Wild Carrot, Seed Heads & Lady Grey

This morning was perfect to capture the flower heads still going strong in the meadow as well as the pretty thalictrum and the poppy seed heads.

I sowed wild carrot seed when I moved here in 2012 and to my delight it has finally taken hold and decided to flower.  This has rather put a hold on my cutting the meadow at the moment as most of it is now very brown and ready to go.  I’ve collected rattle seed for my friend Kristy and am now waiting for the poppies to seed, so I can collect this and propagate for next year.  Having had the pleasure of learning about propagation by Marina Christopher, I’ve decided to gather my own seed, make cuttings and try to just multiply all that is already here.  The borders will change yet again and a new herbaceous border is in the planning which will begin in the autumn.  The lavender is beautiful with the gaura and alliums, but I’m sure my postman can’t bear brushing past it everyday, especially when the bees are at their busiest, so I’m thinking of changing it to a smaller variety, there are mixed opinions about this!

I am also introducing my adorable new photography assistant Lady Grey, she’s made herself very much at home here at Hawthorn Cottage and is loving the pathways through the meadow which she currently uses as a racetrack!

I’ve been working on some wonderful photo shoots recently and hoping to get not only this work but my new website up and running very soon, it’s so nearly there!

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The Beauty of the Rose

It has been a fantastic year for roses.  They have all really pushed the boat out and produced the most incredible blooms.  For some reason the only ones I can really get to grow well are the climbers and the two I have are Paul’s Himalayan Musk and Astra Desmond.

Both completely exceeded expectations, the musk rose really gathered pace this year and her small dainty pale pink flowers with a tiny deep pink centre created a cloud of beauty around the trunk of my pear tree.

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In the spring I spent an age attaching and securing the boughs of Astra Desmond along the front of my cottage which I have been hugely rewarded for with her extraordinary display.  The small delicate blush pink buds opened to reveal a gentle ‘top of the milk’ colour which then faded to this most heavenly vintage creamy/grey, such a sight!

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I’m ever hopeful that Kiftsgate might decide to flower in year 4… if not… she will be finding a new home in the autumn of 2016 (or maybe sooner!).

Meadow Highlights

My new row of crab apples are a little wonky from the strong winds we had at the beginning of June and desperately in need of some added support which is on my never-ending to do list!  I underplanted these with white alliums of which a couple fell culprit to the wrath of snails and in fact most of the allium stems have been completely stripped, so I’ve no idea how they’ve made it through.  Here are a few images from the various stages, until quite recently.

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The meadow is in its 2nd proper year now and it’s starting to really come together.  The yellow rattle and vetch has done brilliantly, white camassias, white clover, campion and many other wild flowers are all finding their feet and creeping through the grass creating a great carpet for the insects and slow worms.

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I was recently inspired by Steve, Arne Maynard’s Head Gardener, who wrote beautifully about all the different grasses in the meadow at Allt-y-Bela.  When I sat outside in my meadow having breakfast, the light was bright and low which picked out the silhouettes of the most delicate strands of flowering grasses and I had to get a closer look.  My favourite one is the very last shot, I’ll have to ask Steve to ID it for me.  The grass was alive with growing crickets who have just started practising their high pitched call and no doubt in a week or so it will be quite an orchestra out there!

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Simply Lily of the Valley

Simply Lily of the Valley

These treasures are a combination taken from my garden and Patsy’s garden (my lovely neighbour). I have always been fond of Lily of the Valley and never managed to grow it anywhere. I remember visiting my great Aunt in Chelmsford who’s garden path was always heady with the scent of this tiny and stunning plant every May. When Arne Maynard used the pale pink variety in his garden for Laurent Perrier at Chelsea Flower Show in 2012, I fell in love with it’s beautiful delicate pale pink bells. I remember asking the flower seller on the King’s Road, who also sold plants opposite Habitat, if he could get any pink lily of the valley and he told me there was no such thing and I didn’t know what I was talking about, I was bubbling with frustration at his disbelief but rich with the knowledge that I was right! It wasn’t long after the show that a welcome email from Woottens came through with an offer for 3 pots of Convallaria majalis Rosa which I bought and those poor things sat on a concrete floor outside my flat for a few months before they found their own bit of earth in Gloucestershire.

