December festive and cosy

Festive-moodWinter has arrived. Time to be indoors with rich spicy scents, ginger flavoured treats and a touch of candlelight. Do I see Christmas round the corner?

gingerbread biscuits
Well here we have some iced gingerbread cookies.

Featured hand painted silk scarf is Portia Mandarin.

silk scarf
And, perhaps a gift.
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Summer Evenings

Breathing in a warm, relaxed summer evening despite being a romantic cliché, is hopefully available to everyone. A city version is pavement café tables, customers spilling out from the pub and a spot of evening window shopping.

Hampstead, London
Flask Walk, Hampstead, London – A fine summer’s evening.

(A brief aside, Flask Walk has often inspired those with a visual sensibility especially when decked out for a celebration – see http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ginner-flask-walk-hampstead-on-coronation-day-n05276)

A summer evening home version is a garden terrace perfumed with lilies.

Trumpet lily, Pink Perfection
My favourite lily, the trumpet lily – lilium Pink Perfection.
Lilium regale
This summer’s white trumpet lilies.
Showy, but still beautifully scented.
Lilium regale

Meanwhile, back in the city, the sun has gone down on Hampstead Heath. Hey, let’s see if we can synchronize our mobile phones? How long are the summer holidays??

Mobile phone flash photo

A Good Year for the Roses

This summer has been good for roses. Good displays as long as the roses are healthy bushes with established root runs. Within the UK East Anglia is a low rainfall region added to that I garden on a very light, sandy soil and, as you may know, not ideal for most roses.

Pink rose on pergola
Cascading down from the pergola Rosa Debutante

But I do love roses and as they really prefer heavier, rich soil I have to feed them well. I always mulch them generously using most of my garden compost to feed their greedy needs and retain moisture.

The white wisteria covering the pergola has now finished flowering, but continues to provide some welcome green shade. However, down the other end of the pergola the pink rambler rose, Debutante, has broken into a glamorous profusion of pink blooms.

Other roses flowering at the moment are the fully double pink Rosa Karlsruhe, the striped Rosa Ferdinand Pichard, the single white species rose Rosa fedtschenkoana and the single white rambler Rosa Francis E Lester . I grow both the white ramblers through mixed hedging to provide hips for the birds in the autumn.


Also clusters of white roses add highlights to a predominantly green hedge informally planted with hazel, hawthorn and deciduous viburnum.

In the evening the garden is awash with delicate perfumes as you pass under the various climbing and rambling roses. A gentle, uplifting pleasure.

Rose on pergola
The warm evening sun catches the roses and fills the air with sweet scent,

Roses – The Scent of an English Summer

peachy yellow rose
Rosa Gloire de Dijon
Being a bit of a smarty pants I have planted two heavily scented roses either side of my bedroom window so that their captivating fragrance could waft into my bedroom on warm summer evenings. But being merely human I have failed to keep them under control allowing them to thrust upwards and become top heavy.

Oh dear, during Saturday night we had unseasonal high winds here in East Anglia and both rose bushes were beaten up and the next morning I found them knocked to the ground in a thorny mess.

Roses in coffee pot
Salvaged from the unwelcome and unseasonal wind.
Following a rescue pruning I have retied them into position. It’s not been a total horticultural failure as they are well rooted and as a bonus I have several flower arrangements filling rooms with the scent of summer, and, I have some more lovely floral photos for my work.

Pale yellow & pink roses
Rosa Alister Stella Gray with pink Rosa Narrow Water.
White & pale yellow roses
Rosa Alister Stella Gray, Rosa Cécile Brunner and ox eye daisies.

roses & daisies
Floral inspiration.