Sunday, 29 April 2012

Six years...

Today is Tom's sixth Angel Anniversary.

This photo was taken on his first day of nursery at Big School. He was so excited and wanted to wear his favourite train sweatshirt.

No2 and I went to the zoo today, as we usually do to mark the day. Our ZSL membership includes Whipsnade so we decided it might be a drier option because at least we would have the car to shelter in. A wise decision as the rain and wind were foul.

This year's favourites? The bears, hands down. They reminded me of one of Tom's favourite books from nursery.

Brown bear,

brown bear,

what do you see?

I see...

a hippo, yawning at me.*

Or it could have been an elephant who had decided, in her wisdom, that hay was more stylish to wear rather than eat!

*keeping it topical and hoping Eric Carle doesn't mind.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Walking round the garden...

As I step outside the back door, Angelique (my favourite tulip ever) is starting flower.

Heading to the bottom of the garden to the pesky back border, I find it filling out with my perennials and looking surprisingly full of promise.

Hidden in amongst the lush greenery are the first of what I hope to be many of my cut flower seedlings: cerinthe, cornflowers and verbena at the moment with more to be added if it ever stops raining.

My new roses are perking up too. This is Precious Love that I got as a gift for my work at The Child Bereavement Charity.

This is looking like the first year I will have gooseberries too. I think I will cage/net them soon to avoid disappointment.

There is a simple reason why the garden is looking lush and green other than the obvious one of the torrential rain of late...

My girls have had their destructive habits quashed. It was a BIG decision to limit their freedom but it was getting to the point of whether or not to keep them. My garden and their lack of compassion was getting me down. I was constantly fed up of the disappointment of finding stumps instead of fresh green shoots. This was Plan C! Plans A and B didn't work. They are still laying everyday so I don't think they are that stressed and I am feeling less guilty now that they have been down there for a couple of weeks and are still pleased to see me.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

In the post...

I succumbed and bought myself a Kindle. I'm very aware that my reading has dropped off to virtually non-existent because I am addicted to technology. I would rather faff around on my phone or my iPad rather than pick up a book.  This hasn't stopped me buying books, it's just that I buy them and tend not to actually read them. I am hoping this will now change.

Yesterday, a tweet came up on my stream that I couldn't ignore - one of Rebecca's beautiful Kindle covers had made an appearance in an Etsy treasury.

I had no resistance and immediately snaffled one up. It came this morning! There are plenty of other gorgeous things in Rebecca's Etsy shop if you fancy something of your own.

It has been a good day for post - I also treated myself to a little fabric stack from Alice at Backstitch.

I have been antipating this vibrant and distinctive collection for some time as I love Geninne's work and have some in my kitchen already.

Maybe I'll make something for the kitchen...

(sorry for terrible photo)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bluebell Heaven...

My annual bluebell walk usually coincides with a plant fair at held on the Ashridge Estate but last year they seemed to have peaked early. This year's fair isn't for another 4 weeks but I'd heard on the grapevine that the bluebells were out already and so I decided to head off out to see for myself.

I wasn't disappointed. It is a magical sight and one that I wanted to share with my sisters for the first time.

They are out four weeks earlier than just three years ago - the beech isn't in leaf at all.

Always one of my favourite days out and this one was no exception, filled with laughter and the most English of flowers.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Blossom snow...

No chance of cherries for me again this year. While there is one parakeet on the feeder ...

... his friends are all waiting in the cherry tree.

Slowly eating all the tiny fruit that are at the base of the blossom, which they destructively toss aside to carpet this corner of the garden in blossom snow. Each flower perfect, not a sign of dying off naturally before being discarded.

(The pigeons are too fat to get to the feeders so they waddle about below hoping for some stray seed to fall.)

The other garden birds are getting in on the act too!

I can understand why there has been talk of culling these exotic visitors as they are a destructive force and it must be a nightmare if you were commercially growing fruit.

And talking of parrots, these ones are in full bloom today.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Flower Power...

It is of great comfort that in the midst of turmoil and change, the seasons provide a gentle backdrop of continuity and familiarity.

April is possibly my favourite month of the year in my flowery world as my beloved tulips begin their show.

In November I planted some new ones on my deck, in a colour that I would only possibly ever consider for tulips - apricot. These are Apricot Beauty,  a single early variety. On grey days, they are at their prettiest.

And these are possibly the stars of this year's show - Apricot Parrot. Modestly green while in bud ...

... only to astonish when fully open. Heaven in a tulip.

I could almost believe a garden imp has been out there with his paintbrushes fully loaded with colour.

Welcome pockets of colour that make me smile every time I look at them.