Italian Minstrel

Italian Minstrel

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Perfect June, perfect roses!

This has been the most fantastic weather for the garden, it has been one of the best Junes I can remember: warmth, flowers, soft summer rain at just the right time and sunshine! My garden also looks at its best in June because I am a rose-aholic and they are everywhere! I only like scented roses, old fashioned ones by preference, some roses  dating back to Tudor times: the red rose of Lancaster, Rosa Mundi, and Rosa Damascena. Growing amongst the roses are the original sweet peas, heady-scented and beautiful. These delightful perennials come up every year and look like ladies peeking out from their bonnets, like approving audiences popping up all over the border to see what is happening next, fabulous value - I love June!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A Lincolnshire Sunday

This Sunday, we spent here in Lincolnshire. A very warm June day, and whilst the weather is so hot, it makes sense to get up early a pick the strawberries, sweet and juicy...and there were pounds to gather, enough for jam already!

But before I did that I fed our hens. I saw there were two young squirrels in the crewyard where the hens live, they had found a way into the feed shed where they were helping themselves to the corn. There is only one advantage to this which is that they are consequently not stealing our strawberries!

The garden is full of roses, utterly heady and scented (I only have smelly roses, I have trouble understanding why anyone would give garden room to a rose that doesn't smell!). Sweet peas, campion, lupins, poppies etc.A riot of colours.
This is a giant allium, also in the garden, just stunning, I love the tiny details even as it turns to seed pods, still beautiful...

Friday, 25 June 2010

What a way to spend a French Sunday

I have just been in France this month at our house in Normandy, and took some time to spend weekends looking around the vide greniers - the French summer pastime which comprises of the population of villages or town communities putting the contents of their attics onto a table in the street, for sale. It is a charming thing, and I have visited many delightful villages which I would otherwise never have done.

We went to an utterly lovely village called St Christophe de Jajolet, in the Orne department and spent several hours marvelling at the selection of wares for sale. There was honey and cider (always present in Normandy of course), 2nd world war artifacts, linen, clothes, tools and so on. And of course, we found things to cherish, things that we never knew we always wanted! The weather was hot, the fields were full of wildflowers, poppies, corn-cockles, hearts-ease and the small stream babbled its meandering way between fields and under the bridge, whilst we watched goldfinches bathing. Perfect.

Amongst all sorts of treasures, household linen is a regular item for sale, sheets and pillowcases, unused Trousseaus with embroidered initials of husband and wife, lace and tea towels. Some of the linen is 19th c home-spun and loomed, some of the later sheets are the French metis which is half cotton, half linen and very durable. The tops of sheets sometimes have wonderful detailing, one I bought had a triple band of drawn threadwork and was 10 ft long. Prices have gone up though! but worth every penny when you think of the work in each sheet and that some have never been used.

France has a wonderful tempo of life and if you get the chance, go, it is such a pleasant way to pass time and it affirms a way of life long gone from here.