Sonntag, 22. September 2013

Second Hand Rose

At the moment I find myself struggling with a rather particular conundrum: designing my very first garden. Or, to be precise - making the most of a pre-existing design.

When I took over this tiny garden it was practically empty, apart from two roses, a overgrown lawn and a few weeds. Due to the brickwalls that surround the plot, there are very few sunny spots but they create a warmish microclimate and the soil is moist and crumbly (I found lots of blue-and-white china shards and few rust-encrusted wrought-iron nails while planting).

I have planted my winter and early spring vegetables (early peas, lettuces, purple sprouting broccoli and spinach), a few winter pansies, Japanese anemones and semi-evergreen low grasses. Yesterday I put in a lot of (inexpensive) bulbs - dwarf tulips and small daffodils.

vegetable patch and dandelion paradise
My Mom's garden (which is the background of all of my OOTD posts) is sort of a cottage garden, lots of different plants, perennials, shrubs, trees, fruit and vegetables intertwined and I have always loved this. But I have known for some time that given the chance I would like to try something more formal. Or at least have more formal elements. I will need some time to figure this one out, maybe by spring I have some more ideas on how to do it.

Japanese bed - just to the right is the neighbour's massive bamboo

One of my second-hand roses [yes, Funny Girl is one of my favourite films ...] has just now come into bloom and it turned out to be - orange. Usually not my favourite colour but somehow it works quite well with the brick-and-flint walls. It smells absolutely delicious, intense and fruity, almost like peaches or apricots.

Love, Qaroline

a tiny conundrum

Sonntag, 15. September 2013

Foraging Frenzy

I have been walking a lot this weekend, foraging for flowers and fruit. This morning I woke up early, had a quick breakfast and went out blackberrying.

I remembered how my parents used to bribe me with picking blackberries or cobnuts when they had trouble persuading me to join them on a Sunday walk. Foraging for free food still is the main reason why I always try to get a sense of my surroundings. I simply have to find out where the blackberry bushes are, good mushroom spots or sweet chestnut trees.

I found lots of beautiful flowers today but as I do not have a single vase in my cupboard I took a milk bottle from the recycling box and arranged the budleija and elderberry branches, the comfrey blossoms and grass stalks in there.

milk bottle bouquet

Apart from blackberries I also found damsons, very small, prune-like, slightly bitter fruit who are quite exotic to me – I haven’t seen them anywhere in Germany. I will try to make damson cheese but my jam-making equipment is still packed away – time for more experimenting …

Love, Qaroline

damsons I brought back home wrapped in my shawl
dusk settles over the river Kennet
Hungerford Common

Samstag, 7. September 2013

Roadtrip: Hughenden Manor & West Wycombe Park

At West Wycombe Park
Two weeks ago I went on a trip to Hughenden Manor and West Wycombe Park, to see some more gardens. I always had wanted to visit West Wycombe Park, as this house features in so many films and TV series I love (like The Importance of Being Earnest or Cranford ...) and public access is restricted to three months a year. And I have recently read the mind-boggling "Matters of Fact in Jane Austen - History, Location and Celebrity" by Janine Barchas [seriously, read this book!] in which ties between the real Dashwood family of West Wycombe Park and Austen's fictitious Dashwood family are explained.

Suggestive architecture: Temple of Aphrodite at West Wycombe Park ... well, yeah.
But I loved Hughenden Manor (once belonging to Benjamin Disraeli) even more. It had a beautiful walled garden where I was given free perpetual spinach seeds [which are doing great and will be potted on shortly].

Hughenden Manor
Hughenden Manor
I hope you're doing something equally wonderful this weekend.

Love, Qaroline
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At West Wycombe Park