I sometimes expect August to be hot and sunny just because it is school summer holidays. But the reality is often a bit different! We have had some very grey, wet days here recently and the evenings are already getting noticeably darker earlier. However we having been picking peaches to ripen on the windowsill, and the sweet juicy blackberries on the brambles on the allotment are being enjoyed by wasps. The colours in the garden seem to be ripening into reds and golds with crocosmia, dahlia, and pots of pelargoniums.
Although they are a bit past their best now, I decided to chose the pelargoniums (sometimes called geraniums) for my August flower. I love their multiple florets and intense colour, and the beautifully patterned leaves are a bonus. I cut motifs from a Kaffe Fassett fabric, appliquéd and embroidered them to create this journal piece
This is the time of year when we are constantly picking and freezing produce from the garden. It is my husband who sows the seeds and tends the growing plants, and I am grateful for his green fingers and hard work. Today we have been picking beans – French, runners and dwarf beans.
This week has also seen a “harvest” from seeds of a different kind. Sometimes writing posts for this blog and my other family history blog “Among the Branches” feels like sowing seeds. I cast them out into the air not knowing quite where they will land, and whether there will be any return. Often they land on receptive ground and I get comments from my readers. At other times the only reaction is stony silence.
But a few days ago I was excited to receive comments on two blog posts from July and November last year. One from a distant relative on my father’s side of the family, and another from a distant relative on my mother’s side. Both connected to me through great, great, great, great grandparents – one set from Ireland, the other set from Cornwall. I am intrigued that pictures and information I posted so many months ago, about ancestors from 200 years ago, should generate responses now, in the same week. Coincidence? Or something more? I don’t know…
For me it is an illustration of the power of the written word, shared with others by blog or other means. We never know who our stories might reach, and where they will resonate. I am grateful to so many whose books, blogs, stories and poems have inspired and encouraged me. It may not even be within our lifetime, but words can produce a longer lasting harvest than beans.
Keep sowing the seeds, keep writing, and who knows what bean stalks might grow…
A gentle stroll around the garden and I return with a full bunch of frilly scented sweet peas. They have been flowering for over a month now, and the more you pick the more you get. Yesterday’s heavy rain seems to have given them fresh impetus, and I have two vases full on the window sill, wafting their scent towards me as I write this.
Sweet peas are definitely flower of the month, and here is my Weavers Flower Journal stitched piece for July. I think my embroidered attempt is far too sparse – the reality is so much more abundant ( and fragrant!)
The June garden is full of roses. The photos don’t do justice to the colours, and certainly don’t capture the fragrance! The pink rose on the trellis is a neon pink, called “Morning Jewel”. It is flowering profusely this year since we moved it into a sunnier position.
I just had to choose a rose for my stitched flower journal this month. But roses are a challenge to stitch. I decided to try a reverse applique technique I learned on a Susan Brittingham workshop several years ago. Working from a black and white photo, I reduced the rose to three tones of pink, and built the picture piece by piece like a jigsaw, stitching from the back. Then I added surface embroidery, before quilting it onto a piece of hand printed fabric I found lurking in my stash! With hindsight I wish I had chosen a more silky fabric for the rose, with more of a sheen. Perhaps next time…
reverse appliqued fabric pieces