Sunday, 21 August 2016

Late summer flowers

There is a feeling of autumn being just around the corner in the garden.  The stalwarts of late summer are busy flowering, along with a few hangers-on from earlier.  Japanese anemone 'Bressingham Glow' (I think) gives a burst of bright pink.
 The agapanthus I bought last year came through the winter in the shed and has rewarded me with four flowers this year.
Clematis Blue Angel has been lovely,
Crocosmia 'Emily Mackenzie' has made a lovely contrast with the blue of the agapanthus. 
Hibiscus BlueBird reliably flowers throughout August, the exotic looking flowers belying its hardiness.
 My favourite hardy geranium, Rozanne, with the white centre and dark anthers.
 Helianthus Lemon Queen has not been happy this year and the clump has diminished a lot.  Perhaps I need to dig it up and split/replant the best bits.
 Another hibiscus - Woodbridge, I think.
Another shot of the fiery orange and red from the crocosmia.  Still a lot to enjoy, including blueberries and raspberries.  Chris has said he'll make blueberry jam, so that will be interesting!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Visit to Burghley House (part two) - the Sculpture Garden

 So here is part two of our visit to Burghley House; the Sculpture Garden.  It was a bit of a relief to escape from the shrieking but happy and wet children in the Garden of Surprises and head into the slightly wilder but very lovely park area.  There were areas of wildflowers which were kept in check by metal scalloped edging, which was very effective and the flowers added a much needed splash of colour.
 We all liked these.
 I was rather remiss as I didn't make any notes about any of the sculptures - I just took photos of ones I liked, such as the lifelike stag above.
 The fighting horses were made of willow.
 I wasn't sure whether I liked this - in fact I found it just a little disturbing, although there was a flash of recognition as Lincoln has a stainless steel face by the same artist (Rick Kirby) at the Drill Hall, which is an entertainment venue.
(Photo of the Lincoln Drill Hall face from )
Here it is.  Just one thing - why are they both so grumpy?
I really liked the park area the sculptures were set in and the way different vistas presented themselves as we walked around.  Some of the sculptures are permanent, whereas others were part of a temporary exhibition. 
We spied another stag through the trees and across the lake.
 The canada geese were real.
 Swans were a-swimming and I liked the reflections of the crocosmia.
 This labyrinth had some interesting patterns...
..but then nature can do a good job with patterns on her own.
 The oversized flowers couldn't be ignored.
 I thought the sinuous lines of the reflective metal worked well with the backdrop of green.
 These sculptures were sea-related, with fish tails and shell like forms.
The restful green of all the foliage in this little valley was beautiful.
This sculpture made a gentle melodic noise when the discs were gently tapped, which was an added sensory delight.
We agreed that we had really enjoyed the Sculpture Garden and this was definitely worth visiting.
(I noticed that Phil Spencer is presenting a new series on Stately Homes on More 4 and guess what the first one is?  Yes, Burghley - what a coincidence!  It is on tonight on More 4 at 9.00 pm.  I think I'll be watching!)

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Visit to Burghley House (part 1)

