September: flower portrait


My favourite flower – and it was a difficult choice – is Rosa Eglantyne.

I love the rose for many reason – the glorious scent, the soft shell pink colour and its long, repeat-flowering season.  It’s a stunning addition to a bouquet.

Its also a favourite due to it’s namesake – Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children.   Fitting that this glorious rose is growing in my garden as I work hard to ‘save’ my own child.



in the pink

As the weather starts to cool down I am thoroughly enjoying some late season colour in the garden.  I love all shades of pink and, perhaps unsurprisingly, that’s what I have! Dahlias, roses, astilbe, persicaria, sedum…. there is a little orange and yellow out there, but pink is queen.

There’s not, however, the range of blooms or berries that I hope for in my late summer garden. I’ve had the same thoughts for the last couple of years – the problem is that I’ve run out of energy by now and while I wish for it to look slightly different, it’s always gone onto the ‘must get round to that that’ list.  And that list is already quite long.  I guess every gardener’s must do list is quite long…..

So while the ‘back garden colour’ project is shelved for a few more weeks, the front garden has started to take shape.  Two weeks of hand-weeding has seen the 100m² space almost cleared.  I’ve stacked the bags of spring bulbs where I can see them which is a great motivator as I’ve felt extremely guilty if I even think of not getting them planted in time. Must not make any more bulb purchases next year while on holidays!

Happily the productive garden is amazing.  Beetroot, raspberries, beans, cucumbers, courgettes, herbs, garlic, spring onions, rhubarb, blackberries.  And I could go on – yes, there’s not masses of anything (there is no bottling or freezing happening so far) but there is plenty for us for every day – now and in the months to come. A good result I feel for this cold, cold part of the world!

born to be wild

I have borrowed the title for this post from an article in the latest Derbyshire Wildlife Trust magazine.  Written by Dr William Bird, it talks about ‘modern life’ – in particular society’s disengagement from the natural world.  The article talks about the sedentary nature of life, driven by technology, and the increased isolation felt by many.  The impact this has on our health, both physical and mental, is alarming.  The article really struck a chord with me – mostly because I have found the natural world to be such a fabulous healer.

I started my blog to remind myself of lovely things. Things that I made, what I grew, meals that I prepared, nature, flowers.   Reminding myself on a weekly basis helped me to see that the stressful and challenging times weren’t the only times.

I have called upon ‘my’ natural resources again in the last couple of weeks as secondary school pressures dramatically impact my little girl.  We swing from being 11 to 16 to 2… and back to 16 again.  It’s pressure they all face as both expectations and personal freedoms increase, though I guess most are better at managing their emotional regulation.

Facing this chaos with a balanced, compassionate approach is essential.  So every day I have gardened, I have sat and watched bees, I have listened to bird call – all of this helps me to sometimes achieve this balanced state.  A nice aside is the gorgeous fresh produce and the lovely flowers that fill the house.  One day at a time.

so the garden grows

It has taken me a good number of days to settle back to life in Buxton.  After the glorious clear skies of Cornwall, the low-hanging fog that lingers over the Pennines makes the whole place seem a little cold and uninspiring.  I needed some sunny skies to get outside and rekindle my love for my garden!

While I have faltered, the garden has flourished.

There are plenty of flowers to ponder and to pick.  The sweetpeas and cornflowers have had a fabulous year – though both are now nearing ‘the end’.  I’ll pick a couple more bouquets and both will sadly be done.  The dahlias have been fed well and continue to send up buds, here’s hoping they flourish for a couple more months until the first frosts (please).  Best of all, my hollyhocks have flowered.  I’m a huge fan of deep red / black flowers – and they have not disappointed.

Wonderfully, there is produce left for me.  I have a few standouts – yellow beetroot are superb – sweeter than the red and much more productive.  Roasted with some fresh thyme they are sensational.  Runner beans are a gift that keep on giving.  The pink fir apple potatoes have also done really well, despite some slug damage due to their time in the ground (totally my fault for leaving them for so long…).  Still, there are plenty of edible potatoes, simply steamed with butter and mint.  Yum.

We have had some unusual wildlife visitors.  The six Great Wood Wasps (Urocerus gigas) heard buzzing in the lounge one evening as we watched Bake Off were interesting!  While it looks terrifying and similar to a giant hornet, it is thankfully quite harmless.

Best of all the little girl had a fantastic first day at secondary school.  So much greatness.  I am happy.