Hellebores and more

This is a note on one of the gardens we went to visit while in Somerset.

East Lambrook Manor Gardens were the home of Margery Fish, the garden writer.

Margery began her career as a ‘normal’ journalist assisting Lord Northcliffe of the Daily Mail in the 1920s. When she moved out of London, just before WW2, she and her husband took over a derelict manor house with a comparatively small garden – as manor houses go.

As she developed this garden she also wrote many articles and books. She wrote for Amateur Gardening, The Field and her first book was the story of how she made the garden at Lambrook Manor.

She was the gardening writer who made the ctaooge garden style so very popular and her garden at Lambrook is recognised as the prime exemplar of this and is listed as Grade 1 by English Heritage.

She died in 1969 but her garden has remained in private hands each owner maintaining faithfully the garden she set out.

As is our garden, hers is divided into different areas and is lovely in the early Spring as now as there are great collections of snowdrops including ones developed in the garden, hardy geraniums beginning to come out, and of course, hellebores. I’m afraid we couldn’t resist and bought 3 doubles: Yellow Speckled, Apricot and Purple Cascade. The first two are photographed here already inserted into our front garden.

hellebore double yellow speckled

Our front garden is intended to be at its best at this time of year and as well as hellebores we also have drifts of blue pulmonaria but the crocii have already faded.

Below you will see a couple of photographs of our garden with the cornus stems standing proud.

Anemone Blanda open blue and white when the sun shines and the magnolias are opening too. We still have a winter cyclamen in flower – like a small crimson flame but fading fast. All the daffs and narcissi are also bursting out and then fading.

cornus frontpulmonaria and hellebore frontunder the blue firHellebore_double_apricot[2]

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Cake and Canals: a divine mix

The Cake Shop in the Garden

by Carole Matthews

A  Netgalley Review

A feel-good story here of the spinster looking after her mother – a very demanding and nasty tempered old woman – although it turns out not so old… who took her bed as they used to do in Victorian times when upset. The latest research says that middle age lasts until 74 at least for women – 15 years before you are due to die according to the insurance actuaries.  So at 70 she was still very much in her middle age.

In fact the main character was an enabler here and psychologists would be very unhappy with her behaviour. Whilst it is difficult to change habits as one grows older – don’t I know it – this kind of behaviour needs to be changed. Pandering to her mother enabled her mother to continue to bully her and to continue to undermine her own health.

So the story is set alongside one of our lovely British canals, a cake shop in the garden of a house that backs onto the canal. Tea and cake, as regular readers of my posts will know, is quite a feature of our days out and something we British all look forward to, especially good home-made cake, and thus this cake shop is ideally situated.

Walking the canal-sides is also a regular feature of our time out and most canals have excellent paths alongside them used regularly by both walkers and cyclists.

Also, many have houseboats permanently moored as well as those who wander the canal by-ways. Canals of course were designed for horse drawn boats and often near bridges as the tow-path narrowed horses might slip off into the canal. Thus, if you look carefully, you will find some steps under the water for horses to climb back out. Additionally, you might wonder just how did horses get under some of the very low bridges? The answer is simple, they didn’t. What happened was that were taken off their harnesses and walked around and over the bridge, and the boat was taken under the bridge by men ‘walking’ the surface underneath. An interesting experience no doubt.

And of course there are a number of wildlife that make their living along British canals. Swans and other water birds including herons and cormorants.

Father Thames kindly permits some people to live on boats....
Father Thames kindly permits some people to live on boats….

canal bridgeP1020873 P1020875 P1020876 P1020877

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Okay things to mess with on the web when bored

Okay – I’m being lazy? – or just wanting something different  to rest my mind having completed an article about clematis for a journal and lots of posts in preparation for going on holiday and… – so have been looking at the Internet and some recommended sites just to see something of what’s out there.. so much!

So here are some sites I’ve looked at for Ladies and others.

Nailsomething.tumblr.com

For those of you who like the new nail art and I confess I think it’s fun and have started having my nails painted different colours (3 one shade and 2 another for instance) or using the new varnishes – currently they are shellacked as per my birthday present from my daughter. A lovely sparkle over a deep plum. And then I had them painted deep witchy green with a sparkle. So I looked on this site for inspiration and fun. Have you ever thought of having your nails painted as Simpson Characters? Or as  part of a painting – Picasso for instance?  Well, see what other clever people have done. I confess I tried some dots and they weren’t good but practice I guess..

