Autumn

The garden is damp. The plants have flopped over, or been battered down by the rain. The earth has tilted, so light becomes scarce. There is a 4ft sq of light that spans the edge of the garden and the hedge, and it creeps silently along that one edge of the garden from morning until mid afternoon, when all light is gone completely. I don’t love my garden in Autumn, it has to be said. The grass never dries out, the dew sits on the branches all day, quietly dripping onto the humus below. There are glimpses of joy – fat garden spiders hanging out in their copious webs, the leaves on the potted blueberry, which turn all the colours of autumn. The magenta stars of the asters, and the small blue flowers of the borage that has self seeded itself in the bath. The bath, which I planted earlier in summer to be a sensory seat – chamomile, lavender, thyme – is gushing forth, still. And the birds visiting the fat balls and peanuts we put out together. They peek their little heads out gof the hedge first to see if the coast is clear, then out they flutter for a nibble or a drink.

Generally though, I have to go a bit further afield than my garden in order to enjoy the splendour of the season, and so far I haven’t. I’m not sure why exactly. Mister and the girl child have – but I’ve opted to stay home and nest. To be alone, pottering, listening to podcasts, gathering my thoughts. It feels right somehow.

On a bright day, I have sat on the bench outside the back door, with steaming tea, breathing in the wet air, and I like that. When the heating comes on, and we must enshroud ourselves in restrictive layers and coats, those damp micro-droplets in the air feel so thirst quenching to my skin and my lungs. Maybe I will take off my shoes and socks and spread my toes out in the wet grass. Yes, I should do that.

In the meantime, here are some photo’s. Fat berries and luscious light *sighs*

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Did you see the little hairs on the Borage? In my lightless garden… Hmmm – insert meaningful Pinteresty quote here _____ (or below…?)

Bye for now – hopefully I will not leave it as long between posts this time!

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Garden happenings.

Girl child has fully embraced gardening this year and asks “can we garden mummy?” as if she is asking for chocolate treats. Win! Bits of tidying, planning and some planting have been like a salve for our occasional tempestuous relations when the weather has allowed. I learned last year, that gardening with a small child involves a large degree of letting go. Gardening is always teaching me about life. I learn to grow, nurture, watch, be patient and trust. There no other option really, nature will have her way.

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I’m not setting high hopes for vegetables this year, save for trying a few seeds I have left from last year – beetroots, lettuce and salad leaves. I’m focussing on the herbs this year. I have a small patch of the sunny border which has accidentally evolved into a herb patch over the years. This year I’m sowing some annuals like parsley and coriander, but having listened to Gardeners Question Time on Friday afternoon, James Wong suggested that germination of herbs is so hit and miss, the better approach may be to buy supermarket herbs and then divide up the plants from the pot and pot them on. The phrase “it couldn’t be simpler” drives me insane when applied to anything, but growing basil is my gardening nemesis and in fact, it seems anything could be simpler. I have read about a method (also using supermarket herbs) where you make a clean transverse (I imagine) snip in a stem and then pop it into a glass of water until it sprouts roots, then pot it up. It’s got to beat poor germination, damping off, growing leggy or just plain  s l o w  growth, so I’ll give it a try.

Elsewhere in the garden, the concrete area outside the back door is looking happy now that the evergreen shrubs I potted up last year have established, reducing the need for loads of pricey annuals and keeping the area looking cheerful all year round. The lavenders which I gave a good haircut to last summer are also lush with little purple spikes. A friend gave us a lovely but leggy sedum last year, and it has redoubled its energy over the winter and is now growing bushy and bold. All being well there will be a mass of little clusters of bee-friendly flowers later in the summer.

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Compost has been a bit of an issue. I prefer to buy peat-free unless I am desperate or completely skint, so I decided this year it was time to harvest the compost bin which has lain abandoned since parenthood came along. I was stopped in my tracks by an apparent Yellow Jacket nest, which by all accounts (Dr. Google) is best left alone until they leave by themselves, usually after a year. I bought New Horizon Organic peat-free multipurpose which has been fine for general garden planting, but I’ve found it moulds over when left in the bag or in the seed pots. My seeds have still germinated but it ain’t pretty. Does anybody have any experience or tips for sowing in peat-free mediums? I know Monty Don says it’s no problem, but I think he blends his own, which is not feasible for those of us not producing acres-worth of garden waste!

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Looking back at this time last year, so much more is still to come into flower – It’s been such a cold May!

How does your garden grow? Any tips to share? Please leave a comment below!

A visit to Yorkshire Lavender.

In a sleepless haze of nap-less desperation I bundled the girl-child into the car in the hope she would fall asleep. I wound through lanes and villages around York for half an hour before she finally closed her eyes. Being lost* I carried on driving looking for somewhere to pull in and close my own eyes for half an hour. We happened upon Yorkshire Lavender in Terrington near York, and it was the perfect spot for a bit of aimless wandering once she awoke.

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Obviously we bypassed the natural splendours and headed straight for the tea room, which serves an assortment of savoury and sweet foods. Not all the sweet treats are laced with lavender, but we chose the lavender and raspberry Bakewell tart, and a lavender and blueberry muffin for the girl-child.

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The lavenders are looking lush with new growth at this time of year, but no flower spikes yet. Still, there are enough spring flowers to make the gardens worthwhile if you love flowers. And taking picture of flowers… Ahem.

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Coming as I do, from a hilly Pennine village, I find a proper hilltop hard to come by in these parts *sobs*. Terrington sits atop the Howardian Hills and the views from Terrington Bank back towards York are stunning, especially on a day like this one. The gardens are well maintained and landscaped in a way that I think makes them really toddler friendly, but without losing any adult appeal. We had enormous fun running up and down the “wobbly wobbly path” and when I stopped to take pictures, I knew that the girl-child couldn’t really roam too far out of my sight.

