Of Clematis and Apples

Just another post from my garden – because I can.

The flowers on the ‘Lemon Dream’ clematis I showed you have died but down below there are more.

Lemon Dream clematis

There is also a flower from the other clematis I planted next to it. (A shorter one called ‘The Vagabond’.) The Vagabond clematisThe other side of the garden my ‘Diana’s Delight’ clematis has suddenly put on a great show. Diana's Delight clematisYou can see that it is planted just to the side and almost behind my rosemary and you can see a Christophe allium just opening.

The apple blossom has all died and I have little blobs of what might be thought of as unsuccessful blossom appearing all over the garden old blossombut on the tree there are signs of future apples, tiny appleseven more in some places. even more tiny applesAnd I did make some more bread – a granary loaf this time but have spared you a photograph. 😉

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Garden update

My garden is very important to me even though I am not much of a ‘gardener’.

So I like to share what’s happening.

I was very pleased a few days ago to see the first flowers on my clematis that I planted not last autumn but the one before. At one point I wondered if it had died but no.  clematis beginning to open

And then yesterday They had really opened out. clematis fully openThey are called “Lemon Dream” and do have just a very faint scent.

More scent below though again you need to go close.

Lilies of the valley don’t photograph easily so here is just a peek. lily of the valleyAnd further along in the same bed I was pleased to see that my Lenten Roses are still making a brave show, though now they have faded from dark pink to a more dusky purple. Lenten roses

April Montage

In April I once more shared a lot of cooking and flowers. There were the Hot Cross buns and Simnel muffins I made for Easter time and a couple of loaves of bread. The same ideal recipe but first as a Farmhouse loaf and then as more of a Bap shape. Now able to get out into the garden, from the middle of the month, I created a few flower portraits.April montageI also managed to fit in some knitting and crochet. I made one of my Celtic Coasters as an Easter present for someone who doesn’t like chocolate. (I know how can you not like chocolate!) And for knitting I made a pair of socks from the wool left over from two other pairs of socks made with similar yarn. I was pleased with how they turned out and aim to make similar socks with other leftover sock wool. Finally I manged to get round to completing my latest cushion.

And although I don’t normally add other things to my monthly montage posts. Since this replaces my normal Monday post, I will add some photographs of things that have made me happy this last weekend.

Here is yet another loaf of bread. Made from my favourite recipe: half white and half wholemeal this time. half and half breadAnd here is my breakfast! breakfast(Interestingly, I realised that although I don’t buy much organic produce, the flour for the bread, the peanut butter and the honey are all organic, either bought because I like it or because it was a good price.

And lastly a photograph of my apple tree full of blossom. apple treeThis is maybe my favourite time of year: seeing the apple blossom and the forget-me-nots and, in my previous garden, the bluebells, all at the same time.

Flowers and my garden

I am really beginning to feel that Spring is coming.

Last time I showed you a portrait of some forget-me-nots, forget-me-notsone of my favourite flowers.

But when I went out later into the back garden, I realised that the forget-me-nots were happy colonising odd locations like here in this crevice forget-me-nots in creviceor growing in the wall. forget-me-nots in wall

I also noticed that the pulmonaria (also know as lungwort), that I had pulled up rather ruthlessly last year because I thought it was swamping the snowdrops, had managed to survive. pulmonaria

I was very happy to hear the hum of bees as they went about their work of collecting nectar and when I went out the front to photograph the flowers on the rosemary I managed to get a couple of opportunist shots. Just point at a distance and hope. Working at this resolution gives lots of opportunity and these next two photograph are using just the original pixels. Not quite in focus but usable I thought. bee on rosemary

and another sort of bee. another bee on rosemary

Of course we have had a fairly wet time in recent months and the paving has suffered. However I tried a little bit of cleaning with a scrubbing brush and water and you can see here the difference that it can make. clean and dirty pavingA large area to clean up though. It will have to wait till I am feeling a bit more energetic.