 I visited Burghley House (built for William Cecil in the 1600s) last week; I last visited over twenty years ago.  I used to live in Stamford, opposite one of the entrances to Burghley Park, so it was all familiar.  I was interested to see what had changed.  There had been some building to create a new entrance and exhibition space, but, as you would expect, the house remained as I remembered. The last time I visited, it was by guided tour only and while you do get lots of nuggets of information from the guides, you are limited as to how long you can stay in each room.  This time, no guided tours but audio ones if required and a guide was in each room - some of them added to our discussions (particularly concerning women artists and sitting for a portrait).  We could spend as long as we wanted to in each room, which was a bonus.  Photos without flash were allowed in the house, but in the event, I didn't take many.
 I liked the orchid and fern display in the massive copper pot in the kitchen.
 The array of servants' bells also intrigued me - there was another wall like this to my left.
The Heaven Room is described as the painter Verrio's masterpiece and is indeed very impressive. Burghley featured as Rosings Park, home of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Dame Judi Dench) in the 2005 film of  Pride and Prejudice.  There is an interesting blog post here
 I was more taken with the fabulous floral carpet!
Outside the orangery (well, we were obliged to stop and have tea), there is a small rose garden with a lovely Magnolia Grandiflora.  However, Burghley does lack the typical beautiful gardens which I, for one, expect to see at an English Country House and I remember being disappointed by that when I was much younger on a previous visit.
There is a relatively recent addition to the gardens with 'The Garden of Surprises' which comprises different gardens around the theme of water and plenty of opportunities to get wet!
I liked the calm of the tree water fountain.
The rill edged with lavender was also lovely (but paddling was not allowed, sadly).
There was some pretty planting in some of the gardens.
This one squirted mist at you as you went in.  There were lots of wet children running about and laughing, having a marvellous time, but it was all a bit manic and we were quite relieved to head out to the Sculpture Garden (more about that in my next post and I am pleased to say that the Sculpture Garden did make up for the lack of formal garden.)
A quiet view into the Garden of Surprises.
We wandered across the park (noticing the ha-ha on the way, designed as an elegant solution to stop meandering livestock from getting onto one's front lawn, without destroying the view of one's rolling acres).
We went to Lion Bridge which gave a pleasing view of the house across Capability Brown's landscape (although I'm sure those trees didn't used to be there, obscuring part of the house).
The view the other way - a quintessential English landscape, designed and implemented by Mr Brown and his huge team of workers.
One of the four lions continuing to guard the bridge.  Burghley is an amazing house with some stunning artworks and furniture and a perfect way to spend a day.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Christmas in July swap 2016

I signed up to take part in Kim's (wisdom with needle and thread) Christmas in July swap.  I took part last year (here is the post)  and really enjoyed it, so decided to take part again.  The idea was that you would be given a recipient's address and someone else would be given yours.  Three hand made Christmas items from a suggested list would be made and other items could be included if the sender wanted to.  The gifts would be posted in time to arrive for the great unwrapping on 25th July.  My sender was the lovely Debbie from  debbie's corner. The parcel arrived and I had to ignore it until 25th July (which required some willpower!)    
I undid the parcel to discover more exciting parcels waiting for me and I opened them up to find...  
...a very generous and lovely selection of beautiful things!  Debbie is obviously very creative as she had sent me some fingerless gloves, an appliqued placemat, a beautifully cross stitched decoration and another beautifully stitched box decoration, as well as pencils, a notepad, a cracker, a selection of tea and two recipes.  Wow!
 You can see what I mean about the beautiful stitching on the decoration.
 Inside the box are some flower tags - another surprise!
 I do suffer from cold hands, so gloves are always welcome.  A HUGE thank you to Debbie who was so generous and sent me the most beautiful things.  I am very lucky.
The recipient for my parcel was Gracie at needlespins and dragonflies.  I had sneaky peek at her blog to see what she liked and was able to include some things I hoped she would enjoy.  As you can see, the Christmas things were bunting, polymer clay heart decorations and a felt star.
The other things were a UK cross stitch magazine, a pug dog keyring and a pair of pearl and sterling silver earrings.
Thanks to Kim for running the swap and doing all the organising and again to Debbie for my lovely gifts.  Here's to Christmas in July 2017.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Make do and mend - Bag number two

I spent a day last weekend sewing hexagons together and then machined them onto the second bag which had a logo on one side which I didn't want.  I chose shades of blue for the logo side and the hexagons did a great job of covering the logo.
 It was very relaxing sewing the hexagons together.
 As I felt that the other side of the bag also needed a bit of brightening up, I sewed more hexagons together.  Five of these were given to me in a swap by Dotty's Daughter, so I hope she'll be pleased to see I am using them!
Here is a close up of the greens and blues.
I am really pleased with the way both bags have turned out and have enjoyed these relatively quick projects.