. 

This dried hydrangea has been here a while! Soon I'll have fresh new hydrangea flowers to bring inside.

That's it for today. Soon it will be time to decorate for Christmas - the vintage ladder is in the spot I normally put the Christmas tree, so it will need to be shifted again! Unless I just throw tinsel over it that is... could be a fun option!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

November flowers

 Welcome to my November flowers post! Today the weather was pretty cold and gloomy - it was overcast all day, a cold wind blew and as soon as I left my house to go for a walk spits of rain began to fall. The month overall has been cold - we had our coldest morning on record earlier this month, and there was even frost! My garden didn't sustain much damage, just in a couple of random patches - one bean seedling, and a blackened patch on top of a dahlia. Most of my bean seedlings weren't through at that stage and the most tender things like tomatoes and capsicums are in the glasshouse. Some early rosebuds were a bit crispy around the petal edges but the fruit trees seem to be fine. But it was a bit of a shock to the system - frost in November, what??

Luckily there has been plenty of sunshine in the mix and the flower garden seems to be getting on with things according to its usual schedule. It's usually the end of November before all the roses are blooming, but there are some early birds in there to make me happy. Peony season is also in its beginning stages, although most of the transplants I put in a couple of months ago haven't budded... guess I'll have to patiently wait another year for those.

Anyway, there is plenty to pick and admire, like in the grid above! Clockwise from top left: Gilia birdseye; blue and white aquilegia; Cecile Brunner rose; snowball viburnum; Queen Elizabeth rose; sweet williams; white aquilegia; a frilly peony poppy; lupins; a pretty pansy taking on the hue from the surrounding Snow in Summer; pink aquilegia; Sexy Rexy rose.

 This pink rose is outside my front door and it makes me happy every time I walk past it. I don't know the variety as it was grown from a cutting, but it does very well in this sunny spot. It was the first to flower in spring and the last to flower in winter. So far it seems very healthy too with it's nice glossy leaves!

This lovely bush is common sage, planted in my herb garden. It's formed a large round ball which is covered with these fragrant mauve flowers, just lovely to brush against. In fact it's so big that it's probably time to divide it up, I'm sure I can find some other spots in the garden that could use a show stopper like this.

That's it for my November garden. The weather may be less than average but the flowers are floriferous so all is good! I'm joining in again with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Golden hour garden

Hi again! This post has been a while coming, but I really wanted to show you some photos of my garden before all the spring glory fades. I'm starting with a picture from the back garden in the evening - you've seen this before, but perhaps not during the golden hour, when the light from the sinking sun glows behind the claret leaves of the maple?

Actually, I really wanted to show you these pictures from my front garden. This has been my pet project since late winter. I've been working on it a while, but the time has never been right to take photos - it hasn't grown in enough, it's not in flower, the beds need weeding, the grass needs mowing, it will look better next week. Oh well, enough of that, it looks as good as it's going to right now, and plenty of things are in flower, so let's have a look shall we?

About a year ago I started work on this little corner garden. I removed a lot of shrubbery, cut back some trees, and planted lavender around the edges. I also added this birdhouse. Ever since then, I've been imagining a clematis growing up the birdhouse. I have grown clematis before - a vigorous montana which took over a fence before I chopped it out. I'm hoping this hybrid one will be more well behaved. I'd like it to stay right where it is, but it will probably disappear up into the tree top... that's if it doesn't decide it hates its position, and die! Anyway, we will see... and perhaps we will take a cutting too, just to be safe.

Another big job for me early this spring was these round planters. I'd bought the two flowering cherries last autumn in a sale, but when they woke up for spring I knew I had to get them in! I wanted round planters as a feature and had originally planned to make brick ones, but after a while I realised that was going to be right out of my skill level, and if I wanted something to put the trees in before they flowered I had to come up with a plan B. So I used some wooden garden edging, and painted it this reddish pink... which to my mind is not that dissimilar to a brick colour, but a lot more 'me' :)

The trees looked stunning when they flowered. I can't wait for them to grow and bush out more, to form my own little miniature cherry blossom avenue. I'm sorry they aren't flowering in the photo above, but isn't the rhododendron in the background amazing? I identified her recently as Mrs GW Leak. I'm not sure who she's named after, but she is very beautiful with her freckled pink cheeks. 

Here's my little birdhouse corner again. At the foot of the birdhouse is a new (very small) azalea plant. I had one there which never flowered, so out it went! The new one is called Southern Aurora and is supposed to flower all summer.

Here's a close up of the new clematis. His name is William Keay. Again, I wonder who he's named after...? But he is very striking with a dark bar down the middle of each (huge) petal and a fluffy centre.

On the right, we have the pom pom flowers of the snowball viburnum. I bought this from the clearance bin last year, and was quite pleased to find self sown aquilegias also in the pot. I was hoping for a mix of colours and at first was quite disappointed that they were all white. However, when the snowballs opened up I found I had some white balls and some white stars all intermingling, and now I think it couldn't have worked better if I had planned it!

