Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss. –
Endymion II, John Keats
This has been a very strange summer for many reasons, the weather has been really wet, so many plants and flowers are weeks behind flowering when they should have. This week I dodged the monsoon downpours to pick these sweetpea flowers. They were tricky to photograph as the light was so poor – it felt like October. They smell wonderful though.
It’s been a hectic year so far, many changes at work and uncertainty for many people But, I start an exciting new role next month, so there’s been much to arrange, lots of extra studying and planning; I’m looking forward to it. I’m still feeling very, very tired and my back ache and arthritis have been painful, but I’m much, much better than I was this time last year. I couldn’t have got to where I am today, without the unending support and love of My Chap – he’s always holding my hand – sometimes metaphorically 😉
This vase appeared before as part of ‘In a Vase on Monday’ before in late July 2015; it turns out I’d picked sweetpeas then too – completely different colours though. I do remember that the sweetpea plants were about 6 foot high and covered in flowers – they’ve barely reached 4 foot this year.
As I mentioned, I’ve been very busy so although I’ve picked and photographed flowers and vases quite a few times this year – I haven’t ‘quite’ managed to write blog posts – chronically late even for me. As ever, I really enjoy seeing everyone’s flowers (and vases) from around the world – it’s really lifted me, inspired me and made me feel part of a community. Thank you everyone.
‘In a Vase on Monday’ is hosted by Cathy at www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com so do have a look to see what people have created – this week there are some Ikebana Japanese flower arrangements – Cathy’s Ikebana Venus is beautiful. I think I might have to think hard about Ikebana and do some reading before I have a go. I still tend to plonk flowers in vases and hope for the best.
It’s said that the poet John Keats (1795-1821) was the first person to use the name sweet pea for these flowers. Although. the style of sweetpeas he knew would be very different to modern day ones because of hybrids. In the language of flowers Sweetpeas meaning blissful pleasure.
We are feeling blissful 🙂
The big news is – My Chap asked me to marry him and I said YES!!!
On Saturday 18th June 2016, we took a picnic and headed off to Bodnant Garden in Wales; we go often and love it there. We had a great time, wandering around the estate and the mountains of Snowdonia glistened in the sunshine. We took many photos of the Dell, in particular (the rhododendrons and azaleas were nearly over but the hydrangeas were just coming into bloom).
We arrived at the rose garden about 5pm. It was exceptional – the roses are in full bloom and the scent incredible. I sat on a bench by the roses My Chap got down on one knee and asked me….Blissful.
My Chap chose my engagement ring too – it fits perfectly – what a wonderful man.
We celebrated by buying a purple lupin from the Bodnant garden centre.
My Brother and Sister in Law sent us a stunning Waterford crystal vase which will definitely be appearing as the star of ‘In a Vase in Monday’.
I don’t think it will surprise ANY of my fellow gardening bloggers that the first thing we thought about was ‘what style and colours our wedding flowers should be?’ Roses will definitely appearing, as will lavender, and sweetpeas too. I hope we can grow some flowers for our wedding, so I’ll be seeking advice for a ‘cutting garden’ in our small, northern, north-facing back garden.
Just need to get on with arrangements and find a venue – We are getting married late September 2017.
Exciting times 🙂
Have a wonderful week everyone.
A huge box arrived, inside was a beautiful (and heavy) Waterford crystal vase from my brother and sister in law in Australia to celebrate our engagement. We bought the flowers – Not In a vase on Monday yet.. But it will be soon.
We visit Bodnant Gardens often – it’s about an hour and half from Manchester, inland from Conwy on the North Wales Coast. It’s one of our favourite places – there’s always somewhere beautiful to walk, time to stop and smell the flowers, relax and enjoy the scenery – the garden overlooks Snowdon.
Last Saturday, we took a picnic and headed off to Wales; we have been together six years on 20th June so were celebrating that too. We had a lovely time, the weather was sunny and warm, we took many photos of the Dell, in particular (the rhododendrons and azaleas were nearly over but the hydrangeas were just coming into bloom).
We arrived at the rose garden about 5pm. It was exceptional – the roses are in full bloom and the scent incredible. Then My Chap got down on one knee and asked me – I said YES!!!!
