In the early toddler days of summer I took you on a photographic tour of my garden after a couple of days of heavy and relentless rain. Despite, or perhaps because of the downpour there was unexpected beauty to be found everywhere.
I love this leaf. Has it arrived, or is it about to embark?
The toddler is now grown and the musty, earthy smell of the early morning indicates the arrival of autumn. So before the season fully turns please join me on a wander around the late summer garden.
Fuchsia, or as I called them when I was a child – Dancing Ladies.
The last of the summer lettuce.
Hide and seek playing sweet pea.
Waiting for the grapes to ripen.
Green, grassy-smelling hops.
The sunflower hedge, heads up and soaking up the rays.
Peppermint in flower.
Not long now.
Hawthorn berries bring colour to the hedges.
Wild Carrot, open and closed.
Agapanthus dancing in the breeze.
The beginning and the end of the roses.
Francine and Mylie waiting for me to move out of their way.
Enjoy the dog days of summer. Maybe even with a dog …
Despite purchasing a pair of splendid summer shoes, summer has failed to turn up in our corner of the UK.
The upside is that the garden is wild and lush, a northeastern jungle. Unfortunately it is too wet to actually sit in it and enjoy the smell and sounds. We have to admire it through the window.
However, it does make for excellent knitting. At this time of year I am usually more inclined to sew or embroider, knitting in hot weather can be a little hard work. But this year the productivity rate is soaring.
These came along with me on our trip to London a couple of weeks ago. I dyed the yarn using Wilton’s food dye on a wonderful Saturday morning with Lucy at Woolaballoo. There is definitely a yellow and green theme to my wardrobe this [not quite] summer.
Unfortunately I forgot the stitch holder and the yarn shop I found only had large ones , too big for my socks. So I had little option but to put them aside and purchase a replacement yarn. I couldn’t spend the entire weekend without something to knit!
I discovered The Village Haberdashery was only a hop, skip and a jump from our Airbnb and I was persuaded to step back from the yellows and greens so plumped for this gorgeous colour combination, Almond Rocks from Knit the Bed.
Meanwhile back at home (too big for a weekend away project) The Boxy by Joji Locatelli is coming along well. The yarn is The Barber by Uschitita. I originally read the name as The Berber, which explained why I failed to find any examples of what it looked like knitted up!
However, I am feeling the urge for something a little more challenging. So I intend to finish the socks this weekend and start on The Roadside Beanie so I am ready for Shetland Wool Week. I think that will play along nicely with the Boxy, something to think about and something I can knit on autopilot. Perfect.
I seriously considered putting on wellies just to walk round to the orchard to let out Mylie and Francine. Seen here in sunnier days at Easter
Francine on the right and Mylie on the left.
The rain seems to be endless and I wonder if I will ever sit outside with a book and enjoy the garden. But let’s be honest, the long, hot summer of 2018 was an aberration and this is a more traditional English summer. So here are some pictures of the beauty of an English country garden in its more usual “habitat” … the rain.
The flagstones under the garden table, where we will not be eating supper tonight.
Rosa rugosa holding up against the rain, not so delicate after all!
Leaf sailing on across the overflowing water butt.
Snail hiding in the fallen rose petals.
Bounty in the garden. Woad, fennel, motherwort, mugwort, artichoke (globe and Jerusalem), runner beans, peas, yarrow.
I had a eureka moment this summer. Actually that’s a lie, it was more of an aaaaaaaaaah realisation moment. One of those moments when stuff that has always seemed a bit out of kilter suddenly makes perfect sense.
I have always thought of myself as an autumn/winter person. The kind of person who loves snuggling up by the fire with the dogs and a good book; crispy winter walks; big rambunctious winter casseroles. And indeed, I do love all those things. But I love warmth and sunshine and long summer days more.
Perhaps because of our wonderful summer this year, following the dreadful excuse for a summer we had last year I have been outside much more. The garden has been more productive and the foraging has been superb. It’s been wonderful. I don’t want it to end, I don’t really want winter and darkness. I want the light to last.
I tried to cheer myself up with the prospect of Christmas. And that is when I began to panic. I have always gone full pelt at Christmas. Not necessarily spending money but in making, baking, preparing, decorating, gathering.
I don’t want to do that this year. Having spent all this time taking things out of our house I do not want to bring any back in. But that’s not all there is to it. It isn’t just a question of things or stuff it’s a question of attitude.
I want simple. I want a simple Christmas. Simple decorations, simple food, simple celebrations. It doesn’t make them any the less valued or special but the thought of a heavily decorated house and a freezer full of meals that will probably still be there in January makes me feel just a little bit ill.
I can’t stop the present fest on my own. The Boss and I tend to give each other things we need. Last year we both unwittingly gave each other saltpetre for preserving and smoked salt which we both love. Not perhaps the most traditional of presents but it made us laugh that we had both been thinking along identical lines. Or we give days out. That’s how I got to spend a weekend at Taste The Wild and a fabulous overnight at The Crab and Lobster. But I can wear the present fest down. I can do simple.