Category Archives: garden

Generalising July

Listening to “meet the author” on the Today programme radio four this morning, I was amused at the comment. “you can’t just write about real life, it would be too boring”. It’s true of course, the novels we read are shaped and edited, time is speeded and slowed, the focus is narrowed and widened, but repetitive routines of life are missed out to focus on action and plot.

Today in my real life the rain has fallen nearly all day, and the tomatoes I picked in the rain were muddy and wet. Not much action there.

An online course on reading novels I have been dipping into was suggesting how sometimes these routines and rhythms of life can still be described even in the best plot time line. A moment when the essence of a season, or regular event, can be captured. The description is not of a particular summer, but all summers, not just one family breakfast time, but all…

Generalising and condensing recurring moments into one description can provide the underlying rhythm of story.

So rather than try and invent some action I looked back on my July posts and photos since I started writing this online journal, to find the general themes

July skies, grey, heavy rain,

widening to cloudless blue,

July roads, stone walled in Yorkshire dales,

high mountain views in British Columbia.

July books for holiday reading,

pen meets paper healing through writing,

July fruits, red, ripe for jamming,

stirring creativity, stitching textiles.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing red

The last few weeks in the garden have been literally fruit full. We had a lovely crop of dark red morello cherries, not really dessert eating cherries but I made them into a rich flavoured sweet sauce. I wish it had set a bit more, but it tastes great on ice cream, or even on toast.

 

Then it was on to the plums, juicy and sweet, and good to eat straight from the tree. I dried a lot, and froze plenty too, so they will last us for weeks to come.

img_1625Today it was redcurrants, no “pick one eat one” rewards here, they are sour and seedy. But they look so beautiful hanging like red jewels in strings from the branches. And they have a translucence and a glow in the redness.

 

And then I have had another full dose of red on the eyes from another source. At last my Kaffe Fassett quilt is finished. Started in April at a workshop with the great man himself, it has been quite a task. Square by square it has gone together, then layered and quilted. Now I am just completing the binding.IMG_1626Certainly a feast of red!

Colour play day

Last week I had a treat. A chance to meet a hero of mine, and a day to work under his artistic guidance. My sister booked us on a workshop with colour guru and textile artist Kaffe Fassett, whose work has inspired me for many years.

Arriving at the venue, Lady Sew and Sew in Henley, we were greeted by rows and rows of fabric, an overwhelming rainbow of colour. Kaffe and Brandon, his partner,  set us to work, but encouraged us to play, to experiment and see what happened when colours met each other. We were following Kaffe’s “Seed Packet” design from his book Bold Blooms, and it was exciting to see what grew in front of us.

After a day of cutting and placing, everyone’s designs were as individual as their creators. Kaffe commented and made suggestions, and signed books before we packed up our mess and left, exhausted but on a high!

All that has to be done now is to finish it! I have been making progress, but there’s a long way to go yet. Watch this space…

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Spring bling!

What better excuse than the spring equinox to post pictures of beautiful flowers. A walk around the garden reveals blossoms at every turn.

Shades of yellow daffodils and primroses, and hyacinths large and small.

Luscious pinks of camellias and hellebores, and the multi flowering stems of heathers and pieris.

What treasures!

“Forced” moments…

The weather forecaster describes it as unsettled. This morning heavy rain woke me at 5.30 a.m. pounding against the roof and windows. And then by the time I got up to make tea the sun was shining. Now it’s raining again… 

Yesterday I made brief foray round the garden while the sun was shining and uncovered some rhubarb. Protected by an old composting bin and “forced” to grow in the dark, the resulting colours are quite shocking! As the rain returned I was able to conjure up a bit of the Mediterranean by squeezing oranges to mix with the rhubarb. With the addition of a good deal of sugar, the resulting sweet pink jam/sauce tasted good on ice cream and yoghurt.

The art journaling course this week had an “on location” assignment – create a page with three elements  which captures the feeling of being in your own home. Not easy! Just following where ideas took me I produced a page. It took a bit of collaging to arrange, and size and scale weren’t straightforward, but a kind of linking narrative emerged. 
Life at home at this time of year can still feel a bit restricted and constrained, but it certainly has bright moments if I stop to notice them. 

Gold for the finding

Today dawned grey and misty. We donned old clothes and, with bags and forks, joined others from the Hardy Plant Society at a local stables. As the sun began to break through the clouds a crowd of us dug into a black mountain and worked to shovel sweet well rotted horse manure into bags. I have to confess my main role was holding the bags open, but it felt as though we were digging for treasure,  and indeed the contents of those bags is “worth its weight in gold” for our vegetable garden.

By the time we were home the sun was warming the summer house, and for the first time this year I sat outside to eat my lunch. Others too were enjoying warmth and food –  a carpet of crocuses, opening their faces to the sun, was hosting dozens of bees to a banquet of nectar.

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Needing an excuse to sit in the sun, I decided to do some sketches for an online Art Journaling course I am doing  with Jane Lafazio. Not much colour in the garden pots yet, but I had fun, made a Journal page and replenished my depleted store of Vitamin D at the same time.

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Colour in the dark – small stone 28

Not yet enough for a crumble, but sufficient stalks and leaves emerging from the dark earth to give a little thrill. The intense pink and acid yellow colours of the early forced rhubarb provides a jolt of pleasure, and gives me a moment of wonder as to how such bright vivid colour can be produced in a complete absence of light, only revealed when I lift the cover.

However it does it, it always cheers me up!