The staff were really friendly and happy to indulge the girl-child in a bit of “helping” with the weeding. Visitors are actively encouraged to touch the plants, and girl-child really enjoyed being able to wander among the lavenders and the gravel paths that wind through the herbaceous borders. At the bottom of the hill is a small paddock with a herd of deer, and along with the sculptures, giant gates and pergolas, it’s a really fun, sensory way to spend an hour or two with an active toddler. As well as the tea rooms there are a gift shop and a modest plant nursery, but entry to the gardens is free.

*I’m never lost. I’m just enjoying being on an unfamiliar road.

Mami 2 Five

In Pictures // March

Looking back, it seems March was super-productive – who knew? Or maybe I just took more pictures than usual because of Spring lifting it’s delicate little head?

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There was making and baking and travels and flowers and celestial happenings and celebrations and ALL THE DAFFODILS HURRAY!

We ended the month by embarking upon and painting and decorating job which we are still finishing off now. Hence the slight radio silence the last couple of weeks. Now we have a big blue smooth wall and we can start to play with fabrics and art and colours… the good bit!

Adios for now! x

Happy Things #2

The sap is definitely rising and these are some of things making me smile this week! Hurray!

1 // Seeing the first butterfly of the season, and a huge bumblebee. Hearing the birds in the hedge getting all twitterpated.

2 // Mothers Day was gorgeous. Girl-child picked out some flowers for me and kept saying “Happy mothers day” all day. We went for burgers. Burgers trump EVERYTHING in my world.

3 // Taking a family walk at Skipwith Common which is a lovely nature reserve near York. Clear blue skies, long shadows, sticks and dens. And songs from The Jungle Book.

4 // Taking some time on the yoga mat – something I’ve not been doing enough of lately but always makes me feel good about life.

5 // A long hot bath with essential oils. Lavender, rose geranium and patchouli are my favourites – relaxing and mood enhancing. Plus I whiff pretty damn good afterwards. For a change.

6 // Reading all the books. The Girl is so athletic and acrobatic at the moment, which is fantastic, but also exhausting! So it’s nice when she just want to read stories with mama.

7 // The solar eclipse! I was so excited by this event! How amazing is this little globe we inhabit in this vast universe? Events like this remind me of how small we are and how, despite modern life and all it’s craziness, nature still captivates and inspires us.

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Hope you are finding plenty to put a spring in your step too? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m linking this post with Sunday Stars

Mami 2 Five

In pictures // February

Before we get too far into March I wanted to share my highlights of February. It really felt like we started to climb with weak and weary limbs out of our hibernation holes. The slightly longer days and delicate spring flowers and shoots are bringing us back to life. Slowly.
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1 / Birthday visit to Yorkshire WIldlife park for my birthday treat.

2 / Woodland adventuring with the little’un

3 / First daffodil in our garden – the girl-child and I planted these bulbs together last year 🙂

4 / Gorgeous wintery sunset, no?

5,6,7,8,9 / Parkland adventures at St. Mary’s Abbey and the Museum Gardens. That day felt like the first day of Spring – warm, earthy smells, rising sap. Mmmm!

10, 11 /  Getting crafty with the girl-child. These were her first totally independent artworks. I loved art as a child so it fills my heart to see her enjoying it too. Happy times!

How was February in your neck of the woods?

Lately // Winter Walks

Being something of a technological slattern, I had neither backed-up my hard drive or uploaded photo’s from the camera in approximately a gazillion months or something. It came to a head when iPhoto crashed on me last night. Momentary panic  ensued. Not too am-dram, though, I was zonked in front of my Girls box set after a long day and a run. With no wine. So, you know, a brew at 10pm. Anyway, it all came back to life (switch off and back on again) and I backed up and sorted out my photo’s.

So this was going to be about a lovely walk we did last Sunday, which was THE most gorgeous sunny day of the year so far. Then I found some of our New Years Day walk too, so here they are too.

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(Spot the Instagram filters.) New years day walk was at Scarborough. You can tell which day is which by the colour of the sky… look at that blooooooo! I don’t know where the other place was, but there was a canal and lot’s of mole hills with which to clog up wellies. Our souls really needed this sunny walk after the long dark January and well, just because life. And cities. And central heating.

Hope you all are finding some little beams of spring starting to defrost the spirits, if not the bones?!

p.s. Yes, I know the first picture is THE least flattering angle for me.

 

 

 

Good Things // January

So, January. While I love the promise of a whole new, fresh clean sheet when the new year opens it’s gleaming gates, the days seem to gradually give way to the reality of dark, cold, wet days.
All is not lost. Here now, is a pictorial representation of some good things that this month has given me. Yay!

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Snowdrops // enjoying (for real) eating WELL healthy // visiting the seaside on New Year’s Day // visit to the national railway museum // cheeky fella // frosty things.

P.S. I missed this. I was feeling well cross when I started writing this but now I’m chill.

P.P.S. I don’t know what I’ve done to make the photo’s come out all big n that. Soz-balls.

A mini adventure!

I don’t have much luck with car boot sales. We turned up all prepared with wellies, sling, snacks, cash and suitably Del Boy style attire to find it was cancelled again.

Luckily, we found a nature reserve around the corner. It had everything going for it: muddy puddles in abundance, rabbits, squirrels, the most delightful cacophony of birdsong, trees, ponds and enough flouncy rhodedendrons to make it like we were all in foreign n that. And spontaneity. So without further ado here is our #microadventure in photo’s.

Apologies in advance for mish mash of photo editing styles… I am tapping this out on the phone while the little ‘un sleeps on me!

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Happy bank holiday weekend! What adventures have you been up to lately?