Friday, 17 June 2016

Hap - py

The post has arrived and I've just received Kate Davies book of Haps.

What is a hap? Well, they are hard to define, but generally a hap is an everyday shawl, usually knitted and worn by women as an everyday garment as opposed to a fine lace occasional wear shawl. Kate has researched the history shawls and haps in shetland for this book. I'm so looking forward to reading it.

Back in March, Kate appealed for information from anyone who had knit, or received a present of this shetland shawl.

It looked very like my christening shawl. So, I pulled it out and unwrapped it from its tissue paper and there it was, the same shawl.  It had been knit for me when I was born by my Godmother. Myself and my brother and later my own children have been christened in this shawl. The history of the origins of this shawl are in the book.

I have been following Kate's blog and watching as each hap was revealed. There are several I would like to make, but the one that really caught my eye, was Lucy Hague's Uncia. I have been spinning the yarn for this hap since I saw it revealed. So I'm delighted to now have the pattern and be able to get started.

This hap was inspired by cathedral architecture, during a trip Lucy took to France last year. The shape of the hap is one twelfth of a circle, the Latin name for which is Uncia.

The Yarn I've spun (Left) is Dinorwic (below) from the Hiraeth collection from Hilltop Cloud. Plyed with a mix of blues and greens from my stash.

Time for me to get knitting.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Wrens nest

I was potting away at my potting bench the other day and reached in under for a label from a tub kept under my bench, when there was a lot of flapping and it looked like a bird was trapped behind my stacks of pots. I carefully lifted out the pots and the bird flew away, a little wren. While the pots were out I decided it was time for a tidy, so lifted out the crate holding some more pots and there built into one of the pots was the wrens nest with four creamy speckled eggs in. I carefully replaced everything just as it was.  I checked later and mama bird was back sitting on her nest.

The nest is build on top of the black pots in the back left of the white crate.

I'm just going to have to do without anything in that crate for the moment until the chicks have hatched and flown. She found herself a cosy sheltered spot to build her nest.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Herbaceous border

The herbaceous border at Froghollow has suddenly sprung into life. The excessively cold weather has held everything back. But, the brakes are well and truly off now. Everything has burst forth and the border is looking full. The camassia plants are looking really good this week, as are the de Caen Anemonies.  The blues of the camassia, mysotis and anemone and the pink lychnis and lunaria are highlighted by a scattering of pure white tulips and pansies.  The first of the calendula have also started to flower. I've been weeding them out over the last few weeks, but I like to leave a few as they are so pretty and the bees love them. The borage and echiums should be flowering soon, the bees really love both go those.

I found a white everlasting sweet pea called "White Pearl" today it the garden centre at Clonroche, I was delighted to find it, as I already have two different pink everlasting sweet peas.  I've planted it in the middle of the herbaceous border to add height, and balance out all the blue and pink in there.

Robin chicks

Robin chics.

The robin chics have all hatched and have been growing rapidly. The mother has been feeding them non stop.  It was starting to look like the nest couldn't hold them any more.

This evening when I went into the glasshouse to water. I noticed one of the chics fluttering about.
When I peeped into the nest, it was empty.  Back out in the garden I saw the mother feeding the rest of the chics under the hedge. I left the glasshouse door open and the last chic joined the others.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Art of Nature.

Every morning I take my dog Misty for a walk on the beach, earlier this winter I noticed a large granite stone supported by a very spindly column of clay, the stone was sitting at an angle, almost as if it had been placed there, as a sculpture in a gallery.
Rock on clay pedestal near Ballygrangens Wexford.
Over the course of time, the clay pedestal eroded until I just couldn't imagine how it was supporting this massive rock.  Eventually, on morning it just wasn't there any more, not even lying nearby, but completely gone, washed away by a wild sea.

This got me thinking about the art in nature. One off works of art created and exhibited by nature  that are only on show for a limited time,  never to return. Each piece created from what is at hand.
Whether like my rock, it was there for several weeks, or the ripples in the sand at low tide, only there for a fleeting couple of hours.

Later, I started thinking about the people who manipulate nature to create natural art. For example the great landscape architects of the past like Capability Brown, who reshaped the landscape around the grand estates of England. Even gardeners like me, who arrange a garden just so, or plant a tree in a certain spot.  Or like David Nash who creates living sculpture, such as 'Ash Dome' at a secret location in the woods of Wales.

Whether, designed by man or sculpted by nature, we are surrounded by beauty. Often we are just travelling too fast through our lives to notice it.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Time Share

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that every time I went into the glasshouse there was I little robin in there. Each time I opened the door and allowed him to flutter out. Finally I decided I'd have to repair the pane of glass that had slipped in the roof over the winter. When I went to move a hanging basket that was hanging in the way, the robin fluttered out of it.

I use this hanging basket to store plant labels and garden netting and other sundries.  When I had a closer look I realised that the robin had built a nest in the middle of the basket under an upturned pot.
It is a very clever place to nest. Nice and warm no wind or drafts and no cats can access it.

Since I found the nest I've been keeping a close eye, without disturbing it.  This week I noticed the robin very busy going to and fro with grubs.  When she was out foraging I had a peep, and saw a nest full of little chics all with open beaks waiting for their next meal.

Monday, 25 April 2016

                                Mouse Plant (Arisarum proboscideum)

This beautiful little woodland plant is native to Italy and Spain. It has settled into my garden very well. Its gorgeous green arrowhead leaves form a low, spreading carpet beginning late in winter.

 It is a joy to part the leaves every spring and see the lovely little mouse like flowers hiding beneath.  If you didn't go looking, the flowers would come and go unseen.  The long tail on each fat little spathes lends the flowers the appearance of a family of mice, enhanced by the chocolate-maroon coloration of the upper portion and tail. The lower portion of the spathe is white.

It is hardy and easily grown, it grows from a tuber that develops rhizomes which develop more tubers and offsets, for a slowly expanding clump, never invasive but may after many years need to be lifted and divided.

It is one of my favourite plants in the garden, it's not showy or colourful,
but its shy little flowers are a true joy and I look forward to seeing it every spring.