Continuing garden transformation

The weather has been mostly warm and sunny for the past week (apart from today of course, because it’s a bank holiday here in the UK!) and I’ve been continuing with my Mission to transform my garden.  Just for reminders, here’s what it looked like when I moved in just over 2 years agoYep, the area filled with rubble to the left, between the two tree stumps, is the same as the one in the pic at the top!  This has been the final part of the garden to receive the Sarah Special, Organic Permaculture No-Budget treatment, mainly because it was literally a pile of refuse – rocks, rubble, builder’s plastic, and broken glass.  I’m not up to lots of heavy digging and had no means to import top soil, etc, which anyway is against my ‘zero budget’ principles!  So I’ve been pondering what to do with it for a long time.  Then a few weeks back whilst re-reading Graham Bell’s classic book ‘The Permaculture Garden’, I hit upon the solution!  And here, I’ve even made a little video to show you how I did it!

Pretty cool, huh?!  I am, of course, exceptionally chuffed!

Meanwhile the rest of the garden is busy transforming itself, now.  The flower bed that was one of the first beds I created back in 2015 has totally come into its own this year and is looking amazing.  Again, here’s what it looked like when I started:By planting mostly perennials, bulbs, and self-seeding annuals and keeping the planting dense to supress the weeds, I really haven’t done much of anything to it this year.  It got mulched with compost last autumn, a bit of a weeding in spring before the perennials had gotten into full growth, and a sprinkle of organic chicken manure pellets.  This is how it looks today!

Hope you enjoyed my little tour!  Wishing you a flowery, low-maintenance kinda week 🙂

 

All about October

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Ola!  A little late, but I’ve been laid up with the cold-lurgie that seems to be sweeping the nation this last week, so let’s go back in time and I’ll show you some of the highlights of my October…

Earlier in the month I visited the outdoor sculpture exhibition Out of Nature at Newport House in Almeley, just a few miles from here.  Not only were there some brilliant and inspiring sculptures, but the setting and the lovely gardens were a real treat as well.  The driftwood sculptures by Heather Jansch (below) and filigree metalwork by Aragorn Dick Read (above) were amongst my favourites…driftwoodhorses…but I also loved the huge ‘land sculpture’ by The Cart Shed community, made entirely from fruits, seeds, leaves, and other natural ‘harvest’ goodies.  This is just a small detail, the colours and textures were wonderful and I although I took dozens of photos, none really do it justice!harvestsculpture

…So yeah, all that fresh air and walking about makes a girl hungry, y’know? – Good thing I still had some of my own harvest left!  Fresh basil pesto with the last of the tomatoes was VERY yummy this month…heypesto

…as mentioned in my last post I finished my latest blanket project, the Late Summer ripple blanket, around the middle of October.  I loved every stitch of this project, a gift for my dad, who was over the moon to receive it – it really has been a joy!  (And yes, I am already planning another blanket!)…finishedblanket…just before I came down with the lurgie and the weather turned to mist and drizzle, I did manage to get over to my local woods in time for an eyeful of the beautiful acers as they did their spectacular autumn thing…ParkWoodMaples2…whilst in my own garden, the cosmos and sunflowers put on one last dazzling display…cosmos&sunflowers…so, now the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in, and it’s time to start making things for the Xmas Craft Fair!  This year I’ve been using up my yarn stash on some stripey kids’ hats, I’ll show you more of these when they’re finished…hats…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because there’s still fireworks, trick-or-treat, dressing up and PUMPKINS to be had!  Oh yes, I do so LoVe Halloween!pumpkinlantern

I hope you’ve all had a bright and breezy month, have a cosy colourful weekend 🙂

 

Late summer colour: ripple blanket inspiration

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Around the middle of August, it always feels like the garden begins to move into a different ‘phase’, as the warm colours of late summer and early autumn really come into their own.Sunflowers1Just look at these fabulous sunflowers, towering cheerfully over everything, full of sunny yellows and rich browns!Sunflowers2

I love mixing flowers into the veg garden, too, and seeing the squashes and courgettes ripening amongst a jungle of nasturtiums is like finding secret treasure at the bottom of the gardenSquash&Nasturtiums1Squash&Nasturtiums3

Calendulas (pot marigold) are one of my favourite annuals, and this year they’ve been amazing, brightening the borders and veg garden with masses of yellow and orange bloomsCalendulas&Nasturtiums

So, if you remember, last December when I was working on my Purple Waves ripple blanket, my mum asked me for one in shades of blue – and so the Blue Waves blanket was conjured.  And my dad said he’d love to have one in shades of orange (his favourite colour), with maybe some reds and yellows mixed in.  I didn’t want to do Yet Another Mexican Sunset colour scheme, so I began by playing with graded stripes, from cream and pale yellow through orange to deep red.  But it looked a bit too subtle and ‘flat’, somehow; it just wasn’t getting my colour-mojo going!  It got me thinking though, about the grand riot of late-summer-garden colours that I love so much.Nasturtiums1Crocosmia

Oranges, reds, yellows, russets and browns – just looking at the calendulas and ripening tomatoes against the mellow brick of the old shed made me want a blanket full of these colours, all jumbled up together! Toms&Calendula