I have more to show you as the front garden has been my ongoing project for the past few months, but that's a post for another day. I'll leave you today with this last picture of Mrs G, glowing like a young maiden in the golden hour sunshine. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Styling the Seasons - November 2015

 Hello again, and welcome to my November Styling the Seasons post. There was a special challenge this month - to style a seasonal flat lay! A flat lay is a style of photograph where you lay out an assortment of items on a flat surface, and photograph it from above. It's popular on Instagram and I've used it many times for my photos, but this is the first time I've photographed one for the blog! So here we go. 

As it is late spring, practically summer here, I knew it had to be light and flowery. I went outside with my basket and picked some flowers and foliage to use. As soon as I laid out these ferny leaves from the polemonium (Jacob's Ladder) plant, I knew their graphic shape would be quite dominant and it would be too busy if I had lots of bright flower heads in there too, so I didn't use most of my roses - just one pink one!

 This is the polemonium flower, it's as pretty and delicate as the leaves. It's adorning this tiny pearl locket bracelet which I've had since I was a child.

A fluffy aquilegia bloom nestles inside this silver candlestick.

 I chose some pretty flowered upholstery fabric as the background. I've had this piece hanging around for ages as I keep meaning to make a curtain from it... but maybe I'll just keep it for a photo backdrop. I think that's much more useful!

 No matter what the season I always love scented candles.

I also love roses and silver dishes! In fact this whole arrangement is full of my favourite things. What a great way to celebrate November.

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, 8 November 2015

Snapshots - October 2015

Welcome to my little round up from October. Let's start this month's edition with a cute cat in a basket surrounded by lush green grass! This about sums up the mood at the start of the month - we are all excited to get outside and see what's growing. Grab a basket, sit in the sun for a bit and enjoy! When I was allowed to have the basket back I took my scissors and picked some spring beauties for my vases. Not the freesias though, as they were not quite ready - nearly though, and looking amazingly sculptural!

 I did have anemones and pansies to pick. Anemones are such great value, as they keep producing flowers as long as you keep picking them! They also look extremely pretty in flat lays.

 It wasn't too long before my new cherry blossom trees flowered for me. It was an agony of suspense as I waited for the carmine red buds to burst open. Would they be the pink frilly tissue paper blossoms of my dreams? Happily, yes they were. I spent as much time as possible hanging around their general vicinity, sitting in the grass crocheting while petals rained down.

 Here are some more beautiful spring pickings! Anemones, catmint and lamb's ears for the vase. And the first rose of the season to bloom in my garden! It's a lovely sunset pink climber outside my front door.

 Those freesias I mentioned popped open soon enough. I've already described them in previous posts so I won't go on too much, but they are wonderful cut flowers. Oh and here we have a picture of my crochet puff stitch circles, which have languished a bit this month while I have worked on other projects. I still love them and I had to get them out and take a picture. Looking forward to getting back to work on them, some time soon I hope!

 Outside in the garden, it's rhododendron time! Sometimes rhodies seem like a bit of a hassle for something that only flowers for a few weeks, but what a stunning few weeks they are! This gorgeous pale pink variety surprises me every year with how pretty it is. I always forget how the buds start off deep pink and fade as the flowers open to a soft blush.

 One of the projects I worked on this month was a hat! I made this for a gift but like it so much I'll have to make one for myself. It's by Mango Tree Crafts and you can find the pattern here. And here are some anemones on my deck... they just keep on going.

I am just love love loving all the blossom in the garden this month. Here is my Baujade apple tree looking gorgeous underplanted with lambs' ears. 

My main crochet project this month is still the Greg Mystery CAL. I've gotten a bit behind (mainly due to one of the squares and I not getting along!) so I've substituted it with another and am getting caught up. I'm a little bored with the oatmeal colour I chose, and I'm hoping I'll be able to add another colour when it comes to the edging. But that's still a little way off.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Springtime in the garden

 Hello again! I've been enjoying the spring in my garden and I thought I'd pop in and share some photos with you. The weather has been  very changeable... which is typical for spring after all... but there were some sunny periods amongst it. There is nothing like a sunny morning or afternoon spent in the garden, and even though it doesn't always make for the most perfect photos I've still tried to capture it here. There are blossoms galore - appleblossom in the photo above - and the petals fall in a rain of confetti to gently dot lawns and shrubs. Shrubs are softly mounded with new green growth and bud-tipped stems.

 I mentioned my Cercis Forest Pansy in my last post. Here is another shot better showing the underskirt of violets. The orange azalea behind the fence is stealing the thunder a bit! I really should rip that azalea out but when I look at it's gnarled, mossy branches I haven't the heart. At least it only flowers for a couple of weeks.

 This is another azalea against the garage wall. I don't know the variety but it's so lovely! I forget how pretty it is, and every year it takes me by surprise. The buds start off bright pink, but fade into cream as the flower opens. So pretty.

 I enjoy the borrowed view that I get over the top of the fence here. It's fun watching all the trees burst into leaf and blossom along with the ones in my garden. Here is my maple Burgundy Lace, along with two Garden Prince almond trees.

