When folk consider flowers for Valentine’s Day, the perennial favourite is the red rose. I think there is something intensely romantic about a single, velvety, dark red rose, but if I were to be receiving a bouquet of roses, I think I would prefer pink roses.The bonus with giving or receiving roses is many are fragrant too, with most of the old fashioned varieties perfuming a whole room with their beautiful, rich scent.
Of course, as you may have already guessed, I don’t just love old fashioned pink roses, but pink blooms in general and find them a great source of inspiration for my flowery silk scarf designs. And with that in mind, here’s a jug of last summer’s dahlias providing just such stimulus!
Well, before all the rain and unseasonal drops in temperature, it was that time of year where many gardens across the towns and villages of East Suffolk had plenty of flowering plants in their grounds and many front gardens were adorned by the splendid hollyhock.
You couldn’t miss cottage gardens decorated with these colourful beauties, often self-seeded, thriving in the local free-draining soil. This very blousy, double pink hollyhock was attracting plenty of busy bees in the sun between the recent showers. And, then the torrential downpours arrived bringing hard times for both bees and butterflies. Apparently, the jet stream is in the wrong place again!!
You may have noticed I like pink and I like flowers, so naturally I have painted quite a few scarves inspired by pink flowers.
However, sometimes when nature is doing it so well I feel intimidated by her perfection and find myself turning to the manmade for alternative sources of inspiration.
Firstly, I take a photo of an everyday object, remove the distraction of colour, then turn the image upside down to stop myself from recognising the object. The idea is to stop seeing the motor bike and just see shapes. Then using Photoshop I soften and blur the lines to produce a picture that gives an outcome similar to the resultant image we see when we squint.
With a little more tweaking I eventually get an image that I can use to work from.
And here’s a little first go, freewheeling in monochrome inspired by a motor bike.
Of course, I’ve used the classic black and white combination before giving a very clear area of contrast. But, wait, I can also see some pink flowers!!
This is one tough and beautiful rose which I bought from Peter Beales Roses when I returned to Norfolk 10 years ago. I think it might be my favourite rose. It is Rosa Anemone, a Hybrid Laevigata. From June onwards it has large, single silver-pink flowers and according to the catalogue has ‘a touch of mauve giving it a vaguely oriental look’. It is quite a thorny rose, but as each open flower is so charming and delicate it’s worth putting up with a few prickles, plus, the single blooms are very popular with bees and other insects.
You can place an order for bare root roses throughout the year, but the rose growers start digging them up and despatching them from this month until March. I like to buy bare root roses because I’ve always received roses with a much better root system than those grown as container specimens. But the main reason I buy bare root from a specialist grower is you get an enormous and varied selection to choose from.
Having recently taken down an overgrown peach tree I’m looking for a small climbing rose, pale to mid-pink that will cope with poor, stony soil and tolerate a little shade. Haven’t made my mind up yet, but it’s always important to remember what else will be flowering near it at the same time. These pink Shirley poppies were out in late June this year so a handful of seeds in the vicinity of a new rose just might be a combination to work towards.
I’m English and therefore ‘the weather’ rules! I have been so fed up with the rain ruining the flowers that as it started to pour again I decided to cut the remaining roses. There will be a second flush from the repeat-flowering varieties and a smattering of blooms from the continuously-flowering, but that’s it for my summer only roses.
Sadly, as daylilies (hemerocallis) live up to their name, flowering for just one day, they aren’t really used as a cut flower. It is a case of appreciating them in the rain and taking a quick photo.
I don’t think I’ve noticed the ‘plant’ year so ahead of itself as it is this year in East Anglia. I heard on the radio that in some parts of the country the cobnuts are already forming nearly a month early. I trotted down the garden and sure enough I spotted some beginning to mature on the tree – well that will be until the squirrels find them!