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be – Robert Browning
Bodnant Gardens -National Trust – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden
p.s. Constance Spry rambling roses by the bench – Perfect
My Chap and I are away in Cornwall this week – the beautiful coastline, countryside and gardens are replenishing my soul – along with some great fish cooked by My Chap :-). I’ve been reflecting on what a momentous year this has been – I’ve found more inner resilience than I knew I had. I’m a stronger person than I was.
Today’s ‘In a vase on Monday’ is somewhat unconventional – the photo is nearly a year old but I hope you’ll allow me this.
It’s been a year since my friend (and former partner of 20 years) Steve died so suddenly on 30th April 2015.
I could tell you a million stories of Steve – we all have them. Instead I’m going to tell about the significance of the flowers I chose for his funeral – they reflect his life and interests:
- A red rose – because he was a proud Lancastrian, he loved the hills, towns and villages of this green and pleasant land
- Cream roses – like the ones from his beloved mother’s garden
- Sea thistle – because he loved the sea
- Orange blossom to represent his love of Spanish cities and many happy holidays with friends. Our last holiday was to Seville.
- Eucalyptus – to represent a wonderful holiday to Australia to visit my brother and his family.
- Purple heather – because he loved Scotland, hillwalking and the hills
- Rosemary – to reflect his love of cooking – he and my Dad were always discussing recipes. He talked recipes and food with my Chap too – and we cooked together often.
- Rosemary is for remembrance too
- And finally lavender – he loved sitting in my garden and loved the smell of lavender.
We read the following poem at Steve’s funeral:
Feel no guilt in laughter
Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the ways you showed you cared.
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you. A word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling, that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.
Steve was a big man with a big personality and he touched so, so many lives.
He has been taken far too soon – Rest in Peace Steve (1967-2015).
We remained friends to the end.
His sudden death affected me deeply – but I have realised how much resilence I have and am getting back to where I want to be. I couldn’t have done this without the love and support of My Chap, my family, Steve’s family and our many friends.
Life isn’t a dress rehearsal…. so I’m off to pick tulips in the garden of the cottage we are staying in (with permission). Part 2 of ‘In a vase on Monday’ later…
love Bec xxx
I’ve written about Steve elsewhere on my blog:
- Lilac, pincushions, tulips and recycled glass – In a Vase on Monday
- Wordless Wednesday – Rest in peace gentle giant
- Wordless Wednesday (not) – glorious birthday memories
- In a Vase on Monday – Love and rosemary for remembrance
You can find more about ‘In a vase on Monday’ which is hosted by Cathy at www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com. today she is celebrating the wedding of her Younger Daughter – Cathy picked flowers from her garden for the bouquet and button holes. She’s very talented :-). Reading all the blogs from people around the world showing their flowers has lifted my mood this last year… thank you everyone 🙂
This week the weather has been pretty wet in Manchester, we’ve even had two monsoon rainstorms today. I decided to pick the brightest flowers in my garden today to help cheer myself up:
- An orange rose – it’s the only rose I have in my garden – it’s been flowering all summer in the front garden and has appeared in another ‘In a vase on Monday’ in early June (Oranges and lemons – 30 June 2015) – I don’t know its name but it has a delicate scent too. And as you can see below, the colour changes dramatically as the flower ages.
- Crocosmia – Lucifer. This is in my front garden and has been flowering for about a month. We bought them at RHS Tatton Park Flower show four years ago but it’s taken until this year to really get going.
- Crocosmia – montbretia (the one you see in many gardens around the UK as it’s spreads) I’ve got this in the bottom left corner of my garden in a dark, shady corner, but it’s not been flowering much as I think it’s in the wrong place. I’m going to move it to pots next year.
- Hypericum berries from one of the bushes in the garden when I moved in six years ago. The flowers have appeared in Oranges and Lemons. The berries go black in the Autumn so the plant gives a lot of all year round interest.
- Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’ – I got this one a couple of months ago in the local garden centre (Bent’s); it’s very happy in my sunny, poor soil, front garden. We bought four more different varieties at Tatton Park flower show a couple of weeks ago, which are settling in well along side my many kinds of lavender.
Achillea’s common name is Yarrow; it was used in the past as an astringent for wounds and in a variety of herbal remedies. Butterflies and bees love it too.
The vase is an unusual triangular lead crystal vase with red panels; it is very heavy. It belonged to my friend S’s mother J. It would date from the early 1960s and (I’m guessing) a wedding gift to his parents (J and K) in 1964.
I’ve also got a new camera, so I could finally take an indoor shot.