This year they came into their own and nature put on a beautiful display of perfection that she always does so brilliantly; their scent was utterly heavenly.

It wasn’t long after my seeing my own planting success that Patsy popped over with a beautiful spray of her own harvest, knowing how much I loved them she was only too pleased to share hers and created a stunning little hand tie. I couldn’t resist to go and admire the amazing carpet of white bells that had erupted all over her garden, such a sight. It’s a little late in the day to post these now and they are well and truly over, but I know a post is rather overdue and garden photography is difficult to keep up with at this time of year… the meadows are in their prime, as are herbaceous borders, everything needs capturing!

Patsy’s garden is one I can only aspire to, I’ve attached a couple more shots of Rose Cottage, each season has been carefully planned with colours and textures. It’s difficult to resist glancing into her garden each month just to get a glimpse of all the jewels and gems that quietly take their place on centre stage, she is far too modest to take any credit of course!BN2A0076 1 BN2A0124 1 BN2A0077 1BN2A0125 1 BN2A0135 1 BN2A0143 1


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An Adventure Along Robbers Road

It’s that magical time of year again when Randwick woods are bountiful of bluebells, wild garlic, anemones and violets. Courtney, my neighbour & also photographer, & her sweet Border Terriers, Elsa and Albie decided to explore the woods, we were on a mission to try our new cameras and they were searching for squirrels! We walked for 2.5hrs getting slightly lost along the way, but the distraction of the scenery surrounding us was all consuming and captivating.

We began the walk behind both our cottages, getting the steepest part done at the very beginning, we passed through paths laden with wild garlic on either side and some wood melick with its fine and dainty fronds pushing through to reach the light.

The beech trees leaves are just emerging with their fresh youthful leaves, giving us a beautiful lime green canopy with a sprinkle of pretty light throughout. I should probably mention that the weather was very patchy during our walks, the wind was rather wild outside the wood and the trunks were rubbing together creaking and wavering around, making the setting rather theatrical, however the light whether flat or dappled, created rather different stories throughout which I really loved.

My images capture not just the incredible carpet of dainty bluebells, with their bells that curl so beautifully at the ends, and also the white drumsticks of alliums, but also the simplicity of the wood itself, with its striking tall tree trunks and pathways that wind their way through. One of the pathways we found ourselves walking along was an old highway called Robbers Road, which made us look behind ourselves on a number of occasions, in fact this was one of those times that we got lost and the trees seemed much louder than before! We then arrived at an amazing quarry clearing, displaying an incredible network of tree roots and creating a truly magical woodland wonderland.

Lily of the Valley might have to be published shortly after this! Inspiration is all around at this time of year and I’m grabbing it with both hands.

Wood Mellick amongst the Wild Garlic

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Cowslip Meadow

Yesterday I had a truly inspiring walk through my friend’s farmland, with our very own enthusiastic tour guide, Tinker!

We wandered though endless fields which she is thoughtfully managing and allowing the wild floral and fauna to take hold once again. The meadows contain a huge variety of grasses and flowers, a sight to remind you of your childhood, wandering through warm fields listening to the busy skies of singing skylarks, a place to loose yourself completely. These meadows are flanked by woodland with bluebells and wild garlic, the smell wafting all around us. Tinker caught the scent of roe deer and pheasants, surprising them out of their content slumber and giving us a real treat of the natural wildlife that sat so close to our path.

We then ventured confidently through a curious herd of steers, who picked up pace and keenly followed us up into the next pocket of stock secure land, which I was rather relieved to reach, unscathed thankfully.

The final breathtaking setting is set high on the ridge between two valleys near to Nailsworth, it has the most rare and captivating spectacle of cowslips & ribwort plantain, in natural pasture left to be just as it is.

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Roe deer making a quick getaway through the pond

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Hmm this was before they started getting a wriggle on!

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Hummocks with old and new growth

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Still curious!

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The colours of emerging new growth in the woodland

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Tinker

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Ribwort plantain

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Cowslips & Ribwort plantain