Tuesday 28 May 2019

Flowers of Spring

Hello Friends!

I love the seasons, each in their turn, each with their own special attributes and merits, but sometimes I think this is my most favourite time of year in the garden. We joyfully greet the return of the light with longer days; we welcome the arrival of some gentle warmth as the sun climbs higher each day; and we await, with eager anticipation, the daily changes in our gardens.  Trees and shrubs are in full leaf, and all the countless shades of green provide an oasis of calm as Summer waits in the wings. The precious flowers that brought colour, joy and hope during late Winter are now a distant memory, the fierce heat of Summer days is yet to come, and now the gentle breath of Spring brings the jubilation of a floral symphony in colour and scent.  Birds flit and fly, seeking out grubs that take shelter on the stems, and underneath the leaves, to feed their growing broods that soon will be seen as they fledge into a new and waiting world.

Here's what's blooming, and scenting, in my cottage garden today.

Capturing a Golden Wedding rosebud before it opens, with a spectacular orange flare that is not seen once the golden petals open.

A very special, old fashioned, highly clove scented pink. Did you know that this flower apparently came to Britain with the Norman Invasion, an opportunist along for the ride, and that the name of the colour pink is actually derived from this very flower? So, the flower came first!

Oriental poppies in the most beautiful coral shade, surrounded by purple geraniums, what a contrast, making each other pop, a delight to see this combination. Notes have been taken!

The rosa rugosa, filling the corner with blooms of delight, and filling the air with a deep, rich and spicy fragrance, second to none.

Borrowing from next door's garden! Why not? This beautiful laburnum tree, the pendulous drops of brightest golden yellow sway and dance in the breeze, bringing colour and motion to my garden!

The clematis continues to delight

and you know me, when the Oriental poppies are in flower, I just cannot resist snapping the incredible display of stamens and pollen inside the bloom. I think Gertrude Shilling would wear this with pride!

and a last glimpse, for today, of the divine Oriental poppy "Coral Sea" bobbing in the breeze above the geraniums.

A garden is a joyful place to be. It is a place to work hard and reap many rewards; to sow and plant; to simply potter or dig and delve; to learn patience and appreciation; or to sit, relax and enjoy the reward of your work while sipping a Pimms.  I am not growing food crops at the moment, but they will come again in time. For now, I am repairing my garden,  growing for pleasure, for the simple beauty of plants and flowers that bring me peace, joy, solace and hope.  In this time of grieving, restoration and healing, I am planning a very special addition to my garden. It is a thought in progress, to create a Friendship Garden in which will be plants that I hope to garner from friends, either cuttings or seeds, and of course include the plants that have been gifted to me and my parents over the years.

Until next time
Deborah xo

Friday 24 May 2019

Flowers on the Beach

Hello Friends!

What could possibly be more happy making than discovering flowers on the beach? I know!

On a gloriously sunshiny, blue skied afternoon I was strolling along Whitesands.  The gentle ocean breeze took the edge off the heat of the springtime sun, so it was very pleasant indeed.

The big Spring tide was out, so there was a grand expanse of golden sand on which to walk, and it looked peaceful and quiet away on the far end, so off I set. Up near the car park and Porthmawr Surf Lifesavers Hut people milled about on the sand, enjoying their afternoon.

A few intrepid swimmers braved the cold; some young surfing dudes received instruction in a group; and sunburn in the making was observed as people sat and enjoyed an ice cream, or strolled along the beach, or built castles of sand and fortresses of stone.

I like the far corners of the beach best of all; they are quiet and more contemplative, with interesting finds to interest and enlighten.  Here, in the peaceful space suspended somewhere between the soaring cloud puffed skies and  the fathomless blue ocean, as the life giving sun warms my face, I feel an overwhelming sense of calm, of being, and deeply connected to Gaia, nature, spirit, whatever you call that peaceful feeling of oneness with the Universe, or with your God.

As I walked down the beach, I took a path close to the sea which gently lapped. I thought of the surfer wannabes, not much surf for them to enjoy today, poor things.

I reached the far end and stopped, sat and listened, closing my eyes and letting the energy of the Universe flow into my consciousness before letting it steep deeper into my being.  I felt a complete oneness with my surroundings and let my spirit meditate on all the energy of nature that was flooding in.

The random raucous call of a lonely gull lifted me into a different state of awareness.

Unknown time had passed and I knew I had to return from the place of bliss my spirit had found back into the present, so I returned to the now, and turned to begin my walk back up to the distant car park.

I decided to take a path closer to the cliffs that edge this beautiful beach in the wild west of our country, and found many things to delight me.

A silver white crab shell caught my eye, an empty shell of a life once lived at sea.

on I walked until a dry and withering heap of the most delightfully red, inspiring seaweed on the high water mark caught my eye. Such colour, such vibrancy, such texture.