I’m slowly getting the hang of my camera so expect a lot more photos of flowers very soon. The close up detail is brilliant. I am so pleased with it.
Do have a look at the Link Cathy at ‘Rambling in the Garden’ she has some beautiful white dahlias, hydrangeas – it is so calm and restful. I enjoy so much looking at everyone’s vases and flowers. They give me so many ideas for my garden and they really lift my soul.
I’ve not had much energy for anything much this year ,including gardening. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in the garden and visiting the Great Gardens around the UK (mostly owned by the National Trust-hurrah for them). I’ve found it very difficult to write anything too, including on my blog, but things are slowly improving. Life has got in the way but I’m working through all the practical issues, and getting myself into a better place. My chap N has been a total legend, looking after me, driving me around and doing even more work than usual in the garden. My family and friends have been brilliant too but I’d really like to feel more myself soon and no more back ache either too. I know I’ll get to where I want to be; mindfulness and yoga help too.
We have been eating out in the garden quite alot when it’s been dry and our other seating area is slowly getting sorted out – It’s right by the house and so we have completely different view on our garden. I hope I can take some photos of it soon to show you all and also explain why I love Pimms so much.
I hope you like the flowers in my vase today, and that you’re enjoying the ‘summer’ or whatever season it is supposed to be wherever you are 🙂
Have you been on a days out? I’m always looking for new places to go.
Tennis: the most perfect combination of athleticism, artistry, power, style, and wit. A beautiful game, but one so remorselessly travestied by the passage of time. – Martin Amis
As the weather warms up across the UK and the tennis at Wimbledon starts, it’s got me thinking of Robinson’s lemon squash. It’s still a part of the courtside scene, and is integral to the British summer. So today’s vase is reflecting the colours of oranges and lemons; I hope you like it.
I’ve been waiting a while to show the only rose I have in my garden. It’s from my front garden and was in a very sorry state when I brought my house 6 years ago but some judicious pruning from my Chap has revived it. I couldn’t include any of the open roses as they’d lost petals because of the winds we had at the weekend. It opens out into much lighter orange petals – no scent though.
‘In a vase on Monday’ is hosted by Cathy over at www.ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/ She’s got a really vibrant vase this week with her first sunflower. It’s lovely – do have a look around everyone’s vases – I can’t tell you how much the vases brighten my day.
The other flowers are:
– Geum – Queen of Orange – this is new to the garden this year. I’ve got a red/orange Geum which was planted last year but the flowers went over between Sunday and Monday – typical!
-a yellow hypericum – there were six bushes of this around my garden – two in the back garden and four (yes four round the lamppost in my front garden). We’ve dug up, split and given way all but two plants in front garden and one in the back garden. I like hypericum’s as you get a lot of plant, interesting leaves, pretty yellow flowers and then red/black berries right through until Autumn.
– Potentilla fruticosa – ‘Abbotswood’ another shrub which was in my garden when I arrived. It’s on the edge of my patio and has a lot of pots sitting in front of it – and the white flowers set off my fuchsias very well.
The vase is just a plain glass one with a ‘clinched’ in middle.
My chap and I had our fifth anniversary last week, and one of the gifts he gave me was this compass paving stone – he knows we plan so many of our adventures while sitting in our garden and it fits perfectly in the gap next to the decking. It’s set to magnetic north and, as usual, yoda is overseeing things. My Chap’s going to set it in gravel soon, as that end of the garden is very shady, so the grass is mostly moss and that’s why there are lots of dandelions too.
I’m off to watch a bit more Wimbledon – I’m very happy because the wifi works throughout the garden so I’ll be sitting at the bistro table enjoying the view of the garden too.
I’ve always loved watching the tennis. My mum used to listen to it on the radio all day at work and as soon as we got home the TV would be on and we’d all be watching. I was lucky enough to go to Wimbledon with my mum in 1977 – Centre Court tickets too. We saw Ilie Năstase, Billy Jean King and an 18 year old John McEnroe at his first Wimbledon (as an amateur too), he was grumpy but it was very clear he would be a great talent. The strawberries were lovely, but expensive, so nothing much changes. I’d love to go again but always forget to put in for the ballot.
1977 was a fine year as it’s also the being of my love of Star Wars – I think I saw the film three times at the cinema, and everyone wanted a light sabre for Christmas. I was 11.
Fingers crossed for Andy Murray. Are you watching the tennis too?