On a more serious note a great book site for women –

Forbookssake.net. ‘For and by independent women’ , is its strap line and lots of good ideas for what to read and conversations with authors and of course you all know ‘GoodReads’ which has some good groups to join with book challenges and so on. I challenged myself to read 125 books last year, and made it!

http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/  like Amazon suggests what you should read next but without the money element. So I put in Nora Roberts the series about the detective and it offered me Catherine Coulter; Heather Graham; Lara Adrian;  Nalini Singh; Shelly Laurenston; Stephanie Laurens; Tami Hoag (who I do also love); Sherrilyn Kenyon; Amanda Quick; and Christine Feehan. None of which apart from Tami Hoag had I heard of, so I shall search these authors out in the future.

Then there’s SoulPancake.com, a site with a mix of art, culture, philosophy and so on; and some conversations that you may or may not think are good or even useful – with some really bad spelling. Why do people think that just because you are commenting on a website, you can spell anyway you want? Don’t they ever check what they say? I confess I do get the odd mistake from time to time – but at least I try…

On a general note – for everyone – probably especially my husband who LOVES QI (I have some great QI facts to share in due course) there is mentalfloss.com. There’s even a magazine you can purchase with them. Lots of lists and so on…

Then there’s  Engrish.com   with Misspelled wording and poorly written grammar,

This is a site that takes photos from all over the world of things like signs or product packaging that are riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, or just convey an entirely different message due to translation errors and extreme unfamiliarity with the English language. There are lots of different categories for the spelling errors and I just had to check out Stationery. The number of stores that just can’t spell this! But it was about stationery and the funny things written on it by – mostly – Japanese manufacturers. I always say just remember the little saying:

E for envelope and a for car and why will you then have a problem? But don’t get me going on the apostrophe!

A nice site is http://webtrends.about.com/. They will even teach you how to make an Internet meme – you can waste a lot of time on that!

I also waste time on Zulily. Now here is a shopping site par excellence. You can get all sorts especially cute stuff for kids from small designers and occasionally well known designer end of lines, at a tremendous discount. Not much for men and some stuff for the household but seriously shopping addictive – warm up that credit card!

http://shutupandtakemymoney.com/ is another shopping site, but this is full of useless but addictive items eg mugs with pictures that come and go with hot or cold water – and something possibly more useful – a car desk that you can use when on the road for business…

And finally, in my list here,  there’s www.theuselessweb.com.  This will take you to a new site every time you click on it, some will be fun, some will be quirky, some will be …..

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May in the garden blooms:

And now we look at our flowers.

There is a Welsh proverb that says ‘flowers before May bring bad luck’ but with Global Warming affecting our weather – it is 23 degrees (C) out there as I write this post, we have flowers all year round – certainly we work on this in our London garden.

So what is out today? Well I wandered round and found that areas were awash with blue or pink or contrasted orange and white too, so here’s hoping you like what you will see below.

white  clematis white  perennial wallflower anemone blanda art in garden begonia and nettle blue and art crab apple and pear fire red perennial wallflower hellebore double yellow speckled hellebore single speckled Hellebore_double_apricot[2] primrose and pulmanaria see the acer flower the blue have it the blue path the blues hide the new black tulip the orange contrast

 

 

Alexander Smith says:

It is curious, pathetic almost, how deeply seated in the human heart is the liking for gardens and gardening.

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Ali tells us about Indie writing

Guest Blog Post – Being an Indie Author and Loving it!

 

I think from a young age I’ve always been independent, always looking for a way to forge a new path and climb a steep hill and do it mainly on my own. I think like most Indies, I started by trying the traditional route and after loads of rejection, it was just easier to forget it. A few friends of mine are making it big in the indie world and have reluctantly pulled me into it as well. I will tell you that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I’m not a superstar, but a story teller – which is all I ever wanted to be. I set my schedule, write what I want, love on you guys by giving away whatever the hell I want to and life FEELS right/good.

Let me tell you why else I love being Indie.

  1. No one will ever love my book as much as me. It’s my creation and having the freedom to choose what it looks like and where the plot goes is all mine to decide. I don’t have someone standing over my shoulder making it “better” by their definition of “better.”
  2. I can spend as little or as much time, energy and money as I want. Obviously the more I put into it, the more I’m going to get out of it, but that’s with anything in life. The cool part is that if I’m a good editor or if I can design my own cover, then those are costs to be saved and skills to be used.
  3. I belong. In a world of independent authors I find myself fitting in just perfectly. We all work hard and dream big and the encouragement is beyond belief. I don’t have to write a certain genre or stick to a certain structure in the plot. I simply write, promote and support and honestly feel great about myself at the end of the day.

Being an Indie author, to me, doesn’t really have anything to do with being Independent though. It’s a statement that says I’m capable of making every step along this book writing/producing platform to take a dream from start to finish. The truth of what Indie authors are doing is showing the world that there still exists hope. Hope to dream big and work hard to make that dream a reality.

That’s why I love being Indie!

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