Monday, 26 October 2015

Sunshine Vintage

Hello dear friends & readers!
It's been a truly enchanted October in our neck of the woods. 
A lot of sunshine & some jolly good rain which is a marvellous combination for spring.
I grow much of my lily of the valley in pots so that I can keep a close eye on it through the year & then when it's in bloom I can move it to the front porch to be admired & inhaled daily.
I think I may have discovered the secret of growing this heavenly plant, at last. If it grows like weed for you then you'd never bother putting it in pots, but here it isn't at all weedy, so deep pots it is & then best to "do not disturb". It's a plant that seems to like being a part of a close family. A handful of sheep pellets in winter, as the flowers are building reserves to appear, is useful & perhaps a sprinkling of epsom salts & then plenty of water & you should be just fine. 
I was so pleased to find Ann (a lovely crafty acquaintance) on my doorstep the other day to pick up some Trade Me items & even more delighted when she said that she reads this blog & thought that I might like some lilac from her garden.
I was completely overcome by the sweet beauty of her gift. More than the delicious flowers I also learned how to prepare lilac for keeping in a vase. Ann had scraped the bottom of the stems with a knife (or you could use open scissors) & what do you know the blooms lasted for over a week in this gorgeous vase I found in The Hospice shop- very cheaply as it had a small chip & a crack.
With all our wonderful spring sunshine I decided to make our back garden a living room too. I hauled out the old trestle table door & with some careful tricky manoeuvres I got it up all by myself. I then decided that my shabby painted candlesticks wouldn't really mind being outside for a while & so I set the table as an invitation to outdoor living. As if I needed an enticement!
It doesn't take much to make a simple space feel like a special place to be. The table/door was snaffled for $20...unwanted & unloved beside a house down the road & the trestle legs came from St Mary's School Gala several years ago. The candle sticks had lost there silver surface & were being discarded by a friend...pretty test pot paints re-defined them nicely.
I couldn't help but open the kitchen window wide early one morning to take in all the floral beauty.
So lovely having a happy rhododendron outside the window.
In fact there are two. Friends.
Just like the serendipity of the rose Souvenir 'dun Ami & the flowering cherry Sakura gloriously entwined & flowering simultaneously.
It happens every year. Each in step with the other.
I was so enchanted with Ann's lilacs I went & bought a classic version for our garden. I am just digging up some knotty roots & then I shall plant it at the front gate so the scent will follow us all up the driveway every spring. Did you know that lilac flowers are edible? And they taste a lot better than I imagined they might.
Out our bedroom window Lucy is swathed in blossom. This one called Pink Perfection.
Mutablis is sweetly fluttering under the window too. No wonder she's also known as The Butterfly Rose, although it was originally named Tipo Ideale (unusual, not surprising it didn't stick). I am always amazed when I realise that so many of the roses I love so well are so old. The Butterfly Rose was introduced prior to 1894!
This quote by Elise de Wolfe fits me quite, quite perfectly so I think I shall use it as my mantle.
It is so nice to have so many different flowers to pick again.
These silly little things know that it's spring too.
Which is all just perfect for nice visitors to come to tea in Lucy.
Phew...they bought their own cakes. I just made it all pretty & made the tea!
It has been the loveliest thing having visitors to Lucy & people are so grateful.

I have decided to make Lucy open to anyone to come for tea from now on. So I bought a domain name & made a simple little website:
That way everything gets all tied a pretty bow!

This dear lady is a woman of the Au (the meadow) & after my own heart.
Such a lovely little video about her passion to make the world around her more beautiful by planting flowers.

gardening withlove from withlove project on Vimeo.
Click the link below to see the video in a larger format & there are some more photos of Edith here.

If you have time do please pop in to sunshine vintage & let me know what you think. I will add some more information about the plants & seeds as I go along. And remember, you're most welcome to come to tea in Lucy...anytime.
Thank you so much for visiting!
Have a happy Sunshine Vintage week.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Thursday, 8 October 2015

And out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain....