 This part of the garden is filling out well. The lupins at the back are putting on a good show, and soon dahlias will be pushing through and there will be a whole host of flowers.

 This is probably the last of the anemones. They have done really well this spring, much better than the ranunculus I must say.

This is a strip of snow in summer lining one of the beds.  There are a few ranuculus peeking over the top. They only seem to do a couple of flowers per plant and don't repeat flower, so I'm wondering if it's even worth the bother of growing them after all... they don't resemble florist ones at all! No doubt I will keep them going though, as there is always that hope that next time will be better... that elusive next time...

Tomorrow it's the weekend and I need to get stuck into the potager. I did a bit last weekend but there are plenty more things to plant, including my tomatoes which need to be settled into the glasshouse. Always plenty of work to do, so stay tuned for the next update...

Friday, 16 October 2015

Styling the Seasons - October 2015

 October is here! Sometimes it seems I spend all year waiting for October, when the air is warm, the evenings are bright, the garden is fresh and I have so many ideas and the energy to complete them! I've styled my vintage china cabinet fairly simply (by my standards) to reflect the start of this new season of easy living and happy garden times.

 Now is the time for potting out seedlings. I love terracotta pots, raw wood and natural twine. The more weathered, the better! This funny little mouse planter was a recent secondhand shop find. I'm guessing it was a planter anyway, it seemed the natural use for it to me!

 These freesias are just gorgeous. They have that lovely incense smell, and the colour is amazingly intense. They last a good week in the vase.

 Handmade seed packets are a great way to store seeds from the garden.

 It's always nice to put a fresh doily out, this one seemed especially springlike!

This is the first flush of blooms from my new Prunus Accolade. I only cut the branch because it was tangled with another one, but one day they'll be big enough that I can cut a few more branches for display! (Side note, the flowers only lasted a couple of days before wilting. Still worth it, I think!)

Now it's time for me to grab my hat and those secateurs and head outside. If you need me I'll be in the garden...

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.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

October flowers

 Welcome to October in my garden! Spring is here at last. She took her time arriving and it feels like everything should be further along than it is, but looking at my photos from this time last year it would seem that everything is on track. Blossom season is peaking with the eruption of the tall cherry tree in my back yard. It's a beacon for a week or two, along with the giant pink rhododendron in the front yard.

I'm feeling well behind with all my gardening and outdoor jobs. Mostly I just want some time to wander round properly with the camera and document it. I seem to be rushing from one thing to another, and I've barely had time to stop and smell the blossoms (roses will be next month!) For now, here are some snaps to show what is flowering...

Clockwise from top left: The maple tree is unfolding new leaves and quirky flowers; a white aquilegia; cherry blossoms; new leaves and flower buds on Cercis Forest Pansy; hot pink freesias; a nearly open flower head on viburnum Snowball; possibly the first rose to open; pink rhododendron; apple blossom; violets; pink ranunculus; prunus Accolade. Middle: these freesias are so bright and bold. They're not scented quite as strongly as the white ones, but you still get that hint of incense.

This is a shady corner which gets sun for about 2 hours in the middle of the day. It's difficult to photograph well - either too shaded or too washed out! I'm actually hoping for an overcast day sometime soon to shoot it better. But it deserves a mention for being carpeted with gorgeous violets, which light up the corner. The tree is Cercis Forest Pansy, which has lovely sculptural branches, reddish-purple heart shaped leaves and pink flowers in spring. It hasn't grown much taller in three years but is bushing out a bit.

That's it for now - hopefully I'll be able to give more of a tour soon! Linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Blooms & Green

This month's theme for Urban Jungle Bloggers is Blooms & Green. The challenge was to style living plants along with cut flowers. I decided to style my mantelpiece - it's finally starting to feel like spring and the winter decor was no longer appropriate! Along with my blooms and plants I added a few decorative pieces like the faded vintage rose prints and the tiny metal chair. I also added a miniature watering can, which is probably the thing  most representative of this time of year! (Heaven is a warm spring evening, kicking off my shoes and touring the garden with watering can in hand.)

 The star of my show is the ranunculus at centre stage, but to complement her I made this little posy of anemones and Jacob's ladder leaves.

 Here are some of my most graphically designed pot plants. Ok... I have to admit I have forgotten the names of both of them... so I call them the striped plant and the spotted plant! I also have a couple of stems of pink ranunculus, and a beautiful round-leafed cyclamen.

 Pretty Miss Ranunculus... doesn't she look a picture?

I hung my crocheted flower garland from the mantelpiece. This is one of my favourite things I've made and I always enjoy a chance to hang it somewhere! It's made from cotton/bamboo yarn and adorned with vintage buttons.

I'm really loving this display on my mantelpiece... I think I'll let it stay until it's time to change it up for Christmas!
Urban Jungle Bloggers is hosted by Judith at and Igor at Happy Interior Blog. You can find out more and participate yourself at


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