And then something truly magical ~ flowers on the beach!  Some, slightly higher up on the cliffs, but some right down on the stones that edge the golden sand. What an unexpected treat this was to find.

How gorgeous, how glorious they look as they scatter and tumble, falling in drifts down the craggy cliffs to the sandy shore below.

How tenacious life is, in even the most treacherous of places, lashed by stormy seas and scorched by summer sun, it finds as nook or cranny and takes a precarious, precious hold, learning not only to survive, but to thrive and bring such beauty in an unexpected place into the world.

Until next time
Deborah xo

Saturday 18 May 2019

The Joys of Spring

Hello Friends

It has been a week or two, maybe even three since I last stopped by for a chat. Time marches, ever on, and the flowers in my garden once more come into their own. Those that took a battering from Storm Hannah have done their very best to recover, and those that kept their precious heads below the parapet now flourish and flower, giving their most beautiful all.

Here's a little of what is blooming in my corner of The Shire this week.

Of course, it wouldn't be Spring in Wales without the rain, and the rain brings out the snails, so look who I caught, red handed on my lovely French tarragon. Shortly after this, it became a tasty snack for a nearby beady eyed bird!

My peony, an offspring of the one salvaged thirty years ago by my late father from a fate of going to landfill ~ he rescued it, brought it home, planted and nurtured it well, and it rewards me still.

The delicate clematis, the Lazarus plant, for it returned from the dead years after we thought it was lost, is slowly opening, bud by bud by precious bud

Each day I eagerly await and monitor it's progress

and beneath the towering clematis sits two of the many self sown columbine or aquilegia in many shades of purple and pink

 A few days on, the clematis is doing very well indeed

and opens out in all its glory

a little arty play with some filters

These two patio roses were bought by my dearly loved mother over ten years ago, and I had given up on them! They were pushed into a corner, neglected for nearly three years while my attentions have been elsewhere. I wish I had taken before photos, for they were in a truly sorry state, dry dead twigs with no sign of life and I held no hope, but still I decided to try again.  The best "before" I have is this, where you can see how poor a condition they were in after resuscitation commenced.

I cleared away the thick and choking weeds, refreshed the compost, added some Richard Jackson's Container Magic to the compost, and put them in a warm and sunny spot. For over a month I have tended with water and regular feedings of Richard Jackson's Flower Power, and just look at them now!  You would not recognise them. {I am not receiving any remuneration from Richard Jackson' I think the product speak for themselves}

The exceptionally fragrant Rosa Rugosa is in bloom, and soon the air will be filled with exotic scents of Summer

A Golden Wedding, the yellow rose of friendship

I do hope to come across the adult Red Tiger moth that will emerge from this beautiful, big caterpillar.  It will be a stunner, for sure.

and finally on our little tour around the garden, the Arum lilies are opening out in all their simple elegant beauty.

Soon, we shall step out into the countryside once more,

Until next time,
Deborah xo

Wednesday 1 May 2019

A Metaphor for Life

Hello Friends!

I don't want to dwell on the damage to the garden caused by Storm Hannah, so I will tell you that I have freshly potted the uprooted fir tree and pretty much cleared away all the damaged plants, and although this leaves some peculiar gaps, it looks a lot better out there for a tidy up and removal of all the blackened and burned foliage.

I am happy to say that, despite losing foliage, buds that were just starting to emerge seem unscathed, and this morning the apple tree is turning quite pink with bloom!  Time will tell, but I am very hopeful now.  It might not look as good as I had hoped, but plants can recover quickly; all is not lost.

I wrote a short, reactionary piece of prose after Storm Hannah rampaged through and calm returned; I then found a suitable photo to accompany it.

My fellow blogger and online friend Martha Ellen {whose very lovely photos and words you can find here} said, when she read the shortened version on Twitter, that it sounded like a metaphor for life. She's correct, of course, although I didn't originally consider it as such as I wrote it.  I have taken her words to title this entry.

So, this is what I wrote:

In the heart of the storm the wild west wind hollers and howls; the sea rages; it roils and it boils; it hisses and spits; a bubbling cauldron of confused chaos and mayhem. Ominous black clouds roll in from the horizon robbing the day of it's light; you are battered; you are pitched and tossed at every turn; you are flotsam dragged wherever the wuthering winds and the treacherous tides take you. You bend to the will of the storm and survive. Slowly, surely, the storm rolls on, leaving you behind, and with unwavering certainty stillness returns; all is calm; all is well; and you sail on into calm water, in perfect peace and harmony, across a clear blue sea under a clear blue sky.

and this is the photo, taken a few years ago on a very early morning walk as the sun rose gently on a warm summer morning; all was peaceful and the blue ocean was millpond calm as it reached to seamlessly join as one with the cloudless blue sky above.

Until next time ~~~
Deborah xo