I am a great admirer of Leanne Cole and her flower photographs (Find the latest here). Just click on the tag below the post: ‘floral friday’ to find more, or use this LINK

And so I have been trying to make similar myself. I think my style is a little different to hers but I hope you like them.

First the lithodora: another of my favourites. lithodora

And the pulmonaria pulmonaria

And a daffodil. daffodil

There were just two left, relatively small flowers on very tall stems.

Finally my hybrid socks!

I have finally manged to finish the hybrid socks I started after finishing the rainbow ones. Hybrid because I used the left over yarn from my recent mini mochi socks and that left over from the pale rainbow ones I made years ago. mini mochi 2 sorts of yarnHere they are. hybrid socks

I was rather pleased that they came out so long as I wasn’t sure how long that would be. You can see from the odd orange part on one sock that because there was, for some reason, more yarn left over on one ball, I decided rather than waste it to use if for the other sock. This of course adds an extra half inch.

Here is one of the socks laid over the earlier ones. sock length comparison

Unlike the ‘Rainbow Socks’ I feel I can start wearing these right away!

And, for anyone who might be interested, I can’t resist sharing a photograph of my most recent and possible ideal, at least for me, loaf of bread. latest bread

I have always preferred soft rolls to crusty ones and in fact my favourite bread when I was a child was a bap. The artisan bread I have made tends to have a crust that is lovely straight out of the oven but later just seems rather hard, especially for my bread knife. Now the milk bread I made had a much softer crust but the texture was a little cake-like, so I thought I would try the same recipe but using half milk and half water. The result had a thin easy to cut crust and a proper bread like texture.

Interestingly I have a recipe in my bread book for a Scottish Bap and that is half milk and half water. I am making some pizza bases as I write this and next would like to try some foccacia!

And finally a few photos from my garden.

I was delighted to see that the one bed was full of scilla siberica scilla sibericaand the primroses were also coming on nicely. primroses

There are some more, not yet in flower, further along.

I was also pleased to see that the Lenten Roses are doing very well even after all that snow. Lenten roses

I did some gardening! and snow!!

Last weekend I noticed that the fuchsia in the pot in the front was already putting out shoots. So knowing that once I’d had my next infusion I would have to keep in the warm I decided that I had better do some pruning.

I also have a Mrs Popple fuchsia in the back garden that I have shown you before in flower. And you can see it in the front of this picture And here it is pruned. I think last year I pruned it back even more because it does grow so big, but it was cold in the garden and I didn’t want to kill it so I was cautious.

I was also cautious with the one in the pot at the front. This is a variegated one: grown from a cutting take from the one in my younger daughter’s garden. Smaller flowers and I think you can just see what the leaves are like.

Apart from the need to prune them every year, hardy fuchsias are very easy plants and flower for ages over the Summer and early Autumn.

Snow!!

We don’t often get snow in Southampton but we were promised it for Thursday (today) and when I woke up there it was.

All these photographs have been taken from indoors in the warm.

Not maybe yet enough to make a snowman (unfortunately I won’t be going out to do so even if we get more. 😦  ) snowy garden

The daffodils and crocus I photographed last week are suffering. daffodils and crocus in the snowThe Lenten Roses even more as far as I could see. Maybe even dead. I couldn’t bear to photograph them.

And here is the pruned fuchsia now. pruned fuchsia in the snow

No worse for the snow as far as one can see.

Signs of Spring

Today I allowed myself a little time in the garden, inspite of it being very cold, to take a few photographs and sprinkle eggshells round vulnerable plants to keep off the slugs.

Luckily I have a good view on the garden so I have been able to keep in touch with what has been growing, even if I have stayed indoors.

I am pleased to see that the snowdrops are still holding on and happy to see that the daffodils are finally here. There is also one lonely crocus. back over the other side, near the snowdrops, my Lenten Roses are giving a great show. Well it is Lent!You can see the remains of the Christmas roses at the front.

I am a great admirer of Leanne Cole and especially like her macro photographs of flowers, as that is something I enjoy experimenting with.