Hello lovely friends and readers!
Well the spring rains came and filled up all the rivers & made slips & puddles all over our land.
I squelched around in my rosy gumboots for about a week.
The tulips loved the drenching.
Isn't this Margaret Tarrant picture sweet.
Others took it all with good grace.
 Then there was a wee break in the heavens and along came the ladies from the gardening group.
In they swarmed, bustling all over the place, poking at things & nattering away.
Someone thought they'd found a four-leaf clover down the back here.
And then there was the "let's see what's over the back wall delegation"!
And then, quite promptly, they were gone.

The bluebells have been such a joy.
I find I have some Spanish & some English varieties. 
We've had lots of delicious smoothies in the mornings lately. This one is made with blueberries, blackcurrants, kefir, banana, chia seeds, ginger & a little honey. Set with a little gelatine the mixture also makes a delicious dessert.
I found the weirdest bread recipe & thought I'd have a go.
It is absolutely delicious, contains no flour & is very tasty & satisfying. It also makes the best ever toast.
I popped the recipe in here.
I am constantly thinking of new kinds of seeds to sell.
I collected these pink nerines seeds in autumn & they are just starting to sprout, all by themselves.
What elegance for seed dressing!
I know that violets like to spread themselves around rather liberally but I've never really studied a violet seed pod before...isn't it just marvellous!! Reminds me of caterpillar eggs.
My dear friend Ruth was delighted to discover that her husband had not, in fact, sprayed & killed her unusual apricot violet, so now we have another to add to the violet collection.
While wrestling with the cupboard moths & tidying out the pantry cupboards I came across this The Zetland jar with a smooth chip out of the rim & thought...excellent, I'll give it the Julie Lealand treatment (ooh that girl's a treasure!!) I used the pastel pink Voodoo Molly Vintage paint that I bought  a few months ago. After three coats on the outside it covered the glass really well. I then gave the lettering a very light sand. Love the effect.
I also painted a grubby old brown wooden tray with a test pot of green & lined the bottom with a piece of Rainbow Rose Cath Kidston wallpaper. I finished it with two coats of Modge Podge to make the surface wipeable.
These potted colour ranunculus & anemones have done so well through all the rain.
Such good value for $2 each as they flower for months & just get brighter & bolder as time goes by.
I so value these dwarf calla lilies for their elegant lines in the winter/spring garden. They last for weeks in a vase.
Sometimes people ask me to tell them about the seeds I have available that have high scent. I've learnt something interesting from this query-it's mostly the bulbs & spring flowering shrubs like this viburnum that are highly scented. Most annuals & cottage garden/wild flowers have very little perfume at all.
Delightful as it is, this little forget-me-not has no scent at all.
Freesias, daffodils & bluebells, however, are just divinely scented, especially altogether.

Yay, yay!! It's asparagus time. One of the main culinary joys of spring.
We went on a long walk in the foot-hills of Havelock North last week & suddenly came across three macadamia trees right by the roadside...
It's must unusual to see mature macadamia trees around here, but they were very happy & the nuts were beginning to fall...even some on to our side of the fence.
We also visited the valley where we know the wild banana passionfruit grow. They were just ripening too. Dear Audrey (my elderly friend across the road) told me about her mother bottling these fruits over 70 years ago in Wanganui, so one day I cooked them & they were absolutely delicious.
So strange to see Lucy & Rob going off without me!!
Good for her to have a little outing, get her warrant of fitness & give me time to sweep the space where she lives.
Then, out came the sunshine & dried up all the rain...
Duchess de Brabant thought she'd make a showing.
And Whistle found himself in the dog box.
I thought you might like to watch this marvellous video too. I love everything about it...the song, the setting, the joy & the instruments used by such happy, clever musicians.

Worth watching full screen:

Thank you so much for visiting.
Have a lovely & peaceful week.
Much love to you all.
Catherine x0x0x
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