This seems a strange combination I know. But there was a quilt exhibition celebrating Kaffe Fassett at Standen. It was a miserable day. Wet & horrible. Spring in reverse, as it goes sometimes. The day after those lovely sunny pics from Sissinghurst.
I was superkeen to see the quilt exhibition. (I have loved fabrics since I realised mum’s boxes at the bottom of the wardrobe held a multitude of patterns and colours). There was some fantastic embroidery – I think actually I liked that more. In this world of Pinterest and blogs, the quilts were not as exciting as I expected – but of course in their day they were absolutely cutting edge. Some of the colours were really vibrant, that was certainly undiminished!
I also had a look at the bothy. A temporary art installation by Will Shannon. It was modest – so much in life isn’t modest any more – it’s brash and loud and wants constant attention. Instead this sits more quietly – it needs engagement and investigation, and doesn’t give up it’s secrets of comfort and cosiness so readily. Maybe we need a bit more of this feeling….
A little trip in the sunshine to Sissinghurst last Saturday. So lovely to see all the new colours emerging. There were a couple of pretty varieties of narcissus that were really unusual, and the carpet of crocuses and yellow daffs was impressive… but mostly it was just nice to feel that spring has finally arrived.
Ready to go with my next batch of seeds. I am not using those dried plugs this time, as I found they always wanted to revert to their dried state so if didn’t help the plants one bit – back to compost and a variety of plugs / pots. I’m also not using those wooden plant labels, as they rotted really quickly. Good for the environment but not so good for working out the best varieties. This year I’ve got various colourful plastic ones which should be reusable and they brighten up the place too. Anyway, today’s plantings:
- Tuscan Kale
- Mange Tout – Shiraz / Oregon Sugar/ Golden Sweet / Carouby de Maussane (my favourite with pretty flowers and nice sweet pods)
- Courgette – Striato di Napoli
- Pumpkins / Squash – Munchkin / Early Butternut / Crown Prince (that beautiful blue/ grey one) and some very old Jack O’Lantern / Rouge Vif d’Etampes/ Sweet Dumplings – not sure if any of those will germinate but will give it a go.
- Nicotiana – Whisper
- Love in the Mist – double white
- Sunflower – Claret / Titan
- Lupin – Snow Pixie
- Limonium Suworowii
- Poppy – Venus
- various Marigold
More to plant but it nice to see all the seeds trays and inspect them for progress.
So I’ve finally got round to planting some seeds. Just been held up by weather, life etc.
So my Feb plantings look like this:
Veg / Herbs
- Broad beans (already planted) – Super Aguadulce, Stereo, Sutton, Crimson
- Peas – Tendrilla, Sugar Ann & Douce Provence
- Tomatoes – Tigerella, Red Grape Sugar Plum, Indigo Rose, Gardener’s Delight,Costoluto Fiorentino
- Tuscan Kale
- Aubergine – Slim Jim – never tried to grow aubergines before so we will see how it goes – this is a slender variety which hopefully will make it easy to use in the kitchen
- Artichoke – Violet de Provence – there are some old artichoke heads in one of the other allotments and they look fab even as they disintegrate
- Thyme / Coriander / Fennel (herb) / Garlic Chives
- Sweet Pea – Blue Velvet & Almost Black – I have also ordered some paler seedlings which will doubtlessly turn up in due course
- Snapdragon – White Giant & ‘Night& Day’
- Rhodochiton – Purple Bells
- Stipa/ Giant Feather Grass
- Angel’s Fishing Rods – Donard
- Gypsophila – Rose
- Dianthus – Russian Skies
Our lovely friends Chris & Paula have just come back from India bearing spices – how fabulous! All neatly wrapped in scraps of newspaper: cinnamon, cardamon, star anise, cloves, chai mix, turmeric root, star anise & vanilla. And they smell so good! Especially the cardamon. And so much fresher than the ones which arrive in jars in the UK (we’ve been conned). Anyway here they are, looking and smelling beautiful:
I arrived in Edinburgh all ready for snow (having braved a flight in the middle of Storm Doris), only to find there was none!
Happily my folks live further over so they did have some, and there was a lovely coating on the hills. A few snaps from the next morning, although by this point it was truthfully ice – but I was still happy to see it. I even donned my mum’s too big walking boots to venture out :).
It’s not quite spring, but it’s coming along…. the signs are nestled on the edge of the soil. The bravest plants are out. The hellebores are coming along. Tomorrow, storm Doris is coming. But for now we can feel like spring is just a breath away.