Recently she wrote an article suggesting how to edit macro photos using Lightroom – http://leannecole.com.au/5-tips-for-macro-photography-using-lightroom/

Now I don’t have ‘Lightroom’ but I was able to apply some of her ideas to the photograph of the crocus and produced this – What do you think?

Monthly Montage June

I offered photographs for three of the month’s Photo Challenge subjects: Favourite, Cross and Wave. Normally I try to arrange these photographs next to each other and in sequence but that was too tricky this month but I expect you can see which they were. Monthly montage JuneReally a lot of photographs this month as I also did an update on my garden and five posts about my visit to Dorset, though I have only included two of the photographs here.

Otherwise it was mostly crochet: more Celtic style coasters, some other recent makes and a request for pattern testers for my US version of the Real snowflakes.

Clematis, roses and garlic

Not much to show in the making line this week though I have been working hard.

So I thought I would take the opportunity to fit in another garden update. I am so enjoying my new style garden taking shape.

These photographs have been taken over the last month. All taken and processed rather quickly, just as a record really.

Before I went on holiday I looked at my clematis. The Vagabond is only meant to grow to about four feet but of course it won’t get that high this year. I saw that it had a good crop of blooms The Vagabond clematisbut also realised that it needed spreading over the trellis. Clematis on trellisIn a way it looked better with the flowers closer together but this was for the future!

My clematis on the other side of the garden was in a similar state, though less ready for spreading out. Diana's Delight clematisOdd really given that it was planted first.

After I came back from holiday after all that sun and only a little water, courtesy of my son, the same clematis looked like this. Clematis after hot weatherThe first clematis is still producing the odd flower, now further from the ground and so free of slug damage Single clematis flowerbut the clematis the other side only has seed heads. I wait to see if I will get a second flush later.

At the same time I was pleased to see that the rose bush had plenty of buds. Rose buda and alliumsand the alliums (Christophe – my favourite) were developing their flower heads.

When I came back from holiday the roses were in full bloom and the alliums much bigger Roses and alliumsThey seemed bigger than I remember them but then they are in a much sunnier location now and the ones in this bed, the sunniest, are bigger than those in my herb bed. More recently they are so big and heavy I have had to give them support.

Those extra green floppy leaves either side of the single allium are from my garlic.

I have been growing garlic for a few years now.

I always take a few of the fatter cloves out of the fridge because the garlic cloves for sale in the garden centre cost as much as a whole head of garlic in the greengrocers!

When I started, I read that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest and I have always stuck to this pattern up till now.

I was always a little disappointed that each clove only multiplied itself into four new cloves, so last Autumn I decided to try an experiment and I planted the garlic at the same time as the daffodils.

When the garlic was beginning to flop over and produce flowers I decided that it was time for harvest even if earlier than before. I dug up one first, just to see, and then decided to dig up the rest.

I always plant three or four cloves and here they are when I had just dug up the last three. garlic just dug upAnd here with all of them washed. garlic washedThey gave me six or seven or eight cloves this time so I will be planting them September/October time again this year.

I have a lot less flowers in my garden at present as the first flush of roses is over and the other new plants are small, so of course I have less bees than I used to. Though here is a rather poor photograph of one taken a few weeks ago. bee on alliumI do have a lot of different greens though. green leavesAnd my fuchsia is covered in flowers as always. So there are a few bees there. I was rather pleased with this photograph bee on fuchsiaas normally all you see are their bottoms! bee in fuchsiaA few of the pansies are also hanging on thoughpansies

but I don’t know if bees like them.

 

Monthly Montage – May

This last month, photographically, I had four photos for the Monthly Challenge: Bird, Cycle, Stationary and Lost. I also created a lot of ‘flower portraits’ of flowers in my garden. Monthly montage - MayApart from that I put together a tutorial on knitting fair isle and, to stick to knitting for a moment, I showed you some socks I have knitted for my daughter. Crochetwise  I wrote a  post about my search for the perfect Celtic Cross bookmark and another showing how my Celtic plaitwork bookmarks compared to earlier bookmarks in use.