As with the other two blankets, I chose my yarn from the Stylecraft Special DK range and found all the colours I wanted.  I dropped the cream and deep red and added russet brown and gold instead.  I wanted it to be cheerful and colourful, but a bit more ‘masculine’ and, dare I say it, subdued than my usual psychedelic style!  Here’s a close-up of my final colour scheme ripples:CloseUpbest

I just finished stripe No 54 today, and lay it out on the bed for the first time.  Seeing all those colours working together is a real thrill!Stripe54

I only started this project just over a month ago, so I’m definitely getting quicker at this pattern!  It would be lovely to finish it in time for my next trip down to visit my folks in October.  By then, the summer colours will have faded and blankets will definitely be required!  But for now, I can still sit out in the garden some days and crochet away amongst the flowers, veg, and happy bees!Bee&Marigold

Wishing you all a warm and colourful weekend 🙂

May Daze

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May is one of my favourite months!  I love the energy of this time of year, all the trees coming into leaf and flowers opening, the feeling that everything is gushing with life. The gorgeous scents of bluebells and tree blossom! Going out without a coat!  Warm enough for picnics but not yet for hayfever!  Plus, it’s my birthday month, what’s not to love??  (Apart from being reminded about getting older, that is!)

To celebrate Beltane (Mayday), and in defiance of said ageing, I decided it was time to lop my long locks.  I’ve not had a major re-style for many years and I felt like a change.  Wow, did I feel LIGHTER when I walked out of the salon!  I’m still getting used to it but I think I like it.  In fact I might go even shorter next time…hairbefore&after

…earlier in the month, some friends very kindly came and rotovated the last bit of the garden for me, so that I could get on with making the ‘potager’ beds for the main section of the kitchen garden.  Here it is, freshly rotovated (and pre-compost bin)…rotovation...and here it is last week, just before my back gave out on me…postrotovator

…on what was probably the hottest day of the year so far, two of my lovely friends from the Dyfi Valley came for a visit and we spent a gorgeous afternoon picnicking in nearby Hergest Croft arboretum and walking in the bluebell woods…BluebellTastic2

…I also went to a plant fair, where I met the folk from Broomy Hill Enchanted Gardens.  Annette makes living sculptures out of plants (mostly native, organically grown), natural materials and found objects, called ‘Emplantments’.  These photos don’t do justice to this magical piece, and I’m looking forward to visiting the gardens later in the summer to see some more …emplantment1emplantment2…and then there was my birthday!  I actually came down with a coldy/virus thing that week, so I was feeling a bit flat and didn’t get to go away camping as hoped.  But I was so thoroughly spoiled with cards, pressies, and general loved-up-ness that I ended up having a very good day indeed…birthday...so what with lurgie-recovery and back pain, it’s been a quiet end to the month for me.  I did manage to get out for a short walk before the rain set in though, and in the fields behind our town I came across this sweet little duck pond, although the ducks were not impressed by my presence and declined to be photographed…duckpondAnd finally, this month marks a whole YEAR of picture round-ups!  I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them as much as I’ve enjoyed doing them, it’s a lovely way to remind yourself of your best days and achievements in a month, and I thoroughly recommend it as a practice.  Thanks to everyone, as always, for reading, and for your lovely comments and emails.  I do appreciate it very much!

Here’s looking forward to a long and dreamy summer! 🙂

April Delights

HergestGateAloha everyone, and welcome to my picture round-up for April.  And what a GLORIOUS month it’s been here in the Marches!  It’s honestly been the most beautiful spring I can remember for years.  My little house and (not-so-little!) garden have been giving me so much to smile about this month, but the warm weather has also seen me out and about visiting some of my favourite places and people…

…A million years ago when I lived here in my 20s/early30s and my friend Arainn & I used to work as volunteers for Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, we spent a lot of time at the (then) newly-acquired nature reserve Burfa Bog, making stock-proof fences, coppicing overgrown trees and clearing brambles.  I went back there on Easter weekend, and was delighted to find that one of our toughest bramble-infested areas is now covered in wild primrose…burfa1

…on another glorious day, I went out for a lovely local walk and came across THE most idyllic cottage-spot!  These are definitely my favourites so far…KnillCottages…as mentioned in yesterday’s post, there’s not been a lot of sewing or crochet going on this month, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy…ColdFrameSeedlings

…one of the best things about living back here is being able to pop round to visit old mates and see what’s happening at their places.  About 12 years ago, I helped plant some trees on some friends’ land, including this one that I grew from a conker that had sprouted.  As you can see, it’s very happy in its hillside home!…RowansTree

…I also went back up to the Dyfi Valley for the annual SeedSwap event at Bro Dyfi Gardens.  It was great to catch up with friends there, and to have a look around the beautiful gardens created by volunteers on the site.  And buy some plants, of course…BroDyfiWoodlandFaces…so, hmm, yes: I do seem to have gone a bit garden-crazy this month!  The sunshine has definitely seen my health improving a bit, and it has been so lovely to spend time outdoors, soaking up the spring energy.  And just in case you were thinking this post was a bit short on colour, I will leave you with these amazing plants that grow all through the ponds and streams in our local Park Wood… they’re called Skunk Cabbage, can you guess why??skunkcabbageWishing you all a very colourful holiday weekend, and a magical month of May! 🙂