Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Marigold - #enjoythelittlethings

This image is hi-resolution A4 size if you want to save it and print it -
 or maybe you'd just like to 'pin' it to spread some encouragement?

I was really pleased to find this quote to go with the Marigold, the October Birth Month flower.

I love roses and lotus flowers but a vase of marigolds can give me every bit as much enjoyment as any of the more exotic flowers. 

Marigolds are easy to grow, seed themselves profusely and provide a welcome splash of colour in the flower beds - though October is far too late for them here in the UK! - so I think they are every bit as much to be cherished as any flower!

I find myself increasingly appreciating the amazing 'everyday', the awesome 'ordinary' - in preference to the 'extraordinary'. 

Especially on the internet, it's so easy to find ourselves being fed an over-rich diet of 'amazing'. On practically any webpage I open, even the weather forecast, there will be links to all sorts of astonishing things. Superlatives abound - the 50 fattest countries, the world's most enormous castles, 30 happiest cities, 50 weird and wonderful animal facts . . . 

After a while, I can feel my senses glazing over at all this amazing-ness! 

Better to ignore all these enticing headings than reach a point where 'amazing' ceases to amaze and, just like painkillers, we adapt and need ever higher levels of sensationalism to make any impression at all!

Give me a clump of self-seeded Marigolds any day, glowing against the green of the leaves and the blue of the nearby Mountain Cornflowers in the corner of my little back garden! In spite of my neglect, they'll keep flowering and creating a cheering picture. 

That's what I call truly amazing!

The garden of my childhood home was full of marigolds. My mother did most of the gardening but without the luxury of purchases from garden centres. Even if they had existed at that time, we couldn't have afforded it! It was a pretty little garden and I used to love to pick a posy that consisted of one each of all the flowers. Maybe that's where I learnt to appreciate the beautiful things that cost next to nothing?

So yes -

It does not matter if you are a rose or a lotus or a 
What matters is that you are flowering.

And I think it's time to 




(I think I'd quite like to be a Marigold!)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Spreading the idea of the Seasonal Door Wreath!

It all began with Pinterest last spring, when I was putting together boards to represent the four seasons!

That's when I discovered that hanging a decorated wreath on our front doors isn't restricted to Christmas-time. This discovery fired my imagination so much that I wanted to drop everything and make a spring wreath straight away. 

But where to get the base? Naturally, I did a google search for sources of bases - which led me to a website with lovely clear instructions for making my own and I plunged right in!

You'll find more about my Spring Wreath
and a link to the 'Modern Country' blog
where I found the instructions

In the summer I didn't have time to make another wreath base from scratch so I cheated and filled a pretty heart-shaped wire basket with (artificial) summer 

But with my honeysuckle hedge growing like a triffid this summer, sending out such long shoots that it's barely possible to get past it to refill my bird feeder, I was determined to take advantage of the fresher stems to make the base for my autumn wreath!

The honeysuckle threatening to strangle the climbing roses!

I somehow still didn't get around to having my wreath all ready in time for the 
first day of autumn. But we were still having unusually summery weather so my 
poppies, daisies and cornflowers didn't seem too out of place.

I finally found some time to cut back the honeysuckle last Sunday afternoon and the sun was still so warm in my garden that I decided to use the stems I cut off to make the wreath base outside in my garden, to save the mess in my kitchen. And all that bending and trimming the stems can result in quite a mess, especially if you haven't removed the leaves and berries!

During the week, I've begged or bought all sorts of bits and pieces for my Autumn Wreath and found some more in the park. 

A word of warning if you think of making something like this: try to use flowers 
with stems that are thin enough to slot into the wreath base - or at least thin 
enough to cut easily. I bought some lovely sprays of berries and so on from the local florist but the stems were far too long and almost too thick to cut. So I ended up having to use wire to keep them in place; not a disaster but not ideal either.

In most matters of design, I tend to prefer 'balance' to 'symmetry' because it's usually less formal; and I just followed my instinct when I created my Spring Wreath.  

But I thought it would be good to make a change and try to create a symmetrical Autumn Wreath - funny how that strong instinct of mine took over and ended up with 'balance' again!

So here it is, finally finished and hung on the door, just as the weather has finally turned chilly and damp, much more autumnal -

The seed-heads on the left are Granny's Bonnets (Aquilegia) from
my garden, the beech-masts and cone are from the park and
the dark seed heads at the top are from a neighbour's garden,
 Rudbeckia, or something like that, I think.
I'm not usually very enthusiastic about our British habit of frequently importing 
ideas from the other side of the pond. Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I don't like the idea that 'globalisation' can blur the (positive) differences between countries and their cultures too completely. 

But the idea of a seasonal door wreath is one idea I'll happily borrow from our American friends and I'd love to see the idea spread over here too!

My front door isn't easily visible from the pavement so the best way to promote the idea is through my blog.

So - all you clever and crafty Brits, 
what are you waiting for?